When Life Turns Malignant, Life is Our Greatest Bliss

Ask a person living on the margins of life
Months, days, hours, minutes to live.
Every breath matters. Life seems so beautiful!
The greatest bliss in this world is ‘life’!!

Life, that resides inside our tiny cells
A miniscule complex invisible world
Complete in itself…with nucleus, cytoplasm
Mitochondria, the powerhouses…
Life, the hectic motion of cell molecules
That sustain us, as we sustain them

Have you ever bothered about little cells
Inside your tissues and bones? They exist.
But do you ever think they are gorgeous?
Or superb? Or wonderful?
Are you thankful to your good cells?
Are you aware of their power?

No. We assume we are the stalwarts
Able bodied and alive. Cells merely reside in us.
Oh! But aren’t we just an ensemble of cells?
Walking talking cell-clusters of all shapes and kinds
Then why would cells not matter!

For a cancer patient, every cell matters
How many white blood cells, red blood cells
good cells, bad cells…cell count counts!
Debilitating fear prevails, of some sickly cell
Stealthily 
traveling to distant healthy body parts

To install another tumor that devastates.

The sole purpose of life, then centers around

Despising malignant cells – throwing them out
Loving healthy cells – feeding them with goodies
Healthy cells equal life, unhealthy cells a step closer to demise.
Every good cell matters, it’s meant to be nurtured and fed
Every bad cell too matters, for it needs to have an end
Each cells matters in this battle, of tightly holding on to dear life!!

We live by cells. Cells become life. Cells are life.
It’s as if deadly cells know they are all powerful
Angry disordered clumsy beings that turn malicious
Cause havoc, with loving sober cells they begin a fight.

But cells live by us, as they need us for their very life.
For only we can feed them, as they don’t have a mouth
Bad cells depend on us, they eat what we eat. They lose power
Food becomes our power, to save robust cells and their life.

That day is not far when we shall selectively feed
 healthy cells
While killing only bad cells, depriving crooked villians of their life

Victory over cancer will one day redeem many precious lives

Sure, life in our healthy cells is a precious gift, greatest of all
When life begins to get exhausted of living, true bliss it is
To relish each and every moment…of what we call life !!

 

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I started the above poem with bliss of life in my mind. But given that I have closely seen a few cancer patients at various stages of this malady, and talked to many more of those suffering while I happened to visit cancer wards, the poem took a different turn and became not only complex but also out of tune and form. Disorganized, like malignant cells.

Victory of life is about good cells and bad cells…more so for those fighting with cancer. Besides other reasons, cancer cells win when they are fed enough for them to become overpowering. They compel good cells to commit suicide.

Also, “Cancer cell do not drive the growth and spread of tumors alone — they can bully their healthy neighbours into helping them.”

