The milking shed

In the end, everything is a business. Milk is a business. Health is a business. Fertility is a business. Life is a business. Minding-your-own-business is a business. By preying on someone’s weakness, you’re making it your business. Okay, I’m digressing. Let’s rewind.

Like I said, milk is a business and fertility is also a business. The similarities, if you look close enough, come two-fold. First, you get pumped with hormones. Second, you get ‘milked’ (the monetary way when dealing with fertility!). Hence, a fertility clinic is much like a milking shed, only with unfortunate humans replacing the cows. (As a side note, I love milk, regardless of hormones and all. So if you think I’m promoting other lifestyles [like veganism], you’ve misunderstood both me and my point.)

So, how do you come about the important business of choosing a fertility clinic once you are done with your child’s play antics? Do you go via the NHS route or the private route? Or both? For all three IVF treatments, we were fortunate enough to choose the private route. Through the NHS route, you first need to meet certain criteria and qualify to be eligible. Then you are put through a pecking order and have no real guarantee as to when to expect your turn to begin treatment. Going private, the decision is in your hands and are free to choose your start date (obviously everything depends on your ‘cycle’). I recently read a paragraph that I wish to share and will help enlighten you further on the differences between the NHS and private medicine when dealing with infertility. From Adam Kay’s book ‘This is Going to Hurt’, he explains:

“In most aspects of private medicine, you get a mild upgrade on the NHS, but no huge difference in actual care. You get seen a bit quicker, the receptionist’s got all her teeth and there’s a decent wine list for your inpatient stay – but ultimately you get the same treatment. When it comes to infertility medicine though, the private sector is leagues ahead – they will investigate and treat you until you have a baby (or an insolvency order)”. (I’d like to point out that this can be true or false; it depends on the couple and when they wish to stop. If they have an unlimited supply of cash and emotions, then by all means carry on till the cows come home.)

Back to Adam’s explanation, “The NHS requires you to fit into quite a narrow demographic to qualify for any treatment, and it’s often not enough to achieve a positive result. I understand there’s a limited pot of money, but you don’t ever hear this said in other corners of medicine. ‘We don’t treat leukaemia – there’s a limited pot of money.’ ‘We only treat fractures on the right side of the body – there’s a limited pot of money’.” (Clearly Adam’s a man of my heart; at least our humour is alike.)

So back to this post. Through the years, we have visited five different clinics and heavily researched another, and we can easily categorise each into three types. (I should point out that it’s only after our extensive ‘learning’ that we have been able to differentiate them. We had no clue when we first started out.) For ease of clarity, I’ll use traffic light symbols. (They work well; also, I had a temporary lapse in imagination.)

Red. These are the clinics that are hardcore and have military-style regimens; more than double the injections, more scans, individually tailored (to some extent), involves every test imaginable, involves trying to ‘correct’ every result no matter if it’s good or bad for the body (I’m referring to immunology here), no real sense of privacy, known to work in a ‘trial-by-error’ fashion and heavily based on experimental techniques. We came across two clinics that would fit snugly in this category. They appear to get results and so are very popular (think battery-farming for infertility); but all this is achieved at the cost of your soul (and your wallet).

Orange. These types are the ones that think they are doing you a favour and trying to portray a professional atmosphere, when actually they are in it for the business. Again, no real sense of privacy, false empathy and inconsistent consultations (you see one doc today; another tomorrow). As soon as you step in to the clinic, you need to first pay for your day’s appointment (consultation, scan, etc.) before proceeding further than the reception. Quite placid; bit like the orange traffic light. Our first IVF was at such a clinic. At that point in time, we did not know any better; but now, we recognise its flaws.

