Lessons and Wisdom from Hindi Music

So many life lessons, wisdom, and pure bliss and serenity can be found in old music and lyrics. I have always had a strange connection with old movies, Hindi especially as I grew up in an Indian household, but also a lot of English songs. This is one of my favorites-Kuch to Log Kahenge. I used to be a very shy and passive little girl, but as a woman, I transformed into someone that takes no wrongdoings by others. I set standards for my life and learned to be very assertive and confident. I broke stereotypes and learned to travel alone in the world as a female. I survived harassment and things women face that men perpetuate or or oblivious to. I learned to pull myself up, dust myself off, get back in the field called life and well people will say things, its their job to gossip, forget useless things, do not let the rain pass. I love dancing in the rain! I love puddles and walking in the snow too! I draw smiley faces on my car when it snows! I learned to live my life with God’s grace and happiness, not what the society, status quo, or especially the Indian orthodox or conservative beliefs and discrimination towards women and their happiness and rights in life, decide. I proved to my family that I can travel solo at 23 years of age to Europe, solo female Euro backpacking trip during my grad school break. I was also working full time as a nurse at the time. I did tons of overtime, saved money, planned and took off on an adventure that taught me essential life skills, survival skills, confidence, and self worth. I learned to be street smart along with being book smart. I built my character and language skills by emerging in different cultures. I faced adversities and built strength through those challenging. That is why I love travel and made it my lifestyle. Forget what people say,; you cannot please everyone. It is impossible. Everyone will pull you in different directions. Learn to stand up for yourself. Listen and follow your heart and calling. Life is too short to be a slave of other people’s limited thinking and closed mindedness. and I just love Rajesh Khanna. I must have lived in that generation and been a fan!

Women deserve so much more respect and equality than what the patriarchal Indian society preaches. Women’s lives are destroyed in name of certain “traditions” and practices. No one ever questions the man, for he is entitled to have a woman delivered to him in his parents’ house. Women sacrifice so much, their whole lives, to be miserable. This next song is one of my other favs! I love how free spirit he is in this song, and it inspires me so much!

❤ Rajesh Khanna! The lyrics are so right on about life! Can’t put life on hold to live!

He goes by Gateway of India! I love Mumbai!! Childhood memories and memories of my best friend and my India trip! Everyone comes in this world crying, true! Babies cry or are made to cry to check for breathing when they are born! APGARS newborn assessment! Then they learn to laugh and smile!

Life of service of helping others is a life well lived. I chose Nursing as a career because it is my calling. I care less about profit. I actually hate money. Instead, my reward is the health of my patients, the smiles on kids’ face, the laughs with my friends and family, the travels and deep conversations with people all over the world over free breakfast at hostels and challenging myself to climb higher mountains. Health is wealth.

This song inspired me: maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne chune, is how I feel about my parents. I live for them. I make sacrifices for them. Ever since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with this song. Choti choti baaton ki hai yaadein badi, bhule nahi beeti hui ek choti ghadi. Small memories of my childhood and sacrifices my parents made, their struggle, I will never forget. I vowed to give them a better life. I take them traveling and out to dinner, movies. How can a woman be snatched from her life giving parents to serve someone’s else parents. Not fair, in this Indian society. I stick to my duty of being there for my parents.

This is my free spirit and my this generation love Sharukh Khan since I am a 90s kid after all. Rajesh Khanna is my old school Hero! I love this song as it was my anthem when I followed my dreams after becoming a RN 6 years ago and moving to India for 6 months and volunteering with NGOs in free clinics and community public health in my home state. I learned to be so independent living in Gandhi Ashram, boiling my own water daily, no heater and it got cold at night by the river, washing my clothes by hand daily and hanging to dry, and working 6 days a week for free. My paycheck was love of God and the community I was serving. The family I reunited with in India, the nieces and nephews that grew up in my arms and I was there for their first steps! Every travel adventure, this song is so me:

I take no BS! Dance it off! Dancer for life! Every time I travel or emark on a new trip, I remember how I defied the odds to be where I am now. From no money for school lunch and sleeping on the floor, to funding my own trips! Khud pe hi hum ko yakeen ho, mushkile raah ki aasan ho! Have faith in yourself, the problems in your path become easier.

Laanat hai ji uspar,

Laanat Hai Ji Uspar, Duniya Mein Hi Rehkar
It's a shame on all those, who are living in this world
Duniya Mein Jo Jeene Ke Andaaz Ko Na Jaane
But still haven't learned how to live
Maathe Yahan Thope
They bang their heads (curse/complain)
Chaand Ya Taaron Mein
On the moon and the stars
(Pointing out to those people who lead a life based on Horoscope/Astrological Charts)
Kismat Ko Dhoondhein Par Khud Mein Kya Hai Ye Na Jaane
They search for good luck, but they don't recognize their own talents (skills) 
Khud Pe Hi Humko Yakeen Ho
We should believe in ourselves
Mushkilein Raah Ki Aasaan Ho
Then the difficulties in the path of life will get easy
Donon Haathon Mein Ye Jahaan Ho
And we shall have the world in both our hands

Life is short, make it special.

