Posted in m@dness

2020- A Year To Remember

The Time to Plan for 2021 Is Today - DOCUMENT Strategy Media

What a year! Whenever I read about World Wars or Epidemics or rarest of rare historic events, I’d keep thinking if I’d ever live through such incidents if I had to. Well well. 2020 was a year that will go down in history as one of the worst for the entire world. Now, that’s what I’d call a year to remember.

2020 has been a year of  learning, introspection, self awareness and most of all it has taught me to focus on aspects of my life that I had been taking for granted. However, in between all this madness, I cannot help but wonder, who gets to determine where the old ends and the new begins? It’s not on the calendar, it’s not a birthday, it’s not a new year. It’s an event, big or small, something that changes us. Ideally, that gives us hope, a new way of living and looking at the world, a way of letting go of old habits, old memories. If you recall, January 2020 was superb! For me, at least. We travelled, made memories, ate good food and lived well. That was a beginning alright. Look what happened to the world by March! I think 2020 taught me that what is important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning, but it’s also important to remember that, amid all the shit and confusion there are a few things worth holding on to. 

As bad as it was for most people, I am just happy that I survived. I did a whole lot of things this year. Some great things happened and some bad things happened as well. I scored. I prayed. I hated. I traveled. I loved. I quit a lot of things. I infatuated myself with getting back in form or shape rather. I figured my tribe. I made bonds that I know would last a lifetime. I experimented with my sanity. I experienced the thrill of achieving things on your own. I cried. I laughed at my own horrible jokes. I learnt the art of sarcasm. Above all, I lived. I survived.

Would I do it all over again if I get a chance? Maybe. Maybe not.

2019 was great. 2020 however taught me that things don’t always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think they should, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve learnt that death is inevitable and that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. Relationships, especially. I’ve learnt that good people also hurt you – no matter how good they are, at some point they are bound to hurt you too and its alright. I’ve learnt that relationships are fickle. They should not be measured by how long you have known someone, but how deeply you have enjoyed while it lasted. I’ve learnt that my life isn’t something that just about anyone can throw around. SOmetmes you just have to take a stand. And when you do so, you will ralise that people will give you a new found respect. You have to make your life love you! If you do put your heart and soul into something, things can get done. I have learnt that the sooner you let go, the better it is.

Today is the last day of 2020 and as I stand here in this strangely familiar city, I look forward to tomorrow, not because it is a new year, but because it is a new day and I am convinced that the possibilities are endless. There are not many familiar faces around to guide me, but I know why that is. They are not supposed to be here. Its my time to get up myself and figure it out. Otherwise I will never learn. I know I’m a little bent, a little crooked, but I can’t complain. After bearing through months of Working from Home and hustling between multiple gigs, crashing into dead ends and getting back to my feet, I feel better equipped now. I am ready for what life throws at me tomorrow because today I survived 2020.

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

Alright, Happy New Year! If you thought this post was about my resolutions, sorry but not sorry!

Posted in RoMa Chronicles

7 years it is!

Note: I started writing this last year, I intend to complete it for our anniversary this year. No! It is not a lovey dovey post. Go on, read. The beginning may sound a bit like a Nitayananda discourse, am not sure why!

When one (especially wives) generally speaks of marriage, we seem to fantasize it as a fairytale, a romance, an unending love and passion. We, for some strange unfathomable reason, like to think it’s easy. I’m not saying it can’t be any of those things. Some days, or some seasons, it might be just that. But, let’s face it, marriage isn’t easy and it certainly isnt’t for everybody. Nobody likes the idea of settling or adjusting or taking what you get for a spouse, but one has to admit that most of us are usually lousy at knowing how to evaluate potential life partners. While we as humans, think having many choices will make us happier, it actually leaves us less satisfied. When you have too many options, you’re always thinking about the alternatives that you passed up. Adding options increases expectations, which produces less satisfaction with results, even when they’re good results. Most often you hear people say, “Oh, they’re so lucky to have found each other.” But, actually if you think of it, they found each other and then turned it into something they wanted.

