Life lessons from a week from hell

Arindam Basu
4 min readNov 25, 2023

Week from hell

Last week, Monday – Saturday, would, what I will label as a week from hell, when everything possibly could go wrong did go wrong, and left me very unhappy. A week from hell is a week you don’t want to repeat again in life.

Let me explain.

The week began with a measurement of my diabetes or blood sugar around 9, despite all my efforts of keeping up with exercise, low carb high fat diet, intermittency in eating, and keeping up with a life as active as practical. While I was fretting about it, went ahead and sweated extra hard at the gym and returned with sore muscles. The lawn grasses over grew with rain and shine, and the struggles to get the lawn cleaned was a hard task. Sunday practically exhausted me.

Monday was my pitch rehearsal for the startup I am working on. The coach listened to the pitch, had a few nice words to say about it, and then, fumbling for something to pull me up for what I missed, asked me, “So, if your project is so good to keep people from getting runaway diabetes, how come neither Google nor Apple are on to it?”

:-0

I frankly did not know why. Why would or wouldn’t the richest and most influential tech companies would spend time in bespoke solutions was beyond my understanding. But then again, I am a doctor and an academic, I never went to a business school. I had no answer to this, and he started mocking me, insisting that if the judges were to ask for an answer, I had to provide one, :-). Anyway, cut a long story short, I normally never lose my mind, as years of Buddhist contemplative practice has hardened me up. I left the stage, realising an internal fuming but kept a steady smile.

Tuesday came and went and I kind of forgot how Wednesday went. Had a really nice meeting with my mentor, and things seemed to go well. Except at the university the work pressure was so busy that I had no time to turn up for the second round of pitch practice. Another tough day with practically burn-out like situation. Saving grace was having a chat with a fantastic mentor and a loving family. I guess count your little blessings of life. To make matters worse, I received a letter on mail from the health ministry that I have a diagnosis of gastrointestinal stromal tumour, another unexpected not a happy news. It’s not a bad diagnosis but nevertheless makes you somewhat being taken aback at life.

Thursday was hell at its peak. After hours and hours of careful practice, my pitch was rejected by a group of utterly incompetent judges, whom I will never forgive in my life. Horrible setback. Then I left the pitch room and left for an office function. The office function was nice, with good food and a nice long conversation with our head about taking some of the programmes forward. It kind of soothed my frayed nerves and a feeling of overwhelming sadness at being rejected at the pitch. Life happens I suppose.

On my way home, I went to a store to pick up a pair of running shoes from a local sports store at a mall. I was asking a guard at the door how long their sale would go, when I faced this woman who was working for the store and she literally yelled at me, “Hey, why are you asking the guard? You should ask me!” Not sure why she felt left out, I asked her the same question. She replied it was their Black Friday sales and unless I hurried, I’d find nothing that I was looking for. Fair enough I thought, and I quietly left the store vowing I am not coming back here anytime soon.

I still needed the pair of shoes, so I went back to another store of the same chain the next day. But that being the frenzied Black Friday traffic here, I went round the mall and did not find a parking slot, :-), so drove back home 60 kilometres from the city. Returned home and ordered the pair of shoes online. I had the impression I’d be able to pick up from the store on Saturday with perhaps a little higher chance to find parking. Indeed it was, but the store clerks told me that the shoe had not turned up. Now I do not know when the shoes will arrive, or if ever. At least, didn’t happen last week. Then when we were driving home, my mum called me on phone twice over while I was driving. I did not answer her. After reaching home when I called her, she told me she accidentally swallowed her steradent denture tablets and was in distress when she called me.

Life lessons

I suppose some weeks are like that, when nothing seems to work. But equally, there were small blessings of life. The diagnosis of GIST could be worse. I had a fantastic meeting with my mentor and we became good friends even though the presentation did not fly. I have the blessings of a lovely family and great colleagues. A cloud computing company gave me a generous grant of space and resources for six months when I asked for only four to get the startup up and running.

Count your blessings but some weeks are hard I suppose. Stay put and put your best smile on the face.

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Arindam Basu

I am a Medical Doctor and an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury. Founder of TwinMe,