Pay attention!! Listen to the universe, it’s always sending you secret messages in the form of people, places, things, songs, dreams, thoughts …. It sends us everyday dose of spirituality which is upto us to absorb. Something as subtle as the way we start our day sets the very tone of the day and is a strong message from cosmos. We can either rush plunge into things and tackle life in the day as and when it throws a challenge or we can calm our soul, feed it with positivity, be mindful of the day that we wish to spend and rise above issues that will be thrown to us. Choice is ours!
Would any women choose any of these looks 24X7?I don’t think so and i don’t think, she should and am sure no one would, unless she is under severe societal pressure….we all do cover our heads for religious rituals but that’s for those special moments.
Hijab…i didn’t know anyone in person wearing this until i joined college in Mumbai. Day 1 , I found seat vacant next to a girl wearing this black head scarf in the hot and sweaty day of Mumbai and so i parked myself there. She was Noor Shaikh ,she took me to the canteen in break time and tried to make me comfortable in the premises… hesitantly, but as the blabbermouth i have been always, i couldn’t resist but asked her about her head gear… She smiled and said – this is hijab, it’s her religious will. She then narrated me several norms around it … Cause the strange part to me was that she would wear jeans and then this head gear…. Where as i was coming from North India where wearing jeans was a taboo in those days even😄… So i just told her that you would be a sure shot headturner in my town with this look and we laughed. But I would often talk to her seriously about this hijab ,as it would hit hard everytime that in this climate, given any reason,i would not wear anything on my head… Whatever the reason may be!
I didn’t even know much about other faiths until then and so couple of my other friends forewarned me saying … Don’t discuss all this… as muslims are supersensitive people for their religion and they will wear it .I would wonder there were so many other Muslim girls in our class and wouldn’t wear it.
My constant concern was why and what would force her to wear it in that kind of climate. One day the topic struck amongst a larger group of us boys and girls….we tried to purely discuss it on the basis of reasoning ,yet in that process a lot of latent religious heat was released as well … Because those were the days Shiv Sena was the serious Hindu pole in Mumbai.
She said my religious thoughts tell me that only my father, brother or my life partner can see my hair.. Period!… and i was relating this to the culture in up north where women in our village, who would veil up and do household chores, where they were not allowed to wear modern clothing or anything else on similar religious and cultural grounds (even for these women my concern would be how can they live such uncomfortable life and why!!!) …. So weighing all the things I figured out that all these social rules on women are very patriarchal.
Noor and I, became good friends cause turned out she too lived in Lokhandwala and so we would take same bus to and fro. So we would have many many free flowing discussions about religion… Her religion and mine…. Her culture and mine.
Gradually life took it’s course ,Noor and I parted our ways but somewhere hijab remained an unsolved thing in my mind, specially Hijab for an educated girl Noor.I was not convinced and wonder what would make a modern uptown girl follow such a norm.
Soon after,when i was studying apparels ,we had a chapter in textile designing – History of fashion. This basically threw light on how clothing started and what all factors influenced it. It said that climate was the main reason for clothing and every traditional attire is specific to a specific climatic condition, such as leather for cold regions – prehistoric humans would hunt and use the leftover skin to cover them and protect from cold …. That chapter mentioned people in desert would wear loose robes to cover,so that they can protect themselves from the heat, dust and also the micro sand grains could be easily removed from the robes and they needed to protect their hair specifically, as too much heat and dust could totally spoil the hair texture …. This particular mention took me back to Noor …i wanted to tell her, give her better reasoning and clear her thoughts on the head scarf and her hair care.
Coming back to desert attire .. History of fashion said … Deserts are all brown terrains as we know and the robes were such that they had to even cover or veil up their eyes even to avoid dust, so in order to make it easy to identify men and women , they gradually colour coded the attires basis gender – black for women and white for men … It started on a good logical note but this is again, to my mind, very patriarchal act -men chose comfortable white colour which absorbs least heat and pushed the infra red sucker black color to women…. Islam originated from desert region as we all know and the religion was passed on to the entire globe with these desert friendly robes as it’s by product. Men across the globe, easily got away without wearing white robes but somehow burqua continued because of the way women have been always brought up under imposition.
Following religious symbolism or anything for that matter without applying logic is something which doesn’t impress me about a person .
