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. πŸ™‚

 Lord, be with me!
Gratefully yours,

Hope

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! πŸ˜‰

-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!

 

Let the spirit rise above the ashes

Dear Diary,

It happens, yet again. And I’m reminded of all things that passed. Simple incidents. Meaningless incidents. And yet they have a capacity of causing your entire being to fall back into its original state of helplessness and negative loops. Why! Why is the mind so fickle!? Perhaps it’s not the mind but the soul which needs empowerment. Empowerment to overcome the senses.

It is only you and you only who can stop that loop which your mind falls into. Those meaningless conversations which keep going on in your head have no other result but a heartache and a pertinent headache -both of which hurt only you. The conversations which never happened and will actually never happen. They change nothing. Of no consequence. If it is so troubling for you, go ahead and reach out to the person and do that conversation ‘actually’, in real. And, if you do not have the courage or do not believe the reason is important enough, then stop. Stop right there.

You Are Capable. You can stop this decay of your being if you put your mind to.

I resolve not to let my spirit become a slave to my senses.

I resolve not to let my tongue/taste force me to fall sick further.

I resolve not to let my mind force me to believe that I can never be fit again.

I resolve not to let my injuries force me to believe that I can never dance again.

As long as I live, I will live it full.

Just start working, Stop thinking.

-Hope

Divorce/ MarriageΒ 

With the supreme court’s latest decision to allow men to divorce wives if they refuse to take care of his parents, I find this a common topic of conversation on lunch tables these days. 

People have asked me of my opinion and I’ve replied in a single line – “if it is that big a point of contention between the two (partners), probably it’s good to get separated”. 

With that answer, people make their own judgements about me. I will never know what exactly is that. Perhaps, that I’m too casual about divorce, just as so many of my generation are these days. For one, I never cared much about other people’s opinion. It’s often as narrow-visioned as guessing a picture by looking at a pixel. Second, I know marriage is work, a lot of hard work to give up that easily. So if two people have reached the point of divorce, things are pretty bad already. 
Coming back to the court’s ruling, why is it so big a deal? Is it the first time that people will separate because of parents? People may give various reasons but many a times the underlying reason is the parents. It’s now only made easier by the court’s ruling that you don’t need to hunt or cook up a reason; and say it for what it is. Yes..the society is not comfortable with it, of course! Because societies are often made of ‘parents’. Parents, who get together and decide what will be considered acceptable and what not. I better not start or how utterly distasteful I find that.

Have you ever observed that usually when two people get divorced, they are not the ones explaining themselves or their reasons. It’s their individual set of parents. And, more usual than not, the parents are furthermore poor souls if they accept, in public, their child’s decision as correct. They are put to further turmoil, shame and explanations if they say they stand by their daughter/son’s decision of ending the marriage. The pressure of this society is so much that they cannot help but succumb to it and must ill – mouth the son-in-law/daughter – in-law to justify their child’s decision . Whether they believe in it or not. No matter what their personal thoughts are.  

In such highly entwined and complicated setup, imagine their plight if it was public knowledge that divorce happened because of ‘them’. Their life would become a never – ending nightmare!! 

So, does this mean the supreme court’s ruling is wrong? Or, does it mean, the way our society is threaded, that’s wrong?

I think, I’ve two points to make here. One, when a marriage breaks, each one is equally responsible – the partners, both set of parents. In their own way. So, rather than demonising,  bad – mouthing the other party, accept your bit of mistake. And move on. Full stop. Stop explaining to people. Stop finding faults. It’s already a very bad time for you because something you had been working on for years, fell out. Just deal with yourself and let the world deal with themselves, on their own. 

Second, understand that marriage is a lot of work. It’s not just getting that boy/girl finally and making that perfect home or honeymoon with. Get your expectations right and be prepared to work on building relationships. Both man and the wife. Make that effort to build that with your in-laws. And it’s not just the girl’s responsibility to build it. The boy needs to act as a translator, a bridge between her and his parents. You need to make efforts to adjust things in this new setup. It takes years and sometimes it still doesn’t work out.  You make hard choices in its course, but before you make those, you need to trust the first choice you made – your partner. If you believe that was the right choice for you, and you did the right thing in marrying him/her, let the world go to hell but you don’t give up on your marriage. No matter who’s on the other side. His/her parents or yours! 

