Monday, August 21

Why Me?!!

I know this is a ridiculous and foolhardy question, especially when thousands are battling for their health and existence worldwide. But you tend to compare yourself with those up the ladder, and not below. Human nature, what you got is never enough and the grass is always greener on the other side...

The normal reactions of dealing with any change (as I learnt in my own Change Management class) are Shock, Anger, Resistance, Acceptance, Action and Monitor Progress. I seem to have gone through the entire cycle - but the loop keeps bringing me back to Anger after Action.

I was told by my friends and social circle that I'm a model for others, that I seem to have my act together, and I inspire others. Time for me to reveal just how fragile and vulnerable I am. Day after day. Slogging on. Hoping for a better tomorrow. Praying things work out okay and I manage to be happy. At peace. I fail. Every single (or alternate) day.

I wasn't born into an affluent family, though I did not have to make any major sacrifices or strive tremendously hard for anything. Yet, at the back of my mind, I always knew money was scarce, and I had to be careful about my future and expenses. I was bullied at school by my classmates for being dark complexioned and at home by my brother coz I was the ideal kid for my parents. My life was focused around making my family proud of me, and getting off their back as soon as possible to relieve them of duty and stress. Made me an immensely adaptive child in Transactional Analysis terms, even as I maintained my Free Child spirit. I was inwardly introvert and scared, though confident and carefree externally. I hated my childhood and could not wait to grow up.

I started doing odd jobs in college to earn pocket money, this included doing day jobs in marketing promotions and writing the odd article/poem in local newspapers to earn fame and finance support. I was excellent at academics, and ironically everything I worked hard for, I could not achieve - the scholarships in school and college, important job interviews, study abroad opportunities and relationships, whether friendly or romantic. Nothing lasted. I always felt incomplete, unaccomplished. Nothing really mattered. Nothing really gave pleasure. Not those silly parties that others boasted off, endless clubbing that makes teens feel liberated, and I did not possess the selfless streak to engage in social service and stuff.

I got married for love. I was elated that I'd finally nailed it. Made something of my life that would bring me happiness and complete me. Karma wasn't done testing me or maybe my sins were not repaid yet. I fought society and my parents to marry my spouse and his family. My husband abandoned me, sometimes for his colleagues and other times for his family. I couldn't wrap my head around it - how could somebody that was my world, be so uncaring towards me and not be concerned or responsible for how I felt and what I wanted? How could I be ignored and abused all the time? The few moments of joy that I was blessed with, made me feel it was all worth it, that the strife and conflicts were normal and happened in all relationships. That marriages survived, and spouses were meant to be for life.

Unloved. Unwanted. Fighting and demanding things. From my own husband who treated me like I did not matter. That I did not belong. I remained incomplete.

Educated and intelligent - I think I am extremely unworthy of these tags. If I was, I probably would not have to go through all that I have. I thought illiterate, helpless women in slums were abused and exploited, and made stupid decisions. I chose to have a baby when things were already fragile between me and my husband. I should have quit right then, rather than spoiling my life plus one. I knew my in laws were hopeless, manipulative creeps and I chose to bring another being under their sick influence. I got to get an award for being so dumb. I got a son, a beautiful and amazing creature, a gift from the gods to make my life worth living and loving.

I have given up trying to explain myself to anyone, but it hurts you know. It hurts to be so misunderstood and disliked for being genuine. I return kindness a 100 fold and try to be a forgiving, optimistic person. I fail on most days, like today. But I go on, hope creeps in, in one form or the other and gives me strength to survive another day.

I admire people who have been dealt the worst in life, and they still take in their stride and trudge on with a smile on their face.

Thankfully, there are some people who understand and appreciate me for who I am, but the majority cannot deal with it, and it's okay.

What is not okay is that my misery seems endless.

I know joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin, and one follows the other, neither stays forever. I'm praying that happy days arrive soon, and stay awhile, helping me gather strength for any more difficulties that lie ahead.

Coz we're all equal, and have our own troubles, and God stands by our side through thick and thin.

