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Showing posts from 2013

The Year That Was

2013 - was a year I'd rather delete from my memory. Life was fine till April, but then it was mostly a downward spiral. We went to Hongkong for a vacation in May and that was the best (and probably the only) memory that I will carry forward with me. It was picture perfect in all sense !   I shifted my family back to my home town. This meant that I was travelling every week, missing my son and playing an increasingly difficult game of trying to perform a good role at both work and home. It was one of those situations, where you are forced to do something knowing fully well that your life will change irrevocably for the worse, but still you end up doing it. All those self-help gurus who say 'you always have a choice' don't realise that sometimes the choice is between the devil and the deep sea. And you jump into the deep sea, hoping that you will find the inner strength to swim across - but, practically, most often than not, it never works that way. Maybe, selling my so…

Meeting Cousins

My cousins from my maternal side have arrived for vacation with their babies. I surprised myself with how excited I was at the prospect of meeting them. The initial plan was for me to meet them in their native place. However, an impending vacation meant that it was difficult for hubby to take further leave.

Both their in-laws are in the city where I work and I decided to meet them there, instead.  I wasn't very sure how comfortable I would be to meet them there, (especially without my hubby, who is usually the conversation starter) but I decided to do it nevertheless. Turns out, my fears were unnecessary. I had a great time meeting both cousins, catching up with news about our lives, sharing worries about parents getting old, cribbing about managing work and kids - turns out most problems are universal. We do the best we can, knowing fully well how inadequate that 'best' often is...

I was happy that I got fed sumptuous meals in both places - food always affects my moods …

Life

Not sure if this is what is commonly referred to as the mid-life crisis, but I am definitely going through this weird feeling day in-day out. I feel trapped in a cage, constantly trying to escape, bruising my wings in the process. Yes, a wiser bird may have either resigned to its fate and adjusted well or better still planned an escape for a later date when the time comes...
But I am way too passionate to do either. I want to get away and get away now !!! (yes, stomping my feet like a small child throwing a tantrum)
I hate the city that I am living in currently and I hate living without my hubby and baby - so I really don't know the way out !
In fact, the hatred is soo deep that it is now internalized. I no longer have the energy to explain to anyone why I don't like to live in this city - I just don't like it here, and it is draining my physical and emotional energies !
I wish life was not complicated !

Charity Begins ...

As a child, there were several proverbs/idioms that didn't make any sense to me. For a long time, after I was familiar with 'Charity begins at home' , I had no idea what it meant...Even today, I am not sure I fully understand what it means...Same goes for "Raining cats and dogs" and "Fraility thy name is woman" ...

Anyway, back to charity...I have been observing people's behaviour around charity and this led to some interesting observations:

1. People generally donate to causes which have had a direct impact on their lives - either a personal tragedy or a tragedy that has unfurled in front of them...I was talking to an NGO which works with cancer patients and was surprised to note that there are people who donate money with explicit instructions on the age/gender profile of people who should be helped. Maybe, personal tragedies change people in ways one cannot fathom...I am no one to judge. This world needs all the help it can get and better a con…

Forgiveness

Asking for forgiveness is never easy. It is even more difficult when the other person is not civil enough to accept it gracefully. Recently, I decided to ask someone for forgiveness...I decided to do it against my better judgement and ended up grovelling...

The process of begging went on for about a couple of hours and after a point in time, I relaised that I am just mechanically repeating "I am sorry" with no trace of emotion...The receiving party though seemed quite satisfied at having crushed my ego and chose that as an opportunity to extract her pound of flesh...

This happened almost a month back, and somehow that incident changed me fundamentally...My spirit got crushed so badly that I finally saw a few things that I was refusing to see...Have you ever asked someone for forgiveness more than once? If so, it would be a good idea to look back on how many times the other person has asked you for forgiveness...After all, everyone makes mistakes and if the apologies are flo…

Stereotypes

This thought has been in my head for the past couple of weeks, but, somehow I couldn't really translate it to words...

Growing up, it was always drummed into our heads that "Thazhna nilathe neerooduuu" which literally translates to "water always flows downhill" and figuratively highlights the importance of being humble....

Well, my tongue in cheek retort often was that the shit also flows downhill...

Anyway, I was always considered arrogant primarily because I always spoke my mind and never followed tradition for the sake of following it...It was quite annoying when people commented thus "She never wears a bindi ! How arrogant !" and I never could understand why !

