Grounding.

I am shocked.

Yesterday, I plucked up the courage to copy and paste the link to this blog onto my Facebook account. I’m not sure quite what made me do it so soon. I was so nervous to, and had a hell of a lot of reservations about sharing any of this.

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I’m writing this today for a number of reasons. I’m finally open to sharing my love for writing with the world. I need this opportunity to do a small disclaimer. And most importantly, so I can promise to stay grounded and to continue writing as me… for me.

A Brief History of my Written Endeavours

I have been writing for almost as long as I can remember. As a child, I had a wild imagination and I would be churning out stories every week. I began keeping a personal diary properly on my 9th birthday. It had a blue, furry cover (I fancy it to be quite like that crazy ‘Care of Magical Creatures’ textbook from Harry Potter) and the most standard lock and key that anyone could pick into with a paperclip or a hairpin, or by waving a wand and saying ‘Alohamora’. (Sorry, I’ll chill on the Harry Potter references) I went through a phase where Anne Frank was my role model and I wanted to be her, so I would write like her, before I realised that it was all too pretentious, mostly because I was not living in a tiny annexe in Amsterdam with the fear of being hunted down by Nazis. I also wasn’t nearly as articulate as Anne.

I weaved in and out of writing through my teenage years, then nearing the tail end of them, I started taking my writing a lot more seriously… on a personal level. It has always given me the greatest relief to spill all my thoughts onto paper as if the paper is listening and caring. And it’s fun to read back a personal record of your takes on life. And to sometimes reflect on things and go ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ Perspective is a beautiful thing.

The running theme throughout all of this is that writing has always been something I have done for myself. I have never been particularly skilled or gifted at anything before. When people used to tell me I could write, I would shun it off as ‘not a real talent’ because those people were normally in my family so they were obliged to encourage me. I was desperate to be sporty or musical or to be able to dance. That was much more real because people could see that you can do it. Then they praise you and tell your parents what a lovely dancer your daughter is. Occasionally, I would whip out the odd romantic piece, pretentiously describing some pretty scenery or relatively kosher experiences for my family in India to read. It kept them happy. But as I grew up and became less bothered with keeping those people happy and making myself happy, I started getting a lot of ‘Gowri mol, why don’t you write anymore?’ I do actually, sometimes once a month, sometimes once a week, sometimes every day, sometimes three times a day. I just do it for myself. That’s all.

Beginning

I started writing this blog, just over a month ago on exactly that basis. The basis that no one would be reading what I write because no one ever really has read anything real that I have written. If people have read my material, they have probably scanned over pretty words sugar coating a distinct lack of passion or depth. I had been wanting to start a blog for months because I get to write so much more eloquently than in a diary, yet still write about my personal experiences. However, for the first time in my life… the responses I have received have been genuine and incredible. Yesterday, I went from averaging 4 to 5 post views a day (with my top score being 38) to 1082. 1082 clicks on my writingIt is unfathomable. I don’t mean to be conceited enough to think that everyone who read this thinks I write well or I have anything of value to say as I’m sure that isn’t the case. What I mean is that I am shocked, overwhelmed and unbelievably pleased at the number of messages I’ve received seeing that people have liked what they have seen.

But it’s a bit of a Catch 22 isn’t it? I wrote all that, blanketed in the comfort that nobody would read it. And now I’m writing… but people will be reading it. And I want them to. I want my writing to reach out to people.

So that is why I am slipping in this entry today. Almost like a little disclaimer to myself… and to my newfound readers. My inspiration comes from my experiences. The people who are reading this now may even be a huge part of those experiences. Someone may say something or do something that might strike a cord with me, whether it’s in a positive or a negative way… and inspire me to write. So to cut the crap- you might find yourself being written about on here, if you have influenced me somehow. I recognise that this isn’t a personal diary. No matter how real you try to keep it, writing read by other people will always have a filter on it. But I still intend on keeping this as real as possible. And I will always remain grounded and maintain integrity in what I say.

In short, I’m going to carry on writing as though nobody is reading. 

Because that is how I write best. And because ultimately, I write because I love it. I do it for me. As much as I have been overjoyed at every positive response (and am open to all kinds of feedback and constructive criticism) …people liking what they see on here is not my primary aim. It is just a bonus.

Thankyou to everyone who took time out of their day to glance at my page and for every single response. You are all my inspiration!

Love, hugs and Expecto Patronum (oh come on, it would be a crime not to say it),

Gowri xxxxxxx

P.S. Mischief managed.

If A Tree Falls

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it… does it still make a sound?

This is an old philosophical question which dates back to the year 1710. Much to your delight and satisfaction, I’m not actually here to discuss the ins and outs of this debate (I don’t even think it’s a debate: scientifically it makes a sound, whether ignorant humans are there to perceive it as noise or not. Also, glad the tree fell by itself without any wretched human feeling the need to destroy it and all the ecosystems within it. I feel like I’m digressing…)

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Today I’m using this philosophical question as an analogy.

  • If we go on a trip to a beautiful place with stunning scenery, a serene atmosphere and we are surrounded by nothing but us, or perhaps by the people we love… did we actually go there if we didn’t post a picture of it on Instagram?
  • Did we really go to that event looking fabulous if there is no Facebook evidence of it?
  • And of course, how on Earth could I actually be having a crappy day unless Twitter knows all about it?

