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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Posted in m@dness

Note in the mood-33

Related imageOur minds are very strange. Like, every favourite song is an untold story and has a memory attached to it. It reminds us of things we think we have forgotten. I like to think of myself as a social person; I know a lot of people. I have a lot of acquaintances, a few friends, a handful of super close bumchums and some Dont-know-what-to-call-thems. I meet new people most of the time and have brief interactions with them. I am ranting because, a few days ago on the QuickRide back home, it was raining, a familiar song came on and a thought cropped up.

We meet so many many people in our lives. Some cross our paths for a few minutes and some for a long time. All these people are a part of the story of our lives. Then there are our people. The people we THINK are an integral part of us. The people on whom a chapter would be dedicated if we ever wrote the story of our lives. But have you ever wondered if you exist like that in someone else’s life? Is that in a good way or bad? How many lives would you have touched ? I am always curious. Would someone think of me when a song comes on?  Would there be anyone who thinks of me when they pass through a particular place? Drink a favourite chocolate martini maybe? Watch a particular scene in a movie? Go on a drive when the rain is lashing against the windows?

I can’t help but wonder how many chapters I may have been a part of that I may have forgotten. Would I still be remembered among people I don’t speak to anymore ? Would I still be a part of someone’s thought process if I am gone? And most importantly.. would they think of me in a fond way?

Music, what would life be without you!

 

Posted in m@dness

The Motherhood Awakening

To be yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Mother’s Day, I am celebrating the accomplishment and the title itself.  Today, I am thankful to my girls for helping me break stereotypes and allowing me to be just me. The tiny two, all of 4 years and 1 year has urged me to accept myself for everything I am. You see, sometimes you have to be told that you are nothing, made to feel insignificant and only then will you realise that you are complete, that you have had enough and that you are enough.

In the past 4 years, ever since I became a mother, I have constantly tortured myself over the fact that I have to do get everything right. Losing a parent at any age can be devastating. However, losing one before you truly become an adult makes it more challenging than anything. Being a motherless mother, I don’t really have anyone to model after. All the pretend plays when I was a kid didn’t really help. Sleepless nights during the initial months gave me enough time to worry about how to raise a child, more specifically a girl and then 2 girls! My girl friends, all of whom had mothers would just pick up the phone and ask queries and questions and I would smile. I have to admit, there were times when I’d pretend play and pick up the phone and talk to myself. I was driving myself crazy; watching every YouTube video on parenting, reading every article, studying every book on bringing up children and everything else that would equip me to raise my girls. I didnt know if I should raise my voice or actually worry about tiny things. I was not sure if I should discipline them already or wait till they are a bit older. Did I feed them enough? Did I have to monitor their play time? The Am-I-A-Good-Mother question nagged me constantly.

Until recently. Until my 4 year old came to my rescue.

Kids show us human nature, before all the social conditioning. They are a great inspiration for being yourself, staying in the moment and living life to the fullest and one powerful value that we need to teach children is that we are all learning. Every mistake is a learning. None of us have arrived, we all have enough room to grow and evolve into better versions of ourselves. My daughters have been my patient teachers all through my motherhood journey and I can never ever thank them enough.

This mother’s day I have three things to tell mother’s who are like me; mother’s who are motherless and looking for some tip or technique to raise their kids right.

  1. There is no such thing as a good mother. It is the way we are conditioned to believe that mothers must be good at everything. Nope, the very fact that we are willing to learn is enough. Teach your children to be curious about the world around. They should be open minded and ready to question that makes no sense to them and accept things that may make sense only to them.
  2. Small is big. Its really the small things that matter. Smile at people. Enjoy the rain. Smell flowers. Sing a song. Help people in trouble. Share food. Stay healthy and stay active. This, they taught me, my girls.
  3. Express Emotions. Look at children, they express emotions so well! Let it out. Be it joy, pain or fear, let it all out. It is perfectly fine and it is the best way to live. Express your thoughts and learn to say no to things that you don’t feel good about. Laughter and tears are self healing mechanisms to combat fear and anxiety. Embrace it.