We shall get through this :-)

And I did! The best way to mend your mood is to do something for someone else.

After a long time, I did Tarot reading sessions for some of my acquaintances and helping them instantly raised my spirit. I can't help solve your problems, but I can help you find hope and be prepared for what lies ahead. And sometimes, that's enough.

Stay strong!

Cheers,
Anuja

Wednesday, August 16

Vent Wagon

Need a vent joint early in the morning, and I'm going to do this right here....

FLUSHHHH!!!

Note: No names are mentioned in this post, but all characters are real and tend to be very very irritating.

Perfection is impossible in the world, incompetence is common, arrogance abundant!

Behaviours that have been triggering me for the last decade...

Lack of ownership, responsibility and gratitude - People want things done for them, but cannot be bothered to do even a teeny bit for others. Everything they get is their prerogative, and the meagre bit that they do for others is a generous favour. Even if they do something upon your (repeat) request will be done halfheartedly and it shows in the poor quality of work, until you finally shrug and I say "Never mind, I'll just do it myself. Why did I even tell you!" What's worse is some people applaud them for doing nothing, and they scarcely even realise what they're doing wrong or not doing at all! Expect and demand from others, not return anything in cash or kind, and no gratitude as well - that's the cherry on top! Get them Sarahah accounts now, will you... 

Misplaced priorities - How the hell can anyone not have basic sense about what matters in life? Work seems to be more important than family, and even in family, spouses get ignored due to the inconsiderate requirements of parents or vice versa. Some folks I know tend to compartmentalise - I've been told "weekdays are only for office and colleagues, I will spend weekends with my wife and kids" - check the cheek! How about only breathing all week and then only eating over the weekends? Life is all about balance. And then they expect you to be okay with their choices and their decisions, in which obviously you have no say coz that's an encroachment on their privacy and freedom. Duh! Like, really?! I never believed in personal space, though I do value it's significance. However, when you carve out personal space time from the 10% time you give someone, then that's pushing it too far. Time and tide, and most importantly people, do not wait for anyone. If you let someone be alone too long, they will walk off sooner or later - either to someone that values them more, or they will find themselves so complete that they do not need anyone at all, not even you. And that can pinch. A little effort goes a long way. 

Possessiveness and insecurity - About relationships, understandable. About work? Why? It's not like someone can take your knowledge and expertise away from you! Even if you share everything you got, people will only be able to take as much as they comprehend, and that is where your exclusivity lies. And if they make it better, then that's something for you to learn! Insecurity and secrecy, especially at the workplace can do more harm than good, for your career and reputation. Besides, teaching once is learning twice (which is exactly what I do as a trainer and coach).

That there can be many behaviors more upsetting than the above is probable. Having said that, the only person we can change is ourself and the only thing we can change is our response to circumstances.

Learn on!

Cheers,
Anuja

Monday, August 14

The Fake Life

I could have written sooner, I wanted to. That my (ex) husband was stalking my blog made me hold back from sharing what I had in my life and heart.

It's been a month, a very engaging one, a very happy one at that. I had a fab birthday, with lots of love and fun pouring in from all quarters. I've watched many movies, some good ones (Lipstick Under my Burkha) and others that missed making a mark (Jab Harry met Sejal, Despicable Me 3). Toilet has mixed reviews, and hence off my watch list for now. I did enjoy my experience at the Mystery Room though - an exciting team building activity with my colleagues. We played Hurt Locker and emerged victorious, gold metal et al. Bounty was a letdown, though, as was Classic Rock Baner. Easy to open a joint, tough to maintain it and provide consistent service and memories, each time. So true for relationships as well. Easy to commence, tough to uphold and deliver, time after time.