This practice of veil for women, i feel alienates a person and deprives them from many opportunities – come to think of it how many opportunities would a veiled up women miss,irrespective of her religion and how can it be a womans religion if it makes her uncomfortable any which ways! Infact the roots of these traditions go back into the seeds of patriarchy where men wanted to alienate a gender and control them in several ways.
So show up and throw the veil , is what I would endorse.
Coming to the latest row on hijab, it’s a clear case of communal divide and not women empowerment. It’s percolating down from leaders who wear religious robes dauntlessly in parliament and give hate speeches against a particular religion. Parliament is a work place and showcasing religious vigour in these institutions will create nothing but conflict. This is like making a religion specific statement from the pedestal to instigate crowd in wrong direction. On one side, where we should be stopping religious symbolism at common societal zones such as education centres and work fronts,whereas on the other hand people in position are bringing that into parliament and pushing more people into this discord psyche. It starts when we allow people in position to exploit religion in the position of power.The education and the administration should have pulled out the hijab/veiled girls from the undue clutches of religion by 21st century via education not by public shaming but sadly what we are seeing is the emergence of other breed of newbies wearing saffron scarves and that’s the level of damage which unsettles me .The people who stops a girl from wearing exposed dresses are complaining why is she covering up her head using the other section of students ,who never knew religious symbolism ,so basically if such process continues, we will be all herd up against each other if we don’t find their reasons and question ourselves at every thought we engage in. It’s that careful walk on a live barb wire and should we allow our next generation to participate in this regression is the question of the hour!
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This morning as I opened my eyes to a new day, a myriad of emotions washed over me….. Fag end of 2021 afterall….and what a year…
It felt a tough year largely and I was tested more than I deserved probably… That discussion with Shiva is still on!
I can’t say that I always felt up to the challenges, but I know i showed up, gave it my all and tried best to absorb the hit …. each time and this time more than before… This year the jigsaw puzzle of my life crumbled up again and again and again ruthlessly.
After all, it’s not always about what you’re trying to accomplish or where you’re going in life….
We often learn the most from the journey itself and each bump and bruise teach us life lessons along the way.
I always thought I was strong but this year I understood that I could break into pieces and still keep going.
Profound realisation was that we don’t continue to get the best of a lot of good things life offer to us and that nothing must be taken for granted…. Not a single moment of happiness should go without gratitude from our heart …. They don’t last lifetime.
I am not the best at showing my love and concern all the time, but i realise it’s important to show it and appreciate the beautiful moments in our life – to pay attention to the lessons that need to be learned.
I know now that I don’t have to always be okay, that it’s okay to be not OK and absorb it.
So, yes, this has been a hard year, but in so many ways, it’s been a growth year, a learning year and a wonderful one as well. The year started with losing my parents- the pillars of my being and concluding with lot of goodness and kindness from God.
I’ve stopped fixating on what’s gone wrong and started celebrating the events as they turn out.
Sometimes, you find answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask in the most unlikely places and people.
So, I’m okay with not being a rock star in every way that I could be..
Because to me, what matters most is that I am comfortable to be who I’m becoming and shaping as a result of these events.
A smile creeps over my face as I climb out of bed to take on my life…
Maybe it’ll be hard, maybe it’ll be easy..doesn’t really matter.
Regardless of how it goes, it won’t change one simple fact:
I got this life…..and whatever this life gives me, i will try to mould it into something that spreads smile on my face and face of my people.
Bring it on – you “LIFE”.
Grief.Loss.Pain.Panic.Death. It’s been everywhere around us very recently. Every day we were getting news of passing over of people. Sudden COVID upsurge in India since end of March has laid a never seen before catastrophe.Virus only exposed our shallow side cause a large part of these miseries are man made disaster. India is a land which has been running on faith and beliefs since centuries but this time was a reminder of the fact that in order to manage such vast population administration must plan and not let faith only deal.
We were hurting. People around were hurting. We wanted to be there..but didn’t know how.. How do you hold space for someone’s grief?
We DIDN’T know what the other person was going through in those moments , but in a way knew it all as these were the days when we could feel the pain of all strangers even.Each bad news from near and far hit equally hard.
Now that mayhem seems to have slowed down, conversations that were halted because one was too fatigued to recount the trauma, are happening once again. Let’s feel it’s reality , face it and remember the lessons.