Succesful relationships are most often created, not discovered.

In the first flush of a romantic love, we’re all blind as we see only what we want to see. In this age where finding love is just a swipe away, if you want to get lucky, you may need to expand your view of what you think you want. It is not because you have to find someone who is like minded and shares the same intrests as you. On the contrary, it is most advised to find someone who has different interests. Different, not entirely different. This way, each of them gets their space, has little to argue about and more importantly learn a lot from each other. There is nothing wrong in having similar intrests, but who doesn’t like a change sometimes. Differences should also not be so vast that there is nothing the two cannot do together. 

More often than not, Ro and I have different views on things. Apart from liking different things and having different hobbies, people who know us really well can vouch that the two of us cannot be any more different. However, it has worked out well for us. I think the main lesson that we learnt along the way was tolerance.  It is all good when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when the going gets difficult. The happiest marriages reach a level of steadfastness, agreement and arrangement to accept the best and worse of their spouse and accept this as the wonder of what it means to be loved unconditionally by another human being. To know all about them, accept them, and be accepted and cherished, despite this deep knowledge, in return. 

When you see a couple “happily married”, most often the perception is based on number of years they have been together; smiling photographs on walls or digital walls; “they hardly fight” notion; travel sojourns or most widely PDA. Not many people notice the constant hard work that goes behind the scenes; the sacrifices and the forgiving; the unpopular choices made to keep the marriage holy; or the choice and use of words spoken about your spouse when he or she isn’t around; the standing up for what is right; and the determination to fight against all odds and stand by each other. 

7 years is not a decade, I agree. In this meet-marry-seperate era however, I am proud of the number of years we have been married. Given that we have laughed for 7 years.  We’ve also cried, yelled, fought, shopped, loved, moved, traveled, had children together. It’s been a bumpy road.  Up and down.  For better or worse.  In sickness and in health.  For richer or poorer. But we have no regrets. We have learnt from each other, challenged and encouraged each other and held each other up when the other was drifting downwards. 2 amazing girs and a furchild later, here we stand stronger than ever. 

For those of you who are swiping and “hunting” in matrimonial sites, looking for some luck in finding the ideal life partner, you must be aware that luck isn’t just the overt kind like winning the lottery or getting to the signal just as the light turns green. Most often “luck” arrives in a rather subtle form and one of the secrets to being lucky in love or holy matrimony is understanding that all choices are trade-offs. The secret of a happy marriage is when we see it for what it really is. Not as a fairytale and not always perfect.
It’s seeing the mess that makes it beautiful.

The last flight I took was in January 2020. As the flight took off to my favourite place on earth, I remembered something I read a while back about the analogies between relationships and flying on a plane and I am leaving you with this because be it love or marriage or even career for that matter, it made a lot of sense. 

I quote;

“Have you noticed something about flying on a plane? You can detect movement when the plane takes off but not later, when its moving through the air.”  “And then again, you can detect movement when the plane slows down and stops.” “You know it’s the same with relationships”. “In the beginning, you can feel your heart move. Then you cannot feel it. Things settle. Again, you can feel your heart move when the relationship ends.” Perhaps the initial movement was an illusion? She said that was a worrying thought. Or,  the ‘middle’ of anything appears stationary or boring when it is actually a sign that you’re going the distance.”

7 years since the day we got married. There is not a thing I’d do differently if I went back in time. By the time we are celebrating 10 years, you Ro, will be 40 and I will still be in my 30s. The kids would still be brats but not naive as they are now. A couple of years later the toys and madness would be gone and the house will be quite. They would live their own lives and it would just be us again. All in the blink of an eye. But, I will still love you and I know you will still love me.

To many many more years of living together. Another 70 would be enough, i suppose.

To the good, bad and ugly.

To all the love and longing.

