Posted in close to heart, m@dness

The Year of Awakening- 2019

To begin with, unlike 2018, this year has been kinder. I am resisting the temptation to use other nice adjectives, lest I jinx it! As I write this post, Tango looks at me thinking when will she get up and coddle me; Cookie is running around, trying to coax me into going after her; Ami is doing practice work from school. 1 can speak; 1 hardly; 1 cannot. So, how can I convey that I need some time to finish things I started? Well, that was what most parts of my year involved. Mastering the art of Work Life Integration.

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2019 has been the year that I decided what really I want to do, professionally. I realised that I can really love the job I do. With multiple roles to fulfill and countless deadlines, a friend asked me how I manage with a full time job, consulting gigs, family etc. I had to laugh. In the beginning of the year, I had no clue how this year would be and no idea as to what I wanted to do professionally. Now, towards the end of 2019, I am in a happy place, fully understanding what I am capable of and what makes me tick!

Last year, the brother explained why planning was so crucial and how you can actually negate exigencies by planning. Although it did not make much sense then, today it is clear to me and it indeed is true. I know because I learnt it the hard way. Life is bound to throw hurdles, what you make of it is entirely upon you and nobody else. The way I see it is quite simple, if I care about something enough, I would do things to ensure that nothing happens to it and I’d never make any excuses to avoid it. It matters to me so I’d do what it takes. Be it my circle, profession or things I love. Period.

Eg; Exercising? Another day! Food? Bring it on! Get the flow?

Coming to what we call burnout culture, the new craze of being busy and being  exhausted by work and the world. Most people I know are busy. They are busy at work; busy at home; busy on the commute or just busy. And I am not complaining. Am just laughing at this new term. Twenties and thirties and even mid forties are about working hard so that you have a better quality of life later on. I don’t mean kill yourself , ignore your health and make money! I mean, move around and make things happen and be busy. It really is okay. Like I said, make time for things you cherish; things that inspire you and makes you happy!

Whether you call it Work Life integration; balance; jenga; or harmony, the truth is that humans fundamentally crave a simple and similar desire to create easy joy and meaningful engagement between the interconnected roles, relationships and responsibilities that make up their lives. World. Inc does not need another term that talks about creating a seamless,meaningful existence that is common to all areas of an individual’s life. Personally, in the era we live in, it is not difficult to achieve this as we are all mostly technology enabled and so much can be achieved on the go. In the end, it all goes back to, how much do you want it?

To all those who still think I have an army of maids at my disposal and full time chef and “support” from the family, you will be disappointed to know that I have in fact none of these. What I do have is a family that knows my jobs are important and a husband who knows that raising the kids and managing the house is his responsibility as much as it is mine. And like Danielle Steele says,

“There are no miracles. There is only discipline.

As for me, this year turned out decent. Resolutions you ask? Just one. Be a better person than yesterday, holistically. That covers attitude, health, wealth etc right?

Happy 2020. Fancy number there, let’s make it a year to remember! Nicely.

Posted in m@dness

Fitting In to Moving Out

“It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. It is the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It is the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give. And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.”

~ Bette Midler

Once upon a time I used to be the person who craved for acceptance. I used to say yes to people just to be a part of their circle. Yep, used to. Many a times I’d be a part of their world, but I soon realized that it was for a brief moment in time. I’d do things even if I didn’t want to and then fret over it later and ponder over the scars that would be left behind.

People say that the society at large decides what the perfect way to live is, but I ask all those people who have always lived by the rules of the society whether they really are happy? Nope!

Then, in all probability there is no perfect way to live. There is no right way to live. Our rights can be someone’s wrongs and vice versa. You see, its all about choices after all. Yes or no. To do or not to do. To fight it out or succumb. Right or wrong. Jump in or avoid etc.

Parents/guardians teach us good values to guide us through life. Teachers give us knowledge and information to secure a vocation or job in order to get through life and  society at large dictates how you should live life; what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. ‘The society’ or in my dictionary, the “Circus” disguises itself as friends, relatives, colleagues and acquaintances that we come across in our day to day lives. They jump right in to pass judgement and question our beliefs, ideologies, choices, options and even go as far as offering solutions to the problems that were created purely due to their interference in the first place! These are people you lean on to, trust or relate with daily and slowly their ideologies replace yours, their choices soon become your choices and slowly, your own beliefs fade away. Suddenly, the very same people who instilled these beliefs and behaviors in you, start pointing fingers at you and treat you like an outsider. (Refer Sivagami-Bahubali equation)

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For me, things took a turn when I wasn’t expecting. People who I considered my own, turned around to suit their convenience. Although I was in a spot then and felt humiliated to say the least, the husband shook me (both literally and figuratively) out of the zone and gave me a sound reality check. So, this quote from Dreaming of You by Lisa Klepas is my Mantra these days, encouraging me to be who I am and not what I am expected to be.

