Wednesday, February 21

Year 2018 - Let's get this going!

Wow, did I really last write on December 20, 2017 and not a word after?!!

Shucks, that's really awful of me, apologies. I've been busy, is partly true, and there have been multiple complications in my personal life is also accurate. Let me tell you a little more on, in just a bit. 

Let's talk about what I'm excited about! 

I've watched so many movies this week, and I'm kicked about it - makes me reminisce about my teenage college days when I did blockbuster marathons in limited pocket money! I'm not one of those sophisticated (=snooty) cinema goers who only watch GOOD movies. As my dad says, people spent moolah to make a film and we should go back and donate to the cause, not every film can be a superhit after all!

So, I watched Kaalakandi (trailer better than movie), Padmaavat (all the riots and hullaballoo was crap), Aiyaary (high hopes smashed) and Black Panther (glad not to have missed it, despite my strictly neutral attitude towards Marvel productions). Coming up next is Sonu ki Titu ki Sweety (probably a Women's Day treat at office) and Pari (horror starring Anushka). 

Needless to say, my film addiction has adversely affected the bookworm within. I stand guilty of Tsundoku (= a Japanese word with no direct synonym in English, meaning, 'the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.') Worst hit, top of the pile, is "Butterflies, Parathas and the Bhagavad Gita: A Quirky and Heartwarming Journey Through God's Instruction Manual for Life" by S. Hari Haran - a good book with simple writing, alluring title and honest narration. I have no excuse for this one, and that is my gambit to commit to completing it soon and reporting success (or failure, I hope not) back to you. 

Next in line "Flying without wings" by Rishabh Puri - yet another chic flick, common author with same old story in a new cooking pot - this one I can possibly finish sooner, though it does have the heart strings touched with drama and emotion. 

A short trip to the native place went off well in January 2018 (Happy New year to you, buddies!) and there was tons of work to complete before I concluded my appraisal discussion with my manager last week. 

Now's the time to wait and watch whether efforts go acknowledged and rewarded or not. Hitachi's been good to me, I complete 5 years this October, and I enjoy my job here - flexibility, autonomy, et al. Moreover, my boss was named one of top 100 L&D professionals in India when I joined, and this year our HR head is part of the top 100 HR fraternity in the country. As if that's not enough, Hitachi Consulting is also one of the top 20 Dream Companies to work for, and 23rd on innovation in India. Mighty credentials to trump, no?  

The boy's growing up brilliantly - naughtier and cuter, stronger and taller, more inquisitive and handsome, more affectionate and talented and wittier than before. His Sports Day went like a breeze, and his Annual Day is round the corner. He's in some Konkoni dance that I can't figure out the lyrics of, while his girl classmates are waltzing to Dola re Dola. Can't wait to see it for myself after the way Aaru imitates them for my amusement!

The boy's father has come around as well - time and experience seem to have made their mark and set priorities in place. While we're far from the proverbial perfect couple, we do seem to grasp now that 6 years is a solid investment and we have Aarush to think about and raise well, amidst our personal grudges and utopian expectations. Hopefully this is the last you hear of it. 

And hopefully you hear from me soon again!

Take care, you're precious.

Regards
Princess

Wednesday, December 20

Pause, Make it Large

I've been ambushed by wisdom in a bid to propel me towards positivity and peace.

Maybe God decided that he had to take things in his own hands, since I was not taking the hint from you'all regarding how dank and low I was sounding.

One lasting truth, that it's all temporary. Friendships, love, sorrow and loss. Come a bright new day, there will be new reasons to live and smile. No matter how much you weep into your pillow at night (or on a companion's shoulder if you're lucky), you will wake up the next morning with a flush of energy and a reason to go on. All you need to do, is remain in the present. Yesterday and tomorrow only bring pain and anxiety.

Isn't that why folks low in IQ tend to be happier? Coz they ruminate less. Enjoy the here and now. Quite a curse for us thinking lot, who attempt to understand the world and it's people, categorise and organise all that comes with it, before and later.

Maybe wisdom implies knowing when to switch off the thought process and just live the moment, without fear of judgement and burden of responsibility. You're doomed if you're conscientious and consider yourself answerable. The blissful lot throw caution to the winds, and give all they got to the people and situation in front of them. Prices could be paid later, but who cares?!

