#AtoZChallenge- Rehab 2020

Over the last two decades, the reach of technology has increased beyond leaps and bounds across the world. The advent of computers and internet to help mankind and make the world smaller, has slowly reached a point of being misused and has also become the cause for various disorders and addictions in the new age. The addition of smartphones, gadgets, hi tech video games have added to the list of addictions. The need for rehab to detoxify oneself is now included with new and tech savvy addictions. By 2020 few of the most common causes could be as the listicle below:

  • Social Networking/ Internet- This is no surprise. Internet addiction is nothing new to be cited as one of the causes for the need for Rehab, but the new addition here is the social networking platform. Addiction to social media is becoming a serious issue of mental disorder. The urge of always checking for updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc., causes restlessness and anxiety. According to researchers few signs include: spending more than 8 hours a day on social media, constantly checking for views/comments/likes on an update, skipping social interactions just to be up to date with news feed.
  • Smartphone- This has aided and gave birth to new age addictions. Social media disorders have been fueled with apps on smartphones. Not just social networking apps, but constant use of internet, the urge to always browse articles, getting a feeling of restlessness without smartphone for few minutes, continuous switching between apps are some of the reasons.
  • Video Games: Addiction to video games as a cause for the need for Rehab is not new. But the ever emerging hi-tech virtual reality experiences in gaming has worsened the situation. This is a serious addiction and the cause for various health issues and disorders.
  • Selfie Mania: This weird phenomenon of the urge to always take selfies may lead to narcissistic behaviors. Selfie addiction due to self absorbed, self obsessed traits lead to looking for approvals online to motivate and increase self esteem. Taking selfies, posting online, waiting for comments and thinking about them over and over again is not a healthy sign.

Directly or indirectly technology has increased new age addictions and paved way for various mental disorders. As prevention is better than cure, it is utmost necessary to understand the importance of control and check addiction levels before it’s too late.

#AtoZChallenge- Queen

She stared at the flashing operating light as she laid down on the bed. The doctors were busy prepping for her C-section. In spite of all the pain, she hardly showed any physical discomfort. Enduring physical pain was easier for her compared to her emotional turmoil. There was no anticipation for her child. As the nurse tried to give her the necessary dose of anesthesia, events from her life started flashing before her eyes. She remembered how she was an active, chirpy girl in her youthful days. She had high hopes and expectations from life and the man she wanted to marry. She wished for a man who treated her like a queen.

She was all excited when she got married. Little did she know about the thorns as she only imagined a life with bed of roses. Few months into her marital relationship, she found her husband contrary to her dream man. She realized her relationship with him wasn’t something any girl would ever wish for. She experienced days of endless worry, weeping in silence. She sustained the torture and emotional heartache only for the society. She cursed herself for becoming a victim of societal pressure. But she did it for her parents, for her family. Though she hardly felt loved, she never dared to share it with anyone. She only hoped for a change in him someday while tolerating the pain calmly.

She wished a child would bring in a change to her life. Though she wasn’t sure about expecting love from her husband, she knew a child would keep her occupied from all the chaos. As the anesthesia slowly started showing affect, she gradually closed her eyes. She didn’t know what happened and when she regained her consciousness, she saw a sight she would never forget. Her beautiful son. The moment she saw him, she forgot all the pain, all the torture, the misfortune that she had been enduring for years. She was elated, overjoyed and cried with happiness looking at him. After all, she realized what it feels like to be a queen, holding her tiny prince in her arms.

#AtoZChallenge- People Pleaser

Over the past two years, I realized something very astonishing, yet valuable and enlightening. But the sad part is, I had to learn it the ‘hard way’. Since my childhood, I grew up with an idea of being ‘nice’!(whatever that meant) Nice to friends, nice to teachers, nice to family, nice to things, nice to everyone I knew and also nice to strangers. I know this sounds crazy or too much, but my utmost mission in anything and everything I did was to NOT hurt people involved. I can’t blame my family or my surroundings or my upbringing for this idea of mine, but my own very self! Nobody taught or forced me to be ‘nice’ at all costs, or to please every lame person I knew. But I did it and later I had to repent.

