The Marble and the Sculptor




She said, “I am his 5th wife. First is the laptop, the job, the phone, then TV, and finally me.” She was joking of course as her husband has been a pillar of strength all throughout her remarkable journey. The 50 odd people who attended this month’s TILT meeting were mesmerized with her indomitable spirit,  witty quirks, and electrifying eloquence. Everyone took notes throughout the hour that she spoke.

It was a “know thyself” moment for me as I ventured out towards the fag end of the session to ask this question. “How is the worst thing that happened to you the best thing? The response from her knocked the ball out of the park. She said, ” That is the reason I am on stage and you all are listening to me.”

So who was this lady?

The lady who delivered this punch line was Hemalatha who was the special speaker for our TILT gathering. This was part 2 of the REAL relationship session. She was born with a hole in her heart and now is waiting for a heart and lung transplant as she is suffering from pulmonary hypertension. By sheer will power and gratitude, she is essaying a life that is beyond extraordinary. A video clip of her talking about her journey was an internet sensation. It has been seen by people from across the world. I got the clip from my school group as well. The way she was talking about suffering made me go down the gratitude street.  In the last month, the clip was a social sensation (Linked In, FB and WA). So with her coming, this session had piqued our curiosity.


Hemalatha and Ian.jpg

The question I had in mind was “what is making her tick despite the medical challenges she was facing in life?”

She started her speech by thanking her parents, elders, husband, teachers, Doctors, and mentors. Her perspectives on materialism vs the things that matter was spine chilling. She made a bold comment that she is grateful to the disease. She further emphasized how through introspection,  a calmer mind, and a focus on each event in her life, lifted the positive thinking in her. She mentioned that as humans we will succumb to negativity. In fact, she gave a witty remark about Venkat when he called and asked her, ” Are you rocking “? Pat came her reply ” I am on the rocks”. Her hack was to accept and eliminate. Use that event to tell something empowering.

I was amazed by her grasp on humanity. This was when she mentioned about how humans are special and out of 84 lakhs species, we have 6 senses to take care of ourselves. It is not just about taking care of ourselves alone but also taking care of the entire earth inclusive of nature and other living beings. We are supposed to be the caretaker of mother earth but we humans have become a threat instead.

Also a few moments back we heard from Ian how our mind is a meaning-making machine.  She pointed out that there are two killers in life. One is self-pity or self-sympathy and other is fear. ” Try doing one thing every day for others,” was her advice.

The other important aspect of her life that she shared was about her family and her elders. She said, ” Family is a university by itself”. The value system can be ingrained in us. She described how her mother and husband were a constant support for her during her trying times and in helping her to take suffering in her stride. On the impact of this new world of friends and technology, she took a view that “Forget virtual, get real”. Yes, that was the truth.


Finally, it was time to close her session and time for some Q&A from the audience. When asked how she motivates herself to wake up every day knowing that she may not make it through that day, she responded: “Dying is not bad, dying without contribution is bad.”

She appealed to the audience to donate our organs for there were many people who could live after we were gone. She spoke eloquently and painted vivid imagery and was so clear in her mind about life. I got clarity on suffering and what made her tick in her life. She spoke with a hole in her heart. I was changed by her holy heart. She was vocal when she said, ” I deserved it “. Everyone cried inside about how one can be so accepting in life.

Hemalatha is also part of a group called “Hope to turn pink (HTP)”. Many of the people in her group who like her have pulmonary hypertension suffer from severe breathing issues due to which their body turns blue. Her story is a reflection of “Extreme ownership”. As Jocko Willink, Navy Seal says, “You must own everything in your world. There is no one else to blame“. Every day the strength of this group is dwindling. There were a lot of youngsters who unfortunately succumbed to this dreaded disease.

The survivors go through pain like a warrior and every day they get up thanking the universe. The minimum we can do in our life is to share this story of hers and touch, heal and calm a person who is going through this suffering. This will help someone who is in need of support to reach out and thus we can give this new meaning of suffering we learned from Hemalatha which is “Don’t get scared. Accept, motivate and do everything with humility“.

Are you your suffering?” was a deeper question to ponder over. She mentioned that the real person living is inside which is the soul and the body is a vehicle. So we have to take a position as an “observer” outside the body and ask this question “What would you advise yourself? ” Our inner dialogue is what we have to take control of. The simple answer to that question is “Love your imperfections, as perfection is boring.”

She reserved the best for the last and that was  “I want to inspire as many people as I can before I expire.”






32 thoughts on “The Marble and the Sculptor

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  1. So eloquently written Vinod…yes Hemalatha is an iron women who will inspire a lot of people on this globe…thanks for yet another great blog

  2. Lovely reading ! your writing has charged my week and left me felling I was in that gathering .

    I hope I will have the blessing of meeting The sculptor someday

  3. Wonderful title… what a writing Vinod, we can feel the presence, just reading this blog about a Wonderful, strongest 💯 positive lady Hemalatha…I will call her a magician and humble human…. overall it’s wonderful reading.. thanks Vinod

  4. Superbly Articulated Vinod👍 Thanks for sharing and needless to say lots to learn from this brave figther lady.

  5. Very inspiring. We were not knowing so far that she has magic wand in her speech. Very heartening to learn that some people in this world feel her pain and appreciate her life. No doubt-Hemalatha’s real strength is her mother and her husband. Oh God, please take care of them.

  6. Great blog, Vinod.

    This looks like your best one to date. It addresses the head, and it engages the heart.

    Hemalatha is an awesome person. She has an indomitable spirit coupled with a spirit of steel and fuelled by extreme positivity. That makes her an extreme warrior. We have a lot to learn from her. We also have a lot to learn from her amazing mother and her super supportive hubby, Keerthi.

    I got to re-live some parts of her poignant talk to our TILT group, through the wonderful sharing on this blog. Thank you, Vinod.

    More power to you and more reach for RICH.

    1. Thank you Ian for the comments. I was enriched by her inspirational talk and outlook on life. I was duty bound to share it with the world. I am very happy that TILT group embraced all her learnings. Thanks for introducing Hemalatha to all at TILT.

  7. Wow. .wow…wow… that’s what I feel after reading the blog and all your comments…. I thank Ian and his wonderful team for helping me to rediscover myself .Vinod.. I realized I had so much stuff after reading your blog…it was the most wonderful day of my life and will stay in my memory till my last moment. Vinod you are blessed with the talent of creating masterpiece out of the ordinary…. wish you all the best in all your future projects….

    1. Hearing you was a mesmeriing experience and I only wanted to capture the experience in my blog. Thanks a lot for your kind words and keep inspiring the world.

  8. Hemalatha is very very strong will powered and she is whole hearted, such human beings are standing tall amongst the society, she deserves to live long and an inspiration to all the living beings. I always pray the ALMIGHTY to shower pink health forever.

  9. Hi Hema, This is Mansi (Manju atya’s niece) . Wonderful article. Kudos to your will and strength. Very inspiring. Very true words about family giving all the strength. Wish you all the best. Sending you lots of good wishes and strength.

  10. Hi Hema how are you? No one knows what have you been through or what yr pretty little eyes have seen. But I can reassure you whatever you have conquered it shines through yr mind. You are a great warrior hats off to you.

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