I will do things or take a stand that others may deem selfish, ungrateful, shameless etc but I am finding peace and happiness in the most unexpected places and beginning to understand the things that matter the most. Some may say that it a sign if weakness.But again I no longer care what people say. I crossed that line, the line I drew around myself and I am proud and glad I did. A tad late, never mind. I’ll just proudly walk away and say, that the scars on my heart can tell their own story of sleepless nights, cut wounds and tears but they can also tell a victory story. Of lessons learnt.

I still carry around some of those wounds and though the scar is healed, the pain still lingers. However, gone are the days I’d let it affect my life. Unstoppable is my word now and if I ever sound brash or ungrateful, sorry I am just being honest and whether you like or not, I don’t care!People get tattoo to remind them of experiences. I chose to keep my scars instead.

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Posted in close to heart

The Beginning

It rained the night before I was born. Not unusual, given the month, but unexpected. The otherwise depleted nursing home was swarming with people coming in just to take cover from the pluvious rain. Amma must have screamed and cried, quiet likely the only emotion she had when concerning me. I had cried too, for I didn’t want to be here. Nope.

The doctor who managed to get me out, checked for abnormalities and clearly missing the signs of an emotional breakdown, went ahead and gave me a clean chit. Then, they cleaned me and handed me over to my mother’s mother. It was she who first held me. I remember my grandmother mentioning years later that the doctor came out and said to her that my mother had indeed delivered a doll for her to play with. Indeed.

Taking one look at my not so straight bush of hair and definitely not so red cheeks and the lower half of my body wrapped in a not so clean towel, she’d prayed that my father wouldn’t be too unhappy. The child being a girl. Das was too high on  joy and the packs of Charminar cigarettes he had managed to smoke away while amma was pushing me out.  He couldn’t have cared less. He was a father, once again! The elder one being a boy was more than enough for him. After all the boy would take care of all his needs when he grows up. What was the use of two boys anyway? Men, sigh! Malayali men, sigh sigh!

Before handing me over to him, my grandmother gave me a kiss and I’d woken up to cry in protest. Through his sleep deprived eyes, Das held me, uncomfortably and awkwardly. He looked around and called out to my brother. My brother who cared a damn, was visibly annoyed because he hadn’t slept last night, thanks to the mosquitoes in the Ambassador, buzzing all around him and more so because he thought that all the attention his mother and grandmother had showered on him would now be directed to this thing. He thought. Stupid.

I was constantly being moved from one pair of hand to another and I’d stopped crying because I was tired of crying- yes, even then. Amma was the only one left to hold me and when she did, I’d realize that maybe she hadn’t wanted me born either. After all, maybe she knew already that the risk she took wasn’t worth it. Maybe.

I hoped it did. Eternally hopeful.

It was overwhelming and frightening because suddenly I could feel all that anger and hostility of everyone around and gathering every ounce of fear I had felt, I’d screamed, terrified.

How do I know all this?

It is the curse I am born with. I remember everything.

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Posted in m@dness

Ping, Don’t Ring!

We all have that one friend who hates to pick up the phone and talk, right? That friend who will reply to whatsapp messages and fB messages instantly, but hates to talk on the phone. Ha, you won’t believe it, but that’s me these days! My friends who have stuck around for years would refuse to believe it, but the Image result for person who hate to talk on the phonemore mature ones seem to understand this new little behavior of mine, strangely because they too seem to have metamorphosed into this Hate to talk to anyone, at anytime, for any reason kind of person! And if you have already labelled me as an introvert, darling, please don’t assume just yet.

It looks like all this started when the world was introduced to WhatsApp. No, I am not playing the blame game here. Lets do a bit of flashback and take out the thinking cap. What really is the need to make a call? To talk! Wrong. To communicate! Now, ever since WhatsApp came into being and became the most widely used tool for messaging with Facebook and Snapchat following the lead, most users realized that there was a way to communicate with people without having to talk.  Tada! It did not take long for people to understand that this whole chat or ping mode was more efficient, less time consuming and quicker! Let’s just accept the fact that for the next generation that we are raising, phones will be how snail mail and newspapers are to us (no offense- snail mail is dying and so are newspapers).

