Thursday, November 24, 2016

As The Years Roll By...

I was browsing through a stationery store the other day and was surprised to see 2017 diaries on the aisles ..and then it stuck me that the year is winding down to a close.

Browsing through my old posts I realized that I have been posting my New Year Resolutions and their reviews for close to ten years...I also realized that there are dreams which are more than ten years old, which haven't come true yet..Some of them of course have lost their charm - we change after all !

But, instead of framing any new resolutions, I decided to spring clean my dreams and the ones which are still shining in my heart - I will try to make them happen in 2017.

Travel - This has been a great passion of mine, and I have seen quite a few places in the past years. But, Venice, Leh and Switzerland still remain dreams. I hope next year, I can do at least a couple of these places.

Declutter and Styling - Yes, I have cleaned out a large portion of my house, but there are few areas pending. Hubby enjoys living in a pig sty, so unlike travel, this is going to be even more a challenge. But, hopefully, I can get those balcony chairs, kids' wallpapers and a rationalized wardrobe sooner than later !

Knowledge - Yes, I have been dying to learn to solve the Rubik's cube, learn a new language, learn a musical instrument, learn to solve crosswords, Finance, Vedic Mathematics...the list is endless..Hopefully a few of them will get ticked off in 2017.

Another long cherished dream is to write a book - but I don't see it happening in 2017...maybe in 2018, I will give it a shot.

My younger one has started school and I am excited ! More about that later...

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Game of Life

I was browsing through Quora the other day, and this tagline caught my eye "The game is not over until I have won it"...The images that came flashing to my mind was that of a tantrum throwing child, followed immediately by a confident youth...

And then I realised...the impermanence of youth...and how it has more or less passed for me...The past couple of months have shown me how the game can be over when you least expect it...many lives don't even get a chance to play the game, let alone win it...Some have a winning lead, but are forced to quit due to an unexpected turn of events...

Maybe, its the red car syndrome, but the past month saw a friend lose a new born baby, another one lose his wife during child birth and a cousin lose his baby in-utero at 7 months...

My grandmother's brother passed away suddenly due to a massive stroke, and the incidence of memory loss/stroke in my maternal side is scary...All my grandmother's siblings (including her) are suffering from memory loss and there is nothing more painful than to see a loved one unable to recognize you.

There is no magic sauce to win the game of life...as you approach middle age - you would have experienced death in all its comical forms...People whom you thought had the highest potential to succeed, sometimes would have failed miserably - with no hope of future success...Others who were absolute scums - succeed royally...You see, women with potential, being reduced to just care givers for loved ones (nothing wrong in that, but when it is helplessness and not choice, then it hurts to see talent being suffocated by circumstances)...

The other day, I was spring cleaning and found 2 autograph books - one where my teachers had penned their wishes and another where batch mates of the NTSE state camp had penned theirs...As I was smiling through the sometimes naughty wishes - I suddenly came across one penned by a dear teacher (she was just a few years elder to us and more a friend than a teacher) and another by a batch mate whom I didn't quite like during the camp ...both of them are no more..and i realized how precious those words had suddenly become !

And so, yes, the game may be over much before you win it...but as long as you remember, its just a game, you should be fine...

Monday, October 24, 2016

The M Factor

Way too often, media (the kind that you and I consume mostly these days – whatsapp forwards, FB videos, Twitter links etc) overhypes the importance of creating memories over accumulating money, adding alongside a liberal dose of reminders about our mortality – about how when we are on our deathbed, we don’t worry about the money we made, but about the memories we didn’t !

