Posted in Challenges, Dreams, Self-growth, Uncategorized

A giant leap of faith

Dear Diary,

You may remember (thankfully, you always do, unlike husbands!) about my List of 30 and my Dream No 16. Well Well! The post is about that.

After having dabbled in my career for 11 yrs now, I had almost lost hope of pursuing this any more. I had almost reached to the point where a dream seems like a silly idea any more and you trash it.

So, recently, our company started an IDP process – Individual Development Plan.

Under this program, the manager extends an IDP form to his best employees. This is an endeavor to make people feel cared for, and to know (secretly) if they are interested in quitting 😉

Well! I believe the idea is pretty novel. And, there are very few workplaces who like to invest any time or thought into what ’employees’ want. So, I think I’m deeply impressed by my company AND by the management for following up on this diligently.

So, with the IDP, I was forced to acknowledge, reconsider and reopen my now-closed-pandora-box of dreams. And, I realized there’s nothing else I would like to try more than ‘this’.

And, that’s what I wrote in my IDP.

I am still unable to believe that I actually took the first step here, in this direction, and shared my crazy-sounding dream with my Manager. This may cost me all that I have built so far. And what I have built, is a lot for a lot of people out there. It’s perhaps the most settled and most-sought after position in my career graph currently.

But then, what’s life if not for an adventure. And, if you really want it, you gotta jump without the rope.

So, here I am, taking my big giant leap of faith. And, striving for my dreams.

Wish me luck! O Dear God, please please please be with me.

-Hope

Posted in Adult Life, Challenges, Depressiom, Philosophy

Of life and second chances

The say life doesn’t give you second chances. They also say life is harsh and is a constant battle. 

I find the first adage kind of impossible to be true if second was true.

What happens when you are unable to succeed? What happens when you wanted to get something, like a dream or a goal, and you didn’t /couldn’t achieve it? In some cases, there’s a feeling of failure. Sometimes there is a regret of not trying (hard enough). Sometimes you’re so, soo done that there is nothing more you want to try or dream for. 

But. But, even after that, even after the hardest blow, life doesn’t say that you cannot try again!? ‘You’ feel that the window of opportunity you had to achieve the goal is lost. ‘You’ feel that you cannot go any further. ‘You’ think that it doesnt get any worse than this. But, life doesn’t let you stop. Life doesn’t let you quit. So, from what I see, life is not really letting you give up. Life is brutal that it doesn’t give up on you. No matter how badly bruised you are, you have no choice but to pick up your battered soul and ‘move on’. 

So, on the contrary, life is all about second, third , fourth, or infinite chances.  It’s about making as many mistakes as you want, as many as you can. It is about living with the consequences of those mistakes too. But, it is about remembering that nothing is more important in life than life itself. Live, Breath, Do, Wish. And stop thinking. Stop worrying about the what-if because life will anyways move on. It’s all in your mind – the good, the bad, the right, the wrong, the guilt,  the regret, the hurt.

As I tread through the murky waters of depression, I realize, most of our emotions are nothing but mind games.  Nothing is really wrong with my life. From the outside, it’s a picture-perfect kodak life. But, my mind tells me otherwise. It plays havoc with my emotions to make me feel like a maniac, a loser. It makes me believe that this one material possession, this title defines my identity. It makes me go nuts about losing things which have no significance in my life and thus, should have no significance in my decisions. But, they do. They weigh heavy.

Because life doesn’t stop and the weights of regrets are heavy. 


Posted in Challenges, Personal, Philosophy, Self-growth, somethin bout God n me, Uncategorized

Of rocky times and reflections

Dear Diary,

Can I say life has never been more indecisive for me . I would like to believe, rather I do believe, that something amazing is about to happen but it’s taking a little more time. But, what if I’m wrong? What if, this is the reality and it is to stay that way? What if it continues this way till it breaks me? Is there anything which breaks a person? Truly, completely, shattering? I think sudden incidents can do that but gradual dismal life..? I think it only makes you bitter and perennially sad. That is where this seems to be heading – perennial sadness.