One fear was always there that once the dust settles down, possibly, it will be more dark and more from the contact list will be gone.It is indeed frightening to see how many friends and acquaintances have been afflicted and in such scary magnitudes! The scarrings are lifetime and people will take a lot of time to heal and rehabilitate.
After the initial shock come the black moods. The inexplicable panic attacks and the constant fear are common. The understanding that you aren’t superhuman,takes a while for the dullish brain to process. Difficult as it may sound but embracing and acknowledging that you are going through a dark phase is imperative to quicker recovery. Acceptance and bow down to nature and it’s due course is the key. Let’s humbly admit our mistakes and understand the lesson nature is trying to convey. Development cannot be for only one species and sooner the better we understand this.
Next is the rage at the futility and a tiny bit of anger at self for succumbing so easily to the disease.
The rage at the man-made mess and utterly unnecessary deaths and resulting trauma is unavoidable. But most important is will this rage dull with time? Will we forget everything once the storm subsides and embers die down? Will the guilty go scott-free? Will the brave hearts who died in the line of duty be relegated to numbers in the annals of history? Will gratitude be replaced by self-importance in society for good? Time alone has the answers,but it’s important to have people accountable for the roles they are holding.
Also, easy said than done but self-loathing over precious losses must be nipped in the bud. Life is too short to lead it with heavy burdens and so have an ample amount of self-love for having sustained, having made it through all this. Understand the expansion called life, try to enhance your experience as much as you can. Explore within and outside in the whole wide world for things that are best for one and all.Feeling guilty for going through it should be a transient emotion because there must be a greater individual purpose in store. It is unto each of us to make that discovery and walk tall.
Though nothing makes sense right now and indulging in future-dreaming seems almost criminal, it is important to paint a futuristic picture, have some doable goals in mind and hang on to them for dear life. That is a lifeline. Because as they say ad nauseam,this too shall pass and tomorrow will come. Find your stream of happiness. You have been through the fire, you owe it yourself!
… keep telling yourself, ‘I’m not going anywhere till old-age kicks me’. Hopefully!
Till the future reveals its secrets, love yourself immensely, heal well, be there for others, remember the valiant dead and also the ones who unleashed this untold pain on the innocent.They should be least forgotten
Show big heartfelt gratitude to all those who have made a difference to others by their selfless attitude, by being pillars of strength.They make this world much better….we know world has always been a better place, we need to ensure this time that we get better for this beautiful world.
Lastly,As brave it may sound… this is just mix of random thoughts and the plan in mind to face our near and dear ones who lost precious ones.We are yet to meet them in person ……Can not be in a hurry to get people back to being strong and look on the brighter side. That is NOT what they want to hear..they have to work through their pain and grief..
So just ask them how things are.. and listen without interruption…
Your presence is what matters…..
On the path to try knowing Shiva,i realise one thing which I would like to share here. Till date we as a society are fighting gender bias in an unbelievable manner. The matter is softly seeped into our daily lives and we have clearly visible demarcation between a man and a woman. Their place and roles look very structured and defined. The moment any woman try to blur that demarcation there is a strong opposition from both ends. Men suppressing Women’s rights and women too facilitating the suppression by calling it the way of life. Patriarchy is deep deep deep rooted. However, our divine Gods don’t endorse it at all….. Ardhanaarishwar is Gods way to tell us that both a man and a woman are although different dimensions but they complement each other and that’s what forms a complete life. Shiva is not a God – Shiva is body and Parvati is Shakti that runs the body.Today is a day to allow yourself to understand the divine miracle ” YOU ” in this time zone of the cosmos.
Let’s talk God today – some of us put all our faith into God, some of us don’t believe his existence, some dwindle in between and trust God as per convenience, some fight wars for their Gods and that’s the most funny horror human kind lives……most of them believe their God is superior and use invective words for others’ Gods.To take over this psyche, silver-tongued self proclaimed Godmen and Goddesses add to the already messed up society. They literally hypnotize masses who in turn lionize them. This game sounds pretty harmless, but it’s not the case. Anyways, we are not discussing the grotesque manners God is defined by this section…..so what exactly is God!! What do you think when we are told by all ancient scripts that God is within us…. I feel that’s exactly where the answer lies.