So how do I make travel affordable?

This movie, her character, Shah rukh’s wisdom has been anthem to last several years. What women go through.

Screenshot_20181219-112309_Pinterest

Ok friends, let me let you in on a little secret. shhh.

Well, what is a secret anyway? I think there is a joy in sharing knowledge and experience, so in today’s blog entry, I will write about how I make traveling the world affordable. People always ask me, or “tell me, but it is too expensive?!” blah blah blah.

Here is a recap on my childhood. I am part of an immigrant family that moved to this country when I was only 7 years old. We had a decent life in India, spent my childhood playing with friends, running on the streets, etc. Cannot complain. After moving to this country though, we struggled, a lot. I struggled to fit in as a child who had to learn English all of a sudden, but I managed. I learned Spanish, Somali, Japanese in the process too with my new diverse friends. Our finances, however, were poor. We lived in a bad neighborhood with no safety. I grew up often sleeping on the floor or roll out bed. I shopped at the thrift store, and my family’s idea of dinner nights were at fast food places. We had no family vacations except the free passes we got to local amusement parks from my dad’s job. My mother and father worked double shifts day and night to make ends meet while supporting family in India. I grew up in a tiny apartment with gunshots in the neighborhood, and girls being stalked, robberies, and kids being kidnapped. I grew up not feeling safe in my own neighborhood or home. I got my 1st job at 15 years of age at the school store through personal finance class where I was proud of the $5 per hour wage. I skipped lunch to work, and starved many days. That work ethic never left me. I saw and lived struggle, from harassment to lack of money. My parents could not even afford a house for their family growing up because of this struggle. I envied my friends who lived in houses and I would sleepover and have slumber parties, things little girls love to do! Our UNO and card games, secrets, and pillow fights. I learned to work hard and be my own hero, and learned to value and put my family first. Money was never a reward, instead, I knew if I worked hard, God would give me the money I need and more. I used my 1st paycheck after I turned 18, since I could not do this before 18, to sponsor a girl child in India to get her education. I, myself, growing up poor, knew that giving is the real means of life. Someone always has it worse than you. That childhood, taught me to be the financially savvy woman that I am today. I learned habits and tricks to stretch every dollar or rupee and travel the world for cheap, and free sometimes. I make every dollar work for my advantage, and that of my friends, as I have given my friends free flights too with my reward points.

My life goal is not to be a millionaire. I hate expensive things and materialism. I like simplicity and this less is more. I love walking around in gym clothes, and hate designer clothes. I do not like jewelry, Gold, or silver. I do not waste my money on these things. Instead, I save. I use coupons, and credit cards with travel rewards. The two best travel reward cards out there are Capital One Venture One AND Chase Sapphire. With these, I manage to get free flights, to Mexico, other US states, and free hotel stays. I also got travel expenses reimbursed from my trips to India, South America, Europe. If I spend $1000 on a trip, I somehow get 10-20% back in the long run through these points and miles. I have been upgraded for free in world class airlines such as Emirates from Economy to 1st class due to my miles. It is all about accumulating miles. If I know I have a big purchase coming up, I use the card which will give me more points for every dollar spent. People spend extra money to stay in fancy hotels and traveling excursions, while I find deals and bargain. When I was in Cozumel Mexico, I bargained the cost of zip-lining down to what I thought was OK. Some cases, if I know local people need this money, I will give it to them, but for large corporations or for-profit, I have no mercy. I have a NGO and non-profit mentality. I spent my 1st year as a nurse volunteering for free in India, but it was the best year of my life. Money does not buy happiness; experiences do.

Credit card miles and points are great and all, but also keep up to date with coupons. I recently bought an electric toothbrush for $3, which was originally $8. I used a reward bucks with the local pharmacy and multiple discount codes. I have bad allergies, and know when I will be running out of medications, so I am sure to save up coupons and has HSA aka health savings account to bridge the gap between insurance and high deductible out of pocket costs. Some things are more expensive than they need to be in this country, unfortunately, even healthcare providers have medical bills and expenses and poor insurance coverage. Having a health savings account comes in handy and is very valuable for today’s times. I also have had phases without insurance, and that is when I had gotten Pneumonia and was very sick. I, myself a healthcare provider, treating others daily, had no insurance for 3 months during my new job, and had so many out of pocket costs. I used my old HSA card from previous job and GoodRx app discounts to pay $0 for all of my medications.