This obnoxious idea of mine worked perfectly fine in my growing up years. There were hardly ANY instances where I intentionally or unintentionally caused discomfort to someone. Thus, I was the most likable, admirable and ‘nice’ human to everyone who knew me.  But, I hardly got this in return. Not everyone I knew was ‘nice’ to me. But that was okay, after all, that was how I was different and unique from the rest, I convinced myself.  I always had clean intentions and wanted people to know I did. This strange habit of making sure I was perceived right, made me think more about “What others think of me?”

This phenomena was the stepping stone for my irreparable downfall. As I became an adult, I could see the way people changed. Being honest and ‘nice’ did no good to myself, as I was anyway not perceived the way I intended to be. My intentions were misinterpreted, my fear of being misjudged happened and I was no longer likable. My life started revolving around these constant life ruining questions- “What will others think? What if I’m labelled?” Though I heard and got advice from my well-wishers that what others think was none of my business, I craved to be perceived the way I really was. I feared judgement, I feared misunderstanding, I hated being talked about in a wrong way. As a result, whenever I was misunderstood, I started giving explanations for myself. This is the worst part! No matter how truly and righteously you try to explain yourself, the person on the receiving end, only receives what they want to!

I failed making the right decisions, as I worried more about what people may talk about me, rather than what I really wanted. Soon, I faced situations one after the other where I was misperceived in spite of all my efforts. I was judged, labelled, talked about, everything I always feared. I became what I never wanted to be. I lost peace, felt like a failure and was stressed out.

As a consequence, I realized that it was a flaw. A flaw in myself that doesn’t work to survive in the world today. This hard hit lesson made me realize the importance of what others think was not up to me. In the process, though it was hard, I learned to make the right choice of putting myself over others. Though I don’t have as many people that ‘like’ me than I used to, I don’t care anymore. I realized this from ruining and making the worst mistakes, as the impact was hard on my life and not theirs.

I learned to let go people, places and things that don’t matter for my happiness and well being. I learned to say ‘No’ and stopped being a doormat. I became fully aware of the fact that if I’m pleasing everyone, it means that I’m definitely doing something wrong. The people pleaser in me has slowly started subsiding and as a result my inner peace started emerging. Finally, I feel free, after experiencing a hard learned lesson!

#AtoZChallenge- Opportunist

Neil, Mary and Sam were classmates, best friends and companions for life. They were enjoying the final months of their college life as they would be graduating soon. Apart from cherishing moments of their happy days, they were also nervous about their future ahead. It was time for them to decide on what they wanted to do with life. Their peers were busy with placements, job hunting and entrance exams to their dream schools. The three friends were keen on pursuing an internship with a reputed firm and they were trying hard for it. They knew how much value an internship at a top company would add to their resume.

Neil was an outright optimist who always had a positive outlook in every situation. He was calm, cheerful and hopeful for the most. He always aimed for the best and was confident that his wishes do come true. Mary on the other hand had a pessimistic approach to life. Though she was good at everything she did, she hardly had confidence or belief in herself.  She had a habit of making up the worst of situations to survive and most of the times, life happened as she feared. Sam was somewhere between his two friends. He was neither overly positive about his life nor drenched himself with negativity. He looked out for possibilities and tried to grab every opportunity that came his way.

Just like every year, the college hosted a career fair on campus. Students flocked through the stalls to look into job opportunities. Most of them were either clueless or confused of the endless opportunities that firms projected at the fair. But Neil, Mary and Sam were clear and focused on their agenda of internship at a big organization. After the fair, all three of them received interview calls from a medium scale organization. Being the best among most students, they weren’t really keen on pursuing the offer from a mediocre company. Neil being his hopeful positive self, only wanted to wait for the big opportunity he was aiming for. So he gave the interview a miss, as it doesn’t fit his bill. He’d rather prepare for the big shot he wanted instead of wasting time with smaller companies, he thought.

