Less Noisy

The last thing I want to do is wilt away in self-pity. It’s not exactly becoming of the kind of person I am, as hidden as it is under the layers of frustration and annoyance.

I took a digital break, and made a small visit to meet some friends. Three days of bliss … that too doggie bliss! My friends adopted a dog a few months back and that mutt brought a touch of happy reality after this really long haze. He made me laugh, he made love and he made me feel. Waking up to his kisses and demands for belly rub was therapy – a doggie therapy.

D has been a blessing throughout, putting up with my mood swings, and basically being a ticking bomb. He ensures there is a good supply of chocolate and feel-good movies, and smartly gets out of the way. He also cajoled me into embracing the Marvel Cinematic Universe and now all I want in life is my very own Groot and Jarvis.

I read the comments on my earlier post and it moved me beyond words. To know that what I am feeling is completely normal and definitely not something to be ashamed of was heartening. What really touched me was the fact that all the support came absolutely without any judgements! It was pure and complete.

I am writing this, on my way to the year-end break. I wasn’t entirely sure it was going to happen given the circumstances but it is happening. While I don’t want to say I am running away from work, but yes… this is a conscious decision to initiate the detox. I want that noxious poison out – it’s been brewing for way too long and I don’t want to infect the people I love with it.

Thank you so much. I am definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel



There has been a buzz inside my head, a silent disturbing noise that fades into the background but doesn’t quite let go of its hold on your mind.

I feel like I am spending my time in slow-motion, as the world passes by leaving a trail of scraps and lost bits of hope. I never really understood what it feels like to be in this. When some of my friends went through a really horrible phase, they put the words to their feelings but I could never understand. I always used to feel that just focus, gather the strength to take control of the situation and move forward.

And now, I realised how naive I was. How do you focus when the whole world is blurred? How do you gather strength when even getting up drains you of all motivation? How do you take control when there is nothing to take charge of!! There is no situation, there are no people, there is no direction.

The world is fine. It’s my head that’s in the limbo state. It’s just blank with the taunting noise serving as a sign of the existence of the negativity wrapped in my conscience. It’s been screaming, but even if someone listens, I don’t think I know what those words are.

I have been AWOL. I might be for some time more. It’s a mess.

An Overview of Dental Camp

I was recommended to detail about the work that was done during the dental camps I visited last month. I figured that by sharing, I can perhaps shed some light on a part of India that few people are aware of.

Mommy ❤ Right before the start of the second camp

My mother, Dr Pratibha Athavale, has been conducting dental camps as a freelancer for seventeen years. This means there is no government, religious or politically driven body behind this. She ties up with different socio-voluntary organisations whose the only objective is “seva” or service. And that too in the part of the country mostly neglected. The states she has visited are mostly the seven sisters in the North-East India, home to hundreds of tribes and thousands of dialects, which are often limited since there is NO script.

Some of the tribes are relatively developed and have access (albeit broken) to power, network, education etc. On the other hand, some are still clad in loincloths and lead primitive lifestyles. The sanitation checks start from making them aware of the importance of washing their hands and mouths let alone brushing their teeth. This has led to her working with and for all sorts of people – and the takeaway is the same. We may be distinct in terms of culture and traditions but our core values are the same.

Meet my buddy – he came every day to Hi5! 🙂 P.S. Not a single child cried while they were being administered injections.

This year the camp was in Manipur covering three tribal villages and the camps were for three days in each. A little less than 1000 patients were treated in total – the treatments including scalings and extractions. Medication was provided and clinical advise was also given on a case by case basis. Needless to say, this was completely free of cost! It was amazing to see my mom in such a different light. She was super-woman! At 64, she was on her feet from 7 to 7 with cups of tea and light snacks as sustenance. She needed no fuel – she was operating on pure will and determination.

The dental camp in full swing! Setting up the camp is so much fun 🙂 Thinking through the layout, the power, the lighting!

How does a dental camp work given the complexity of equipments? Well, over the years based on her experiences, Mom has put together a portable clinic complete with a dental chair, compressor, sterilizer and the other fancy stuff. A doctor by profession, she channeled her untapped engineering mind into assembling this.

A great team based in the different states ensures operational stability in the camps. These people have given up their families, their jobs and dedicated their lives completely for the upliftment of these tribes. While the impact at the ground level happens in oral health, another subtle yet powerful turn takes place in the minds of the people. There is a human connect happening with these tribes that has never happened before or has always been at a very base level. This medium starts a dialogue which can further progress into a potential road to bring them into mainstream society!

Two local assistants from the first village – They picked up the work in a flash and were eager to learn.

I was lucky to be a part of this movement for sometime and tried to make a small difference. After a long time, I came back with a sense of community! It’s a good feeling alright.

Do let me know if you have more questions or wish to support the different initiatives taking place for the North-East states.


Don’t give me your grays…

I crave for scarlet and violet and mauve and navy. My eyes are roving for deep splashes and resolute textures. It’s a call for an explosion of the light shattering upon the dark, to understand the colors all over again.

Don’t give me your doubts…

I want emotions – raw and expelling with intensity. I want to love fiercely and unconditionally, burn a green fire of jealousy, sink into purified hatred, burst like a bomb with euphoria. To covet the lucidity as clear as the glow of a blazing candle!

Don’t give me your prejudices…

I desire absolute persistence and coherence of conceptions. To strike the bull eye’s because there is no other possibility! And smash the plank into clean halves with a singular stroke because there is no room for the waste of idiosyncrasies.

Don’t give me your incompleteness…

I want you … one and whole. I want you selfishly without any compromise. Comprehensively to the last speck of your heart and soul. Down to the synchronized pulse of our thoughts and desires.

Unqualified. Undiluted. Untainted.

My Gender

Image result for scales

“Because of your gender…”

“Because of your gender…”

“Because of your gender…”

It has become a revolving chorus in my head. I have been stubbornly silent for the past month – afraid of what might just spill out if I start ranting. I think I have calmed down enough to finally talk about it.

Basically, it has been a circus at work and I have been trying for a while to make a few horizontal transitions into a new department. I have never quite handled something like the new opportunity and the prospects are exciting as well as challenging.

While the murky politics of the movement played out, I got to meet with the super-duper-head of the new department a few weeks back. We are talking about one of the movers and shakers of the company and I couldn’t believe I was getting to speak to him. I walked into the conference room with my head held high and overwhelmed with what I had prepared to speak with him.

And it went downhill like nobody’s business. Not because he wasn’t happy with my work or my skills, not because he didn’t speak properly with me.

But because he stated precisely four times, that I am going to have tough time adapting to the new role given my gender. Given that I am a female. That his advice to other folks is different as they were all men. 

Four times.

Without even looking or knowing about my background or the work I have been leading these past few months. 

I chose to keep a straight face and not respond during any of those circumstances. I was expected to, I think, but I couldn’t dignify those comments with a reaction. I was afraid of what might spill out. I have never faced such blatant sexism – it is usually equivocal. And it delivered a sucker punch to my self-confidence.

I have cried and vented enough to people and I do not wish to put it writing – I am wondering if it makes me cowardly to want to forget it happened. It has been almost a month and I am trying hard to not dwell on it during those idle moments.

On one hand, I want to prove that any role is beyond gender.

But more than that, I just want to forget the way I felt when I walked out of that room – small, shrunken and insignificant.