A year ago I was tagged for the week long gratitude test. I was to name three things each day of which I am grateful….challenging indeed !! To enlist 21 things out of the countless I owe my gratitude to….so after a lot of thought I had posted this list ( in no particular order !!) Yesterday as I was going through my ‘archives’ I realised that nothing much has changed. So am reposting it.
1. Life and what is has given me ….and ( more importantly ) what it hasn’t ….because after the initial moping and grudging, I have always come out stronger
2. My dad and his resolve to study further which made him give up a secure job and travel half way around the world to Montreal, More than his genes, his open attitude, willingness to learn and sense of humour which ( I’d like to believe ) I have inherited.
3.My mum’s courage to step out of her comfort zone and follow dad, a move which changed her destiny and mine. For the low – maintenance skin and hair , a genetic gift and her make- do ( jugaad ) approach in every situation which I have (unwillingly !) learnt.
4. My teachers from Lynn Butler in second grade to Dr Sushila Rathee during Post Graduation and all the ones in between. For teaching me all I know and and repeatedly making me realise that I don’t know everything. For encouraging me and seeing my potential before I could.
5.Vinod, my partner in this life ( and the PREVIOUS six !!) for the good times which I cherish….and the bad ones which have turned me into quite a philosopher!
6 My children, natural and acquired, Saumya, Saras and Madhav who try to teach me style, technology and business respectively and end up calling me boodhi ma ( beyond learning!!). They do their own thing, are wise beyond their years and have independent views. But every now and then, I see a bit of myself in them. At such times it seems the umbilical cord was never cut.
7. Siblings who look out for me . My elder sister Meena who mothers me, even though she is just a year older, my brother Rajiv who will always do the right thing and my baby sister, rightfully called Guddiya because thats what she will always be.
8 Friends of both kinds, real and virtual, and all ages, school/ college friends who help me relive the past, younger friends ( a generation younger ) who make me look up to the future and all my contemporaries who make my present awesome.
9 The creator of my world and by that I don’t mean God alone, with his magnificent rivers and mountains, diverse flora and fauna but also people who create beautiful things, films, music, books, buildings, art, theatre. Cant think of my life without all this
10. My parents- in – law, my father in law who was nobility, humility, wisdom and perseverance personified. We lost him in a tragic chain of events two years ago . I am grateful that he pushed me into learning sonography twenty years ago. This was much before USG replaced physical examination and a time when I was content practicing obstetrics/gynae and didn’t want to do anything else. As he packed me off for a month long stint in Manipal and then Diwan Chand ,Delhi he said ‘seekh lo, kuchh kaam hi aayega’. Bauji I cant thank you enough, it helped me make the switch when conducting deliveries stopped interesting me . I am also grateful to my mother- in -law for being tolerant of my un-bahu like ways and always being ready to help.
11.My extended family, inherent as well as the one I have acquired through marriage. Consisting of uncles , aunts and countless cousins, sister and brother – in – laws , nieces and nephews, daughters and sons in law and grand children too. A little eccentric as all families are known to be, but definitely mine ! Thanks for accepting me as is , with my bristles and mood swings and my whacky sense of humour
12. My subordinate staff , both at home and work. Largely unappreciated , they are the ones which make my garden bloom, home beautiful and food delicious. Most of them have been with us for a long time and are used to my crankiness and occasional unreasonable demands. Life without them is difficult to imagine and would be a series of endless chores.
13 Good health- I know, I know, it should have figured higher on my list but that’s the sad thing about health, you realise its value after having lost it. Anyway, apart from my groaning joints and sore muscles ( carrying so much weight around 24X 7 !!) some missing teeth and a failing memory I am pretty well preserved. No chronic disease , no life threatening illness. Of this I will be ( quite literally!) eternally grateful.
14 Enough wealth to meet all my needs, some of my wants and the occasional splurge. I seem to have struck the perfect balance here. Enough work to earn enough money and enough time to spend it ! It greatly helps that I live in a small town and don’t need to keep up with the Jones……We are the Jones !!. So totally blessed on this front.