Happy Anniversary dearest Ro

Anniversary Humor" Poster by crazycanonmom | Redbubble

P.S- I digressed, didn’t I? Its my blog and I am not sorry 😛

 

 

 

Posted in m@dness

The Wind Beneath Our Wings- Of Daddies and Daughters

Dads, like moms, are the guiding lights along that dark path of life’s struggles.If you look on the internet, there are more conversations around mothers than fathers. For someone who were raised by just the dad, it is unfair. Not just my dad, my husband proves it everyday that he surely is the wind beneath our daughter’s wings. There is just something in this bond which is inexplicably strong. It gives strength in ways unimaginable and it’s filled with so much love that it’s actually overwhelming. Sometimes I am jealous too.

Blog Therapy, Therapy, Therapy Blog, Blogging Therapy, Therapy,..

Everyday when Ro comes back from work and walks in through that front door, I am reminded about this unconditional love the girls have towards him. Every night that the girls and Ro have conversations, I witness how much the girls need him and I know this isn’t going to change anytime soon, or most likely ever. A few months back when Ro was out of town, there was this one question Ami asked me every night before going to sleep. When will achan come back? She just needed to know how many days. And even if cookie was too small to really understand, I knew she was missing him too. I could see that she was. Fathers can’t be replaced and if you are a daughter, there is that special bond you have with your father that’s hard to replicate with anyone else.

The girls are a replica of their “acha” in every way possible.  Cookie looks like him and Ami behaves like him. I am not sure which one I should be more concerned about. Both, I suppose! Ami has that special jump and dance since she was a kid whenever Ro comes home. If he is late from work, both the girls will wait up for him. Truth be told, I remember looking at the clock and waiting for it to be 5: 30 whch was when Das would come home from the University. Dads are special for us girls and I think it’s a bond we draw strength from.

We need them dads and I now know they need us too.

Superhero Dad Gift Free Printables (With images) | Super hero dad ...Daughters look up to their dads as the first Super Hero. They are the superheroes without capes though they sometimes even don the capes for their little ones. They are the ones whose mere existence gives the confidence that everything will be okay even on the worst of days. They are the shoulders to cry on when the world gets too much. Of course, every dad has his heart stored away with his kids and there is nothing he wouldn’t do for them. I have seen that with my dad. I see it on the days that I am working relentlessly and he steps in without saying a word with a cup of hot coffee. I see it when he tells the girls stories about my childhood. Above all I see it in his eyes when he is around our girls. Silent bundles of love they are, I must say.

I cannot imagine a world without my dad. I had a close shave twice but he is a survivor and a fighter. I act as an adult but I know he still thinks I am a 4 year old. I know the girls love both Ro and me equally, but if they had to choose, I know he would score half a point more than me 😉 I assure you it has nothing to do with the secret meetings they have with countless ice creams and chocolates nor does it have anything to do with the bike rides they go on when either of them are upset about something.

I’ll stop with the conversation Ami and I had just the other day;

Amma to Ami: I don’t like your Acha. Please let’s go and exchange him.
Ami: No Amma. He is nice and I like his head.
Amma: No Ami. I am going to go exchange.
Ami: Oh Amma please stay with us!
AMMA: 🤦‍♀️

Here’s to a love that only gives! Happy Father’s Day to Mine, yours and theirs.

Posted in close to heart, m@dness

Lets Really Talk About Depression

The death of Sushant Singh Rajput has forced conversations even in circles beyond whats app about Depression and suicide tendencies. When Anthony Bourdain and Robin Williams ended their lives, I recall some buzz. Buzz. Thats all there is. I remember writing a post almost 10 years ago on suicide in which a friend of the victim commented about how society pushed her to take the extreme step. Today, after a lot of deliberation I decided to write about the social media activism and hypocritic nature of human beings.

