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Of Prejudices

Dear Diary,

I have always believed in omens, signs. Subtle things said by people, or incidents happening in your life, normally totally unrelated, but actually pointing you to a message from your God, inner God. If there’s ever a problem lurking in my mind, which is disturbing me and I’ve not been able to get rid of it, then I normally receive some kind of sign from God which will tell me His will. It’s not always the solution which I wanted, but it definitely tells me something. And that normally does ease me of the pain/worry/tension.

These past days I’ve been irritated. Call it monotony, call it MIL-issues, call it rigidness on my part, but again my mind keeps going back to the old solution – I want to live separate. The mind keeps focusing on the ‘problems’ I have living together. It just doesn’t want to look and be happy with the things it is ‘getting’ from the joint setup. I get angry, sometimes at others around me, sometimes just at myself. Mostly at myself. I pray to the God within and the God idols to just give me peace. ‘Santosh’. But, it evades me.

When I look at the omens, almost all point me or tell me that this is all to teach me Patience and Tolerance. I can clearly see that He tells me to learn to keep patience and not run behind mirages. He wants me to learn to appreciate what I have, to be content in what I have.

I ask myself if I’m unhappy with where I am, as in, do I feel as an under-achiever in the world’s eyes? The answer is clear – No.
So, that means that is not the problem. Then I ask myself – ‘What is it that you want?’ and the answer is a clear, low, silent one – ‘I want my own space.’

I don’t even want to get into that infinite loop anymore where I talk about what hurts and what needs. But, I now know, very clearly inside me, that just living in separate quarters will not solve my problem. The society, or the kind of utopia I dream of is impossible in India. Living here and to not be in touch with the relatives, the social norms, the ties, is impossible. So, getting a house is not equal to getting your own space. And, of course, it won’t happen just like that. A lot of pain and a lot of cajoling will go into executing it. And, perhaps, and most likely, my life will become ‘more’ about them than myself. I want my life to concentrate on myself and my spouse and kid, than on ‘them’. If I spend 1 hour a day on them then living separately, I’ll be spending 3 hours on them. Not with them, but thinking on how to keep them happy and make peace. So, that is NOT the solution. My mind needs to understand. It does understand. And, then comes the solution of living out of the country. This is a solution which is not acceptable to my husband. He’s a family-man. He likes to be around his parents, his relatives, his roots. He’s not discontent with his position or himself, like me. But, just because of my discomfort, he’ll make the move, if ever. He tries to explain it to me but he knows it doesn’t soothe me. And, thus, he keeps trying to find some way.

If, and if ever, we move abroad, it will not be permanent. It will be a temporary solution. And, do I want a temporary solution? No. But, just to get out of this myriad of problems, I’ll acquiesce.

I ask you God, this – ‘What is Tolerance?’ Changing yourself to let others be happy is not tolerance. There are times when I accept things just to evade answering or explaining them the point. But, is it right? I want to give my child a house where I grow him, up and above to what I received in my childhood. And, here I am, concentrating on upgrading the mindset of my in-laws, relatives and whom not. I should have been fighting/arguing with my husband on issues he or I cannot accept because of our personal prejudices, but here I am, doing all that to understand/explain how/why to make MIL-FIL understand our decisions/points. There are exactly these cases where parents have not been able to groom their kids because they were stuck up in the mundane activities of the joint family. They are unable to be strict with them and the kids grow up nasty, blaming the parents later for the final outcome.
Yes, you may scoff me off by saying ‘You think too much’ or you go to extremes in your thought-process. But, then that’s what I am. That’s what you have taught me so far. And that’s the only way I want to grow. So, please. Explain!
I don’t want to raise my child with their prejudices. Rather, I want to bring him up in the most prejudice-free way. If that means challenging my own prejudices in the process, I am up for that. And that is the choice I make for my life.

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Pain and Tensions – A problem or a blessing?

Not a good day. Or, maybe, a great day because it brings pain. It brings something new with it. I am so bored with ‘routine’ life that anything different is welcome. Even if that different is painful. Perhaps, that’s the reason we start enjoying tensions. We start enjoying it so much that we seek it, than staying away from it.

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Regrets

I always believed that there is nothing I regret in my life. All the things that happen to us, happen for a reason. All the experiences, the events that happened in my past, happened for a reason and they have enriched me, as a person.

I still believe that they do. But, now I feel regret. I feel regretful. I wish I had chosen the other path and tried. And, maybe, just maybe, I would have been closer to my dreams. Why does the regret feel more real? Because the dreams seem more distant. Perhaps shattered. I woke up in the morning today with tears in my eyes. And, the tears were for the dreams gone. The dreams which will never be true, ever perhaps.

