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. 


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

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

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 memories

The thing with beautiful memories is, you keep remembering them. When you’re idle, when you’re reminiscizing or when you’re going through a bad phase.

 The trouble with this is, in bad times, you somehow want to roll back time, or, make situations so that you can relive those memories.  Rolling back time is impossible, but making situations, creating circumstances, is a lot in our hands.

So, we keep working or dreaming of creating those situations so we can be in the same setup as the memory.  N then miraculously the memory will re – happen! But Alas! That would never be. 

And it leads to our doom! An eternal sadness of having lost in our endeavors. 

  And what makes matters worse is, while we were busy aspiring for that recreation of old memories, we lose out the opportunities of enjoying the good times that happened all this while. 

It’s something like this – ” While you were busy looking out for a rainbow to appear, someone was longingly waiting for you to turn around and look at him like that , coz you are his personal rainbow”. 

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 destiny and choices

Following is a poem I wrote long ago, on May 17,2009, to be precise.
ना मेरा कोई धर्म, ना मेरी कोई धारा 

ना मेरी कोई इच्छा, ना मेरी कोई सीमा
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
ना मेरा कोई संगी, ना किसी की मैं
ना मेरे गुज़रे कल का आज पर असर, ना मेरे आज का आते कल से नाता
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
ना कुछ नया पा लेने की आशा, ना कुछ अपना खो देने का गम
ना टूटे सपनों का मोल, ना नए सपनों को बुनने का मन
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
हाँ, एक सवाल है —- नियति से….
‘कब तक? इसी तरह….कब तक?’
It has been 7 yrs ever since. This question, the question that who controls whom? Why destiny? And if it’s all destined, then why me? Why me in this world…why the illusion that I control my life. Why dream if all is pre-destined?
This question had remained with me all this while. I now seem to have reached its answer.

The answer is – you don’t control what happens in your life. You control how you react to it. Your reaction is your choice. What happens is destiny. What you do about it is your choice. And this choice shapes what follows in your life.

I often felt distraught when I couldn’t achieve what I worked really hard for. Like when I was preparing for IIT, or when I prepared for my MBA. I think the division became more visible when I lost my MBA interview. I knew this was my last trial. I knew I would be getting a call from a particular college. And, I did. I got through first round but as destiny would have it, I wasn’t able to prepare for my second round. I was so distracted and moon-eyed that I didn’t prepare at all. All this when I had been working my ass off for the full year, and so many years before it.
I hated my destiny. I hated God for making a fool of me. Why make me yearn for a thing so much when I’m not supposed to get it!? The thought burnt my mind and somewhere the memory of those painful times, still haunt me. I wrote the above poem somewhere around that time.

As life happened, I got married, I kept turning back to my dream of MBA. I kept thinking that if I really wanted it, being a mother, or a working-woman shouldn’t stop me from achieving it. If it’s my dream, I should be able to still work for it and get it. But, I realized, first, it was no more useful or meaningful for my career. Then I realized, it was not even the life I wanted any more. I did want to have the name of a prestigious school to my name. I really did want the stamp that I was an intelligent and important person in the society.
Now, I understand, even after doing MBA, there are thousands of people who’re actually starting from a much lower position than us engineers. But, I also realized was what I actually wanted from it was, some intelligent, thinking people in whose company I spend my days. I wanted to be an important person in my company and I had somehow attached that importance to ‘MBA’.

Now, all these years later, I realize our view of ‘result’ and God’s view of ‘result’ are totally different. I had attached ‘result’ to ‘getting an admission to b-school’. God attached result to a ‘good company and importance at work’. I achieved that and yet I somehow never acknowledged it, or realized it. I just never looked at it that way. I kept crying over what I lost and never valued what I already had.

Now, when I tread through tough times, I make decision each day. Some would say that’s destiny. But now I know these are choices. My choices.

It’s funny that a friend had posted the exact same thing in my comments, when I had posted the poem. All that while ago. And yet, I didn’t understand it. 🙂

Blogger DxA said…
This is just a perspective , that you believe that this poem carries a tinge of negativity .AMay be because you wrote it in that frame of mind.Look it from a neutral point of view.You ‘ll find it equally positive.For that’s what I saw this poem as – a poem that talks about being boundless – not being bounded by religion ,desires,relations,experiences.You are being driven by destiny.Negativity comes when you question it.A very good friend of mine, once said , “There is nothing called destiny,it’s all choices We make.Just that we don’t realize it.”Have a closer look.You ‘ll realize what you call as destiny were actually decisions taken by You.”

Reminds me of the quote in Harry Potter by our very own J K Rowling:

“But he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world.