DepressionI have quite a few people in my ” network” who have posted these long dramatic posts about what depression is and how, if you have depression you should reach out to them without any hesitation. I have been associated with quite a few organizations in the past that deals with counselling people who have manic depressive or suicidal tendencies and one of the key takeaways I have had from that association has always been that people with depression or such negative thoughts are highly unlikely to reach out and ask for help. Despite influencers like Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt coming out and asking people to get help without hesitation, tackling depression is difficult because most people do not even realise they have it. One could be laughing but battling with negative emotions inside. Another could be posting happy pictures on social media but really feeling low. None of these people are likely to reach out and speak to you about whats silently and slowly killing them and pushing them to take extreme steps. So these hashtags like #iamlistening #youshouldtalk #talktome etc are in my opinion are really not helping. In fact, if you aren’t trained, refrain from this. You really will have no clue how to handle someone if they are in that mode.

Let me ask you this. When was the last time you pushed your ego aside and asked an old friend who used to be very close how he or she is? You would hesitate to reach out because your ego wont let. You hold yourself in the highest regard hence you think that he or she should reach out to you. After all you havent done anything wrong.  How many of us would push egos aside and reach out to people that we haven’t been in touch with and ask if they are alright. When was the last time you checked on old friend that you haven’t been in touch with; or a relative; an ex colleague? Out of sight, out of mind that’s how it is for most people. Yes, we all keep in touch with the ones we love and cherish the most. We expect the other person to keep in touch with us because we consider ourselves royalty.

What IF? The so called long lost friend or relative or colleague is not doing well. What IF they are so low in terms of mental health that they cant get themselves to call you or anyone for that matter. A lot of studies have shown that people who withdraw from the limelight and maintain a social distance among peers and friends are highly likely to have some sort of mental health issue. They are the ones who need help. The ones that are on the verge of a mental breakdown and need some help and support without asking for it. Quite honestly it gives them a mere boost if someone reaches out to them without they themselves asking for it.  That is the kind of belonging and encouragement and positivity they are looking for. The question is, how many people are ready to go beyond the public display on social media and hash tags and really reach out to those helpless people?

depression black and white blog depression blog pain-before-pleasure •

It is all easier said than done. The emotion filled posts after a person dies will not help revive lost ones. So, dont wait. Set your ego and royalty aside. Call, message or ping people you haven’t heard from in a long time and simply ask how they are doing. Meanwhile, also go read this lovely article on how to speak to a dear friend and tell him or her that you need help without making a hue and cry about it or others noticing.

For those who are thinking how can she write all this or how dare she etc. Here are some facts:

#1- I have battled depression on and off. I am lucky to have a really strong circle. Thank God!

#2- I reach out to a lot of people who were a part of my life but no longer are and ask them how they are. Randomly. Some of them have later on circled back and thanked me then because it made them feel less lonely.

#3- Depression doesn’t go away. Its an everyday battle. You just learn to overcome negative thoughts and focus on good things.

#4- If you aren’t trained, do not offer counselling. Just ensure that they reach out to specialists.

http://www.aasra.info/helpline.html

https://thelivelovelaughfoundation.org/helpline

http://www.healthcollective.in/contact/helplines/

http://www.seraniti.com/http://itsoktotalk.in/find-help/

#5- If you do not have the guts to push your ego aside, STOP pretending like you care and more importantly stop this crap about wanting to help on Social Media just to garner some likes and comments. It is RUDE and downright INSULTING.

If you really want to make a change, start having more conversations. Nothing more, nothing less.

Never bend your head, always hold it high.

Look at the world straight in the eye.

