Saturday, 1 October 2022


It’s only been two weeks since my MA classes started and it already feels like too much to handle. Welcome to real life, they say. This is how it’s going to be from now on. And honestly, in another time, without a wheelchair and possibly with a Bullet of my own, I would have been enjoying this hectic schedule to the fullest. I might not even have been here in Vadodara for so long - a hostel life during college has always been a dream of mine. But right now, I’m just trying to cope.

It’s tough on me, climbing the stairs everyday to class, sitting for hours at a stretch, hardly doing any physiotherapy yet trying to improve my swimming performance. My muscles are becoming stiff and it hurts. The physical discomfort sits there in the back of my mind making it difficult to focus in class. How long has it been since I changed my position? Is it time to do my next round of push-ups yet? Maybe I should have brought my pain relief gel. It’s all manageable till the professor announces they won’t share the PPT they are presenting so they hope you took notes. Is it time to take my washroom break yet? I hope my bladder behaves today. I did take my meds this morning…didn’t I? Should I text mum and ask? The period ends and I find my mum and we spend twenty minutes of my one-hour break taking a leak - I wish the washroom was accessible! At least it’s clean today, though - and then she gives me my lunch that she brought with her. I eat, socialise with my classmates once they come back from the canteen, and we attend our next class. By the time I reach my car after classes, the only thing I can think of is my bed - I guess this feeling is shared by just about every college student ever. I get home, rest my back muscles which are now stiff and sore from all that sitting, and fall asleep before I even think about it. I wake up, do some of my physio exercises, have coffee, exercise again, then get ready and leave for swimming. Of course, why would I ever hold back once I’m in the water? But am I overdoing this? How sore is my body going to be by the end of this? Oh, well. We’ll see. I go home, have dinner, wrap up for the day and prepare for the next one, and go to bed by 10:30 at most - way earlier than I used to just a week ago - because I’m just so tired. Am I old already? Will I be fresh and energetic enough tomorrow to last the entire day? I wake up and find out - yes, just fresh enough….I think.

Maybe the rest of my college life won’t be too bad. Hectic, sure, but not too bad. They’re thinking of taking my classes on the ground floor now. They had to go from “Maybe we’ll install a lift” to “A ramp could work instead” and ended up never being able to change anything after all, no matter how many times they tried. At least now my mother’s knees won’t get tortured so much. If this works out, of course. Anyway, ground floor classes. I’ll be close to the canteen now. Maybe I’ll get a cup of coffee from there every now and then. Maybe that’ll help me calm down as I contemplate everything that’s wrong in the infrastructure of every building I’ve ever been to. Maybe that’ll make me angry yet keep me just composed enough, and that’ll be my Disney villain origin story.

Monday, 19 July 2021


 On days like this I hardly have strength to go on. So I cry, ask my parents for comfort, and after the tears have finally drained me, I sleep.

It’s strange, really. The thoughts aren’t new ones, I don’t blame anyone, and neither does it last very long. It comes, shakes me to the core, and goes, waiting to strike again, hidden from my view. It’s only recently that it has started to come this often.

In less than a month I will have lived for five years with my injury. My routine has hardly eased over the years; in fact it’s only gotten longer. I keep pushing my boundaries, breaking them and then working towards breaking new boundaries yet again. The cycle hasn’t stopped yet. Sometimes it feels like it might never, but I’m still holding on. Who even am I working this hard for, if not myself? And don’t we all deserve some hard work just for ourselves, though the definition of ‘some’ is different for everyone?

It is tough. Heartbreaking. Sometimes devastating too. I’ve been under a lockdown of my own far longer than this pandemic has forced us to - everyone who knows me knows this. Of course, it has its happy times. For me, these are far more in number than the sad ones, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t break me from time to time. My efforts to regain my sensation and motor control take up so much of my time everyday I am sometimes afraid to think what I’ll do after this is all over, when I will finally have enough time and I will still complain about having too little of it. (That, however, would be because I’ll just keep wanting to do so many things all the time!) So then why does it scare me when it should be a beacon of light, a goal, one of the best case scenarios for me? Simply because I’ve longed for it so much now, yet been involved in doing something so far away from it, that I fear it might take me years to get used to that kind of freedom. The one where I can just run about if I want.

I am afraid, I am exhausted, I just want to lie down for a while, and I will.

And after all is said and done, I will fight again.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

For the Love of Books

There’s something really magical about finding books that touch your soul. Sure, there are about a million books out there under the category of classics, some surprisingly confusing when you start reading them, but what was it that made people decide they were the gems we humans couldn’t afford to lose?

It’s not often I think about this, but when I do I could spend hours trying and failing to come up with an answer that makes complete sense...except this one: that all of these books, in one way or another, touch people’s heart in a way they cannot put into words, so they decide to urge other people to find out on their own.