Many things are not fair in life. We are not given what we want so God can teach us to grow and turn ourselves into the best version of ourselves. I grew up without vacations, but now travel the world. I grew up shopping at the thrift store, including buying my interview outfit from there for my 1st Nurse practitioner job, to traveling the country for medical conferences being in a room learning from highly intelligent and caring colleagues of physicians, NPs, and PAs. I went from being shy and timid being a victim of harassment and stalking, to standing up for women in the workplace against workplace harassment and any man that tries to control me or display signs of abusive behavior. Money is just money, it will come and go, but our own strength and wisdom, street smarts, and book smarts, knowledge and experience, will help us conquer life. The value of $1 is that of 1 million for me, and will always be, and 1 million dollars, will mean nothing to me. Money never excites me. Adventure does. Growth does. Deep intellectual conversations about life does.

 

Indian Traditions-The Joint Family

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BcYf_h28SYY&feature=youtu.be   relationships are not bussiness deals, women are not objects, but that is how women are treated through Indian “tradition.”                                                      I love and value my Indian culture, make time to go to India often, keep my family united through get togethers in India, trained four years in Kathak as a spiritual and culture dance practice and devotion to God, can read and write my native language Gujarati, and speak 4 languages, grew up fasting a week every year since I was 5 years old in the name of religion for being a woman, built a temple from scratch with my own hands buying wood as my devotion to God and my culture, travel to different parts of India and live and study different ethnic groups and religions within India from Islam to Christianity, to Buddhism, to Judaism, study my own spiritual guide the Bhagavad Gita, and consider God my best friend, and for years, hung a large Indian flag in my room, but some orthodox Indian practices shock me. I am all about family as I care for my parents and am breadwinner, but I needed to do this as women are seen as subpar in today’s generation. Son in laws are given status of king or God, while daughter in laws are treated like maids. The woman’s family treats the SIL as jamai raja aka king son in law, while the girl is well just defined by how much she cooks, how well she cooks, how she cleans, massages in laws feet, and obeys her husband. A woman, her friends, family, are not important. They pay dowry, even if illegal, which it is. Their biggest investment, their own blood, their heart, their daughter is to serve wishes of her male partner and his parents per tradition. They give jewelry and money, pay for lavish weddings, for their daughter as per tradition, woman’s family is to bow down to man’s family. In this progressive society, this still exists sadly. Per tradition, man would never move for a woman, but a woman gives up her whole life for a man to not even leave his parents’ house. How is this even ethical. Luckily, I have strong male role models such as my brother and male friends who treat their wives and wives’ friends and family as their equals. My brother who moved for his wife, a strong, intelligent, lovely woman. My friends who did that for their partners or met half way. I am proud to have strong role models, men and women. I also know how some traditions are…  https://www.quora.com/Why-do-wives-play-divisive-games-in-Indian-families-and-then-expect-their-sons-and-daughters-in-laws-to-remain-in-joint-family            another one: https://m.hindustantimes.com/sex-and-relationships/do-you-know-why-women-ask-potential-partners-if-they-stay-in-a-joint-family-read-on/story-1T2ypbPdPjFCOU1Zm0fspO.html       another one:    https://www.google.com/amp/s/indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/i-will-never-live-in-a-joint-family-it-has-its-roots-in-patriarchy-and-benefits-only-men/amp/    to be continued… http://lifeofanindianhomemaker.blogspot.com/2008/07/joint-family-and-indian-daughters.html?m=1   more research that validates real life examples  https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/breathing-space-in-a-marriage/article2663205.ece    In many instances, these structures worked in past. Often times, when a woman loses herself and her identity to transform unless major sacrifices are made from everyone. Or she has no other family around or is imported from out of country and totally dependent. In traditional ways though, the man is always right. A woman is just a housewife for that is her value. I see so many women suffer and put up with abuse. Why? Support your families, but do not be a slave. It is beautiful and so important to care for our parents, and even have them move in with adult children years later, especially in ill health or financial crisis, after retirement, but it is a two way street, unlike the way Indian the way Indian traditional system operates. I see my parents as my responsibility and love them more dearly than my life, but because I am a woman, tradition dictates my priority is to be give up my being and ties to be a submissive housewife and daughter in law. If a woman is willing to leave her parents and hometown for a new life with a man, it is only ethical and equal for both parties to meet half way or find middle ground. A man’s career is not more important than a woman’s, and vise versa. It is about equality. Woman are taught to compromise and sacrifice; men are not. Good men do though because they respect their partners as equal, like my brother and male friends, colleagues, father. A woman is not wild or bold for having an opinion on how she wants to live the life God gave her, and a man is not less of a man for being sensitive, showing emotions, cooking, or respecting his female partner. A strong independent and intelligent woman will want a life partner, not a man with a large bank account or properties. Money will never interest a wise woman, for she will work her butt off to feed her family and make a living with her brains and hard work. A strong woman will want her equal, and Indian traditions and most joint family systems brainwash men and women into gender stereotypes and roles to prevent both man, and woman, from reaching their potential in life. Time, trust, and respect, three things money cannot buy. Women are not replaceable table mats or play dough that the joint family traditional system sees as. Men are not machines who do not have emotions. Humans are humans, plain and simple. Joint families explicitly, or inexplicability, control the woman, and that is in no way shape or form acceptable or OK. Learn to say NO and walk away. The ones that do not, are rare and often involve major sacrifices, boundaries, open-mindedness, and changes, from every one, which very traditional or orthodox beliefs do not leave room for open-mindedness. Do not let your future generations be impacted by closed mindedness. Be the man, or woman, that you want your future generation to have values of. Do not let tradition dictate your role as a woman. Do you really want your child to grow up seeing how all decisions were controlled by the father and paternal grandparents only, to give up her career to move countries or states for the man, or to have no hobbies, friends, or dreams. Is that how you want your daughter to imagine her future? Is that how you want to teach your daughter that it is OK for a man to use you for time pass or back up option for months while he is open to new “better” girls or romantic interests. Or how he cannot make time to see you until it is convenient for him, not you, and when with you, is on his phone. Is that how you want your daughter to think is acceptable for a man to treat her, and is that how you want your son to treat a woman? Calling or preferring to women “chicks” as adult men, not teenagers shows how much “respect” some men really have for women.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/30/bird-infantilising-hold-women-back