-Hellen Keller

Posted in m@dness

All In A Day’s Work

It felt nice. Waking up, getting dressed, putting on some lipstick only to realise that the mask will cover 3/4 of my face anyway. Ugh! Transparent mask makers anyone? When I woke up today I felt a strange mix of emotions. I was happy that I was going back to office for one day! I could travel today in an Auto(rickshaw) and listen to my top 7 songs before I reached office. I’d be able to see the canopy of trees that line the 80 ft road in Koramangala and also curse the damn traffic at Silkboard. FOR HIRE! – BANGALORE RICKSHAW | Animation, Print pictures, How to ...I also felt sad because I would have to leave the girls behind at home. I wouldn’t be privy to their chatter the whole day; the 1000 times they’d call me “amma” throughout the day; them dropping kisses when I am attending calls and all the fun we had in the past few months while I was working from home. Damn, I miss that but I am also glad to be back doing something I love. Yes, I am THAT mother.

Once i got dressed and waited for the usual auto bhaiyya to pick my call, my dad started giving me orders to follow through the day. For parents, despite having kids of our own, we’ll never grow up. He went on to say things like; “Make sure you put the mask on at all times. Wash your hand when you get to office and when you get out. Dont touch the railings on the auto or the staircase. Press the buttons of the lift with your knuckles. Try not to drink water or go to the loo. Use the sanitiser well even if it stinks. “, among others. The husband too had his own set of instructions. Since he knew the list dad gave, he just added the protocol to be followed after I was back from office. He said, ” Try washing your hands at the gate. Open the door using your arm instead of the hand. Go straight to the bedroom, change your clothes and wash, wash, wash with soap. Make sure you rub wih soap for some time and then wash it all off. Put the clothes for wash in the washing machine and THEN hug the kids!” Phew.

You cannot blame me for missing office!

The auto bhaiyya had his mask on but his eyes were smiling. He was glad to get a trip. People rarely used autos these days and he knew that this office trip could get him some much needed cash. So, off we rode through Bannerghata Road and Silkboard and Madiwala till we reached the office. I have to say that it was a very different ride. I noticed buildings that I had never seen before on my office commute. Green, yellow and blue buildings. Most people were wearning masks but there were idiots too who I think found it humiliating to wear one or maybe thought of themselves as the Invincibles. God help them.  I saw a few godly souls providing food to the dogs on the street and felt good to know that even in the midst of such a huge crisis, there were people looking out for these 4 legged wonders.

It felt like that first day in high school. Same bag. Same formal clothes. Faces- some old and some new. The securitu at the gate always with a smile. That strange feeling when you enter class the first day of the new academic year. I felt the same when I pressed the lift button with my knuckles and waited for the 3rd floor to come. Just as I got down off the lift, I sneezed. It must have been the dust from the carpet or the fan in the lift. Everyone standing in the foyer looked at me as though I dropped a bomb.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Sneezing And What Make ...Talk about making a grand entry! I know its the same old people and same office. But, something had changed. Something was different. Maybe it was the continuous effort of being concious enough to not touch anything. Maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t do a high five with my buddies. Maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t take the chai breaks anymore. Or maybe it had something to do with all of us looking like masked warriors!

Eyes speak. I now know. You just need to pay attention and you’ll know if people are angry, sad, happy or cursing. The eyes move in different ways for each reaction. All you have to do is pay attention. Thats it.

Take care and stay safe.

P.S- I am back home. I followed all the instructions to the T. I even mastered the art of sneezing without making a sound.

Posted in close to heart, m@dness, The Chronicles of A

The Other Side- Corona Diary 2020

Social Media | SENSITIVE NEW WORLD

 

Last week, when I published The Corona Diary, a couple of friends people hinted subtly that I was a bad person because I was raving about how lovely life was for me when the world was suffering. Isn’t life after the advent of Social Media exactly this? Humans putting up statuses and photos of their beautiful, fake lives and pretending that everything is great in our respective lives? Yep, I fell for it too. But, I also got up, dusted myself and decided there was no way I am going to let my girls read that Diary and think that their mom handled it all so well, that their mother was invincible etc. I need them to know good and bad so that they understand that there are always 2 sides to a coin. SO, let me take you to the other side of the Corona Debacle.

