Let me be ME

Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Sutli bomb: Dr. Nandita Paranjape Joshi

This petite looking, a small structured girl is the right synonym of the Sutli Bomb(Jute twine bomb).

Nandita Pranajape Joshi

She is a powerhouse of endurance and strength.

Once a patient of sciatica, backache, irritable bowel syndrome , permanent asthma, several health issues, poor lifestyle-induced diseases to an Ironman Podium Finisher.

Here is the story of Dr. Nandita Paranjape Joshi, a 36 years old, mother of a five-year-old girl, Kolhapur based Gynaecologist and infertility specialist.

As Nandita shares her story,

National level lawn tennis player 

I had a beautiful childhood. There was a strict rule in my house that we siblings need to learn one art and one sport. I chose badminton but shifted to lawn tennis soon.

With the winner’s trophy for Lawn Tennis

I was pretty good at it (collars up) 

I represented Maharashtra thrice and played till nationals. 

Back then, participation in tournaments was a simple affair with non-branded clothing or shoes. I am from Sangli, Maharashtra, a small laid back town, and sports were all about strict training under my father’s supervision. Our relationship during the training was not like father and daughter but as a coach and a trainee, hence there was no mercy.

 Marriage, children and hectic work hours 

Children will always do the opposite of what their parents will tell them, and I was no exception. I did my medicine even when my parents asked me not to. Both my parents are doctors, and they knew the long working hours in the profession. 

I completed my MBBS from Aurangabad and DGO too.

I got married in 2010, and my daughter Nabha was born in 2015.

Nabha was eight months old when I joined back to work. 

Due to stressful work hours, an infant at home, and erratic work schedule, I developed a lot of lifestyle-related diseases. As the medical facility was easily accessible to me, I would do MRIs even for a minute symptom at the drop of a hat. I was in a persistent unhealthy phase. A childhood sports enthusiast was now under medicines and constant fatigue.

The push

All thanks to my brother, who pushed and pursed me to get back on track. With a lot of reluctance, I joined lawn tennis again, my lost love. But lost love doesn’t find existence in the present; hence I shifted to running.

I could not even finish 400 meters in 35 minutes or so. I was huffing and panting all the time. 

My brother made me do a 10K in some event, which I finished in 1.40 hours and slept off for two days. I cursed him with all my heart.

Being a doctor myself, I sensed my alarming physical state. I had to take charge and got into systematic training.

Races and training

A structured training plan helped me get back to my earlier fit and good form quickly. I took great care of my diet, as well. In 2016 I did my first Kolahpur half marathon. 

Things were going fine until I met with an accident. 

I traveled to Spain for a conference where I had a terrible fall. MRI showed ligament tear, and I was completely bedridden.

All my hard work came to a standstill. I had to start from scratch now.

At this point, a friend who was not allowed to travel on her own for the event registered me to the Belgaum Triathlon (sprint distance- 750 m swim,20 km cycle, 5 km Run).

I had no idea about triathlon, I followed the racecourse, and to my surprise stood 3rd! I was utterly clueless.

By now, I had started loving the entire endurance training and registered for Kolhapur Triathlon, Olympic distance(1.5 km Swim,40 km Cycle,10 km Run), and stood 2nd. 

Then came Goa Ironman, first-ever Ironman 70.3 (1.9 km Swim,90 km Cycle,21.1 km Run)event in India, and I enthusiastically registered for it.

I had never cycled 90 km ever before the race, and I seriously doubted my capability.

Podium finisher at Goa Ironman 70.3

Swimming is my strongest point as I have learned swimming in the river, but it was a tough course to tackle even then.

I was utterly exhausted in the last lap when I heard my husband and daughter cheering me, “why are you walking? Run! You are in the second position. Go run to the finish line”.

I was pumped up immediately and finished 2nd in my age category.

Training in a small town and Maharashtra flood hero

It is a challenging affair. I have to be very careful on the route, the hour of the day, and the company during my training. I was advised to dress up like a boy to avoid eve-teasing.

My training gear is either half or full-sleeves t-shirt and long tights.

There is always a lot of questions from the society and even peer group regarding my training. 

At one point, I started doubting myself on my competency to manage my family, especially my child, and focussing more on the training. 