We are connected to this entire universe through five elements – Earth,sky,air,fire, water.In Hinduism, God is called as Bhagwaan – which is actually an abbreviation for these five critical elements of nature. It’s a Sanskrit word wherein Bhu=bhumi=Earth, Ga=gagan=sky,Va=vayu=air, Aa=agni=fire, Ne=neer=water .So basically as per the ancient most way of living i.e Hinduism God is actually nature. So the real devotees would be people who can live in coherence with these basic elements of nature.To put into perspective Hinduism is not a religion as it’s made out to be in modern times. It’s rather a manual for good living. Let’s attempt to decode the facts laid out in this manual.
Earth gives every being the ground and gravity to live.It provides fertile surface with ample food for survival and also to produce food.It serves as a reservoir for rich healing minerals.The sustainable manner in the way earth functions is flawless.Nothing is less and nothing goes waste. Earth is a grounded giver which builds, heals and sustain life in an impeccable way.
When we look at the sky, we see infinity. It’s up there and beyond to no-one knows where. It’s magical and intriguing to the extent that we can star gaze for hours and hours and still wonder our existence.The universe, though a vast entity still connects with us very closely. We are forever curious to know,what’s in there and instinctively believe our lives are being run by some super powers in there.Practically speaking, earth rotates in space at 1000mph and revolves around sun at 67,000 mph and this is no less than a magic. Isn’t it? Our milky way galaxy is moving through space at 1.3million mph…. If this is not divine then what will be.
Air is the optimum mixture of gases which ensures sustenance of life on our planet. At least so far we think so, as we haven’t find life forms elsewhere in space.Inhaling and exhaling and repeat… That’s life!…a process we begin the moment we are born until we die.
Fire is an element that burns everything to ashes which is no longer serving it’s purpose and breaks it down back to simpler forms.A tamed fire is fuel for several activities we do to sustain our daily lives. Fire in the belly pushes us to scale the heights we dream of. It’s easily other name for grit and determination which wins over talent undisputedly. Fire has dual nature of destruction and construction as well and that’s what makes it unique and Godly.
Water, as we know, sustains so many life forms. It’s this medium, which is said to have cradled first life forms with its unique delicate nature.Water flows and the flow is so dynamic that it helps so many life forms to flow in it and yet again water itself flows within all life forms.We humans, are 60 percent water. The flow of fluids and important nutrients determine life quality which is facilitated by water, so that’s the level of importance water holds.Water cleanse us inside out everyday by means of sweating and excretions to get rid of toxins……. tears to shed the stress away and let go of the things which doesn’t matter much, as we all have God within us and around us.
This is what God means to me and when we say that we never die it actually means we are born with these five elements within us and at the end we simplify back to these elements and reform again…. the cycle repeats and repeats….
PS:cover image from unknown source
Ever wondered if we don’t take care of our body where are we going to live!Health is wealth, we all have heard this so many times in our life, but it takes time and certain level of maturity to really believe this phrase. Health indeed is the best investment one can make and is the first form of wealth you can gain for yourself and people around you.Optimum health is not only important but is a true reflection of self love and self respect.
We all know food is fuel to our body,but it’s also fuel for our mind and soul.Also meals we eat are just not calories, they are the information bearers. They talk to each cell of our body.Always be mindful of how powerful it is what you hold in your spoon and fork.If looked closely, food is actually a combination of elements which provides nourishment to each of our body cell ,which includes neurons so eventually what we think in our mind also largely depends on what we eat.Our body is a temple in which our soul resides ,this way even our soul is stirred up by what we eat. So this is how important the ingredients of our plate are. They have direct impact on our physical,emotional and spiritual health.Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence as all these parts are interconnected. We are what we eat,in literal sense.
Hunger is something which is our natural instinct. If we can just understand this simple thing ,we can tackle lots of issues we face due to poor eating habits.To be mindful about when to eat and how much to eat is the most important thing one must inculcate within.Our body has its own biological clock which works perfectly always ,it’s just that we need to give it our due attention.Unfortunately, we prefer to give attention to the clock mankind invented and we keep stuffing our body with fuel on the basis of this wrong clock. It’s very critical to understand that we must eat only and only when we are really hungry. Also we must be mindful that when we are hungry body is asking for nutrition and not junk. It’s only if we listen to our body and talk to it, we can understand what it needs, how much it needs and we can look after it well.