Recently, I stopped wearing any jewellery and a conversation with a random stranger (in his fifties) in the train went thus:

Stranger: " Are you married ?"
Me: "Yes, and I have a son also!"
Stranger: "Then, why are you walking without any visible marks of being mar…

The Posts that Never Get Written

There are several posts that keep floating in my head, but never get written. A few others lie as drafts in my blogger page with just a couple of lines written...Here is a list of broken thoughts floating in my head currently.
The P Factor
I had been forced to introspect quite a bit recently due to the availability of a lot of time on my hands and I realised that  my life was sorely missing the P factor - Passion. I had stopped being passionate about anything and was just drifting past, feeling helpless and lost. Well, I have now decided to take life by its horns and make the best of what I can given my constraints on space (read location) and time. One long pending wish of having a TV in the bedroom has now become a reality. Now, I need to make sure that I watch atleast 2 movies a week with hubby !
Birthdays
Last year, one major regret was that I couldn't celebrate birthdays in style. Recently, I celebrated mom's 60th birthday and son's 5th birthday - both with birthday …

D Company

Disease, Doctors and a Distant Diagnosis have been giving me company for the past 3 weeks. Life has been living hell, primarily because I hate situations where there are no answers...

In the course of 3 weeks, I was wildly discussed as a case study by almost all leading doctors in town and the diagnosis varied from 'a lack of positive attitude' to 'spontaneous CSF leak' (yep, go google that :)) ...
The doctor fraternity composed of distinctly 2 generations - hubby's friends and in-laws' friends...and both groups showed zero consideration towards me as an individual...The only exception was a dear friend and an ophthalmologist who went out of the way to make me feel like a human being...She sat with me through the whole day while I got my eyes tested out and patiently heard my entire sob story...
Some things that I observed ...

Hubby was quite relaxed about the whole situation, till I reached a point where I started taking leave from work..He then went on to e…

Resolutions ...

I have a crazy habit of making lists - both in Excel as well as in paper ...The other day, I noticed that my desktop was overflowing and in an attempt to clean it up, noticed something that I had jotted down at the beginning of the year: 1.Prioritize happiness 2.Prioritize hard work 3.Exercise daily 4.Embrace change 5.Create possibilities And I was amused ! I did prioritize hard work, because I believe nothing - not even genius - can be a substitute for it... But, everything else still needs a lot of work...I am trying to prioritize happiness, but the moot question is whose happiness? I read somewhere recently that in a marriage you should work as a team and not compete with each other - easier said than done ! I am running a race with one leg tied to hubby and the other tied to my kid - and most married people are doing this...And this is true for the other members also - even hubby has one leg tied to me and the other tied to our kid...(Notice the change from 'my' to 'our&#…

Myers-Briggs Type

I am a huge fan of identifying underlying patterns to human behaviour and hence love the Myers-Briggs test. I have personally taken this multiple times and the results have often been an INTJ with strong scores for the I and N and boarder-line scores for T and J

I got to this link  which does an MBTI on the personality of the blogger from here.

Here are the results:


ISTP - The Mechanics The author is of the type ISTP.

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment and are highly skilled at seeing and fixing what needs to be fixed, making them ideally suited for engineering. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often seek out fun and action both in their work and personal life.

ISTPs endure reasonable impositions without complaint — but if their "territory" is encroached up…

And Miles to Go...

When a highly educated and professionally successful woman who has had a life time of support from her hubby in her career growth, goes on to say "You should always prioritize your husband's happiness for a happy home...men and women are not equal in a marriage..." , it not only reeks of hypocrisy,  but also endlessly pains me that the hope for women is still far far away ! Thankfully, it also increased my steely resolve to teach my son that marriage is a relationship between two compatible individuals who try their best to help the other person be happy ! I am also proud of myself that when said conversation happened, I was able to vocally express my disagreement in a stern and non-dramatic mannner. It is another matter though that I burst into tears later, and the bitter after taste of the conversation has still not left me completely !

Lessons from Hong Kong

We had an amazing vacation at Hong Kong couple of weeks back. We stayed with family friends who went out of their way to make us feel welcome - with hot piping dosas, amazing Chinese food, entertaining Siddhu for long hours and overall pampering us silly ! The trip also had some great lessons for me:

1.The power of positive strokes: We were watching a live show on how sea lions are trained, and as part of the audience interaction, Siddhu was invited on stage. The trainer spoke to him in Chinese (of which obviously he didn't understand a word ! ) and then touched the tip of his nose with a stick and handed him a chocolate. Then he proceeded to touch the tip of his finger with the stick and again gave him a chocolate. He went on to slightly raise the stick and just looked at Siddhu. To my utter disbelief, he raised his hand and touched it - again to get a chocolate. Within a matter of a few seconds, the trainer could make Siddhu completely follow the stick and even move round and ro…

Calling It Quits...

