The year that was!

A very capable colleague at work suggested we all celebrate one achievement of ours from 2018 in our first team catch up this Jan. Well, that’s what a new year is for, isn’t it, reflecting upon the year that was!

The task was simple. We all had to think of one highlight from last year and talk everyone through it at work. Now how hard could that be? Turns out, very!!

Not because there was none, but because I had 365 highlights, okay fine, 200 highlights, or is it 180 days that we work….why do they pay us so much for not working half of the year……shhhhh!!

Back to the thought under process, work – wise, it was quite easy. Cause-and-effect comes naturally at work….higher duties + delivered commitments + organising awesome cultural events = Smashing IT (no pun intended)!Success!!

What became interesting was how this task got me thinking about what I achieved personally in 2018. The rest of the 180 days in the year were, afterall, personal.

Hmmm…

Funny how my brain shifts towards ‘what did not go well’ when I look at my personal life. Agreed its only human. But then again, the more I think about it, the more I understand that that is exactly how life works. It’s not a party and doesnt give you goodie bags all the time. Its a series of events, presenting you with challenges (opportunities, I say) one after the other, and depending on how you face them, you earn experience, strength and wisdom, as each goes by.

Of course, things dont go as planned sometimes, because you are not the one running the show, you are only a participant and sometimes, the Organiser likes to have a little fun by throwing some curve balls your way, and truly, thats what makes life fun!

Did I plan for hospitalisation, or to get my car hit, or to have some people around me who I cannot stand and the ones who are the light of my life away for too long…..Nah…Not at all. But when I look back I see not the negative events but only the positive lessons I learnt from each. Staying a night in a hospital taught me to be more careful of my health, showed me what could it get to if I dont take actions right now to bring my health back on track. Well, having my car hit taught me…err…what to do when that happens…and that sometimes bad things happen to you for no fault of yours and that is absolutely fine and that sometimes tiny bad things happen only because the Organiser tried to avoid a bigger bad thing. So be grateful for the life you have, and ultimately that is the biggest achievement of 2018 – I survived!! Living away from loved ones for long periods of time makes you self dependant and leaves you more and more in love.

Apologies 2018, if I have portrayed you all gloomy and sad. Of course, you weren’t all bad. You brought me quite a number of fortunate events as well…like (finally) my first ever trip to the U the S of the A. (Now, I know that I really wasnt missing anything). Be it the chance to celebrate Diwali with family back home or catching up on new gossip with my bestie half way across the world, over a glass of old wine or simply celebrating my tiny family’s little big achievements with a slice of cake (no wonder nothing fit me at the end of year party)..Oh and the many chances to sit in the audience and clap and whistle (dont tell her it was me) in applause for my lovely daughter’s performances…you sure did give me enough joy 2018!!

And with some perfectly framed memories and wise lessons learnt, 2018 came to a wrap and so has this first post of 2019.

Love

R

#RealOverVirtual #OfflineIsBetter

On Why I am craving for Nokia 1100 & Why I quit social media today…

It is believed that if you dream of your childhood classroom, your mind is craving for simpler times. I dreamt of Nokia 1100 last night, my first ever mobile phone gifted by my parents in my second year of Uni. I am assuming this is my twenty-first century brain trying to remind me of simpler times in my life. In this modern world, we are so connected to our virtual ‘friends & followers’ that we are totally disconnected with the ‘real’ ones. Today, after probably a decade long love-hate relationship with the social media, I quit, and here’s why:

  1. Consider this:

 On seeing his beloved wife online on watsapp, husband types:’Having a bad day at work

Wife replies in a nano second ‘Busy, will ttyl

Well, we can give her benefit of doubt here, she was probably only online to tell her watsapp friends that she’s busy.

At home that evening, husband ‘Hun I am feeling very restless because of what happened at work today

Wife <not moving from eyes from her screen for a second>  ‘Hey I saw a video on the train back home about how to relieve one’s mind off anxiety, restlessness etc…, I will forward it to you straight away’…<her phone trings>

I, for one, love my husband and respect my marriage too much to put it through any risk of intoxicating it like that.

2. Because I want to kill my need for social validation before it completely kills my self-confidence. The day I stopped getting less than 3 digit likes/comments, I thought I am doomed. My life ain’t stunning anymore to anyone. Well, my life should be beautiful because I deserve so, not because people would judge if it ain’t.

3. Sibling rivalry is a thing of the past. Kids today aren’t as jealous of their smart sibling as they are of their parent’s smartphones. My kiddo, being the one and only child, has all her undivided jealousy focussed towards my phone. I reckon she should win!

