Thursday, February 26, 2015



But the lies that we tell ourselves are the ghosts that haunt the empty house of midnight. – Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts)

Kemon achho?
Khub bhaalo achhi, dhonyobad!
(How’re you?
Very well, thank you!)

That was my everyday conversation I used to have every other day with every single person I encountered while I was hospitalized in Kolkata this February (Damn, my sore kidney!). Come attendants, visitors, doctors, nurses, sisters, brothers, carers - people kept asking me, “so how’re you today?” I used to lie. Yes, I used to avoid their volley of questions with a big fat lie, “I’M FINE” and a convincing smile. People say that you shouldn't lie to a sick person. It’s bad karma. But what do you do when the sick person is the one lying? Honestly, I don’t know. What can you say about the pain that you can’t endure anymore? How can you say that you are frigging afraid of Shinje (God of death) almost knocking your door? I have no answers.

I had wanted to write on this title some years ago but I was struck by writer’s block then. This piece always remained in its draft form with some illegible scribbles. But I've to say this is just the right time. Sometimes, you know, the timing works out.

Everything okay?
No, everything is not okay. No, no, I’m not fine. I’m not swell like I forever pretend to be. Nothing is grand about me. I recently had a small operation. As much as the medical name is flashy, it sounds pretty surgical (so, no medical or surgical talks). The day before my surgery was appointed I was lying on a hospital bed worried about my surgery. Here I was tracing life in my head. Yet I was lying through my teeth to every other nurses, sisters, brothers, attendants and doctors in the ward where I had made my temporary home. I was lying about how I was feeling - apart from the fact that I might die, ‘I’m fine’.

It was depressing to watch the wall clock ticking right in the front (impeccable position) and to watch the IV bag on a pole right next to my bed, which was connected through the IV lines to my right hand. The liquid feed was getting into every bit of cells in my body. And my body was at least happy (I’d like to think so) sipping the warm liquid slowly. I was like holding onto it as if my life depended on it completely (perhaps I was). It felt like a dead end during my anesthetized hours. Like I could kick the bucket any moment. All those idiotic thoughts were coming and going in this basket case’s head. Like it's all that's in my head. I was fighting tooth and nail to push and shake off all the morbid thoughts. So, no, I wasn’t over the moon about that either. I thought watching too much of Grey’s Anatomy would make me familiar and less scarier. But nope, I was shit scared.

I have a stent placed inside my body and it pains every time I attend the call of nature. My life has become a juggle of drinking water/fluid as much as I can and visiting the loo after every glassful intake. My daily mission is to accomplish at least two liters of urine output. I’m trying but it sucks when some places does not have a privy. So, yes, I’m not in my best health. I hate bad health days. I haven’t gotten through some stupid person. And that has made a mess of my thoughts. I’ve changed into an owl from a lark (be damned insomnia!). That’s annoying when you need an eight hours of sleep and at the same time reach office on time without skipping breakfast! I’m desperately looking for sponsors that would allow me to travel abroad for work. So, yes, I’m not in my best mood either as I claim to be every freaking day. In fact, I'm going out of my freaking mind! Bit of a rant and rave, I know. BUT I’M FINE, still. I’ve never felt more alive! There goes another lie. Here I’m hell-bent on lying to prove that I’m stronger, trying to become the strongest one on the planet every waking second. In sport, let’s play a game - who wants to go on a lying rampage to hide your weaker side with me?

I once read that saying “I’m fine” is one of the three biggest lies every one chants when asked the usual rhetorical questions – “How’re you?” How’re you, again? I’m fine (that sounds like something I would say). But are you really fine? Are you really doing well? That sounds like you’re living in a utopian world among utopian fellows. God, we’re such a bunch of good liars. We all should be nominated for Oscars, after all we all are in the same clique of putting a mask with a convincing smile. And I should definitely win the award. All my life I’ve always said that I hate hypocrites and that liars really get my goat. Maybe all these while I’ve been one. You know, if they had a contest for the world's best liar, I'd win it hands down. Like seriously. And bonus award for the world’s best hypocrite… SIGH!