The confession is that I am well and truly guilty of all of the above. Social media plays on our addictive personalities. The more I post on Instagram, the more I find myself thinking about it. It truly is a vicious cycle. Several people, myself included, have even adopted sort of social media personalities. I have touched on this on previous posts, but when we put photos and statuses up, we do it in a way in which we want the outside world to perceive us, using our phone/ computer screens as a barrier. On Instagram, everyone has glittering lives. Even I do. On Instagram… I’m bloody gorgeous. Bad hair day? What even is that? I have a lovely family and I’m sure we never argue. My relationship is beyond idealistic. I’m regularly going to great places with great people and eating great food. England is always sunny. And as my captions would reflect, hilarity is stamped into my genes (the latter is perhaps true).

Social media traps us in an intricate web of lies. Most of us know this as well. Yet what do we do the first time we meet a hot guy/ girl? We add them on Facebook for the obligatory flick through their profile pictures. I’ve had it where I’ve been somewhere, or just been bored, and actively thought about how I would portray certain events on social media. Step back a minute. How warped is that kind of thinking?!

Around this time last year, that popular YouTube Video was released called ‘Look Up’. (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY) I think  it really does highlight how defective our society has become with less in touch with reality and more in touch with the internet… and  although in my opinion, the latter half of the video is cheesy and overdone, it does demonstrate the message.

There is so much in the world for us to love, absorb and enjoy without having to fulfil this society-bred need of having to take photos of it all and send them around the world. Isn’t it nice to just enjoy the company of others without having to let everyone know that it is happening? I’m all for the memories but with social media, it’s only too easy to cross the line.

And I cannot help but notice how obsessed the world of social media is on the most seemingly insignificant matters of life. Take for instance, Kylie Jenner’s blue hair. And fake/not fake lips. When Solange kicked Jay-Z in a lift. Even Politicians have been swept into moulding their personalities into ones that can be ‘liked’ all over social media. I’ve been seeing that photo of David Cameron with his badly gelled hair, reading a book with some kids in a school who could not give less of a Tory’s arse everywhere. The world is infested with this disease of obsession with things that don’t really matter.

Three weeks ago I embraced my ever evolving inner hippie and deleted the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter apps off my phone. And it has changed me.

I started by deleting Twitter months ago. I don’t even know why. A self preservation motivated thought from the heart I suppose. And it only struck me after deleting it that every time I felt something, my fingers itched to tweet it. Think about positive and negative reinforcement. If we just got served diet pepsi instead of diet coke, declaring our day crap as ever, and we choose to verbalise this thought via Twitter, we’re only reinforcing it. I know the same could be argued with positive emotion but here’s the thing. Why can’t we un-learn the habit of shoving all our thought into 140 characters and instead learn to think it, feel it, and then let it go? Now that I’ve detoxed completely from Twitter, I actually feel great. And when I go on it… I realise what a time waster it is all over again, and divert my attention to something more useful.

I then got rid of Facebook and Instagram both at once. Facebook was always a time waste anyway. I have said previously about energies being contagious. The idea that when you’re surrounded by people with positive energies, you end up absorbing the same vibes and bettering yourself without even knowing it. The same can be said for things. When I listened to the feeling at the bottom of my chest every time I scrolled though Facebook, the overwhelming emotion was simply ‘drained’. To put it simply… everything on there these days tends to be a load of shit. And I’m not gaining anything from scrolling through it. And I haven’t taken myself off there because I realise what a vital source of communication it is, but I’ve truly lost all desire for it to be anything more than that. For those of you who’ve known me for a few years, you’ll know what a big deal this is because I could probably work for MI5 with my stalking skills.

Instagram was the killer. My name is Gowri and I am an Instagramoholic. Or I was. I find myself scrolling through it as a time pass more than anything and just waiting for it to refresh but now… I don’t even really care. I’ll probably get it back one day but right now I’m enjoying the Instaholiday so much that I’m in no rush to download it again.

The advantages of this detox are innumerable. Slowly but surely, I have lost my focus on my perception of a world I’m not even a part of and that world’s perception of me. Instead I’ve focused so much more on myself and the people around me. I don’t need to take my phone out at every occasion to snapchat this or Instagram that. I get to just soak it in and enjoy it.

Our addiction to social media is out of pure habit. When you sit back and think about it- we’ve gained very little from it that will make us nicer, more intelligent, and most importantly, happier people.

So here’s the moral of the story. The tree has fallen in the forest, whether there is anyone around to hear it or not. And as long as it has fallen, what are we gaining by watching it fall? Listening to it fall? Discussing the ins and outs of how it fell? The world where we didn’t care so much about what everyone behind their screens thought existed not so many years ago. I don’t think we’re taking any steps backwards by bringing a little of that world back. In fact, I think it’s a thoroughly progressive movement for the benefit of us all. We all need a space to find ourselves and escape from the craze of the world we live in. But that space is not found in social media. It can be found in music, reading, dancing, meditating, writing, singing, laughing and just being. If you find yourself reading this and thinking ‘yes, THAT IS ME and I want that cleanse!’, then I could not urge it more. If you’re reading this and going ‘Well, I need Instagram so I can…’ – babe, you’re in denial. You’re so much better off without. This will open your eyes. And remember, you’re not stripping social media away from your life… it’s just no longer going to be your life.

So go on. Hold and hover over those apps and click the little ‘x’ in the corner.

I dare you.

Love Gowri xxxxxxx

20 Positively Glorious Things In Life.

I am on a strictly timed revision break right now.