A few days into the lockdown, Ami’s teacher called me to say that they were begining online classes for her. My instant reaction was, “WTF”? I went on to argue about how Amu was just 5 years old and this was supposed to be Summer Holidays etc etc. Clearly, I was the first mother who argued about NOT letting their child attend the online class. I just said NO and went on to do my chores. I think before I hung up she said your girl is just like you. Shameless me took it as a compliment.  It is, isn’t it?

Before March, on any day that I’d be working from home, I’d be happy. I used to even argue that remote working for everyone must be unlimited and companies should just allow people to chose how and where to work from. I laugh when I think about it these days. How ignorant and naive I was! These days, I am crumbling and aching to go back to work from office. I’m one person trying to juggle the schedule for 2 kids, an elderly parent, a dog and everyday I oscilate between moments of having it together and losing it completely. Yep!

In May, Ami’s teacher called me again. I think my Hello reminded her about my temperamant and disposition and she insisted on listening to what I though about teaching going online. I told her that this was not an environment conducive for learning. It’s just not. Our girls have a loving and safe home, but no, it’s not a school and it shouldn’t be. I am an adult (Only my dad would disagree) and I can’t focus on getting some work done even if I hide inside a room. How can a 5 yr old pay attention and sit in one place without supervision? And really. how many of us have so many rooms or computer peripherals to spare? So no, she cannot concentrate, neither can  she  completely sink in what is being taught to her, nor can she hide from her sister or Tango even for 2 minutes!

You see, although some folks might act and sound like they are aliens. We are humans. All of us. We were not taught to handle an endemic or pandameic or alien invation or even an earthquake. We cannot menader through a global pandemic that reaks havoc and utter chaos and just snap our fingers and act gracefully.  It’s impossible. I am not saying that its all bad. There are good days and bad days. Most days are like a game of Jenga. It is an art of balancing. One wrong move and it can all come crashing down. I can’t think about tomorrow or the next day or how I’m going to get through next week. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m literally taking it one day at a time and focusing on surviving the next few hours.It really is no longer survival of the fittest. It is survival of those willing to adapt to the most freakingly crazy and anamolous time of our lives.

That’s IT. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you’re still wondering how to survive this year.. the good news is, you already are.

As I write this and watch the rain lash against the window;Why women score over men - The Hindu BusinessLine

  • There’s a sink in the kitchen with vessels that need washing
  • Cookie’s bottles need to be sanitised
  • Clothes need to be folded
  • I have writing assignments with tomorrow’s deadlines
  • Tango wants some treat because I was leaning on him the whole time I was writing
  • Ami wants to see if there is a ranbow visible
  • I am supposed to go cycling today
  • Cookie is on her way to pick up Tango’s food

 

You see, when I started writing the Corona Diary, I did not want to rant and whine. I chose to look at the positives and good things because somewhere in between the having it and losing it, I felt blessed and happy for what I have.

Ah, the husband just arrived from office and is craving for some ginger tea that must be made by his wife. Blush. No, it is certainly NOT because he is lazy and tired from all the work at office. He just loves the ginger tea prepared so lovingly by his wife.

Here we go.

Multi faceted, multi tasking super heroes. All of us. Cheers!

 

Posted in close to heart, m@dness

The Corona Diary- 2020

Disclaimer: It is one long post. And I mean, long!

I haven’t written a single post this year. Hey, it is not me. Let’s just blame it on Corona like everything else these days.

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: 11 Things People with Autoimmune Disease ...

2020 was to be a great year, personally. When I woke up on January 1st smiling, little did I know that 3000 km away, a micro organism was just about to shake the world and change it for all or most of mankind. Although it was around in 2019, the Covid-19 gained momentum in February 2020. News of the virus spread like wild fire and soon it was knocking on India’s door too. By mid march, 196 countries were affected. India had reported around 600+ cases by March 26th and 11 deaths while the global numbers were a whooping 6,00,000+ with 20000 deaths.

