Advantages of A Belly

DISCLAIMER: Investing in a belly can subject you to type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease and added health risks. Please read this article with a sense of good humour and reunite with your sense of common and caution immediately after.


  1. To balance your coffee mug when you sit in a chair, but can’t be bothered to stretch your hand till the table.


  1. To hold your laptop at a perfect viewing angle when you can’t decide between sleeping and watching a movie after a long day. So, you do both.


  1. To make for a nice pillow- for your friends which can get annoying; but also for your partner/crush which will not be annoying and the closeness of which will lead to a nice amount “bonding” (wink, wink)


  1. To catch the toothpaste foam that invariably drips out of your mouth the moment you step away from the basin (dry floors FTW).


  1. So, you won’t have to work hard to hide your pregnancy. At least not until you get upgraded from a double decker to a triple decker.


  1. To cosplay as Laughing Buddha. All you need to do is take off your shirt. Ready for Halloween any day, anytime!


  1. To get rich during the holiday season- by playing Santa Claus. HO HO HO!


  1. To maintain a healthy distance between you and the Sweaty McSweatpants in front of you in the queue; so that you can come away with your sanity and your nose hairs intact.


  1. To play ping pong with against the wall when you’re bored enough to want a distraction, but not bored enough to dig out the ball from under the bed.


  1. So, you can put muffins to shame with your awe-inspiring muffin-top! Those muffins can sometimes get too puffed up for their own good…


  1. To feel that somehow incredible sense of satisfaction that you feel after you’ve had a smashing meal and you’ve collapsed into your bed like a ton of bricks for a well-deserved nap and your belly sticks out taut, but happily full.



  1. To be able to write listicles like this. After all, how else will you find out how efficient a cup holder and a toothpaste catcher and a laptop table a belly can be unless you have one?


  1. Oh and also! To laugh; because jiggling a jiggly belly makes you laugh which makes it jiggle more, so you laugh more which makes it jiggle even more… Calvin and Hobbes ROFL





The Mute Swan- Part 4

The days were getting warmer. He was getting more than one toe into the water. And she was laughing more often.

“I’m with child,” she announced one day and he thought he could never feel happiness such as what he felt in that moment.

They took the process one day at a time. She seemed to get even more beautiful with each day and he seemed to forget that ball of panic in his belly with every other day.

He would sit for hours with his ear to her womb and the other ear listening to her voice. For it was her most favoured occupation in recent days- to talk to the baby, to tell stories to the baby and by extension to its father.

He heard about kingdoms and queens, about bevies on the water and wedges in the sky, about winged warriors and water festivals. He learnt, unintended though it may be, about her origins, about her family and about her life in the past. He also memorized, subconsciously though it may be, all the stories.

Why did he do that? He didn’t know. Every time he asked himself that question, the ball of panic in his belly would throb painfully and he would give up.

When the pains started one night, she was sleeping in his arms. She woke up with a scream and dry eyes and not a tear was shed over the next 12 hours of labour.

The baby was a little girl, with wispy white hair and grey eyes.

“She looks like me,” she whispered when she held her child for the first time and for the first time in 9 months, she shed a tear onto that beautiful blonde head.

Also for the first time, she held her little baby close, drew in a breath and started to sing.

It was a lullaby. It talked about dreams, about wishes on stars, about stories shared on a cozy night. It talked of memories, of fantasies, of a mother’s love for her little child. Grandmothers and grandfathers remembered days long past and shed tears into their pillows. Mothers and fathers everywhere hugged their children a little closer and sighed in contentment. Little babies all over the world slept without a wrinkle that night.

Everybody slept. Except for her. And except for him.

He held her hand and pretended to not notice the tears his beloved was shedding. He placed small kisses on her palm, on her arm, on her hand from time to time and pretended his heart wasn’t breaking a little more with each kiss. He snuggled up next to her, pulled her into his arms and pretended those weren’t his tears on her shoulder.

As the song wound to a close, as he whispered a shaky I love you into her ears, as she placed a final kiss on her baby’s head, her eyes closed.

And they never opened again.



The Mute Swan- Part 3

He held her in his arms. Her head rested on his chest. His heart beat in her ear. She said it calmed her. He wanted to know why she needed to be calmed.