Is that how you want your son to refer to girls, or your daughter to be another “chick” who could not satisfy male ego. Traditional joint family system instills that in a man, it is not about equal partnership or respect for a woman and her time, instead it is about locking down a daughter in law whose education and career, hobbies, goals, talents, are all just to look good on paper, and expects her to be a different person. Any healthy family or relationship has boundaries of respect, equality, privacy, and trust, and most joint families, at least the traditional ones, do not allow that as the man is king, and woman is questioned “why are you going on your business trip or furthering your education, or moving for a job more suitable for your career growth, or traveling with your friends, a girls’ trip, and not me?” A man is never questioned those things. He is supported, always. A man can leave his pregnant wife to new mom of infants to go on guys’ trips with friends, party, business trips and work 24/7 away from home without question, and woman will step up to plate and take care of everything as that is how women are conditioned. Women, on the other hand, are not to have independent or personal lives or career lives outside of their joint families aka husband and his parents. If a man is too “busy” with work and more work or professional opportunities, and therefore has not time for his partner or children, it is acceptable as he is conditioned to be “making money for his family, what a Greek God!” If a woman stays late for work to help others, or out of necessity or takes up extra hobbies, she is seen as why isn’t she making gourmet meals or spending extra time with the kids. It is a two way street and equal compromise, and Indian joint families most often do not allow that or respect that. Joint families dictates everything from when and what food one eats, to clothes one wears, to names of children, how they are raised, to every major decision. A woman put a stone on her heart to move away from her aging, ill, and dependent parents to create a new life with her spouse, then why are men conditioned to think they cannot or should not? It goes both ways.

In today’s day and age, when it is so important to live on alone and learn independence, start your own life, which is why people move out for college, or work, or travel, some people never have lived a day alone in their life managing their own home. I make it a point that even when I am traveling long term, like in the past, I did my own laundry, by hand, or machine if available, cooked or prepared my own food instead of eating out all the time, and budgeted wisely, often living on less than $15 a day including lodging/hostel/air bnb/hotel. I had made it a point to live alone from my parents for personal growth, independence, and managing everything on my own. Personal Growth is so important.

It is the 21st century, not 1900s where women had no say in career or education, family planning, or lifestyle, especially when they are so educated and career oriented too. I managed to travel the world while working full time and being a full time grad student in the past, I made time. I no longer have patience for people who use time or money as an excuse, definitely not wasting my time. In laws have no right to decide how a daughter in law lives her life or her kids. This is not 1800s of uneducated people. Some people are trained in Pediatrics and hold 7 years of college education and 7 years of nursing education taking care of the sickest children and families, guiding parents how to raise their children from pregnancy, newborns, to adolescents through well child checks and sick visits. Anyone who undervalues your education or opinion, is not worth it. Blind faith is called blind faith for a reason. It is one thing to be spiritual, and another to be practical and look at safety and well being of the humans being involved. Health is emotional, mental, and physical well being, not just physical. Joint families rob women of all of this. Every woman dreams of buying her own house with her spouse for her children to grow up in, and it is their own filled with memories and love. In today’s generation, women earn just as much if not more than men, and can finance the house on their own too, yet in joint families, women’s opinion do not matter, or not taken seriously as elders and men always come 1st, at least not in “traditional” families.