To contain a community spread and the virus altogether, the Prime Minister mandated a 21 lockdown and thus began this Corona Chronicle. My girl Ms A, penned down a gist of what ensued in the days that we were all locked down in her article. This post is dedicated to the days that we were coronaded!

Lockdown Can't Be Extended: Here Are 10 Things We Must Do By Mid-April

Days 1 to 7

We got up whenever we wanted. Worked. Played. Ate. Slept. No problemo! Thank god.

Days 8 to 14

This doesn’t feel right. Lets make full use of this time. We I got up at 5 30 am. Looked at the alarm and went off to sleep till 6.30am. The plan was to wake up, walk and all that jazz. Zilch. So, wake up, eat, work, scream at kids, eat, work, walk, eat, Netflix and sleep.

Days 14 to 50

When is this going to end? Are we going to be stuck like this the whole year? Was the year written by Stephen King? What if Corona is Thanos’s micro army? I don’t have time to do anything other than work! Wake up. Check emails. Eat. Get the kids activities ready. Work. Work. Work.  Pee. WOrk. Work. Eat. Sleep during Netflix binging.

Days 50 and beyond

Ok, that’s it! This is the new normal. Might as well turn around and get used to it. Wakes up early. Cycles. Drinks green tea. Reads Paper. Eats. Works. Wake the kids up. Works. Eats. Puts the kids down for nap. Works. Works. Works. Eats. Netflix. Sleeps.

Hope is what keeps us all alive.There comes a point when it all becomes too much. When we get too tired to do anything anymore. That is when the real work begins. To find hope when there seems to be none.

Quite honestly, we were all happy to spend time together. From those zillion forwards that were going around, one particularly I liked. It was about wishes coming true. After a long time, the father was spending time teaching the kids games and skills. Kids were happy to have both the parents around for a change and showering with all that they wanted. Come on, this was one god given chance to live the guilt free life and indulge the kids in whatever sane things they wanted. We weren’t going to let go of this once in a lifetime chance. So, suddenly the house had hula hoops of different sizes, puzzles, carrom board, books and blocks! Every day was a different experience. I think I was very concsious because I knew the 2 monkeys were constantly observing us and I was pressurised more than ever to be at my best behaviour constantly. It was after all only for two or three weeks, after which the world would go back the way it used to be. Or so we thought. Silly!

Coronavirus outbreak: 9 crucial tips for parents and kids during ...

For an entire month the husband was working from home. Thank god! The weeknights did not tire him like it usually does, so, we got to do a lot of talking and planning. Whether or not the money was there in the future to act out those plans, we had the plans yeah! We made a list of the places we want to go to; the things we wanted to do together; the risks we wanted to take; the movies we wanted to watch; the way we want to retire and a lot many other things that we always postponed to think about another day. Yes, we finally had the time and no excuses. However, what I will never forget are the days I got with my girls, Ami and Cookie. The days I’d wake them up; the days I’d watch them sleep in; the times I’d cuddle and sleep in with them; the days they’d run to me and smother me with chocolate kisses; the days I’d cook them their favourite meal and feed them; the days we fall asleep in the noon just talking; the times we baked and cooked together; the nights we’d just binge watch some cartoon or movie and sleep off on the couch and so much more. We taught Ami to ride the cycle while she showed us how exemplary and elegant her acrobatic moves were. Cookie was talking a lot more and I couldnt be happier! The husband learnt to cook more than tea and noodles and he even managed to cook up an entire meal to prove his father in law wrong! Yes, it was a good time and it was exactly how I have always pictured my home to be. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | COINS Construction Blog for Asia Pacific ...