Healthy body is basically one with adequate energy to function. Overall health largely depends on two things fuel and functionality. Body doesn’t thrive when given only rest. It needs rest and agility both in rhythmic fashion.So it’s important to provide body enough activity and rest phase.Food is the most abused anxiety drug and exercise is the most under estimated anti-depressant.In nature, every animal has to really work hard to fetch every meal and there’s a reason behind this. Meal earned this way is healthy and more effective to the body. In today’s sedentary lifestyle, where we are sitting whole day to earn green paper and eating to satisfy our anxiety and taste buds ,we not only end up damaging our body but the impact is larger, as we tend to over eat and waste food, which in turn burdens planet with high carbon footprint.So mindful eating is what we must practice and simple way is to listen to our instincts.
Let’s understand work outs better, why do we need them! We are born to do that and it’s yet another powerful instinct which we forget gradually as we grow into busy beings.Remember,how an infant is continually working out his body to ensure his body is growing well. Later too as a toddler, we cry and throw tantrums if not allowed to play. Just because it’s our basic instinct to move our body cells, activate muscles, ensure that our blood and lymph circulate well and endorphins are released into our system to make us feel good and function optimally.As we grow up and get busy in our lives, we have to ensure to make that extra effort to keep this process going…it’s a vital need. Choose whatever makes you happy and is easy to add to your routine. Could be running, skipping, gym, yoga,dance….or pick a sport you love… whatever!But body demands it… for sure.
In life, every aspect has two sides there’s an ebb and then there’s flow ,so as much as activity is crucial for our body so is calmness and rest. This is another thing we have to work hard to include in our lives considering today’s lifestyle. Again respect the instincts, give yourself chance to follow your bio clock. Sleeping on a specific time and waking up on a time has major impacts on our day to day functioning.Sleep is gradually becoming an issue, due to our present work pressure and lifestyle. We can help ourselves by following some basics which can keep us in calm mode around our sleep time. Good music, clean food ,meditation, positive vibes, reading affirmations are some means to combat sleep troubles.Too much sleep and too less sleep both are indicative of underlying health issues. Also, wrong food habits and wrong meal times contribute majorly to erratic sleep patterns. Must be checked promptly.
Lastly, we must understand that we are fed by the food industry that pays no attention to health and our health is taken care by the pharmacy driven companies that pays no attention to what chemical we put in. In order to get rid of one disease we end up gaining several side effects of these chemicals.We must strive and be out of this vicious circle of processed chemical laden food and eat clean,because we can’t control everything in our life but we can control what we put into our mouth and this will eventually take care of everything else….as we allow our bio instincts to take over.
As we live through our lifetimes, we do realize the only constant is change,but in todays times the change required is extremely blistering and expeditious.The timeline not only demands speed but quick adaptations to the unfamiliar paths.We have to trust that comebacks are always much more powerful than any set backs.
Right now,there’s a clear sign of dynamic shift in the way life is going to run across the globe.Only saviour will be acceptance to this remodelling….by up-skilling through a continuous loop of learning, unlearning and relearning new means to tackle each day.
This could well be applied to the professional as well as personal lives.Change or variation in career path is indeed considered a sisyphean task.Specially in a country like ours ,we are literally jammed to a career for entire lifetime,totally convincing ourselves that…. That’s it what we can do!! This concept is nothing but the result of human quest to park in their comfort zones.But a gentle reminder by time is that we are given extra grey matter to explore new possibilities and new avenues instead.
Always trust and believe that all of us have this amazing metamorphic capacity to transform which comes into action ,only if ,we let it flow with pure grit and passion.Do your future self a favour and get outside your comfort zone. Think big, think outside the box, and don’t let your own perceived limitations stop you.Fight the fear. You may not be 100% qualified for things ahead– and that’s okay.Do not strive for perfection go for progress….one step at a time!
If you have to carry one thing with you on this path of making “new you” let it be hope…. Trust that the best is yet to come.Hope is stronger than any of the challenges that will be thrown towards you while you transform yourself. Absolutely trust and believe in your new journey.
The process will make you under go lot of unlearning and new learning – the tough bit will be unlearning. Wiping the slate ain’t easy but keeping focus on new learning should make this an exciting journey.Keep making choices on the basis of hope and not fear.Try and find positive things everyday even if you have to try harder.Even in the most hopeless situation remember to try one more time.