Lucknow Diaries

Dear Diary,

I went to Lucknow recently. Every time I told anyone I was going there, people asked me – why? So, I think it’s important I explain why I went to Lucknow. Well, FIL had a pharmaceutical expo there that he needed to attend. Tarun had to accompany him. So, I had a choice of staying back alone with Anay or tagging along with them. Hence, I chose the latter. πŸ™‚

I always like visiting new places and they need not be touristy. I like seeing how people live in various parts of the country. India is such a culturally-rich place, there is so much variety and variation in the days and lives of people, it’s unbelievable. Money definitely plays a major role in it but a lot is the kind of place, the people and their tendencies which also decide what kind of life people live. e.g. Anyone who has big money in Delhi would be living in a lavish house / wearing expensive clothes/ owning flashy cars. People MUST show-off their wealth here. It’s the way of life. It’s a norm. It’s something you cannot escape. However, if you were living in Bangalore with the same kind of money, this may not necessarily be true. I know for a fact that they don’t necessarily spend on clothes or houses or cars. What is their evil-spending, I don’t know. I’m sure there must be something because no society is perfect, but this is just one way where the two places differ, despite being metropolitans. Hence, I believe, each place has a unique way of living and I enjoy seeing that.

Lucknow is a well-developed city. We stayed at Hotel Clarks Awadh in Hazratganj, Lucknow. We chose the hotel because the expo was held here and because we needed to be close to FIL and Tarun participating in the expo, we thought it better to book in the same hotel. I think it turned out to be a wise decision.
It’s a typical business hotel and hence I wouldn’t say I enjoyed my stay very much. Most of the business hotels are over-priced. Except clean lodgings and a functional TV, I don’t see how they are anyway better than a 3-star hotel. And the kind of prices they charge, their services are at-best average. The food was not very good and the services varied based on the time you order. I was traveling with my 6-yr old son and there was no way of keeping him busy in that hotel. There’s nothing around to pass your time. They claim to have gardens but they are untended to. Mosquitoes and unattended grass makes you steer clear. My son killed time watching TV and waiting anxiously for evening to come so we could all go out somewhere. Keeping some board games is hardly a challenge for a hotel of this standard. Anyways.

Coming to Lucknow, the city. Ahh! Politics and Power flow in the air in Lucknow. Yes, I knew Lucknow is the capital city of UP but living in Delhi, which is the state where Central Govt stays, I never felt this what I felt in Lucknow. πŸ™‚ The fact that Rahul Gandhi was holding a rally for the upcoming elections, nearby, only deepened it in the atmosphere. People in white kurtas, school boys ganging up in groups, marching along roads, random college boys chanting slogans at public places, everything is about power and politics there.
The hotel lobby was a wonderful place to sit and watch all this unfolding. Police officers, at least 40 of them, from all ranks, holding a meeting in the same hotel. There were folks from Dainik Jaagran who had some conference happening in the hotel. I think the hotel is a hub for power people. I even saw a call girl (if I gather correct) crossing the lobby to the lift for rooms. What makes me think she was that? Well, I did eye her a little more than usual, when I saw that her dress ended barely under her hips. It didn’t mean much. It wasn’t a surprise when I saw the men-folk watch her intently either. Rather, it was interesting slow motion play of people turning around, taking off their goggles, or trying to hide yet unable to hide that they want to take a good look at her. All these were normal and didn’t bring me the idea that she maybe that. It was when she was questioned by the Hotel Manager who was standing at the lift gate at that time, about her room no and if she was checked-in there or visiting someone. She did answer him alright but she returned from her room in about 10 mins, wearing a skirt full-length, which was a sure-shot giveaway. That was completely a case of ‘chor ki daadhi mein tinka’.
It’s all so filmy- when I think back about it. The way our movies portray political areas, people, the little details, it all is pretty much the same. Interesting.