15 Patient patients – most of my patients learn the meaning of the word eventually. I am grateful that they keep coming back despite my less than pleasant disposition . The problem is, no matter how hard I try I just can’t suffer a fool and when I am asked the same question a zillion times it blows my fuse ( actually more than twice does it !) In my defence my policy with patients has always been , ‘ Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.’ So no unnecessary medicines, investigations or surgeries …and I never ask the same question thrice!
It’s the sixth day and I am nearing the end of my “gratitude” list . Its time to thank the Little things in my life …..and the big ones ….and the ones in between.
16. I am grateful for the small things which make my life unique. The leisurely morning cup of tea, in solitude , on the terrace overlooking the garden , sometimes planning ahead , sometimes looking back and occasionally ( I realise later that ) my mind is free of thought ( is that meditation ??). The afternoon siesta which I have managed all my life ( even in medical college) . Great minds need rest !!. The evening, when in between patients I slip into the garden , poke around, instruct or just admire. Have to mention the ‘irreplaceable’ Pogo when I talk of little but vital things, Pogo who left a dog shaped hole in my heart when he walked away and couldn’t find his way back ( he was dumb !)
17. For a person who grew up when TV and Doordarshan were synonymous, truant electric supply meant hand fans and kerosene lamps, knowledge meant looking up books and unexpected delays caused worry, the leap in technology is huge. I am grateful that I can enjoy world cinema, be a part of my nephew’s play in London, talk ( not shout) with anyone on phone , enjoy uninterrupted music without getting tangled in wires, chat with like minded people and share opinions on social media. The last two being more important for me because of my location and the fact that I have an opinion . Google continues to impress me immensely and I use it constantly , I just cant get over the fact that the truth is out there , and is just a click away
18. There was a time when my greatest fear was to die without seeing the world . I have been extremely fortunate then, that , in a time when foreign travel was rare, my husband had the “jigar” to spend money on it. We traveled extensively and exhaustively, taking the kids along, making it an annual event and throwing in a few desi holidays in between. Mostly we took the beaten track but sometimes we went off course. We were dedicated travellers, the syllabus was decided and all the sights had to be seen. We always returned physically exhausted and emotionally rejuvenated . As I look back I am full of gratitude for those in between times and to Vinod for making them possible.
19. The universe, and how it works. Have never been quite sure whether I believe in God or not. Either side make pretty compelling arguments but none prove it beyond all reasonable doubt. Of one thing I am pretty sure though, that evolution can’t explain the lizard dropping its tail, the chameleon changing colour and the skunk raising a stink when threatened. This is the work of a power quite larger than anything with an excellent sense of humour. Could call him God, but the problem starts when people start being too specific , and feel that their God is better than others. So keeping out of this debate, I am grateful for everything around me and the perfection with which it works.
20 You, the people who read what I write, sometimes like it and occasionally comment on it, I value this interaction, more so because I live in a small town where adult conversation is virtually impossible. I am grateful to all of you who follow me despite not being a very ‘likable ‘ person. No matter how hard I try I can’t dole out ‘likes ‘ in dozens and restrict it to the comments I truly like. And I do write some rather nasty comments if I find them amusing . A friend once said that all my Facebook fans ultimately retire hurt and wounded’. Cant really blame them for not sharing my sarcastic sense of humour.
21 And in the end I have to thank myself since I am the only one who has to live with me 24 x 7, and I have to say that I quite enjoy my own company. I like that I am always able to see the lighter side of a situation, that I can put myself in someone else’s shoes before judging and that I don’t take myself too seriously. I am grateful that I am rarely bored, that I like books, music, films ……solitude. And most of all I am thankful for my ability to laugh…..Laughter has helped me survive !!
Don’t just read my list. Make your own. It is cathartic. Literally counting your blessings!!