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Month: September 2016

#InfertilityNotATaboo- When it is Only About Her Womb

#InfertilityNotATaboo- When it is Only About Her Womb

She bears the brunt of infertility……almost always! A test in every way!

It was a hot afternoon in the month of April when I reached Poonam’s house in Raja Ka Tal- a small farming village in district Firozabad. The warm breeze gently swayed the trees, as their yellow leaves collected by her feet. Her body lay on the ground, a thin sheet covering from head to toe. It had thinned down considerably since I had first met her. Her husband Rajbir sat a distance away, quiet and somber.

A year back, I was part of a Rotary Club health camp that travelled across the state of Uttar Pradesh, to spread awareness about health and hygiene. It was here that I first met Poonam. “Bibiji, bachcha nahi ho raha he. Dawayee dijiye” (I am not conceiving. Give me some medicine). The treatment of Poonam’s primary infertility was beyond the scope of the mobile camp and also the tiny village Raja ka Tal. She was handed over a referral slip for a check-up at Firozabad’s Government Hospital. She faintly nodded when I communicated this to her. I saw a tear drop down her eye when she left the camp. But something in her moved me that day and I decided to follow up on her case with the village and district hospital. However, once I got back to Delhi, so caught up was I with my schedules that I just let it be, hoping that eventually things would fall in place for Poonam. A year later, I got to know about her death.

“Bimar pad gayee, khana hajam nahi ho raha tha, mar gayee”, said her mother. (She fell ill, couldn’t take food anymore and passed away). I couldn’t hold back anymore and had to get the entire story. I chatted up with Poonam’s childhood friend that afternoon, who tumbled it all out.

Poonam was married three years after puberty. A year into matrimony, and she still had not shown any signs of pregnancy. The taunts started, and soon her in-laws and Rajbir took matters into their own hands. He decided to marry again. It was for the want of a baby. The bride was none other than Poonam’s younger sister. For Poonam’s parents it was a win-win situation. Both daughters married at the cost of just one. Within a few months of this marriage, the news of her sisters impending pregnancy reached Poonam.

That was when the first signs of depression were noticeable. She would cry often, have temper tantrums, and develop low degree fever. For those around her, it meant, she had gone mad. No efforts were made to treat her. It wasn’t really a priority. She after all could not produce a baby. Within a span of four months, Poonam lay dead.

signs-of-infertility

Cut to Bangalore
I was meeting my school friend Anusha in a plush coffee shop after five long years. The first thing that I noticed was the disheveled hair and sullen eyes. “I have started my IVF and it’s taking a toll, physically and mentally”, she said.

A long silence followed. This wasn’t the same energetic woman I had known five years back.

“Ashok works late and travels often. But he still manages to be around for the IVF schedule. His presence is required, medically. Otherwise, life seems to be just going on, where we both lead our own separate lives.”

“Why don’t you adopt?” I asked. She glared back at me.

“My in-laws had been against our love marriage and, Ashok would not go against them a second time. They wouldn’t accept a baby that is not their blood. I hope God blesses me with a baby soon. I feel void and empty. It is killing me”.

Signs of depression yet again?

Whether it is Raja ka Tal or Bangalore, the brunt of infertility is often faced by women. There exists in society, a certain element of stigma when a woman is unable to conceive. At a time when she needs mental support, she gets the taunts and bears the blame.

Much as it is important biologically, for a woman to conceive, not being able to should not be the end of the road. Adoption regulations in India are getting easy, with even single women going in for one. A baby is all that matters for a childless couple. And adoption may well be the answer. It would reduce the mental trauma on the woman and provide a home to a child. It would bring about happiness in more than one life.

*This blog is to #SpreadAwareness about Infertility through Infertility Dost, India’s first website that facilitates couples to brave infertility with support and knowledge. You can find other links on Write Tribe.

Parenting Alone? It’s No Easy Job

Parenting Alone? It’s No Easy Job

    I pretend to have all the energy in the world, when all that I want to do is hit the bed…. It’s no easy job parenting alone!

It isn’t uncommon these days, to find spouses living in two different places. The reasons may be many- better career prospects or children’s’ education. In such cases, the children end up being with one of the parent, meeting the other over long weekends or vacations. In my case, the husband being in the armed forces, is constantly away for long spells, leaving me and the kids to manage on our own in what I call our little mad home. So for my two little children I am their single parent (well, I shall ignore the parenting on the telephone done by the hubby).

So what’s the big deal here? Why does this take a toll on me?