Thus, they are baddies through and through. One day when science is able to cut off all kinds of support to bad cells, that is when there will be cancer cure.

~~~ ~~~

#WorldCancerDay #WeCanICan .

R U OK?

r-u-ok-001

We all have lost touch with somebody or the other.
Reconnect to make more time for the people who matter.
Why?  If you initiate the conversations, it can break the ice.
You never know, it can save someone’s life

Start a conversation. Ask “Are you ok?”
Listen. Pay attention. Do not judge
Encourage action, in the right direction.
Help people around you feel ok.

~~ Alka 2016 ~~

Today, the 8th of September, is R U OK Day. In Australia, it’s a national day of action and a reminder to regularly check in with family, friends and workmates.

So here I am asking my readers: Are you ok? You are free to share your problems with me, either via your comments here, or contact me. You never know, some reader may come up with a solution to your problem.

Life Of A Yogi

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Yoga means union
Union of soul-mind-body
Body that forever ails

Ails of endless travails
Mind that wanders
Wanders without control
Control these two
Be a yogi!!

A yogi at heart
Heart that is detached
Detached from the world
World that’s an illusion
Illusions we chase
Chasers get no peace
Peace always evades
Be a yogi!!

Yogi with peace of mind
Mind that’s finally sure
Sure of what it wants
Wants inner happiness
Happiness it gets
Gets and then spreads
Spreads to all mates
Be a yogi!!

© 2016 Alka Girdhar

A yogi, in the above sense, is a detached renunciate, someone with a blissful state of mind that is unaffected by good or bad. He’s everyone’s friend and companion, and yet not attached to anyone.

Hence yogi is not just someone who does rigorous yoga exercises the whole day long, although that has its benefits too. After all, a healthy body and healthy mind go together, while meditation too calms the mind.

These were my random thoughts as today is International Yoga Day!  In Sydney there was Yoga atop Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I personally do no yoga exercise ever though I aspire to learn…maybe one day..

It has Begun, More to Come

The Daily Post’s writing prompt Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other has asked us to write a six-word story about what we think the future holds for us, and then expand on it.

Here’s my six word story:

Aging has Begun, More to Come

Now please don’t tell me to elaborate on this little story too much.  Such cruel reminders touch a raw nerve and it can get painful.  Painful to think about which nuts and bolts have started to go lose; which part of brain is beginning to fuse. And then I’ll start wondering when did this aging began?

aging

Painting: Aging Hourglass

Do we begin to age soon after we are born, or is that process called growing in age?  Which means till our mid-twenties we continue to grow and bloom. In fact at that age we don’t even think we are ever going to grow old. But it’s an inevitable decline thereon.  So, aging is not when our back clearly shows the stoop or our head is full of grey. Aging is the whole process of going downhill, that begins with the cellular changes soon after youth; with the onset of grey hair or with growing aches and pains in our bones.

Basically, after achieving peak of adulthood, soon begins a slow degeneration of body assets given to us by nature.  Oxidation, free-radicals or whatever chemical reasons bring it on, it just has to happen. It’s a different issue that most of us are created imperfect by nature. Hence other than aging, it is genetics and our individual environment that’s the reason of ill-health and imperfection but aging certainly further deteriorates this imperfection. Aging may also onset some new disease in those body parts that we always assumed to be perfect, till at some stage we may lose these organs altogether.

Teeth show aging.  Even some children do not have perfect teeth, and even at the prime of youth many people have teeth full of holes that have been medically filled.  But it’s a different issue.  One day, teeth will fall off and never come back. Now that’s what is frightening.  Right now, my teeth are more or less the same as they’ve been for years. They did go through some early repair work, a root canal and couple of fillings.  But it’s different from what’s to come in the future.

Worsening eye-sight is generally an early sign of aging.  But then again, these days even children wear specs and contacts, and laser surgeries are common.  Between the age of 25 and 30, I had already developed Myopia or nearsightedness. Glasses though I had, I hardly ever wore them. Based on this neglect, my eyes-sight should have gone worse in all these years. Surprisingly it hasn’t but for how long will it be like that?  It’s been different for farsightedness. Till two years ago I didn’t need reading glasses. Now I most certainly do. My mother says, aging is not just about changed vision but also about problems like cataract and glaucoma so we should take care. And how do we do that?

These days hair problems too are not merely age-related as they begin in youth itself, thanks to harsh colorants. But aging adds to it. As in my case, my hair that were once my asset, are not very glossy anymore. Hair fall is another problem. Greying that began a decade ago is bound to increase in future. Hair-colour makes them dull and not using a colour will make aging visible. I do not like to colour them all the time so sometimes I let them be.

There will be skin changes in future. As such my skin was never my asset, for I didn’t have peaches and cream complexion that some other family members had. Moreover it’s always been neglected. Funnily, whatever little signs of wri*k*ing (that began whenever it did), are somehow not getting any worse. But who knows the future?

Other than these vain cosmetic criteria, there is inner health that counts more.  Again, whatever health problems I have right now, have always been there. I learnt to cope with them and I haven’t developed anything new lately.

Overall I feel I’m kind of stuck in time but for how long will this state continue?  If aging began years ago, it was slow, it paused off and on…but it will eventually reappear and take charge brutishly, what with all the defense mechanisms gone weak. That’s why the whole world fears aging.

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Was that a dreadful rant?  Sure it was. Actually it was just my little story gone wrong.  I don’ t worry that much about appearance and I am happy with natural aging. Moreover I try not to hang around much with people who bother too much about these things.

And yet it is life itself that we truly wish to seek; a happy and healthy life at that. Hence I’ll change my six-word story:

Life has begun, More to come

Or

Happiness has begun, More to come

~~~~~~~

To pill or not to pill

Looking at the way people consider cooking as a chore, I have manufactured a short and simple solution, a pill to take care of our basic need of eating food at regular intervals.