Mary who was used to making up the worst scenarios, wanted to give an attempt. Sam was keen on attending the interview as well as he had a tendency to grab every opportunity that came along. Though Mary was capable, she always had innumerable doubts and fears running inside her head. This made her lose confidence and she could not do her best at the interview, in spite of being an overqualified candidate. Sam made an effort to go through the interview and as a result, he was offered with the job. Though Sam was pleased with the offer, he obviously wanted to try for a greater opportunity.

Few months passed and the three friends graduated successfully. But the job market wasn’t as they expected it to be as recession hit hard. Many students, even the toppers from various colleges were jobless. Students started looking for alternative plans as waiting too long for a job of their choice wouldn’t do any good. Neil and Mary also had to look out for other options as their wait for a big dream company wasn’t fruitful. They repented for having missed an opportunity that came their way. Now they’d have to settle for less in a market with greater competition and fewer jobs.

In an ever-evolving and fluctuating world, no matter how talented and hard working one is, the right attitude at the right time is all that makes the difference!


#AtoZChallenge- Nebraska Nice

When I was looking for universities to apply for masters, I had to rely mostly on suggestions and feedback from study abroad consultancies or fellow uncles whose kids studied abroad or my friends and seniors. Their suggestions mostly boiled down to the universities that belonged to either the East coast, West coast or the Texas region of the United States- the most popular ones, specially among Indians. Irrespective of the program interested, the reasons were obvious- great opportunities, bigger Indian community/ diversity or a happening lifestyle. I did my fair share of research online based on my area of interest and program with reasonable tuition fee and decided to go to Nebraska, contrary to all my suggestions.

Why Nebraska? Where is it?”, were the most obvious questions from many of my well-wishers. Well, all of my relatives haven’t even heard of it. Of course they wouldn’t know, because little did it sound like New York or Chicago or Texas or California! And people who knew had only one thought in mind- Nebraska is all about farms, corn and some remote state of white people in the Mid Western United States. I did not know much about Nebraska when I chose to study there, but once I moved, I realized it has been one of the best decisions of my life!

Contrary to many perceptions, Nebraska is not just about farms, corn or plains. There is much more to this most under rated state. The feeling of being at home, when you are actually away from home is hard to find. But Nebraska makes you feel belonged and welcomed, not only to Nebraskans but also to its visitors. The reason being- the community and its people.

The nicest and the warmest people on the planet are actually in Nebraska! Trust me, I’m not exaggerating here! It is not uncommon to find someone random smiling at you and asking about your well being when you pass by them, or even striking a conversation with a complete stranger. Little things like holding doors, very polite way of addressing and receiving a helping hand when you expect the least, can actually make your day. These are something I hardly experience in other states or places. This home of the Huskers actually has some of the best schools and also a great technology landscape. The state has places emerging as tech start ups and also few of the major Fortune 500 companies. Don’t be surprised if you casually bump into Warren Buffet, the second wealthiest man in the world!

Nebraska has constantly been listed as one of the happy states or the best place to raise children and family and also as one of the top states for over all well-being. Apart from the terrifying thunderstorms or the harsh winters with snow, there isn’t much to complain about this place. A great and safe way of life, the availability of best steak for many and an amazing community paves way for a greater life experience here. The tourism department of the state has rightly and aptly coined the slogan- ‘Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice.’

#AtoZChallenge- Multitasking

Nita was trying to pay attention to the lecture while she was busy texting. She enjoyed this new found way of uninterrupted communication with her friends and loved ones. At school, in the bus, while shopping or running errands, no matter where, she was always able to text along with what she was supposedly doing. This was her first tryst with multitasking. She loved how she was able to work on everything without having to compromise on texting. She realized there is a term for this capability of hers and encountered the word- Multitasking. She started feeling like having attained a superpower. She continued handling multiple tasks at once. Multitasking has now become a habit.

