"I heard voices...they told me to hide under the bed, to run, run away." A young mom talks about post partum depression

Post Partum Depression—My Story Anjana Sharma (name changed on request)
"My pregnancy was unplanned. I got married just out of college. Eight months later, 
as I was all set to enroll for an MBA,  I found out I was going to be a mother. I was in 
denial. “This cannot be happening,” was my initial reaction. Also, I didn't have the 
classic symptoms of pregnancy—nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to smells, etc. In fact, 
my pregnancy was easy, it was just difficult emotionally. But by the second trimester, I 
slowly came to accept my pregnancy and by the third, I was looking forward to my baby. 
I went for Lamaze and ante-natal classes. I intensely wanted a natural birth.
A traumatic delivery My labour started the right way—the baby's head descended, but my labour was 
extremely protracted. After eight hours, there was no sign of my baby coming out. 
I was the perfect patient—calm, not screaming, doing my breathing, so on. And the
 hospital (one of those mom-and baby specialty places) was p…

Shame, sin and a strap

I am walking in the neighbourhood park.
Not for pleasure, but exercise.
I am striding along, trying not to puff and pant.
Thinking of those damn 10,000-steps-a-day that I never seem to do.
Thinking that I must get my cardio rate up, get those endorphins going.
Walking and trying to avoid the others on the path.
The burqa-clad women around me talk noisily,
Some are there to walk seriously, but most are not.
They sit there, like beady-eyed beetles, watching, looking, and to my mind, judging.
So do the men.
No, let me rephrase that.
Many people in the park are there simply because they have nothing else to do.
Or perhaps this is where they see life pass them by.
Where they see what ifs and what might have beens.
Where they see happiness that could have been theirs.
Where they see lives shaped by both circumstance and choice.

In the park, the ones who are not walking desultorily, chat and hang around.
The serious runners impatiently overtake the rest of  us slower mortals.
Suddenly, a vo…

Faking it on Facebook

Ever get the feeling that you're faking it?
I feel that most days. In fact, I know I am. Being fake, I mean.
Especially on social media.
Which, in itself, is an oxymoron, come to think of it. To me, at least.
Because we are not really all likeable and loveable and sociable.
In real life, it is not humanly possible to be friends or friendly, all the time.
Rather, we diss and dissect. We gossip and bitch, about each other.
But we continue to fake it, online.
And social media lets us. 

The other day, I was depressed and down in the dumps.
Seeing all the happy-awesome posts in my Facebook feed, made things infinitely worse.
So I lost it, after seeing a 'friend' upload a couple of 100 pictures (okay, I exaggerate) in a matter of minutes, from her fabulous break.
So well, I bitched about that to a group of friends on WhatsApp.
And nobody reacted or agreed with me. 
Naturally, I felt awful. Wicked. Like a total bitch.
To make matters worse, the next day, the person I originall…

Ground realities

Our little man went back to school on Monday.
We watched him put on his new t-shirt, wear his new pair of  shoes.
We watched him walking with his new school bag, new lunch bag, new water bottle, new name tags
And he looked so handsome and smart, and happy, that my heart swelled with pride, with love.
I watched him walk beside his father and prayed he would be safe and secure in the world out there.

As I went back inside our flat, I happened to look out the window of our living room.
A small figure was standing on the open first floor of the under-construction building next door. Dressed in clothes that had been washed many times, this little boy certainly wasn't going to any school. There would be no new academic year for him. Just life on a series of construction sites.

The boy is just one of the many children running around wild near our building. Their parents are migrant labourers from North Karnataka who have camped here to work on the under-development plots just beside our…

Paean to Food...and Lost Loves

Writer Anita Nair’s newest offering, Alphabet Soup for Lovers, is a paean to food, love, loss and longing, and the intimate connections between them. The narrator of this novella is the family cook, Komathi. And by using the language of touch and taste, Komathi introduces us to Lena Abraham, and the man Lena is so instantly attracted to, Shoola Pani Dev--a superstar, plagued by superstardom and a loveless marriage.
Komathi, is trying to learn the alphabet. For her, love of food is as intrinsic and intimate as love or life itself. So, A, for Komathi is “Arisi” (rice in tamizh, as she puts it). Every alphabet thereafter, and the food, dish or vegetable she associates it with, is thus an aphorism--an acute observation of men and women and what they do for love.
Komathi knows Lena, or Leema as she calls her, did not marry her husband KK for love; they are “like two strangers in a doctor’s waiting room.” And Komathi also knows Leema needs some arisi appalam (rice pappads) in her life.…

Those early mornings

I love waking up early, but not too early.
The world is still silent and dark, with that opalescent light falling through the curtains.
Our little fellow is completely, heart-crushingly asleep, his face burrowed into some happy dream. Though, sometimes, the moment I leave his side, he stirs and mutters. And then I stand as still as stone, hoping that he won't wake or call out.
I love him, you see, but being alone at this time is something I need more. 

Our upstairs neighbour's dog is blessedly quiet. If she is left alone, she barks non-stop (the dog, not the neighbour). Hopefully, her mistress won't decide to go for an early-morning walk.

I've always admired people who start their day with lime-and-honey or hot-water, or green tea. Or white tea which I read somewhere is even healthier than the green version.
But me, I need coffee. 
I love that ritual of pouring the decoction, adding milk, jaggery (yep, much better than sugar, trust me), and watching it all swirl aro…

Shake your bon bon

I'm the world's best twerker.
Not that you'd know it.
I dance like nobody's watching. Well, because nobody is.

But that's what's so joyful about it.
Because I dance for myself.
And because I love how my body moves to the beat.

Put me in the spotlight, put me on video.
And I freeze. For, my grace is my own.
Not for you. Not to be 'liked' or re-posted. Or whatever.

Because this is what I do, for myself. To feel alive.
It's a private moment, a joy that is mine and mine alone.
Like sipping your first cuppa of the day. Knowing it hits the spot.
Or sharing a smile with your love, cherishing the knowledge that only you know how to touch him a certain way. 
Like giving your child a tight hug, listening to that little lisp
And knowing that soon, these memories will be overlaid with new ones.

Why celebrate and capture it for the world to see?
Because these moments will seep into us, by and by.
Because these are meant to be lived, not 'liked'.

So put…