Currently, microbiology is absolutely draining my soul and pouring it into little agar plates and petri dishes only to find the minimum concentration of Medicine required to kill me completely. I think this is an apt time for me to stop.

So here’s a challenge. I get 40 minutes to come up with 20 happy things and absolutely none of them will be bacteria related. Here I go. Deep breath. And…

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1. Chocolate exists.
And in addition to this beautiful, wonderful sugary fact of life, the final trails of Easter still happen to be lining the corners of select shelves at Tesco Express. And the last time I walked in there, Lindor Eggs cost 25p. Instant happiness with a delightfully melting middle.

2. It’s the sunny side of the year.
Thankyou, thankyou THANKYOU! I don’t know about you but waking up to sunshine and sleeping when its traces still sweep the sky literally fills my body with its glow. Nothing makes me happier than long, lush, balmy and slightly sticky summery evenings sitting outside a pub with a cold Kopparberg and they are all on their way.

3. I deleted the Instagram app off my phone. Also Facebook. Also Twitter.
And I well and truly recommend the same social media detox to everyone. I’m really embracing this hype of productive procrastination (doing things like reading about how sassy Ed Milliband is and blogging) over scrolling through photos of famous people whom I don’t really care about. Also it means I don’t have to look at all those fitness pages I follow where I convince myself looking at these people will make me want to exercise, whilst I reach for my next Lindor Egg.

4. The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine is literally the medic Bible.
Okay strictly speaking, this isn’t exactly about bacteria. But it IS exam period and without my second hand copy of this gloriously yellow, green and red book with its tattered pages and frayed ribbons, I would be completely clueless about anything and everything. May we take a moment of silence to give thanks to the Handbook.

5. I am a fully functional human being.
At the moment I’m so so fortunate to say that I’m not unwell physically or mentally in any way and though I feel incapacitated by microbiology from time to time, I can still come up for air and interact with other humans in a relatively normal way.

6. High waisted items of clothing are hip and cool.
Suck it in girls.

7. I am about to take my driving test in a month.
Okay so this is a totally personal one but all year I’ve been feeling this massive deficit in my independence because I can’t drive. I’ve had Shakespearean levels of drama with my driving so I am eternally grateful to be in a position where I’m actually ready to take a practical test now. My licence isn’t even pink yet and I’m brimming with gratitude.

8. Life is such an adventure.
Oh for heaven’s sake, she’s being all philosophical again. Okay, yes, this is true, I am. But if we just stop and think for one second- our fast paced lives are actually taking us somewhere and so many of us are actually in the process of chasing and living our hopes and dreams and that is really really exciting. Even if it seems dull… look at the bigger picture. Life is effing exciting.

9. Zayn Malik left One Direction.
This roughly translates to ‘Zayn Malik has finally realised how rude he has been for the past four years in not realising that he needs to marry me right now (Don’t worry, I’m over the Thailand girl, I’m not all uptight like Perrie) so, errr, hey wedding bells’.

10. Comedy Central plays F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episodes back to back 24/7.
I don’t even need to elaborate this point. Ah. Unagi.

11. Success is defined by our own terms.
During my long days of philoso-studying, I stumbled across a sweet little thought that makes me smile every time I repeat it in my head. Which is that the minute we stop comparing ourselves to the people around us, we are well and truly unique and successful people. I realised that I spent so much time thinking I’m not good enough that when I eradicated this need to see myself relative to those around me and instead just see me for me – I’ve realised that I’m doing what I want and getting where I want and my hard work has put me here and it’s keeping me here. Happy, happy, happy.

12. Even the worst of days are undoubtedly made that little bit better with a single hot, steaming cup of tea.
All my fellow tea drinkers… can I get an AMEN.

13. Buzzfeed is such an excellent way to pass time on the toilet.
I don’t care if people judge me for this. Yes, social media may have left my phone but Buzzfeed is still there, it’s still hilarious and it’s still 100% relatable. The greatest kind of trash.

14. Trees.
One of my best friends is obsessed with trees and it’s made me really notice them. And they are almost the most peaceful form of nature. They’re so deeply rooted in just being there. And they are about to spray our summer views with lush green leaves and make everything look beautiful so let’s all be like Helen and get excited about trees.

15. Our lives are full of wonderful people.
I read a quote last year which said ‘Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Energies are contagious’. And it is so insanely true. When you’re around a person, if you listen to your intution, the feeling right at the bottom of your chest, your consciousness has already decided for you whether you like them or not. And I am grateful to say that at this moment in time, I am surrounded by people who keep those energies saturated with positivity and happiness. Those people are my friends and I love every single one of them. And if you think you’re not surrounded by such people… you have the complete power to shake off the ones that let negativity mess with your vibes. Use your intuition filter to keep the ones in your life who make you laugh until you cry and who you can ring up at 2a.m. to suggest a McFlurry.

16. This blog nearly vanished and I hadn’t saved it, but then it was only my computer messing up and it’s actually still here.
When you get onto point number 16, you don’t want to lose the flow. And in life, there is a save button. I just pressed it. All hail the save button.

17. The world is a beautiful place.
And we have aeroplanes that can get us from one continent to another in hours. This world has so much for us to explore. We live in a time where everywhere is so accessible. And that possibility to roam it exists for all of us. Next month, I get to go back to my beloved Kerala and see my grandmothers- the two most wonderful women on Earth. Thank you Life for being good to me. Thank you Wright Brothers for the invention of planes. Thank you Emirates for the insane collection of Bollywood movies that will entertain me for all 17 hours of the journey.