4. ‘She doesnt read much, her reader’s diary record is low’, her teacher tells me. And I wonder why? I used to read a lot of books when I was a child and I keep telling her to read books while I am super absorbed with my phone. Well, I wondered only because I had forgotten, children don’t hear us, they imitate us.

5. Because I want to have both my hands free, to hold hands with my husband and my daughter at the same time, to dance whenever I wish to, to be normal again. God forbid the world fall apart that our phones aren’t looked at the second they tring! And no, this wouldn’t change even when they start making all women’s dresses with pockets!

6. Because I am afraid that we are on the reverse path of evolution, Remember the ape to human posture diagram they teach us at school, yeah, we definitely are tracing that back now and No thanks, I don’t wanna be a part of that. I am pretty sure none of my dresses would look nice on a bent spine me.

7. Because no one saw the beautiful rainbow on the train ride to work today. And I would’ve missed it too had I been suffering from the oh-my-eyes-will-stop-functioning-properly-without-a-dose-of-vitamin-c(ell) blindness syndrome too. There was one more thing no one noticed…A disabled teenage boy needed help when his metro card fell to the floor when he is was trying to adjust his wheelchair position. He probably would have had a hard time getting off the train without the card. Thank God someone wasn’t completely engrossed in their phone and saw it fall, and handed it back to him.

8. Watsapp – More like ‘whatcr*p’ – Seriously, like who has a group of 67 family members, and who would give a rats to check out the photos from your second cousin’s child’s friends’ first birthday celebration just because they have an oh so cute Incredibles theme balloon decor! Spare me the horror please! And seriously, that teenage girl in that ‘missing person’ photo circulating from 3 odd years now, is unable to go to school. The moment she steps out of her house, some good Samaritan escorts her back to her home because he saw the ‘very urgent and for a noble deed’ forwarded message from his aunt, not realising the poor girl had come home the same evening after, upon spending a little extra time at her friend’s place, her missing person message was forwarded to her own phone by 13 of her whatsapp groups. And don’t even get me started on the 76 good morning messages I receive from my family back in India when it is 12:30pm my time. I almost opened my preso with a ‘Good morning everyone’ in an evening session the other day. Talk about global time zone eh!

9. Because ‘speaking’ has shifted to an ‘unknown skill domain’. We prefer to chat/text/Skype message/ written word in short over verbal, if we have a choice. Have you noticed we struggle now-a-days to look directly at a person’s face while talking to them. We’ll look everywhere but at the person we are talking to. In olden days, it was the body language sign for hiding the truth. Either everyone is lying or I should probably stick a tiny screen between my brows to get people to look me in the eye when they are talking to me. Wouldn’t that be fun!#AlienTrendAlert #ScreenBrows

10. I do not want to receive ads for ‘cheap flights to best holiday destinations’ on my facebook feed when my husband texts me ‘Lets go for a vacay’. Hello!! What part of the word Privacy was left unexplained to these people at their school. And how creepy it is when your phone knows exactly where you’re headed the moment you get into your car and will try to win the race by telling you which route is the fastest even before the car GPS can turn on.

11. I don’t want technology to cripple me. I’ll use it when I need it! I’ll not allow it to use me!Period!

Love

R~

It sure was a Happy Mother’s Day!

I am a worrier…no you read it correctly, ‘worry-ier’ not ‘warrior’. And ever since I became a mum, I believe I have turned into this paranoid me where my brain constantly filters all incoming information and thoughts first through a does-it-have-a-direct-impact-on-my-child lens and then what-about-an-indirect-impact lens followed by a I-cannot-see-an-impact-but-there-must-be-one-so-lets-make-one-up lens.

Its like my mind comes up with these wierd sense-less negative scenarios and they constantly play in the backdrop of all activity happening in my mind. At first, I used to blame my inner software tester, where the most important attribute to have is to be able to identify scenarios where the system would break and fail. But I think it got too far into my little ‘mommy-brain’.

My worst fear and a cause of constant worry was (and always will be, I guess) that my child will inherit my bad habits or acquire those traits of mine or shall I say drawbacks, which I am not proud of. Worse, what if she inherits my health problems…I would never forgive myself.

A vicious circle of negativity, ey! However, what came about as the most beautiful gift this Mother’s day was something that has slapped these negative thoughts down. My 8yo wrote me a poem, A POEM…..I wonder where she gets it from!!

So what if I pass on a few of my not-so-wonderful talents, such as the ability to sleep for 18 hours straight, at least she’s got something good from me, and heck ya, she’s much better at this than me. See it for yourself:

I Love You Mum

I love roses, I love lilies, but most of all I Love You

and that will always be so true

You hug me so tight

and wake me up when bright

Thank you for all you have done for me

and teach me so much so I succeed

I can rely on you and you can too

so Bestie, I Love You!!