I always wonder when do you decide to call it quits? Whether it is a relationship or a project or a career or a new dress or anything where you have invested significant time, money and effort - when it goes through rough waters - when do you decide "no more!" ? How is it possible to calculate whether struggling further would bring more misery or whether there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? How do you put aside your ego and feelings and think rationally? Or is rational thinking even the right approach? Afterall, human beings are irrational animals ... Deciding to quit and move on is a painful decision - it is like death - final. As long as you are alive, there is still hope atleast ! But sometimes death does bring peace, right? I am sure if I search online I would get frameworks and tools to help make the decision on whether to strive harder or change course ! But, who can paint the future? Assuming the future is in your own hands, how do you act in a way tha…

Another Letter...

...this time to my earlier self...A self almost a decade younger...I got inspired by Anu's letter and decided to do it... Dear 24 year old, You would have just celebrated your first job and the independence that comes with a paycheck...Enjoy it ! Your professional life will last much longer than you think it will ! Sometimes, you have to face the cloudy sky, before you can see the rainbow and enjoy the rain... Your relationships will undergo drastic changes over the next ten years...Fortunately for you, the actors remain the same... You will experience the pleasures of motherhood...and in the process discover what unconditional love is...No, it is not the love that a mother has for her child, it is the love a child has for his mother ! Your definition of success will change over the years, and there will be times when you would struggle to define it for yourselves...I am still as clueless as you are, so I can't help you much about this... Learn to prioritize yourselves...Your…

Life Lessons for My Son...

Some time back I wrote a letter to my son as he entered formal schooling. I have now transported him to a city which is known for being conservative...And every day I worry about whether he would grow up to be a typical prototype of the city...

So here is a letter to you my son, to guard you against what the city can do to you...

1. There are always several rights - and no one is ever right always.
2. There might be only one fact, but there are several ways to interpret it
3. If there are 10 dishes in the sink and you wash 2, expecting your partner to do the remaining, then you are being lazy and irresponsible as an adult. Let no one ever fool you into thinking that you are a great and supportive partner, just because your gender lets you get away with it !
4. Faith comes in several forms - none is better than the rest. Public displays of faith is unnecessary.
5. Respect also comes in several forms. Following cultural norms makes life easier for everyone, but never let anyone bully…

What Separates the Men from The Boys...

...is how they respond in the event of a crisis. It is very easy to talk idealistically, but when faced with a real life situation, most people behave in a risk-averse manner. (In the corporate world, we call it CYA - Cover Your Ass). Unfortunately, this asinine behaviour does not help anyone. The men among the boys however take charge of the situation, and do what honourable men would do, without worrying too much about remote consequences.... They are willing to take bold decisions and act on them, for the immediate benefit of helpless souls without over analysing on how their actions can be interpreted at a later stage... They do not worry about 'What is in it for me?' when situations demand that you do the right thing.... Hubby dear, you often figure in this blog only during February...But, today I want to shout out to the whole world...I am proud I married a man - and a great and honourable one at that !!! This idealistic wife, loves the way you help her to translate her…

Stepping Into the Unknown !

Sometimes, life forces you to make choices which are totally against your gut instinct...The last time I did it, I stepped off a cliff into the unknown, expecting strong hands to arrest my fall...Well, that didn't happen... I managed to panic, but then regained my composure enough to hold on to a branch to help myself...And from there I climbed back up... Now, here is the anti-climax - I am going to jump down the same cliff all over again...This time knowing fully well, there are no outstreched hands to help...Crazy? Maybe ! I am carrying a parachute though, just in case...Afterall, self-help is the best help... Trivia of the day: I hate the term self-help. We had an English grammar book series by the name 'self-help' and I could never master it without outside help :P Trivia of the Day 2: I wish time travel was a reality....I could move back and forth and learning history could have been a breeze ! In fact, learning everything would have been so easy - and so pointless..…

April Sunshine

Yes, in more ways than one, summer is here ! My resolution for March has been to talk positive. Well, didn't always work - given my short temper, it was anyway quite a challenge...But, a lot of nice things happened in March. My sis came visiting - and we did find some time to spend with each other ! I have been focusing heavily on managing my finances in the last couple of months - learnt a lot of new things. If you want to improve your financial literacy - this is a good place to start. The advice there will not confuse you, and it will not goad you into buying products that you will regret later. If you have a mathematical bend of mind like me, then go here. The financial calculators are elegant and nicely done, and you need to give very less inputs! This month is going to be all about action. I have spend almost a year thinking and planning - and now I am going to put all that into practice - in my professional life, in managing my finances and so on. The baby steps have alr…

The Human Mind...