I shared my concern with my husband, and he assured me of going by what I think is right.

As a woman, you have to prove your worth always, and it is pressurising. 

During the Kolhapur floods in 2019, I promptly took charge to rescue the trapped people and saved 50 lives. My name flashed in all newspapers, and since then, there are no questions raised on my training or races.

Personal growth

Endurance sports require strict discipline, hard work, and a tough mind. It sharpens your thought process and decision-making ability. 

After strenuous training and long work hours, I used to get irritated and vent out my anger on Nabha. With a systematic approach towards the training, I could manage my mood swings as well and developed self-awareness.

The field of Embryology and fertility requires precision, accuracy, empathy, attention to detail, emotional strength, and patience, and endurance training enabled me to acquire all these traits.

says, Nandita

I can tackle stereotyping with much grace and confidence. These things don’t bother me anymore.

Want to represent India at the Global Platform

Does hunger continue?

Of course! It will. It has just begun. I aim to work for better stamina and much better timing in all my races.

India lacks pro-athletes in international tournaments; I wish to represent India at the global platform.

Be fearless and independent. Nabha wants me to be the next Lucy Charles, and I’ll put all my efforts into being the best one from India.

Note to my daughter, nabha
Nandita and Nabha

Note to all the mothers.

Extract one hour for yourself for your mental and physical well-being. Each one of us is unique and fighting a battle of their own.Comparison is the worst enemy for growth. Do not compare yourself to anyone, it spills a beautiful relationship called friendship.

If you are happy, you’ll keep your family happy.

P.S: Nandita is also a great cook and a sculptor. She’s been making eco-friendly Ganpati idol for the last eight years at her home.

I don’t want to live in this country,Mom!

Episode 1

“Mom, don’t people in other countries drive cars?”

Yes, of course they do, Abhi

Then when we go outside India, why all the cars follow traffic rules, no one honks and parks their cars anywhere on the road?

Well, hmmmm…. There are rules to follow

We don’t have rules here in India?

Yes, we do but people don’t follow

What if people break traffic rules there?

They are punished and the driving license is taken over which means they have to appear in the court, pay fine and then get their license back

And here?

We have same rules here, but people are not scared of the system.

That’s why mom I don’t want to live in this country. A country which is filled with dirt, people throw garbage anywhere, honk so much and such chaotic traffic.

traffic

(P.C. thedailynewnation.com)

Episode 2

Mom, what is happening in Kashmir?

Pakistan says they want Kashmir but India says they won’t give

I don’t understand this. But why are they killing people?  Can’t they just talk?

That’s what people don’t understand Abhi, that killing is not the solution.

Why small children are hurt, they don’t even understand what is the problem same like me.

Yes, Abhi it is sad to see this.

I don’t want to stay in this country where big people hurt little children without any reason.

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Episode 3

Why girls can’t go alone at night mom?

It is unsafe to go out at night, Abhi

Just for girls?

Not only girls but even for boys.

But why?

It’s dark at night and unsafe too. Someone can harm you or just take you away

But why?

Few people have dirty minds and all they know is to harm others and take advantage when other person is all alone.

But then what does the police do?

Police do patrol at night but crime does happen.

We don’t have help line like America?

Hmmm… we do but it’s uncertain (I never wanted to put all good picture of our system)

That’s why I don’t want to stay in this country mom.

protect-children

Episode 4

Why can’t boys get married to each other? Why do I see only girl and boy getting married?

They can.

But then will they have children?

No, they can’t produce children but they can surely adopt

I haven’t seen anyone like this around.

You’ll not find them in India much as compared to other countries

But why?

Hmmm… we are not so culturally evolved (it was difficult to explain at that moment so left with a heavy word)

When we can’t live the way we want then why do I stay in this country mom?

gay

Children of this generation do not believe in stories of fantasy world but are much realistic in their thought process. These are few episodes where my 7-year-old had very observant queries and I was left thinking that where am I or my country going wrong?

I still get Goosebumps when I hear, “aae mere vatan ke logon” and my eyes go wet but do our children feel the same? They dress up as Nehru ji or Gandhi ji for fancy dress but do they feel the character? Does tri-colour hold any significance for them, or it is just a mandate to wear for school function? My seven-year old is growing with a thought to leave his country and I feel helpless.

