For Nisha and Shekhar Vijayan, the loss of their daughter Akira, a Japanese origin name meaning graceful strength, was a loss of great magnitude.
Talking about how they learnt to cope with it, Shekhar says, “She was due in November but she came in August. For three moths all we did was run from hospital to home. Despite all the complications she was born with, Akira was truly a brave one. She ultimately succumbed and passed away after three months of being with us.”
Grief is something that is so personal, and different people deal with it differently.
Some people cry and mourn the loss, some internalize it, while a few choose to act upon the grief and channelize it constructively. Shekhar turned to what he did best – entertain others. He found his release in doing that.
A day after his daughter’s death, he was to host a book reading with the celebrated author Jeffrey Archer in Bangalore.
After the launch and the entire book signing was done. Jeffrey Archer asked Shekhar what was bothering him. Shekhar replied saying nothing was wrong. “I can see that something is, I am a story-teller after all. I can see sadness in your eyes,” Jeffrey Archer said to Shekhar. Shekhar then told him about the loss he had suffered just a day earlier. “When he (Jeffrey Archer) heard that, he hugged me and said I was a brave man. But for me that was a way of dealing with the loss, I wasn’t being brave.”
It was at that time that Shekhar felt that there wasn’t enough support for people like him – even from doctors and counsellors. “The doctors themselves needed to be counselled on how to handle loss on several occasions. One is bound to go into depression and feel all those tumultuous emotions after a loss of this nature. None of the big hospitals were equipped to deal with it. It was because of that vacuum that the need to do something was born.”
I wanted to help the many parents who might be suffering without knowing how to deal with it.
When asked about how Nisha (his wife) and Shekhar dealt with the loss he says that they would talk about it a lot, not just to each other but also many others. Shekhar also took to writing around this time and found it to be cathartic. He continued going out and doing his job.
“I felt like Charlie Chaplin on many occasions – a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. But I went on,” he says.
‘Penmythoughts’ was born out of this need to have an online portal that people could use to express whatever it was that they felt. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Nisha is the founder of this portal and Shekhar calls himself the CEO, which he says stands for Chief Entertainment Officer.
This portal is a free community aimed at bringing together people from different walks of life. It provides them with a platform to voice their opinion and express themselves in whatever manner they deem fit.
“We are open to all kinds of formats of expressions – articles, opinion pieces, artwork, maybe videos even. The idea is to give people an opportunity to speak their mind,” says Shekhar.
If you wish to express yourself or just read what others have to say, head here – http://www.penmythoughts.com/