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In the brilliant 2018 thriller Searching, directed by Aneesh Chaganty, a teenager called Margot loses her mother to cancer and then drifts into introversion. Her father, the protagonist of the film, does not realise his daughter needs someone to talk to, and instead lets things go on by default. Until one day, Margot goes missing, and her father learns how hard grief had hit her.
Dealing with loss or trauma can change us in grievous ways, but as our cover personality, neuroscientist Dr Vidita Vaidya says in this issue (p.22), it’s what we do after trauma that can change the trajectory of the rest of our lives. In her pathbreaking research on the circuitry of emotion, Vidita has found that the presence of a support system and a positive environment can even change the biology of the post-traumatic brain.
That’s something that another doctor, Dr Hetal Kasliwal (p.48) would be able to vouch for. Life struck her a cruel blow with post-partum depression followed by facial paralysis, but she trained herself to bounce back with positive thinking and meditation, and even went on to win a beauty pageant. Another hero in this issue, Dr Seema Rao, India’s first and only woman commando trainer and martial-arts expert (p.40), has jumped back from tragedy so many times, many now call her ‘Wonder Woman’.
As Epictetus said, it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. How are you reacting to your circumstances?