I thought I had my life all chalked out and ready, and I was well on my way to achieving all the milestones that resonate with a life well led and a path well tread. Turns out, everything is China ka maal, nothing comes with a warranty. You may get hitched and pop a kid all under 30, but no saying when your partner will decide he wants to be a bachelor again, leaving you behind to take care of yourself - emotionally, physically, financially - with a toddler in tow! Can't, for the life of me, imagine the trauma of single moms without family and financial support.

A belief that gives me tremendous strength is that everything is destined. Your wins, your losses, your joys and your sorrows. This can also put you down at times, coz it implies you're helpless. Yet, having tried to fight destiny, I can only say it's true and inescapable.

People who came and left, they were supposed to stay only a while, don't expect them to be there for you forever. Strangers become best friends, spouses become strangers. They were here to teach you something, to make you strong, to help you explore how good (or bad) you are capable of being. Allow them to teach you, and go. You move on, as well, to a better life with more calculated actions and consequences. Born alone, die alone, why fret over who did not (or did) stay a while? Paths cross, roads diverge, move on. You need no one to survive. Especially not baggage.

Everyone's journey is different. Some people are meant to be great, others are destined to be alone. Change what you don't like, if you cannot change it then accept it. Don't settle when something is not appropriate, don't compromise when someone is taking you for granted. You were not born to suffer for someone else's jubilation. 

Don't live up to someone else's expectations from you. Nobody will applaud you anyway. Few will stand by you, despite all odds. Don't go looking for the right one. They will come along when the time comes. If they are supposed to. And if they leave, so be it.  

Brands across the world want to sell you happiness. Buy Starbucks and feel like a queen, ride a Harley and feel like god. Buy at the mall and spend at the casino, party at the best clubs and travel to soothe your heart. It's all a ploy. Your happiness is within you. Everything else is temporary. Too often to hurt the people close to you for the sake of those that won't give you a second look once your objective in their life is met. Chill with a cuppa at home alone, or with the dog, or on the treadmill, or the kid, without bothering to look at the clock or WhatsApp.

Amitabh Bacchan often quotes his dad, and I think it is one very useful piece of advice: Life is a struggle every day, and as long as there is life, there will be struggle. Don't fight it, accept it as a challenge and emerge stronger. Also, if things go your way, good. If they don't, it's better, coz then it is going as per the Almighty's desire. 

Keep being, keep doing, keep feeling. You're stronger than you think you are.

You can deal with it all. You got no choice.

You should not cling to expectations, promises, people or situations.

Do not complain, do not demand. Just be. Accept. Not everything will go your way.

Not everything will go against you either.

Life, in the long run, is fair. You get what you deserve.

If you've done something wrong, apologize and set it right.

If something is weighing you down, say it out loud and be done with it.

If there is something that you can do, do it. For your own sake.

Coz you deserve to be happy.

Change is the only constant. And a relief. Move on.

A better life awaits, just stop looking at that darned close door.

Stop feeling like a victim. It's all meant to be. Misery. Ecstasy. Love. Conflict. Peace.

So said the Bhagavad Gita. And so many other philosophers.

Tuch aahes tujhya jivanacha shilpkar - Wamanrao Pai


Make it large!

Love,
Anuja

Wednesday, December 13

Power Games

Knowledge is power. 

Not knowing, sometimes, is power. 

(Ignorance is bliss, right?) 

Experience and strong roots are power. 

Being new and past-less is power. 

(Sometimes fresh devils are welcome in place of known ones.)

Having support and strong relationships is power. 

Being detached is power. 

(Nobody to hold you back or push you down.)

Money is power. 

Being penniless is liberating. 

(Nothing to lose, people don't fake liking you.)

Power in numbers. And yet, one ought to be unique. 

Stability is power. Ambition is power. 

Control is power. Freedom, too.

(Which would you choose?)

Being someone's rock is power. 

Needing no one is power.  

Chasing dreams gives strength to some. 

For others, evading fears does the trick.  

So many power games in play around us. 

A man, soft and dependable at work, compels his wife behind closed doors to be submissive and accommodating, no matter what. 

Manipulation by acceding, or crying, coz it proves the other person a jerk. 

Curtains down, justice denied. 

Oh the ironies and vagaries of life!

Caught in the midst of all the hues of universe. 

Running through the fire, come hell or high water. 

In the end, stripped down and naked, you realise all those powers mean nothing.

