A letter from our departed loved ones

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Photo by Kara Eads on Unsplash

Hey Sis,

I should be ringing your doorbell sometime soon this Holiday Season.

I should be embracing you and simultaneously poking fun at your Covid-15.

I should be looking at my nephews and niece and exclaiming “Gosh, they’ve grown.

I should be rolling my eyes when my Godson doesn’t stop interrogating me about what’s in my bag.

I should be posing with the Christmas tree and posting it on Facebook in a jiffy, like I always do.

I should be helping you set the table and taste testing the chicken curry. More, more spice!

I should be catching up on the latest family drama and gossip with you.

2020 Election, Melania Trump

I’d be joyfully packing my Louis Vuitton bags right now.

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US President Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, pause as they tour the Taj Mahal. (Photo | AP)

He’s brash and power-hungry, she’s reserved and spotlight-shy. That’s President Trump and Melania Trump for you. It’s been 4 years since Melania took over the East Wing and now she’s down to her last days there.

Melania had some enormous shoes to fill in when she took on the role of First Lady in 2016. Her predecessor, Michelle Obama had popularity ratings higher than even her husband, President Obama.

From get-go, Melania was compared with Michelle Obama whose charismatic personality enthralled all. Melania’s introverted nature, on the other hand, held less appeal. She was perceived as aloof, cold and emotionless.

She was mocked for everything from her looks to her accent to her clothes to her Christmas decorations to the handling of state dinners. …


When Insomnia Hits.

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Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

2020 had such a good ring to it. Those double 20’s looked so symmetrical and dashing, inviting all to a promising year. Then the clock struck 12 and pandora’s box was unleashed.

Covid-19 metastasized and brought the world to a stand still. Along with the countless deaths, crashing economies and chaos, an epidemic of loneliness proliferated, triggering addictions and mental health disorders.

I wanted to ask 2020 if it had anything more in store, but then kept silent fearing it would reply back.

For me personally, it wasn’t Covid-19 that jolted my world. …

Sorry Chrissy Teigan, I Compared Your Grief To Mine.

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Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

I couldn’t discern my mom’s incoherent words. Huge gulping sobs were fragmenting them. The only audible word was suicide.

Mom, could you repeat that?” I said, dreading what I would hear.

I wanted to commit suicide yesterday. This pain is too much for me.” mom heaved.

My mom is the strongest person I’ve known. Growing up, I had nicknamed her Ironwoman. I found her iron shell quite annoying though. I often wished she would uncloak it and reveal her vulnerable side to me.

At my brother’s funeral mass she never shed a tear. She volunteered to do the reading. Her voice was strong and never once faltered as she read the Gospel of Mark steps away from her first born lying in a closed casket. …

Cost 10 cents

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

The other day I was watching a show about the most expensive foods in the world. $2000 can get you a decent used car or breakfast at Norma’s restaurant. They don’t serve diamond crusted pancakes like I had imagined just Sevruga caviar, six eggs, and a lobster.

Then, there’s the $5000 ‘FleurBurger’ which consists of a Wagyu beef and foie gras burger patty topped with truffle sauce and shaved black truffles.

2 months rent for some fancy fungus topped meat?

Anyway, that show jogged my memory about the most expensive meal I ever ate. It took me down memory lane to my college days in India. …

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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

8 months ago my brother died unexpectedly and grief barged in with its suitcase. It strewed its mess everywhere and ignored the eviction notice. Over the months it slowly blended into the wallpaper of my life.

Grief was not a singular emotion of extreme sadness as I had previously imagined. It was a chameleon erratically flipping from a fiery angry demon to blue dullness to the blackest torment and often subsiding in grey emptiness.

Sometimes it felt like I was in the boxing ring with an all-consuming monster wrestling with my sanity. …

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Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

There are many questions that haunt the living when they have lost a loved one. The most common one being -Where are they now?

If only we could have one last chat with them and confirm their existence in some realm of this world, we would feel some sort of relief. But it almost feels like they performed the ultimate vanishing act and disappeared from the face of the Earth.

We tell the grieving family, their loved one still lives in their heart and watches over them. …

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” mom always said. But I am an eternal dreamer. I have overcounted those chickens, sold them on eBay, and gone a virtual shopping spree.

The same happens with my writing. The second I hit that Submit button, I become overly optimistic. Surely this is going to go more viral than the ‘pineapple song’!

By the end of the day, I have come tumbling down from the clouds. My story has officially gone antiviral with 3 views!

To say I become a little greedy for reads and claps is an understatement. I turn into Gollum. My precious!!! We wants it. …

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George Floyd’s murder was not in vain. It sparked conversations all over the world about racism and injustice. It made me take a look at my own reflection and become aware of the implicit biases I carried within.

A few years ago, my brother narrated an incident that happened at his apartment complex. The police had arrested some thieves. My first question was — “Were they black?”.

My brother angrily retorted, “Why do you think all black people are criminals?

I became defensive and thought to myself— Being Asian, I have been at the receiving end of many stereotypes. …

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Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

Last year when I went for my annual physical, my doctor asked me “ Do you have any anxiety ?” Little taken aback by her question, I retorted, “Yes, but don’t you have it too?

Life is, after all, no walk in the park. Even in the pre-COVID-19 era, most days seemed to be a never-ending game of ‘Whack-a-mole’. There’s the kid’s craziness to keep me up at night, relationship struggles, office politics, work-life imbalance, misunderstandings, money problems, health problems, personal struggles/insecurities, and of course the scariest thought-losing a loved one.

I’d think it’s normal to have anxiety just by virtue of being human!


Tina Viju

Cancer geek I Lover of words & fried rice I Memory Keeper

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