Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Burial of a Wasteland

The Wasteland
peeks from the bookshelf
and spreads out
to my barren heart

wherein lies buried
a past well-lived
a soul well-wounded
hurts like Prufrock
measured in teacups

"the neither living nor dead"
a dried flower in a book
or another wasted metaphor

I have no more poems maybe
I am a poet
ready for a burial

Thursday, October 31, 2019

My precious warrior

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

the numb ache
in your intense eyes
those warm hands
that often forget 
they have the map to home

I see the black hole
in your soul
that hides beneath
the colors and patterns
you scroll

you the precious warrior
-the bearer of light
inhale, exhale, pause
till the lighthouse
again shines bright

Wait till your halo
reflects back
remember, spring is never
too far behind!

Friday, October 11, 2019


Every girl that is born here, in spite being unwelcome mostly
Every girl that fights for equal nutrition, equal education
Every girl who doesn't bow down to bullying or harassment
Every girl who claims her body as it is and doesn't take labels
Every girl who says clearly "menstruation" and owes it
Every girl who decides what her life would be
professionally and personally
Every girl who knows her reproductive choices and exercises them without guilt
Every girl who becomes an every woman with agency
Every girl who shuns glorification of motherhood
Every girl who speaks her mind whatever the price be
and with blood and sweat pays the way for girls to be
Every other person who identifies herself as SHE

Image via: Blogchatter

Written for #CauseAChatter' 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

World Mental Health Day: Lessons from 2019

Just in September I wrote ten poems about mental health as #MentalHealthPoet , earlier this year I did the #AtoZ Blogging Challenge again 26 posts about mental health. My book Mental Health:A Primer is also now available of Kindle.

I also started writing a mental health column for The Financial Express and spoke about it at various initiatives too like that of US Pain Foundation Storyathon and at Virtual Syahi's Humanity ki Chain.

I also became part of teaching the Disability competencies to MBBS students and hence delved deeper into the role of Medical Humanities in making our healthcare system better,

So all in all it has been a year that saw me actively engaging with mental health as an invisible disability and moving from the space of just a survivor with lived experience and read knowledge to an activist who now was ready to go one step ahead and start putting my first-hand lessons and research about both Fibromyalgia and mental health to use for awareness and community and peer support.

Image result for world mental health day

Here are a few lessons I want to share today accumulated from these various experiences:

Family can sometimes be the most oppressive system and space, including birth families.

I have known so many daughters still nursing the "mother wound", so many men still not over the trauma of witnessing domestic violence or being a victim to it, so many instances of child abuse both emotional and physical sometimes by parents.

Mental Health is an evolving state of being just like physical health.

Mental health conditions can be a temporary disability and sometimes permanent though invisible. I know people like me having high-functioning mental health conditions and the effort they demand to survive with them and also people who had depression/anxiety but came over it and now manage their mental health better.

Mental Health Conditions are not painless.

It is ironic that in public perception mental health conditions are considered painless, whereas these manifest in physical ways hugely and can cause immense physical pain or heighten already existing physical health conditions as well.

Changing the language about mental health is crucial.

It makes a huge difference when we don't say "committed suicide" and say died by suicide, we de-criminalize a mental health crisis. When we portray people with disability as just their disability for instance he is schizophrenic we dehumanize them, instead saying he is a person who survives schizophrenia is more human.

Social Media works as a two-way tool for Mental health.

Social media has become such an inseparable part of our lives and can sometimes assist in expression of stress and finding resources and connect but also lead to more social stress and burden of expectations to have a perfect life causing anxiety sometimes.

It is World Mental health Day today and the theme is SUICIDE PREVENTION, I believe it is a long drawn process and can only be addressed by putting mental health as a priority in our lives just like physical health.

Monday, September 30, 2019

#MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for mental health as disability

Between Pedagogy
Technical glossary
Medical terminology
Is an "I"

A person, an entity
a somebody
who you deny

Unhealthy? Yes.

Read my A to Z Challenge posts about Mental Health Awareness

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

ANOREXIA #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for Anorexia

I am caged
sentenced in

I can't see me
What I see
is a perception

or an illusion
my body is
in revolution

You can read a factual post about Eating Disorders  HERE

Find more resources for Anorexia Disorder here.

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

PTSD #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

the ones
without walls

come as nightmares

Reliving the pain
the loops 
in the mind's terrain

Trauma has a future
a continuous refrain
the murmurs of a restless brain

Monday, September 23, 2019

ALZHEIMER'S #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for Alzheimer

Slowly the fading
of memories, faces
and words

the dimming down 
of identity

becoming nobody
person > name > number
existing in a slumber

It is a long haul
till you give it up all
or life develops
an app for life recall!

You can read more from me about mental health HERE.

Find more resources about Alzheimer's HERE.

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Friday, September 20, 2019

OCD #Mentalhealth #MyFriendAlexa

I try and try and try
Straight lines
only one color
one thing stuck
like a stray kite

They call it "disorder"
I call it my kind of right
I know it's annoying
But it isn't a choice
you know, alright?