I don’t remember the first time I read a book all on my own, or demanded my first book, or sneaked a book to my room so I could read with my tiny bookmark lamp under the covers for the first time. I do remember, though, that I was the first from my class to pick any book I wanted to issue or read from my school library and that made me feel like I had a superpower. I’ve had multiple reading spots in that library over the years, most of them in a corner by one of the windows. It was a beautiful experience, the way the noises around me faded when I started reading, even if the person right next to me called me. Ever so often there would be a book which would require that I take a break, breathe in, look out the window and take in the view, because there was no way in the world I could’ve absorbed more of its intensity without letting the parts I had just read sink in. That still happens to me today. Honestly, if that is not how you decide your favourites, I don’t know how you do it.

So here I am, sitting in my room lit with fairy lights on my bookshelves, typing up a little something about my love for books, hoping I end up encouraging someone to discover the perfect genre for them, hoping to push them to start at their own pace, while the book I’m currently reading sits on my windowsill hoping I wouldn’t mess with it anymore because it is so very old. Well, little does the book know...

Thursday, 24 September 2020

To Slam Books and Old Friends

Today I found my old slam book. Yes, one of those things which you pass around to your friends for them to fill up and you swear never to show other people. Some of its pages were full to the brim, some were left empty except the names of people whose deepest, darkest secrets at twelve years of age were supposed to be right there on those pages. A few of these very special people from back then are still in regular contact with me, some are connected only on Instagram and in my contact list. Others have been long lost, even from my memory. Funny how time works on friendships.

One of these friends used to be one of whom I categorised as my best friends back in the day. She is one of the handful of people I have cried in front of, and I remember her quite well. I even remember why I cried that day, and now that I think of it, it seems laughable yet so terribly serious for a twelve-year-old. Anyway, as I said, I remember her quite well. Her father had a transferable government job back then, probably still does now, and because of that she was only physically present in my life for two or three years, not exactly sure. After that her father got transferred again so we exchanged phone numbers on chits of paper, the old-fashioned way. Neither of us had a mobile phone to store those numbers, so when her father got transferred again she lost mine and I never got her new one. I sometimes wonder where she is these days, and whether she misses me. The good thing is I smile every time I think of her. Very few friends are such that stay in your memory like this: if you ever meet them again, you’ll probably end up becoming the closest of friends once more.

Now that I’ve finished that paragraph, I’ve written and deleted another one a few times. All I can think about is nothing. Nothing at all. I am trying to bring up memories of friends, from the slam book and otherwise, all from back in school before we got separated by our choices and their consequences. It seems my brain will only let those out when I get away from the screen, away from any means which breaks the surety that my thoughts and memories will stay with me, unseen by others, unheard by others, and I don’t yet understand why. Maybe a few years down the line when my further study in Psychology will help me unravel the secrets of my mind I’ll get it, maybe I’ll get it someday when I’m doing nothing but staring at the night sky from my window. This is not the first time I’m struggling to consciously remember things about my past friends and it probably isn’t the last time...but I guess what really matters is that even though I can’t pull them out right now, when the time comes, I always have the most detailed, strongest, sweetest memories of all.

So my dear friends who haven’t been in contact since long, if you’re reading this, I think of you. Not all the time, not in detail, but very, very fondly. I hope to see you and catch up with you sometime in the future when we have lots and lots of stories to share and listen, or if possible, even in the near future so we can reach that faraway time in each others’ company.



Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Negative Emotions? Also a Sign of Life.

Recently I and my mum were featured in an interview with Dr Darshana Thakkar and Dr Parthiv Mehta. Among other things we talked about life after my accident and how I managed to stay mentally strong. The one thing that touched me and made me smile was a little sentence Dr Thakkar said near the end. It might even have gone unnoticed by everyone else, I'm not sure, but for me? Definitely not so.

What she said was quite simple - that I must be trying really hard all the time not to break down internally, for I enjoy a lot of things when I can, during some of the most energetic years of my life, despite being on a wheelchair...and she's right. It is the time of my life where I would definitely have wished to move around freely, bunk some lectures, go on unplanned trips and parties with my friends, maybe even date. It becomes difficult in a wheelchair and I sometimes feel angry, frustrated, restricted, sad - all of it, even jealous of other people because they can do things that I can't. I am only human, and it is probably a good thing that I feel these things.

I feel. The fact that I can and do feel emotionally vulnerable simply points to one thing, that I am alive, I am thriving and I haven't given up on life yet. Have you ever seen or heard about a corpse being able to feel any emotions at all? No, right? It is biologically not possible. This is why I think it is important to feel vulnerable sometimes - it reminds us of our life or death status.

On the other hand, however, It is not a good experience when I'm actually going through my down times. It can be tough to exercise, study or even read a good book or enjoy some music. It can be difficult to understand someone else's point of view, to understand and remember how blessed I am to have an understanding and loving family, dedicated friends, my unharmed intellect and physical strength. It is difficult, but it is these difficult things that help me get up after an emotional breakdown. Luckily I am quite resilient so I don't have such phases often, even though unconsciously I may be battling them all the time, and when I do have such phases they last hardly for a few hours. But they are intense.

It is true that life can be emotionally mixed up, difficult, unnerving, but in the end what matters is that we take home the right lessons and not let things pile up. Everyone has negative emotions they are trying to get over, but how is that ever possible if we don't be true to ourselves and face them? If we're determined enough, willing enough, is it really that hard?