 

The biggest tabboo, women cannot wear shorts and tank top without shaving her legs, or with shaven legs, for what will her father in law or brother in law think in 100 degree weather. Oh but it is her own house, no? She has no shame! Oh she has her period, that is why she is cranky, because she is in pain, and fatigued, but no, she is lazy (if she needs extra sleep or rest) and dirty (because she is bleeding, can men bleed 5 days in a row and go to work? I think not. Women do all the time. We use put a tampon in or wear a pad.) because she is undergoing a natural process called menstruation. It is anything but dirty or impure, as if a woman’s ovaries did not release eggs into the uterus through the fallopian tubes to be implanted on the endometrium, well the sperm would have never been able to fertilize the egg to create a human being. That is how all humans are created and born. When egg does not get fertilized, because you know, women do not walk around getting pregnant every month, the uterine lining aka endometrium sheds through hormonal changes which cause PMS symptoms including severe abdominal and pelvic pain in some women, and that is bleeding every month. It is the egg and the tissue that nourishes the egg waiting for it to be fertilized or giving it support if it is turns into an embryo. Joint families and blind faith or orthodox traditions stem from lack of education and respect for women. Women are told not to pray, touch the temple, do any ceremonies, or partake in celebrations, etc etc.. I work my life to break these taboos including my 6 month volunteering with NGOs in Gujarat India from 2012-2013. I empowered young women and girls, educated them on their bodies. Why would I let a joint family discriminate me exactly what I strive to break discrimination about with other women who look up to me. Someday, the elders in the joint family would try to dictate how I raise my children. Grandparents guide, parents decide. They do not get to tell my girl child to be ashamed of her body, or boy child that he cannot cry or play with dolls if he wants. Unfortunately, I see this all the time with joint families. https://youtu.be/ZCY7yhgmNG4  So proud to see how far India has come in ways with menstruation, yet some families still practice this discrimination.

Self care

As a healthcare provider and woman, I think this post is very important to my fellow women or healthcare providers. I will open up about something I have written about before, but not explicitly. Currently, I have the Flu. It has hit me all of a sudden, as with Influenza virus. I am medicated as I knew the symptoms and seek help fast, and I also had my Influenza vaccine, so it gives some protection. I still caught the Flu from my patients. I use all the infection control protocol, Clorox and Bleach disinfecting the whole exam room, Lysol spray, washing hands a million times, wearing a mask all the time, and using hand sanitizer every 2 minutes. I do everything to keep myself and others from getting sick, but the Influenza virus is spread in droplets through airborne and contact precautions. I know to stay hydrated with a lot of liquids, water, and try to eat a light diet such as soup and rice. It is hard as I can barely drink half a cup of soup without feeling nauseated and do not have an appetite. I know how my patients feel when they say they feel like they were hit by a bus when they have the Flu because I woke up yesterday feeling like something robbed all the energy out of me, myalgia (muscle pain), headaches, chills, fever, sweating, nausea. I used to have the strongest immune system, but I had to call off work due to my symptoms and go see my own PCP for medication. I knew there is no way I can work almost 11 hours while feeling so miserable. For the safety of my patients and myself, I needed to call off. I hope I recover fast with all the rest and sleep I will try to get and Tamiflu medication. Healthcare providers are in the worst position as we do not even get sick days. We are looked down upon for calling off when our very jobs get us sick. I love caring for others and it is my passion to using my medical knowledge, skills, and training to make others feel better. That does not change the fact we are humans too. We are not machines. We need self care to cope and recover from illness. Healthcare providers have this innate guilt of always being there for others, and not knowing what it feels like for someone to care for them. That is why I emphasize self care to my patients and try to practice it myself. It prevents burnout so we can continue to be there for others. You cannot serve from an empty cup, and definitely not from being ill.

Here are my favorite self care tips.