Green. This category comprises of those that operate on evidence-based results (i.e., every technique is highly researched before being offered). They are pioneers in technology and do not offer add-ons simply to ‘tick all boxes’. They stick to their principles and proven techniques. Any techniques or tests that their research has shown as beneficial and necessary are automatically included in their treatment plans; they are not optional add-ons. Likewise, any that are experimental or ‘hearsay’ are not offered. They advise you correctly and are honest with you, even if that means you need to re-think your family-planning scenario. They do not prod and dig until there is nothing left of your soul. They treat you like an individual. Every staff member (right from the receptionists, to the accountants, to the nurses and doctors) is so kind and caring – one of the most important necessities for couples going through IVF. They go above and beyond. They make you feel good (yes, I was shocked that in such a scenario, you could be made to feel good) and look forward to your clinic days. Their facilities are second to none. Everything is in-house – the consultations, the scans, the labs, the theatres … all under one roof. Yes, this list is exhaustive, but essential. And we have only ever come across one clinic that fits the spec. The one we swear by.

Desperation and the end result play a large part in how we tell a story. It’s easy to forget the journey if we get to the result we desire. It’s no different with infertility. Every couple will have (some) good things to say about the clinic that gave them their ‘take-home baby’. No matter the experience with the clinic or how gruelling the whole treatment was, in the end if you have your baby, you will definitely be sharing contact details of that clinic to the next person looking for recommendations. We, on the other hand, have the upper hand. Yes, we do. Since we do not have our ‘take-home baby’, we are objective in our reasoning. (Infertility: 6; Sita: 1. I’m slowly catching up.)

The clinic you choose plays a crucial part in your mental state. Of course you want the one that demonstrates good results; but you also want to be treated kindly. Whenever we speak to people about IVF clinics, the first question uttered is, ‘What are the success rates of that clinic?’ Well, my husband and I don’t dwell on those statistics. (Shock! Horror!) Stats are only numbers, formed by a collective whose results are specifically chosen to be included in the ‘theory’. It means nothing to us. Our success rate is not dependant on other people’s. There is always a statistic to dispute another. Your life is not dependant on a collective statistic. (I’ll elaborate – I’m surrounded by very fertile family members and I am one of three children, so surely by some statistic I should be quite fertile? Oh wait, there is a statistic to dispute that, which says 1 in 6 couples are infertile. And so on.)

So, let’s re-count the number of clinics we have visited: five in total, with a heavily-researched sixth. You know, the world is full of well-meaning individuals that genuinely care for your wellbeing. We’re lucky to be surrounded by such people. In our quest to have a baby, they also make it their quest to wish and pray for our happiness, to the extent where they have more hope of things working out when we, frankly, have run out of hope. But hope is a sucker; a life-sucking power. This summer, a concerned friend suggested we go for a second opinion. (Patience is a virtue; a virtue I have come to possess in bundles.) A deep inhalation followed by an exhalation; “Forget second; we’re way past our third.”

Child’s play

Over the years, I have had well-meaning advice from many friends, family members and the general public who I’ve chosen to share aspects of our story with. Some are obvious, some are downright hilarious and others are, well, at that point you just go with the flow and try everything.

Stop the caffeine and alcohol. Great if you conceive within a year or two. I think minimising is being more realistic when you’re as far gone as I am. At least when you’re preparing for, and in the midst of, IVF, one should cut down on these vices. Now I’m back to my ‘usual’ content. (Side note – how many babies have been conceived on a drunken night out?)

Temperature monitoring. This is relevant if you don’t know your cycle or if you need to figure out when you’re ‘ripe’ and ovulating. I, on the other hand, am so in tune with my body that I can recognise every twinge, every cramp, every gas-related change; hence, I scrapped this really early on. (Knowing your body is a good thing. But it really messes with your head too.)

Put some weight on. (Remember, the advice applies to me directly; for others it could be the opposite.) Actually, no one told me about this as my bodyweight is fine. Incorrect; actually my GP mentioned it in passing; but they didn’t really know much about infertility so they were just passing comments as their way of being helpful (as GPs do). But, it really helps to have some tummy flab when going through IVF; those injections need fat. With washboard abs, I’m afraid things are only worse. Thankfully my bikini body is better suited for a swimsuit.