18. Kebab Land is a five minute walk from my house.
Applicable to any student who lives anywhere near a half decent takeaway. Cheesy fries, ketchup, mayo and chilli sauce are merely footsteps away.

19. There are 24 Hours in a day.
24 hours is like gold dust. That’s a lot of time to achieve a lot of things. For me right now, that’s a lot of time to cram a lot of facts.

20. Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too,
I walked around the corner, and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled… I realised… I’d passed it onto him.
I thought about that smile and then I realised its worth.
A single smile, just like mine could travel round the Earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic, quick, and get the world infected!
Thought I would end the post with a solid sprinkling of cheese. And this is one of my favourite poems of all time because it’s succinct, it’s cute and it’s cheesy. And I now have 19 more reasons to apply this poem to my life.

So thank you all for joining me on my journey. I feel fully refreshed and ready to tackle the Principles of Pathogenesis. I know this was kind of personal, but I hope some of these are applicable to any lovely person who might be reading this and I hope you can all find 20 Positively Glorious Things in your life too.

Many many pots of love to you all,

Gowri xxxxxxx

Self Acceptance.

“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”
– 
Eckharte Tolle

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So something happened today.

I got a phonecall and it triggered some feelings inside me that had been brewing over the last few days. And you know what happened? I maintained as happy a voice as I could on the phone, then hung up. Then I threw my phone at the wall, scribbled all over a post-it note and shed some really angry tears. At that exact moment, I was about to do what I would usually do- beat myself up for feeling the way I felt. I was about to go “Gowri, just pull yourself together, you don’t even have problems. This is so minor, and you’re stronger and tougher than this…” but instead I did something else.

I gave myself a really tight hug.

Then I said “You know what? It’s okay. Just let it out. It’s okay to have these feelings and you don’t need to justify them to yourself all the time. You just feel them. You will be fine because you always are.” It was an odd moment. I felt like my mind’s dialogue cracked into two- emotional Gowri and comforting Gowri. I spoke to myself the way I would want my best friend to speak to me.

And it made me think long and hard about a notion that many psychologists have picked up on today, but one that has been around since ancient Hindu times, and it was the idea of self. And that of self acceptance.

You see, self acceptance and self improvement are two very different things. And the two may coexist peacefully. But self acceptance must come first, and I think that’s where I’ve been going wrong for so many years. See, when we are born, we are perfect. But from day one, the human conditioning begins. We are conditioned by our parents, our families, our peers and as we grow up and become beings who must conform to a society, we have built a dangerous image of ourselves in our own minds. That image is called The Ego. The ego has been made up of judgements formed by other people initially and then by us, about ourselves. ‘Hi I am Gowri and I’m thoughtful and sometimes funny’. The latter part of that sentence is all wrong. It should just be ‘Hi, I Am’. I just am. The rest of it has all been built up for me by myself and other people.

But beneath the ego lies something else. This is the real essence of self. The self is simply pure consciousness. Consciousness is just being aware of the fact that you exist. You just are. Consciousness is simply being. The people who really understand this are the ones who have dedicated their lives to meditating upon it. And in the fast paced world that we live in today, it is difficult to reach that kind of level. So I can, by no means say I understand it properly either. But this is what I do know… complex notions of consciousness aside, on a real-world, applicable level.

Self acceptance is the act of simply accepting who we are, with all our flaws and all our imperfections.

It seems like such a stupidly clichéd statement. But stop and think about it for a second. How many of us really, truly, hand on heart accept ourselves? I think such people are few and far between and must have also really worked on themselves to get there. But since I’m in a mood to break things down… let’s break this idea down a bit further.

Understanding ourselves.

I had an exam yesterday. My next one is in a week. That means seven days. Days 1 and 2= consider everything but work. Day 3= Freak out. Days 4-7= Become a caffeine crazy, fact absorbing, scared shitless wreck, motivated beyond belief, working like her life depends on it. It’s the same story. And the best bit is that I know myself so well. I know exactly that this is how I will be. Yet I spew over it and contemplate it and go… “Why can’t I be more hard working, motivated, intelligent…” something. Something I am evidently not. Not yet because I haven’t received the right kind of stimulation to become like that yet.

Stop resisting ourselves.

That’s just me. I’m not motivated 7 days before an exam, but I am motivated 4 days before one. The best thing for me to do now is accept that. Work with that rather than against it. And stop trying to resist it.

Hold up on perfectionism.

The people we try to be according to psychology today, are very much a reflection of our childhood conditioning. But the issue with us is that we are always striving to be ‘better versions of ourselves’. Although that seems like a really classic and overused ‘positive’ statement, isn’t it actually little demeaning? Aren’t we telling ourselves we aren’t good enough? This doesn’t mean we can’t improve on our weaknesses, just that we should maybe accept those weaknesses first, instead of rejecting them and trying to become something we are not… yet. Normally self improvement isn’t a choice anyway. It’s something that happens due to circumstance. For instance- you go through an excruciatingly painful breakup, and come out of it stronger, happier and more wise. You don’t repeat the mistakes you once made. You become the ‘better version of yourself’. Great. BUT those so called ‘improvements’ happened because you dealt with the breakup positively. But had that breakup not happened in the first place, the circumstances that forced you towards self improvement would not have existed. Of course, we can actively try and improve ourselves, but it’s harder if the situation doesn’t demand it. And there is no way we can improve ourselves without accepting ourselves first.

