From the bottom of my heart – Swetha Vangaveti, Hyderabad

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Dear world,

At the outset, I would like to introduce myself. I am a homeless parasite, well known for making my host’s life hopeless. People call me by different names but I prefer being called as “Penguin”. I am an uninvited guest into the lives of millions. No one likes to take a single sip of morning coffee with me by their side. I know that I cause pain and that I trouble the innocents to a great extent and yes, I need to admit that I am the great-grandson of Satan, roaming on this planet, striving hard to carry forward the legacy that was transferred to me by my forefathers- the legacy of troubling people. Take it as a kind of family business. However, as centuries passed, for various untold reasons, a tiny beacon of morality that drowned in turpitude for ages has sprung up in my blood. It is out of that moral concern towards my humble and helpless victims that I am writing this letter to let the world know about the troubles they face because of me.

When do I enter my host’s life?
Well, life seems to be a roller coaster only until I step in. There is no specific day, an auspicious occasion or a particular time for me to enter into my host’s peaceful life. The moment I build my nest in him, the story of his life takes a swift turn.

What it is like to live with me?
I will now tell you how it feels like when I attack, say for instance, You. It all starts with an unnamed feeling. The first thing that strikes your mind is that your heart is running a marathon. It seems as if your heart has lost its way. Your neurons start pounding your skull bones. You will start feeling the vibrations of your pulse in every nook and cranny of your shivering body. The numbers of heart rate and the body temperature that you once saw in your science textbook prove to be absolutely incorrect. Your skin starts dripping with sweat. Your hands and feet go numb. You feel as if there’s an unforeseen landing on the terrain of arctic.Your palms and feet turn glacial. You feel that your body is being stabbed by thousand arrows at once, your throat gets constricted and blocks the flow of your life saviour-oxygen. You struggle as hard as your mother did in the labor room. Your eyes lose their sight, become swollen and within seconds everything around you turns hazy. Your nostrils scream for help as they are already clogged up by an outlandish element. Your lips lack moisture resembling a parched land and bear the scales of the fish. You try to wet your lips with the help of your tongue but find it to be hardly of any use. You feel thirsty but you cannot gulp water. You become short of air but you cannot suspire. Your body seems as if it is flying in the air but you are clung to the floor. You lose control over your senses, command over your words, sway over your deeds. You find no rhythm in your pulse, no life in your muscles and no force in your life.

Irrespective of your beliefs, your thoughts start exploring new corners of negativity. You see the characters from the unrealistic stories dancing in front of you. You see the entrance gates of hell, the beautifully portrayed character of Rhiddhima Bagwe Pednekar’s Yammy boy, the God Yamm on his sophisticated Yoyo rath walking towards you to take your body with him- no clue about what happens to your soul and the life after death. You slowly start accepting that you have reached the last minutes of your life and the faces of your parents, partner, friends, enemies, neighbours, relatives flash in front of your eyes. You think that you have got a heart stroke at a very early age and you feel guilty for not having led a healthy lifestyle. The saddest part is that this can happen to you anywhere. Be it in your house, your conference room in the office, in your car, at a store, in the middle of a bubble shower-anywhere. It happens to you when you are alone, when you have guests at your place, when you are enjoying the hospitality of your host, in the most awaited moment of dating your crush or in the beautiful moment of enjoying your first kiss-anytime.


In absolute contrast to your thought that you have reached the last page of the book, you find the book to be incessant. You run to a cardiologist or some nearby clinic immediately. You undergo various tests suggested by the doctor without thinking about taking a second opinion as you strongly believe that you have just survived a heart stroke and you try your best to get the highest quality treatment and live a bit longer in this world. You shower all your hard earned money on the doctor’s table. It is in very few cases that doctors recognise the exact case without tossing you multiple times between the clinic and the laboratory. To sum up, it is just like you are stranded in a terrible ice storm screaming for help but your voice is never heard.

Why am I telling all this to you? What do I expect?
Now that I gave you an idea of what I do to my host’s life, I hope you understood what it is like to live with a parasite like me everyday. If you happen to come across anyone who is striving to survive and get over their panic and anxieties, kindly extend your affectionate help. I also understand that in this world of numerous fake behaviours, it is hard to believe if a person is really in pain or is just faking it out to gain the attention or serve any of his other purposes. However, instead of being judgemental, your timely action and assurance in such situations might help a person in need to overcome his panic and anxiety. Here are a few steps you can take to assist the sufferer :

1. Assurance : My first humble request to you is to assure and reassure the sufferer that there is no judgement being made on them and they are absolutely safe.

2. Do not take it for granted: You might be in the company of someone who is experiencing the panic attack for the 100th time. It doesn’t mean that the person has got used to it and do not brush him off. Every panic attack is as traumatising as the very first one. Every attack is unique in causing the same levels of trauma, fear and suffering. So please do not ignore and walk away. Let the sufferer know that you totally understand his situation and assure him that he is absolutely safe and all that he is going through right then is temporary.

3. Words of encouragement : Encourage him to breathe and remind him that he has bravely passed through such phase in the past and can do the same even this time. Comfort him by saying that it will go away soon.

4. A simple talk : Without bombarding the person with lengthy conversation, engage him in small talks diverting his attention from the panic attack. However, if the sufferer is irritated and asks you to leave him alone, it is purely out of his anxiety and panic and not anything else. Without getting offended, resolve to stay with the person as panic attack and anxiety can only get worse if the person is left alone. Just stay beside him. Let him take his own time. Your presence and a caring touch will be of great help more than your words.

Here I conclude:
Bound to my family duty, I am doing my job as a parasite, continuing what my forefathers have started. However, one nerve of humanity in me forced me to write this letter addressing the world. If a parasite could think so much of its innocent sufferers, how much could you, as the fellow humans think of them. You don’t have to help them in any big way. Just be there for them. Just let them know that they are safe and they are not alone.

Remember, you humans can fight numerous parasites like me if you stand for each other. Just be there for each other and you can see a beautiful world where no external parasite of any form could snatch the peace and happiness from anyone. Be compassionate, be helpful, be friendly, be human and that can drive all the parasites away.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy living,
A sensible parasite.

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