Of choices

Dear Diary,

Life is back to normal again. After a long time of upheaval and uncertainties, it is where it was, and it seems, the sea is calm, yet again.

Normally, times of upheaval /difficulties usually signify the time of improvement, growth. So far, it usually ended with some significant change in my life – a milestone. This time, however, it hasn’t changed much. Maybe I hit the rock bottom and I am back to the surface, breathing, so that’s a big achievement! Not sure, though.

As I reflect on those times, I do try to gather what I learnt (coz there must be!). The first one and the only one so far, is it was all my choice. The times tested which way I go, and I made my choice. Whether it was about supporting my husband in his venture, or not-leaving my job for my ailing child (who is now fine), or not moving back to my in-laws house because of societal pressure, or about not-giving up when everything seemed to be going wrong at my job. I took a stand. I decided for myself. It didn’t seem so when it was all happening. But, now, I can see that that is how it all went.

As I always say – ‘ There is no right or wrong a choice. It is about what actions you follow it with, which decide whether the choice was wrong or right’.

So, when I did decide to move out of my in-laws house, it was a major decision. A decision which most would term as ‘wrong’, but by working extra-hard towards keeping the relations healthy, happy, I could heal them. I could make the decision right. Now, not only am I happy, they are able to find their happiness in this setup too. It wasn’t easy. Neither for me, nor for them. But, if the intentions are right, and if you value the relations, it does work out. Today, we’re considered a happy unit again (‘us’ and ‘them’ together).

When Anay fell sick, and had to be hospitalized, everyone questioned our decision of moving out. It made sense to keep the child home instead of sending him to the day care and opening him to so many infections. That was a time even my husband thought that it’s the right thing to do, to move back. But, I knew, I had made a choice. And, it was time to make the choice right. So, I decided that we won’t undo what we had done. I decided we will try to make it work by working it out with our offices. And, it seemingly did. It was tough. Both our careers were at stake. But, when you have a baby, you don’t have it to give away to your parents to take care. You take care of your child. And, if you cannot take care of him/her because of your career, then you need to figure out how to make it work. Not brush your hands off the child by handing over the responsibility. Yes, my child requires his grandparents and their love. He needs loads of them. I keep visiting. I let him have his way, a lot of times. But, I don’t want to use it as an excuse to get rid of my responsibility.

Because of this part-time story, my job went into a deep shit. Things went out of hand pretty suddenly. What came as a warning sounded more like a death bell. While moving to a different job was an obvious choice, it would have meant accepting defeat and letting go of all the hard work I had done in my past 4 years at the company. I was ready to move-on in terms of job. I wasn’t ready to leave on bad terms. I didn’t want to leave because I failed at the job I took. I wanted to prove I was worth it. I wanted to prove it was a phase that I went through.

‘And, it does not define me’.

It took a lot of courage, lot of self-introspection and letting go of personal limitations to get over it. It meant facing people head-on. Having arguments of personal level and yet keeping it totally professional. No tears, No emotions. They say, once relations go sour, it is almost impossible to mend them back. This time, I can say, I mended them. I would never be able to forget the scar, but I mended it enough so that I don’t have to run from my current situation. I can work. I can go to a happy place to work. And, if later, I want to switch because I would like to, professionally, then I would. But, for now, there’s no rush.

Well Well! So, that was my last adventure. And, as I see my calm sea again, I wonder and yawn. I wonder what the next adventure would be, and when it would be. Because Life is the only adventure which keeps my adrenaline high.

Hoping for a rocking life ahead! Coz I ain’t done yet! 😉

-Hope

Losing hope

Dear Diary,

I find myself too confused lately. Unable to follow my conviction. 2016 was a hard-year. I’m not yet ready to write about it. Maybe I just want to forget it. Well, I know, they are invaluable lessons of my life. Part of my growing up. But, for now, the memories are too painful to talk about. A lot of it is full of guilt and self-realisations. Because of that, I no longer am able to trust my intuitions, my conviction, my mind, or my heart. This hasn’t happened since, well, 2009.

My astrology readings tell me that 2009 was my golden period. It was the time my Sun was in my favour. And, the phase was supposed to stay for 7 yrs. Those 7 yrs have come to an end (obviously). Even the bad phases, like Shani are supposed to stay for 7 yrs, but they seem to be never-ending. I was reflecting on what I achieved in those 7 yrs. In the good 7 yrs. If they were my golden 7yrs then perhaps those were my most productive years too. Well – I got married, gave birth to a wonderful child, found success in my job. Perhaps, enough to stay contented for a lifetime!

But, for me, it seems too little. Oh! I can never be happy! What else could I get to make myself happy!? Truly contented?

But tell me, will any person ever tell you that getting married was the biggest achievement of there life? From all that I’ve gathered from my married life, happiness in a relationship is a constant endeavour. Just because you were married to a great guy doesn’t guarantee you will be happy with each other forever! A lot is how you handle it later and if your ambitions and paths remain connected all life long. And becoming a mother, it’s the best feeling and a blessing, but with a child born every second, in India alone, I fail to feel lucky about it.