Over the weekend, as usual I was dreaming and hoping of the things I’ll do. Of how I’ll execute. Of how I’ll tell Tarun and how we’ll be set on this new path. It needed changes, some drastic moves, some major risks, but that’s okay. Nothing that cannot be taken. Nothing that we cannot manage with….. But then, while we were returning from Akshardham, the thought stuck. The practical aspect. The improbability of something like this happening. How silly I’ve been to think this can happen!? How immature to think that I’ll say and people will just follow. And, will they be wrong in not following? There are so many factors involved. There are so many people dependent on us. They have a life too, they have some expectations from us too. Are they wrong in relying on us? Are they wrong to just be loving us? And how much do you know about this new thing? What are the chances that it’ll succeed? What is the research you’ve done in this? What is the guarantee you’re not headed to another debacle like Bangalore? People forgave you for it because it was your first mistake. They will not forgive you this time? You’ll become a laughing stock in the society. And, you’ll drag Tarun along in all of it. Does he deserve all that?

No.

And, these are the same questions which could have been asked at any other point in my life. And, they would have been still valid.

All the risks that we take in our lives, all the decisions that we take involve some sort of madness to it. And, people applaud you if it works and people condone you if you fail. That’s part of the risk. But, somehow, those risks seemed doable then and seem silly now. Why? Because I’m not alone. There are loved-ones attached to me. It’s just not my reputation I risk. It’s them too, that I’ll risk. And, I’ve no right to do that. ….And that’s how life makes you mature… and old. That’s how life brings you to the point where you must forfeit your dreams, or forfeit the feelings of your loved-ones. You must pay a price for each dream that you earn. If you want to keep the dream, you pay equally, in cash or kind. But, here there’s no cash that can be given, only ‘kind’.

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Rearing a child and learning through it

It’s been 3 months, and 15 days since I started my reduced working-hours. But, it’s been only 3 days since I’ve actually started spending time with Anay. Sounds shocking? Sounds infuriating? What was I doing all this while?

I don’t know.

I wasn’t really busy with house-hold work. I wasn’t busy doing puzzles or watching movies either, which I would really like to do. But doing something always. I never slept after coming back, before night, all these days. So, I must be doing something. Whatever.

Well, that’s not the point. The point is that it is too easy to fall into wastefulness and procrastination rather than meaningful work, when you’re free. All my life, while I was growing up, I have been told meaningful work is doing your homework, preparing for your exams, learning or reading something new, important. No one ever said doing house-hold chores or minding a child is a meaningful task. And, trust me when I say it, it needs a lot of mind-training to accept it now. I need to make myself believe and accept that this is also important and spending time in it is not wasting time. Perhaps, the biggest conflict I have between me and my MIL is because she wants me to spend time in house, on the house, and I find it wasteful.

So, how did the transition happen. It was instantaneous. My MIL suggested, on Sunday evening, why I not take Anay to the park, instead of her, and spend some time with him. She said Mother should give time to the child, and be happy in it. I was already bored being home all day. It was precisely the outlet I needed. And, so I took Anay to the park. I decided to take his badminton set with us to play with. We did some playing, some running, some walking and we came back. It was the beginning of a bonding. I felt like the 1 hour I spent with him was the only time I could talk to him freely. The time when there is no one questioning me on what and why I’m saying that to him. What am I trying to teach him. The only time when there is no distraction he has. He can be completely himself, with me, and I can be myself, completely with him. Normally, there is always something else. His new game, his Dad came home, his Daadu came home, now he has to go to Badi Amma and eat Namkeen. While I am happy to see him getting all the love from all the world, it hardly leaves space for me and him.

Next day, I tried to make time and space just with him and me. So, I played his game, with him, in our room, instead of the drawing room, or MIL’s room. I know it’s disturbing for her because she likes to be a part of everything happening around, but it’s important for me and Anay. So, that’s how it would be and she’ll get used to it. And, as it turns out, she’s not objecting. So far. 🙂

All this while, spending this time with him, I’m teaching him counting, explaining him the need to be fast, why it’s important to touch the feet of elders, trying to make him comfortable with english, identifying letters. All this is done subtly. Softly. Play-way.

I feel like this way I’m imparting what I would like him to have. The things I have learnt all these years and would like my child to know. And, it’s not all education. It is values. The real sense of values that ‘I’ have. Not what the world has. But, what ‘My World’ has. To learn what the surroundings teach you, not just what the books teach you. I was initially doubtful how I’ll explain the complex concepts of God and mind and heart and soul to a 3-yr old!? But, it turns out it’s extremely simple. On the contrary, it’s much simpler than explaining to a grown up. You know why? Because they know nothing right now. They are an empty page. A blank slate. So, they are just taking in all that you give them without any questions or hesitation. A grown up will always have conflicting ideas or ideologies to question your statements. But, to your child, it’s only you and you who put it in.
And, that is how you mold your child.
Make him yours.

