Tag Archives: #survival

Rare Stroke Survivor Shares His Story of Resilience in His memoir ‘One Fine Day’

Foreword

In One Fine Day, Sameer Bhide sends each of us a reminder about the preciousness of life. Bhide had an extremely rare hemorrhagic brain stroke which required two different brain surgeries and  30 days in a medically induced coma before he could even begin the years-long hard path to recovery. During this difficult period, he had to quit his work and he went through a divorce. At the age of 47, his life came crashing down and changed dramatically…But he chose to overcome and embrace his new normal with “grace and gratitude.”

One Fine Day recounts the traditional well-accepted scientific protocols and atypical treatments he used to heal his mind, body, and spirit. At the end of each chapter, Sameer shares the relevant lessons learned from his journey which he calls “Sameerisms”. One Fine Day is a good positive read for people to overcome any adversity or life changes and want to turn their life around and heal. He believes his memoir will help people to build resilience, express gratitude, find possibilities, and adjust to a new life that they may not have chosen. This book also looks at the unexpected benefits of supplementing cutting-edge Western medicine and care with holistic Eastern practices to heal.

Excerpt

Now, I was ready to get back to my new normal with my family. I was working to heal my mind and spirit, as well as my body. My regiment now consisted of a combination of Western and Eastern medicine, care, and practices. I took what I’d learned at Nimba and continued to use Ayurvedic medicines and oils. Meditation became part of my regular routine. Beyond specific treatments and therapies, the holistic approach to health and life itself influenced me in lasting ways, without overdoing it, though. I also continued with the daily journaling habit I’d begun at Nimba, along with writing down three things I was proud of and grateful for every day. Before I started doing this, I had been a big to-do list person but never documented my feelings on paper. I was surprised by how cathartic this simple practice was. To date, I continue to do it.

I am very grateful to be the beneficiary of both Western and Eastern systems of medicine and care. But I don’t believe one system is better than the other. Just as some people are overly dependent on Western medicine, there are people who only use alternate medicines, practices, and care, and shun cutting-edge medical innovations and technology. I am absolutely convinced that you need both in balance. Also, because I’m Indian, some people, both in India and in the States, assumed that I am in total support of Eastern medicine and care, especially Ayurveda. Nobody said so specifically, but I could sense it. I have to be honest: Ayurveda is not the answer to all the ills, as many folks believe, nor is Western medicine and technology. You need both. They complement one another well. I am living proof. 

Upon my return, I also resumed visits with my neurologist, Dr. Manem, and went to my internist, Dr. Rachel, for a blood test. I was happy with the results and sent them on to Dr. Shyam since I wanted to keep him informed about my progress. I got evaluated at Inova Fairfax Hospital for further physical and occupational therapy. I also started seeing my clinical psychologist, Dr. Susan, again. I shared with her what I’d done at Nimba and what I planned to do now that I was back home. She didn’t offer her opinions or judge me in any way. She listened and allowed me to confide in her. I’d never done that with anyone before. At Nimba, the meditation and holistic treatments had given me a stronger ability to accept destiny and relinquish the need for control. Back home, that process continued. I realized I had to accept a situation the way it is, not the way I might want it to be. My “it is what it is” mantra continued to develop further. I used to get angry over little things, like paying bills or dealing with bad equipment. Now I was becoming more patient and accepting while learning to look for realistic solutions to everyday problems.  The mantra “it is what it is” applies to so many things. It can be a difficult message to follow, but it has gotten easier over time.

For many years, I had been part of a reactive and competitive business world. In business, generally, you don’t look calmly at a situation and acknowledge how the other party sees things. Being empathetic is just not part of the business culture. Because of my stroke, I was beginning to take a very different view of life. I was becoming calmer and more compassionate and empathetic. When I return to regular work in the future, it will be interesting to see what my reaction will be. Maybe my sense of acceptance will flow into the business world.


Sameer Bhide is originally from Mumbai, India and migrated to the US 31 years ago. Currently, he is on Long Term Disability and lives outside of Washington DC in Vienna, Virginia.

Srishti Prabha is the Managing Editor at India Currents and has worked in low-income/affordable housing as an advocate for children, women, and people of color. She is passionate about diversifying spaces, preserving culture, and removing barriers to equity.


 

South Asian Sex Workers’ COVID Struggle For Survival

Tell A Story – a column where riveting South Asian stories are presented like never before through unique video storytelling.

Covid-19 has impacted many but the sex workers across the globe have been the worst affected. The entire industry has come to a standstill amidst the protocol, with their livelihoods at stake. Most of them are on the verge of starvation and struggling to make their ends meet.

Alarmingly, there are over 800,00 sex workers in India. Spread across eight large red light areas and over 16 small clusters scattered across the country. The lockdown and covid norms have made thousands of them penniless prone to deplorable conditions. The social stigma and discrimination deny them basic moral support or cooperation from the nearby communities.