We are talking about start-up India , economic portfolio , MDG(Millennium Development Goals) , SDG (Sustainable Development Goals), Women empowerment , Beti bachao Beti Padao , Swach bharat and don’t know how many campaigns but what image and impression we have created as a nation. Our newspaper have negative headlines, news channels will talk and flash stories of crime more than anything else.

I don’t know of any other child but it’s sad to see that my son is growing up with a negative image for his country. I tried my best to talk positive and good things by telling stories of freedom fighters , sacrifice of our soldiers on the border ,  our beautiful nature Himalayas but I know the bottom line is – Mom , I don’t want to live in this country . Sigh!

I still love my country and I owe to my nation big time. For my freedom , for my expression , for choosing my rights and being what I want to be . As a citizen I will try my best to put the best picture forward but as a mother I would respect my son’s thoughts .I will check them too but will allow him to choose what he thinks is best.

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JAI HIND JAI BHARAT

 

Delhi:You scare the shit out of me

Moving out of the house for work is like preparing for an Everest Climb. I am unsure if this happens with me or with every mother who travels. I deliberately took the last flight out.

I was uneasy. Firstly, because of hectic work schedule and secondly but I can say foremost – travel to Delhi. I had almost two sleepless nights before my travel. It was not the first time that I was to travel to the capital city but someway the thought of it made me cagey.

With a long wait at the runway finally the flight took off at 10.30pm.

I landed 5 minutes past midnight. I quickly checked for cab availability on the phone but to my astonishment there were none available. Paid taxi stand had a serpentine queue .It was already 30 minutes past midnight. The very thought of going alone in the cab to the address where I have never been was enough to make me nervous. To ease out my anxiety I started conversation with a girl ahead in the queue and inquired if she was going my way but our destinations were in opposite direction. This also added to my restlessness.

Once I boarded the cab I switched on the location tag. By now sweat was dripping down my forehead. I rolled the window down as I was feeling stifled which the cab driver didn’t like and he kind of scolded me. For a person like me who is not used to high tone this Haryanvi accent scolding parched my throat. The map advised us to take the first right and my driver didn’t like the instruction AT ALL. He ordered me to switch off the map as he was aware of the route. I argued that he would know but I don’t and successfully kept the map on. He snickered, making me shift a little.

I have lived in Gurgaon for good four years and also driven all for various errands. I tried to figure out anything known but this city has changed beyond imagination. I was not bothered about Infrastructure planning of the city as my strong infrastructure was falling into pieces. As we turned towards DLF Phase 3 there were no streets lights and it was completely deserted, one thought that came to me was- Disha , breathe your last ! Although I am an atheist but trust me I chanted all the mantras that I remember , hanuman chalisa , Sai mantra , Ganesh mantra even the school prayer . By this time I had no clue where I was heading although the map kept reassuring me that I was on the right path. I kept messaging my husband frantically and asked him to keep the phone on until I reached my destination. I reached the guest house and the driver was generous enough to remove the suitcase from the cab considering my bandaged hand. I was suspicious even on this gesture.

Guest house was a huge bungalow. Once you stay in Mumbai larger places don’t excite you. The caretaker responded to the bell and directed me to my room.  I looked at him from the corner of my eyes and I found him suspicious too. I froze for a second. As soon as I was in the room I locked the door and checked several times before I turned to keep my luggage. I changed and slipped into the bed and made those customary calls and messages about my safety and comfort.

I did everything but sleep. I kept twisting, doubted the efficiency of the AC as I was sweating, drank liters of water, and checked the door. Finally, the day broke and I jumped to open the curtains. When the day is up, insecurities go down.

The published Info-graphics by NCRB 2014 show the crime rate in Delhi, which is thrice the national average of 229.

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I had meetings lined up for the day but taking Public transport was terrifying. My past experiences while commuting for work brings shiver down my spine. I chose Uber over public transport.

My three days trip went very smooth without any hassle. Then why I freaked?  Surely, bad experience of public transport earlier which I NEVER faced in Mumbai. . I can still feel those hands groping me or the auto driver going on a deserted road just to scare me, or a blind man sitting next to me and feeling my breasts. Delhi is framed as rowdy, insensitive towards women, unsafe, male dominant and above all rough and rash.