Life is difficult for everyone. It’s hard, this thing with all the unpleasant stuffs happening in our lives at some point of time. Be it bad health, death in the family, broken heart, quarrel with your significant other, distance with your best friend, relationships turning sour. It’s really hard. It’s exhausting. And well, it’s complicated. Those moments when all you need is for the pain to be gone. Flunking in your exam, losing a bet, fight with boss at work, getting fired from the job. Now that’s frustrating. Every one is going through a bad patch. All of us have gone through bad days, lost golden opportunities and feelings have eventually lost. All those feelings that you feel, that’s life. And life sometimes sucks. It is scary and threatening. I get it. I do. But you should know that sometimes terrible things happen to incredible people. And I guess it’s okay to be a little miserable every now and then in life. It’s okay to be sad even when you have beautiful people in your life. It’s okay to be depressed even though you have all the great things in your life. Eventually we get through that rough patch. It comes and goes. Life will always find a way to continue. They say that when things seem the most desperate, people find you and you’re not alone any more. And that’s part of what it means to be alive. That’s how we survive. That’s what makes our life interesting. Well, life's too short to even care at all.

It takes a lot of tries to be the toughest one in front of everyone. So, how about we come clean and pour out what we are feeling, how we are exactly feeling, how we are doing? It doesn’t take any stones. That’s like effortless. All of our primary school days we have been taught that “honesty is the best policy”. Whatever happened to HONESTY! Turns out we’re all just talk. As grown-ups we do not care a bit to heed these words. As grown-ups we're this mess of lies and hypocrites. After all, award-winning liars that we all have become with time. I guess sometimes we just need to cut ourselves some slack and allow ourselves to be just the way we are in real. No more phony ‘I’m fine’ shits. No more fake smiles behind that pain. No more lies for once. It’s about time to be honest and uncover the mask and let people see how broken we are inside. And make sure that you fight like hell to be alive. Lets shed our skin of downright liars and be ourselves. So, how're you, again?

Once-a-liar, JC

PS. Because you’re gonna lie that you’re fine. So I’ll just leave these open-ended options: Hunky-dory? Splendid? Fabulous? Happy? Rocking? On top of the world? Copacetic? Subversive? Wired? Redundant? Scattered? Awful? Barely breathing? Nonessential? Don Quixotic? Heartbroken? Crestfallen? Addled? Apathetic? Antisocial? Jealous? Motivated? Discouraged? Hanging in there? Running away? Feel better now? In some of your answers, I see myself. Because I’m a little like you all. But it feels so damn good to say what you’ve been actually feeling, right? May the truth set you free!


Thursday, January 1, 2015


1:35 PM – I’d my half-hour lunch and rushed to make a draft of this blog. Lucky you all, you get to read it after um… more than three years of my hiatus in blogging. God, I sound like one of those band members who just rejoined the band after a massive recovery from drug and alcohol problems. Except that I’ve always been very clean and a teetotaler (I think). It’s another thing that I wish to go to Amsterdam and smoke pot, one fine day (in 2015, God willing or NOT!). To be honest, my writer’s ears stood up in the loo after my lunch. You know how they say that people get their best ideas in the loo, you can second that on my behalf. I’m a little psyched that I have restarted writing My Frame of Mind. I can’t guarantee for how long I will pen down either of my specific or random thoughts swirling in my head though. As I’m getting old each day I’m becoming more of a faddist.

