Monday, 12 July 2010


so the Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week is to honour someone I think is amazing. one part of me thought, nah I can't do them justice. there was another part which didn't know what the definition of 'amazing' was because I realised I know a lot of fabulous people. finally, it occurred to me that not one of them is a heterosexual male.

I'm wondering when that will change and who it'll be.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

sorry I'm crazy - someone broke my heart

ok perhaps the title is a bit mean-hearted. but still. it's no excuse.

Being rejected by a romantic partner triggers brain activity linked with motivation, reward and addiction cravings, revealed a new study.

Led by Dr. Lucy Brown, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, the study is the third from her team to demonstrate that primitive reward and survival systems are activated in people who look at their beloved.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers recorded the brain activity of 15 college-age adults who had recently been rejected by their partners but reported that they were still intensely "in love."

Upon viewing photographs of their former partners, several key areas of participants' brains were activated, including the ventral tegmental area, which controls motivation and reward and is known to be involved in feelings of romantic love; the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal/prefrontal cortex, which are associated with craving and addiction, specifically the dopaminergic reward system evident in cocaine addiction; and the insular cortex and the anterior cingulate, which are associated with physical pain and distress.

By tying these specific areas of the brain to romantic rejection, the research provides insight into the anguished feelings that can accompany a break-up, as well as the extreme behaviours that can occur as a result, such as stalking, homicide and suicide.

"Romantic love, under both happy and unhappy circumstances, may be a 'natural' addiction. Our findings suggest that the pain of romantic rejection may be a necessary part of life that nature built into our anatomy and physiology. A natural recovery, to pair up with someone else, is in our physiology, too," said Brown.

The study has been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.
*article courtesy*

Sunday, 4 July 2010

when laila met pan

It was bloody hot. Much hotter than the earlier year I thought. So naturally when there were downpours in the middle of a blazing summer, I was extremely thankful. I was not amused when I read a news report one morning which made references to the ever-changing mind of a female, when Laila (the cyclone) decided to change course. I was particularly unamused because Laila had caused me enough trouble already.

Let me rewind.

I love cars. And I love driving. Luckily for me I have an extremely wealthy, expatriate friend who has the most gorgeous cars which she allows me to drive. Well also because she is rather accident-prone. One fine morning I get woken up by her screeching, supersonic voice. That was the morning that Laila came on to the horizon. Apparently my friend was driven to Pondicherry, got dumped by a boy and had no way home. Her parents thought she was with me and she’d parked her Porsche Panamera outside my home the night before. I groaned. Not because I wouldn't mind driving Pan (I'd named the car that) to Pondicherry but because it could have been scratched by god knows what on the crazy roads of Chennai. Even if parked outside a residential complex. I updated the disapproving father, retrieved the keys from our hiding place and set out to fetch Nutty aka Natalia.

Pan was beautiful as always. And the roads terrible as always, especially with the drizzle Laila had brought to the city also known as a furnace. But I didn't give a damn. I hopped in, revved the engine and turned up the Lady Gaga as I sped towards oblivion. Or Pondicherry. Whatever. And as I'd expected, my thoughts returned to the previous night. I involuntarily shuddered. My usually cool behaviour was seriously affected by the amount of vodka I'd consumed and I had no idea what transpired in the head of the boy who one declared he was "irrevocably in love with me". But I have to admit, it was probably my fault. I lead men on – I flirt with them endlessly and the minute they realise they want something more, I back off. It keeps my father and me happy, but well, how many boys can I run through without something unpleasant happening.

I think I may have caused a scene at the pub the night before. The aforementioned boy found me flirting and showing off my dimples – to my best friend's brother who knows better than to expect anything from me. Then the boy launched into a tirade about me being a black widow and strongly advised the friend's brother to stay away from me. There was a fist fight. Rather, just one fist and a palm involved. Crazy boy hits calm boy, except calm boy saw it coming and with strange Spider Man-like reflexes, whips out his hand and stops the fist. Or maybe I was too inebriated to remember exactly how it happened. Calm boy then twists crazy boys arm, growls something into his ear and sends off a very pissed off crazy boy.

Luckily the friend was busy saving a girl from throwing up all over her Prada shoes, otherwise I would be in deep... vomit? Also because at that point I realised I wanted the one boy who had never hit on me in my entire life – the calm brother of the best friend. Complex, yes?

I sighed, changed the music to something darker (all I could find was Goo Goo Dolls.. damn you, Nutty) and put on my shades. I realised I felt sick. The vodka and the sudden realisation and changes of heart I suppose. I stopped somewhere, bought a bottle of coke, two litres of water, some idlis, I managed to find a Green Day CD in some shop, and set off again. The idlis helped actually and so did the water.

I was dragged away from my thoughts by a hysterical call from Nutty. The boy who ditched her had returned apparently - in a drunken rage – and had hit her. I was fuming. My father was the loveliest man in the world and he would never hurt a fly, but I was often baffled by how different boys of my generation were. My poor old daddy would probably also be shocked if he knew. Anyway, I pacified a wailing Nutty (who was ranting in Russian at that point) and told her I'd be there soon.

I dug my heel into the accelerator and wore my seatbelt. I was going to rescue my friend, I'd be damned if me, a fricking ICEBERG, was going to get distracted by thoughts of some boy who would never be interested in me, well because he knew better than to be.

After all that pacifying, I was thirsty. But I didn't want to stop. Supremely confident of my driving skills and the smooth as silk East Coast Road, I did what I never would have done otherwise. While racing down the ECR at 120 kmph, I helped myself to my bottle of coke. Murphy and his law of course quickly acted. Something decided to attack me while I glugged my aerated drink. Something which was buzzing loudly. My reflex was to swat it and I did, spilling coke all over Pan's interiors in the process. A car worth Rs 1,499,999, I thought as I tried to dab up the mess with some paper napkins. Pan was at about 100 kmph now and I decided to stop the car. Then I realised I was on the wrong side of the road, freaked out, saw something grey, freaked out even more and swerved. The drizzle had increased, the road was slippery, use your imagination for the rest.