Well, I didn’t remember Lucknow as a political hub when I went there but I’ll remember it as that from now on. πŸ™‚

Tourist-wise, I wanted to eat good food in Lucknow as I had heard a lot about it. I wanted to see if I get the ‘tehzeeb’ in the spoken language as people claim. Well, if you’re a vegetarian, there’s not much that you get. Whatever special is there, it’s in the non-veg department. For us, we pretty much found a good restaurant only at the end of our 3-day trip. We were mostly hunting for a decent place otherwise. There’s a Moti Mahal Hotel on MG road (if I’m not mistaken about location). It was awesome. It had two floors, we went to basement and that had all fast-food in it. We didn;t know they were demarcated like that but the staff and owner/manager were pretty adjusting. They helped us a lot, from arranging things from other floor, if we wanted, to arranging milk for Anay, which they didn’t keep themselves, otherwise. I think it may have been because we were a group of 6 and hence, a good order. But, whatever it was, I would praise them for the good salesmanship and services. You barely see that in Delhi-NCR anymore.
There’s a Ma-Durgma hotel which is perhaps told to you by one and all, if you ask for Veg hotel. They’ll say go there for good veg food but trust me it’s one place you would want to avoid. We went only once and we found the Paneer dishes half-cooked. I don’t know if we went to some wrong place or what but the location was same.
On the contrary, if you visit Lucknow, you must visit ‘Sharmaji Chai Wale’. As the name suggests, yes, it is only for tea and snacks. But, if you don’t eat samosa/buns + chai there in the morning, you miss the lucknow mix-of-people. It’s amazing the number of people who come to it. From college types to people in swanky cars, there are orders pouring in from everywhere, there are people flocking the place from all walks of life. The best part is, it opens early in morning so you can do a samosa-chai breakfast. Try it. Totally worth it. Just for the experience. The local-feeling. Awesome.
Oh yeah, the dialect, well, let’s just say, it’s a UP guy in the garb of a lucknow tehzeeb. So, you will find people using soft words like ‘aap’ and ‘aapki marzi hum to bas keh sakte hain’ but trying to con you in everything (the trait people connect to UP). πŸ˜€
Places – we visited the Bada Imaambaara and the Ambedkar Park by Mayawati. Because of my knee problem, I couldn’t go in to see the maze inside Bada Imambara. But, sitting there on the Masjid steps, on a Sunday evening, with so many Muslim families casually spending time, was a wonderful experience in itself. Children playing in park, watching the group of relatives together spending a casual evening, a MIL teaching her newly-wed daughter-in-law (or daughter?) on how to tie her hijaab properly, affectionately. Cousins teasing the new bride. The husband trying to get some time in the whole setup, shy yet open. Elder bhabhi helping them in their cause. πŸ˜€ It was watching how emotions and relations play out in a conservative yet loving atmosphere. No friction. All composite. All together. πŸ™‚

Ambedkar park was beautiful just because of the open expanse of sky that it provides. You can gaze up at the clouds and the sky changing colors in the evening. It was peaceful and fun. We co-incidentally went there twice. Once at night and second time at dusk-time. It was empty at night time so gave a different experience. It was beautiful skywatch at dusk but the kind of people visiting the place marred the experience. You cannot help but realize it is UP.

Overall, nice refreshing trip.

One thing I was left wondering at the end of it all.Β  Why do people move from such states/places to Delhi-NCR!? I look at the infrastructure, the facilities, I see a mini-model of Delhi, just a lot cleaner, more spacious. I see people with decent money living in kothis instead of high-rise rat-holes of apartments. I see people more relaxed and enjoying their lives so much more. Is it that a mirage drives us all? From Lucknow/Ludhiana to Delhi and from Delhi – US/Australia? Is it seriously just that? I feel if you’re decently placed in your state, having the potential to do better in your state, you must strive for that. Delhi is one place where no one has roots and no one can ever develop those. The roots you can get, you have gotten from your state, don’t deprive your children from that. This comes from a child who has lived and grown up in Delhi and now tries again to make a place for her children in Delhi.

Take care
-Hope