Love ourselves.

I think this is where the journey really culminates. It is only by loving ourselves unconditionally that we can accept all the good things that are given to us by God, by the Universe, by whatever. It’s only by loving ourselves that we can truly, truly love others. Because true love is selfless, and doesn’t expect anything in return.

I’m not there yet. On any of those levels. I’m so so so far away. But after my little moment today, I’ve told myself this. I’m going to really try and be happier with who I am. I know I need to make a change here. Not to make myself a better person. Not to be the girl who studies harder, who’s a better friend, a better daughter, a better student… but to just be content with who I already am.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with myself already. But we all have days where we don’t like ourselves as much. That’s what I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to cut myself some slack. Cause I’m pretty great as it is.

So that was deep. I think I need to take up meditation, yoga, drink green tea regularly, travel the world with no money and adopt a vegan diet soon at this rate, but hey… baby steps right?! (Semi serious about the meditation to be honest, watch this space)

Bookworm inside me just has to butt in right now. Anyone who wants to know more about the ego and self… read ‘A New Earth’, and ‘Stillness Speaks’ by Eckharte Tolle. Mum loves him and we’ve nicknamed him ‘The dude who saw the light’, but his teachings are profound and are based on Hindu and Buddhist foundations coupled with his own experiences of enlightenment. I often disagree with him but he still has some very good things to say and his writing always stirs up something inside me. A lot of what I’ve written is here is what I have learnt from him.

I don’t know how well I’ve articulated myself here but I hope anyone reading has gained something from it, although it’s a little deeper and more complex than my usual writing! Promises for something a little lighter next time. Or not. Depending on what inspires me that day.

Soooo much love & hugs as always

Gowri xxxxxxx

The Buzz.

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“To realise one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation”
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

There is such pressure on us in the world in this day and age to do what we love. Anyone reading this right now is probably reading it from a computer. I’m going to take a stab and say you might even own the computer that you’re reading it from. And forgive me for generalising… but if you’re reading this from your own computer, it probably means that you’re in a privileged enough position to have had a choice in life as to what you want to do to earn your living. The world is full of opportunities to do what you love.

But what if we don’t know what we love? What if we haven’t found that out yet? The internet and social media are notorious for flinging around ‘positive’ quotes such as ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do’. Books such as ‘The Alchemist’, make out as though everyone has a certain destiny, a calling, if you will… and if you make that your work, you’re sorted in life. (Totally not dissing The Alchemist by the way, incredible book… everyone go and read it- I’ve read it thrice and still open it up when I’m losing my way).

But is it always possible to love what you do? To that kind of level? I’m talking the kind of passion for your work that you wake up every morning and you can’t wait to go to work? Because you’re positively infatuated with it. See, to me, that’s the dream.

And here, dear blog, is the reality.

I made the choice to apply to Medschool at the age of sixteen. That’s a very young age to be deciding your entire career path. So three years ago I dipped a toe, then a foot, and then I fully immersed myself into the journey that was to be Medical School. And I remember writing all sorts of things on my personal statement centred around the two basic concepts of ‘I love science’ and ‘I want to help people’. Call it a cliché, for that’s exactly what it was. The truth is that I didn’t know what any of it entailed. And the truth is that no one really does, until they’re probably too far in to get back out.

The Alchemist says that the only things that really stop us from achieving our destiny are fear and love. Love for others whom we want to please. Fear of failure in what we don’t perceive to be ‘achievable’.

The real reasons I decided to go into Medicine at the age of sixteen? Well here they are. Here is, if you want, the real personal statement.

  • Medicine offered a certain level of job security. I’m not going to pretend like I understand what the credit crunch is, but I’m pretty sure that if Wall Street crashes, the world will still need doctors.
  • In Medicine, let’s face it, you can earn quite a lot. I have never been particularly driven by money because the thought of being ‘rich’ doesn’t excite me that much. But I would like to be doing more than just about making ends meet. I did’t want money to be something I had to worry about.
  • I was too scared to explore something non vocational.
  • My parents are doctors. I’m fortunate enough to say that they never once put pressure on me to choose the path they chose. But they were most certainly relieved when I said ‘I’m doing Medicine’.
  • My friends, specifically my two best friends were also doing Medicine. As were so many of the people around me who I really looked up to.

It all just seemed to fit. There wasn’t much else I could see myself doing. Of course there was always French which was a huge passion for me- but it never quite fit the bill as the kind of degree I wanted to do at university.

Then, I had some work experience arranged at a local hospital. It was with an ENT surgeon. But there was something about being in that clinic. I felt something that week… I couldn’t describe it as anything other than a buzz. Medicine was getting me really really excited. Of course, the doctor I was shadowing was a fully established consultant (and a great one). There was something about the way he applied all this accumulated knowledge that made me think ‘Wow, he is awesome’. And he just… knew what was wrong with people. The people who walked in that door really really trusted him. And everyone who walked out, walked out with a smile on their face. I don’t know if I felt the buzz because I was making myself feel it… or if it was really there. Either way, it made me cough up a joyously clichéd Personal Statement.

But the first term of Medical School was a let down. The lectures were so heavy. Oh God… I didn’t realise I needed to work this hard. My flatmates get to go out every night and rock up in the afternoon for one lecture… why am I in this building from 9am- 6pm every day? Do I really want to even be here? That Christmas, I came home and started seriously rethinking my decisions. Did I work so hard to be somewhere where I don’t even want to be? Why didn’t I just take French? At least I would have been good at it.