7:00 PM – Hiya world!!! (I think I forgot to formally give you all my greetings.) I just finished my last dinner for 2014. Why the hell am I talking about eating today?! Anyway, I’m watching the popular Sydney New Year's Eve (NYE) fireworks celebration on BBC News. I can’t believe we are closing out another year already. I miss being down under this time of the year, obviously to be the first ones to welcome the New Year. Well, as we close and welcome in the New Year, I’m gonna reflect on what I learnt in 2014 for you to take lessons (just kidding). And just so you know, I even denied my office colleagues for NYE to stay back home and finish this piece (winter cold has got nothing to do with it : P). The list is not in any order.
  1. Time – where does it go?! 2014 went by so quickly personally. Great minds think alike - do I get the nod, who all? I’m glad that I am still alive and ready for 2015. New beginnings are so refreshing especially if you’re forever stuck with a mundane, humdrum existence. And you are a bit much adamant to hope that life will be all that you ever want it to be, next year. I’m very thankful for yet another exciting year; thankful for another chance to experience life with weird and wonderful people in my life. I hope you all take time to be thankful for all the good, bad and ugly experiences in your life with your most loved weird and wonderful people in your lives. It certainly has given you a way forward when you got lost and stranded.  I’m sure every one got lots to live up to, still. Well, for those procrastinators like me start off exactly from where you left off and continue to forge ahead with your every bit of energy. It’s gonna be an enormous year!
  2. You make plan and it fails. You make another plan and it fails. You plan again. You always have next year to make the same plan. Inside story: I made a total of eight travel plans this year alone and miserably none of them happened. It was way beyond my grasp due to lots of i-don’t-remember-reasons. I’m carrying forth the same plans in 2015 minus the reasons. How exciting! I don’t have to plan again. Time saving too. On the brighter side I hope you all make crazy plans; plans that you definitely can do and plans for year next and when you do may it be the best one ever.
  3. The price of petrol was 59.33 Nu today when I went to fuel my car. The last time I checked, it was 60 point something. At least it is good to know that some figures in life are decreasing. It is good news for someone like me whose living depends on a shoestring budget. Next time you visit a fuel station, don’t forget to discover your small happiness.
  4. I’ve been living in Bumthang for almost 11 months now. Fogs are part and parcel of living in this beautiful district. I remember how I used to dislike foggy days pre-2014. It’d this unpleasant depressing effect to already not-so-lively-mood. But now I have become a fogaholic. I’ve come to realize that fogs are not always the damper especially if you like taking pictures of nature. So, you all, allow yourself to try your hand at stuffs that you remotely like. I’m sure some day you’ll know what you are searching for. En passant, strange place Bumthang is, every stranger I meet shares my first name. What are the odds?
  5. Who says that you cannot live without social media! I partially quit Facebook for almost four months (no sad reasons just that I had a small bickering over nothing with Zuckerberg. You guys do know him, right? He’s kind and very thoughtful. If not for Facebook, millions would forget to wish their loved ones on their birthdays and wouldn't be able to track their milestones). No withdrawal symptoms of an addict. No having to go through the bombardment of too much information. But you suddenly have a lot of extra time in your hands! FYI, I’ll be back on Facebook soon, when I feel like I’m placated enough by Mr. Z. If you ask me how I survived, well, don’t consider it as cheating but I had Instagram and Twitter to accompany me during my peak lazy hours.
  6. People say change is good. I cut my hair short when my heart broke last summer (more on that some other day). Clearly a haircut did not do any good to this airhead’s mood. Wait… except that you save your budget on buying shampoo and conditioner. If you love your hair, don’t try this stunt at home or a saloon for that matter. Only time heals. Give yourself few days, a month or two, a year... to let the suture in your heart heal completely. 
  7. Um… this one is slightly blue. You outgrow people and it’s okay. Seriously, it’s A-okay! It doesn't make you a horrible person to let go and move on. Give them some time to grow up, though (if for nothing but just for their sake).
  8. I’ve seen so many deaths in 2014 (may their soul rest in utter peace). We live for a limited period in this world. But each day we go fantasizing that we’re immortal. The sands of our death hourglass are cascading in full momentum and we still refuse to acknowledge. I hope you allow life to teach you lessons within that limited period. And when you do learn them you stop taking things for granted.
  9. Come 2015 and 365 more days in it to live life our way in this beautiful world except that there are morbid diseases running through our planet. Most of the days I’m self-centered but lately I’m minding others business since World peace seems to be not at peace. May 2015 be the harbinger of positive change to these morbid occurrences. God knows, we need some desperately (Alert: don’t be surprised if I write my next blog somewhere from a remote village serving as a volunteer to promote peace).
  10. This one is to change the mood. When you get sad, stop being sad and be AWESOME instead. It’s a true story. I learnt that from Barney Stinson.
  11. And lastly but not the least, it’s okay to sit home and watch Cosmos- A Spacetime Odyssey on New Years Eve, alone. Well, it’s not even St. Valentine’s Day after all. It’s just another year around the sun we’re talking about, hm?

On a serious note, wishing a happy and fulfilling 2015, whether you’re bone-cold surrounded by snow or sweating in a hot summer land, wherever you are in this beautiful world. Wishing that may each day of 2015 bring you the clarity of intentions, bring you closer to enlightenment and satisfaction and may you get the strength to see them through. Happy New Year, all! Sharing positive vibes and light to you all! I’m a huge fan of English personalities. So as we ring out the old year, I end this piece quoting few lines from the infamous Scots poem written by Robert Burns:

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

One more thing: I just read my daily note from the Universe. As the Universe ordered up another year for me, it has one request of me: to dream bigger. I pass on the same request to you all too:


Let’s do this, JC

PS. What is one resolution you have not followed through with in 2014? There I caught you!