Legs up in the air and cycle baby, cycle. This is a good one. Once you’ve done the ‘deed’ (let’s call it sex), proceed to lift your legs up in the air and cycle. I have been reassured that this has worked twice for someone. Bang. Cycle. Boom. Baby.

Pillow under buttocks. If you haven’t figured it out, this is similar to the previous one, and the pillow props you up to keep everything inside.

Be stress free. Been there, done that, moving on.

Amulets and talismans. In my quest to try ‘everything’, I’ve worn an amulet for 6 months. Other than chafing my arm, I don’t think it served any purpose. On that note, I also drank a concoction of things that I still don’t know what they contained, nor do I wish to.

Testing early. Man, those peeing-on-stick things can be so sensitive these days. You can test literally within a few days of copulation and know if you are with child or not. I did a few. Then did some more a few days later. And more when I actually should have done them. Zilch. Na-da. Now I just don’t pee on anything.

No smoking. I don’t so didn’t apply to me. Didn’t apply to my husband either. (Although, I’m not sure how accurate the whole smoking-related-to-infertility thing is. Many a folk have reproduced irrespective.)

Stop spinning. As in spin classes; as in cycling. Only applied to my husband. This journey even took that away from him. (Again, I’m dubious. Are [male] cyclists all infertile?)

So, there you go. A show of hands for all those guilty of the above please? I know of many people who have followed one or more of the above and fallen pregnant. I think they are worth trying if you are still in your first or second year of TTC. After that, consider it as child’s play.

This is a f*cking joke. (Excuse my French.) And the joke’s on me.

Extremes of TTC

Why choose now to share my story? I told a friend about my plans of writing and telling the world. The friend rightly said, ‘Not hiding is great; but posting is totally different to not hiding’. It’s true. I’m conscious of the fact that once it’s out there in the open, I’ll be vulnerable, and I could be a subject of matter discussed. However, I’m already feeling vulnerable having gone through this and gossip is already rife. That’s what has prompted me to write. Perhaps it might resonate with others, or not. Perhaps it’s just something I need to do. Whatever the reason, I feel it’s the right thing to do. For now, at least.

I’d like to point out that those who are already going through this journey know exactly how it feels (even though circumstances are different for all and each story is different, no matter the journey), and they can each provide you with their own version; they’re pros in this field after all. I’m writing to let the other side of the world know; the ones who have no inkling as to what this journey involves.

So, what does 6 years of TTC involve? Other than your life been taken over and now my biggest fear is peeing on sticks (it has surpassed my previous fear of swallowing pills), for me it has involved a whole bunch of things.

Hundreds of medical tests (I once had 21 vials of blood drawn out – no, this is not something I would joke about), nutritional advice, various supplements (the fear of swallowing dissolves after popping about eight different pills in one sitting), hypnotherapy (with the promise of continuing to hypnobirthing if one should ever get to that stage; ha, the irony!), theta healing, acupuncture, reflexology, yoga, meditation, spirit babies, a laparoscopy, dye test, immunology, a hysteroscopy, injections after injections and IVF. Multiple IVFs. I think that covers it all. (All the while, hoping and praying each month that I’m pregnant.)

Hey, at least no one can fault me for being mediocre.

I. HAVE. DONE. IT. ALL. And still no baby. And no, don’t tell me that I just need to ‘relax and let go’. (FYI – Don’t ever tell that to anyone who is trying for a baby. It takes all their willpower not to punch you in the face.) ‘Let go’ of what exactly? The hope and dreams that millions of others have and achieve? Or to surrender and accept a different reality? (You know, one of the lures and advice that some IVF clinics use is to explain how in war-torn countries and others who are in horrendous situations [like rape] still conceive. You can agree or disagree with this.)