That January, the university organised a day called ‘Hospital Orientation Day’. It was a day where we were assigned a Fifth Year who we would be shadowing during their hospital placement. It required me to get up at 6am and walk in the biting cold to get picked up by some people who I didn’t know, but whatever, I was rolling with it. That day, I shadowed the fifth years on their ward round. They showed me some abdominal X-rays and blood results which they asked me to interpret. I examined an inguinal hernia. I took a history. I shadowed a ward round and a consultant asked me a question thinking I was a fifth year… and I got the answer right. All this stuff seems trivial now that hospital is an everyday routine for me… but when I was 18, I felt a familiar feeling coming back. I couldn’t use any other word to describe it other than… a buzz.

So I picked myself back up again. I said, you know what I’m just going to push on with all this work because eventually I’ll make it to third year and get to do something a bit more real.

Third Year. Oh the joys of being permanently ignored on the ward. The joys of being useless at almost everything. The joys of failing at cannulation multiple times and exhausting poor people’s veins. The joys of turning up to teaching only for it to be bloody cancelled. Why do I bother with this stupid, unrewarding degree? Argh, I’ve got a surgical on call this week. Can’t wait to get up early and be ignored all day. I’ll just turn up at 8a.m. and get a kind faced FY1 to sign off my form and then I can get myself a Greggs. Wait, there are two doctors here and they’re being nice to me. Holy crap… this consultant is a legend. Yes, of course I’ll take a history and present it back to you. Subcutaneous Injections?! I can do them. Oooh Clexane. Damn, that click feels good. It’s 7pm. I’ve been on this ward for 11 hours, how the hell did this happen? The consultant actually thinks I’m a keen person. I feel amazing right now, I’ve been showered with all this positive attention today. God, what is this feeling. I couldn’t describe it as anything other than a buzz.

So Medicine, thank you. Thank you for pissing me off every day for weeks and then doing something to draw me right back in and love you all over again. This buzz is what keeps me going. I’m going to tell myself that The Alchemist was right all along and the buzz is the universe telling me that it is my destiny. I’m here for a reason, and that reason is that one day, I am going to be a goddamn brilliant doctor. Because at the age of sixteen, even with the thought of job security, money and the peers, it’s the buzz that brought me here and it’s the buzz that will keep me here even in my darkest days.

So here is the moral of the post. There may be people out there who are able to get up every morning and be so deeply infatuated with what they do. And that is still the dream. But ultimately, jobs may have their good days and their completely terrible days. I can’t wait to find the part of Medicine that gives me that buzz every single day. Because that will be my calling and I’m going to get there.

But if you’ve found your buzz, follow it. And even if you’re not truly in love with what you do, try and remind yourself of the buzz that brought you there and keep pursuing it until the good days outshine the bad ones.

Love and peace & all my prayers and happiness

Gowri xxxxxxxx

The Annual Revision Period Psychoanalysis.

So it’s been a day and I can’t keep my fingers off the keyboard. Looks like I’ve contracted an acute bout of Blogacythaemia- too much blogging excitement in my bloodstream.

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I’m currently in my study period for my upcoming exams in a couple of weeks time. And every study period, as most students know (work with me here), is brimming over with thoughts that go something like this…

Shit.

I’m actually screwed.

I wonder if we’re in the Matrix.

I’m going to have a meltdown. I’ll never be able to learn all this on time.

Why did I do nothing all year?

In fact… why did I do everything all year EXCEPT my degree?

I am a shameful person. Ooh chocolate.

If I suck my tummy in, it reduces by about 30%. If I really go for it though… ok no. Can’t breathe.

I’ve just taken a four day revision break. Maybe I should embark upon some revision.

Perhaps not to that extent, but that’s the picture. I know for sure, that every exam period… and this might well just be me- I go into massive psychoanalysis mode. Instead of focusing on the work in question, I often focus on whether I really deserve to pass, have I done enough, am I worthy of all this? The reason I doubt myself is because of a long-held philosophy. Hard work gets results. And I have a complex that I don’t work hard enough for the university I attend. It’s been brought on greatly by the fact that I feel as though I’m always surrounded by people who work harder than I do. And I only deserve the results I work for. So I address this complex by thinking about it and trying to justify it to myself. Perhaps I ought to just have a lot more confidence in my ability. At this point in time, that confidence isn’t there. So I compensate. By thinking.

Some would argue that all this contemplation is just ridiculous. Just do the work in front of you. Yes, yes, yes! I wish I couldI wish that were me… but no. I’m a thinker, and this is what thinkers do. And when we’ve finished thinking, our minds are in a good place to focus on the task at hand.

So here it is.

Psychoanalysis 1: First Year

First year Medicine was a blur. In my first term, I did next to no work, too preoccupied with how much blackcurrant squash it would take to really mask the taste of vodka. I paid for that mistake when my results came out in January. Straight A* girl messed up big time. It didn’t help that I was particularly unhappy at university during this time- I missed home, the pressure to fit in was huge, and I hadn’t found my real niche at uni yet. Of course- that’s a post for another day. I didn’t even know what my degree really required. It was only around about Easter that I realised what I needed to do to get by. I call it ‘Memorise a load of crap you don’t quite understand and then regurgitate it appropriately back onto paper, and blur the handwriting for the bits you forget’.