When I reflect on the time and feel dismal about not achieving anything, I wonder what I wanted? Honestly speaking, I wanted to find my passion. I wanted to reach to the profession that I was meant for. Even today, I wonder what if I had pursued that MBA after all. Despite achieving success in my profession, I don’t find myself feeling like – ‘I’ve arrived!’. I don’t see that urge to learn more, to try more, to give it more. It’s just work.

I again want to branch out and try. After being working for 10 yrs, it’s not easy shifting. It’s not just that you would need to work harder to make your mark, there is no guarantee you’ll be able to make your mark, your place, as you were able to make here. The thought of leaving the safety net, of taking the plunge without the rope, the risk is too high. And, that makes taking the plunge even harder. Tarun is obviously against it. He tries to urge me to think again, to continue where I am. I feel as if he’s already stopping me from moving ahead in life. I’m sure he’s also concerned about the safety net, just as I am, but I want him to support me in taking risks, just as I did, for him.

But, this is no barter system. You can’t expect the person to do you favours because you did some by them. It’s a common life for both of you. And each decision has repercussions on all our lives. Not just mine.

I feel old. This country, this setup, they make you feel old and done with, in 10 yrs of your work ex. You’re already amongst the ones who have been there for long. And you feel this void, of there’s nothing more for me to achieve or look up to.

I don’t want that. I want to live my life like there’s no end. Even when it is the end. I want that energy, that passion, that hope…of a tomorrow. Forever!

 

of hatred

Hatred is a two – way sword. The more you inch from ‘dislike’ to ‘loathing’ to ‘hatred’ for a person, more pressure you exert on the sword to inch further into the person. And as you put pressure, more the sword digs deeper into your hand – from the edge pointing at you. The sword can never hurt the other person more than you because the pain is felt first in your hands! 

So, chose the people you hate, wisely!

Of allowing human-ness

Dear Diary,

No one likes to be shouted at. Yet, none of us think that before we yell at someone.

No one likes to be called stupid. Yet, we never think twice before we call someone stupid.

No one is perfect. Yet, we never tire from pointing out people’s imperfections.

From today on, I’ll try to stay more calm. I’ll try to not shout or frown upon people. I’ll try not to bad-mouth people even when I’m gossiping lame stuff over tea.

It’s impossible to accept everything. Sometimes, it is important to tell people they’re doing it wrong. But, there’s always a better way of saying the same thing. Instead of saying – ‘you should know this, you stupid!’, I can say – ‘Why don’t you take another look at this and see if you can find the reason. I think you will. If not, please do come back and I’ll explain”.

More importantly, I’ll try not to feel anger at people’s imperfections. The key is not just to NOT show anger. It’s more important to not feel it either. Otherwise, anger keeps piling inside of us and it comes out with double force next time. So, it’s crucial to accept people as humans. Humans, capable of making mistakes, not everyone is at the same mile in the long journey. Some maybe ahead of us, some may still be behind. Let’s accept people as they are. Let’s allow them to be humans.

-Hope

Of values and superstitions

Some random ramblings I wrote a few months ago. Posting now.

 

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All my life I have been the decent girl who never did anything that made her a ‘bad girl’. Even when I was in love, I was the decent, good girl in love. I never wore anything hot or provocative. Ever. I always believed that when I get married, I’ll dress up in all those dresses and flaunt it with my man by my side. My Mom never did a lot of makeup.. I discovered makeup at the age of 30. I’m still grappling with it. Will you believe if I told you that I tried my eye-liner a day ago, yesterday, that is 31 Jan’2016.

Before a girl is taught language, she’s taught boundaries, rights and wrongs. She’s not told about exploring her femininity but how to cover it. How to curb any thoughts of doing things on her own. What is unacceptable in the society.
I remember I found my femininity when I went to US. It was only then that I was really away and alone from my parents. I thought having lived in the hostel and PGs for good 6 yrs should be sufficient to teach me a thing or two. It should have made me independent. But, it seems they didn’t. In US, being all alone, single, I found my true self. Open, free. I explored the clothes I wore. I tried my first lipstick. I still didn’t explore other shades of lipstick. Even that exploration has only started now. I wanted to be hot. I am 31 and I don’t want to think myself as old or over with my youth. I wanted marriage to free me of those limitations. But, unfortunately, it has put more limitations.

I have now found that my soul knows no limits, no inhibitions. I learnt a thing about Mr. Guilt too.  Guilt mostly happens because you think you did something against your values. The values, which have been ingrained in your mind, all these years. I don’t know whether what they teach is right or wrong. I think values, when followed blindly are as much superstitions as those Hindu vrats that one does. Without understanding their meanings, without your mind accepting them, they are just baseless bullshit with no results. They tell you of all the bad things which may happen in future. But you don’t know whether that’s true or not. No one got out alive of it anyway!