I remember being in such a phase before. It was when I was living with my in-laws. I know it was a state of depression. Had I visited a doctor, he would have put me on pills. Or, maybe not! Maybe, I am just a self-absorbed snob who gives too much importance to one’s feelings and state of being. Maybe nothing is actually wrong but I’m an old lady who keeps feigning sickness to get some more attention.

Sigh!

Another dilemma. Another inconclusive chain of thoughts.

In the meanwhile, I reflect and find some interesting observations:

1. There are five senses of the body – Brain(Mind/Thoughts), Eyes(Vision), Ears(Listen), Nose(Smell) and Skin(Touch). Gita tells us one must learn to control the senses than the other way round. One must not be a slave to the senses (which I totally am). Did you notice that the mind is part of those senses, but heart is not?

Often one is in a dilemma because mind and heart are at cross-ends. Most often heart is where we want to go but mind tells us otherwise. Are the scriptures trying to tell us something here?

2. Most of the idols at old places – like Vaishno Mata Mandir, or Shiva temple at Amarnath, or Hanuman murti at Marghat wale baba mandir at Kashmere Gate, or Khatu Shyam ji, Rajasthan, and many more. They all are almost a stone with eyes/hands/nose etc sketched on them. Basically, in their original form, they are just stones.

Can we say that initial forms of God were actually stone. So, basically, man originally believed that if he put a stone and ‘believed’ that his God almighty lives in it, it will be so. The stone will have the power to do miracles in his life somehow. And, it did. It must have because that’s why we have so many people visiting this place because the faith gave results. So, long before, Hinduism fell to the hands of idol-worship, it was actually a religion of faith. Where the faith was more powerful than the figurine being worshipped. It was the idea, the thought and the belief that some power is bigger than me, and if I call out to that power each day, it will help me solve my problems.

I wish we could go back to that form of worship again. It would resolve so many conflicts the world faces today.

-Hope

Posted in Ambitions, Challenges, Growth, Personal, Philosophy, Self-growth, Uncategorized

Of goals and patience

Dear Diary,

Life is full of learnings and experiences, one only needs to look. One needs to keep one’s eyes open and heart and mind ready to accept the revelation. 

I’ve been meaning to write since quite some time now but either the time wasn’t available or the subject wasn’t strong enough. In the past few months, I’ve gone from states of agitation, anger, stress, confusion, to finally, peace and understanding. I guess I wrote in my previous posts of how I had been dissatisfied from my work and management. The state kept coming and going. At least that’s what I thought. My manager gave me some feedbacks which kind of explained his behaviour in past months. Now, when I reflect, he was kind of justified. It is sad that it turned so sour. I hope I’m able to fix it in coming few weeks/months/years.

This was the first time I kept patience. First time I waited long enough to understand where I was wrong. Before this, each time there’s trouble or something which was not to my liking, I would be running to fix it. 

You know, it’s normal human tendency to blame others before oneself. Also, common human nature to chose the escape route than to face the problem. So, when I’m running and finding solutions, my mind is actually working towards finding the escape route. The moment you find it, you think you solved the problem…eureka! But, actually you never let the mind reach to the real problem. And, that’s where patience comes into play. Patience.

Patience.

This one word has kept me frustrated and boggled for a real long time. I’ve had so many well-meaning people, at various stages of my life, tell me to keep patience, and the advise would always frustrate me even further. 

This time was the first time when I knew my mind has always had a way of running, and I was determined not to take any decision in haste. I don’t know if this is called patience but this is the first time ever in my life that I’ve waited so long before taking a decision. 

I don’t know if the decision will turn out to be right or wrong in the long term but I’m amazed by the journey of this so far. It is new, untouched territory for me. Of indecisiveness. Of sticking. Of learning I was wrong. Of learning what sticking brings with it.

I have now arrived to a new territory. A place where the goal is not the end of the journey, but the beginning of it.