He wanted to know why she cried when he talked of summer. He wanted to know why she hid those tears. He wanted to know what makes her happy. He wanted to if he made her happy. But, most of all, he just wanted to hear her voice. For the rest of his life.

So, one day, as they lay intertwined under the stars, he asked, “Will you tell me a story?”

“Certainly,” she smiled and snuggled up into him more.

He heard her take a deep breath. He heard her think. He heard her let it out and then, he heard her voice.

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful swan in a lake far far away. She had a beautiful plumage, an exquisite beak, the most dainty legs and the most graceful wings. But, the jewel in her crown was none of these. What she was known for, far and wide and oceans across, was for her voice.

Her voice was mesmerizing. You only had to hear it once to be held captive for ever by it. It had the perfect pitch, the perfect rhythm, the perfect lilt. Swans would come from all over the oceans to hear her sing just once.

But, the reality that met them was a beautiful swan with a most beautiful voice who just refused to sing. Every time a request came to her ears, she would smile and say, “Not yet”. Nothing anybody could say or nothing anybody would do could cajole her to sing. She was promised gifts of the highest order, there were competitions with the greatest prizes to make her sing, swans would even bring in dying requests for her to sing. But, nothing moved her.

Eventually, everyone gave up. She had gained the reputation of arrogance, of malice, of heartlessness. Even though, she was none of those. She was ostracised to live a life of loneliness.

However, she fell in love and the swan loved her back. They got married. Her partner never asked her to sing. It surprised everybody. They talked about it, they gossiped about it. But, the couple did not care. They loved, they made love, they lived with love. Soon, they had a little cygnet and they were the happiest family in all of the oceans.

The world had all but forgotten the beautiful swan with the beautiful voice.

Then, one night, the wind brought a song upon its lips.

It was a lullaby. It talked about dreams, about wishes on stars, about stories shared on a cozy night. It talked of memories, of fantasies, of a mother’s love for her little child. Grandmothers and grandfathers remembered days long past and shed tears into their pillows. Mothers and fathers everywhere hugged their children a little closer and sighed in contentment. Little cygnets all over the world slept without a wrinkle that night.

The next morning, swans from oceans across were clustered in front of the beautiful swan’s nest. They wanted to see her, they wanted to hear her voice, they wanted her to sing again. But, their wishes were not to be granted.

One look at her partner’s grief stricken eyes told them the news.

“It was time, she said.” he announced to the crowd and walked away.”

She kissed him softly on his chin. “They called her the Mute Swan and this was her story.”

He drew her closer into his chest. His heart was beating faster. There was smidgen of panic taking root somewhere in his belly.

“She would die if she sang?” he asked in a voice struggling not to choke on the mysterious lump in his throat.

“No. She sings only before her death,” she knew he would feel the wetness of her tears if she didn’t stop them. But, they were beyond her control now.

“Look at me,” he took her beautiful face in his hands and looked at it with his empty eyes, “Let’s never sing, then,” and he kissed her for the first time.


11:27 AM, Reading Freud

So yesterday, there was a lot of talk about my dissertation topic. Topics were thrown around, shot down and replaced. I realised, I’m so confused that I want to do a study on all of them. And on none of them.

There’s so much that goes into designing a study that I’d never given a thought to. I have no idea how we even pulled one off in college because now that I look back on it, we went about it in such a haphazard manner. My respect for my club’s secretary and for the officer in charge who was responsible for getting it published, it just went up by like 106 notches.

Anyway, my point is, morning after I was thinking about this entire process and about my investment in it. As my professor assured me yesterday, there will be avenues after my post-graduation if I do wish to go into research. I could, for all I care, immerse myself in the academia.

But then, a tug of my heartstrings reminded me that I like interacting with my patients, knowing their stories and helping them through whatever their mind was putting them through. As much as I can.

Suddenly, I felt myself falling into a quandary. What should I do post my post-graduation? What should be my next step? I could feel my heart beat spiking, my breath shortening and the droplets of sweat on my forehead. I had no plan!

And just as suddenly, that single thought calmed me down. I had no plan.

You see, I’ve always had a plan. A five year plan. A ten year plan. It was clear, it was detailed and it was fixed. In the last few years however, they all fell apart. My plan went awry the moment I lost my focus. But, the thing I learnt in the disaster that culminated afterwards was that, sometimes, it’s ok to not have such a clear-cut plan. It’s ok to make your decision when the decision has to be made. It’s ok to not know where you’ll be 3 years from now.

