Sunday, October 20

Oh to find the one you love....

Oh to find the one you love....
And the one who stands by you.
Come rain or shine, this single soul
Makes all your hopes come true.

He keeps you warm when the nights are cold
And becomes the cool breeze in summers
He knows value lies in depth and feeling
Not in money or numbers.

It's not about those good times
Or the parties you went to,
It's about the times you cried on his shoulder
And he knew what to say or just sob along too.

He supports you when the goin gets tough
And when you're wrong as well
The only thing he doesn't do
Is leave you alone and miserable as hell.

There will be fights and there will be pain,
But what there won't be is insecurity
You will always know he's by your side
No fear of abandonment or infidelity.

You know you mean the most to him
And your word uttered can change his goal
Of all the things he can have or lose
Your forlorn face is his greatest toll.

Vacations and gifts are all appearances
Moments are what matters most
The times he put work and self behind
Are the times you cherish and boast.

He knows how to make you smile
When everything seems desolate,
Sometimes with a book, whisky, movie or chocolate
Sometimes with a sermon on fate.

Oh to find the one you love....
And the one who stands by you.
It doesn't meant a lifetime of joy,
But you sure won't be lonely when blue.

... And I hope you find him (or her).

Cheers
Anuja

Saturday, October 5

Ola October!

Hello my beauties.

Dassera is round the corner and Diwali festivities will soon begin; the cleaning and shopping has started awrite!

Top of the list is obviously stuff for the little one, and amidst the regular clothing and toy gifts, what's noteworthy is that the chap wanted Alexa so an Echo dot finds itself on its way to us. Mum wanted a mixer grinder to dish us some amazing chutneys and I placed that order with delight. I did think I deserved a new mobile device since I'd treated my old One Plus 3 very preciously and it had given up on me with a faulty front camera several years ago. So the Amazon sale tempted me with a brand new red One Plus 7. I realised much later it has no headphone jack, which added the cost of a wireless headset to my cart and expense. Oh and some books and garments. All a day's work. Ab Diwali duur kahaan...

With sales and offers running round the year, festivals are not really an occasion to purchase anything. These special days are excuses to cherish moments with your loved ones. Due to a bad marriage, I've missed cherishing the most important times of my life - birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, festivals...

The night of my wedding, I had a fallout with the man, and now I regret going ahead with the ritual regardless. I missed the warm welcome and fun that accompanies moving to a new house and family since there was not a single soul to invite me home. I had to share my friends and family, since the man had nobody to call his own and no relation to offer to me as a new bride and partner. Seven years of marriage, and just a few occasions that were celebrated with peace and joy. Half the times he did not even wish me since we were fighting and most of my nights were spent cursing my destiny and crying my guts out.

My pregnancy was a nightmare despite my good health, and my postpartum days were depressed and lonely since the emotional abuse was abundant and endless. Even as I continued to work outside full time, manage the house and raise my son in the best way possible, I was always sad inside and missed a loving companion I could trust and rely on. Someone who was proud of me and valued me. Instead I was tolerated and misunderstood, criticised and ignored. I was lied to, and I was tortured mentally and physically, and each passing day had me convinced that life was worthless and hopeless. That I was not a good person. Any vacation and every family function was reduced to misery because of his whims and fancies. I almost came to a point where I considered I'd never be happy.

Sadly and shockingly, I thought I deserved it and chose to empathize with the villain of my story who treated me like trash. I actually believed that he was suffering and I was wrong. All for love. Stupid, unrequited love. Blind adoration. Mad obsession.

I deserved someone who would stand up for me, not coz I needed to be protected but cos I was worth being respected. Someone who would appreciate me for my strengths and how I added to his life and happiness. But no matter what I did, whether to support him or celebrate him, be it 2 birthdays in a year or being there for him when his family and colleagues exploited him, reminding him of his goals and pushing him to achieve them, nothing was good enough. If he did not have the sense to figure out who really cared for him and wanted the best for him after all these years, then I guess he deserved to lose us. It still hurts now and then, that someone could be so daft and turn your world upside down, all your prayers and plans gone waste, hopes and dreams burnt in a pyre to become a campfire for the ones that never cared and didn't matter...

I'm happy I have such a strong capacity to adore someone so passionately and fully. If I can do it once, I might be able to do it again. And with the right person, this will work out perfectly.

That I chose the wrong person is my undoing. I put his love above everything else, and turns out he did not love me anyway and did not need me at all... Ouch.

Wasn't all in vain though; my son is 10 times the man and companion that his father could not be. He is my reward. My reason for living. The one that makes my regular days worth celebrating. His divine hugs, unconditional love and nonstop chatter. I'd be lost without him...

But aren't we heading the wrong route?!!