...never ceases to amaze me. Its potential ...The depth of feelings that it is capable of...

The Price of Insecurity...

...is very very high. Someone very close to me is a highly insecure individual. The pain of interacting with her cannot be described in words. Her insecurity makes her feel unloved and it takes a herculean effort to prove otherwise...Every statement I make has to be carefully thought through - or else she would feel that I am being ungrateful. I understand that everyone craves appreciation and gratitude - but if you are not sure of yourselves, then you would just end up making it very difficult for others to express these feelings for you.

On the other hand, being arrogantly sure of oneself, is also a sure shot way of messing up your relationships. No one would give you any advice and you will end up with egg on your face sooner than later !

Friday Blues

My Performance Manager once told me that intelligence is a turn-on for me. He went on to add that lack of intelligence is a big turn-off for me and that it is a key area of improvement as not many people may be as intelligent as me. (or as perceived by me :) )...Though I didn't explicitly agree or disagree with him, it was a truth about myself that I knew from very early days...I remember how I used to have very less patience with friends who found it 'cool' to not do their best to learn about concepts and chose the 'smart' way of copying assignments and repeating the same for exams. On the other hand, I was willing to spend hours on end, with someone who was willing to try and learn something from me....(though the numbers were few and far in between and consisted mostly of guys who found it otherwise interesting to spend time with a girl - well, I was naive and already in a relationship, so I didn't suspect anything while helping them out...). Today, again, …

Birthdays!

Last year, one major regret was that I couldn't celebrate the birthdays of loved ones, the way I would have wanted to...This year seems better...I gifted my dad for his b'day (though the gift was given a couple of weeks later :P) and celebrated hubby's mom's b'day in style. I am sure other b'days this year will also end up being joyous occasions...

I also managed to skillfully dodge potential landmines typically associated with meeting relatives. Her advice on giving them a long rope helped...  I had also promised myself that if anyone pushes me to a corner, I will push right back...Just that confidence helped me to avoid being pushed in the first place...

In life, you should always prioritize your emotions ...If your intentions are not devious, it will automatically ensure all round happiness.

Oops!

I almost missed the Feb 14 post...'cos I celebrated it a day early...if seeing the hubby in a surgeon's garb inside an OT while rushing from one meeting to another qualifies as a celebration ...As far as material possessions go, I got a lovely watch as a gift...a much needed one, as my earlier one was dying on me...

Love is a complicated emotion....loving the same person over several years is even more complicated...as people evolve and grow, their ambitions, dreams, hopes, likes and dislikes all transform - sometimes, not leaving behind anything that you loved about him/her in the first place...

Many couples, who claim they are still very much in love with each other are actually in love with the shadows of the other person...loving the memories of a good time and holding on to it tenaciously...others, embrace change and find the strength to love the new individual and celebrate it...

Isn't falling in love a heady feeling? You and me have both changed....from uniform cla…

Raising Kids...

...to be confident, caring individuals is a challenging task. Recently, I have been thinking hard about women's rights, a fair world etc, and how to integrate these concepts into parenting...It is not easy. I know enough parents, who raised confident, independent girls, only to wonder whether their strategy was wrong, when said child could not adjust to relationships which were retro at best and abusive at worst...Yes, it is easy to say that you should walk out of a relationship if you are not comfortable, but practically, there is still a society to deal with...
I am not advocating a silent, suffering role for a woman. Far from it...But, it also puzzles me as to how can a woman ascertain her rights and still have a happy life - no not as a single woman, or as a single mom, or as a 'stay at home' mom, but as a mainstream member of this society, with a loving and caring husband, a good career commensurate with her skills etc. Afterall, if a guy is retro in his thinking, no…

And Before I Know It...