So, while I do chase down that ideal image of an independent woman that I see myself as five years from now, I don’t have to put down every single little detail of the wherefores and whenfores right now. Right now, I can just think about my dissertation, my next week’s seminar and the patients currently in my ward. So, that’s what I’ll do.

And what will I be doing three years from now? Well, why don’t hit me up in 2020 and we can find out.



The Mute Swan- Part 2

“Are you here?”

“Here I am.”

She held his hand and drew him to the edge of the water. Slowly, he put a toe in.

“It’s cold,” he shivered.

“It would be. The days are cold now,” she replied with a laugh.

He smiled at her, his face glowing, his eyes empty, “Let’s come back when they warm up then.”

She squeezed his hand and felt happy that he was blind. He couldn’t see her tears, but, he would hear her laughter.


The Mute Swan- Part 1

He wasn’t meant to see her. She wasn’t meant to be seen. But, that night, the stars aligned and he caught her in his net.

In front of his wondering eyes, white feathers flowed into arms, a graceful neck curled into delicate shoulders and the bird’s beak melted into a human face more beautiful than he had ever seen.

He had cast his net intending to catch a swan, but its latticed windows now rested on a woman.

He drew back in shock. In awe. He pulled his net off and fell to his knees.

She drew herself up slowly, warily. Her head raised first, captivating him with her gaze. Her arms fell to side, as naturally as the fall of a wing. Her body unfurled, her legs uncurled and she stood in all of her natural beauty in front of her hunter.

She wore her skin as she would wear her feathers as she walked towards the man who had tried to capture her. She knelt in front of him, stretched out her hand and wrapped it gently around his throat.

“You weren’t supposed to see me,” she said.

His eyes were wide, his mouth open. He wanted to speak, but words wouldn’t help. He wanted to ask for mercy, for forgiveness. He knew the hand around his neck may be gentle now, but it would all be over in a moment.

He hung his head, “You weren’t supposed to be seen,” he whispered.

“Is the fault with me, then?” she asked like a mother humouring her naughty child.

“No,” he lifted his head and looked straight into her eyes, “It’s of my eyes.”

No more words were spoken. The hand released his throat and a taloned finger gently scooped out his eyes. The last thing he saw was a rainbow created by the moonlight in her teardrop.



Mom, I don’t want to be like you

I was never an easy child and ours was never an easy relationship. But, somehow we made it work. Well, not like we had an option. You were my mother and I was your daughter and short of disowning me, there wasn’t a wall we didn’t rail against.

I think I fought more with you than with anybody else. You were my go-to person after all. In sickness and in health; in happiness and in sadness. I didn’t realise how much I depended on you until one day you stopped talking to me and suddenly, it was difficult to function.

You know me so well. I still get surprised every time you put words to my feelings before I can. Even though, I’ve always believed that I’ve been more careful with you; telling you the right things, taking care not to hurt you or worry you. Apparently though, being my mother has given you special access to my innermost self.

I admire you tremendously. You’ll always be the one person I trust most to be in my corner, and I love you.

But, you know what mum, I don’t think I’ll ever be like you.

You see, we were brought up differently. You were in an environment where you had to be the good little girl.

I didn’t have those restrictions.

You were an innocent child, demurely brought up, timely married and wonderfully sincere about everything.

I am your evil twin.

My curiosity has been putting my innocence to rest for a long time now. I was pampered, spoilt; I was allowed to be wild and free. I might be old enough now to be married, but my aspirations for myself interfere with such societal expectations. I want to work, earn, date and travel. I want to be more independent than I am today.

I love you, mother. But, I don’t want to be like you.

I want to be more.

After all, when you brought me up so differently, isn’t that what you meant should happen? That urgency, that ambition, that craving for something more- that’s all what you taught me. Maybe, you didn’t mean to. But, I think you did.

When you laid down different rules, when you taught me different lessons, when you focussed my life around different activities, I think you did mean that I should be different.

So, I don’t want to insult you today by saying that I want to be just like you. I don’t. I’ll become me, my own person, with my own dreams. And one day, I’ll honour you mother, by freeing my child to do the same.