Monday, April 11, 2011

I suddenly saw few decisions that I had made in times of yore, all flash-backed as I went to bed last Tuesday. The same day, I had met a seventeen year young chap nicked ‘Yongba’ (a rare case to find such named native in Punakha). He accompanied me throughout my four hour walk to a far-flung village called Nidupchhu. First he was hesitant to talk overtly but when I started to ask him personal questions, he was natural then. I learnt everything about his whereabouts, family, reasons he didn't returned back to the Shedra he was studying after he dropped out of his school from his seventh grade, his ambition in life then and now. And while we were conversing and walking up the steep mountain, he landed up sharing about how an American tourist once wanted to adopt and take him to his country. He was all willing to leave behind his family, his village and his country in quest of a better life abroad. But his dream remained a dream till this day. His father refused. He confessed that he still wondered how his life would have changed. He still marveled how his life could have been, had his father said yes to that American stranger. His unduly curiosity unlocked my past decisions which shaped many aspects of my life that I had all but forgotten. It reminded me of my journey to where I am today.

There are many instances in my life where things have been different because of my decision. There were times during my high school when I wanted to become an Engineer but my career direction changed when I was in my twelfth standard. Like others I was confident enough to dream big. I wanted to become a human doctor. I was so positive that I would be so perfect for the profession. I dropped math to concentrate more on biology despite my love for math. Had I taken math and studied well, you might have seen me writing all technical stuffs. I could have become an Engineer.  

Back to Yongba, I could see his excitements still fresh when he remembered about that tourist. It made me wonder too about how his life could have been now. But this time with his excitement was the apparent pain of not being with his supposedly adopted father to live an American dream. Like this young gentleman, I’m still excited at the thought of ‘if only I had taken Math along with Biology in my Pre-University level’. I might have worked hard on my Physics too and had other options to choose. If not a Doctor, I might have been living my other dream (among many) of working as an astrophysicist. Well, it’s always hard to deal with the “could-have-beens” in our life.

This takes me to our constant companion of life: fear! Fear of the unwilling risk, fear of the risked outcomes, and fear of the fear affecting almost every decision we make in the end. There was this constant fear that taking both Math and Biology would mean dividing my study time for two subjects and risking low grades in both. My fear of Calculus and low grades in Math made me opt for Biology. Because of this fear, we land up having all those could-have-beens waiting in line in our life hoping that we will find what we have been chasing. We are not ready to let go every thoughts that we so apprehensively built in our mind because of the fear of what we could be missing. This very fear shapes all side of our lives, from choosing a subject to study to choosing a career, from falling in love to choosing the right soul mate and everything in-between in the journey of our life. There is always a fear accompanying us in everything that we dream about.

Do you wanna know if I ever missed on some of the best moments in my life because of it? Of course, I did miss; the undersized opportunity of working for NASA or having the title “Dr.” in front of my name…LOL..I still dread to realize the fact of losing what I never had or what I never really found. Sometimes when I look back on my life, I’m disappointed that I didn’t make an honest effort to make many things (things that mattered and I might have really wanted) happen. There are decisions that I pulled an upset for myself. Personally it cuts me with my every could-have-beens that I’ve so long added and accumulated in my list. All the chances I never took, the relationships I was afraid to have and sometimes the decisions I waited too long to make. In my chase of perfection, I was too scared of being not-good-enough. In my pursuit of happiness, I was afraid of denial. And in my search for an idyllic life, I had insecurities of life per se. 

I’m still wondering how Yongba might have grown up to be. And I wonder about all the dreams I never pursued.

Now I have this slow realization of how our life’s not all haha-heehee. The paradox of life will always be there; moment of bliss taking you into heart-rending sadness. It’s like that line, “Just like a seesaw always teetering on end finding joy then sorrow then joy again”. The possibility of getting into the contradictory situation has always been there (at least for me). Many things in my life have quite turned out because of all the boundaries that I set for myself. I’ve encountered high and lows, bumped into both success and failures. I‘ve been the victim of my obvious and hidden choices. But I’m glad that I got to learn my lessons if not late: to take risk and avoid having those moments of regret for not giving it a try. Universe, as we know by now, has its own way of throwing challenges on our way as much as she pleases. The choice is finally ours to make: to embrace the challenges, seize the opportunity and take the plunge. I say overcome your fears and take it on!

You only come through stronger when you thought you couldn’t cope with more. So, until next time, step out and live your life saying ‘at least I tried’.

...Caterpillar in the tree
How you wonder who you'll be
Can't go far but you can always dream...


PS. Well, now I’m certain that, had I met this American adopted Yongba now, he must have talked to me with his American accent: Howdy ma'am?