Apparently, the lockdown for 2 weeks was a teaser. Just when we think we have it all figured out, the universe throws us a curveball. So, we have to improvise. Whenever there is a crisis that I go through, I have learnt that it is best to take it slow and look at it as one bad day. The hashtag that has kept me going the whole time was #OneDayAtATime and it has been working well. When you look at 21 days or 40 at a stretch it can be overwhelming. You could choose to be afraid of it, to stand there trembling, not moving, assuming the worst that can happen or you could step forward slowly and assume it will be brilliant. So, I took it one day at a time. I plan out what I need to accomplish when I wake up and plan the kid’s day too accordingly. It became a routine as the days passed and it was fun. Yes, there were mad days too. Yes, there were times I got frustrated because of the workload, but in the end I think we will all make it through in one piece. However, honestly I was terrified. How was I suppposed to keep the kids occupied wihen I had work to do? How would they react to this lockdown? What would their little minds remmeber about this period when they grow up? I think, with all these activities and things we kept doing with the girls, for the girls, the point I was trying to make to them was that hardships are bound to happen at some point or points in life. When they do, I want them to know that home is one place they can come back to and take it slow without a care in the world.There were quite a few lessons we learnt along the way and I am sure it will all make sense one day.

So many things changed in the world. Some good and some bad. I dont want to remember this time as a bad thing, although it was for a lot many people around the world. Maybe Ill write a post on that later. For a few days at least we woke up listening to birds chirping. There were horses and donkeys and monkeys on the street.Stars were more visible and we even saw a space ship!For us, the kids got new friends. Old friends reunited and chatted about cooking and parenting all day long. Ami now tells me which song she wants me to sing to her at night or when we are having that rendezvous on the balcony. Cookie speaks a lot of 3 word sentences. Tango listens to the girl’s commands. Dad binges on Netflix and Amazon Prime late into the night with us. We no longer cared about whether it was a weekday or weekend. I think somewhere during this period, we learnt to live the moment. We learnt that there is no point trying to fight the time we are now in. It is best to take it one day at a time.

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I do know that there were millions who suffered and some lost loved ones. I am sorry and I can only fathom what they must be going through. Banging plates and lighting lamps wont bring them back. The future changes quickly unexpectedly and completely and most often we are left wondering what to do next. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find ourselves back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way.  In all these days, the front liners; the health care professionals; the police; the social workers and those noble volunteers who gave it everything and risked everything to ensure that the world gets through this pandemic a little less scathed. A lot of people have lost good friends. Family. All good people. Some died because they put their life at risk while trying to save someone. They will all be remembered as heroes. We will neither forget those who served out of the spotlight, to whom we owe our highest gratitude. 

Day 75

As of today, the world numbers stand at 5596550 and has claimed 353373 lives. Nations have been feeling the economic, political and socio-emotional impact of the lockdown and striking a balance looks tough. Work from home is not as easy as it seems. For anybody if you ask me or for a majority at least. Bachelors and bachelorettes who are staying alone suddenly crave companionship to break the montonous life. Married folks with a full house are rearing to go out to office and get some “me time”. There are reforms and small revolutions. The barely visible enemy did not just come to destroy our things or our people. They seem to have come to befoul our way of life and turn it upside down. To foul our beliefs. Trample our freedom. It will take a while for us to bounce back and it is mostly on each one of us. In this however, they granted us the greatest gift – a chance at our rebirth. Rebirth of the planet, at large. We will rise like never before, stronger, wiser and ever more resilient.

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One take away or maybe three that I have from this period is:

#1- Do not take anythnig for granted. Never.

#2- Remember, the best things in life always come at a cost, they are never free.

#3- Saare Jahaan Se Acha Hindustan Humara- Modi or Soni, I am proud of my country and always will be!

If I am still inside the house on Day 100, I’ll write another post as long as this one 🙂

Do not let the miniscule thing with spikes ever kill your spirit. Stay Safe!

Epilogue

Quoting (after cutting out some not so relevant parts) one of my personal favourite dialgoues of President Thomas Whitmore from Independence Day:

“Mankind. That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We’re fighting for our right to live. To exist. We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! “

Hope You're Well': Emailing Through a Time of Pandemic | WIRED

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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