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Days like these..

Dear Diary,

The heart cries but the eyes don’t. Not sure when I learnt this art. Or, perhaps the eyes have dried up. I remember, till my days of adolescence, I used to cry easy. Not like crying to the girly stuff like losing ear-rings, or anything, but I was very emotional. If I was emotionally hurt, I would cry. And, cry heartily. Now, even when I’m hurt, or bruised, or not feeling emotionally well, I am unable to cry. Even when I want to, I’m unable to.

Crying heals. It helps you vent out the emotions and the dark thoughts growing inside you. It helps you get over the negativity. I think my body has increased its levels of accepting negativity. I think my body is changing. I don’t lose my temper often but when I lose it, I get supremely angry. I am unable to control my reaction, or unable to contain it inside me. If I started shouting to take it out, I wouldn’t be able to stop shouting at my will. I think it is a medical condition.

But, in India, you don’t consider you/anyone is ill unless you/they are unable to get up from the bed. So, no one thinks you need to go to a doctor.
I think I do. I think I have signs of depression.

Days like today when nothing is really wrong in life, but I’m not happy/healthy. I feel like going for a trip/vacation. I feel like being alone/away from all this that I call life right now. The heart is crying but the eyes are not.

Be with me.
Take care.
Hope

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Marriage – Disaster or Opportunity?

Working in a team with only 2 people married, and rest all bachelors, a common topic of discussion is marriage. And, all the bachelors are men. So, it’s a common thing that these people are teased about marriage and these people have general tendency of replying that it’s a nightmare to think of. 

I know it is common. But, sometimes they start to press the point so much that it gets irritating. They go on to say that they don’t want to get married at all, and will be doing it purely because of parental pressure. So, today while walking with a bunch of them, I started the debate with them on why they think it’s a nightmare?’. Now the reasons went on to various domains like losing independence, spending on the wife, not able to spend on things you want to, and all. I gave my explanations for the same. But most of the time I get silent because they say ‘We should ask Tarun than you. You’ll anyways be happy with marriage’.
I think what I should have said, what I would like to say is how my life changed/improved after marriage. I had lot of hiccups adjusting to it. I had moments when I wanted to end it all and run away from it all. There are so many dogmas that you have to fight. Whoever says that its nice for the girl, should try being in that situation himself. But, I would like to mention what I gained from my marriage, purely selfishly.
1. I can go freely to trips to various places with my husband. This was not allowed before by my parents.
2. I can spend on things I wish to do. Being earning and having taken care of my family for their financial needs, I do not feel guilty for spending on my own wishes/luxuries/silly-nothings. These small things make me feel a lot better about slogging the whole day in office.
3. My husband is my best-friend. I can laugh, cry, fight, enjoy as much as I want with him. After working in the industry for so many years, we lose touch with friends. We socialize with colleagues and it leaves a big void for any heart-to-heart discussions you may want to have. And, no, you can’t do those with your parents. Or siblings. I think as we grow beyond teenage, we feel this urge to be able to talk to someone our age, who’s not from our family, or office. Someone you can freely share your secrets and your worries. Someone who understands you and knows your whole story so is able to appreciate your decisions, or the choices you made in life. And, that can be best found in a spouse.
4. I am the only one who can understand his jokes. He is the only one who can sit through my extreme-lows, and can make me still smile. Not just sit, but make me smile! Every time. Every single time.
5. I love to see how cute my child is. I don’t think he would have been so cute if he was only mine. He got the cuteness completely from his dad. The smartness – is completely from me!
6. The things I have learnt from him. The values, the maturity, the stability that he has brought to my life by being a responsible partner. By not just being a silent walker by my side, but a sculptor who works on the sculpture, slowly and steadily. He has brought me up in life, in society, in realizing my potential and being happy with me.
And if you think I just got lucky, you still didn’t get it. I’m able to create this list because I keep the attitude where I am looking for the positives in a marriage, rather than looking at the negatives. The person next to you can be a team, or an opponent in your life’s journey. The decision on what he/she is for you, is yours. Marriage is not about luck, it is about what you can make of it. Opportunity or a Disastrous consequence.

 

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The dreaded phase arrives

Dear Diary,

I am totally confused, and worried. It’s the time that each parent has to go through at least once in his/her lifetime, and if they are from India, it is ‘the most’ dreaded a time. The time for child’s school admission.

The schools start their admission processes in August end. The parents get a week or at-max two weeks to pick the form, fill it, and submit. And, if you look at the forms, they are of the same format as the MBA admission interview forms – the search-your-soul, rack-your-brains and tell me ‘why you want to do MBA’.
The questions are now like ‘How will you make your child responsible for his/her own learning?’
!!???!!!
Now, tell me how would you, or anybody, answer this question? You are the parent of a 3 yr old, who has still not learnt how to clean his poo-poo on his own, and you are asked how will you ensure that the child not only learns, but learns on his ‘own’, and that too ‘responsibly’.
Man! You gotta be crazy!