Coming back to why I don’t use the phone to talk much and mind you during my childhood days, my dad was forced to pull out the detailed telephone bill to see why his bills were so high. Well, my brother was to be blamed then, but I had my share too. So, these days everything from family updates to birthday wishes, news to service requests

Image result for hate to talk on the phoneare in the form of messages. People talk lesser and lesser and the device which was invented to help people converse, is being used these days to do anything but that. Earlier, I would run next door and ask the aunty next door whatever information I wanted and run back home. These days, I have had chats on the phone with neighbors I have hardly ever seen face to face! When weddings were fixed way back in the pre-whatsapp era, couples would talk for hours together on the phone and these days most people type away into the night.  That said, I must spare a moment to acknowledge people who still like to hang from their phones for hours on end, talking, talking, talking, dissecting every little detail, discussing every issue with complete disregard about what is happening around them or whether the world stopped spinning on its axis. Thankfully, not everyone is afflicted with my strange illness.

Now, there is one more reason behind this trend, if you ask me. Look, when you talk on the phone or directly for that matter, there’s a chance that the person on the other end of the line may have an opinion regarding what you are saying and also the chances of conflicts and arguments are higher. Chats and pings too come with their own problems. People tend to read tones on messages depending on their take of the situation or conversation in hand. All said and done, the reason I do not like talking on the phone much is still a mystery. I can pick up and talk to random people. I mean, that is my job and I have to live with it. Now, if it is someone I know or used to know and all that, it is just weird. I find my insides screaming- don’t ring, just ping!

Well, no matter how technologically advanced we are, for every app that promises to save you a call, there’s a situation that requires one. So the psychologist in me knows  that I do not have social anxiety as I am an extrovert and otherwise perfectly fine with social interactions.  I just have a weird deep-seated fear of making or receiving a call with known people and that, I will someday, get to the bottom off.

Until then

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Posted in m@dness

Celebrating Marriages

These days, when relatives and random people pass comments on my 4 year old daughter’s marriage which is anticipated to happen 25- 30 years from now, I smile and pray that someday it really does. Until a few years ago, I was a critic of this institution called marriage. However, over the years I have realized the significance and have begun to appreciate it. Nope, this is not a fan post dedicated to Ro, my husband.  Nope, I am not getting old either! I sneered at it and made fun of all the people who were married but this infuriating and irrational togetherness of 2 people is truly intriguing and baffling in every way possible. So, this post is for the Gen whatever who is thinking of whether or not to get married. I genuinely hope this helps you decide.

Until a couple of months before I got married, fully knowing the implications of long standing relationships and the hardships, the pain and the cost involved, I was hovering dangerously close to writing off this whole concept of marriage. Although, I must agree that I am  a wedding aficionado. Not to mention, the number of married people I came across who were married for all the wrong reasons and were now debating on whether or not to get a divorce. Some, who decided against a divorce just because of the paperwork involved! Then there were these married couples who had made an absolute mockery of their legal relationship by indulging in everything illegal! To be honest, I was almost prepared to give up. I did. Almost.

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When you grow up in a single parent household, you are privy to this inside view of an independent human being becoming super dad and super mom all at the same time. For me, all the growing up years were masterclasses in being independent. I grew up seeing my dad raise me single handed. There was no confusion and absolutely no chaos as every decision was for most parts independent! I mean, why would I even think of getting married when I was taught to do it all alone. I was raised that way! Like one of those Tshirt quotes- Born to be alone! Except that, eventually I realized that we cant really live alone for all our life right?

That jolt came when my father battled cancer a couple of years back and I spend a considerable amount of time in the hospital corridors, it really used to get quite lonely. I had friends and I did have some dear ones who made sure I felt less alone. However, on more than one occasion, I saw him fight it out alone, unwilling to concede defeat and I really wished that he had someone to hold his hand all the time. You see, even if I was a hundred years old, to him, I was still a kid and he would dare not vent or show his irritation, lest I get scared! It slowly dawned on me that it is indeed reassuring  to have someone to call your own when the body breaks down or when you really need some encouragement to do something spectacularly extraordinary. But hey, you certainly don’t get married to get yourself an unpaid caretaker in the twilight years. Nope, that is not really what marriage is all about. Although you cannot deny that, as nagging and cranky as each one of us can be, there could exist at least one person in the universe who, by a weird stroke of luck, adores you enough to commit to tolerating your personal brand of obnoxious and crazy personality. Someone who is still in your life, even when you’ve given them a million and one reasons to walk away and take their love with them.

