Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Bon Voyage Sushant Singh Rajput

Coping With The greatest Malaise of Our Times 

What happened to #SushantSinghRajput?

A young happening actor has hung himself, and the world is sharing their thoughts that come from one common reaction, shock! Sushant Singh Rajput's most noticeable asset was his smile, isn't it? 
It's what you remember most when you think of him

When the world sees a happy, well-adjusted energetic person it might not be a reality. Perceptions are not reality however real appearances might be. Look at Robin Williams who made all of us laugh. 

- One of the greatest comedians in Hollywood- that he committed suicide baffles me.

 And then many years ago, the legend Dale Carnegie who wrote self-help books on happiness also took his life in depression -makes me really wonder what happiness is all about and how does one define and quantify it and more importantly how do we find it in our lives? Is it a success and material possessions? Can’t be! Or then Alexander McQueen, celebrated, loved and wealthy to the point of excess would definitely not have taken his life. Could it be pain and tragedy that cause a person to end their lives? I doubt that because pain and unhappiness is part of every human beings life existence. Yes, I know, depression and drug overdose are obvious causes, but in the first place, they occur due to inadequacies born out of unhappiness!

So then what is the way out to grapple with pain, loss, and suffering? I’d say the only way out is within. What comes to mind is a famous quote about happiness 

–‘chasing happiness is like chasing a butterfly in a garden. Try to capture it and it evades you. Sit on a bench and close your eyes - it will come and rest on your shoulder’.

Depression, anxiety, and stress. The most insidious epidemic of our times that is said to be the cause for all disease today -even with the big ‘C’ - stress and anxiety are cited as the big causes. It surreptitiously makes its way into our lives before we know what’s hit us and we find we are the victims of panic attacks and low performance at work.  More often than not even kids at school find themselves struck by this new age epidemic. 

The rapid spread of this most common malaise is- believe it or not - loneliness. Isn’t that is the biggest contradiction considering this is the most ‘connected’ age ever. Social media even connects people from different counties and geographies as if they were next door and yet feeling isolated is a great anomaly of our times? Did you know that one in four people that die in India die due to suicide caused by anxiety, despair, lack of help, and the inability to reach out? Feeling isolated and the huge pressure of performance and FOMO overwhelm, cause dread of living, apprehension, uncertainty, and fear. 

Everyone has good days and bad days - there is no shame in feeling depressed and down. Why is there still a stigma with being unable to cope with the pressure? Having a ‘dark patch’ with anxiety, stress is like fever or a cold! Face up and fess up. I know from working with a lot of anxiety victims that pretending takes its toll. 

Sharing brings caring- allow the breeze in and open up - don’t feel you have to always look perfect. Pretending is passé - the new age way is to be real, be you, come clean! Growing up is about acknowledging and sorting. Age is just a number. Whatever your age, fifty, sixty, sixteen, you always always have scope to ‘grow-up and fess-up’. The greatest step is to acknowledge one's fears and feelings of inadequacy. 

Every success story has many failures hidden within. I’ve found from my own journey that these experiences actually form the construct and matrix of success later. 

The wheel of fortune is not consistent and internalizing this is the beginning of coping and change from within. We need to take it all with a pinch of salt and look at the big picture in life. What is most important is that if you cannot counsel yourself and cannot cope - then the most important thing is to reach out.  It could also be just a hormonal change or some chemical imbalance that could be dealt with medically? 

Neerja Birla who is the founder of a mental health care facility Mpower is a flagbearer of dealing with stress and reaching out for help. Her fight is to create awareness and spread information about mental illness, and she works tirelessly to dispel misconceptions about mental health issues. Just like you can have diabetes or incontinence you can have anxiety, stress, and panic attacks. “We need to immediately red flag issues and understand that it’s ok not to be ok! I always stress upon parents and friends to listen to their kids and peers in a very non-judgemental way” she avers and you can see that this is her greatest passion as she shares her thoughts.  It was her own tryst with anxiety and post-natal depression that led her to explore the avenues and support system available in India. She was taken aback to find very little in terms of support systems for people suffering from mental health issues and it was when she saw this paucity she decided to create not only support for mental health care but also the much-needed awareness on these issues. 