For pre-clinical Medicine, as far as I knew it- very little skill or application was required. Just memory. But memorising that kind of volume takes WORK and DEDICATION. So I learnt that it was best to write up the accumulating pile of lectures as time went on and then spend weeks learning it until you’re practically fluent the day before the exam.

I passed.

Psychoanalysis 2: Second Year

Second year was a really tough year. The volume went up, big time. But a few things changed. The first was that I knew what I was doing this time around. Medicine wasn’t going to win. And the second was that I was so much more settled. I didn’t really care about vodka anymore (I discovered the delights of Gin, may I add) and was more preoccupied with extra curricular activities and my course. In my second year, I was on an incredible committee for our University’s Hindu Society. It most certainly stands out as the best thing I’ve done since coming to uni. And being the kind of girl who loves being busy- I thrived under that pressure. So I wrote up those lectures like a madwoman- even if I came home at 11pm at night. That Easter, I worked harder than I’ve ever worked before.

I passed.

And so my third year began. This year was a completely different ball game because for the first time, we were on placement. I spent two terms seeing patients in different hospitals. I still carried on doing as much as I could outside of Medicine to maintain my livelihood. And so, blog dearest, I thought I would share with you the Gowri Nair Psychoanalysis of Third Year Medicine.

Psychoanalysis 3: Third Year

1. Have I done enough work to pass these exams?

No. I haven’t. Because there is never such a thing as doing enough work. Medics as a species, especially Birmingham ones have it written in there genes to work hard (and sometimes be twats about it too.) But I wrote up those lectures didn’t I? Sure, I didn’t put in the hours of slavery that I did last year- but the work was more proportional to the year in question. I tell myself maybe I should have worked harder. But should I? Does that make me happy?

2. What was really required of me this year?

Working through those lectures. Attending hospital every day. Going to my teaching. Being proactive- seeing patients in my own time. I went to hospital most days. I skipped teaching sometimes. In my first hospital, my teaching was so good that I didn’t even need to be proactive. My second placement on the other hand, was awful. Completely crap in all the ways you can imagine. Bad hospital, bad teaching, and I didn’t really get on with the people who I was put with because we all had such different personalities. It wasn’t great. But I was more proactive. I found patients, I found teaching, I found a Foundation Year doctor who really inspired me… because there are still diamonds to be found in situations you perceive to be horrific. But I can’t change what I’ve done now, so I may as well be happy with it.

3. What do I want from my university life?

I want to be heavily involved in as much as I can. I want to make friends for life. I want to experience living away from my family and have the independence of living alone, but not the full responsibility of working. I want to learn what it takes to become a doctor. And I want to maintain what I have to eventually become a good one.

My degree is too difficult for me to put all my energy into being at the top, when in all honesty, I’m happy to put in enough, to be average. Currently, I stand a little below average. Of course, it would be incredible to do really well, but what will it gain me right now? And I hear medics say ‘All I want to do is pass’, when I know that isn’t true- you want to smash it and good for you. Do what makes you happy. But me? Seriously. All I want to do is pass. In my first year, I remember a doctor once saying “Once you’re in Medicine, that’s the worst bit over. Just stay under the radar until it’s done”. Sweet. Time to be invisible.

4. Am I even a good medical student?

I am, by no means whatsoever, the hardest worker anymore. I just do what I need to get by. I have never aimed to be at the top because being an amazing medical student has never mattered to me. What matters to me is that I become an amazing doctor. I have told myself that all knowledge and clinical skills are accumulated over time. But the manner I maintain with patients, my communication skills, my empathy, my desire to care for people… and my relative interest in science are the qualities I am relying on to set me apart from other people. Not my knowledge of antibiotic classes or the clotting cascade. For me, that’s enough.

5. So what, you utter fool, have you even gained from your psychoanalysis?

I really need to push past the thoughts of whether I’m in the matrix or not, in order to get through. But hopefully, the work I’ve done will be enough for me to get by this year. I’ve had a great year- it has been my happiest and most stable time at university and I thank God so much for that. The pressure has kicked in now. it’s a completely different ball game to the first two years of Medicine but with the work I’ve done, a smile and a pinch of positivity…

…And some hope

…Throw in a prayer

…And a solid cram right before the end of it…

I’ll pass.

Love & hugs & all the smiles

Gowri xxxxxxx

Hello world… or just me!

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It’s happened!

I’ve been thinking about doing this for such a long time and it has finally materialised. I have started a blog. I have a blog. I have my own page on the internet and it’s something that I can search by typing some letters into a box and people can find it and read it. And that’s the whole point isn’t it? So people can find it, and read it.

And form opinions. And judge, and stalk from afar- like on any other kind of social media that make people look like the happy food loving, people loving, university/ work loving, coffee date loving, travelling loving, beach loving, partying loving individuals that they undoubtedly are. #blessed (for all you instagrammers out there!)

The thing that finally drove me to take the plunge and create this is the self made promise that I won’t tell anyone about it. Because I’m scared of being open to judgement. So many people think I don’t care. That’s not true, I fear other people judging me just as anyone does (even though it’s a little pathetic and I know that myself). That’s why I only ever post funny statuses and captions. Because that’s what I like people to know me as. Funny, life loving and carefree.