  1. Rest when you need to. No need to explain to anyone else or get anyone’s approval. If your mind or body needs physical rest or emotional unwinding, prioritize it. Anyone that respects and cares for you enough, will support you, not make you feel guilty for taking “me time.” I teach this concept to patients all the time. Humans need to recharge, some more than others. Introverts especially. I need peace and quiet. I cannot stand too much loud noise or large crowds for too long. It is a matter of personality. Extroverts recharge in company of others.
  2. Drink a lot of water during the day, at least 8 cups, but more if you are sick for acute infection as your body will be more likely to get dehydrated.
  3. Do activities you enjoy, or make you happy. Life is too short to work 24/7 with no intention of living in the present moment. I make time to do things like exercise, when I am not sick that is. I love writing and blogging, and I am working on a book. I make time for my friends and family to go out to lunch or dinners, trips, or just chilling at someone’s home. Your hobbies and passion make you glow and bring your happiness, so make time for that. Do not lose yourself in trying to please others all the time. I used to be very passive and let others decide things for me and walk all over me as that is what Indian girls are taught to be growing up. I fought that and followed my dreams after making many sacrifices with education and career for my family that only led to resentment or bad situations such as workplace harassement at my old job. That is a whole different post I will do in future. Women deal with so much inhumane things that men do not even realize.
  4. Anxiety is real, and not a made up notion. For me, it is situational from the harassement and abuse I dealt with. I was fine before. For others, it has different triggers, or no trigger at all. I have treated many people for anxiety and depression, yet in the society, especially Indian orthodox sectors of society, people do not understand it. If someone points fingers at you or your past, know that you deserve better. The worst things someone can do is to dismiss someone’s feelings without understanding where they stem from. No human being deserves that. Do what you need to take care of yourself, and the right person will be supportive and not add stressors. True family and friends make your life better or help you cope, not add reasons for anxiety. Journal, talk to your best friends, travel, nap, watch your favorite show, go on a hike, meditate, pray, do what you need to help you. Self-care is not selfish. Each person copes differently. Travel, hiking, dancing, writing, is therapy for me. Each individual needs own time to self-care, and that is perfectly OK, especially for us women. Men can come home and throw their shoes and put their feet on couch while women come home from work to care for the home and family too. How is this OK in the 21st century when it is about equality and partnership. Say NO to anyone or anything compromising your peace of mind. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201507/10-signs-you-re-dating-narcissist%3famp  Time is most valuable asset, one cannot get back months. Time is investment more valuable than money. Do not allow anyone to waste your precious time if you are an option, not a priority. Do not give people second chances when you should have walked away 1st time when you are a back up plan or option while they keep searching for someone better. No one should take 8 months to meet up for 4 hours if unless you are just an option while you made them your priority. Its not matter of having time, its matter of priority. No one should feel alone with you in front of them. No phone call or text email is more important thsn building a real connection with someone. Worst manners or lack of. No date is a bussiness meeting. Women, you are not a man’s therapist or bussiness partner to only talk about himself and his family or bussinness. If he does not care to ever ask about your friends or family, puts you down for having goals, hobbies, own life goals that dont align with his, intelligence and courage to say no, walk away. Self care, not self destruct. This is not 1950s Indian village of auditioning to submissive daughter in law and housewife 101. The right man will be supportive and value the same qualities that make you the individual you are. It will not scare him, or cause insecurity if you earn more or have a successful career that takes you places! It will make him proud have a strong independent woman next to him, not behind in his shadow. Do not lose yourself in pleasing others all the time. Learn to say no and have standards for disrespect. Women, and men, do not let anyone or “orthodox traditions” dictate what career or education choice you make, or what hobbies or friends you have. That is not healthy. Also, this is 21st century. You did not get education,  fight cancer, become strong, travel the world alone building courage as a female, working full time, to be living in orthodox joint family, having a man and his parents control your mind, body, career, hobbies, major life decisions. You are not a puppet. The right man will not make you feel alone, an option, or a puppet. Self care.

The methods of self care are different when you are sick of course. As my PCP (primary care provider) told me today, a fellow colleague, that do not exercise for next few days. You need to rest a lot. She is right. I am the type of person that loves to be active and exercise, dance, workout at the gym, all of which are important for self-care, but not in the case of recovering from a severe viral infection such as the Flu. I can barely eat anything, let alone use up any ATP, or energy storage for exercise. I felt like passing out due to lack of energy and fatigue when walking down the steps this morning. I hate asking for help though from family or friends. Nurses are innate providers and givers, that we care too much, yet we do not let others care for us when we need it. My best friend pointed this out to me when I told her I barely drove to my appointment to get medication. She asked why I did not ask a family member to take me. I said I don’t want to be a bother. I finally asked my mother to make soup for me, as I needed to let others care for me once in a while. We are so used to caring for others, and burning out. I realized it is OK to be cared for.

 

I am getting chills again now, and body aches are back, need to take more pain reliever and sleep.

Breaking Gender Stereotypes

20181230_19551820181230_20162020181230_20163020181230_201644It is almost 2019, and I am so blessed for life and faith. My faith and adversities have made me the woman I am today, far from the shy, passive, and reserved little girl who used to be walked on in the name of “tradition” or “culture.” I reflect back on the last 10 years of how I managed to transform from that girl to this woman. The shy nursing student walking into a patient’s room with her instructor saying you are too quiet, you need to speak up, to the outgoing nurse practitioner that has done mission trips in different continents and had patients tell her they will miss her if she leaves the family practice. I did leave for the sake of other reasons, but I make friends with my colleagues and learn people’s life stories within 15 minutes of their visit. People open up to me saying they can share what they do not with others, something about a therapeutic aura that makes me a healthcare provider. I went from people pointing fingers on my personality being too shy to traveling the world with friends from hundreds of cities. I went from being told by my family, because I am a girl, I cannot do yoga camp in Rishikesh, to traveling India alone to Banaras and Kerala. From my family telling me I cannot go to the best Masters in Public Health Program in the world, Johns Hopkins University, despite being admitted part of the 1% admission rate, to working with NGOs and doing my own public health service in the world.20181230_195341