Feeling left out or ignored is not unusual so don’t blame yourself for extraneous issues. Don’t be hard on yourself. I’d highly recommend reaching out in the flesh to a friend or member of your family then turning to social media as your coping mechanism.  

The funny thing is we do the opposite when we are feeling low - we withdraw or disconnect and go into a shell when we feel anxious. 

This is when you have to push yourself to reach out and find purpose. Even attending an event to participate in can augment a sense of purpose and give you the much-needed dose of belonging to move forward. 

Finding support groups, reaching out to trusted friends, communicating and opening up and getting sound professional help is a great start to bring in the sunshine.

Remember always the time, perseverance, love, care, and big-time effort your parents took to bring you up. Don't just damage what is not yours alone. Your life is an outcome of a lot of people's love and care isn't it?

Nisha JamVwal 

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

An Interconnected Humanity #NishaJamVwal

There is a connected feeling of shared happiness or sorrow in this world- stay connected & spread happiness 💗

Farah Khan Kunder, the film director made a compelling point on her Instagram recently. This phase the world is seeing- is not a global party of eating, partying, drinking wine, and making fancy foods.  This is not an extended spa-cation at home which many seem to be mistaking it for. No doubt we need to occupy ourselves fruitfully without contracting depression, but on the other hand, we do so need to understand the gravity of this situation. Many places in the world are actually running short of body bags for the millions of deaths recorded and increasing by the day. It is indeed a somber time for humanity.  

We worry about our loved ones and now through this crisis, we need to also think of humanity as a whole and reach out with help. In our own way. I am trying to give support and help to people suffering from anxiety and stress, and offering help for getting logistics sorted for people who are at sea about testing, PPE kits, masks, and procuring groceries. I am also working for the spiritual leader and motivational coach Gauranga Prabhu to generate funds to feed four thousand homeless people in the Wada area.  What is it that is your chosen path to assist at this time? Imagine how much easier we can make this period if each of us reaches out, help, and do one little bit for humanity. Our larger family?

When I see posts of wine, food, work out on social media I cringe at the emotions that would pass by someone’s mind who is losing a close family member to Covid or then losing their own lives. Have we become such a selfish race that we are oblivious to anyone else’s anguish or pain? That unless we are going through the excruciating loss of a family member we will not realize the grimness of the situation just now? In my lifetime I haven’t seen such a devastating situation where no one knows if they will survive the next week. Of course for everyone that is cognizant and aware, are ten ignorant foolhardy individuals who believe that this is a great free extended holiday to drink wine, eat all the time, and show off on social media about the ‘fun’ they are having at this time. Every day social media posts of wine, workouts, cuisine, and song to increase following and likes at any cost and with this avarice and attention-seeking selfishness might not be the way forward when the world is in mourning and the people who are losing their near and dear cannot see their loved ones one last time due to fear of contamination. Even last rites are not possible and are being conducted through computer channels.

Please don’t imagine you are immune to what is happening around you. Until it hits your life, if you are going to be insensitive and unconcerned, you are heading for a very big shakeup of reality. There is panic and loss all around us and we absolutely need to show sensitivity and reach out to help. All humankind is connected as one super consciousness.

Don’t get me wrong, am I advocating fear, somber silences, or anxiety at all. Quite the contrary.  I’m not even saying stop your wine and food binges or relaxation. I’m merely saying apart from your throwback pictures of reminiscence, do have some sensitivity toward the environment we are in currently. Have compassion, sympathy, and reach out in some small way to the suffering world. It is not currently a happy world. It is a world staggering with the weight of a mammoth unprecedented pandemic of apocalyptic proportion and formidable unpredictability. Mankind that had arrived on the moon and is attempting to go to Mars that has AI and robots cannot conquer this very tiny virus that is even obliterated by some soap bubbles.