It's a mirage. A facade. To make some and break some. 

We all suffer anyway. Some early on, some later. 

No matter where you started, no matter what you end with. 

Life's levels us all in the end. 


Who is John Galt?


Peace and power to you.

Cheers!
Princess

Monday, November 13

Explore and Be YOU!

I turned 32 this July. Makes me closer to 40, than 20. 

(No, there's no shame in asking a woman her age or a woman divulging it herself. Enough with these sweeping generalizations! So passe, and derogatory to women AND men of the new world ...)

While some would consider aging disheartening, I believe it's wonderful to be in your 30s - you're more sure about yourself and life in so many ways. People can only judge you now, they can't change you (for better or worse) and you know yourself and your goals with more clarity and honesty. Your childhood ambitions of being a celebrity have either been realised or not, by this time, and you have a fair idea of whether you will make it at all, thereby leading you to consider options more within your reach. For all you know, the old goal might not resonate with you anymore, and you find peace and passion in something alternative that you never imagined would be your calling.

When I look back now at my life, I see myself as a product of so many institutions and experiences. Unique, yet common. I was born and raised in Pune, like million other kids. Bullied like a few hundred. Teacher's pet, and the only one called Anuja Rathi. I went to Abhinava Vidyalaya and then Fergusson College, like thousand other folks. But I was among the few who scored a rank in merit, something that meant the world to me and my family then, but hardly matters now. Onward to a masters in Psychology and a career in training like hundreds of kin, where I am recognised as a model in my area of profession and social circle.

What's your USP?

What makes you unique? 

I don't obviously mean one in 7.6 billion (check this crazy clock!) or even one in 1.34 billion (that's India's count of today) - but at least one among many. What makes you YOU?

This couldn't possibly come out of your education or career, since there would be innumerable others that join the same institutions. It could not be hobbies either, unless there are some solid level achievements. For instance, Himanshu Agrawal from Mumbai made the largest origami giraffe in 2009, and set a world record. What remains unsaid, is that incidentally there were 9 others who helped him with this triumph, and did not get a mention despite being at it for 12 hours... 

So well, what's your selling proposition? 

If you don't know yet, it's time to find out. Explore yourself, ask what you have done that makes you proud and worthy. What do you carry within you that makes you someone to cherish? Or despise. Your wickedness is a USP, too, if you do it well enough. Depends on you whether you want to make it known and market it. There's always takers. For everyone. And everything. The price needs to be right, and the market needs to be discovered or created. 

Let me help you get some perspective. The typical hiring question posed my interviewers, "Why should we hire you?" What answer can you give that will get you a spot on the payroll or board of whatever?

There's bound to be at least one thing that makes you feel good about yourself. There could be many as well. Find them out, each one of them. That is your key to success.

Don't go by what others say about you, don't even start with "others call me/say I am ...." cos others don't know you really. Your inner voice will give you a true response. Others may know me as strong and certain, but I know how weak and lost I am inside. Who do I resonate with? Who feels more me? I am an ambivert, but a lot of people would tag me otherwise given my expressed personality and choice of profession. 

There's an interesting model called Johari window, where you (and others) learn about yourself and maximise the Open Arena. That could be a starting point. But I'm guessing that by this time, if you're still reading, you have already zeroed down to a few adjectives about yourself that are real, even if not acceptable to society or self. You may not want to reveal it, but by now, you do know it... What is it that sets you apart in your team/org/circle. Not merely describes you, but defines you. Figure out.

Your looks? What you wear? Whether you dance well or not? What are your vital stats? All temporary. Your confidence, now that's what stays. While many believe that women dress ti impress men, it's a long guarded secret that women want to look pretty first for themselves, and then for other WOMEN. Men be darned. 

Compliments and insults only hit, when you are insecure or assured about something, else they miss.

So, what is it that you bring to the table, partner?

Don't be afraid to be yourself. That's the best and only person you can be. There are too many others anyway....

Chin Up!
Anuja
    

Thursday, November 2

Search for the Elusive

All that glitters is not gold. Yet, each black cloud has a silver lining. 
Although, birds of a feather flock together, familiarity breed contempt. 

Life is full of these dichotomies. Contradictions galore. 
In life, in values, in people and in choices.