Women are kept from achieving their goals and dreams for the mere fact of being a female. I witnessed girls being left at a riverbank in India, babies, because of orthodox Indian “traditions” of wanting boy child. I volunteered at that same orphanage and vowed to be a strong role model and help girls and women achieve their goals. I know men who are scared to travel alone, and women, but I captured fear in my hands and let it go! I am my own bodyguard and have similarly met 100s of other women who break gender stereotypes and represent bravery, courage, and wisdom to seek opportunities to grow. Somehow, I end up making friends when I travel and am never truly alone.20181230_195449

I learned to always believe in myself, even if others do not, because I live with the consequences of my actions. I saw how women were and are treated as sub par, or like maids. I see how women are made to sacrifice their whole lives and fulfilling careers made of sweat, blood, and sleepless nights, to be a mold of status quo. It is all a choice of what makes one happy and fulfilled in life. I, for one, am blessed to have a career that lets me use my knowledge to help others and save lives, which I take as my calling and prayer to God. I have seen how women in my family did not get to go to college, or their college degree was just to look nice on paper which no use of it. I make it a point to be strong for my nieces, to look up to.20181230_20252720181230_202537

Another thing on my mind recently as I am very blunt with no filters is the topic of joint families. This whole concept is based on patriarchy from when women did not work and only served the home, to the men bringing money to pay bills. It is based in India and many cultures in the world. I have noticed how it is seen as a birth right and acceptable for men to live with their parents and women to give up her whole life, to be a oppressed and submissive wife and maid really. I have seen how this has turned the strongest women into depressed souls with no life, career, independence, privacy, or hobbies of their own, breaking ties with their own families and best friends. This was the norm back in the day when women were raised to be passive and cook and clean all day, and bear children, and tend to her in laws. I was shocked to discover this still goes on. I question tradition that oppresses women in any way, subtle, or not. Women are not born to be submissive and not have a mind and opinion. In this generation, women and men should be equal, especially considering women can do everything men can and vise verse except the genetic fact that men cannot give birth or continue the human race. Women have to put up with harassment and discrimination in workplace, home, then what type of life is that? She is basically abused due to patriarchy and male egos. The notion of joint families represents men not having to leave the comfort of their childhood homes, and live with their parents, not having to change one thing but adding a roommate. On the other hand, the woman makes sacrifices being uncomfortable and feeling like living like a child being controlled by traditions and in laws which leads to breakdown, depression, and so much agony for the woman, no matter how educated or financially independent she is to buy her own house with her partner. The men benefit, and the women suffer unless there are many compromises and limits of boundaries. I can write a book on the cases of women suffering I have seen. Ignorance and bigotry are dangerous breeding grounds for anxiety and depression, which is a growing epidemic in this world, and I have witnessed and cared for so many cases. What about a woman and her aging parents. What about a woman and her mother’s battle with cancer, or father’s battle with lay off. What about a woman being the breadwinner of the household and taking care of the two people who gave her life and instilled faith in her. What about the woman who works hard so her parents don’t have to worry in their retirement. I learned that to be a woman of God and strength, as Hindu religion Amba mata represents, or Greek goddess Athena, I have stick to my ideals of becoming a better version of myself day by day, and not revert back to the shy timid passive girl. Once a mind has been opened, through traveling the world, it cannot be closed again. Wings are grown to fly, not clipped to be tied down by orthodox beliefs.  I strive to give woman to follow their dreams and stand up for themselves.20181230_203026