I remember reading ‘Illusions’ by Richard Bach. It has a para that says ‘If God asked you of his one work that he wanted you, His ardent followers to do, would you do it? The followers said’ Yes, Dear Jesus, tell us what you want and we’ll lay our lives for it. God said ‘Are you sure you would do anything and fulfill this work of mine?’ They all said ‘Yes Yes, we will go to any length to do it.’ God said ‘ Be Happy. I want you all to be happy’.

The quote has stuck with me. I think that’s precisely what God wants from us, all of us. To be happy. To chose happiness over anything else.

Is it time to hang up my boots?

Dear Diary,

Every evening, when I return from office, I think if I should just accept that I can’t handle it all anymore and I need to accept my priorities. My son is, must be, has to be, my top priority. And, if it requires me to quit my job to give him the best, I should do that. I shouldn’t hesitate. And yet, every morning when I wake up, I look forward to my day. I look forward to going to my work place. I yearn to go to my office. I miss not going there. I relish the work I do. I revere in the glory of importance that I get there. A feeling of achievement. A satisfaction of doing something worthwhile.

I don’t know what to do.

I recently went through a traumatic experience in my life, as a Mother. My son got infected with a rare and dangerous virus. A viral infection, in common language. But, what he went through, and what we went through in the process, is far from a regular viral infection.

I had taken a leave to take care of him because he seemed down with fever and bad stomach. I expected regular dosage to help him (that we had been giving him in previous times). And suddenly, he started shivering. A minute ago, he was talking to me, had just returned from restroom, after relieving himself, and the next minute he says “I’m feeling cold. Please put blanket on me.” I check his fever. It seems normal. Nothing like spiking. I had given him the medicine just a little while ago. I call out to my husband who had gone out to bring ORS solution for him. He rushes in. And, suddenly, the vomitting and water-stools begin. What was a 1-2 times an hour thing turned into 10-12 times in an hour. I tell Tarun to rush him to emergency. Tarun feels he’s just getting dehydrated and we should keep feeding him ORS solution. He expects he’ll get fine. But, he doesn’t. Within 20 mins, we’re rushing to the Emergency. The situation worsens a lot more. One hospital refers us to another, bigger hospital with a PICU. The bigger hospital doctor tells me he needs to be put on Ventilator. His situation is critical. The infection may have reached his brain because of which his brain is not responding.

That was unexplicable. Totally non-understandable. Yes, my son was in a bad situation and he needed help. But, ventilator? Doctor explains that it’s required and urgently required before the situation worsens and it becomes difficult to help the child.

The next 4 days were days of utter tension, anxiety, guilt, gathering contacts to get reference to the doctors, and what not.

Now, my son is back home. I’ve visited 2 more doctors for second and third opinion to understand exactly if a ventilator was required. If the treatment given to him was correct. What can I do to avoid this episode again? Is it because I didn’t take care of my child well?

For everything, the answer is whatever was done was done correct. We took him at the right time otherwise things could have gone ugly. And, there are some rare viruses which do infect and they can be fatal. And, that we should be extremely grateful to God that it left no traces behind on his brain. Neither the virus nor the medicines.

There are days when I can’t avoid reliving the experience. The scenes of me walking in that empty corridor chanting ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, with barely open eyes, almost ready to fall, they keep coming back to me. There are moments when I’m at work and it all comes back to me, and I feel like running back to my son. To touch him and feel that he’s fine.

Now, as per the world, I should just forget it as a bad dream. There’s nothing that I can do about it. But, I need to.

I have decided not to send my child to the daycare anymore. And, for doing that, I have three options. –

  1. Start living with my in-laws, or move to the same society as they are so that they can pick him up and keep him till I return.
  2. Pick Anay from school at 12.00 and go back to home with him. Work morning hours in office and rest of hours from home.
  3. Quit job completely and take care of him.

After facing so much troubles, going to so much length in moving out from my in-laws house, that is not an option I want to explore. Rather than being the easiest option to provide home for Anay and continue with my job, it is not an option I can mentally survive.

Being in manager role, I need to be around in office to do justice to my role. No matter how responsible a team you create, a physical presence makes things smooth. I know this for a fact. Picking Anay at 12.00 means hardly being available in office. I’m not even sure if that’s an option my Manager or my company would allow me.

Quit my job: This is the dangerous option I’m contemplating too much. Tarun says I should try this. Being brought up by a working Mom, I know this option would never be liked by my parents. And also, myself, I would feel incomplete somehow.

Maybe it’s just fear of the unknown. Maybe if I tried quitting and tried my hands at other things, I would succeed there too. I often used to wonder at these big actresses like Karishma Kapoor, Kajol, who quit their careers at their prime. They were at the peak when they left it all. I wondered why they would do that. I stand at the same cross-roads now. And I need to see if I’m worth anything or worth nothing.

Dear God, please show me the way. Help me.

-Hope