So often I’ve had a friend or acquaintance say --"I’m so miserable, all the fear and stress is causing strain on our nerves. I have had an altercation with my husband/offspring/parent/friend/ employee and I’m sorry to admit I hurt them with my words/ temper/ outburst!". Tempers fly when living cooped up with each other. Anxiety and imagined future scenarios of corona and loss, make one behave unreasonable –and creating unpredictable moods and fuzzy mental clarity.

Is that not a simple QED? – You are connected and the pain you cause leaves you with as much discomfort and unease as you caused. And it’s the same with feeling good. So if you believe that hurting those who are currently suffering hunger, disease, contamination, fear or just plain anxiety are too far from your current state of holiday, food, relaxation, and lethargy, you might be wrong. This malaise is all around us, all over the world, no one is immune, not even little children as was thought before. Every day new truths come forward about Covid, and new frightening realities reveal themselves about this insidious virus that even shows itself twelve days after you have got it.

Your child’s joy or even your dear friend's success are contagious -there is a connected feeling of shared happiness or sorrow in this world. Please don’t count yourself immune in this haze of wine, food, and song. The Buddhist says not just humans but all sentient life is connected and my Lhasa apso pup taught me that first-hand. He shared his bouncing joy and love and I was immediately surrounded by his infectious euphoria. Were I in a moment of tears he’d come up on my shoulder, smothering my face all over with his comforting licks. No dog lover will contest the connectedness of all existence! Like we worry about our loved ones because our innate being is conscious at all levels that we are one connected family, so also we must be concerned and show that concern for humanity as a whole because our innate being is conscious at all levels that we are an interconnected humanity.

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Give Me Space !!! #NishaJamVwal

When a love-story culminates in marriage its satisfying all around. But this one, the society Chinese whispers had touted as the clichéd "Marriage made in heaven".  I was skeptical, heaven isn't very reachable for mortals. 

When two persons in love marry, it's for them at least,  the culmination of their own storybook romance. But there was this tale that was a much conversed social affair. Some called it a match made in heaven. Surely, I thought, an exaggeration, when I was attending one of the many “do’s” the "love-bird" pair used to whirl through. But undeniably, the husband was suave, handsome, known to be intellectual and could there be anything lacking?!  Any skepticism left was quite swept away with his charm and attentive courtesies when he spoke to me! The bride- she was beautiful, stylish and much feted by society. I was equally charmed by her affability. 

A year or so had passed. Again at an evening they were likely to be at, I looked forward to meeting them. Was I surprised? The handsome knight met me with almost a cursory greeting as though he hardly knew me! But we had spent a delightful time over the conversation? I was offended, and although the beautiful wife somewhat assuaged matters with her friendly hearty greeting and chat, I pointedly shortened the interlude and moved away.  

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Toxic Negative Relationships- Get Out Of Them #NishaJamVwal

Breathe, Live, Laugh a Little More

It is my personal experience, to continue with a friendship or relationship with a negative person - who either blames you, is aggressive at the rise of any miscommunication, cannot control themselves when excited or agitated and is generally quick to misunderstand than make an effort to understand- is a losing proposition. Contrary to your wishful belief, time, kids, maturity does not heal or improve manipulative aggression.

With a slew of only good friendships and equations behind me, I find it hard to cut off a friendship chord easily even when a relationship is not going positively. Part of me always works at it to salvage it, thinking it a challenge in working things and not copping out. But the smarter way to unclutter life is to weed out these ‘toxic relationships’. Just like you edit your wardrobe and storage, with every year of growing older, you need to edit life fearlessly in order to become lighter and free up time for life investing pursuits.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Separate Bedrooms #NishaJamVwal

 It was yesterday that I stumbled onto an Instagram post by a cousin and close friend saying that separate bedrooms for a married couple or partners who choose to live together are a relationship bending route that shatters taboos and ‘works wonders for intimacy and sanity’. I am mixed in my views about this growing trend. The post speaks about how it also allows for hobbies, privacy, and space. My first reaction to reading this is that the entire day most couples engage in own thing anyway and that bonding is oftentimes only at night. Intimate time together in a ‘cocoon’ like space cut off from the rest of the universe to grow your relationship is time bond in the busy schedules a couple normally keep.  So you have the entire rest of your time to pursue a hobby or a preoccupation in a den or an office in the time away from each other.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

NiceGirls Finish Last !!!