I am charged 24/7

So here I am the super mom, charged up and on call 24/7. Of course most moms are on some sort of red alert through the day when it comes to their child’s needs. But hey think about managing the show single-handedly with no help whatsoever, making those daily small decisions on your own too. I am up and about, showing up at all school functions. I cart around them and their playmates on every single day of the week. I am the nurse, the cheer leader, the counselor, the cook; well the list just goes on…

I plan; really… even before the previous one is executed

Did you just think about planning the meals for the day? Oh wait there’s more. Like the craft activity for the younger one that involves paper quilling. And what did the older one want? A play date with her friend. What about the cycling session with both of them? Yes, that’s what I do all the time. The mind seems to be occupied, juggling various little plans.

Where did those 24 hours go?

The hours are just not enough in a day. Damn! The newspaper still hasn’t been read. Never mind, in a few hours the next day’s paper would be at the door.

Frustrations? What do they look like?

I sat with that hot cup of coffee, soaking in every bit of the aroma. The younger one decides to squeal. I rush to see what it was all about, only to realize that her little pony tail lay open. I head back to my coffee and as the first few sips go down my throat, the sound from the kid’s room doesn’t seem all too fine. I pretend to be calm, as I pull them apart after their violent fight of bites and scratches. A few minutes of consoling and I head back to my coffee which now is sans the yummy froth and aroma. Frustrated? Naah you wouldn’t spot them on my brow.

When does the day end?

And despite the tiring day, every single day, I find time to read them a bedtime story, and tuck them into bed. Bliss!!!!! The kids are asleep, the house is silent. I sit down and all I want to do is talk to someone.

Oh wait! There’s no one around!! Sigh!!

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Book Review: It’s All in The Planets- Preeti Shenoy

Book Review: It’s All in The Planets- Preeti Shenoy

It’s All in The Planets!!! Is it really so? We do often find life shaping up in a way that’s almost beyond our control. I remember reading these lines from a Ruskin Bond book recently- “What are we humans really just absurd little creatures strutting about as though we owned the earth and everything upon it. An ill wind comes along and we’re finished…” Bond’s writing never fails to make me smile at life’s little inanities.

So are all things in life destined to happen? Preeti Shenoy’s latest book delves into these questions, taking a peek into the role of planets and destiny on the lives of Aniket, Nidhi and Trisha. She brings together yet another complex web- of human relationships.

Aniket isn’t those dashing, handsome hunks. He does not have a Mills & Boons kinda sex appeal. All of 90 kilograms, he is an overweight, average looking techie from our very own city Bengaluru. He is head over heels in love with the beautiful model Trisha, who well, isn’t really all that intrigued by him or his mannerisms. Yet, the two are in a relationship. Trisha wants him to change in many a way. This leaves Aniket confused and insecure. He would do just about anything to make the relationship work, and seeks Nidhi’s help in the matter.

Nidhi is free spirited and pursues her passion, working as a pottery instructor. She is in a relationship with Manoj, who seldom appreciates the nature of her job. A chanced meeting with Aniket on the train, gets them talking. They enjoy each other’s company and she soon finds herself becoming Aniket’ relationship as well as fitness coach. How successful would Nidhi be in making Anikets and Trisha’s relationship a success? Or do the planets play a totally different role in all their lives? That’s the book for you in a gist.

Characterization

Preeti Shenoy has her main characters depicted with perfection, believable in every way; they are people you would find around you, in everyday life. Her story brings in Subbu, a true buddy, honest and frank to Aniket when he seeks his advice on all matters related to the heart. She portrays Manoj as the abusive person, who believes in the might of the man in a relationship.

She brings in an element of sweetness in Aniket, despite him being no tall, dark, handsome kinds, making him a loveable character. Nidhi‘s carefree yet mature demeanor makes her the girl most men would want to fall in love with. Aniket’s love and attraction towards the beautiful Trisha has certain innocence to it.

Writing and Presentation:

I would give a thumb up for the cover design, layout and the zodiac predictions at the beginning of every chapter. The most unique thing though is the manner in which the story has been narrated. I have read many a books that narrate the story in first person- books where one of the key protagonists brings out the entire story in their own words. Now here’s something of a different kind in Preeti’s latest. The two key protagonists – Aniket and Nidhi- simultaneously in their voice narrate their version of the same story.

The big letdown was the way the book ended. The final unraveling was pretty clichéd and predictable. Spoiler Alert!!! There wasn’t any explanation on the mental state and turmoil of Trisha and her life. Preeti does bring in a suspense element, yet despite this, the end seemed to be all hurried up and rather inadequate too.

I wouldn’t really call “It’s All in the Planets” a disappointment! I have read an earlier book of hers, “It Happens For a Reason” (Read the review here) and wasn’t too happy with it.

But with this latest, Preeti has definitely managed to bring in a decent read. Not really a great piece of literature, but definitely worth a read.  A quick and light book that’s perfect for a lazy weekend.

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