Well, let me call the bluff – it is a big fat lie! It has been created to pander to the frail egos of middle aged men and women, who suddenly realise that maybe they have missed the bus as far as getting seriously rich goes, so might as well go create some memories…

‘Cos given the advances in science today, you and I are likely to either die a sudden and violent death – accident or murder, in which case the time left for retrospective regret is minimal, anyway; or die a slow, prolonged death – mostly due to old age, and lo and behold, associated memory loss ! So, if all those memories you created, those experiences you had, none of them, allow you to even remember where the bathroom in your house is, let alone bask in a warm fuzzy time journey – then I ask, what the F!@#$ are those memories worth? At least, if you are rich enough, you can afford to check yourselves into a 5 star care facility, while your faculties are still intact, and hope that when you have completely lost the idea of who you are, then the care giver treats you with dignity, for the simple reason that you are now the poster boy/gal for future customers – when they pay a visit. And, even then, it is just hope – and hope has never been a great strategy !  You would be surprised by the number of molestations that happen across old age homes in the country…

So, whether you want memories or money – it is your choice – there is no guarantee that one will serve you better than the other! And, despite whatever anyone else might say – creating memories is a costly affair these days – the best things in life are no longer free… Even the feel of a baby’s soft cheeks need money to be spent on baby lotions, baby food and warm clothes !

So, yes, go ahead and accumulate that retirement corpus, the vacation fund, whatever…Memories alone are not even a poor substitute.  

On a random side note I felt immensely comforted reading this: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/03/08/cry-heart-but-never-break/

Yea, I am teaching my heart to cry, but never to break...

Thursday, October 06, 2016

"Women are a Woman's Greatest Enemies"

I am sure you would have heard this statement at least once, if not more often in your life time. Often, you hear this if you are bitching about your boss or your in-laws or your siblings or your colleagues or even friends. Basically, the situation can be professional, personal or social…The only criteria is that both parties involved are women, and then the listener (gender agnostically) often responds with this statement.

My response to this factual rubbish varies depending on who says it, what the context is, what frame of mind I am in etc..

But, the focus on this post is on why this is factually wrong. First of all, I feel that the herd mentality ingrained in our psyches expect that birds of a feather flock together and by extension, all women should always stand together and support each other. However, the whole idea of feminism is to make people think beyond gender…So, women are not all birds of the same feather…Yes, biologically women are more similar to each other than to men, but that’s about it…You will find women in all colours – nice to horrible – just as you would find men.

Social conditioning, economic situations, level of education and so many other factors determine how I perceive, tackle and respond to any given situation. As a result, my (or any person’s) response may be more similar to others with same exposure to similar experiences…regardless of gender…I may tend to agree with/act like/think like a guy more than a lady in certain situations – but that does not mean I am a lady’s enemy. Again depends on which guy and which lady is in question. From my limited experience, I have not seen m-i-ls being more stuck up than f-i-ls..It is just that their areas of focus may be different. But both can be understanding or pig headed depending on what is being discussed and what the stakes are – again it is gender neutral. Same with bosses, siblings, friends, enemies and strangers.

Probably the only area where gender will have an influence is the physical capability requirements. Again, I have seen men who can’t carry a sick child or any other heavy load – we call them insensitive in the formal case and lovingly call them metrosexual in the latter case …but maybe they are just not trained. A rural woman is likely to be more physically strong than a pampered city male…again gender neutral ! Yes, by default, there are hormonal and biological differences, but circumstances and social conditioning also have a huge role.

So, the next time you feel like responding with a “Yea, after all women are a woman’s worst enemy”, please stop and think beyond.


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Strange are the Ways of the World !

I wrote my previous post from a place of deep agony…But it did throw up some amazing insights into how humans behave…Yes, adversity is a great teacher after all ! Some of my loyal blog readers reached out to me – no surprises there.

But, the depth of understanding that each of them showed surprised me. It was not the usual (not usual by them, but in general how people react to someone’s sadness) combination of sadistic curiosity that often gets wrapped as concern. That pseudo concern gets manifested as a statement in the lines of “Don’t worry, what happened? oh it happens to everyone, we all take decisions we are not comfortable…please move on” or some combination of this…

But each of the people who reached out to me perfectly understood my pain, gave me space, reassured me, and held me in their arms (albeit remotely !).
Here is a heartfelt thank you to each of you …Your kindness in my moment of grief means a lot to me…

Sadly, despite having both sides of my family in the same city, not a single soul from the city stood by me in my moment of agony…Not just that, there are the usual demands on my time and energy – with scant regard of what I might be going through!  