Remember that children are born with only 2 fears; loud noise and falling. Everything else is learnt. They learn what they see. Being the best version of me is the one gift I can give them and I don’t really need a role model for that right?

Here is a quote that reflects exactly what I am now. No more self doubt and no more fears.
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Once again, Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mothers out there.

Posted in m@dness, Moanday Mornings

The Paradox of Working Women

Its been 3 months since I published something and I realized I haven’t posted anything this year at all! As much as I would have loved to blame it on my “busy life”, which is the fad these days, I’ll just say I was dis-oriented. Period.

Prologue: This post is not a rant. These are not complaints and these have very little to do with my personal situations. Don’t judge, just read.

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During my post graduation, my project was on a less talked about topic called “Job Embeddedness.” This topic also got me reading about work life balance and how it was becoming difficult for women to break the glass ceiling, despite living in the 21st century. They say that behind every successful man, is a woman. How come there is no corollary to that statement? This post is my take on what I like to call “The Working Woman Paradox”.

I have been fortunate to work for most parts of my career as an HR in multiple industries which exposed me to the reality that there is still insufficient female representation at the top of most organizations. I am especially referring to the C-suite and Board levels as it appears that many women board directors tend to be the same ones being “circulated” across different boards and in some cases, are only selected due to being a family member of a family-run business! That is primarily one of the reasons I started reading up on women empowerment and diversity and inclusion.

It isn’t easy being a working mother. I mean, mother’s or women in general have always been working. Whether she is at home or in office, she has always worked. It has never been easy for women to strike that perfect balance between career and family. However, it is certainly possible to be both good mothers and competent professionals. Look at me! (Read:Cheapo ;)). India, as a country has been moving towards empowering women and India. Inc is definitely trying to be more accommodating and open. Slowly, compared to the past, women who have been going out to work now has increased. Sadly though, it doesn’t change their role at home. The division of chores and responsibilities at home is almost the same as what it was decades back. Sigh. While women, world over, continue to be the primary caretakers of children; in the Indian milieu, elder care is another familial responsibility that women shoulder. The deeply embedded sexism and conditioning of women, who have been raised to see an impeccable home and well behaved children as a sign  of her worth is one of the biggest problem, especially in the Social Media age.

“I believe that every girl, every woman, should feel free to dream high and choose whatever she wants to do in life. I believe that women and men are equal and that the only limit to girls’ dreams should be the extent of their own efforts.”

Personally, I have days when I feel guilty about not spending enough time with the girls. DIYs and baking and making dishes they love are all weekend activities. I hardly get time to do it on a weekday. Caught between work, travel, daily chores and the worry job, most weekdays are a roller coaster. When caught between office and family responsibility, as a working mother, my mantra is to ask myself, “What’s more important right now?” More often than not, the solution lies in the answer to that question.

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In conversations I have had with working mothers, one thing has always stood out; The support of family. A working woman who has a strong support system at home is bound to be successful at the work front. This is because they know that the responsibilities and chores at home is not a battle that they have to fight alone. What must change in our society though, is its approach. Everyone needs to accept that whether a mother is working inside or outside the house, doesn’t hamper her ability to bring up happy and healthy children.

“We are women determined to live our best life and turn our dreams into reality. We persevere in the face of obstacles, the self-doubt and those who try to tear us down, and will not stop until we reach our destination.” “we’ve failed, we’ve stumbled and made mistakes. Not defined by our past we learn, grow stronger, and climb backup every single day. We are victors, not victims. We are fearless Queens, and we are unstoppable.” – Pinar Parry

It is my hope that we continue to support other women in and outside of the workplace. Practicing and imparting values of equality to young minds in Indian households is a difficult task. It is a herculean one, but definitely do-able and much needed in today’s times.