Although there already are too many hunger-killing as well as hunger enhancing food items in the shops, they do not serve the purpose. These hunger-killing shakes, drinks or snack bars, curb our urge while providing some nutrition.

My pill is different. Take a pill in the morning, take one in the evening.  Vitamin-PillsWith pills, you do not stop feeling hungry, you don’t curb your hunger but it’s taken care of by a simple sweet tiny pill. As such, you all take so many pills each day – for this vitamin and that vitamin.  With my two pills inside your guts, no need for food or any extra pill.

But, having gone through some of the responses to the survey Red Pill, Blue Pill, I am disheartened. My hopes are dashed. My business that had started to take-off, is in doldrums.That’s because you people are not happy with the idea of a pill.

Animals were happier than you. I fed some cows on these pills and they seemed pleased that they don’t have to keep hanging around pastures anymore. Animals don’t even have to cook their food but they still preferred gulping a pill to eating grass. No need to munch the whole day. My pill-fed cows were still happy to donate us humans ample milk for cheap, and baby cows fed on pills felt they won’t have to feel deprived of their mom’s milk.  The race horses said, they were happy that they’ll be able to slog the whole day without wasting time on eating food.

Humans, it seems, are different.  Sensual men and women love their senses – their mouths drooling at the sight of colorful food, their taste buds getting excited upon tasting sweet, sour, spicy, salty food.

How many times a day do we have to eat?  We humans imagine that overnight we kept a fast and we celebrate breaking this fast with our breakfast.  We need so many food times – lunch time, dinner time and tea times. In fact our life revolves around these food times.  Buying of wide variety of food, proper storage of perishable food, refrigeration, disposal of rotten food. Then we fuss over buying elegant cookware and dinnerware, and spend time and money on equipment and gadgets to make our cooking easier.  Serving food on fancy tables so as to please our eyes.  After that we overeat, put on weight and then feel guilty of not exercising enough.

We love our food. But this is the food given to us by animals and birds – their eggs, their milk, and they themselves sacrifice their life for us. Plants too give their full life or else their body parts to us, so that we can hog on them and live a healthy life.

My creation – this pill – will not only save these plants and animals but also help humans, esp. the fairer sex (I dare not say weaker sex) from slogging. I can reduce their kitchen workload; so they don’t have to keep pleasing their families.

So guys, please do re-consider your response to this prompt.  It can help the animal kingdom as well as human race.

That said, honestly speaking, I myself love wide variety of sumptuous food recipes cooked by my wife. I would never like to stop eating them.  Although I want to stop being a glutton, I hunt for best eateries around town. Don’t tell anyone but I’m not sure even after marketing these pills I may find myself unable to resist food. More than that I won’t be happy if my growing kids are deprived of micro-nutrients and calories they can get only from fresh food.  No pills for them.  My aging parents may not be able to tolerate a pill.

Oh well!  Is that another failed experiment?  Hope not. Hope one day my science finds some alternative solution. Not pills. Not too much food obsession the whole day. Something in between, and better than hunger-reducing snacks and shakes.

Unlock your heart at Gabbing Club

This club called blogging
Heals and unlocks sealed hearts
Gabbing at its best

After accidentally starting my blog, for quite some time I was surprised to see the amount of sharing and connecting that is involved in blogging as against simple writing.  I had no idea about this.

Some bloggers open up less while others want to open up.  Many blogs have memoirs, personal musings while most indulge in occasional rant to say it out and feel lighter.  Of course this sharing of inner feelings is in the form of creative and inspiring writing, as it is in this Haiku Challenge, and in all other challenges and prompts .

