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

What is it about youth? 

Look around and you see people ‘worshipping’ youth. The age group of 18-29. Approximately. The golden age of youth.

The ones who are younger, wait for the time when they will grow up and experience it. The ones who are older and over with it, try hard to keep it. Whether it’s by trying to dress up that way, or it’s by trying to look the way. To act, opine, eat, live…anything and everything is controlled, driven by youth and what it entails.

As I finally admit to myself that the glorious youth time of mine is over, I look back and wonder. I wonder what it was about youth that makes it so desirable!?

Yes, it meant being healthy. Not to worry about aching joints or bulging tummies because you ate pizza yesterday. The metabolism is good and your body is able to accept all that. But that can be achieved or maintained even later.  By choosing a healthy lifestyle. What else?

I think the answer is personal. May change from person to person. For me, this is what I miss apart from above, of course! –

It meant being more desirable. It meant being the center of positive attention without even trying. All the time. All places.

It meant having complete confidence in my decisions and choices.  The unabashed faith you have in your ideas, decisions and choices was a-ma-zing! I miss it.

Life brings regrets and failures.  They make you worry about failing more. More than the rush, the thought of success brings. Youth and young age is free of those experiences. And it brings a carefree arrogance that makes you believe you can fly.

And, fly I want to.

It doesn’t matter what tomorrow holds. It doesn’t really matter whether the plan will succeed or fail. What matters is I tried. What matters is the exhilaration the experience will bring.  And for that, I want to try.

Not worry.

Just open my wings one more time and take a leap of faith and jump!

<Bliss>

-Hope

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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 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, Fake, Jealousy, Personal, Philosophy, Self-growth, Uncategorized

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
Posted in Uncategorized

My Pandora’s Box

Dear Diary,

As you know already, I talk a lot. More than the usual standards. And, if I compare with what I write, I usually don’t talk about things that I write. So, I have a set of things I talk on and I’ve a completely different set that I write about. And, then, there are some thoughts that never make it to my tongue or my pen. So, they are left unshared, lost in the dark corners of my Pandora’s box.

I’m surprised at the number of thoughts that inhabit my Pandora’s box aka my mind. I was thinking I’ll start writing them all down but even before I start, I know my hands will get tired but the thoughts won’t stop. Plus, not to mention the time constraints that already are.

Sometimes, I feel my mind is cluttered and has become a dustbin of sorts. But, other times, when my mind is actually perplexed and has a problem to solve, and when I trace my thought-line, it leads me to a solution. In a way, I feel like the thoughts are my conversations with God which help me get to the answer of life’s problems – big or small.

Why do I have so many thoughts? Does everyone think so much? And that too, so much variety? How do you empty your mind of all these? Is it even required to get rid of them?

-Hope

Posted in Adult Life, Challenges, Growth, Personal, Self-growth, Social, Society

Of values and superstitions

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Travel Diaries

Dear Diary,

I’m again reminded of Kabir’s doha – “Bura jo dekhan main chala, bura na miliya koye. Jo main dekha aahpno, mujhse bura na koye”

This is a quote which has stayed with me all through my life. Maybe more so, after I reached adulthood. There are phases when I reach a certain high-point in life, perhaps, that I’m reminded of this by life. The quote means ‘As I go around the world looking for bad in people, I find none. The moment I look at myself, there’s no one worst than me.’

Now, this translation of the quote may sound pretty depressing and self-derogatory, but the actual meaning is that when you try to understand any person, whom you consider ‘bad person’, you’ll find they are not really that bad. And, we often forget our own mis-doings. The moment you take a look at your own self, your actions, your thoughts, you realize there’s lot of cleaning you need to do within yourself. So, it’s pretty humbling a thought.

Coming to my life events, I recently went to USA for 2 weeks. Solo trip. No family. This trip should check-mark one of my ‘List of 30’ –  Of doing a solo trip to a foreign place without family. Completely alone.

I’m not sure if I can consider this trip as that. This was a office visit. Anyways, highlights of the trip

  1. I got a lot of opposite-gender-attention, which was quite uplifting! More ways than one. I can’t explain how much good that unexpected, stranger-attention can do to a woman’s self-esteem. Haha!
  2. I had lot of plans of doing solo trips to unknown places. Of maybe trying a cigarette or getting drunk – things which T doesn’t approve of. I did none of those. I realized that doing these things behind his back were no fun. They were part of my to-do only because I wanted to feel independence. When I actually got the freedom, none of these things held their charm. You know what I mean, right.
  3. I wanted to go to new places but it rained all 2 weeks, so I was restrained. They say that California has been in a condition of drought since past 6-7 yrs. As I look back, I visited CA last in 2009, so I guess the rains were pretty much waiting for me. Somehow, that’s a funny and a positive thought to me 🙂 I really like the notion that I’m important to Mother Nature.
  4. My time in office was stretched beyond limits. I was dependent on colleagues (who were traveling with me) for my ride to-from hotel to work. And because they were senior people, the only thing they had to do in their day was work + eat. So, their idea was to spend as much time as possible in office and go to hotel only once it’s evening, and you’re done with dinner. Now, when I’m done with the trip and I think about their perspective, I get the point, but frankly, I’m not a big fan of spending whole day at work. No matter where I am. So, I totally detested spending my whole day at work. I was hoping to catch my old friends during week-days and keep my weekends free for touristy stuff. All this schedule screwed up all my plans.
  5. Three days into the trip and I knew my trip is not going to be any way like what I had imagined. So, what did I do? I stopped sulking and decided to make lemonade! (If life throws lemons at you, make lemonade ;)) Hence, I learned my first lesson of the trip :  It’s okay if things are not working as per your plan. Start enjoying God’s plan. I started enjoying my work. There were lot of things for me to learn, to observe, to understand at this new place of work. How people worked in this different country. I always enjoyed “cultural tourism”. I feel like I visited a new place only when I get to experience the life, the culture, the way of living of the place. I decided to do just that in America.
  6. I met different people. 3 were my friends from different walks of life who’re now living in US. Then I met my colleagues from US. It was also the time when I got to spent some off-work time with my colleagues from India (with whom I was traveling). I tried to experience life from their eyes. I stayed overnight at two of my friends’ place. They had completely different experience of life in US. Both had shifted to US ~1.5 yrs ago. Totally unrelated to each other. One is a best friend from college. Another is Tarun’s best friend from college but a good family friend now. Will detail the pros and cons of living in US for today’s Indians in another post.
  7. I realized I no longer am interested in moving to US. If it happens, I would deal with it. But, I no longer dream of it or wish for it. There were lot of dreamy ideas and notions I had about US . They all got cleared in this trip of mine. It’s a wonderful place to live in, just because of the clean air it provides. But, there’s lot of bad underneath. Just under the surface. It’s so mechanized and robotic that I felt there’s nothing human left in there.
  8. This trip got me into a very happy place of being. I’m left grateful for the wonderful life I have (in India). For the job I love, for the choices I made in life that have brought me to this place. For the family I was actually excited to get back to. I can’t explain the feeling, that sense of belonging, that sense of being wanted. That feeling of wanting to be back home to my loved ones, that I felt in my last 2 hr flight journey. I was so excited I was just checking the flight status every 15 minutes. Every minute spent was a minute closer to my son, to my husband. To the two people who had tough time living without me. They were well-fed, they were well-tended, nothing was missing in their routine life. The only thing missing was me. And, they missed me terribly. And, so did I. 🙂 I’m so grateful to God for this feeling. Inexplicable. 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Life indeed, is beautiful!

-Hope