Today if you talk to me I would tell you that in 6 years of being married, I think it is all  about putting your patience to test every single day and still coming out of it, unscathed! There are so many things Ro and I hate about each other and really we ought to. We were raised in different manners and lived different lives before we started this life together. Ro cribs about my fetish for chinese food, but will make sure he takes me out to eat chinese at least once in a week! I hate Ro wearing boxers and stepping out to the neighbourhood shop , but will accompany him for shopping and pick out that pair of boxers, even if he forgets. His laid back attitude, my short temper. His love for boxers and socks, my affair with books and photos. His impulsive behavior, my deeply thought over plans. His spy movie and action genre craze, my inclination towards all things romantic. Good days; bad days; happy days; frustrated days; we are done days; I cannot live without you days; Up day; Down day, but, that is okay. It really is fine.

No photo description available.You see, it is a dance! It is about balancing and really, it is all about pretending not to notice the monotony of the awkward things we all tend to do or repeat. Every argument against marriage is rock-solid. Especially in the era we are living in. Some say it is boring, some thing of it as an obligation and that we’d all probably live a whole lot longer and more peacefully if we didn’t have someone breathing down our backs, feeling entitled to our time, attention, and energy. With the passive-aggressive wife jokes that almost always portrays the woman of the house as the nagging shrew making the rounds and researches making a compelling argument for women to stay single, by suggesting that unmarried and child-free women live longer and report being more happy than their married counterparts, people begin to wonder, why, when so many inmates of the institution are so desperately miserable, the institution of marriage continues to be the benchmark and platinum standard for romantic relationships.

Image result for MarriageOn the contrary, perhaps the very idea that we’re meant to spend our whole lives with one person is what makes it appealing. It is more or less like a lifelong undertaking and  its adventure lies not in its beginning, but in its ability to look at all of each other’s ugly in the eye without turning away.  It is about having enough love left over to hold on, in the darkest hours, despite knowing that everything that is bad has the potential to get exponentially worse. SO, go find that person, now! And, if you did not find all these reasons compelling enough, try renting a house as a singleton and you will get convinced and how!

Meanwhile, Happy Anniversary to us, RO! I simply LOVE you!

 

Posted in m@dness

Small Little Life Changers

“Maturity is all about losing your innocence”

I have always maintained that children; be it Kalyani, the first child I spent a lot of time with; Lil, the special one; or 2 of my own, can actually teach you very valuable life lessons if  you really just listen to them. And I mean listen, not you talk and they must listen scenario or not the time they are forced to talk to you scenario. That time when they are in the mood for some harmless banter, they are better than the best life coaches! They are little philosophers with an uncomplicated life view and the truths they utter are often profound, refreshing and very applicable to our lives as adults. If you have your own children, then I am sure you’ll agree with what I am talking about. If not, then closely observe them, next time you are around them and you’ll see I’m right.

Related imageHere are some thoughts I have had after those little banters or rather, here is what my girls are teaching me…

Everyday is a fresh, new beginning!

Ami wakes up everyday with absolutely no baggage from yesterday! In terms of food, activities or even fights that I have with her, the girl doesn’t carry over anything from yesterday. One night I asked her if she wants Rava Idli as dinner and she said yuck! The next morning, assuming she would not eat them anyway, I was munching on one when she asked me why I didn’t give her one! When I reminded her what she said last night about it being yuck, she amazed me when she replied with a “but that was yesterday, amma!”. This is true for everything! Everyday is a new beginning. How many of can start afresh each morning, forgetting all the bad stuff of yesterday?

Show some courage

Say the word dance and my younger one who is turning 2, would get on the floor and shake every inch! Kids can sing out loud and dance when they feel like it without any inhibitions because they are not confined by fears of failure or humiliation. They march forward with hope and determination because they don’t know any better and even if they have been beaten down, they do not know to give up! They embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms. What an attitude to keep!

Laugh, silly

Kids, they don’t need a joke to laugh out loud. The girls have taught me to see laughter in the most silliest of things. I am slowly learning to find joy in the most negative of places and sunshine on the darkest days. It is a work in progress, but this one trait I will hold on tight and make sure they never shed when they grow up.

Be thy Hero

Have you noticed that when children narrate the events of the school every day, they tend to be the center around which the story will revolve? And also, the fact that they love saying their name a lot? Like, a lot! As children, they really do feel that they are the best and they are just not ready  be put down. As we mature, we don’t want to be conceited or egotistic, so we downplay our accomplishments and achievements. We don’t want to brag. But in doing so, we often slip to the side of self-deprecation. We put ourselves down to make others feel better or to be more social! Modesty becomes an admirable quality and we start to convince ourselves of our own mediocrity. Sad, but true.