With no proper government documents or basic identity records, like adhaar card and ration card, the community does not qualify for any of the government subsidies released during the pandemic. Majority have failed to pay rent for months and are threatened with eviction by rowdy landlords. With school going kids and family to support at their hometown, the plight is daunting, leaving them helpless.  

Abandoned at the mercy of various non-governmental organizations, their ordeal for basic needs is horrifying to note.

In Oct 2020, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) proposed to recognize sex workers as ‘informal workers’. However, many organizations came forward citing the risk of decriminalization of prostitution. After a month-long legal battle, the NHRC advisory, which was issued by a panel to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the human rights of women sex workers, included them under the section – ‘women at work’. But whether the provisions under the government scheme would reach them in time remains a question to ponder.

Not just in India, the sex workers worldwide are among the hardest hit in pandemic and continue to suffer destitution. Unknown to many, March 3rd was the International Sex Workers Rights Day.

In 2001, over 30,000 sex workers in India staged a protest to raise awareness of their rights. Organized by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, they gathered in Calcutta for a festival despite efforts from prohibitionist groups who wanted to revoke their permit. The event had a huge impact globally and since then sex workers across the world commemorate the day every year. Programs are organized to spread awareness about the abuses sex workers face and the violation of their human rights.

This year, unfortunately, it’s a fight for survival. In the wake of International Sex Workers Rights Day 2021, Tell-A-Story unveils the appalling story of Indian sex workers, the hidden truth, and the harsh reality behind the red light areas of India.


Suchithra Pillai comes with over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading media publications in India and the United States.

For more such intriguing stories, subscribe to the channel. You can also follow the stories on Facebook @tellastory2020 and Instagram @tell_a_story2020

Knight's armor

Grace in Defeat Trumps All

As I watched the US election results make their agonizing progress to the end, the lines of a poem came to my mind.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Old age should burn and rave at close of day

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This poem by Dylan Thomas, who himself died tragically at the age of thirty-nine, is practically an anthem to all those who struggle against insurmountable odds. Incidentally, this poem is made use of very effectively in the iconic movie ‘Interstellar’, where it is used as a weapon against the apparent futility of trying to save humans when the earth is dying.

When Trump’s numbers began to lose traction in one, two, three, and four states, he could have conceded. His time was up and he could have quit gracefully. But Trump being, well, Trump, no one seriously expected him to concede. But filing lawsuits and worse, to allege election fraud, seemed to be sinking his basic nature to a whole different level. 

However, at that point, a quiet voice in my brain said, “Why not?” Why should Trump not fight until every last vestige of power is taken away from him? After all, in 2000, Al Gore found himself conceding and then took it back when votes began to sing a different song. From the moment of conception and until the moment of death, we are engaged in a constant fight for survival, though it is not always apparent. Therefore, why should not a person fight, especially when there is a chance around, however wraithlike? 

‘Everybody loves a lover’ sang Doris Day. But it is also true to say that everybody loves a fighter, maybe even more than a lover. Looking at a person who doesn’t give up or give in lends hope to other people who are fighting insurmountable odds themselves. The very thought that there is someone else out there who’s not going to take whatever is handed to him is inspiring.

In his poem ‘If’ Rudyard Kipling exalts the fighter thus:

And so hold on when there is nothing in you except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ After all, we do know that we will have to surrender in the end. As a Viking saying goes, “It’s better to stand and fight. If you run away, you’ll only die tired.”

On the other hand, to accept defeat gracefully – that is a quality that puts man among saints. It is not lame to surrender, say great minds, it is a great strength. ‘They are the chosen ones, who surrender,’ says Rumi. “Peace requires us to surrender our illusion of control,” said Jack Kornfield. In William Booth’s opinion, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender”. 

Then it came to me that it is a question of preserving your dignity and self-respect. It is hard to hold yourself erect when you are fighting. However, in the honorable fight, it is okay to lose your dignity, since the fight itself is in the cause of it. But, in every fight, there is a tipping point, a point at which you know that you’re definitely going to lose. There is no point in surrendering before that point is reached because there of the chance that you may win and uphold your dignity. And there is no point in fighting after you know you’re definitely going to lose, because you’ll not only lose the fight, you’ll also lose your dignity. 

Therefore, it is in your own best interests that you stop fighting when there is absolutely no hope of victory. No one said it better than the great Kenny Rogers: “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away.”

But where is that tipping point? How does one find it?

Aah, those are some of the questions that truly matter in life. One of the hallmarks of the greatness of the human spirit is the ability to know where that tipping point is. This ability comes from soul-searching honesty that doesn’t shy away from even the bitterest of truths. At that point, surrender brings a deep and abiding peace, since the battle was well-fought, but ended before it cost too much. 

I used to think that all of us have this ability, but I guess I just learned that some of us … just don’t.


Lakshmi Palecanda moved from Montana, USA, to Mysore, India, and inhabits a strange land somewhere in between the two. Having discovered sixteen years ago that writing was a good excuse to get out of doing chores, she still uses it.