~~Aa & her rainbow friend

N2knyJz1S2SBUH0gF5FzcgTold ya so!!

I hope all you mummies out there had a memorable day….I know I sure did!!

Love

R

Umrika!!!

1.4 billion of Indians dream of going to America. I know the current population of India is only 1.325, I am also counting the children who will be born today!! Don’t get me wrong, not all want to live there, but they definitely want to visit the U the S of the A, at some point in time in their life.

My obsession with the States began when I had someone repatriated from there join me in grade 3 at my school back in India. Jasmine, her name was. She was by far the prettiest Sikhni I had ever seen, and believe me I had seen a lot, being in a Sikh school. Her school bag, her pencil box, her stationary, even her shoes were atleast 10 years ahead of mine. Blonde hair and fair skin, but what struck me the most was her confidence. I had not known that children that age are even capable of exuberating that amount of confidence. She wouldn’t shy away even with her broken ‘Hindi’. Her English accent would bring sarcy comments to her, but that never deterred her one bit. She kept on. For a seven year old me, it became a generalised impression of all Americans, there on. And there began the desire to see this inspiringly advanced country for myself. I wanted that life where I speak English fluently and own the latest stationary. What simple motivation to go US, innocent days!!

Another prolonged and perpetual motivation throughout my childhood was my mum telling (read light-hearted complaining to) me and all others about my uniquely rebelious ways. ‘Isko to America mein paida hona chahiye tha‘, she would say, ‘Yahan India mein kaise aa gayi’, which translates to – she should have been born in America, she doesn’t belong to Indian culture. Not to blame her, as I never did fit in (and I know, in her heart, she was and is proud of me for that). I think the mandatory compliance instructions to even have a chance at being tagged a sunder-sushil-gunvati-bhagyashali-larki (most eligible girl) at the time in my part of the world were – wear salwar kameez and dupatta with no more than 2.6cms of skin showing, be an introvert, don’t talk to guys, do not laugh loudly when a boy is looking at you even if your girlfriend cracks a really funny joke, keep your eyes riveted to the ground when talking to elderly, specially males, in short, do not breathe! and have no life! I complied to none of these rules, with my lovely parents supporting my back all the time and there goes the story.

The only reason I entered the IT corporate world, years later, was because this was, at the time, a hopeful and easy pathway to reach USA. Go IT boom! I was right, the path definitely was full of opportunities and I did bump into those not once but four times in my first 5 years. Alas! I could avail none! Work permit renewals, passport renewals and ultimately the family way came in the way of my dream way! No complains though, I know everything happens at its own time.

And the time has finally come. 8 years on, from the last time I was offered a business visit to USA, I finally have decided that its about time I spend my own vacay funds to visit my dream destination. The planning has begun four months in advance. So when my bestie from Uni, who now lives there, was amazed when I shared my itinerary spreadsheet with her, which literally comprises of a low level detailed plan accurately jotting down my whereabouts at any given minute during the 4 week holiday, she asked me if I had become a freak since the last time we met, probably suffered a blow to my head which caused me some sort of compulsive disorder. I replied ‘This is US baby!! Years & years of research and love for the land, it has to be perfect, every moment utilised to satisfaction’. Hopefully, it will be!!

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Little Pleasures in Life!!

I have noticed a change in me, and I am working to maintain it. I used to be a very short-tempered, frustrated- about-anything-and-everything kind of person. It showed on my face and it was taking a toll on my behaviour with my family and peers. But lately, I am seeing a new me in me. Petty little things that used to go unnoticed in my fast-paced-no-time-to-breathe life earlier, are now making a difference to my days. I capture such tiny incidents, smile about them and lock them in my mind for the day, and those positive butterflies dance all day in my head. Impact – no anger, minimal frustration!! Yayyy!!

Now what these incidents are – I had never in my life travelled independently, during my spinster days. And now, here I am, running to catch a tram, to reach my child eagerly waiting for me at her kindie. Although I hated running during my school days, it feels like an achievement now having caught that tram with a little effort. In another incident, I was walking towards a nearby shopping centre, and this autistic child holding his mom’s hand smiled at me, and I smiled back and then her mum smiled back at me, it was nice, filled my heart with admiration for that mum and love for that child. If Aahana speaks a new word, aww, how it delights me; when I see her making new friends and hugging her friends and not crying when I leave her at her day care…..it’s a joy! And aww that hug that she gives me before reciting her zillion stories from the day when we meet again in the evening!! Bliss!!

