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The year gone by

It’s my last working day in the year 2013. We’re going on a 2-week shutdown from tomorrow. Not sure if I’ll get time to blog from home, so I thought it is good time to reflect and introspect on the year gone by.

The year 2013 was an eventful one. Return from Bangalore, making it a happening one.

It didn’t start on a very positive note. With all the tensions around the job, the insecurities, the feeling of being back to square one in my career, whoops! Yes, it was bad. I still remember my FB status on Jan 1’2013 was ‘Feeling sad’. Right on the first day of the year! Bad!

But, the year showed lot of colors. It showed the co-operation and warmth my family gave me. My parents, Tarun’s parents, my brother.

My pillar of support, my husband.
Because of the shift to Bangalore and work-from-home for Tarun, things were quite difficult for him, at office front, himself. Then, we had a lot to handle ourselves, because we were living alone in Bangalore. So, he had to share quite some load at home too. Then, I was distraught. I would be totally shattered emotionally sometimes, whenever some interview would happen and I wouldn’t hear back from them. God, the memories, bring goosebumps on how crazy things were. By January,2013, I had given odd 20 interviews. Not for 20 companies, but because I was looking to shift back into a Product company, and mostly product companies have a 4-interview rounds kinda rule, so I ended up giving lots and lots of interviews. You can’t imagine the agony and heartbreak each one gave. And, at the end of each one, it was only Tarun who handled me. And, he handled it really well.

The year and those times showed me how you cannot make your own plans. God does have his own plans and he won’t let yours work if he doesn’t find them befitting. There were times when I used to get calls from HR asking me to wait up and they would be soon getting back with the offer letter. And then, days and weeks would pass, but nothing came back. I mean, totally meaningless and crazy. I tried inquiring through contacts on what went wrong, and I would not get anything conclusive. Anything that made sense.

Well, forget it. That’s all past me.

The post is about reflections, not more cribs.

The good from all of it.
– I joined my current company. I got my deserved position. And, I got it totally out of my own capabilities. There’s not even a hint anywhere that it happened because my husband works here, or because he’s such a great employee. I had my reservations there. Some very serious ones. And they have been put to rest after joining.

– We got to stay in Bangalore and we had some really nice time together. I got a glimpse of what living alone would be. Making your own house. How messy I am. 😛 Brigade Metropolis was really the highlight. Made some great friends. Some very strong and able women. Learnt a lot from them.

– Enjoyed and observed a new culture, a new kind of human breed. Something that I totally cherish.

– My respect for my husband and on his love, went a notch higher. I never thought that it could go any higher.

And you know, the day I had my Calypto interview, both my SILs were visiting. I had blessings and wishes from the complete family. Each one of them, my parents, my brother, my FIL, my MIL, my husband, my SILs….each one, was silently praying for me to succeed. I think that had a major role to play in my success that day too.

After returning back in April, well, life is back to settled. Not sure if that settles with me well, but that is how it is going to be. At least, I am clear that I won’t try to be hasty or aggressive about my decisions of moving places, easily now.
Lot of small trips. Many places visited.

Let’s see what 2014 has in store for me.

My resolutions for 2014:

1. Patience : I guess it’s a virtue that still evades me. Have been trying and will continue to try.

2. Be more humble : I’ll try to be more humble and accepting towards my family. Whether I understand it or not, I’ll try and keep faith. I have cribbed a lot but I am not sure if I’ve given it my best shot. Will try to.

3. Think before you speak : I definitely need to follow this.

4. Anay: Spend some quality time with him. 🙂

Thank You God for everything.

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Always believe in yourself!

Wow! Inspirational and also a knock-on-your-face. Yoga can actually heal the unheal-able.

Breath of Joy

 I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much ~ Mother Teresa

I am sharing a real life story of courage, confidence and determination. A young soldier was severely incapacitated in the Siachen glacier region also known as the world’s highest battle field situated at an average altitude of 18,000 feet above sea level. An account of the incident is given below in the newspaper item:

 

The army provided singular support to Major Rajesh by way of intensive medical care and a suitable employment in the army to rehabilitate him. But despite the physical and mental challenges Rajesh Mehta continued doing his work devotedly and always with a helpful attitude. He is known to be an officer with a smiling demeanor who never says yet finds solutions to problems of soldiers.

 

In such adverse physical…

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Friends

It is such a special word, yet so common.

