Sunday, July 8, 2018

We Sell Dreams

The first time our eyes met, lit up thousand lights in yours. A magical force enticed you towards me. They said, ‘He does not make love stories anymore’, I knew ours was one about to defeat the notion. You stood before me with your twinkling eyes. You held me in your tiny little hands and I became your first book.
The first time we met, you couldn’t read me. I was fretful, if this would meet the same fate as of the relations in your world. But your parents very patiently and lovingly forged our relation which remained strong bind for years to come.

My ancestors in the form of Gita, have taught your world, the soul casts off its worn out physical body and takes residence in a newer physical body at regular intervals in time. Even I came to you in different pages and sizes.

Don’t you remember the days when I met you as Tinkle? Mornings became afternoons, afternoons became evenings, and evenings became night. Was there any force in the world which could have separated us? Marvel and DC comics had filled your hearts even before these studios could even find a crack to enter your heart. Tell me Dear Human, do they not make summer vacations anymore?

All those days, I did nothing but loved you and sold dreams.

Somewhere inside me I had read this line, 

‘Books are proof that humans can work magic’. 

At this age perhaps you had been made to believe that magic is fiction and impossible exists. I took you on a voyage to my world where magic was for real and Hogwarts did exist. We together transformed from Muggles to Wizards. I made you believe that a teenager boy was chosen to defeat the Dark Lord. I made you believe that friends can be your family. Well, I also forced you to believe that Ronald Weasley can date Hermione Grainger, sorry for that! 😜

All those days, I did nothing but loved you and sold dreams.

With every passing day, we grew fond of each other. I was successful in manifesting the world that real love does exist. I was with you, even when the girl you loved left you. My pages, my paragraphs, my phrases were the places where your heart found solace. You think that she might have forgotten, but the pages of her Mills & Boons still smell of you. In our little home, I grew in numbers and pages. From loving a hundred shades of various colors to being smitten with 50 shades of a single color, somewhere between we grew up and lost our innocence.

All those days, I did nothing but loved you and sold dreams.

It is rightly said by a genius, ‘A book is a dream that you hold in your hands’. 

Never had I believed that I would end up selling a million dreams in your sleepless world.

Doyle, Brown, Grisham, Larsson; the names just kept adding to the list. Although you despised my cousins, NCERT and UGC, you never complained about me. Few lines inside me were misread, misinterpreted and misunderstood. You burnt me, tore me, and banned me. Even I did not complain in return.

Few years down the path, something unusual but ‘remarkable’ occurred. I called it genocide, you called it digitization. Pages got replaced by screens, my companionship soon felt too heavy, not portable enough. I was left alone, abandoned in the dark shelves. Dear Human, I soon realized that I was like the Humanity of your world; old, withered, struggling for its place, clinging by its threads and fighting the anti-social elements; termites in my case.

For what crime was I prosecuted?

Was I too much loving or being too fictional or extreme philosophical at times to eclipse the harsh reality of your world? The gallows would have felt less agonizing than this darkness.

Years passed by and I felt that love again, those tiny little hands placed on me once again. This time, you were the one to forge the relation, but for your younger one. Were you smart enough to not let your kid get addicted to the screen or were you grateful enough for all the love over the years? I am waiting for them to change the statement, ‘Real love stories do exist’.

Till then, all I would do is, Love you and sell dreams ❤️

Watch the video here!

My first lessons in Cricket

"I want to join the cricket coaching this year"
 I had my answer ready even before Dad could ask me, his perennial question, “What will you learn this summer?"

Cricket is nothing less than a religion in India and at my home, it’s loved and hated equally. My mom inherited the love for cricket from her father and Dad has a one line philosophy for cricket, ‘They play, they win, they earn, what do you get?’

I never had the answer for that but Dad never stopped me from following cricket. My craze for cricket began at an age when I could not even spell it. My mom used to take me to Shivaji Park on weekend evenings where a sea of crowd used to play cricket, from adolescents to adults, everyone in their cricket gear playing the wonderful game. My mom used to tell me, this was the ground where Vengsarkar, Gavaskar and Tendulkar have practiced and that was when I was super proud of my surname, Satanekar:-P

Cut to 2007, my Dad took me to the sports shop to buy the cricket kit. 13 years of my life and I had never been so excited for any shopping. Carefully selecting every accessory, I was ready to play season cricket the next day.
 On our way back home, Dad told me,

“Sports teach you a lot my dear son. Do enjoy the game but learn the lesson as well.”
 My excitement didn’t allow me to digest this heavy philosophical dose.

The next morning, as I reached the ground, not the greatest of welcome awaited me. 5 rounds of the entire ground, followed by stretching! Our coach, Om Prakash alias OP ,  a 6 ft. tall burly giant, few inches taller and a shade darker, and he would have qualified to be a part of the West Indies cricket team.

After an hour or so, we were asked to prepare for batting practice. Yes, that was I wanted. As the coach started sharing bating tips, I learnt the first acronym for SAP in my life: Stance, Approach and Play.

We were asked to repeat this, not 10, not 20 but for an irritating 75 times! I never understood why we were forced to do this. I had my answer few minutes later.

The first ball I faced in nets, I hit it out hard. I expected a compliment, what I got was a season ball thrown ferociously at me by the coach. It hurt me pretty badly on my elbow. The coach taunted that if it is hurting much, I could join the girls playing basketball.

I got up and faced the next one. During the SAP drills, we were taught how to play the ball which was outside the off stump. This time the bowler pitched it near my leg and I played the same off drive. It was a clear case of leg before wicket.

