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.

The Action Plan

Dear Diary,

Some dreams never leave you. They keep bugging you, sometimes softly, sometimes strongly. Similar is my dream for living abroad. Maybe it’s my weakness towards the grass on the other side of the fence. More than my own farm, I end up envying over the green pastures on the other side. Well, never mind. This too shall pass!

So, as I discussed in my last post, I was strongly thinking of quitting my job so that I could take care of my son. All my life, I’ve always believed that working women take equally good care of their children as home-makers. My Mom was working and took extremely good care of me and my brother. So, I could too. Now, the myth was broken. So, here were the constraints:

1. I have no way I would give anything less than the best to my child. If I believe I can give the best care to my child even while working then I should.
2. If I’m not giving my best, then what is it I’m lacking?
3. Will my quitting job fulfill the purpose?
4. Can’t I do that WITH my work?

So, through these questions, I found my action plan and some further questions which I seek answer to:
The Action Plan:  I take a 1-month leave from work, spending time at home, while my son’s summer vacations are on. Once this finishes and his school begins, I and my husband juggle between work and home. He picks him up at 12.00 from school/bus, stays with him for 2-3 hrs and feeds him lunch. I stay at work from 8 AM – 2 PM and head home. As I reach, husband heads back to work. I work from home for the rest few hours I’m supposed to log-in. In the meanwhile, Anay takes his afternoon nap. As evening arrives, I’m done with my office and free and available for my son. No daycare!
The Questions
1. I try to give my best to my son. I try to find out what extra I’m doing for him.
2. Do I end up procrastinating, as I expect I would, if I became a full-time-home-mom?
3. Am I able to keep my sanity staying 24-hr at home?
4. Find out how life would be if I were completely at home? Find out if I can manage to work AND take care of my child.
5. If I do not want to leave my work, how do I manage to provide all that with my work?
6. Any external factors which further come into play?

How’s it going so far?
It’s been close to 10 days since I started doing this. I’ve gotten quite a few answers and this is how it’s going.
My son is thoroughly enjoying his time at home. He buggers me with his constant ‘Bore ho raha hoon (I’m getting bored!)’ unless I agree to his demand for TV or start to play something with him. He doesn’t have a care that I’m on a Leave-without-pay and that means less money. Nothing’s complicated in the 5-yr old’ world. However, that does seem to irk the adults. So, my husband and my parents have been softly and consistently telling me that while it’s okay to take some leave, 1 month is just too long. I’ll lose touch with my work! (If that’s even possible) I’ll  get no money at all this month. etc. etc.
Well, that didn’t bug me too much but then I had to go to office for a day, and I realized that taking a month off did have its repercussions. Before I decided to quit/not-quit, the people above had started wondering the same. And, making adjustments!! That’s something I definitely didn’t want. I want to try my best at my work. I’ve worked hard to build my career and I do not let it go just like that. If I decide to quit, it’ll be when I decide I can’t do it. Not before that! And hence, I had to make arrangements so that I continue to work for few hours scattered through the week, while still being on vacation. My manager was kind and adjusting enough to allow me to apply for a working-day accordingly.
So, you make some plans, life makes its own plans. Each action has its own reactions and you gotta be prepared for them. I was able to do damage control, thankfully but things could have slipped out of my hand very soon and easily.
I’m trying to work-from-home but working with a 5 yr old at home is not easy. Hence, I realize I’ll have to make some arrangements if I want to not send him to daycare and yet WFH. And, I do end up frustrated and itchy by being 24-hrs at home.
But, one thing I did learn, my son needs a lot of my time. No amount of time is sufficient for your child. You can give as much and it’ll still be less. Tarun says you can’t give quality time the whole day. If you give 1 hr of quality time in the day, that’s sufficient too. And, I somehow realize it’s true. I can’t keep my patience and mental strength to keep him engaged in variety of stuff, all day long. Somewhere, I think it’s not that necessary. If you just ensure that you teach him one new thing each day, even if for an hour, that’s sufficient. What’s crucial is to keep the child at priority. What’s crucial is to not forget him in the milieu of things that happen in our regular working lives.

It’s okay if he’s watching too much TV. It’s a phase and shall pass. It’s okay if he’s fooling around and wasting his time. Trust God that it’ll teach him something too.

Ultimately, he’s the child of the Universe. What he gets, what he doesn’t, is all his destiny. I can only try to do my best. Try to impart him the common sense and the sense of the world, as long as it lasts. Enjoy the time with him as long as you have it. Share some laughs, some litchis, relish the twinkles in his eye, and the innocent laughter on getting the unexpected chocolate, the squeals in the pool, the detailed arguments with people for getting his way.

Thank You God for being kind enough.