I do not know if it a society thing or if it is in-built in to our human psychology; but, we are engineered to always put all our efforts and concentration into something we desire. Live it; breathe it; feel it … isn’t that so? So, for those who think the solution to my lack of baby is that I need to relax, how exactly should I carry on without putting effort in to it? How do you propose I go in to IVF half-heartedly and really ‘forget’ about what it involves? How exactly should I ‘let go’ of something that has been a part of my life for all these years? Perhaps writing this is my way of letting it go. Perhaps accepting a different alternative is. Just how unfair is that? I agree, when all else (science and the likes) fails, you are almost forced in to a position to accept a different reality. But don’t minimise the gravity of TTC by belittling it and sugar-coating it with the word ‘relax’. It is not a sweet anyone wishes to savour.

And what if I have relaxed? What if I am (and have been for several months at a time) at that stage where emotionally and mentally I am calm? I do meditate after all. I’m doing things that make me happy. I’m not over-exerting myself. Then what? I’m still in the same situation I was as before.

I have a story

It’s been 6 years since we moved in to our house, 6 years of trying for a baby and I’m still here, 6 years later, with no baby in hand, but at least I now have a story.

Phew! It has taken every ounce of my courage to bare all to you, the world, which comprises of friends and family … and acquaintances. We all have a story; our life story. For some, days go by and life goes by as planned. For others, life doesn’t turn out the way you always imagined it to be. And these are the stories that are most interesting because, well, everyone loves to gossip about the person who is in woe or who is going through a ‘difficult’ patch, right? So, I thought long and hard, and before anyone makes my story the headline of their storytelling, I thought I’d better take the lead role.

I got married when I was young – just shy of 25 years. Life had always been good, and I’d already been dating my husband for 7 years prior to marriage. We were in no rush to start a family, both building a career and both happy together. After 4 years in to marriage, we decided we were ‘ready’ for kids. (I know some of you mums out there might snigger and say, ‘Can you ever be ready for kids? You don’t know what you are getting yourself in to!’ Well, it’s a life choice and yes, some like me, make a conscious decision of it.) Simultaneously, we started searching for the perfect house to be our forever home. We’ve always led our lives by planning, managing and living within our means. It’s what being reasonable and responsible is all about, right? We found the perfect house. Like many a folk, buying a large, family house signals one thing in particular to the rest of the world; they’re planning for a family. It’s funny how everyone has preconceptions about everything.

So, whilst we settled in to our new home, the trials and tribulations of making a baby started. 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years and now, 6 years all went by. (I note each year because I wish to stress the enormity of it all.) 6 whole years … and counting. 6 years of trying for a baby. That’s 72 months of disappointment each time. That’s 72 times of pulling myself through in the hope that the next month will be a positive. That’s 312 weeks of planning my life around thinking, ‘When I have a baby…’ That’s about 2200 days of always having the thought of a baby at the back of my mind. Oh, and throw in three rounds of gruelling IVF and we’re still with a no show of baby. If only you could ‘think’ a baby in to existence. (I challenge anyone in to thinking that they can ‘will’ the universe in to producing what they want. Ever read ‘The Secret’? Well, it doesn’t work.)

We are struggling to conceive the one thing we desire most and to top it all, we can’t even travel half the world because it’s been taken over by a deadly superpower, Zika! You’d think the TTC (that’s ‘trying to conceive’ for all you fertiles) couples have enough on their plates already than to worry about where they can go on holiday to unload their stress!

The good news is that my marriage is stronger than I would ever had imagined it to be. Plus, I no longer fret about body image since I’ve had more than two dozen individuals prod and look through my lady parts. Also, I’ve learnt a whole new language and abbreviations that only the infertiles have the privilege of learning, such as TTC. (That’s the most basic abbreviation btw; like learning the alphabet. I’m dispensing knowledge to you slow and steady, so don’t worry of getting bogged down with the new lingo). And finally, I’m no longer hiding the fact of what I’ve been through. It’s a burden I need to shed; a form of therapy if you like.

So, buckle your seats and follow me whilst I share my journey, and let’s see what it brings out. Raw, short stories, anecdotes, anger, my own true feelings … I’ve included it all. I don’t know what I hope to achieve, but as I said, I have a story to tell.

Culture be damned

Judge: What is the motive?