What's the brouhaha about Sarahah anyway? All I know is that it is a platform to send and receive anonymous feedback. Duh?!! Since when have we really sought and appreciated genuine feedback? People are scared to say what they've got in their head and hearts, and being fake is the norm whether at home or work. People like me who carry their heart on their sleeve and vent out all that's on their radar get judged and criticised, and then comes this app which allows people to do the same thing behind curtains. How authentic is their reaction? How willingly does one accept it? Everyone I know if posting their Sarahah ID's and sharing their messages on Facebook. Someone I know got a "you need to work on your social skills" that she readily dismissed, whereas someone got "I've had a crush on you forever" that was applauded. 

Millenials, I tell you. A confident, confused lot - the bunch of them. Immensely talented, yet most of them clueless or passionless. Want quick pleasures, yet superficial when it comes to friendships and relationships. No wonder we're got tons of research on them, right from Simon Sinek to random comedians. I've been working with fresh grads for over 2 years now at Hitachi Consulting. I'm a millenial too, BTW, so no offence to anyone in particular. Just that apps like Sarahah are popular despite the negative response on so many levels. 

Work has been hectic and fulfilling, as has my personal life. Friendship Day and Rakhi, Janmashtami and Independence Day - Aarush has brought a lot of homework and variety in my life as well, what with his school and extra curricular activities. I'll be traveling to Hyderabad soon, for work obviously. Until then, its running around the clock, tick tock tick tock.

Hope you're afloat and making merry. Everything is for the best, even though it doesn't seem so right now. Keep the faith. Love yourself. Someone does too, even though your being together is disastrous. And you'll find another, much better one, if you haven't already. 

Cheers!
Anuja


   

Friday, July 14

End of the World

It was predicted that the world would end in 2012. 

It didn't. 

I got married that year. Probably the end of my days of peace and fulfilment.

There are so many events that spell doom for us, and we think if such and such thing happens, then my life is over. 

When I was in school, one of my umpteen teen secrets was that I couldn't for the life of me, memorize the multiplication table of 17. I was so sure that everyone else but me knew all tables by rote that it distressed me no end. Now when I look back, I barely recall having used the table in all my growing up years. But back then, it was something that appeared a major obstacle in my education, career and reputation. (Little did I know that my peers and elders did not know the math tables of 13, 14, 15 and 16 either, and anyway what are calculators for?!!) 

That's just a tiny example, one of many that would spring to your mind as well, when something seemed unsurpassable and daunting.  

Right now, as my son displays all wonders and disasters of toddlerhood, there are so many things that stand out as "can do" and "cannot do", and become benchmarks for moms who enjoy (or can't help) comparing their kids with others. I've never been one of those moms, I knew my child would cross his milestones as and when he was ready, and sooner or later, all kids are able to do everything that is required of them. (All of us grew up just fine, didn't we, no matter what our scores in school, no matter what our experiences in life.) Some of us did better than the others in certain fields, and the others are happier though they may not have done anything that seems extraordinary to the rest. I know my classmates who flunked in school while I scored near perfect marks, and now they're settled in all parts of the globe, earning probably way more than I do, and ticking off items in their wishlists and their lucky spouses' too! Life's fair, everything balances out in the long run. 

Coming out of the closet and divulging the truth about yourself to society is a fate worse than death to our earlier generations. Everything was swept under the rug, and people pretended everything was fine, just so that society did not look at them funny or criticise them. Fortunately, our generation is more honest and upfront about confessing our realities - be it our sexual orientation, marital status, career preference, life goals, etc. Our parents may not approve, but most of them do support us and allow us that blessed chance to do what our hearts say. Society, that comprises folks like our parents, thus follows suit and while they still whisper behind closed doors, stories are forgotten and new ones take their place. 

I had an inter-caste marriage, much to the agony of my family: blood as well as in-laws, for various reasons. But since many youngsters then chose partners across religions, I did not ruffle too many feathers. I thought it was the start of my happily ever after. It was cursed even before it started, and over the years, I realised that I would regret this union, though I'd skipped the regret of not having taken a chance (which is a lot more common). 