At the outset, till we’re perhaps 9-10 yrs, it signifies, some specific people, with whom we play/be for the major part of the day.

Then, we age a little more, and it starts signifying a special two or three we enjoy most with, share our fairy tales, our dreams, our sorrows and most of all, our hates. 😉

And, then comes college, we have a room full of people and there’s not even one who is ‘not’ a
friend. And, there are more who would like to enter the room, but it’s already full.

And, we move on to work-life/married life, when we find a special friend. The friend we get closest to. Emotionally because we share the scariest of the dreams and the happiest of the success.

And, then, the term gets hazy.

I’ve reached that point.

I have school friends but mostly in touch through FB. I have college friends, whom I thought were my best friends. They knew me so well. I could rely on them no matter what I did or where I am in my life.

I expected the feeling to remain forever. For-ever. But, that doesn’t happen. Even forever has some boundaries, some limits, some timeout.

I met my very old friend, my bestie ever, a little while ago. He got engaged recently. We were pretty much waiting for that event so that we can meet each other with our spouses, more comfortably. But, when I met him, it must have been almost 4 years since we met and spent that much time again. And, there was his fiancee also. Well, something changed. I don’t know what. Did ‘she’ rule him more and he was no more my only friend? No, that was not the problem. Somewhere, perhaps, I felt like I grew up and he was still there. We talked, we laughed, remembered our old times. He shared whatever had been happening in the last few years. There regular mischief and times with friends. These were the same things he used to do before, and I used to totally split into ripples of laughter. But, that was no more the case. I was laughing, but it was no more that regular free-laughter. It seemed forced. Somewhere inside, I was  finding it all kiddish. Those acts, those things, I found them in poor taste now.

We had been in touch over phone now and then, but it was mostly the psychological stuff, the meditation, the talks about life, god, people etc etc.

Another friend of mine. We have been friends since school. The only one I have stayed in touch continuously (almost!) from those times. She had some rough patch going in her life. I listened to her. Gave my words of solace (what else could I do!?). But, then she wouldn’t talk. Just stopped talking. Whenever I pinged, she would reply saying ‘busy, ping u back’ but never pinging back. After a good 15 days of silence and no response, she pings back saying ‘need to crib, big time’. Of course, she had some cribbing and hate-to-get-out about her married life/MIL-issues etc. That’s how the girls bond after marriage. I felt sad. I felt used.
I want my friends to be with me even when ‘I’ want them. Not just when they want me. You may say that she was going through a low time so I should cut her some slack. But, this is not the first time. She’s done that before too. I did talk to her. Didn’t mention anything about my hurt to her. But sometimes I do think and feel like taking it all out on her. Just making her realize that friends are not toilet paper whom you use for your shit and then forget them.
You know, I always believed in forever-friendships. Friends being people who are there for you, all time. I want to be there for them all time, and want them to be with me, all time. This was kind of a childhood dream, rather a belief. It feels like it’s slipping away from me. I understand that people change with time. It’s the way of life. I have changed too. So, friends are not meant to remain the same. It’s an emotion, just like love, which remains constant. But, the person may not. People are meant to come and go in life. They come in your life for a purpose. And trying to hold them too hard, is like pressing sand in your hand. The more you press, the more they slip.
But I miss a person who could stand witness to my life. Where I can be totally myself. Where I don’t need to manipulate my words or think before speaking, as the words may hurt. I first expected the life partner to be that ‘one’ person. But, I soon realized what a big mistake that expectation was (Lolz!). Then, I thought friends are the answer for that. Well, sigh. No luck there either.
Now, I hope at least my blog stays a witness to me.
<Irony of life: There are billions of people in this world, yet there is not even one to stand witness to someone’s life>

 

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Expectations, cribbing….. cribbing and some more cribbing

When I looked at my posts in the recent past, they have been more of cribbing than reflections, or thoughts. I want to keep the blog to keep a note of my day to day thoughts. But, since some time, I have been quite busy at the home-front. And, that has led to more cribbing than usual.

Either I should stop taking it out here, or I can hope things will improve in some time.

Anyways, my MIL returned from her 5-day break from her Mom’s place yesterday. She had been running and working almost round the clock there, and as expected, she’s not well now. Now, while she was working there, I was running and getting worked-up equally, here. While everyone knows about her hard-word and expects her to take some time off, no one seems to notice mine. (Why is it always the case with me?). So now, while I’m of course taking care of everything, none of it is appreciated.