Sugar and Spice and all Things Nice?

Recently I came across a case of separation for reasons that were jaw-dropping strange! As I heard out this friend the case got curiouser and curiouser!!  “Rishi, let me get this clear", I asked, "You broke up because she was just too darn nice and too much a wifey little thing?" He took great verbosity and some time to get across what seemed an oxymoron when we’re speaking matrimony! "You mean you didn't want a wife who was a good wife candidate?" I asked, understandably befuddled. Between the no-no's and yes yesses and "not like that’s” what I deciphered was that a man can feel differently toward an intended wife and a steady girlfriend.

This difference is the romantically stimulating-desirable girl as opposed to the caring-too-much girl, and the latter in a suffocating kind of way of being fussed upon. I’d never have believed it, but there is a situation where being loved too much can also be a problem!? Seemingly so!
“Listen, there needs to be some fun and flair, and a little playful space. Even uncertainty that makes for pizazz. Quit the blandness lady. I think I prefer celebratory champagne over the goody-goody glass of milk.” Candid he was and it was then that a well-known saying came to my mind- “nice girls finish last’!

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

When Insecurity Raises Its Ugly Head!

I'm around your side, shall I drop by for a cuppa?" I telephoned my friend in the suburbs?"

Please come soon Nisha!
-I need the company, some advice and the strongly caffeinated cuppa!" She replied. I found her bleary-eyed and disheveled though it was two in the afternoon. "Got to bed at four o'clock. We argued and argued " 
She thought he'd been philandering with that b-----* at that dinner, and he'd been exasperated- placating, reasoning, and finally apologizing so they could ‘kiss and make up’.

They are a contemporary twosome in a live-in relationship. What I learned was that this sleeping at three and four I the night was a regular feature of their time together. And arguing and fighting? It was not necessarily about perceived roving eyes alone! It could be some small thing that had not been to her expectations or something said that conveyed wrong intent or anything amiss in his demeanor that went contrary to her mood even. I gathered all this, half by her own admission and the rest by insights that didn't need an Hercule Poiret to decipher.

Click to read the entire article-

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Marrying Mr Moneybags


Was that a rock? I couldn’t get my eyes off her fifty-carat diamond on her hand. She’d just stepped off her Rolls Royce to join me to a reunion lunch. It’s so delightful when you can meet a school friend and bond after ages, the connect is sans all façade and pretense. So she’d really done well for herself I happily commented. A tiny shadow crossed her face, and it wasn’t long until she confided about a life with all the trappings and an okay marriage but a marriage without much friendship, companionship, and shared moments of fun, laughter, movies, foodie dates and even the sharing of some happy camaraderie.

There are stories and stories of marriages to wealthy gentlemen, snidely referred to as 'moneybags' but I have seen the veneer lose its sheen after a span of flashing the rock on the finger, the rows of Jimmy Choo’s, Prada’s et al If money is the only thing going for it. You guessed it. Life can be lonely, empty and dissatisfying when the only consideration for the marriage has been money- as you look on at a laughing young couple surrendering their monthly instalment on the 'Godrej' Sofa-cum-bed, having a bhelpuri dinner and catching a bus home, because it’s the end of the month! 

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Love At First Site! Does It Really Happen #NishaJamVwal

“I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you.” 