Lately, I've become more intolerant with people because I can see through their untruthfulness and I cannot stand it. While I am no Satyawaadi Harishchandra myself, I do make an honest attempt to do the right thing and tell the truth, no matter how bitter and the resulting consequences. I agree life is full of greys, but that statement applies to some situations, and not all, as conveniently exploited by those up to good. 

They say patience with family is love, and patience with others is respect. 

I find it hard to respect people who are not being genuine or generous. Those who pretend and those who are self-centred. No wonder then I am known for being the devil's advocate and calling a spade a spade at work and home. I'm liked and despised in equal measure, yet I quite like this quality where I make no bones about it. Makes me respect myself, else I'd be just like one of those lying buggers teeming out there. 

Diplomacy is a good alternative, I have heard. The unfortunate bit is most people do not understand sarcasm or tact, and go about doing what they're doing anyway, with zero regard to other folks and the impact of their actions.

The elusive gentleman and lady. Why art thou so rare?!!

Someone who is abusive at home is popular as kind and liberal by colleagues. Someone who is outwardly pleasant but vicious inside is lauded as sweet and nice. Even Rama who was the Purush-ottam (the perfect man) did injustice by Sita when he chose to be a worthy king first rather than a good husband. What did Sita get in return for all her hardship, loyalty, love and faith? She was cast away in the woods, pregnant and sorrowful. Our fates are anyday better than that godwoman, despite our intents and acts being worse.

As I learnt about Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, so many epiphanies surfaced - that there are "mokitas" where people do not openly talk about issues, that relationships die when honest conversations stop, and that we need to approach Coaching and Confrontation very differently than we usually do. Unfortunately, our culture inhibits us from being "Fierce". Meekness is taught and valued, flattery and gossip gets you places. Good leaders and true friends are hard to find, and competence and transparency can only get you so far. People are nice to each other only for a time and purpose, and relationships are forgotten the moment the tangible outcomes wane. 

They say it takes a strong man to deal with a strong woman, and I completely agree. As I see some of my female friends and colleagues hunt for a decent match, the narrow-mindedness of most men appals us, whereas it's a relief to know about it sooner than suffer later. Is it any surprise then that most individuals either remain single all their lives, waiting for someone compatible and real, and many couples either separate or cheat? 

It's Kal-Yug. The dark age. The darkness is more real now than anytime else. My patience is weaker, endlessly subjected to all that is not authentic, capable, human. The suggestion online and offline is meditation, but that's a long, lonely road my mind is not prepared to take. Choose your battles, they say - sometimes peace is more important than being right. 

As I count my blessings, I pray for honesty - in our lives, relationships, careers and society. 

Love and Luck to all of ye,
Princess
           

Tuesday, October 31

Burst of Happiness

... and yet again, the voice of the customer (VoC) tells me that my writing has become dark and gloomy, and that does resound with my (more or less consistent) current state. Totally unpleasant, I assure you. Not nice to read, but harder to endure and experience. 

Life's not all that bad though, despite my "why me" rants. I know people going through much more agonising shit and I applaud them for their tenacity and cheerfulness. Thank the Lord for good jobs, generous family and great friends - I'm blessed and often ungrateful. 

My days are made up of traveling to/from office, marveling at the antics of my growing superstar Aarush (he turns 3 soon!), creating content and sending loads of L&D communication at work, checking out videos and acquaintance updates on social networking, an episode or two of Game of Thrones (I'm on season 5 at the moment - loving Aria Stark and Olenna Tyrell and Tyrion Lannister, hating Cersei and Peter Baelish and can't quite make up my mind about Lord Varys and Jamie Lannister) and the weekly dose of Splitsvilla Season 10 (rooting for nobody in particular, but definitely hating Haneet and Alisha). Reading and writing has taken a complete backseat owing to my video obsession, a quick albeit brainless fix for boredom and laziness. 

Diwali was great - here, in Pune as well as in Bombay. We burst crackers (possibly more than we did last year, since Aarush is grown up and excited with fireworks left over from last time) Also had a good time with fam in Mumbai where I and Aaru traveled in Ola cabs and had a safe, economical, repeatable experience.

I watched Secret Superstar last week, a slow and emotional movie that feel short of the Aamir Khan brand but entertaining nevertheless. The song "Nachdi Phira" by Meghana Mishra is an absolute delight and never fails to make me cry. The state of Lavasa city also made me cry, because it is now a dilapidated ruin compared to what it was publicised earlier. How times change! Looking forward to Ittefaq this week and maybe some travel (pleasure/business) in the upcoming months.    