<What do you want? Someone to keep saying thank you for it, all the time!?>

No, but at least, a smile, or a recognition of the same. On the contrary, I receive some cold glances for not sitting and talking to her when she’s not well.

If you didn’t notice, then I’m tired too and unlike you, I don’t have the day to rest further, and leave everything aside…I have to go to my job, and I’m expected to ‘work’ there too.

Gosh! I am tired of living my life to fulfill someone’s expectations. The only goal of my life has become to match up to their expectations. And somehow, I always end up falling short.

God, please be merciful.

<Well, another post of cribbing. And that too, when you promised yourself not to crib! Baah!>

<Sigh> Tomorrow is another day.

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Too many thoughts…pretty much all junk.

So many thoughts. ..so many undercurrents. I have loads of thoughts during the day. Sometimes I even wonder if that’s normal or psychic. Then, that’s another thought. :p
Today there was a family function. Both of us had to take a leave. N this time of d yr, its obviously n earned leave. N going by my penchant for breaks from monotony, almost every month, this leave is pretty much gonna end me wid a pay cut. I don’t mind losing pay for something I enjoy, but losing it for functions….esp ones involving fake smiles and double-entended dialogues…well, they pinch. Huh! I try to look at d brighter side by assuming dat I am paying for my fun leave nd nt dis one. 

The bride’s mother has been diagnosed wid cancer. She had been treated of it once but the cancer resurfaced and is now almost reached d terminal stage. D whole wedding has been planned in a rush. Naturally, a lot of work befell on the family n the relatives, which earlier would have been taken care of by the mother. Now, ppl take most advantage of d opportunity to show their importance and secondly… go birsirk in the do’s n the dont’s  of matrimonial traditions. They even go on to say about the mother that ‘let’s see how much seva(service) she gets done in her last days’.
(For the uninitiated: that’s a common thing said about old ppl ailing and bed-ridden, almost dead but not just.. dying. In the process, needing lot of attention and help from the family members). Well, the lady in question is hardly 50 and the parents are both beyond 70.
My two thoughts:
1. How important it is to be physically fit at least till you are relieved of your duties towards your child. Here the mother had no fault or option because cancer has no definite reasons. But for me, well, I’m not perfectly healthy even today. Lord knows wat state I would be in when it’s time for my son’s marriage. I definitely want him to have me by his side than feel orphaned at such an imp time of his life.
2. What is the point of this whole joint family? The woman served this family…these parents, this man, his kids, his relatives and what not, all her life. And now, in her last final days, instead of deriving compassion or some pity, she is only deriving retorts and angst from people for taking so long to die. Yes, the husband stands by her and takes care of her but none other. This just proves the importance of marriage to me. Not of a joint family.

Sigh.
I seem a step farther from understanding my destiny than accepting it. 

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Jaipur – the Pink City

It was our 4th Anniversary on Nov 29th. We decided to celebrate it by going somewhere out.

After lot of deliberations on where to go, and last minute (which is almost 1.5 months before the scheduled date) searches of air flights, we decided to give more priority to our hotel of stay, than spending on travel. And, hence, Jaipur it was.

Delhi-NCR doesn’t have lot of tourist places around for weekend getaways. So, people here are left quite deserted, so to speak. But, as I explore more and more of Rajasthan, I think there’s no other place you need. The year 2013 proved to be an year full of travel for us. We planned many small vacations.

Dec’2012 : South trip (Bangalore-Mysore-Ooty-Connoor-Kovalam-Rameshwaram-Bangalore)

Jan’2013 : Pondicherry

May’2013: Chandigarh

August’2013: Mount Abu and Udaipur

Sept’2013: Agra

November’2013 : Jaipur

Wow, I am proud of myself and Tarun. 🙂

Now, coming to Jaipur.
We were not very excited about the city as much as we were excited about our hotel. Saving on our travel proved useful as we could book a higher-end hotel. We booked Trident, Jaipur. It’s a 5-star luxury hotel and I must say, stands up to expectations. We had been in 5-star hotels but mostly, through the company. (Lemme think of the 5-star places my company has generously taken me to – Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur, The Taj Heritage Hotel, Gwalior, ITC Mughal, Agra! Hmmm, Awesome! My life rocks! :D) It’s funny how most of the times, I just proved lucky to be at the right place at the right time. Chokhi Dhani, when I was at client side from my company; Gwalior happened because my husband’s company took the complete family for the offsite, so I visited it; it’s only now that I visited Agra when ‘I’ was actually an employee of ‘that company’.