Let me tell you how much I've enjoyed reading The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine. The sisters that go by the pseudonym have done an amazing job, painting the picture of a love triangle and tracing the depth of different characters. The pages come alive as you read the woes and triumphs of the protagonist, both perspectives delivered with full justice and sincerity. Definitely worth reading, take my word. I'm going to return to my Harappa trilogy - the last one Kashi beckoning from my shelf, as Agatha Christie and Chandragupta await their turn.

I've been catching all the movies too. Latest was War starring Hrithik and Tiger Shroff. Good acting, average story, handsome hunks who dance well and fight better. Full marks for action that seems ridiculously overdone, but then with two Greek gods in the movie, they got to be milked for their worth.

Also watched Criminal Justice on Hotstar, some awesome acting there as well. Pankaj Tripathi and Jackie Shroff have taken the cake even as the main hero - Vikrant Massey hogs your empathy along with his supporting lady roles in the form of lawyer and sister.

So you see, months are flying, and there's not a dull moment. Every day for me is Thanksgiving day for being alive and for having a world of opportunities ahead of me.

The past can only bother you until you find a present with a future. You got to evaluate what you've learnt or lost after every decision and failure in life. If you've done your best, then you got to stop beating yourself over the miserable mistakes. It's only a matter of time before life offers you another chance at happiness.

Keep your eyes, arms and heart wide open, amigos. Adios!

Love
Anuja

Thursday, September 12

September Rain

Hello everyone! 

Morya Morya is in the air - today is Ganesh Visarjan, such a blessed 10 days where Ganpati allowed us to host Him. Aarush is thrilled with the festivities and has learnt all the rituals and fanfare that accompany the Lord's worship. Takes after his granny!

He's blossoming into a fine, young lad, that boy. Feisty and compassionate, wise and smart, just and affectionate, expressive and multitalented - I am proud of him and I am troubled by him, too. He knows how to get his way, and he has a curious mind that doesn't give up. Discipline is the only thing that will decide which way he goes, for better or worse. As he turns 5, I can only hope for the best and do my best in raising him well.

It's been pouring in Pune and Mumbai. Floods and what not. A scary and difficult time. Hope you and everyone you know is safe.

I've had an active month so far. Lots of movies and shows, some reading and socializing, and lots of interesting work. The Prabhas blockbuster Saaho gave me an awful headache, which was healed by some hot toddy at Pune Cocktail Bar (Pavilion on SB road) followed by John Abraham in Batla House. Movie marathon after ages, I felt quite like a teenager in college! Chhichore was very entertaining - a brilliant cast, average and predictable story but executed so well that it makes your money worth it. I loved all the characters in the film, especially Sushant Singh - he's just so handsome and adorable. A man with a heart. Do they make them any more?!!

Men who definitely shouldn't be made - Kabir Singh, a movie remake infamous for its sexism and objectification of women. I felt some turmoil within as I watched. Shahid is great at portraying the character and you can't help liking him, knowing fully well that he abuses women and has no respect for anything or anyone. Women are nothing but a man's property and need to be submissive, that's the message, and the man gets the woman anyway is the takeaway. Despite his misbehavior and disregard, violence and addictions. Arijit's soulful songs make hating the movie harder. But here's my two cents - Kabir Singh is a man who can't communicate effectively and can't control his temper and violence. I've been at the receiving end. It's not pleasant. And there is no loyal friend or lovely song that can help you feel better. While men will idealize the protagonist, it's the women who need to drill down that this crap will not be tolerated or accepted. Obviously the movie missed mentioning that and raked in crores at the box office. India is still a backward country after all who think Arjun Reddy had to be made and then remade.

I watched Game of Thrones S1E1 the other day out of nostalgia, coz WINTER IS COMING... Still feels amazing and fresh!

I finally started Sacred Games S2 after procrastinating over confusion caused by mixed reviews. Seems okay so far (E3), let's see what next. Splitsvilla and Roadies remain my guilty pleasures, partly because there's Rannvijay Singha who I'm crazy about, but also since the participants can be a dumb and interesting lot who make the show amusing.

Baobab, Cult and Le Plaisir remain on my bucket list for when I meet friends and chill out, but I visited Garden of Edesia and Fat Labrador which were quite good. The rest of my time was spent on finishing Pralay from the Harappa series by Vineet Bajpai and I've recently started The Last Mrs Parrish by two sisters who go by the pen name Liv Constantine. 

So you see, it's been a busy and fulfilling time. The only thing that kept me back from calling it perfect was myself. You've heard of the quote - you're as happy as you want to be. In the midst of all that I was doing, I kept obsessing over my past like a child who throws tantrums over their favorite knife being taken away. It was harming me, but it brought some comfort in misery, making me feel like a martyr until I decided that companionship need not always come at a cost. There did not always have to be a compromise and sacrifice for every tiny joy you received as charity. Constantly making excuses for others and justifying their lack of action or interest was not healthy for me. And yet, change is hard, even for a trainer like me who coaches others through the process of Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement (ADKAR) and how to manage resistance. I keep thinking about what was and what could have been, getting mad over the idiocy of the man who I thought had potential to be so much more than a community helper without goals or a life of his own...