And don’t get me wrong, new blog of mine… I really am all those things. Except that is only one side of me. The other side of me is a deep deep thinker. She has kept a diary since she was 8 years old. She often doubts things like God and religion. She worries about the future, and struggles to cope with uncertainty. She’s insecure too. She wants to travel… sometimes she craves the freedom of being able to go somewhere, then decide to pick up her bags and leave to go somewhere else. She loves people- people are her life. Her family. Her friends. People that she doesn’t even know… she can sometimes find herself connecting with. She’s also self obsessed, thinks a lot of how she is and how others view her. In short, she cares, but likes to come off as though she cares very little.

Which is why, for now, this blog can remain a secret between me… and me. And then maybe one day when I care a little less I can let the world take a peek into what goes on inside my mind.

But why so serious for a first post?! After all, I’m new to this whole blogging scene right… so I might as well publish a quick easy and ‘readable’ (ha) something about myself. You know, an introduction.

Here are 20 facts about me. The real me. Not the me that people see on Facebook and Instagram. Or even in person.

1. I was born in Kerala in South India. I get annoyed with people (especially Indians- sorry!) who don’t know where that is because that’s ignorant. And ignorance and patriotism simply don’t mix. It’s right at the tip of India where it practically touches the equator. It’s full of palm trees and gorgeous beaches with muggy, hot days and torrentially rainy days. I love it.

2. I’ve moved around a lot in my life. I started off in India and moved to the UK when I turned 5. Since then I’ve been in Essex, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Preston and finally settled in a pretty little city in the North West of England, called Lancaster.

3. I’m particularly gifted with accents. I think it’s to do with all the moving around.

4. I study Medicine at the University of Birmingham. I’m just coming up to the end of my third year. I have mixed feelings about my degree… and about medics as a species. But mostly, I love it.

5. My family are my world. If you watch Superwoman videos and click on ‘Types of Parents’, mine are ‘Cool Cats’. I went to hell and back building what I have with them, but it’s safe to say I would probably bail on my friends, just to hang out with my mum and dad.

6. I have a little sister who is 10 years old. She’s the light of my life.

7. I went to Cambodia on a volunteering trip to an Orphanage when I was 19 and it sparked a wanderlust inside me to see things and more than anything to meet people from more places and also to volunteer as much as I can. The lust has peaks and troughs these days but it’s still left a sensation inside me that hasn’t quite left.

8. Even though I’m desperate to travel, and I tell everyone I’m going to travel after Medicine and only think about settling and marriage and children (all of which I want), when I’m just short of 30… every time I see a baby I turn into mush and my uterus starts screaming at me to make irrational life choices, which I thankfully haven’t yet acted on.

9. I’m a worrier… but a positive worrier. I worry over things I can’t control because I think that by thinking and rethinking, I can solve some problems. But often I can’t. I’m trying to work on this part of myself. However, my default setting is HAPPY. I love being happy. I strive for happiness in whatever I do.

10. I love food. The only 2 foods I don’t like are brussel sprouts and goat’s cheese. I keep trying to ease myself into the sprouts but they’re so bitter. And the cheese just tastes like sweat and vomit. I’m sorry- but how do you eat that?

11. Paris is my favourite city in the world. When I was younger I wanted to work as a waitress in a cafe in Paris. I even have an A level in French… who knows. If Medicine doesn’t work out for me…

12. Speaking of A levels… I was the greatest nerd at school. I got straight A*s in my GCSEs and A levels (except Chemistry, those transition metals totally messed with my brain and I got an A which I’ve only just forgiven myself for. I know that makes me a twat, so I won’t say anymore on the subject)
And then all hell broke loose and I made it to medschool… I now proudly sit very near the bottom of the pile in my medical school. And I am pretty happy with that. Everyone knows that the lowest deciles make the greatest doctors.

13. I like to think of myself as a strong, independent, ambitious and hardworking girl. I hate negative things and try to learn as much as I can from my mistakes. I want to mould myself into a happy, positive, capable person and that refining process is only just beginning.

14. I love Sean Paul. I actually think he’s really fit with his braids and I think his smile is insanely sexy. No one else really shares this though so I keep the ‘fit’ part to myself. But the minute ‘Get Busy’ comes on in a club… can we clear the floor please.

15. Gin is both my best friend and my worst enemy.

16. TEA. I LOVE TEA. And chai with proper cardamom, boiled in a pan. I love making it for my family and I love making it on the stove in Kerala when I go back because all the milk bubbles and boils and then the water and it’s almost too sweet and hot but also not. It makes you sweat out the heat even more and you need to go and cool off with a cold pail and water shower.

17. I wish I had the willpower to go completely vegetarian because I think it’s the right thing to do… but Nando’s.

18. I believe in God. But not the God that judges you based on actions in this single life we have and then decides your eternal fate. I don’t think much of life after death and I don’t know much about reincarnation. But I do believe that God is a spirit that resides within all of us and sometimes prayer to something external is only there to make us connect better to the spirit that is already inside is. The Atman is a drop of water in the Brahman that is the ocean.

19. The thought of ghosts freak me out although I’ve never seen one and don’t exactly believe in them but if you ever talk to me about them, I probably won’t sleep.

20. I wish more than anything that my stomach was flat as an ironing board. But I don’t have the willpower to sort it out so I just sort of let it wobble and I’m slowly learning to embrace it. Should probably join a gym.

Now, I should be studying and that isn’t what I’m doing- but hey, I’ve started on this blogging journey now and I’m excited for it! Let’s do this.

Love, hugs & happiness

Gowri xxxxxxxx