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

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!

 

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

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.

Of Prejudices

Dear Diary,

I have always believed in omens, signs. Subtle things said by people, or incidents happening in your life, normally totally unrelated, but actually pointing you to a message from your God, inner God. If there’s ever a problem lurking in my mind, which is disturbing me and I’ve not been able to get rid of it, then I normally receive some kind of sign from God which will tell me His will. It’s not always the solution which I wanted, but it definitely tells me something. And that normally does ease me of the pain/worry/tension.

These past days I’ve been irritated. Call it monotony, call it MIL-issues, call it rigidness on my part, but again my mind keeps going back to the old solution – I want to live separate. The mind keeps focusing on the ‘problems’ I have living together. It just doesn’t want to look and be happy with the things it is ‘getting’ from the joint setup. I get angry, sometimes at others around me, sometimes just at myself. Mostly at myself. I pray to the God within and the God idols to just give me peace. ‘Santosh’. But, it evades me.

When I look at the omens, almost all point me or tell me that this is all to teach me Patience and Tolerance. I can clearly see that He tells me to learn to keep patience and not run behind mirages. He wants me to learn to appreciate what I have, to be content in what I have.

I ask myself if I’m unhappy with where I am, as in, do I feel as an under-achiever in the world’s eyes? The answer is clear – No.
So, that means that is not the problem. Then I ask myself – ‘What is it that you want?’ and the answer is a clear, low, silent one – ‘I want my own space.’

I don’t even want to get into that infinite loop anymore where I talk about what hurts and what needs. But, I now know, very clearly inside me, that just living in separate quarters will not solve my problem. The society, or the kind of utopia I dream of is impossible in India. Living here and to not be in touch with the relatives, the social norms, the ties, is impossible. So, getting a house is not equal to getting your own space. And, of course, it won’t happen just like that. A lot of pain and a lot of cajoling will go into executing it. And, perhaps, and most likely, my life will become ‘more’ about them than myself. I want my life to concentrate on myself and my spouse and kid, than on ‘them’. If I spend 1 hour a day on them then living separately, I’ll be spending 3 hours on them. Not with them, but thinking on how to keep them happy and make peace. So, that is NOT the solution. My mind needs to understand. It does understand. And, then comes the solution of living out of the country. This is a solution which is not acceptable to my husband. He’s a family-man. He likes to be around his parents, his relatives, his roots. He’s not discontent with his position or himself, like me. But, just because of my discomfort, he’ll make the move, if ever. He tries to explain it to me but he knows it doesn’t soothe me. And, thus, he keeps trying to find some way.

If, and if ever, we move abroad, it will not be permanent. It will be a temporary solution. And, do I want a temporary solution? No. But, just to get out of this myriad of problems, I’ll acquiesce.

I ask you God, this – ‘What is Tolerance?’ Changing yourself to let others be happy is not tolerance. There are times when I accept things just to evade answering or explaining them the point. But, is it right? I want to give my child a house where I grow him, up and above to what I received in my childhood. And, here I am, concentrating on upgrading the mindset of my in-laws, relatives and whom not. I should have been fighting/arguing with my husband on issues he or I cannot accept because of our personal prejudices, but here I am, doing all that to understand/explain how/why to make MIL-FIL understand our decisions/points. There are exactly these cases where parents have not been able to groom their kids because they were stuck up in the mundane activities of the joint family. They are unable to be strict with them and the kids grow up nasty, blaming the parents later for the final outcome.
Yes, you may scoff me off by saying ‘You think too much’ or you go to extremes in your thought-process. But, then that’s what I am. That’s what you have taught me so far. And that’s the only way I want to grow. So, please. Explain!
I don’t want to raise my child with their prejudices. Rather, I want to bring him up in the most prejudice-free way. If that means challenging my own prejudices in the process, I am up for that. And that is the choice I make for my life.