And, in this way, I grow up as a mother. I learn a lot from him too. I question myself and my beliefs. 🙂 Yesterday, we went to the temple once, which is a ritual for him. He loves to go to the temple, (to take the prasad). So, when we were returning from the Dance class, he took me to the temple again. I said we can’t take prasad twice. What will Panditjee say. Anay says, ‘You stand outside, I’ll go inside the temple and come.’ So, in he went. Did his ‘jai’ to all the deities and then he starts coming slowly to me, out of the temple, away from Pandit-jee…,waiting. And, he hears Pandit-jee say ‘ Aao’, and I see the jubilation on his way. And, he runs back. Takes the prasad, and comes to me saying, ‘Dekha, do baar prasad le sakte hain. Aap jitni baar temple aaoge, utni baar prasad milega’. 🙂 🙂

And, I think in my heart, ‘So true. As many times you turn to God, as many time he’ll reward you with his Prasad. There’s no counter running there at least.’

Thanks God for everything.

Smiles,
Hope

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Life these days

Dear Diary,

Got some time free from work, so thought of posting something. Nothing special. Just random mumblings. Voted yesterday. And, I am ashamed of accepting that this was my second time voting in my life, since I turned 18. But, I would definitely make sure to do it every time henceforth. But, I’m happy to have voted after looking at the members contesting the elections from my constituency, knowing who’s representing the party here, rather than lamely voting for a symbol. Satyamev Jayate’s episode, which I watched more because my Dad was so excited to see it, really changed me that way. It’s not that we don’t know of those things but we’re used to keeping our eyes closed.

There are so many traditions which need to be broken. Myths put into our minds like values. Like ‘Vote for the same party that your in-laws/husband does.’ ‘Everyone is corrupt and just your vote will not change anything.’
Not just voting, there are so many more of such myths.

‘House-hold work keeps you fit, so you should not hire too many maids and try and work yourself.’
Can someone, fit in their logical mind tell me that this is really true. What I have actually seen in my entire life is that managing house is a big task and it normally is very stressful. Add to the fact that you’re working, return home by 7.00 pm, I can’t think of how that 1 hour of house-hold work helps. I think it’s extremely stressful and tiresome. If I look at all the ladies of the generation prior to me, I don’t think they have been extremely healthy. And, it’s not just multiple pregnancies which have charred their bodies, but the stress which has made them emotionally and mentally weak. If a person continues to work for 14-18 hours a day, without getting any positive feedback or reward of any kind, how long can the person continue to do that without feeling pitiful.
I have become against this malpractice of human atrocities against women-folk. It’s a choice which only and only the women-specific should make and be free to exercise the option of refusing to do.

Anyways, doing lot of perl these days at work. It’s something that has been on my CV and yet it has never been in my skill-set really. You know how it is…something you’ve worked on in tid-bits but never got the opportunity to master. I’m happy to get this time and the exposure to it. It’s fun scripting. My M.Tech program may not happen this year. The chances are high. I spoke about it to my manager and based on the criteria they come up with, it seems they will be giving preference to RnD folks than PV. So, let’s see how it goes. But, no hard feelings there because of that. I knew it was a tough chance to get it this year, but it was nice to see a dream come an inch closer to you.

Take care. God bless.
-Hope

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The MTech program

It is here. Yes, it is here. The office mail has come asking for applications.Everyone says, it’s too difficult a task to do. A married woman, with a kid, with a job, should not do it. They won’t do it if they were in my place. It’s crazy.

My Mom did most of her studies after marriage and after she had me. She had no support from the family or in-laws. She didn’t have a lot of financial aids either to give her the cushion of an auto-ride instead of a bus. She went on to do her graduation and then a post-graduation despite it all.

I have wanted to pursue a post-graduation since forever now. And, from an esteemed institution. The opportunity provides you that all. And, it provides you with all the necessary road-blocks to make it feel like ‘this is an impossible feat to achieve’.

Will I pursue it? Will I be able to pursue it? Am I pursuing it just for the thrill or I really wish to do this? Is it really worth it? Am I choosing career over my family?

For some, these maybe all road-blocks and reasons not to do. And, for some, these are the only reasons to do.

I know this: I’ve wanted this forever. I don’t know what I chose or what I lose, I want to do this. Sincerely. I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete it or not. I wish to come out of it with flying colors. But then, of course, there are equal, perhaps more chances of my failing at it. But, I would not be able to survive if I didn’t try. And try I will.