When I turned 40, I thought I had seen it all. The ecstatic highs of my wedding to my sweetheart, the birth of our baby girl; the most abysmal lows with the detection of my thyroid cancer and the painful and tumultuous separation from my father. Life however, had other plans. Life, never seized to surprise!
Pained and rather quite fed-up with the negative goings-on of my life, my mother, wife and I succumbed to seeking the advice of an Astrologer. This was a few months after my Cancer treatment, in early 2020. To my horror, he prophesized that it would be two more years until I would settle into some kind of medical as well as psychological calm! Suffice to say, I was shocked and rather heartbroken. Although not prone to blind belief in the proclamations of such people; my mind played tricks on me and firmly implanted the germ of doubt in my subconscious – that I would continue to experience health and other woes, for a few more years to come.
Ever since that fateful day, 2020, and 21, have, until now, been replete with a slew of health niggles. Multiple small and serious ailments, surgeries, low-set depression, fluctuating thyroid levels and consequently yoyoing weight, hypertension – it has been an arduous near 2 years since the discovery of my cancer back in October 2019. There have been frequent spells where I have had to stop my writing and teaching work due to hospital visits and post-operative recovery stints. And there have been countless moments of extreme self-doubt, instances where I have wanted to give up, and entirely succumb.
Somehow, with much drama, and the unwavering and relentless support of my wife & some close friends, and with the quiet motivation my teaching provides, I have managed to go on, carry on, move on, keep forging ahead. Even as I write this piece, days away from my 41st birthday on the 1st of August 2021, I am on a raft of medication for various medical issues, I am battling depression, obesity, mood swings, and a whirlwind of emotional trauma. But, one goes on.
Life, I have realized, will never be easy. It will never be rosy. It will never be cushy. Having said that, life will also never return. Time will never come back. Moments will be gone, forever. And so, with a lot of counselling from my wife Anuja, and a lot of introspection and self-education, I am trying to live in the present. At least that’s what I have decided as of two days ago. I have also made two resolutions that I intend to put into practice right after my birthday. First, that I will fix my diet and my exercise schedule and loose weight. Second, that I will try and address a lot of emotional baggage that I have been carrying as a burden in my heart and mind.
It is an odd feeling to be writing this piece after I wrote ‘the last time I’ll be 39’ just prior to my 40th. I really did believe that the worst was behind me, behind us. Now, today, with so much physical and emotional trauma faced, dealt with, and a continued, everyday fight for survival, I reckon, rather than being bitter, I ought to feel blessed. That the multitude of tests that I have been subjected to, that my wife and I as a family have been put through, have, and will only serve to strengthen us, and make us whole.
Until very recently, I was sullen about my upcoming birthday. Now, I am excited. However, my amazement that I have almost made it to 41, remains! Be that as it may, chin-up Kartik…. Long way to go!