Years later, she got so accustomed to juggling between multiple tasks at once that she felt incomplete if she had to focus on just one. This forced her to create other engagements to make her feel occupied or to save time. She even started mentioning multitasking as one of her ‘positive traits’ during interviews, as it is a default requirement in today’s world. As a result she texted while driving, replied to emails during meetings, worked on multiple assignments at once and answered calls while cooking.

With time, she noticed something very disturbing. Her ability to multi task which she considered an asset, slowly started impacting her lifestyle. Before she realized, the constant switching between tasks made her focus fade. Thus her inability to concentrate on at least one task, slowed her down. With nearing deadlines and deterred focus, she found herself making mistakes. This had a huge impact on her productivity, both at work and with everyday chores. Reduced productivity made her feel dissatisfied. Her dissatisfaction in her ability to pursue daily activities increased her stress levels. As a result, she started hating her habit of multitasking, as in a way, it has become a reason for her struggle with anxiety.


#AtoZChallenge- Lost

It was the summer of 1993. The Victoria Terminus Station of Mumbai (then Bombay) was bustling with people as usual. A little girl with curly pigtails holding her mother’s hand was trying hard to make her way through the crowd. Her mother was carrying her toddler brother in another arm. As she tippy toed her way amidst the busy station, she couldn’t stop noticing the overcrowding and overflowing of local trains going in and out of the station. Her father walked ahead of them with all the luggage.

The local trains of Bombay were always overcrowded and they halted hardly for a few seconds. Within these few seconds, people swarmed their way in to get a foothold on the train.

The family waited for their train at the platform. The little girl’s father forewarned them to be quick to get inside as they won’t have much time. As the train arrived onto the platform, people started flocking inside. The girl’s dad got in first with all the luggage. Her mother tried hard to make her way in with a toddler in one arm while still holding the littler girl’s hand. As the girl was stepping into the train, she noticed one of her slippers got ripped. She stepped back to adjust her torn slipper. But within a second, the train started moving. Her mother tried to pull her in, but the train got faster. She lost grip, ultimately letting her go. The little girl was left behind on the platform. Unable to get down, her parents were yelling for her from an overly crowded train.

Meanwhile, a generous benevolent man who noticed the little girl being left behind, made gestures to her parents on the moving train that he would bring her to the next station. The little girl was afraid and continued weeping. The man stood by her while waiting for the next train. He tried to console her and asked her few questions. Barely 3, she couldn’t answer much in Hindi. As the train arrived, the kind man carried her to ensure she got in this time.

As her parents anxiously waited for her at the next station, they feared if the random man would hand over their daughter. After few minutes, the man got down from the train with the sobbing little girl in his arms. Her parent’s joy knew no bounds and they couldn’t be grateful enough to the man.

20 years later, she is no longer little. As the girl heads out for work, her father looks at her and wonders, “What if we lost her that day at the station? What if he never brought her back? Very painful to imagine. God Bless the man!”


P.S: The little girl was me!

#AtoZChallenge- Kiss

She entered, I stared.

She smiled, I blushed.

She saw, I hid.

She called, I rejoiced.

She approached, I panicked.

She spoke, I stammered.

She texted, I smiled.

She sought, I  helped.

She exclaimed, I wondered.

She grumbled, I heard.

She criticized, I eulogized.

She failed, I sympathized.

She expressed, I empathized.

She implied, I understood.

She asked, I devoted.

She tried, I cheered.

She won, I celebrated.

She wished, I fulfilled.

She loved, I worshiped.

She touched, I bounced.

She kissed, I flew.

#AtoZChallenge- Juxtaposition

The wedding date was getting closer. Jane was as nervous as she was excited. After all, she was going to marry Dev. Dev belonged to one of the many successful Indian immigrant families living in New York. They met during their time at NYU and it didn’t take long for them to get along. Love blossomed and they decided to get married after 4 years or courtship.