I got side-tracked again 😛

Well, Jaipur boasts of lot of tourist spots but having been to Jaipur quite number of times, we were not very interested in going to all the places. We wanted to chose selected places and enjoy our stay at the hotel. A peaceful, comfortable getaway.

Travel : We reached Jaipur on 29th morning. We had made our reservation in Chair-Class (CC) of Swarna Shatabdi Express. I should rather say, that was the only thing available till the time we woke up to reserve seats for our travel. We were planning to drive to Jaipur previously, but we read many reviews on the net  about roads being in a messy shape because of fly-overs and highways being constructed. So, we decided to opt for the train. Well, I would rate a CC ride better than a 3-tier AC. 3-tiers get pretty crowded and you have to adjust a lot between passengers. If someone wants to sleep, and you have the lower berth for yourself, you’re forced to sleep too. CC had more leg-room than any of the air-flights. You get food and drinks served by the Express train. The food was definitely not very tasty so better if you can make your own arrangements. The packed items that they provide (like, Mother Dairy Lassi, Amul butter for bread etc) are good. Thankfully, we were carrying paranthas and we ate only those. The cutlets and besan cheela given by them, went all waste.

Accommodation: We had our booking at the Trident, Jaipur from 30th – 2nd. We needed a hotel for 29th. So, we booked Umaid Bhawan. It is a nice hotel. Very nice ambience and food. Most of the facilities (pool, seating area, garden), hygiene, room facilities, are nice. They even provide complimentary pick-up from the railway station/ bus stop. These are quite near to their hotel so it’s an easy plus for them to provide. But, nonetheless, a nice extra to have.

 > The negatives – The hotel tries to extract money from you through the subtle necessities. For example, the room service orders are charged 10% extra. If you order after coming to their restaurant, that 10% extra is not there. Considering that our room was on the same floor as the restaurant, it pinched. We just wanted to have our food in our room because my son was sleeping, and we were very tired and hungry from the journey. We had to order milk for my son couple of times. Normally, wherever we have travelled, none of the hotels charge for child’s milk. It’s provided complimentary and is normally served in a smaller glass than an adult’s regular glass. These guys charged. No issues. I don’t mind paying for that. But, it was charged at the price of a glass of milk of an adult. And the room charges of 10% put extra. Ouch! You don’t mind paying, but these subtle extras pinch you more than the real. Not to mention that the extra milk is completely wasted. So, overall, your experience is miffed. They charge for wi-fi services too.

Trident, Jaipur was nice place too. Excellent and very supportive staff.

> Plus : Kids area in the campus. There’s a care-taker too so if your child is well-fed, you can leave him there for an hour or so too. They have the facility of a baby-sitter, if you need one, but I didn’t try that, so can’t comment on that. They knew that I was visiting on my Anniversary, so they gave us a very special welcome by sending a bunch of beautiful roses, and a cake later. The cake was awesomely yummy 🙂

> Negatives: Ummm, while there was nothing bad/wrong with the hotel, there was nothing special either. Coming from Umaid Bhawan, I was getting the same facilities, same meals, and rather a smaller-room than umaid’s room, BUT I was paying two-n-a-half-times more. Brings a question to your mind – is it worth the amount?

> Big Big Plus : I met Irrfan Khan at the hotel 😛 My money was well spent. 🙂 🙂

 