Jury: Culture

Us Indians (referring to all from Indian origin) are culturally inclined. Our food, our family life, our clothing, our mannerisms, our relationships … all tend to include our great heritage.

Or, with all things, we like to have it included in some areas of life, whilst not really caring for in other areas. We like to pick and choose. The problem this creates is a form of lost identity. You cannot pick and choose your identity. You can create a whole new identity. Or you could embrace the identity you have. Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be split.

Over the years, I’ve observed how we, the generation Y millennials, like to shun away from cultural associations and activities. Yet the very next day, we drag our offspring to some activity to impart some ‘culture’ on these innocent minds, because, god forbid, they grow up to be brats with no ounce of tradition or culture whatsoever, or identity of where their predecessors come from.

I’ll give examples (much to the distress of my readers) as it’s easier than beating around the bush. The last few weeks and coming weeks have been full of festivities and celebrations in the Indian calendar – Paryushan, Navratri, Diwali, etc.

Navratri – 9 days of celebrations, including garba

How many Gen Y millennials actually went for garba, or usually partake in these celebrations yearly? Answer is, usually the same individuals who like to celebrate this festival. So the regulars.

How many took their kids to the kids’ version of celebrations? Answer is – all the rest not included in the above. I cannot fathom why you wouldn’t make time to engage in cultural activities, but have the time to make sure your kids do not miss out.

Diwali – possibly the biggest celebration in all Indian religions

The usual decorum is to perhaps send your kids to learn how to do Rangoli. But when was the last time you did a Rangoli yourself at home, for the joy of just celebrating Diwali?

Dressing up for Diwali needs its own paragraph. This is the time to wear our finest jewellery and traditional attire as it’s a big family celebration. Yet, many choose to wear an ‘Indo-Western’ top over jeans. However, if you look closely at the family unit, the offspring will always be on show, wearing their very best traditional gear.

See the repetition I’m trying to address? It’s all to do with time. We don’t have time for tradition and culture. Yet we want our kids to be fully engaged in it. My point is if we, the Gen Y millennials, are not actively partaking and cherishing our culture, how can we expect the next generation to follow suit? Sure, they will be fine for a couple of years whilst you drag and parade them around. But what do you see happening when they can think for themselves? At the most, they will become like us. At the worst, they will be worse than us. So who suffers in the end?

Judge: What is the verdict?

Jury: Death by suffocation. (Actual death undetermined – culturally inflicted human death, or human-inflicted cultural death)

Monkey see, monkey do

Apart from the obvious physical similarities (hair and all), what’s the common denominator between humans and monkeys? We all love to do what the other is doing. We like to be a collective. We like to fit in with society. Shame on us if we have a different opinion to the other.

(That’s as far as my understanding of monkeys goes. I can imagine that they are less complex individuals. Or they may be just as complex as we are. Clearly, I’m still undecided. Needs more follow-up.)

During my hiatus from the blogosphere, which involved a lot of the writer’s block-type thing and a considerable amount of soul searching, I’ve realised that our biggest and most underused asset is CHOICE.

Choice. Choice to choose from left or right. Choice to decide for yourself. To think for yourself. To know for yourself. It applies to everything imaginable, and then some. We have a choice. So let’s stop following the rest and let’s start firing the neurons to power our own mind. We all want to control our own destiny. Yet, how many of us succumb to someone else’s version?

I’ll spill a little secret that I’ve come to realise. Do you know that destiny is not binding? Every action and choice you make can create a new future? You have the power within you to create a change. It’s all down to choice. The sooner we realise this, the better for everyone.

She’s pregnant! (Screams headlines)

That must have got your attention, right? Such is the power of the word ‘pregnancy’. And no. No I am not pregnant.

Have you ever wondered how the term pregnancy and all its affiliations (e.g., bump, baby, etc.) are so loosely used to add importance to every situation, to make a complaint more profound, to bestow attention to an already inflated ego, to add weight to every stand? Let me elaborate.