You can read a factual post about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder HERE

Find more information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder here

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

DYSLEXIA #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for dyslexia
Image courtesy:LigatureJournal

D for?
D for?
they repeat and repeat

can a straight line
into a circle retreat?

Words jump off the page
Is learning a cage?

I learn differently
Am I different then consequently?

D for Disability
D for Dyslexia
D for Diversity

You can read a factual post about DYSLEXIA  HERE

Find support and guidance here Dyselxia Association of India

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

BIPOLAR #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for bipolar
Image:Google Images

Everywhere there is also
a Prozac Nation
a swing between
utter despair and elation

In the mirror
someone else resides
in the mind
another me hides

It takes a lot
to be a battlefield
of identity

Do you see me sometimes?

Do you see me?

You can read a factual post about Bipolar Disorder HERE

Some useful resources can be found at the International Bipolar Foundation

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

SUICIDE PREVENTION #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for hand on window pane
Google Image

A closed window
a nailed pane
or pain?

No sunshine
been a week
have been weak?

life an ongoing scene

what could have been!

You can read a factual post about SUICIDE PREVENTION here.

2019 World Suicide Prevention Day banner in English
Banner courtesy: IASP #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Friday, September 6, 2019

DEPRESSION #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for depression
Image: Google Images

It has sharp claws
deep, dark eyes
fangs fatal

I smile often
I walk often
I look happy

It is real
it has name
it stays with me
rides on my soul

You can read a factual post about DEPRESSION here.

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

ANXIETY #MentalHealth #MyFriendAlexa

Image result for anxiety
Image Courtesy: IMPACT magazine

Holding onto the last straw 
as they say
with my sweaty shaking hands

trying to calm the pacing breath
the shivering in my spine

I step out 
with a rebel body and mind
mine yet not mine

I am not your "normal"
but equal
if the scale to measure
is not blind to mental health
and we are all partly functional !


You can read a factual post about Anxiety HERE

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

To Him

Somewhere there
I have told him
I shall no longer
seek his company
I shall not ever now
pick roses for him
sit looking at him
with longing-full eyes
write passionate verses
 for his hands
I will not touch
the cold domains of his heart
with my burning pain

Until next lifetime
it is a break up 
O mehboob-e-illahi !

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

F-Rated: Being a Woman Filmmaker in India: Book Review

Paperback: 280 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (January 1, 2019)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 9353029511

ISBN-13: 978-9353029517

This first book by academician and film columnist Nandita Dutta who has earlier written at several platforms exclusively about films opens with a thoughtful quote:

‘When a woman makes a film that is a radical act in itself.’– Ava DuVernay (first African-American female filmmaker nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 2014 for Selma)

In the introduction itself the author states the almost obvious:
\A simple counting exercise online reveals that, out of the 116 Bollywood films released in 2018, only seven were directed by women. The year before that, 2017, saw the release of 120 films out of which only eleven were directed by women. That’s women directing less than ten per cent of the total films, in one of the biggest film industries in the world, two years in a row.”

Dutta’s style is that of a seasoned film critic fused with that of a well-read academic researcher and entices the reader to get engrossed in the stories of the 11 women filmmakers.

She defines in detail this term too and its issues in the introduction itself.  She opens the book with the chapter about Aparna Sen and brings many interesting anecdotes from her life both as an actress and then later as a director. The nuances of being a single mother to two daughters and a professional woman are stated and seem to be true for most women even today. She says:

“I never felt that I had to be less of a woman to be more of a director”

The directors like Mira Nair who have looked at and altered world cinema with an Indian/Indian diaspora lens have been looked at from their specific contexts and film making canons and in chapters dealing with directors like Tanuja Chandra, Farah Khan and Meghna Gulzar she delves into the problematic space of the patriarchal industry almost run in a feudal manner.

She delves into the other intermingling and multi-layered spaces of films made by women and films about women too and gets the reader re-look at their perception of women in films both on and off screen and the characters they portray.

In the chapters about directors like Reema Kagti, Anjali Menon and Shonali Bose the author explores the stories of women filmmakers trying to push the margin more and more towards the center, removing the baggage of being “woman” and just being a marginalized voice with a difference challenging the mainstream discourses. Anjali Menon says being called a woman filmmaker “…sounds like a discount coupon.”

In Nandita Das’ chapter the author says, “The juggernaut of the Hindi film industry works on labels and perceptions-once you set yourself in a mold, it is impossible to get out of it.”
In Meghna Gulzar’s chapter a film as recent as the 2018 release Raazi is brought into the narrative and in context to the fact that while the directors agree that the film industry is now more open to films that are “female-led” most of these directors do not want the tag of “women-oriented” cinema.

Through Kiran Rao’s chapter the author brings on the various hats some of these women wear so well ranging from moms, star-wives to social icons and via Alankrita Srivastava’s filmography delves into the problems of portraying Indian women’s sexuality.
The after word sums up well her struggles in getting all these stories together and out there and issues like subtle sexism, toxic positivism in the industry and the “mothering” model of leadership for women.

The cover by Sourav Das with the overpowering glossy black F kind of defines the unique space of this book.

F-Rated: Being a Woman Filmmaker in India is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.
My rating : 4/5

This review is part of the Blogchatter Book review Program.

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To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!