For 3 years I tried to make it work, sometimes alone, sometimes with the help of the "wonderful" (ex) husband (who objects to being mentioned on this blog, though he religiously stalks me here since I've blocked him on Facebook and WhatsApp and my real life, and threatens to sue me for defamation, for citing things that I've experienced in real. Bollocks! All he wants is to avoid paying maintenance for the kid, just like he avoided all duties and responsibilities of husband-hood and fatherhood. Which I'm okay with! Good riddance to bad shit, even at the cost of an arm and a leg.) 

My marriage was not meant to be. I should have quit many years ago, but hope and the shame of divorce kept me going. I felt that a love marriage (or any marriage, for that matter) should never end. It was a promise for life. End of a marriage, meant end of the world (yet again). 

Had I been sensible and known that I'd have to change my opinion, I'd have changed it sooner and saved a beautiful creature from being impacted. But well, this angel being there is a blessing to me as well. Plus the knowledge of how tolerant, how wicked and how loving I can be, which was an eye opener for me as well.  

Oddly, they talk about mutual consent divorce. How can divorce be mutual consent, why does it need to be? If one person lets go off the handshake, there is no handshake - it does not depend on the other person withdrawing his hand or not. Marriage needs to be mutual consent, not divorce. And divorce is not the end of the world like I thought it was. It is the end of my sacrifices and suffering, and I have come to terms with it. My dear husband probably hasn't, since he doesn't want to let me go free, though he's the one desirous of freedom and no-strings-attached-relationships.

So separation - better late than never. I'm not the only one, and I am definitely one of the luckier ones, who at least have a choice, and means, reasons and ways to survive. Better than those couples who stay together due to limitations and helplessness, and certainly better than couples who pretend to be together but are more distant than strangers. "Choosing to be miserable together than happier alone", as I read on Scoopwhoop, and exactly my condition up until last year...  

We all have our reasons. We all have our methods. We all choose to sanction some things, and we detest some others. We are all right. We are all wrong. And we all co-exist. Our perspectives change, our wisdom rises above the petty and prejudices.

And the world only ends when we stay stuck, refusing to move on. Find your miracle, be your saviour. Uncover your strengths and reveal your dreams. Nothing can hold you back, if you really want to be happy. The world only ends when you lose faith.  

The world ends. For you.

Reality? It is always alive. Never dies. Never will. No matter what. Even if you cease to exist, the world shall still go on. So don't take yourself too seriously, don't beat yourself up over your mistakes and bad decisions. It was all meant to happen. You were supposed to learn those lessons and experience that anxiety and pain, all so that you could be who you are today, better than yesterday, ready for tomorrow. 

Smile and say hello, it's a beautiful world. And it's immortal. 

(You're not . So make every day count, and enjoy each moment.) 

Cheers!
Anuja


Sunday, July 9

A Decade of Blogging

Hi there, 

I've been on Blogger.com for a decade! Hurray!

That I have not written frequently enough is another tale altogether, but I am delighted that people across the globe visit, stay and return to  550+ posts on "Life..."

I cannot thank you enough, and I do hope I bring you pleasure and reflection in your good and not so good times. Blogging is catharsis to me, and a responsibility as well, especially when someone tells me that they read a post or remind me that I haven't expressed in a while. Heartfelt gratitude. You are my motivation to write, despite my long absences. To each one of you, thank you!

Albeit a cliche, life's a roller coaster, in so many ways more than one, and we meet some amazing and not so amazing people on the way. I look back at all that's happened and all that I have done in my 3 decades of life, and it's been crazy! So much learning, so much heartache, so many joys and so much to be grateful for. But I'm not going to make this a boring, philosophical post. I'm going to tell you what I've been up to this past month. 

(Yes, it's been 4 weeks. Sorry.)