Why is one, when making a complaint about a certain something to a certain customer services, compelled to list a whole set of events about how much unnecessary time, money, effort, annoyance they had to dispel all the while having their pregnant wife be witness and an accomplice to their troubles? For example, you are not happy with a certain manufacturer for supplying faulty goods. Do you think the manufacturer really cares that your pregnant wife had to come all the way with you to return the faulty goods? The fact that the wife is not pregnant (yes, I know these people!) is beside the point. Why do you need to make her pregnant to create more of a fuss?

Or, how about the scenario when you just drop the ‘bump’ so causally, in the hope that what you are trying to emphasise will suddenly make more of an impact?

This morning, I came across an advertisement on the radio informing listeners of the dangers of cycling and to watch out for cyclists. The sketch was really well written from the point of view of a woman, who was warning motorists to just keep a watch for her cyclist husband because, you know, accidents happen. That is all well and good and easily understood. Then why does it have to take an almost hysterical turn saying she would love for her cyclist husband to be able to come home to her and her bump? Really? Isn’t her life important enough to her husband and humanity, that only if we mention ‘bump’ would it seem more profound?

Since when did pregnancy, and all things related, become a benchmark for importance? Why is the world so fixated with these terms?

Don’t get me wrong. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing and you are very lucky to have ever been pregnant. I for one have been trying to get pregnant for years, but it will happen when it’s meant to happen. But let’s quit devaluing the sanctity of it by portraying it as feeble, weak and poorly. Heck, I’m told that when a woman is with child, she is ‘glowing’ and has this inner power and wisdom about her. Seems more apt a description of a warrior princess than a poorly, helpless woman who needs to be used as a pawn to gain sympathy.

Newsflash – not every family has offspring. Not every woman is with child. Then why should your importance and worth be judged on this?

Critical acclaim versus playing dress-up

The long-awaited Fabric of India exhibition at the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London opened on the 3rd of October. It is the ‘first major exhibition to explore the rich and fascinating world of handmade textiles from India.’ Some of the finest and most fascinating textiles from the V&A and collections across the world have been used to ‘illustrate the processes, history and politics associated with these incredible objects’.

Following the developments of this thought-provoking exhibition on their blog, I had booked tickets online as soon as they were available. A week after the opening, we were eagerly waiting to enter the V&A, in anticipation of good things to come.

Rewind a few hours earlier and the mood was one of utter disbelief. I’ll explain. The first ever India Fashion Week was to be held in London the same weekend and excitedly we had also booked tickets to watch a catwalk show advertising three designers. Having experienced Lakme Fashion Weeks, we decided this was an event not to be missed. It is sufficed to say that this was the most disorganized event camouflaged as playing dress-up ever imagined.

As seen on the ramp - India Fashion Week, London
Poor styling, as seen on the ramp – India Fashion Week, London

The usual lack of seating arrangements, lack of informed personnel and a lack of certain expectations is not what I want to focus on. The focus should be on the garment; specifically, the sari. The drape, the way it flows, the way it is treated with respect bring out the full flourish of this symbolic 6 yards of joy. One would expect that whoever styles the models on the ramp knows how to drape a sari. Aye, you say, one would expect. Cue exposed shoes and ankles; cue models who look so uncomfortable that you could almost believe that this is the first time they are wearing a sari; cue ill-fitting blouses; cue disaster.

How not to drape a sari
How not to drape a sari

Last I checked, I am 100% sure you cannot pass Fashion School without knowing how to drape a sari. FACT.

Another FACT – you do not need to have attended Fashion School to be a designer. Hence, why the world is full of designers wishing to time pass and those that bury us under their piles of imitated and unoriginal sheets of cloth. A complete and utter waste of resources.

So you can imagine how eager we were to get away and head straight for the anticipated Fabric of India. The day could only get better.