But all that makes blogging somewhat similar to a club or any other hub of social activity. Some people go to a club a lot, others come occasionally.

If we look at most gatherings and congregations that involve physical presence of people, there is similar socializing that begins with interesting and relevant talking but has every chance of ending up in idle talk that people should preferably refrain from. There is that thin line. Sometimes I myself end up writing too much.

Hence, I’ll re-write my above Haiku by changing its last line:

This club called blogging
Heals and unlocks sealed hearts
Idle gab there be none

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Sculpture by Rose-Aimée Belanger

Does it mean bloggers should always be cautious about their posts and interactions? Won’t that make it too polished, while killing the charm of natural spontaneity of blogging.

Actually it depends on the purpose of our blog. There are some extremely formal academic and business blogs that have very minimal and formal interactions. Their objectives are different

In comparison to this, some bloggers feel like communicating a lot, for it is their need, as blogging is cathartic, esp. if bloggers remain anonymous and unlock their hearts, thus seeking solutions to their problems. Likewise there are bloggers who want to, and are in a position to, help others and win hearts. Again, this task too can’t be done without elaborate communication. If you want to help others heal their broken hand, there’s nothing wrong in narrating how your own hand was once broken and how you healed it.

In keeping the above blogging goals, many, if not most, bloggers want to quickly go viral and some do get successful in that. Thus fame and possible money are not too impossible by-products of this gabbing and healing club.

To each his own.  But basically, on any kind of social media that involves gabbing, we should crave depth over breadth, or else both.

Because…“Only on the Internet can a person be lonely and popular at the same time.” This quote by Allison Burnett does make sense.

~~~~

That was my response to:  Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge 49

This week’s words were – Lock and Gab.  I used these words in my Haiku.

Tears at the Mirror

Every time
I look into a mirror
I am moved to tears

Not because 
I look too gorgeous
but bcoz I do not

Hey you! why can’t you be
as pretty as you look
in your pictures”

*

Mirrored face is fake
but not as unreal
as the pictures
that
Picasa remakes

fbe_girl

Actually that is an exaggeration, as neither are my photographs too good nor is the actual face in a mirror too bad. Both are average, like that of every other common woman.  But film stars and magazine models can very well sing this poem.

In general, these days people experiment with their photographs by modifying it slightly, giving it a special touch via picture editors like Photoshop, Picasa or Pic Monkey – lovely sepia, glow or other touch-ups.

Good thing is, most people use such image editors at one time or the other, so it’s kind of ok to do such touch-ups.  Everyone is equally fake, or should we all are equally creative.

Probably it is good for self-esteem; quite similar to the purpose of our beauty enhancing make-up, foundation, BB creams, concealers etc, that do nothing much. Illusions and temporary effects in this era of quick-fixes. Instant happiness.
But do they give happiness?  Well, kind of. Like children pleased with toys.

~~~

For:  The Daily Prompt –  Moved to Tears

Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.

Purge your heart and mind

Purge your heart

The Bard and his tragedies
Expel salt water from our eyes
What catharsis this!

Everyone wants to be happy. To this end, we sometimes try to avoid encountering anything that could make us sad and serious. We shun weepy people. We avoid sad movies and heavy tragic literature. But it is these tragedies in other people’s lives, as depicted in some tragic work of art or literature, that may eventually bring about real and more ‘lasting’ happiness in our lives.

Comedies (and jokes) give instant laughter and happiness but this might be temporary if you are internally very unhappy. In comparison, viewing or reading great tragedies initially brings up emotional tension, along with feelings of pity and fear, till we get too emotional after which we may end up crying, esp. if we can relate to the sad story. It is this emotional release that has many positive effects.

The release of our pent-up emotions is Catharsis. The term catharsis, that was first used by Aristotle in his Poetics, explains the impact of tragedy on audiences – that is purification and cleansing that can lead to renewal of self.