...it is February already. It seems like yesterday that I made my New Year resolutions. As usual, I haven't made much progress, but yes, I have been taking baby steps...My health is better, as a lot of lingering problems have finally found respite - thanks to a great diagnosis by an ophthalmologist - my migraine, stiff shoulders, constant sneezing, red eyes - all have disappeared after i started taking allergy medication ! The liberation from constant pain is nothing short of magical.
I manage to get up earlier than usual, though between the choice of physical exertion and intellectual exertion, I prefer the latter. Most mornings are thus spend curled up in a sofa, reading the newspaper from end to end, while the exercise bike nodes sagely from the corner. I managed to learn 'Suryanamaskar' from the hubby...but putting it to practise is something else altogether !
There is one target that I have set for myself from today for the next 30 days, as part of my 'growth an…

Love and Hate

Penning down things that you love or hate is a good exercise as it allows for immediate introspection. It also acts as a reference point for a future date when you can look back and see how you have evolved (or not) over the years...So here it is, a list of things that i love and hate as of now...

Things that I love:

1. The smell of a new book.
2. The taste of chocolate.
3. Playing in a beach. One of these days, I want to go and sit in a beach from evening till night !

Can't think of anything that I hate...The effect of Feb, I guess !

Leadership in Everyday Life..

...is often hardly about strategy or vision. Rather, it is about being able to effectively solve the minor irritants of day to day life...Last week, I recieved a call in the middle of a meeting from a very junior team member claiming that there were 'no rest rooms available' in the client location. This surprised me as it is a universal need and a basic requirement and it was unlikely that a place with nearly ten staff will not have such arrangements. A little bit of prodding revealed that the loos were indeed present and but were not upto her standard. This irked me no end due to multiple reasons. It was too trivial a reason to bother me with, and she could have either chosen to be resilient and face it chin up or be resourceful and find an answer to her problem herself...Finally, I digged into my reservoir of management intelligence and convinced her to continue with the work.

I face such situations almost on a regular basis. Being a lady means that I am inundated with suc…

Blessings...

...are often overlooked. The other day, I had a real tough time at work. This combined with pre-existing issues, drove me to the point of tears...I usually use the elevator as the transition point - the elevator to my work place is when I prioritize work over family in the mornings and the elevator in my apartment helps me switch back to being mom...On a really tiring day at work, I do a silent prayer to grant me patience as I enter home...

My son rushes to me with a smile everyday when I reach home...Yesterday though, as soon as he rushed into my arms, he took one look at my face and asked with genuine concern "Amma, what happened? Are you not well? Were you crying?" and with these words, the poor thing almost started having a meltdown himself. By which time I realised that as long as there are people who can be driven to the point of genuine tears, just because they think something is upsetting you...as long as that is there, life is still very much worth living....the re…

Being a Lady...

...in a male dominated work place is not easy...You will often find successful women in the corporate world saying that they never faced any discrimination or difficulty because they were women....And that is because they have learned the vital art of survival...which demands that you ignore any difficulties and go on.....and tell lies or rather 'politically correct' statements...the 'casting couch' and the 'glass ceiling' are both terms which represent realities and not figments of imagination....
Any attempt to point out any kind of 'non-acceptable' behaviour from the male colleagues and superiors is seen as a sign of weakness on the part of the lady - or worse still, as 'unprofessional' behaviour. This is then used as an instance to be quoted during appraisal meetings as 'an area of improvement'. Women who are fed up with this often end up opting for less lucrative careers or even no careers.
I have hardly seen any feminists in the …

SAHM Vs. Working Mom

This is a long pending post...almost 4 years in the making or maybe even more...ever since I became a parent, or rather, started thinking about it...
I am usually considered an extremely career-oriented woman - by people who do not know me well enough.
I am also considered a paranoid parent - again, by people who do not know me well enough. And, therein lies the problem...
A woman comes in all hues - just like a man...and trying to judge another person by your world view may not always be right ...
I have a certain priority for my career and a certain priority for my family - no one has the right to comment negatively about it, unless 1. they are close enough to be ok about me expressing my perspective and/or 2. they play an active role in shaping my career or my family or both.
This is the same across the spectrum of mothers - different people have different comfort levels, different family situations, different skills, different job opportunities, all of which play a role in the ch…

The Year That Will Be...

..shall be a year of growth ! Across all spectrums of life, growth and happiness are going to be the two themes that I shall work on...Anyone who equates self-growth and happiness to selfishness shall be ignored !
I have never struggled to write a post as much as I am struggling today..the mind is a maze of ideas, but I think I should go on a retreat to figure it all out and arrange it based on priorities...
I am also trying to see if daily baby steps shall result in some significant changes over a year....