The savant observer of human life and raconteur in ‘Dil Dhadkne Do’ looks on  as protagonist Ranveer Singh sets eyes on Anushka Sharma swimming across the pool. She glances back and it’s a long enduring moment as their eyes lock in a riveting awareness of each other. His droopy eyes perk up as Pluto the raconteur takes in the palpably electric moment as he wryly remarks ‘yeh pehli nazar mei pyar hota kya hai? Kisi ko dekha, brain mei kuch chemical changes aye, nas nas mei khoon ki rafter tez hui, sare badan mei lehare si uthne lagi. To dil ki dhadkan bhi thoda fast ho gayi! 

He explains sagely, that in the beginning there are very few words, it’s all about stolen glances and chemical reaction.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Secrets Unraveled! Complexites of the Mother Daughter Love-Hate Bond!!!

Mum's the Word

Through this article I'll share some tiny secrets. About what I believe complicates relationships of girls sometimes with their mum's. About what I think is ideal in a mother child relationship & about my fantasy Mum!

It is not an unknown fact that mother and daughter relationships are infused with some ups and downs and difference in opinion. But to take it to the level that Indrani Mukherjea has done, is definitely a shock to all people that knew the family, however distantly. Does that throw the relationship of a mother and child into question where one looks askance at the purest relationship that a mother has with her child? I think not. This would have to be a rare exception, with a mentally imbalanced person who could kill her daughter in cold blood. And yet the relationship of a mother and daughter is indeed layered and composite. The Indrani incident 

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Abusive Woman Battered Man

Do Men Get Abused In Relationships Too? 
That is a naive question!

My friend Sanjay is miserable. I try to analyze why a man who has it all- cars, homes, friends who love him, looks, education just about everything I can think of is so downcast? 

It’s my wife, she’s always ‘offhand’ and nasty, nagging, and ticking me off, sometimes publically to my acute embarrassment. Over the years I find it getting worse. The problem is I love her and I’ve been married to her for so long I don’t want to end the relationship.” 

You thought only women had the raw end of the stick in relationships? The emotionally ravaged and dependent underdogs are not always women, as feminists would have us believe. I have been observing the tables slowly turning, with women becoming independent, assertive, and nearly like new converts with growing aggression flaunting their ‘rights’. But rights come with a responsibility- that of responsibility and composure.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Suicide, Councelling & All About SURVIVAL & CELEBRATING LIFE

A student of NIFT recently (allegedly) committed suicide. 
Jiah Khan committed suicide some years ago. 
I clearly remember the day attractive model and my good friend Viveka Bhabajee had planned meeting me on Tuesday for a swim. Fun, smiling always, slim attractive Viveka.  I never saw any expression of sadness or pain in her, even though we spoke often and were fond of each other. She did confide her break-up with me, but never did she sound defeated, Infact she started her own event company and decided to work alone. The day of the appointed swim she didn’t show up and just a few days later I was horrified to learn that she’d hung herself to death. 

Before that fellow compeer Nafisa Joseph- self-assured and composed, we compeered many corporate evenings, before which I would be backstage looking at my cue cards.  Nafisa was happy to chatter ‘happily’ on the phone. Not long after one such event, I heard of the eerie incident of her hanging herself.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Good Manners Are Not Passe' Or Uncool

Good Manners Are Not Obsolete?

Catherine Zeta Jones kids says her kids are well mannered because she gives them stars on a chart in the kitchen for good behavior. It is of the utmost importance to her and she works hard on not only their performance at school but also good manners. They get stars and stickers for being polite and kind and doing chores and being helpful. When they have enough stars they go to a store and pick something out within the budget she sets aside. This sets me thinking about politeness. Is it obsolete and forgotten in the rush and bustle of today?

 I look around me, and even within me and see a great paucity of taking out the time to ask about people, spending a few minutes in conversation before ‘getting to the point’ and ‘cutting to the chase’. The rush and hurry is all consuming in a performance oriented competitive world, but trust me, politeness and care count.