Psychologists also use catharsis, as they want to encourage discharge of built-up feelings in their clients. Weeping or feeling sad is thus not so bad for us if it results in sound mind which leads to improved physical health. That is why, a person who sheds tears off and on is possibly happier than someone who never cries. We all have seen relatives within our families who were known for their jovial laughter and yet had sudden heart-attack – gone in a jiffy. Because they didn’t know how to cry.

Tragedies help in this. But one must learn to learn from tragedies, real or fiction. How much optimum dose of tragic reading/viewing is good for us and how to get the most from it.

William Shakespeare’s dense tragedies like Macbeth, Hamlet  as also Romeo & Juliet leave deep impact on us readers/viewers as they cause catharsis and purgation.  We empathize with the characters caught in conflicts. We pity Macbeth for his ambition.  In Hamlet, we can relate to the dilemma of indecision faced by the main character. That’s because most of our lives we also face this situation –  ‘To be, or not to be, that is the question.’

Often, after exposure to such tragedies our self-evaluation becomes more forgiving.  We tell ourselves –  ‘Hey! It’s ok.  There are others like us who suffer, others who have tragic flaws, who face downfall in life. That’s life. Same for all mortal humans.’
Such thoughts ease our mind. What catharsis this!

After your heart is purged enough, you can strengthen it further by finding ways to laugh. Since we talked about Shakespearean tragedies, here’s a poem that I wrote on Sir Shakespeare is also in good humor:  Request Denied.

Is this post getting too lengthy for a Haiku challenge? See, that’s the problem with writers and poets. Once we start writing, we get so absorbed that we are unable to stop.

The bard in me
gets me too immersed in writing
No need for food or water

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

My Haiku poems and thoughts for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge
Words given: Bard & Water

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

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Do you need an Excuse for a Snooze? Not Me.

Sleep takes up a very big part of our lives. I have often thought about this ever since my childhood days.

It always seemed funny to me how we close our eyes at night, go limp and get lost in our private world of dreams, that too for hours and hours. After which we wake up by ourselves when we have had optimum dose of this vegetative state called ‘sleep’.

Sleep is life, but how much like death it is. A sleeping person looks lifeless but we all consider him/her to be normal because we know they are going to ‘wake up’, become alive and kicking again. It often becomes sadly humorous when elderly members within our families over-sleep and we fear they are no more alive. Only after we have checked their heaving chest or heard their mild snore that we get relieved. That’s how akin to death this sweet sleep is.

This death-like sleep is a dire need for every living being.  Our bodies are programmed by nature to eat food after specific intervals and also take regular rest. We coined these terms exhaustion and rest, which proves we are like machines that can’t handle too much stress and need a break to recharge our batteries. Many people do not seem to be able to do this recharging. They badly need rest but, owing to their secret worries or ill-health, they can’t fall asleep. Sleep deprivation further leads to irritation and sickness before this sleeplessness becomes cyclical and chronic. Difficulty falling or staying asleep is Insomnia and many people, esp. above the age of 40, begin to get addicted to sleeping pills.

Luckily I have never had any problem falling asleep at night. That’s funny given my sensitive nature I should have been the one to be awake for hours, thinking of this and that. Rather as I hop on to bed, within five minutes I am asleep like a baby. I also love cat naps, a refreshing siesta during the day if I am at home that is. I can do without food but if I am sleepy, I just have to fall down on the bed and snooze off, even if for five minutes.  Sometimes I doze off while sitting.

Nowadays I consider my sleep pattern to be normal but there was a phase in my life when I had felt more and more need for naps. Moreover this sleep had a nature of urgency about it. There were dreams galore in this plentiful sleeping. This got me worrying, enough to consult my doctor.

My General Practitioner related this drowsiness to simple health problems like lowered immunity, seasonal allergy or elevated blood pressure. He said, contrary to our belief, sometimes thinking too much can cause more sleep. He asked me if I get dreams. Yes I do, I said excitedly. Sometimes I get nightmares and often very predictive dreams. A night before Australian Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed by Stingray, I saw his death in my dream. My GP laughed at this and said Dream Analysis is not his territory.  Rather, by asking me about my dreams he was trying to assess the quality of my sleep. As most memorable dreams occur in the last stage of our deep sleep called the REM sleep so if I remember my dreams vividly, it means I’m being woken from my deep sleep. Which also means, if my immunity is low, then it is due to my defective non-REM sleep.