Losing a few grams, being able to control my sweet tooth when I see a freshly baked brownie with chocolate sauce dripping and spreading captivating aroma, right when I am on my way to buy a salad for lunch…..Yippee…I did it!!

Happiness is just around the corner, look up & find some in your days & see the difference for yourself!!

Few things I’ve learnt–the hard way!!

1. The worst time to introduce a new fancy water bottle to your kid – Just before a longggg journey!! Unless You want to check out all the toilets on the way. I mean you would beg them every hour to drink water and not get dehydrated, but if they are bored with that bottle/sipper they wouldn’t just pay a jellybean size attention to you….huh!

2. The worst time to quit a job – Just after you get promoted!! Unless you really want to put your manager down. I mean , perhaps he had a hard time proving you among others to get you this one and you just walk away….making him ashamed of his choice. Not Done, Man!!

3. Never Say Never –  and not even while saying this quote I’d say! This word is one egoistic butt, There, you use it and its right after you, to prove you wrong and make you do what you had n*v*r thought of doing. And actually its an amazing way of changing what you want to do. Mind this little Rascala!!

4. Finish what you begin – I have not regretted anything more than the things I have started with lots of excitement and commitment and left them half the way. I wish a day would come when I would be eased off these burdens running behind me , An incomplete MBA degree, Incomplete Piano course, My incomplete book, Incomplete Dance Classes, and don’t get me started on my gym routine…In what year would this list be striked off with nothing more in the To-complete Bucket…<sigh>

5. Love your parents – Sometimes I wish I could just run to them and tell them ‘Sorry’ & ‘Thanks’ with a tight hug.

6. Value Friends – I have always taken them for granted. I wish I had been more careful in my past friendships and given them as much (time) as was expected. A Big Sorry to all those friends who thought I didn’t care!!

Getting quite nostalgic now actually….I wish I could complete this post…..Hell yeah…another item added – you are winning “My To-Complete’ List..Hate Ya!!

We are ‘Home’

DSC_0137

Its amazing how the term ‘Home’ gets all relative….It was just today when it struck me, as I posted on FB after a long time and wrote “ Finally, Having a relaxed evening at Home” …Home….Really? Yes, Home!

Its like a ceremony our heart performs to upgrade a place to be called ‘Home’ when we decorate it with little things that we carefully select, where we have the comfort of anything and everything we need, spend cuddly time with our family. It’s a synonym of our time there, our personality, our choices….its just all about us.

                                                                                               View from my Home

Now, it’s a small n cozy apartment here in another part of the world that I had never known, that I pronounce as my home( although technically its not, am just a tenant), but still, its my Home, which my hubby and I decorated as we wanted it to be, where my young daughter has a toy room which is a world to her, where in the kitchen I have all things at place where I like them to be, and where my hubby has all his kids[ I call his gadgets that, since he loves them just like one] where he would like to put them…where we all have cuddly hugs and we sing songs or just hang out together watching ‘FRIENDS’[ I should start calling that sit-com as our family anthem, even the 3 yr old Aahana can repeat the dialogues now,I think there hasn’t been a week when we dint play it, at least once], where in the evening everyday I wait to hear “Honey, am Home!”

A few days back, Home was somewhere else….a few thousand miles away…..and a few years back….somewhere else….

So technically, is home only at Yamunanagar [India], where I was born, where my roots are…..Or is it at Faridabad [India], where I grew up, where my Parents are….or is it at Lucknow [India], where my Parents-in-Law live….Or Is it at Cyprus,where we started our lives as a married couple….or at Pune[India] where we Technically ‘own’ a place, where Aahana was born….or at Malaysia, where I couldn’t stop my tears when leaving the home….Or is it Here, where I have chosen to come!

I remember an incident from my childhood, I was hardly a teenager, when we visited our ‘then’ house at Yamunanagar, after having moved to Faridabad a few years before. The now-occupants were a friend of my parents, and we stopped to pay them a visit, on our way to my grandparents place. My God, how it had pained me to see them having re-decorated the place in their own taste and was all the more horrified when I looked at what had been my room, though it was decorated in a perfectly civilized way, but it wasn’t the way when it was ‘Mine’….and hence the horror…..I couldn’t bear to stay indoors, and hence with my neighbor friend, had a stroll in the garden until my parents came out…Never did I accompany them to those family friends again.

We were just married and hardly a day old at Cyprus, when Bhupesh and I were invited by his old roomies to their place. It had pinched me a little to hear Bhupesh say as he lay on the couch ’Now this is coming back to home’. I was all excited about “Our Home” but he was more comfortable at the place where he had stayed….Well, I did understand later though….

And ain’t it ironic, when I say, am going ‘Home’ next week for 2 months but I’ll miss ‘Home’…Sigh!