Tuning in to you

'The problem is I can't tell the difference between a deeply wise, intuitive nudge from the Universe and one of my own bone-headed ideas!'Sherlock would tell you that trusting your instincts is an elementary skill. I will tell you that he is right. How do I know (other than usually siding with wizards from London)? Because in the brief history of being me, there have been countless instances where impending dazzle or doom was predicted by that indescribable feeling near-about my gut (it is where information travels to after your brain has given up trying to make you listen). I have hence begun to trust and follow this clairvoyant traveler. But it isn’t always an easy trail.

For one, she (a politically correct instinct) can be awfully vague, especially if you don’t trust her. Last June, heading to the airport for a short trip prior to an eventual cross-country move, I experienced palpitations of the nature reserved for football managers staring at a scorecard zero at half time. The fluttering presented numerous grisly possibilities –  passports left at home (checked), visas not appropriate (checked & yet, God have mercy), cocaine inserted in our luggage by an insidious man stepping off from a formulaic film reel (may his airport coffee be poisoned by piss, more than it is for everyone). Failing to find any reason for fear, I entered the departure area after pulling out two heavy suitcases and loading them on the trolley. The instinct, much to her chagrin, had been shoved aside. Following the customary check-in line crawl, it was only when our turn came at the counter that she (that smug villain inside my head) had a hearty laugh. One of the suitcases, instead of being full of necessary items for our new home in the desert city, was instead a suitcase packed to the hilt with winter clothes. It had fortuitously been set in the same room as the traveling suitcases before it was meant to sleep in the store room until further weather notice. In all the rush and frenzied flutter, I had not bothered to glance at the suitcases being loaded onto the car. During the journey to the airport when we could have turned around, lady instinct had failed to point me in the direction of the suitcases, as she is often want to do, telling me simply that something was wrong or about to be, but wanting me to trust and follow her to the answer. (In case you’re wondering about my sweaty life in a sweater, you can exhale easy knowing that it all turned out okay thanks to crazy co-ordination and possibly reckless driving that brought us the right suitcase in time). Phew!

In addition to being imprecise, the first instinct also has a taste for the macabre. While she might go into an overdrive when you tap in to check if that boy giving you the eyes is any good, she can also (and has done for me on more than one occasion) drop hints on accidents waiting to happen or already occurring. These are the kind we most like to ignore, for their violent content, overriding them with admonitions on feeling ‘so negative’. Of course she will once again not tell you enough to necessarily save you from it, but will have the last word with an “I told you so.”

However, there is one consistent element to her behavior – she sends the right signals when you’ve cleared the snow from the driveway., i.e., when you have miraculously (or Buddhistically, yes, that’s a word starting now & I call trademark on it) built connections with your inner whatever-you-want-to-call-it (mine is Mary Anne, because frankly, I don’t know her yet). In reality, she is always standing outside the house, waiting to be called in for some tea (which apparently lays open the doors to intuition through the pineal gland or what Descartes considered to be ‘the seat of the soul’).

Trouble with all of this is the same as with everything else in life – it is at the end all up to you, putting everyone, rather unfortunately for you, outside the circle of blame (you can invite people over to the circle of influence though). Once we understand the relevance of cultivating intuitiveness, it can be quite akin to gardening, with all the time required to tend to it, time spent away from a gardening app on your smartphone. This is among the greatest services we can do for ourselves, quieting down enough every day to listen to our voice (not voices – that should be reserved for the therapist sessions). Every so often it will then show up interesting bits that make us who we are and answer some, if not all, of life’s questions that come with multiple choice conundrums – Yes, No, Who’s to Say?


The Thing About Grey

It pulls me in from the crowd, makes me go weak in the knees, colors my dreams. Out of a thousand things in rainbow shades, I am extremely likely to pull out the grey. It’s hot stuff, if you ask me.

Let’s suffice it to say, I have ‘a thing’ for grey, referred to (quite unfairly I feel) as the color “without color”.

The crowds may chant bleak, boring, old and sad to its face, but I find there’s much beauty and fun to be had in it. Of course if this were the 18th century, and Paris, I would have been quite the ravishing enchantress about town in my swishing grey gown.


Or a happy fly on the grey wall buzzing over Whistler’s Mother as she sat in perfect composure for this portrait.


Wikipedia offers a grim reflection on one of my favorite hues by (horribly) stating:

In Europe and the United States, surveys show that grey is the color most commonly associated with conformity, boredom, uncertainty, old age, indifference, and modesty. Only one percent of respondents chose it as their favorite color.

And goes on to make matters grey-er by quoting color historian Eva Heller.

“Grey is too weak to be considered masculine, but too menacing to be considered a feminine color. It is neither warm nor cold, neither material or spiritual. With grey, nothing seems to be decided.

Bah, Humbug I say!

Let a girl salivate o’er grey

Ogle at the grey sweater-chest,

slip on a plain grey dress,

jump off the steel-grey train,

dance under the glowing grey rain.

Images via https://www.pinterest.com/manikadhama/


(P)sycho Funk

At the age of 14 when asked what I wanted to do in life I said “I want to be a Psychiatrist”. This got peals of laughter from adults, followed by a “But why?”.

“…because i’m intrigued by the human mind” (exact words). But to get to the psychiatric ward I would’ve had to spend 7 years in Med school. and I also realised that the human mind outside of a psychiatric facility was just as intriguing.

So instead I turned to the other great thing besides the human mind. Television.

Medical dramas have oft cast a spell on people. There was ER, Grey’s Anatomy, General Hospital etcetra. I never watched ER. Did catch a bit of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, enough to learn about the characters and wait for Patrick Dempsey to show up. I liked ‘Scrubs’, taking Laughter is the best medicine to its logical conclusion.

But there was a phase when I was addicted to the medical drama ‘House M.D.’ Whether it was because of the sardonic diagnostic medicine messiah Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie) or that there were too few main leads for it to turn into yet another Docs in love story (Olivia Wilde did her bit to heat it up), I’m not sure.

The difference with ‘House’ was that it was not about nicey-nice doctors playing God. It was about a quirky doctor and his team, neither of whom are cardboard characters. And showing how they diagnosed patients took precedence over scenes of people making out in the medicine cabinet.

I’m sure doctors who catch any of these shows probably find a thousand inaccuracies. The thing about ‘House’ was that it was all about solving the puzzle (since its diagnostic medicine). Every episode had a trend. First Dr. House had to be convinced enough to take up a case. He had to find it ‘intriguing’ (to use my word). Then began a series of brainstorming sessions with his team which always led to them being wrong initially. And as the patient’s condition deteriorated they tried this and that and finally put the pieces together and saved his/her life. I think only 1 patient died per season.

We always see doctors as extremely healthy people. On this show Dr. House has a limp and walks with a cane (in one of his legs the muscles died due to wrong diagnosis by those treating him. Catch the irony?). He’s always shown to be popping pain medication. Certainly not the picture of a perfect guy to treat anyone. And he usually doesn’t talk to patients or if he does says to their face “You’re dying” without emotion. He doesn’t wear a lab coat and is always proved right on the theory that everybody lies (especially patients about medical history). The moral of the whole thing being that this guy is whatever he may be but he saves lives all right.

Bottomline being I like this show. Whether watching ‘House’ makes up for my not having been to Med school is debatable. But the Psychiatry dream hasn’t died. Of course I’m not authorised to prescribe medicines. But there are enough wayward minds around me that whet my appetite for engaging with and finding a cure for insanity.