It was not a pretty swerve. The puffy, white bag which erupted from the steering wheel, and which I've only seen before in American movies and TV serials, saved my life. It also may have given me my first black eye as well. I groaned for the second time that day. I had no idea what the damage to Pan was or how I was going to rescue Nutty from the Pondicherry drunkard now.

My phone rang. I groaned for a third time. It was probably Nutty. I reached out from behind the magic white balloon, fumbling about while trying to find my phone. Once my hand made contact with it, I brought it closer to me and blearily looked at it. And I groaned a fourth time. It was Calm Boy.

I picked up and groaned. By now I'd lost count of how many times I'd groaned.

"That bad, huh?"


"Call me when you're awake."

That brought me to my senses.

"Nuh, whnut."


"Ai nuhd shum hulp."

"Dude. Are you alright?"

"Shuddup. Lissen. I nidh your helf."

"Where are you? What happened? What help?"

He understood my gibberish. Part of me exulted while another part screamed at the top of my voice in fear. It was at that point I realised that was the boy I wanted rescuing me every time I crashed crazy expats' Porsches – for the rest of my life.

it’s about me

I think I killed Donny Haywark.

As I looked at myself in the mirror while I brushed my teeth, I felt a pang of guilt. Well, several pangs of guilt actually. But then I shook my head, looked at my reflection fiercely and pointed at it. “It’s not your fault you’re a human being with a conscience.” Oh yeah, if that’s how you want to look at it, my conscience spat back at me.

I sighed. After finishing with my nightly ablutions, I turned the telly on and tried not to watch the news. The other options were depressing - black and white movies of women and men overcoming all obstacles and living happily ever after. I was already feeling vulnerable about the Haywark incident and it didn’t help that I was 43-years-old, childless, not in the best of shape and single. On most days it didn’t affect me because I met almost a dozen other people with gargantuan problems and issues.

Donny Haywark for instance. He’d been coming to me for about eight months now, when he first discovered his lover was bisexual and wanted erm, more experimenting in the bedroom. Haywark discovered he was supremely homophobic and couldn’t look at her the same way anymore. This despite the fact that he was actually fond of her, they had great sex and she didn’t want anything more from him. A no strings attached affair with a hot Spanish woman, who then wanted to bring other hot women into their bedroom would be almost any man’s dream come true. But not Haywark’s.

We’d tackled that pretty well, but things got bad after the oil spill happened. I knew there was a bit of remorse under his 1,000 pound suit… well, somewhere deep within him. But some of the stuff he said… I let my emotions get to me.

I’m a doctor. A certified psychiatrist, which means I went to med school and have been a rationalist all my adult life. But some things make me emotional – watching pelicans drown in oil, baby seagulls smattered with oil, workers knee-deep in oil and fishing out a dolphin’s carcass… you get the picture. And listening to Haywark, something finally snapped within me after six months of his whining about how much shit he was in and how much money he had lost and how he was going to lose everything.

After six months of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, and by then the Atlantic, he brought up something he made me sign a confidentiality contract for. Some of it was personal stuff – there was too much at stake, he didn’t really want to plug the spill, but then again his wife was getting screamed at in the supermarket and had oil thrown at her, and he didn’t want people digging deep, finding his Espanol mistress and doing the same to her, yada, yada, yada. But some of it was directly related to clean up efforts and his core team. They apparently didn’t want to plug the spill because once it was done, they would never get the oil. And that meant an even more gigantic loss for his company.

This was something I heard months earlier, from a photographer friend who had visited the Gulf of Mexico. Now to hear it from Haywark jolted the bejesus out of me. But I looked neutral, as always, and tried to help him with his problems like I was paid to do.

Nothing seemed to help though. I thought it was remorse that he couldn’t see within himself because it was too deep, and hence he couldn’t handle the remorse. But in time I realised it was as plain as it seemed – he had no money, his family was threatening to leave him and he needed the oil to rescue him. “It’s me that I’m worried for, doc. It’s about me. All about me,” he wept into a silk handkerchief.

That’s probably when it became about me and not my patient. I hypnotised him, saying it would help. I took him through a cycle of hypnosis sessions where sometimes he would oops unwittingly become say, an oiled pelican on its way to death. Of course he had no clue what happened during these sessions. Hayward began to feel guilt, combined with worry for the future.

About five and a half weeks after the sessions began, he had reached the lowest of lows. I was careful not to give him very strong medication, in case he decided to swallow some pills. But I knew what was coming when he told me he was settling all his finances and sending his family on a weekend trip to his in laws’ place.

I sighed and poured myself a whiskey. Then I turned back to the news. I wouldn’t be able to sleep for a few months.

“…Haywark allegedly consumed a litre of alcohol and overdosed on medication he was receiving as treatment for depression. His body was discovered this morning in his London home. Sources say he was dead before he reached the hospital. Meanwhile, National Petroleum representatives say there is a Board meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning to decide on his successor…”

I knew who the successor was. Haywark had told me unwittingly in a session. Luckily for me, it was someone who was also a patient of mine. I was good with patients you see, and many came via word of mouth. This one had come through Haywark himself. Tears came to my eyes as it occurred to me just how evil I had become. But somebody had to try and save the world right. It’s not just about me, I thought. I did this for humanity.

I poured myself another drink. It was going to be a long night.

this post is entirely fictional. no offense is meant to any living (or dead) person. the author holds no opinion, nor is trying to make any statements about anything. no, honestly!! come on.. read the tags!