Certainly, this is going to test all of your patience but the moment you think of giving up,just remember next moment could be where the magic happens.Any change needs patience, patience needs courage and courage is nothing but keeping grace under pressure. So first and foremost is acceptance to change mixed with enough patience and courage.It’s a fact, transformations do not happen overnight. Also you can’t transform by doing what you have been doing always. So even small changes done on day to day basis towards your goal can give you big results.
Be consistent.Remember to do that small bit every single day no matter what.Also be brave enough to mess up and fail as you move into being new you …after all, by all means ,you have the power to modify your life as per your wishes with grit, consistency, self love, positivity and aspiration to see a “new you”
Thinking is a continuous act that’s subconsciously running like cardiac muscles. It’s now proven fact,that our thoughts are far more powerful than we think them to be.So many times,we try to control our thoughts but it’s easy said than done.We cannot sit and plan our thoughts like we can do for our next meals.Usually it’s the thoughts that regulate us and not vice versa, however that’s where the secret lies. Those who can regulate their thoughts master their life. The level of contentment you will get in your life totally depends upon your thoughts.
We are most rewarded or punished by our thoughts. Everything depends upon the way our mind perceives the external environment.So it’s critical to tame this wild entity to our benefit.Converse with yourself like someone you love.Appreciate yourself genuinely and be compassionate towards your demands.External hurricanes are never going to be in your control ,but keeping your inner core calm will help you pass through testing times.One positive thought has the power to change your day for good and one positive day can be a life turner.
It’s vital to set the right tone with yourself, to always have amicable conversation with yourself. This doesn’t guarantee winning over all situations however;this will change the way you perceive the given situation ,from a threat to an interesting challenge.After all it’s the focus, if we pay attention to the pain – we suffer ,instead focus on the lesson and thrive. Such growth is so motivating and quite exponential. When, the way you think is balanced it empowers you to handle any adverse situation with aplomb.
As we all know, no amount of guilt can change our past and similarly no amount of anxiety can change our future. So having odd thoughts is basically pointless. Power lies in keeping calm and doing one thing at a time. Anything that costs you your peace of mind, is way too expensive to harbour. Instead keep moving ,one step after the other, no matter how stuck you feel. No matter how hopeless the current situation may seem to be, as it’s only once you have walked that path and later when you look back , will you realise it wasn’t that bad a journey. Our mind has the power to magnify a predicament beyond belief.Use this contemplating magnifying glass to live it large!
Colours are supposed to be fun, perhaps God created colours to entertain us, make us feel good with abundant variety around us.But the manner in which human race has demonized skin colour is unfathomable.This is as lame as a Cedar tree telling a Banana tree – “Oh! Your leaves skin colour is so light and beautiful!!”it doesn’t work this way…..the diversified flora and fauna is created to relish each one’s uniqueness and not to look down upon the others.The biosphere works on very simple rule of balance and it has enough place for everyone and everything except greed.Unfortunately, human race has been totally taken over by lust, greed and ego which is not only leading to anger and dissatisfaction within them but to everyone around them.
Even in the so very advanced 21st century and from the world’s most civilised and developed societies we seem to have totally misunderstood colour,so simple yet made so complex and difficult by our mucky mindset. When we hear a huge outcry for such reasons it not only puts entire humanity to shame but also validates the subtle or stark racism that prevails across the globe.
All apartheid related episodes are a reminder indeed that humans enjoy segregation rather than the power of collaboration.Though there are no scientific or logical basis but the way bias is passed from one generation to another is very subtle and almost seamless .Interestingly bias simply permeates facilely. As they say our kids do not listen to what we preach them,rather they watch our actions and observe our intentions.It’s true that the message our words convey is far less than the tone and intent with which they are conveyed.So it’s high time we acknowledge this power and act wisely. We have to stop superficial support to the real demonic issues and continue lives with our shrewd ways. We cannot any longer be only politically correct and we need to really mean that the well being of all fellow human beings matter….. yes all lives matter be it human or other animals, be it black or Caucasian…. But here i will say that the lives which have lived under prejudice for generations need our humility and acknowledgement with due apologies that they genuinely do MATTER.
Cover picture credit:Sangram Naik