Aarush is a breeze of fresh air : we're reading about dinosaurs and his enunciation is way better than even mine! He makes me so proud, with his (often) well behaved and (over) communicative, handsome personality - nobody can keep their hands and eyes off the cheeky li'l pixie! He's the heart throb at home and outside, and his memory and maturity is second to none. I know a mom can be prejudiced, but you would know this is true if you've met him... He adores anything scary (just like mommy!) and relishes junk (again like mommy!) Be it painting or Tabata with me, or running around at daycare, bossing around with the grandparents or loving outdoor play - this child has a million hobbies and one. Just hoping that I live up to being a good mom to this amazing human. 

I've come across someone called Murali Sundaram - a happiness coach, as he calls himself. Subscribing to his daily digest has made me ponder on some simple aspects of life that we generally do not to introspect or notice. Some of his tips, that might benefit you as well, are shared below: 

* To stop brooding over painful memories, stop replaying the incident in your head, take deep breaths and remind yourself of a happy experience. Control your imagination and choose bliss rather than negativity (which as we know, is more powerful and permanent than the positives, hence needs more and mindful effort)

* Find fault if you wish to increase happiness; not fault in others, but fault in self. Take responsibility of your behavior and thought. 

* Change your attitude from WHY to WHAT. Rather than saying "Why did it happen to me?" (which is my top favorite currently) - ask "What have I learnt from this? What do I need to do now?" - focus on the future, not the past and dwell on action than blame. 

* Planning and preparation coupled with meditation are the most effective tools to make your life productive, successful and happy. It's tougher than it sounds, and you will fail - but don't give up. Just like life does not give up on you.

... and there is lots more, feel free to browse should it interest you. 

See you another day!

Cheers, 
Anuja   

Sunday, October 8

Weird Things

Weird thing that I'm writing in so late... (It's almost 01.30 IST now) 

Weird thing that I've titled this post weird thing, too.

Weird thing that I've (finally) started watching GoT (Game of Thrones) after all these years despite people getting trolled and myself sniggering at it... I'm now at 402. Loving Aria and Tyrion, hating but admiring Cersei, Tywin and the Hound, sorry for the Starks and Jon Snow.

Weird thing that I did not want to write for so long since what came down on paper (web, in this context) was only depressing and negative. Did not want to come across as a crybaby or cribster or pitiable to you folks. Nobody likes a whiner. 

Weird thing that I'm finally writing now. At this time. Dead of night. 

Weird thing that some psychos are trying to hack into my gmail for ages now from West Bengal, Jakarta, Bali and Pune. Like, what in Christ's name are hoping to find in my email? 

Weird thing that I gave up a chance to go to the US. My (benevolent) company offered to send me on a year long (rare) assignment to Amrika and I said nope coz there were other pressing matters at hand. 

Weird thing that fixed deposits in India earn you less than 7% but you pay 10% interest on loans and 18% GST on the food that you eat in hotels. 

Weird thing that I can't seem to make up my mind about certain important decisions in my life that are causing me agony and my family inconvenience. 

Weird thing that people are dying of cancer all the friggin time - they eat healthy and they die of wax on fruit peels, they exercise regularly and they die of some other cancer, they don't have any (regular) fun in life, and they still die of cancer. I've never heard of a smoker or junkie dying of cancer, and that's weird, right? I mean, where's the motivation to act and stay healthy? You die regardless, and of cancer. Where's this coming from? The air that we breathe, the lifestyle we follow, the food that we eat and the genes that we inherit. No saying who will get what. So you know what, do the hell what you please, and live your life to the fullest, coz no one can answer why when you're gone. Might as well make the most of it.

Weird thing that some people are only born to drink while others are only born to serve others. Weird that they don't accept it, or care to do nothing about it. 

Weird that I think I'm a writer, but haven't been able to finish 50k words in my book in the last 2 years. 

Life is weird. People are weirder. 

And that makes life interesting. A straightforward story would be as boring as a math formula. 

(Which I certainly enjoy, appreciate and welcome.)

(No wonder I am weird.)

Cheerio!
Anuja

Year 2018 - Let's get this going!

Wow, did I really last write on December 20, 2017 and not a word after?!! Shucks, that's really awful of me, apologies. I've been...