The city:
We visited Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur on 29th. I had visited it before but it was the first visit for Tarun and Anay. And well, travelling with Tarun, everything was a first for me too. 🙂 It’s a lovely place. So many things to see, to savour. It actually brings the ethnic and cultural feel of a real-village alive. Rides (Horse, elephant, camel, boat), Eateries (Puchkas, Kulladh ka doodh, welcome drink -chhaach, and many more), artificial places (tree-house, village huts and chopal, pond with artificial crocodile and deers, small artificial lake), folk-stuff (2-3 group of people performing different forms of dances of Rajasthan; tribal people singing somewhere; someone playing a lonely flute, another performing magic show, snake dance) and many more of such. There is also many other things happening: Mehendi, Astrologer (3 different kinds), Kala Gram. etc etc A total fun outing for the complete family. No one leaves disappointed.
> Plus: Kala gram has local artisans making the stuff right there, in front of you. I mean, block printing is quite popular in Jaipur. There is a shop where you can chose the cloth and get your pick of design to get printed. They do it right there and you can pick your stuff on the way back. It hardly takes them 5-10 minutes to prepare your dupatta. Worth a keep-sake. And, nothing is over-priced. At least not in Kala Gram.
> Negatives: While Kala gram is not over-priced, everything else is. So, if you shop for small toy-cars (which is a must when you’re travelling with a 3-yr old. It’s like a moving-fee for them), pickles, etc etc, then they are over-priced. Then, there are 3 options of thalis which you have to chose from even before entering. It’s included in your entry ticket. 500/650/700. Since it was our anniversary, we thought of making the dinner special and took the 700/- thali. But, except that you get chairs to sit on, rather than the stool dining, and there is a special orchestra (2-people singing) playing in the front, there’s nothing special. On the contrary, I liked the traditional way better.
Next day (Saturday): We had to shift our hotel so a lot of our time was wasted in that. We went to Amer Fort and then to Johri Bazaar for shopping.
Amer Fort: A very nice fort. There are 3 options for you to travel up to the fort from the ground level.
> Walk : It’s a long way of 1.5-2 Km. and the walk up is steep. So, if you try to do that, it is going to become a harrowing experience and you’ll not be left in a mood to appreciate the fort.
> Jeep to fort: These folks charge 230 per person (one way, I guess). And, that sounds hefty.
> Guide: If you pick a guide from the base, he takes you through a short way to the fort. You can walk with him. The walk is of course steep, but at least shorter. Secondly, visiting a fort without a guide is a waste. With so many forts in India, they all seem same after certain while. But, if the guide is with you and he’s good, each and every stair-case, each and every turn of the passage becomes meaningful and you’re able to appreciate the architecture, the thinking and knowledge of people, in even those times. Thoroughly enjoyed the fort, just because of the guide’s stories. It actually seems like you’re back in those times.
Johri Bazaar: Jaipur is famous for quite a few things: Silver Jewellery, Blue Pottery, and block printing. There are 4 bazaars (markets), all connected by Chand Pol (the one which has Hawa Mahal on one leg). A ‘pol’ is a ‘chowk’ or ‘crossing’. So, each of the 4 streets joining at the pol, has one bazaar. Tripola, Bapu, Johri and one more (forgotten! Already?) We only had time to visit one. We visited Johri Bazaar. I’m not much fan of picking jewellery from such places because I don’t know if the price I’m paying is genuine or a tourist price. So, I only like buying fancy keep-sakes or Sarees. And, that’s what I ended up buying. It’s really pretty and I can’t wait to wear it. Johri Bazaar has a ‘haldiyon ka rasta’. That seemed to have couple of wholesale shops. I bought my Saree from one of those and when I compared the prices in the shops on the main road, I found it to be a better bet. So, you may want to visit that.
We ate our dinner at LMB (Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar). It’s a very popular place at Jaipur and people make it a point to eat there. My feedback : Big place. Food was okay, not excellent or out of the world to make you go back again specially.

Sunday: It turned out to be an election day. We enjoyed our day at hotel. Went out around 4 to enjoy walk at the Mansagar lake. Nice visit. Then, we went to a mall which has opened recently in Jaipur (World Trade Park), since nothing else was open that day. The mall was nice. Thankfully, we saw Albert Hall, Jaipur Zoo and all on our way. (No, we couldn’t go in and  actually ‘visit’). On our way back, we luckily got to visit Birla Mandir. Must visit, I would say, in Jaipur. There was a Mata ki Doongri overlooking the temple, we really wished we could go there, but couldn’t.
Other places I wish I could have gone: Sanganer Handmade Paper industry, Mata ki Doongri, Albert Hall Museum and Jaipur Zoo.
Overall, I liked Jaipur. I realized a very important thing. Money is not the most important thing in life but it can definitely change your perspective and ‘make’ your perspective on many things. I had been to Jaipur but had mostly been in budget hotels. My memories of the place were very dusty, crowded, messy. This visit, I went to good places, the roads were proper, buildings well-organized, red-lights proper. I saw a beautiful city, a city which could be actually called a growing, developing city. I also saw the dusty places, some of them, but they were few. What changed? Did the city advance a lot? I doubt that’s the only reason. I spent money this time.  
I carry some very beautiful memories of this trip. Thank you God, for the eventful year.