As is the case with most city-bred kids, since long life has been about keeping goals and working towards them. Topping in class, getting admission into a good college, getting a good job, getting that salary bracket, becoming a manager. 

Well, now, I realise, goals are actually not the end but the beginning. Unfortunately no one tells you that but most goals are. Topping the class is not a goal you achieve once and get over with, it implies you ought to work double-hard on maintaining the position. And same is true for all the rest. I, sadly, learnt it with you last – management. It had been a dream for so long. But, when I achieved it, I was baffled and sad on ‘what next?’ 

Last week, someone showed me the ‘next’ and after the conversation….. I was embarrassed!… that someone needed to tell me that. He told me on what all I could work on, now when I’m the manager. And, I found he told me nothing new but all that was my job. I had been worrying and whining about such petty issues. About further recognition. About my personal glory. I never understood what it means to become a manager. 

Becoming a manager is not a goal, it is a milestone, it is a responsibility. It’s the stepping stone to becoming an amazing, wonderful, exemplary leader. It is the starting of the journey where you define the next stone you and the team takes. It is about letting go of your ego at each step and thinking about the team, each time. 

So, now, I’m going to do exactly that. Do justice to the roles I’ve taken. 

–  Focus on making a team which is exemplary.

– Making the best of motherhood.

– Making a house a home. 🙂

 Lord, be with me!
Gratefully yours,

Hope

Posted in Adult Life, Ambitions, Challenges, Growth, Personal, Relationships, Society, Uncategorized

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

Posted in Adult Life, Ambitions, Challenges, Growth, Personal, Philosophy, Self-growth, Society, Uncategorized

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!

 

Posted in Ambitions, Challenges, Uncategorized

The real picture of life in US

Dear Diary,

Remember I once spoke about how life in US has its own pros and cons. It’s not as perfect and rosy as we see it to be, sitting here!? Well, as my yearning to go there increases (Well, I’m staying at my in-laws place these days. What to say!?) I think it’s time to write down those reasons.

The reasons why people living in India wish to go there

1. Romance (+easy sex) is in the air, thanks to all the movies/serials that we see

2. World of job opportunities

3. Growth prospects

4. Cleanliness

5. Availability of resources

6. Medical facilities

7. You earn shitloads of money that you never earn here (India being my point of comparison)

8. Awesome places to visit

If I’m not mistaken, I have covered pretty much all the reasons here. I’m not including ‘peer pressure’ here which is, unfortunately, one of the major reason for people to migrate. I’m not including it because that’s not ‘your’ choice then. It’s your incapability to make a choice on your own.

Now, let me burst the happy bubble slowly and steadily here

1. Romance: As much easy-going and fun-to-be-with US people seem from the movies, it’s totally opposite. People don’t interact with strangers. They don’t even talk to their neighbors so unless you work together or are relatives, or met at university, chances are you’re as lonely as Bhaskar from the movie Partner. And, you don’t need to be a Bhaskar to reach that position.

When I went to US in 2009, the only people I met or spoke to were my colleagues. This has nothing to do with the fact that I spent most of my day working my ass off in office. This is also because nobody talks to you. If someone approaches you at a random bus-stop, while you wait, it would be a person trying to make you change your religion and accept the holy bible and Jesus.

I did approach couple strangers once in a while, when I was stuck in a situation, like looking for coin-change to call home. Stuck somewhere without a mobile and must call someone for help. So, stuff like that. But, I don’t think any of them became my buddies. Or, would have agreed to exchange numbers (either gender) if I had asked for. People are extremely private and cautious of whom they share it with.

There was a time when I was so lonely and thirsty for some conversation that I broke down in front of my parents on a skype chat. That was when my brother dug up his friends-circle and got me in touch with a friend who was pursuing his studies there. I ended up spending a day with a guy 4.5 yrs younger than me. Practically a brother. So, no romance there.

So, all in all, if you’re not signing up for a university which brings you to US, I don’t know how you’ll get to make friends or interact with people.

