Braving life's battles

To steer the canoe of one’s life smoothly and safely down the rapids of worldly existence and navigate it without a mishap requires much skill and courage, for life throws constant surprises every day with a good measure of ups and downs. However, by exercising inner strength and calmness through will power, one can make life meaningful. The lives of two of my close friends — Smita and Harini — who were diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and are braving their life’s battles after surgery and chemotherapy are an example of this.

Smita, my colleague, who works in the Psychology department at St Claret PU College is friendly, soft-spoken and has responded to life trials positively. Perhaps, this approach toughened her up to handle the dreadful cancer with a resolute stride. A bit perturbed initially about her ailment, she braved against all financial constraints as well as the challenge of her son’s Class 10 Board exams. Luckily, she was blessed with a supportive family and friend circle around her; the principal, in particular, stood by her as a financial and moral support.

A year into recovery, Smita started gearing up for a normal family routine and teaching duties but, unfortunately, destiny had other plans. Her life took a grim turn when her husband was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. But neither the unforeseen situation nor the expensive treatment dimmed Smita’s aplomb towards life, making her a guiding light for me.

Making progress in her own recovery and combating her spouse’s extreme ill-health, she remained resilient and never let her struggles thwart her career. To boot, what makes her even more amazing is that she does not carry her personal crisis to the workplace and multitasks with utmost cheer. Whenever I feel handicapped to orchestrate an event in college, her spontaneous and reassuring response is: “Ma’am, don’t worry, I will help you out.” That’s the spirit.

Then there’s Harini, a homemaker and a good old friend from my PUC days. Being financially sound, she could manage her cancer treatment process without much hassles. True to her name, Harini (meaning deer) is full of life and is quick in doing things even now. Her home is always clustered with friends or relatives and this wide social network is the reason for her vibrancy.

She is hospitable to every visitor who comes to her house and no friend or relative is bid adieu without a breakfast, lunch or a tea-time snack depending upon the time of the day. The icing on the cake is that Harini cooks appetisingly and feeds every guest sumptuously, filling their bellies to the maximum — and I have been no exception to this. Generosity and vivaciousness are the enticing traits that have brought her no foe in life.

A significant lesson these two women have taught me is that one should live a meaningful life despite all impediments rather than wallowing in self-pity. Their life embodies the saying: “Take control of your mind, you can control your life.”

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Braving life's battles

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