Anyways, that is not the reason I’m confused. That is only adding to the ‘worry’ part.. how I am going to answer those silly questions and still not piss-off the interviewer. What I’m confused about is how to put him in a school where he’s not over-burdened with studies, yet he’s not totally left to play and take his own course of fate. And yes, there are schools which are doing exactly the latter.
I met Anay’s play-school’s teacher a couple of days ago to understand what the schools are looking for in the interviews, from parents, and from the child. Then the conversation steered to the quality of students already studying in these schools. So, she cited a school saying that while they do not pressurize the child for studies, they are pretty much leaving the child to find his own path. Thus, when you talk to these kids, they are as dumb as it gets. And, this is how they are creating world’ leaders. On the other hand, when you talk to the schools operating the traditional way, (I spoke to one of our friends whose kid is studying there), they just concentrate on the top-few students. In the batch size of 40, they are only concerned about the top-15. If your child is shy/introvert/not-yet-comfortable in the class, then he/she can learn on his own. So much so, that they don’t even bother asking for the homework done. And, if the child is unable to do some particular task, it’s handed over as home-work to the child. Basically, no extra effort put to try and teach the child the basic. It’s pretty much the parents’ responsibility to understand the child and teach him.

This is the picture for most of the schools in Noida and Indirapuram. Now, coming to the premium schools. Charges heavily, gives your child premium extra-curriculars and fancy benches to sit on. What is the pull? The major pull for any sensible parent is not the fancy items but the batch size. So, in comparison to the traditional schools, these have a batch size of 20-24 (claimed), 30 (practical, at max). The schools falling in this bracket – Mayoor, Lotus Valley, Pathways, Step-by-Step, Genesis. And these are listed in their increasing order of fees. The last three are also the schools which have affiliation to IB/ IGCSE boards of education, apart from/rather than CBSE.

I don’t think I’ll be going for the steep-fees schools because I see no value-addition. I did wish to send my child to an IB school but apart from Pathways, others don’t even claim to be using IB curriculum for junior kids.

My only concern is how to ensure that I don’t crush the child’s curiosity and innate inquisitiveness in this rat race. The curriculum, peer pressure, teachers, school environment, they all play a major role on the direction a child takes. They are so small that unless they are genius, they don’t even realize they are being pushed. They just follow. I want his childhood to be about exploring, about discoveries than about mugging and following one class after another. And if the school already fills it up with all that, the child has no time left.

I don’t know where this is going. Just keeping faith in God and hoping things will work out.

Be with me.
Hope

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Inching towards 30

Dear Diary,

As my life inches nearer to my 30, I reflect behind. I read somewhere that 20s is the time when you think everything is achievable, everything is within my reach, I am pretty much invincible. And, as you go to 30s, your targets become more realistic, your life becomes more practical and you realize your boundaries. I don’t know about the other folks on the boundary line, but I know that I’ve seen this transition happening to me, in this past 1 year. I have drastically moved from the ambitious, dreamy girl to the realistic, rooted woman. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up. Rather, I find myself more confident about a few things in life, than I ever was. I am sure on what I want, and on what I won’t care for anymore.

But, it has also brought along a lot of reflections. Reflecting the life so far. On events that happened. On decisions made, On paths chosen and paths left. I often wonder how my life would have been if I had taken that option my dad offered, of dropping one more year and re-appearing for IIT-JEE. Would I have cracked it? Could I? I think I’m pretty sure, no! But, then there are a few where I’m not so sure. What if I had chosen not to go for that onsite opportunity to USA and actually continued in India and continued my preparation for MBA? I had the call from SP Jain. If I were here, I would have prepared hard for it. Would have given my heart and soul to it. I know I hadn’t been able to do that in the US and I lost it. It was a turning point in my life.

What if I had not stayed in hostel and attended my college from home? Would that have avoided my falling in love? What if I had not fallen? Would I have been extremely successful in my career and have been at a different place? My Mom definitely believes that. I? I don’t know.

Would I have grown the maturity and strength that I have today, if life hadn’t happened the way it had? The brooding really becomes tense and over-powering as we inch towards 30.

Well, I think life has a set of lessons it has decided to give you through your time here. You may chose various paths. You may pick the way you get the lesson, but it’ll be imparted to you, some way or the other. So, rather than worrying about the losses, the petty materialistic losses, it is important to look back and enjoy how God had fun painting your story. Appreciate the beauty of it all.

Smiles,
Hope

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My fumbling – tumbling tod!

Dear Diary,

It’s amazing to see a child grow. Each one of them is unique and must have something new to offer. I can only see my own so closely. Also, with the fact that Anay was the first child in my complete life, whom I had ever been in such close contact with during these formative years, it’s even more fascinating. Otherwise, I’ve seen most people having had their brother/sister/cousin/someone’s child grow up in front or around them, before they actually had their own.

I want to capture the small episodes that show how children get their way. It’s not a case-study but more of how Anay gets his way.