This time I immediately turned towards my coach who was visibly furious and picked up another ball to throw at me. He threw and instinctively I brought my bat forward. A loud sound followed. I had my eyes closed, sensed for any broken bones. None.

I looked back at the stumps, all the three intact. When I looked forward, I saw the ball rolling out swiftly towards him and when I observed, I had the perfect batting stance, according to his coaching manual.

The next 60 minutes he let me bat, to the extent of my joy. There were few stern looks when I missed a ball but no more balls were thrown at me. At the end of the day, I had a bruise on my elbow but a wide smile on my face.

As I was leaving, my coach called me and apologized for the bruise.
He began, 

“Son, the first ball you faced, and you ignored the hour long lesson and played carelessly. That’s what shall happen often in your life. You may know the right method to solve the problem, but you will choose the glitteriest path, which shall not always be the right one.”
“The second ball, you expected a ball on the off stump and got one on your legs. You expected the problem for which you know a solution and are comfortable with. Life does not offer you nuts all the time. I agree I didn’t teach you that shot, but hey I can’t teach you everything about life and cricket:-D”
“The first two balls had hurt your conscience and damaged self respect and that was when you had learnt the lesson and played it rightly. The same shall happen in your life, but make sure you learn the lesson before you get hurt more. Good luck for the rest of the camp.”

As I walked back home, I was engaged in my thoughts, and amazed that my first lessons in Cricket could be turned into a philosophical life mantra. In evening when Dad asked me about my first day at cricket camp, I smiled at him and said, 

“You were right Baba, Sports really teaches us a lot”🙂

The Orderly Disorder

“Are you sure about this doctor?”

“Yes, that’s what the reports say, but do not fret over it”

“Why should I not doctor? You are proclaiming me a psychopath!”

“No, you’re getting it wrong. It’s not what you are thinking; it can happen with anyone, not that you are social outcast now.”

 It was that day when I rushed back home and typed in the words on my computer “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”. The first two words seemed comfortable, like any other personality traits I have, what loomed back at me was the word “disorder”.

I had heard about this for the first time in my college; when looking at my neatly arranged sheets and files, coupled with my habit of reassuring its tidiness every time, caught the attention of my friend’s eyes and he chuckled that I may end up having OCD someday.
Today, as a psychoanalyst, the same friend had confirmed it medically.

The first webpage on OCD read,
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder where people feel the need to check things repeatedly, perform certain routines repeatedly (called "rituals"), or have certain thoughts repeatedly. Common activities include hand washing, counting of things, and checking to see if a door is locked.  These activities occur to such a degree that the person's daily life is negatively affected.

As we speak now, about 2% of the world’s population is suffering from OCD. It is unusual for symptoms to begin after the age of thirty-five, and half of people develop problems before twenty.
The cause is unknown. Both environmental and genetic factors are believed to play a role.
Traditionally it has been thought that there are four main categories of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Checking
  • Mental Contamination
  • Hoarding
  • Intrusive Thoughts
Checking: where in people feel the urge to keep a check on things not once or twice but many times, to an extent to be called as ridiculous
Mental contamination: having a single negative thought keep  playing in minds continuously that it becomes the only thing that occupies one’s mind.
Hoarding: you feel that parcel boxes from your online shopping is so “exquisitely” made that you keep on hoarding them, in contrast to the right way of disposing them. Well does this make every Indian housewife afflicted with OCD? :-P

And intrusive thoughts: “Maybe my hands are dirty and touching my loved ones with these hands can cause some fatal disease” or “If I do not say a particular phrase in a day, it won’t let me settle and invite some unfortunate events”

I fondly call it the Orderly Disorder as the person feels the urge for common compulsions like ordering items in a certain way or checking things repeatedly and requesting reassurance. For instance, it’s common for a librarian to arrange the bookshelf a number of times in a single day but if I do it, which serves absolutely no purpose, there is something to worry about.

We all have had those days when we stood in front of the mirror for long and wished that you looked a little different, maybe could change some features of your face and body. Did you ever imagine that this thinking even, might lead to a compulsion? Well, yes it does.

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson had Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD). He had over 30 cosmetic surgery operations and he would never take off his make-up, even in bed. BDD is a negative preoccupation with physical appearance. Many who suffer from this disorder are at a greater risk of becoming plastic surgery addicts.

Superstitions coupled with an OCD are a common scenario.
The number 13 being unlucky and 7 being lucky are just mere superstitions for us, but for an OCD afflicted person, it decides his or her daily activities and sometimes hampers the daily life.
In my school and college days, I used to ensure a white handkerchief with me during occasions like exams and presentations. It was an overt obsession with the color White. Even today, I believe I have that obsession being carried.
With this crazy stuff, you may think I am special. Well, maybe yes, maybe no.
Michelangelo, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Leonardo DiCaprio, David Beckham, Donald Trump and Ankit Satanekar :-P have got one thing common; all these have had suffered from OCD in their lives.
There are multiple tests available online which can judge the extremity of your OCD but a professional advice from a doctor only should confirm your belief.
It could be you, your loved ones; the first step to treat OCD is to accept them and do not label them misfits or outcasts. I never did use the word “patients” even once while referring to them. Treatment involves counseling, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and sometimes medication.

The fact that many individuals do not seek treatment may be due to stigma associated with OCD. I hope that going forward; we extend our helping hands to such people and help them get rid of this not so desirable Orderly Disorder.