As an adult, I believe in being responsible for my own decisions and hence I have kept the intense agony that this has caused me, deep inside my heart…I am carrying on my normal life in a desperate attempt to ‘fake it till you make it’ …But, I am also human…and there is only so much that a rubber band can stretch…


Sometimes, the sheer selfishness of people never cease to surprise me! And sometimes the sheer selflessness of people never cease to surprise me ! 

P.S While we are on the topic of how strange the world is, I must also mention how lousy I am feeling that I can't go to a temple...I am not extremely temple oriented, but this Navaratri my daughter is officially entering the world of knowledge...there is a Saraswati temple in my city that opens only 9 days a year...I wanted to go there with her...but deeply ingrained stupid norms prevent me from doing yet another thing that my heart deeply desires....I just sooo sooo hate this world !

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This is a very graphical rant, so stay away in case that’s not your style…

Sometimes, the sorrow is soo deep that its easy to fake happiness. You act as if everything is normal. You wake up, do your duties, go to work, laugh with colleagues, check whatsapp, type non sense in it and giggle for good measure…

And then you wonder what the hell were you doing with 36 years in this planet, if you are all alone at 3:00 in the morning feeling faint in a pool of blood in the bathroom while your hubby is happily snoring in the next room. How come there was not even a single human being to hold your hand then?

You ignore the physical pain that ravages your body and carry on the act of appearing normal…you even fight about the same silly things…knowing fully well none of it matters any more…but that’s the best you can do…’cos the only other alternative is to end up in the mental asylum. Any rational analysis will only take you there…

They say time heals…they forgot about the scars left behind..which permanently reduces the beauty of your soul…

You look at your hands and only see blood..like the Shakesperean heroine…

You hear a small voice asking “Amma, why didn’t you give me a chance?”

You feel the small finger then wipe away the tears that well up…

And you wish you did not snuff out that life… you wish you could have used the chance to share the same universe … You realise you have been a coward..and everything you stood up for…all your good karma…all of it was still not good enuf…


And you realize that you have been your own worst enemy…the cancer of your soul…

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Decluttering - Mind and Matter

When I moved to my current home back in 2013, I had dreams of keeping a beautiful house – replete with a vegetable garden, beautiful paintings and bed linen, reading nooks, an amazing wardrobe and drool worthy cutlery. 

Well, then life happened! Shuttling between multiple cities, a major illness, pregnancy and child rearing, back stabbing by colleagues and non-co-operation from one side of ‘family’,  saw all dreams – both professional and personal – crumble into dust. My house turned into a pig sty and I turned into a person I never wanted to be … I was overwhelmed by the lack of space – in my house and in my brain. I initially thought of moving into a bigger house, but realized that it would have to wait – at least another couple of years.

Last month, I celebrated my younger one’s second birthday and I realized that I no longer have excuses to postpone spring cleaning – within and without.

When I started taking stock, I realized that I had unconsciously already started the process of de-cluttering – I don’t enjoy shopping much anyway and being a highly sensitive introvert meant that it was easier to not stay in touch with people. Beginning this year, I had shunned all contact with people, except for professional reasons. Most weekends, my phone would be completely switched off. I weaned myself off social media and drastically reduced time spent on Whatsapp. I hadn’t purchased anything for myself or my kids either – except the mandatory back to school shopping! Hubby did gift me material stuff for birthdays and other special occasions.

I had already thrown out a lot of my clothes which I had put aside hoping to wear someday! But, now I know that going back to a 26 inch waist is not going to happen any time soon..

The other day I gave a lot of old stuff to my maid – beds, storage units and so on. I felt immensely happy that I have at least made a small start on de-cluttering my space. I still have miles to go, and I have promised myself that I will not buy anything till I throw away every useless thing in my house.


De-cluttering the brain is even tougher. But, last couple of weeks gave me time with two dear friends and cheered me up… There is still a long way to go before I reach the stage of crystal clear clarity on what I want out of life and razor sharp focus on achieving it. But, at least I have started taking baby steps. And just as a baby will fall several times before walking becomes second nature, I know it will take me quite a while to reach the zen stage I aspire for…The trick is to never lose hope…and curiosity…and persist in the search…