So, he is not a very physically active/extremely naughty kind of a child. He would rather talk and get his way, than fight or cry or run or break things. If crying gets him his way, surely he would take it. But, otherwise, it’s just a means to the end goal, a tool in his kitty. 🙂 So, please read on.

Episode 1:
Anay kicking the dirt in the park.
Daadu: Anay, don’t do that. You’re causing the dirt to fly all around.
Anay: Jab aap chhote the, aap bhi to karte the!
(When you were small, you also used to do the same, right?)
Daadu: <Stunned Silence>

Episode 2:
Anay: If I do bad things or become a bad child, then will you leave me?
Daadu: <Astonished because no one ever tells him anything like that about leaving> No.
Anay’s Mom: No, if you do bad things or become a bad child, then you’ll be beaten up. Got it!?(Smiles).

<We usually have a policy of no beating the child. So, that is something he knows doesn’t happen. So, he’s a bit scared.>

<Anay thinking> <Pause>

Anay: But Mom, the other day when Adi (Anay’s older cousin who’s extremely naughty) was doing bad thing, you said we are not supposed to hit/fight with the bad child. We’re just supposed to not to talk to him.

Mom: <Stunned Silence>

Episode 3:
Mom takes Anay out to the park daily and makes him play catch-the-other. She wants him to get more physically active. So, Mom runs and Anay tries to catch, and vice versa. Usually, he’s unable to run that fast and gets tired, and Mom gives in to let the play end in happiness than hurt.
This happens 2 days.

Day 3:
Mom: Anay, lets play run-n-catch.
Anay: No Mom. Let’s play something different. I’m bored of that game.
Mom: Okay. Let’s play something else. What do you want to play?
Anay: We’ll play tortoise-tortoise.
Mom: What’s that? <Maybe it’ some new game the teacher has introduced at school>
Anay: In that, we’ll both run like a tortoise and whoever is the slowest, wins.
Mom: <Stunned>

Episode 4:
We had some guests come over for lunch one day. One of them is Anay’s Chachu. Since the guy is young n still a kid, so he doesn’t believe in letting the child win, or anything. So… he starts playing football with Anay, where of course, Anay is unable to take the ball from him.
This laughing at Anay goes on for some 2-3 minutes. The kids (adult kids) are definitely enjoying the show but Anay is not.
<After a brief pause>
Anay: Chachu, lets play another game. We’ll not be kicking the ball. We’ll have to throw the ball in the air and the other will catch.

Now, all the occasions show that Anay knows what his forte is, how to win in case of conflict of interests. He knows how to twist the rules to get his way. It’s funny, and its amazing to realize that it all comes to the child at a tender age of 3. Or, maybe earlier. These are the ones I remember from recent past but am sure there must be more if I looked deeper.
My kiddo’s forte is definitely "speaking", that I’m sure now 🙂

Thanks God for the beautiful memories and the time with Anay.

Smiles,
Hope

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Reality or the Mindset?

Dear Diary,

Feel like writing a poetry today. But so many thoughts, am not good at such a long poetry. And, I prefer a poetry that rhymes. So, leave it for now.

I stayed at my Mom’s place for a week this time. In my 4+ yrs of marriage, this was the first time I spent so many days at her place. With both me and Mom working-women, we have very little window of overlapping holidays. This time I decided to take leaves when her summer vacations were on. Thankfully, it worked out nice.

I never realized what I was missing before this visit. The 2 days visit, which was my usual till now, was too short to feel the ‘back-home’ feeling. I was never really back. The childhood memories, the visit to places you used to go to, the people you used to talk to, or not talk to too…all that comes back only when you’re there for some relaxed amount of time. I went to visit my Mausi too, one day. And, the childhood visits came rushing back. These nostalgic moments never came to me on my previous visits to Mom. All-in-all, nice and relaxing a visit.

At work, there are discussions going on about my half-time and full-time. Looks like I maybe back to my half-time after all. Let’s see how things unfold. While I would be equally happy to be back to the half-time, but the way discussions are going, I’m not very happy with the reasoning they have/give. The regular mindset is that since I’m a woman, I’ve to give time to family, to kids, so managing an aggressive work-life will be difficult. So, it’s better if I keep it simple when am given the chance.
I’m not really able to decide whether it’s me making the choice or ‘them’ making this choice for me. I know they have the best of the intentions for me, and these are just advises they are giving for my benefit, but it brings me to a question. Is it really a choice between growth vs harmony in life? Does it have to be that? Is it that since now I’m a mother I should stop thinking about any kind of growth or competitiveness in my career. Higher studies, leadership roles, everything falls into the bucket of screwing the happy life for ambition.

Am I really screwing my life if I want to add some more meaning into my education? I know, it needs changes to be made to the routine, and things will not be that comfortable. It’ll need some amount of sacrifice and discomfort for my family, for my son too. But, is it something too much to ask for? I mean, is it extremely cruel for me to do it to my son, is it that?

I don’t think so. But, reality may be different. I don’t know.