Love,
Hope

The Jaipur Trip

Dear Diary,

I went to Jaipur a few weeks ago. Anyone of you living in NCR region, would have visited Jaipur once, even if it’s for the sake of a weekend getaway. It’s one of the contenders.

Well, I have visited Jaipur couple of times before but this time was special because I visited it as a company offsite. The special attractions?
– We stayed in a Taj Heritage property, which makes the whole thing ‘rich’.
– Since Tarun was gone to US, it was a trip I made alone with Anay.

– This was my first company offsite truly as an employee. Because the husband was not there. I had attended previous offsites as well but I was mostly considered the spouse in this family outing that an employee.

If I had to define the offsite in one word, it would be defined in only one – ‘Freedom’.

Tarun has almost always given me a lot of freedom. It terms of what I wear, what I can do, dance, talk to people, pretty much whatever you do, as a usual good-girl-life. This is how I thought. But after attending this, I realized what ‘freedom’ was. How it used to be, before I was married. How a person does change in the vicinity of another. No matter how much your spouse is understanding and open, no one can give you that ‘space’ that an actual distance can.

In this trip, I enjoyed with Anay. I handled him alone. From going from home to the railway station, handling the luggage and the child. Of course, colleagues helped me a lot all through, but still. Then, managing his 3-meals!! His brush, bath, dress-up, meal, then play, then story, then again play, till he’s exhausted to just sleep. It was all great. On multiple occasions I was surprised that how smooth it was all going. Despite that Tarun was not there, I wasn’t facing much difficulty. I know, a lot of it parameters contribute to the experience. The fact that we were in a hotel, makes Anay very happy. Then, he gets to eat a lot of variety which he enjoys much more than the usual ghar-ka-khana. Then, I had no worries of any work to handle. No one ‘monitoring’ my actions with Anay. I can’t explain what a reliever it was. He didn’t play much with other kids, though many did come to him. But, it didn’t irk me. I was enjoying with him. I really enjoyed this two-some time with my son.

And, I was not missing much of action from the company offsite either.

From the company’s perspective, the trip allowed me to interact with others that I never did in previous offsites. There were people always in my room, preparing for their dance events. Though I was not participating in it because of my knee, I was still organizing it, for my team. And that was equal fun. That way, I didn’t feel left out. Dance really makes me free. It makes me ‘smile’. Really smile. And if I couldn’t be a part of it, I would have really felt broken. Even without dancing, I had to be a part of it somehow. And I did. 🙂
I dressed up in the hottest of the dresses I had. One I got right before going for the offsite. My MIL chose it with me. 🙂 She had no issues with my dress choices. She was rather giving me opinions on the dress combinations, when I was packing my bags. I think I should pat my back on how far she and I have come, in that department. It feels nice. Really nice.
And how I looked, how it went, I knew from the glances. Thanks very much, folks. 😛 😉 It was really satisfying, trust me!

I had doubts if anyone would try to take an advantage, any misdemeanors of any sort, seeing that my husband is not there, and I was travelling alone. Though there are all decent ones in my office, but the Evil never comes in a black-suit and fangs, anyways. So, I was cautious at the back of my mind, always. And I am glad that I had all the happy memories from the trip.

Personally, the trip was so gratifying. Taking this time away from the spouse, which is basically the-protection-cover, is so relieving. It brings you close to yourself. Your real-self. It tells you what you’re hiding. In that cover at the top. Because you’re so many roles now. This time tells you what you would have been if you were none of this. It tells you what all you can manage, and you never thought you could. It tells you of how you would have done, when actually you used to think you would be so much better at it.
It is like bringing a mirror and looking closely. Looking at your soul.

And, mine is so beautiful. ‘Hello there, beautiful.’

Every woman has so much potential, so much rigour, so much power, trapped inside her, that if you remove all these prejudices, these society-set responsibilities and actions, and expectations, she can achieve much much more.

I’m feeling alive after a long time.

Smiles,
Hope

Something about friends

Remember, I spoke about how friendship also seems to be a feeling like love, which is more about your own feelings than the other person involved.? Well, I found something else today. No matter how much time passes, if what you shared was true friendship, it never fades. The person you’ve been close friends with, you can share your thoughts and feelings with them, no matter how long it has been since you last spoke. In times, when I wish there was someone I could just openly and plainly talk to, co-incidentally some old friend calls up, or pings. And, I will pour my heart out without worrying about feedbacks. I know they are good people at heart and whatever I share, will stay with them. They know me and I know them. The times may have changed, they may have changed, I have changed a lot too, but the basic foundations of friendship like trust and faith, stay the same.

Friendship never dies. It just fades away and if you shared an honest friendship with someone, you can always pick it back.