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Learn To Enjoy Your Friends Success?

Do you take your friends success with happiness? Should envy & competitive spirit be the stuff a friendship is made of?
Maybe growth and maturity is the ability to applaud your friends. They will enjoy your success too! Positive brings positive?

When a woman is able to appreciate another woman, it speaks of self-assurance & inner worth- and I don't mean pouring effusively.  I mean genuine heartfelt celebration of each other! Often people find it easy to praise & be nice to a 'poor thing' or someone where there is agenda & sycophancy. But to applaud and give credit to a triumphant and self-assured a person is not easy. No one is too big, too great, or too famous to receive appreciation & genuine heartfelt acclaim and it is nice to appreciate and say motivating things to human beings and to be part of their success. You can encourage and bring out the best in your friend rather than allowing envy and jealously take over which has the potential to form a dark cloud that bodes poorly for you and your friendship. Positive affirmation and seeking out the best in someone can transform their lives for the better. It is a power vested in each of us to be that inspiring person in another’s life.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rare Are Those That Care. Life Beyond Herds & Hordes!

Life Beyond Herds & Hordes! 

Bad times
Who doesn’t have them?
Ask me? I know! I’ve had many
Pretty pictures talk lies
They tell untruths to the skies
But what is the truth
Unfurled only by the sleuth
Them that care or then stare!
Laughing together brittle tinkling of glass
Tears in darkness alone alas!
Come out of it stronger in the light
Sparkle after storms
Tougher sunshine nimble bright.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

My Book Of Life #NishaJamVwal

Life is about GoingOn
Ask Me, I Know...
It busts your chops
It picks up somewhere along the way
& you don't even know when & how it happened
But you're sort of in the game
Getting the plot
& cracking the code

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Love & Lovers! Should There Be Rules To Relationships?


Matchy-match, rules and regulations, discipline- these were things for the older brigade. Growing up I never felt that one should adhere to any regimen or rules. 

Infact I nearly bucked at the thought of such shackles in my life. And yet when I grew up into life’s challenges I realized how valuable it is to work by some basic principles like setting out some guidelines when entering a relationship.

Lovers tiffs, husband- wife spats, mother-daughter quarrels father-son battles or sibling ferocity! Some of the most love-laden relationships as these are, we all know. But we also know that these are also dotted with the most painful and hurtful moments, albeit often very transient. When they happen, good sense seems to have completely fled out of the window. 

The environs are struck as if by thunder and lightning.  Attacks, allegations, bruising words, ego clashes and even temporarily the desire to demolish the other, reign rampant, leaving in their wake tears bruised psyches and wounded souls.  Sometimes the outcome may be enduring or even permanently disruptive. After the winds have blown their course, anger does dissolve and the ego does float back to its accustomed seat. Incredible as it might have seemed, love, hopefully, once more prevails


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Date Night

Date Night

Maybe it was a statement that a friend made- she was surprised at a couple phoning each other during day. Or snide behind -the back comments that I overheard about a couple intimately dining together- 

"Maybe they don't have friends? Or then they surely lack an adequate social circle."

 Is it too extraordinary then to go on a date after you get hitched or married? I mean what happened to all the love and intimacy of the run-up to marriage? It happens to an extent  (but not hundred percent) in the Indian context where earlier generations viewed marriage as bringing up children and attending to material advance and serious family business, wary of the lighter aspects. Perhaps the times demanded it. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Understanding Misunderstanding!!!

We seemed to disagree on most things and I would never have believed that we’d be friends one day. 

Some relationships are just so full of misunderstandings and this was one such interaction. From the time I met Feroza it had been one thing after another. And yet after a few years I found we had a kindov good understanding and got along without a glitch. I surprised myself and set thinking about how this had happened and what had transpired. Wasn't it true that either there was a chemistry or then there were people you just kept away from because there seemed to be miscommunication and lack of a synchronicity? How wrong I was. 

Nisha JamVwal Roller Coaster Called Life