Dev was an American but his family had strong Indian roots. Though they had been living in the States for more than two decades, they tried their best to follow and practice Indian customs and traditions. Thus when Dev decided to get married to a Blonde American girl, it became an obvious reason for his parent’s worry. When Jane met Dev’s parents for the first time, she realized how things that are different actually mattered. Even the color of  her hair made her feel like an outsider. When their first meeting wasn’t as welcoming as Jane wished for, she got apprehensive with the idea of marrying someone from a completely different world. Dev sensed her fears and assured her that it won’t take long for his parents to understand his choice.

Meanwhile, Dev tried to make Jane understand his family’s sentiments, customs and their importance. Jane could never stop comparing them to her own belief’s and perspectives. In spite of all the dilemma, she was sure of one thing. She loved Dev like no other. The culture that she found intimidating might actually be the reason to Dev’s personality, she felt. The couple realized the importance of their differences as they constantly compared and contrasted the idea of marriage in both cultures. They began to understand their parent’s concerns from either side on why they weren’t against their wedding but were worried about the consequences. They decided to accept and respect sentiments from both cultures and follow the ones that worked for them as a couple.

The juxtaposing of both their cultures gave them a broader outlook and made them realize the basis of their relationship. As a result they understood each other better and promised one another with the best of both cultures. Though nervous, Jane was thus assured that her decision was indeed enriching and rewarding.

#AtoZChallenge- Introspection


Jeanne just got out from a meeting. She came to know that the promotion she was eagerly waiting for just got out of her hands. After a busy day of realizing that all her hard work was in vain, she headed out looking for a cab. She could not stop thinking about her missed promotion. How her plans of building a house upon her promotion got shattered and how life has always been unfair to her. While she was already tired after a long day, her retrospection only added to her discomfort. She couldn’t sleep all night as she was busy blaming her luck. She was unable to understand how she never got what she expected from life.

Jeanne was a dreamer. She was also an achiever who had the courage to follow her dreams. But something always hindered her from relishing her accomplishments. Too much retrospection? Or being too self-centered? She wasn’t aware. She always pinned high hopes and expectations from life. It could be her dream school, career or a relationship or her to-do list of life events. Nothing came to life as planned. Nothing worked in her favor according to her.

The next morning, Jeanne’s mother noticed her puffy red eyes and inquired what went wrong. Her mother was accustomed to Jeanne’s mentality of always complaining and worrying about her fate. She tried to console Jeanne of how everything will be alright, but in vain. As usual, Jeanne whined-  “Why me?! Why do things happen to me?”

Exhausted by her daughter’s outlook and worried about her irrelevant misery, her mother said, “Nothing happened to you! Not being promoted is not the end of the world! You should understand by now that not everything in life happens as you plan. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Things happen for a reason. You will be promoted when you really need to be.”

But I worked so hard for it, hoping to start the house. I’ve waited enough now”, Jeanne sighed.

I know you worked hard dear. There are too many people working way harder than you just to have a basic roof over their head. Stop this attitude of blaming fate and cursing life for not going as you planned. The key is to be thankful for your blessings and accomplishments, whenever you feel dejected”, her mother explained.

And why do you restrict yourself to start something only when you accomplish something? What’s wrong in starting the house now without the promotion? It may take longer to repay but that should be okay“, she added. Jeanne nodded in agreement.

If you get promoted next year, you could repay faster as well. Either way, it’s the same. The promotion has nothing much to do here. Stop fretting about why things don’t happen as you want and learn to accept and solve your situations, as worry cannot make you any better“, she emphasized.

After this conversation with her mother, Jeanne felt lighter. She had been piling up the agony of blaming life and feeling unfortunate than she actually was. She slowly realized that she needed to monitor and mold her thought process away from the idea of feeling like a victim of her life. She was amazed at how a positive perspective of a situation could completely change the way she felt about it. After all, all she needed was introspection and not retrospection, she realized.