The exhibition is divided into six themes: Nature & Making, How Textiles are Used, Splendid, Global Trade, Textiles in a Changing World and Textiles Cutting Edge. Having a new-found love and respect for the artisans and craftsmanship through my interactions and experiences as Co-Founder of S9 Muses, it was wonderful to discover the techniques not only involved in the dyeing, weaving and embroidering of garments, but also how the textiles are actually made. Cottons, Silks, Chintz…all painstakingly produced to form the finished products that we see and wear to this day.  Using the weft and warp to form the hand-woven textiles, using natural materials such as turmeric to produce dyes, hand-blocking to form exquisite prints, quilting to form textures, using assorted embroidery techniques such as gota work to add embellishments and fine thread work…the many stages and techniques involved in producing finished product can only be credited to the vast experience, skill and knowledge of the artisans. Something that the mass-produced, machine-credited garments threatened to destroy for good. Until that is, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s movement on Kadhi came to force in the 1920s. Gandhi promoted the spinning of Kadhi for rural self-employment and self-reliance. ‘The Khadi movement promoted an ideology, an idea that Indians could be self-reliant on cotton and be free from the high-priced goods and clothes that the British were selling to them. The British would buy cotton from India at cheap prices and export them to Britain where they were woven to make clothes. These clothes were then brought back to India to be sold at hefty prices. The Khadi movement aimed at boycotting foreign goods including cotton and promoting Indian goods, thereby improving India’s economy.’

Today, even though we are surrounded by cheap, mass-produced quick-fashion, there is a whole new movement emerging with many designers reviving old techniques, using and, more importantly, crediting local craftsmen whereby particular skills have been passed down from generations. The livelihood of these artisans depends on the appreciation of their talent and appreciating the quality of their work. The future of heirlooms depends on us, as consumers, changing the way we perceive fast fashion and quick knock-offs, and willing to pay the right price for these labour-intensive jewels.

Pallavi Datta, an advocate for reviving the age-old sari, specifically writes and highlights the issues surrounding this garment on her blog, Pallavi’s Style Diaries. I love her style of writing and detail; worth a read when you have a chance.

The Fabric of India exhibition runs until the 10th of January 2016. Do go and have a look; it certainly is worth spending several hours over.

*Unfortunately, no photographs were allowed to be taken of the exhibition at the V&A, and being the obedient being that I am, I complied.

One-track mind

Mornings are usually jovial in our house. Whilst devouring my red berry muesli and masala tea, the Stud of the House and I engage in silly antics such as deciphering the relevance and meanings of our previous night’s dreams, and basically pepping up for the day’s tasks ahead, which includes what we should take as packed lunch and what we should have for dinner.

I know that I have basically gone AWOL over the past few weeks. So many unexpected turn of events have taken place since mid April and I am just beginning to come to grips with these. One of these being the sad demise of my dazzling grandmother. (I will write a post in ode to her soon.)

I find that I am in a constant self-battle to keep myself occupied and busy. The age-old saying on everyone’s lips goes ‘there is always so much to do but so little time to do it’. Well, in my case, there is always so much I want to do and find so little time to do it. I’ve been like this as far as I can remember. It is probably inborn. There is some inert force that keeps me pushing myself to new limits and, whilst this is great and a good characteristic to have as an ego booster, it leaves me beyond exhausted by the end of the day. Heck, who am I kidding? I wake up exhausted the next day. Hence, the jovial mornings we share to try and boost some energy in to the day.

I am what you can call, a jack of all trades, but really a master of none. I love to explore all opportunities and this can be my downfall in such that when several opportunities arise together, I will explore them all at once. I used to get burdened with thoughts of not being able to fully commit to any one cause and of always being on a jittery edge. Lately, I’ve realised that since we have no control of how life turns out to be, perhaps it is not such a bad thing trying to make the most of every opportunity. Life is not about succeeding at all times. It is also about having the courage to try and to broaden experiences. It is about seeing the potential in you and trying to realise it as much as possible. I prefer this ‘style’ of living to the monochrome version.

In the end, it is all about leaving a legacy behind.

This particular morning whilst having a lightbulb moment, I eloquently summarised my situation. (Indulge me, will you?)

I have a one-track mind…and this can aptly be described as ‘always sidetracked’.