Also, check this article published by DNA : http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-how-safe-is-delhi-for-women-an-average-of-100-gangrapes-reported-every-year-after-december-16-incident-2156507

No city or place is safe for women and we need to be extra vigilant but experiences I had in Delhi are enough to never opt for public transport.  I will travel to Delhi several times again because of work and family but every time it scares the shit out me.

safe

 

I will take selfie with “My Boys”

image

Here is my selfie with my boys . Yes, you read it right “My Boys”.
I am very proud to be a mother of two boys and I cherish every second I spend with them.
When I hold their hand and walk with one on either side , in a way to grab so that they don’t run on a busy street I feel immense sense of pride . Not that I am an unique one to have two boys but that my boys are my identity .
By now you might be thinking that I have some attitude or a swelled chest to have “two boys”
So , let me make it very clear . I craved for a girl child during both my pregnancies but I think it was decided  that a hyper energy soul like me should be blessed with boys so that the energies are complimented .
I have no clue how to be with girls or even bring them up. I have always been in a boys family and even now the distribution remains the same.
Mr. Narendra Modi has taken up an amazing initiative to support the girl child .

#BetiBachaoBetiPadao , kudos to you sir but tell me something what about the boys??

Do you think boys don’t need education , boys need not be protected , boys don’t need a better environment to live in?
The damage is already done. Children have someway or the other known the difference between genders. Thanks to advertisements promoting color preference , brands and clothing.
By promoting this campaign you are creating a marked difference between the genders. Few observations below will make it clear.

1. Boys are strong , girls are delicate

Yes, my son’s class teacher told him. Being on the naughtier side his action speaks louder than words (read WWF – World Wrestling Federation). Girls tease him for wearing spectacles and the only way he knows is to punch back.
The teacher then tells him this statement .
Now, he is confused . He has never seen a delicate female in his own house but a  mom who learns kickboxing .
My explanations fall flat on explaining the teacher’s statement .

2. Sexual exploitation

Most of the videos that talk about child sexual abuse revolve around the girl child. The pictures , charts and discussions all revolve around girls.Do you know that out of 10 boys almost 8  have gone through sexual exploitation. They may not even know what is happening or happened with them but it hampers their growth and behavior.
If there is a need to sensitize child sexual abuse then child also includes boys.

3. It’s not so cool to cry

What you cry like a girl always ? Are you a little baby ?
Boys find it very difficult to let their emotions roll on their cheeks. As they grow it actually takes a lot of persuasion to get them into confidence and make them understand that it’s ok to cry .
If my boy gets bold  during his cricket match he surely gets sad but tries hard to hold his tears back. It is only when he hugs me at home and then the downpour happens. He tells me that crying in front of friends is too girlie.

4. Being bullied

Threat from social media to the innocent yet growing brains is huge.
Girls , face the threat of image and name being exploited but do you know boys too are affected by this .
They get bullied , commented , threatened and even exploited on the social media. The damage then may or may not be directly physical but imagine the confidence and innocence that gets shattered .

5.Girls don’t like sun

My son’s cricket coaching doesn’t have a single girl on the field. Even football has the same state .
My son runs like a bullet and he laughs when a girl tries to run fast. This actually irritates me a lot but his explanation is that girls will run only 50 mts not long distance as they never come out in the sun to play.
No one taught him this but it’s his own observation. I do try my best not to make him think this way but rest his own inference.

I still have many more pointers which I want to mention but may be in other blog.

Being a mother of two boys I can see and observe many things very closely .
Why do we need to discriminate between a girl and a boy ?
What is the need to run such campaigns which only widen the gap between the genders?
Let a girl and a boy grow up in the same way.
If a boy hits a girl out of his aggression at play or otherwise , girl should be taught to hit back harder and not to make her feel that she delicate with a fragile body.
Every child has a right to grow, get educated , have a safe environment for development and live happily.
Be it a girl or a boy.
Yes, I’ll take selfie with my boys too.
#BetiBachaoBetiPadao toh #BetaBachaoBetaPadao

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