1. My grandfather passed away when I was in the 12th grade. My grandmother was sitting in the first row in the prayer meeting. My father hadn’t met his parents for over a decade, nor had we. I wanted to meet my grandma. My mom asked me to go up to meet her as the prayers got over. But grandma was so weak and old that she had been taken home. Of course, I couldn’t go meet her at her place as my dad wouldn’t allow me to go there. I was upset and my mom said – may be next time. My grandma passed away after three months. I was inconsolable. I saw my grandparents in a dream after a few days and she said that she had come to meet me. It is still surreal for me. I got a closure in a way, but we don’t, always. Make time for people when they are alive. Make time for people when they are still people. Everything else can wait but not the people in our life.
  2. I was seeing a guy in college. My family was financially very strained. My boyfriend liked to buy me gifts, trinkets etc. He didn’t allow me to pay when we were out together. I stopped insisting, after a while. We didn’t last. When we broke up he said that one of his friends mentioned that I may have been with him because he came from a much richer family. That cured me of any guy’s money. I insist that I pay for myself, or at times for the guy, too. My intent was never to languish in anyone’s money but I still got a sharp slap in my face. So I go the opposite way now. I take great pains not to touch anyone’s money. Not even my husband’s. Sustain yourself. It is important for your self-respect. Even when you are in love, and it seemingly doesn’t matter. Even when the cashier quips that she would let her husband use his card, if she were you.
  3. At 30, I was standing in a food court in a mall, lost in my thoughts. A girl came running out of nowhere and ran into me. I didn’t see her coming and wasn’t braced for the impact. I tore two discs and a third one was bulging. I couldn’t stand up straight or walk without a limp or lie on my side for months. I wore a back brace for more than a year. I could not take pain killers as my gut couldn’t take it. A doctor told me that I should not think of being a mother as that would tax my back no end. I may be bed-ridden. At 27, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. My doctor told me that I will have brief periods of remission, perhaps but the disease will keep coming back. I had bloody motions, at times just blood and it went on for more than half a decade. I had a restricted diet. Today, I have a 5year old daughter, I had an eventless pregnancy – my back supported me beautifully. I worked till the last day before having my daughter. I can stand in heels for 8hrs, I go to the gym and life weights. My gut is perfectly healthy and I am back to eating everything after a decade. I take no medications for my back or gut. Illness and sickness are a state of mind, too. You can fight it, if you will. Of course, there is a divine power. But what you think will happen, will happen. You have the power to get healed. The power of positive thinking should not be undermined.
  4. I won’t share a story here but say what you want to say at the time it matters. Tell people you love them, tell them if you want to spend your life with them. Say it outright so that there is no chance of you being not understood or misunderstood. Worst case – you will hear a no. Be stubborn about it. Be sure for both of you, if the other person isn’t. Love enough for both of you. But if you don’t speak up, you will live to regret it.
  5. A couple of years ago, I changed my job and hence, moved away from friends that I had made in the last 13 years (of my job). I also moved countries and that made meeting friends and acquaintances even more difficult. I’m not someone who stays in touch usually. I have just kept a handful of people around me through different stages in my life. Perhaps one or two at any given time – mostly because going out for meeting friends did not have my dad’s approval when I was younger. And it was expensive (for a cash strapped me) . So I thought I’d make an effort for a change. But I saw that people are always stuck to their jobs, no one wanted to make an effort to meet, everyone was always too busy. And I ask “Do you have a job, or does the job have you?” May be I didn’t matter to people that didn’t meet me. But when I asked around, a lot of us have the same syndrome, so hopefully, it was not just me that these “friends” were avoiding. Your job will always be there, the next day, the next hour. Your chance to meet someone, may not be there. Again, make time for people. Life is nothing but people around you.
  6. Lastly, everyone is flawed. Whatever your story, your disease, howsoever your heart was broken, even if you are still in love with someone else, some will still want you, like you are. They will still love you, even if you cannot love them back. They will still embrace you. Life will still embrace you.