To take my adrenaline rush up a notch and tick another item in the deep bucket list I got, I went to Andaman and experienced scuba diving. Remember Hrithik and Kareena in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? That's exactly what I did, and I felt exactly as petrified as Hrithik underwater. I had a wonderful instructor, goes by the name Steve, and is from Bangalore, though he spends more than 11 months in a year on the archipelago away from civilization, blissful among the flora and fauna under the sea. He kept me alive and gave me strength as I cruised below the surface of the water, worried about my next breath, trying to enjoy the sight of fish, octopus, anemones and other creatures. It was beautiful, but I'm never doing it again! Scary as hell, even if you know swimming, which you don't need to know. Throw me off a plane a 100 times and I'll be excited, but I'm never going underwater again. You can't open your mouth to talk or scream, and that's not my idea of a great place to be! I'm a trainer after all, and I need to have full use of my mouth, no matter where I am! Only breathing through my mouth - no, not good enough. 

Apart from that, I had fun under the sun with my son on the beach amidst the sand, making castles and enjoying the waves. We're baked brown and happy for this break, which I desperately needed for my sanity and peace. I've been working and fighting some personal battles for more than a long time, and this vacation helped me rejuvenate, re-energize and renew myself. Thank god (again) for such opportunities and possibilities. 

Review of the Andaman islands - It's a gorgeous destination, just as pretty and more economical than other phoren locations which they show on TV and advertise in movies. Havelock beaches are a must visit, and we also stayed at a wonderful resort called Summer Sands at Neil island. We also visited Mangrove and Lighthouse beaches (since Elephant beach is closed almost all year). The blue, green waters and clean beaches - you can see multicoloured fish with the naked eye right at the surface of the water! Apart from multiple beaches with water sports, you got the Cellular Jail with a very painful story and an okay-ish light and sound show, some aquariums and museums in Port Blair. Food can be a problem for pure vegetarians, and the hotels though 3 and 4 star, have limited facilities owing to transport and connectivity challenges. I would definitely recommend Andaman and Nicobar to beach lovers.

Now it's back to work and life, where a difficult battle awaits since my marriage is on the rocks and my soon to be ex husband is harassing me and refusing to sign the mutual consent papers in court. I've suffered for 3 years, been in depression and taken care single-handedly of my son along with a full time job, but that suffering apparently is not enough according to my amazing spouse and he'd like to teach me a lesson. Looks like all his adultery, desertion and abandonment, physical and verbal abuse, dowry and in-law harassment doesn't qualify as adequate torture. I wanted to keep it clean despite all this and not press charges, but he is determined to not let me go "easy". All those times I cared and pampered him were insufficient, cos he wanted to go on secret holidays with his girlfriends from work, leaving the ill kid alone at home with me for days and abuse me for his failures and incompetence in every area of life. Bring  it on partner. I've got God, my parents and my son on my side. I'm sure this will end well for me and I hope it keeps you afloat, if not buried 6 feet under. Karma shall play its cards in time.

Must have come as a shock to many of you, since I always have a smile on my face and a spring in my step. But it's been hard. And now I'm ready for all that life throws my way. I know I deserve someone much better, more cultured, loving and wise. Akhilesh was my mistake - I was warned by everyone I knew. I'm paying the price for this, but my biggest regret is that Aarush has to suffer as well. Nobody can make up for a father's place in life, no matter how much love and values are provided by the mother and grandparents. Guess that's his destiny too, and it's all for the best. Being a divorced, single mom caused me much worry and panic earlier, but it's been 3 months since I've accepted it and built a new life. The heavens up above are merciful, and I know it is going to get better.    

Reading and writing, everything obviously has taken a backseat at this point in time. With so many restaurants and joints mushrooming everywhere in the city, I've had a chance to visit Urban Foundry/Terttulia in Baner (just like any other, to be honest) and Raasta Cafe (which had a better ambience and spread). Despicable Me 3 was a letdown after the first two laugh riots, and that sums up my recreational activities. I do watch Roadies Rising and Sarabhai Take 2 now and then, but my days are full of work and Aarush on loop.  

Each one of us has his/her own troubles, some more difficult than the rest. I know you will get through them, be strong. Keep the faith, like God told Joshua in the Bible. You may not see the progress, you may think nothing is happening behind those walls. But trust me, at the end of it, God will set it right. You will be happy. 

And so will I.

Lots of love,
Anuja