In India, things are way better. If you keep going to your local park every day, there are chances you’ll find some yoga friends, or walk-friends, or market-friends. You could even stand and talk to the grocery-man if nothing else. Forget everything. If you were bored, you could go to Connaught Place and do some window-shopping. There’s no concept of CP in San Fransisco.

No wonder there is such high percentage of depression and suicide cases there.

2. World of job opportunities: There are lot of Indians in Bay Area. So, I don’t see any dearth of opportunities there. I haven’t tried it for myself so I don’t really know the complete picture in that regard. But, the work culture is a different ballgame all together.
The work culture is quite different there than India. In India, because of the sheer number of people you’re competing with, chances are you’re growing up in the ladder with minimal efforts. If you were ambitious, you would see a major accelerated growth. Things get pretty competitive in US. In semiconductor industry, where I’m employed, most people are Ph.d. You may meet some M.Sc but meeting a B.Tech or B.Sc? Chances are close to none.

Since people are so highly qualified, and the number of jobs are quite limited, you work extra-hard to prove your worth. The expectations are way higher. The work environment is always about technical discussions. People never ever talk about their personal lives. They don’t share unless it’s a causal 1-2 liners about their kids or pets.

3. Growth prospects: If you’re an Indian who was brought and bred on competitions and ambitions, you would have a hard time adjusting to the settled life in US. The increment is almost same, no matter how hard you perform. The starting salary, the increments, it pretty much is set. There is very little difference. So, if you want to grow, you really have to think and work out-of-the-box. Something like a part-time-job to increase your salary from what it is. Or, startups etc.

4. Cleanliness: This is one place where I’ll go hands-down and bow to the place. There’s no comparison and never can be.

5. Availability of resources: Yes, it’s true that you’ve most things there. But, I don’t see a dearth of the same things in India now. Indian market is catching up quite fast. There are very few things which are available there and not available here. Unless you start talking of 5% fat milk, or low protein 1% fat milk. You got the drift, right!?

6. Medical facilities: The doctors, the facilities are world-class. It’s no question that if you’re struggling with a disease and there is a cure known to mankind, then you’ll get it in US. There’s no question about that. The medical team gives their 100%, more than 100% to make you live. But, if I were to look at it from the other angle, I’m not so sure. If I had a severe disease, or my kins had it, I would definitely want to be in US. But, if I didn’t, the medical insurance is a pain.

If you’re lucky to be fit and fine, it’s nothing but a significant chunk of money getting cut from your salary. You bear with it thinking it’ll help in my times of need. But, if you were to actually fall sick, they take care of your costs at that time, but they pump up your premium going forward. So, what you paid them doesn’t matter any more. Your medical history will have the disease in it, and your premium goes up. So, you end up paying whatever they paid you during your time of crisis, after the crisis passed.

I heard of a family where the wife required Physiotherapy regularly and the husband was extremely bitter about the medical insurances and the ways of US.

Another friend had someone part of a minor car accident. You would think my car insurance would protect me. On the contrary, the accident goes into your credit history. Your premium goes extremely high. You realized the insurance company didn’t pay as much for the damages than what you’re paying now as part of premiums.

It’s ultimately a vicious circle which ends up beefing up the capitalist society and sucking from the common man.

In India, things are way more accessible.

7. Money: This is the biggest myth most people have. No matter what salary they’re offering you, you would end up spending 70-80% of it on your living costs. From what you save, even if you were living meager, you’ll realize, over long term, it is equal to what you would have made in India. Here you earn less, you save some. There you earn more, save in dollars, but the conversion only happens once – when you return. And, it may look like a lot at that time, it ends up being not much. And the people living out of India, in that whole time, would have made much better from their savings while you would be starting all over.

8. Awesome places to visit: This is true but if you have the money, you could go visit any place on the earth. You don’t need to be living in US for that. And, from my point of view, worthy places to visit are in Europe than in US. So, if you must live abroad, live in Europe 😉

What do you think?

-Hope