La fin dia en Costa Rica

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Last day in Costa Rica. Rico indeed. Rico means beutiful or very good! I learned that word in Colombia during my 2 months South America backpacking trip earlier this year. I use rico to compliment people and food especially when eating out or someone’s cooked meals. Speaking of which, I am staying at a 1915 vintage style hotel called Hotel 1915. I can say that as I am leaving, or else I would never mention name. It is across a police station too! I think this hotel is so cute and elegant! Simple yet rustic. My style. I love the yellow lights, high wooden ceilings, old fashioned doors. The breakfast was free, included technically. Heart healthy! Fruits, orange juice, coffee, fried plantains, and gallo pinto, traditional bean and rice breakfast dish of Costa Rica! Muy rico! My goal is to learn the recipe. I always make it a point to recreate the dishes I fall in love with when traveling such as bean soup of Colombia, potato soup of Ecuador, and now this! A taste of my travels shall stay with me through food and memories. Yesterday, I roamed around until it got dark. After I arrived at Alajuela bus station by the airport from La Fortuna, 4.5 hour bus ride, I called uber using my app. I use uber a lot. It is safer than taxis as it tracks my whereabouts. Crazy story: As I was getting off of the big bus, the lady, solo travelinh with her child, in seat next to mine had a toddler and luggage, so I was like necesita ayuda? I helped her carry her bags so she can carry her son off the bus. Women’s code. Somehow, I bond with women and children all over the world. It is like we have a secret code to look after eachother! Anyway, we got off of the back door, so I did not get to ask the conducter to get out my backbag from the bus storage on the side of the bus. He closed the doors soon as th lady, little boy, and I got off. I ran to the front of the bus and knocked on the door vigorously screaming disculpame. He opened the door, an I was like necesita mi monchilla. I need my backbag. The conducter/driver finally got off the bus to open the storage to get my bag. Close call! I keep nothing valuable in my bookbag anyway. I am a light packer and literally carried my bag on my lap on the bus ride to la Fortuna. Therefore, missed luggage does not bother me, a seasoned traveler. Anyway, then uber driver dropped me to hotel. I just needed by clothes and allergy meds, but I could have bought that in town if needed. I later walked around town to find a good restaurant. Some tex mex with local and central/south American cuisine. Very international and local fusion. It was soo good! I got free desert too! I was so tempted to get Colombian Arepas that I love so much! Instead, I went with enchiladas which were good too! I miss Colombian food! Colombia is one of my fav countries in the world! I made so many friends and memories there! The Colombian cuisine is mouth watering! Costa Rica is very nice too! Each place has it’s own charm and beauty. My backpack is packed and ready to catch uber to airport! Chiao! It is always sad saying goodbye to a new place that starts to feel like home. A piece of traveler’s heart is left in every place he or she lives in. This is not a vacation for me, instead, it is a life lesson and real world education. New streets, food people, finding my way, local public transport, navigating, climbing, hiking, ziplining, rapelling, so many lessons learned. Journey of personal growth. There is no problem that does not have a solution. Anything is possible if one believes. Travel taught me that as a solo female navigating the world on her own, funding her travels and time wisely to make these adventures possible! Si se puede! Yes you can!

Hasta Luego La Fortuna y el Volcan

Screenshot_20181209-083003_Samsung Experience HomeI am so thankful and grateful for what life has given me! The girl who grew up without family vacations, saw Disney only on Disney channel, and too shy, is now metamorphised into a world traveler in the last decade. My youth has been filled with adventure and travels, for education, work, volunteering, and leisure! I am blessed! I do not wait to live life until retirement as tomorow is never guaranteed. Costa Rica has been so lovely and welcoming. I got to know locals. Now, I have to say bye to La Fortuna, cute little town with volcano backdrop! The history of the volcano and town is fascinating! I have to come back.in the future, so much more to explore! At the zipliping company yesterday, I met such kind locals and travelers. I met a sweet rescue dog that was starving for love and affection. I used to scared of animals, but now, I pet cats and dogs, hold snakes.. Travel has made me grow so much! It teaches lessons and opens one’s mind beyond any book. Once a mind is open, it cannot go back to previous closed minded ignorance. Travel is antidote to ignorance. I also went to local park last night after having local choco ice cream, yummy! I love chocolate times 1000000, and Costa Rica is known for great chocolate plantations! I got some off farm for me! I also live off of hot choco here! The 4 traveler guys on my ziplining shuttle bus asked me if I was a consultant, for traveling since I book last min and travel so much for cheap and make it work with my busy work schedule! I was like, no, just my hobby! One of them was a solo traveler like me who travels alone and stays in hostels, an Indian. Very rarely I meet Indian solo travelers. Again, closed mindedness by parents limiting their grown adult children to not live their lives. I broke out of those shackles long ago! My amazing family is never shocked when I travel solo now! They kno how much of travel and adventure is therapy for me and my busy life. Travel is therapy, and I need my regular dose to keep me happy and at peace. I also met amazing tour guides who were so kind. I got stuck on two ziplines. One of them got back out on zipline to pull me to the tree house since I was having hard time pulling my body back with hands. It is a workout! One of the tour guides was saying how a man was planning a proposal for his girlfriend there, and they were setting up flowers at the ziplining place! It was soo sweet! These people won my heart! They truly care about strangers like myself who travel for mere days, yet they leave an lasting impression on me with their kindness and helping others! Beautiful souls! My career leads to burnout fast as you spend all day caring for others, and get mistreated sometimes, and you get no time to care for yourself, mind, body, soul. Travel is soul food! Happy Travels! It is raining! Got to pack soon, want to go to local iglesia aka church and head out of town! I have become friends with waiter at this cafe! I come here all the time!! I feel at home whereever I go in the world, as I learned to flexible and make most of every situation. Travel taught me to get out of my shell! It made me who I am! May be I should be a travel consultant! I love inpiring and motivating others! Young girls and other women look up to me when they hear my stories, and I strive to be a role model leading by example. Do not let status quo or dogma limit your goals and passions. On your death bed, no watch or car will be with you. Only your faith and memories of living  fulfilled life will..

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