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When life hands you lemons, as it does from time to time, how prepared are you to make some lemonade?
‘Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai.’ – Allama Iqbal (Be so strong that God himself will consult your wishes before deciding what your fate is to be)
When I was a little girl all mixed up with studies, learning, life, love and wondering where I was going and what I was doing, these famous lines were quoted quite often by my mother.
I used to wonder what I was going to do that would require such dedication and effort to have God come up to me and grant my wishes! Little did I know that she spoke of life; everyday life and loving what we do. Her quiet words and wisdom usually never sank deep enough to make a lasting impact and as a ‘super cool teenager’, I felt I would never need to ponder over such advice.
Life is a great leveller and we do get to a stage when we ponder over the wisdom of elders. I do too. I may be pushing close to 40 but these nuggets of wisdom still hold true.
These words about standing up for oneself and others have held me in good stead whenever I have come across difficult people and situations.
When I entered college, the real fun started – so much freedom and liberty; unheard of timings and access to places one had not even thought of! Then in the final year, the migraines started; unrelenting, nonstop, going-on-for-days-on-end headaches. No medicine worked; no amount of ‘relaxing’, unwinding or meditation helped.
I was sure I had developed a tumour in my brain. How I thought of it, I don’t know. I slept with a headache and woke up with one! Months passed, getting my parents worried.
The thought that I had some life threatening disease was the most over-powering thought and I believed it. All my thoughts for action and living life on my terms just vanished…I was so sure that even though all the tests came negative, I felt the doctors were missing something crucial. No matter who tried to convince me, I refused to listen and just waited.
The doctors refused to order more invasive tests because nothing was wrong with me; the headaches were just the result of me studying too much. They told me to relax and unwind, but how could I? I wanted my CAT scan!
I was so damn sure, that I was dying and they wanted me to take it easy! I thought that it was a lousy doctor who saw me so I wanted to speak to the Head of the Department. Finally my dad pulled some strings and got me an appointment with the HOD who then relented and agreed to do a CAT scan for me; just to put my mind at ease he said, because there was nothing wrong with my brain.
I went for the scan happily and even enjoyed it; the constant knocking was so soothing to my ears. Here I was finally being proven right!
To say that the reports were a disappointment would be saying it lightly. I was so sure of myself and the reports that when the doctor told that there was nothing wrong with me, I asked him, ‘Are you sure?”
He humoured me and assured me that I was fit as a fiddle and just needed to enjoy life. Somewhere between college and home I had taken over the burden of life and that was pulling me down, hence the headaches. I was feeling afraid of all the changes and expectations from me.
My family was relieved and so was I. I finally realised that I did not need to hide behind phantom aches and pains to live my life. I wanted to do a lot of things but the responsibility of being an adult was getting on my nerves or head in this case.
I needed to believe in myself and my actions and decisions.
I could do whatever I wished, be as buland as I wanted or need to be and no hiding. If my thoughts and ideas are too radical, too progressive, then it is your problem, not mine. You sort out your priorities; I know mine.
It is to live a full life as best as I can with conviction in my actions and words.
This has been my mantra for accepting and working through all the curve balls life has thrown. From marrying late and choosing my partner to working where I wanted to,
From giving up my job to embracing home and hearth with dedication,
From deciding when and how many kids to have and to replying to nosy aunties about my progeny,
From saying NO when people assumed it would be a Yes and to taking a stand.
Every time in my life I have felt the support of my family and knowing that made me stronger. I am what I believe and I believe, therefore I am!
This post is supported by the Birla Sun Life #KhudKoKarBuland campaign, though the opinions and experiences shared are the author’s own. Image provided by the campaign for illustrative purposes.
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal is an author and freelance editor for fiction and nonfiction based in Gurgaon, India. She is a post-graduate in human resources management and has worked as a lecturer for management, corporate read more...
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