P.S. Sorry, it is strange to start off with a post script, but I thought it is the best place to issue a disclaimer after writing something. After I posted here, I was going through the index when I came upon The Pinnacle Of Intoxication – Part Ii and was stunned at the similarity of thoughts viz. Gratitude. I wish to clearly state that I had not read that snippet before I posted and any similarity is purely coincidental with no malicious intent of being a copy cat! Today's edition is going to be a mishmash of thoughts. Therefore the title. Gratitude The remote control of the projector does not work. I climb onto the chair and switch on the projector. That gets fixed that day. Next day the smart board does not work - I am not able to write on it. Something is wrong with the connection. I struggle to peer under the table and check out the connections to figure out if there is any loose connection anywhere. I try to reach out - it's too far away. I somehow go onto my knees and crawl under the table to the wall behind. No luck. One of my students comes to help me out. Why don't I ask in the first place? Some days I do, some days my pride gets the better of me. I am very much valid as against an invalid. (Bad joke, I know). I lift my arm to write on the white board (because the smart board is playing up) and my back muscles go into an agonizing cramp. I wince and wriggle a bit. Minutes later I walk out of the building erect and normal. No one who does not know would realize what a roller coaster life has become. Someone who knows asks whether I could not consider another surgery. NO WAY. Not unless I was flat out on my back unable to get out of bed, not unless I had nothing more to lose. Right now I have plenty to lose and that is a precarious place to be in. I need to be careful what I do. When I think back to the last 5 years of my life, it seems nothing short of a miracle. That I wake up at 5.45 in the morning and get to class to take pics of the rising sun, manage to get through courses - with ups and downs of course. It is a miracle that I can sometimes summon up my original spirit to fight back the domestic helpers who keep playing hooky. "I can do without you all" I try to tell them through my actions (they know and I know that I can do that in fits and starts and that their job is really not at stake!) That is when gratitude washes over. For everything. For my two legs on which I can stand and still climb chairs and stools. Isn't that a miracle? May not be as long as we take it for granted. It is, though, when we realize how easily we can lose that ability. We stand at the end of a precipice, quite literally so, all our lives. Every moment. That is why every moment is so precious, every moment that things go right are for us to be grateful for. This we will not realize till we come face to face with our own vulnerabilities. I know that. I know what a crib master I used to be as a young person. I know how difficult it was to live with myself. I can feel that wonderful peace of being able to just enjoy being in my own company again without wanting to run away from myself. The more I think of it, the more I realize that adversities are a gift to us to help us learn appreciate the little things in life ..... and I am not alone. It is often people in really tough situations who know how to smile and get on with life. Which brings me to the story of ..... Man Child He's just days away from being 14. He has no business being alive. For all counts, he should have been dead - LONG AGO. But here he is in his hospital bed, just 2 days after getting 6 brain tumors (including one from his brain stem) removed and hours away from being discharged, fighting physically with his sisters, chatting, planning his birthday which is two days later. Soon he walks out of the hospital and back to a home full of family and friends wait to greet him on his birthday. "What separates the men from the boys is their ability to get back on track and get back to life again" says his surgeon who is a fighter himself. He has been doing surgeries on Matthew's brain for a couple of years now when colleagues ask him why he does not give up. They themselves gave up where the current doc took up. What an inspiration! What a patient, what a doc, what a family! Born fighters! All for a good cause Why do I need newspapers when I keep watching documentaries and videos on Youtube and live on the internet? You all know I don't read newspapers ..... or at least those who have read my posts would know. Where is my anti-allergic medication? I just broke out into a tremendous rash at the mention of the word "newspapers". We have not bought one for the last 5 years. BH decided that with all the news papers on internet, we did not need to buy papers and that it was eco-unfriendly. (Why don't we have a word 'fiendly' from 'fiend' as they have in German? It is such an apt word to describe what we feel!) He also complained that I do not read newspapers and so it is a complete waste. Yesterday he saw a brand new newspaper (still unread at the end of the day) lying on my bed right next to me and asked if I had bought it. I informed him that I had instructed the agency to deliver one everyday. "Why?" he asked. Oh dear! Here we were going to have a rollicking argument all over again! "It is required. With waste segregation being implemented in our block, plastics will not be picked up and we need news papers to discard some kinds of wastes. I also use them for my compost bin". The next thing I knew was BH was going over the irony of garbage (the kind of news that we get to read) being used to discard more garbage. He thought it was poetic justice indeed and suggested we buy just one Sunday edition to cover that need. I am thinking about it. Maybe we could make it two a week? My Moment of Fame in the Making I am planning to send this picture to NASA and to other youtubers who keep posting pics of alien ships in space. It is not fair that only they get visited by aliens. Just check this pic out. I got my very own evidence of their making their presence known to me one early, cloudy morning. They probably wanted to attend my class!!! Do you see them hovering to the left of the sun just above the middle? ..... and do you see so many critters of different shapes and sizes around in the sky at dusk? Well, if you don't, you need a special pair of glasses. I own them. Do you?