Beauty is in everything

Tango, our 2 year old Labrador is a constant source of delight and is the joker of the family. He can make us happy just by lying down with all 4 legs up in the air. The sound of our shoes when we approach the door, after our day in the office, makes him happy. Ami loves it when we give her surprises and Cookie loves being tickled. Something simple that we take for granted brings them such immense joy and profound inspiration. When did we stop noticing the tiny miracles that surround us daily? How much more beautiful would life be if we could see these miracles again?

Above all, something everyone must also remember is that as an adult around a child,  it is a behemoth, immense and a terrifying responsibility—the fact that you are being watched and that everything you say does matter and makes a big difference. However, imagine what a lovely world it would be if we could just hold on to all that innocence a tad bit longer.

So, whether you have kids or don’t, whether you like them or don’t; whether you want to make a difference to a child’s life or don’t, remember this poem every time you spend time with a child;

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

-Dorothy Law Nolte

 

And each day, I feel terrible that the girls are growing up and slowly on a day not so far away, they will become one of us…adults.

Posted in close to heart, m@dness

If We Were Having a Cup of Tea

Imagine, a quaint cafe overlooking a busy road. It looks very posh from the outside, but regulars know that the place is anything but formal. Image result for cocoa tree kochiThe old timers will have so many stories about; the short and stout, cute looking chef with that cliched chef cap, walking to every table and asking about the dish they were having; of college and school goers taking a pause near the entrance to whiff that familiar, sweet smell of freshly baked cakes and brownies; of young lovers sneaking into the farthest corners of the cafe to whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears or just to cuddle; of the bunch of usual supercilious snobs who act all hoity toity; the first timers who would just explore the cafe, nibble at something, pay and leave; of the other set of unusually usual, regular bunch of them who always sit at their favorite tables ordering the same “seafood pie”, “Mississippi Mud Pie”, thin “chocolate excess shake” lemonade and of the girl who hated coffee but still sipped on “Irish Coffee” whenever she visited.

Now, if we were there having a cup of tea there,

I’d tell you that…..

….I cut my hair short. Really short. I didn’t like it but I am sure it will grow back. Soon, hopefully.

….I am on this No Carbs diet since 2 weeks and the weighing scale has been kind to me. I may not look different, but I do feel some change 🙂

….I want to go back to cycling. I want to cycle like how I used to 18 years ago. What fun it used to be on our Ladybird cycles.

….I need to be more healthy. I want to. Health issues with people in my office and with people I know have got me panicking like crazy. I plan to get a complete health check up done soon but am postponing it because am bloody scared!

….Ami likes going to school on some days and on some days she hated her uniform. Most days we stick to the morning rituals, but there are days when I cry to work too because she wants me to stay back and spend the day with her and Cookie.

….slowly but steadily, am reading books. I was a bit fascinated and was pulled towards the world of Netflix and Amazon Prime, but managed to push that to weekends and do more reading on weekdays 🙂 Pat on the back for that.

….I am having a lot of dreams these days. About people who used to be a part of my life long back; about places I have been to but cannot recall; about Tango and random lines!

….this very special girl I know who will be getting engaged very soon to a boy, who also I know. I cannot express how happy I am because I know these 2 are made for each other and they will be soo happy together!

…..Ami amazes me every day, with all her questions, all these retorts she conjures up, all the things she soaks up from her day-to-day life. It feels like just yesterday when she was a tiny, mewling, always feeding baby. She’s now a little girl, ready to go out into the world. Will I ever get used to just how fast she’s growing?

…. Cookie freaks Tango! She has this ability to scare Tango. I am sure he prays that Cookie never gets bored because if she does, then he is her toy. Oh, the things the poor dog has to go through for her entertainment! God help him!

…..I am taking back the control of my house from the maid. She is on a 45 day break to cater to her daughter’s wedding and although I found it difficult to come back home and cook and wake up early and cook and all that, I have managed to survive and realized that I do not want to be dependent on someone else to run my house. I really have mastered the art of Work Life Jenga!

…I am actually lecturing people about doing whatever makes them happy. As long as nobody else has to pay for it in terms of money or emotions, I think people should just go for it.

….I miss having someone to talk to, rant, abuse etc. On a daily basis, life gets to you and you know that acquaintances aren’t friends. People I used to spend life with are busy with lives of their own and I honestly do not have time to find new ones and I do not want to. I wish I could go

and I’d ask you about how are you doing in Life lately? Are you fine? Happy? Surviving?

I’d also tell you that I miss having someone to talk to, rant, abuse etc. On a daily basis, life gets to you and you know that acquaintances aren’t friends. People I used to spend life with are busy with lives of their own and I honestly do not have time to find new ones and I do not want to. I wish I could go back to that quaint cafe and hang out with the unusually usual regular group and sip on some Irish Coffee.

A cup of Tea…shall we?

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