The GP advised some tests via another medical specialist who further gave a very quaint verdict. Other than the prickly RAST test disclosing my extreme sensitivity to cockroaches, the clever specialist accidentally saw my nose shape. He informed me that the left side of my nose bone is slightly risen. How come I never noticed it but a veteran who is deft in operating faulty noses quickly pointed out that I’ll be better off with a small operation? He attributed my need for naps to this nose structure. He said possibly I have Sleep Apnea, because even though I happily think I sleep better and longer than all the insomniacs, my nose does not let me have sound sleep at night. This was funny news for me.

Now, Sleep Apnea occurs when upper airway is blocked, causing breathing to stop for a time during sleep. Truly sometimes I do wake up with a jerk but I always thought it is due to common cold.

After I discovered all this I became kind of paranoid.  As I researched more on this topic, I started imagining I have other sleep-disorders mentioned on various sites. Possibly I have Narcolepsy which is ‘extreme tiredness with intermittent sleepiness during the day, which can include involuntary napping.’ It is indeed true that on feeling sleepy I just fall unconscious abruptly. It also makes me a bit cranky if I do not get this nap. But does it qualify enough for Narcolepsy?  My doctor ruled it out completely. Other than that, I’m sure I don’t have Sleep Walking or Snoring.  What about occasional Restless Legs Syndrome but that could be due to walking around too much, I concluded.

Thus, when my excessive sleep began to give me sleeplessness, I decided to take it easy. Finally now I believe it was deficiency in vitamins that gave me plentiful sleep.  Anemia, genetic Thalassemia, lack of B vitamins – all these came up in further tests. People assume that if we eat more than required, we feel heavy and sleepy. It could be true. But if we are eating less than required and this is causing vitamin deficiencies in our body, then also our body urges us to rest and recuperate so as to cope with daily stresses. Eating nutritious food can make one feel less sleepy. That worked for me.

I also got pest control done to keep away allergy-causing cockroaches but I haven’t got my faulty nose operated yet. The cynic in me didn’t even believe there is anything wrong with my nose. Steam inhalations have been enough to open up the airways. What helped me further? I made changes in my diet and sleeping habits. I used to love creamy and tasty oats for breakfast as they are soothing but I discovered oats too are sleep-inducing. Which means, addition of protein based food, peanut butter, boiled eggs, and sprouts helped me feel less sleepy.

Another effort was to have a regular sleep pattern. We may fall asleep quickly and that is great, but if our sleep gets disrupted again and again, we are bound to feel drowsy during the day. If, in a family, different members have erratic timetables and there is even sporadic or slight noise around, we do not get sound sleep. Of course keeping the computer out of the room, switching off the phone, dabbing drops of lavender oil on my pillow, taking Magnesium/Calcium supplements for restless legs, experimenting with sleeping postures, sleeping on the back and many such little tricks worked. Whether these served as a real panacea or a placebo, I’m not sure. I feel, either I had no problem at all to begin with or else the fact is that simple solutions work better for our seemingly complex problems.

The point of writing all this is to convey the ways in which overall sleep management must be done by one and all, in whatever way you deem appropriate based on your symptoms. The goal should be to get enough sleep as well as quality sleep.

That also means if we can wisely manage our sleep pattern then we can get away with lesser hours of sleep, that are better in quality not quantity. Once we do that we’ll be amazed to see how our day-dreaming goes out of the window, and how we get extra active hours that we can spend in wide awake state, doing proactive productive work.

Of course no harm in taking a siesta off and on as long as it adds to your productivity. This stray cat lives in my backyard, plays with her kittens the whole day, works/hunts hard for her living and yet doesn’t feel guilty enjoying her afternoon nap under the sun.
Enjoy your sleep!

Daily Prompt:  To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Header: Sleeping Child – by Dez Pain  http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/2dyWQ1G/no+title

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