And there I go again... I keep telling myself I need to stop thinking, that is the biggest problem. But the mind has a mind of its own...

Keep trying, that's all we can do. 
Coz you don't go back to what broke you.
And you decide your worth.
What you feel < what you deserve.

Cheers
Princess

Monday, August 12

Women and Empowerment

I'm about to put my foot in my mouth, and I don't care. This may not apply to all women but it doesn't have too many exceptions either.

Women need protection and empowerment and support and understanding, yes, for sure.

From who?
Other women.

Women are the biggest enemies of women. Alpha male is not just a syndrome noticed in men, but certainly exists in women as well.


Which is why, rarely do we see women getting along with other women, especially without a clear hierarchy in place. Women are insecure and can't share the limelight with other gifted women unless they all feel comfortable in their skin and position. Be it the typical saas-bahu at home, or two peers at work, or a reporting relationship.

It's sad. Men get along as friends and colleagues, in school and office. Women who are supposed to be nurturing and warm, often end up backbiting and messing up relationships. And then we say women need empowerment in a male dominated world. I'm sure some do, but that applies equally to men who are meeker than many other men AND women alike.

Under the guise of diversity and inclusion, a lot of effort and resources go into actually doing the opposite - creating programs that exclude men from women and create a sense of differentiation. Going back to the concept of co-ed and convent schools, how are we plugging the gap by driving women-only missions?

Women in corporates are the last ones that need empowerment, in my opinion. What we do need is a session on being kind and genuine to each other. Not just on the face, but to have one face in front of everyone. Treat everyone with respect and not discriminate basis friendship and org hierarchy. Whether it is at a lunch table or conference table, don't make anyone feel isolated or humiliated. That's what we all need to reiterate. Men, I think, are far sorted because they don't bother about such petty things. Which is why most men get along with each other without pretending to be best pals, become buddies in a group with few or no expectations and last longer than thick feminine friendships that grow bitter in time. Emotions that are considered a women's forte, are exactly what we forget when we aren't on the receiving end of being mocked, ignored or criticised.

Not true across the board, but I speak from experience. I've been spoken down to by women far more often than men, and these ladies have been senior, junior and on the same level as me at work. Bullied in school and college. In society. Some of them not half as capable as me, but with added courage coz of their pack at their back.

I've never been in a pack, coz I've seen this happen in too many places and I call it out when I see it.

Since I come from a Psychology background, I do think I have a fair understanding of these terms and behaviors I'm describing with conviction, not bias.

One could argue that I could be the cause of the uncouth behavior and not a victim, but women who are leaders or aspiring leaders often talk down to people than motivate or support them. They mistake being obnoxious for assertive and they think being bossy is a leadership trait. This, I've heard across the circles.

Don't try to be a man. Just be a woman. Be a leader. Stop competing, because really, true talent and potential will shine. If you are afraid someone will shine brighter than you, that's fine too. There are enough places for all of us, and just like we tell kids - we don't have to be #1 in everything. Don't pull someone down coz you can't climb up unless you step over that person.

Women empowerment started off as a good initiative. I think we have lost the plot somewhere. Support all genders, not one or some. Keep the ground level and fair. Ask questions, listen to answers, help where you can and ask for help when you need. Be open. There's too much trouble in all our lives without us adding to each other's misery.

Why am I talking about all this today?

Well, I think about it every other day.

Just that I am not hesitating to put this in black and white today for fear of some women hating this post and subsequently me for some perceived story in their head that they don't have the courage to verify directly, but assume I've written about them...

And guess what, maybe I have.

Stay strong, and be real.

Cheers
Anuja

Sunday, August 11

Back to where I belong...

More than a few months have passed since I last checked in here... Can't say it has all been bad, but can't claim life is secure and stable either.

Halfway through my lifetime (I celebrated my 34th birthday a few weeks ago), and I still don't know where life is taking me. Not in terms of career, health or finances, which is the problem for most, but with regards to holy matrimony, something you tend to start calling "forever" after your 7th wedding anniversary, but you painfully realise everyday is neither enduring, reliable nor fulfilling...

And so I'm back again with my real family, my parents who love me unconditionally and stand by me, and of course my child, who I'd give up anything for. My dreams, my self respect, my personal pleasure. And with this very intent, I had moved back with the man who did not value me, two years ago, only to be broken again. I was beaten like a dog for calling out his goal-less, hopeless demeanor and incompetence, and this time I could not forgive him. I thought domestic abuse happened to women who were dependent and weak, but thrice over, I've realised that our society has sick men who can only prove their manliness by hating or hitting women better than them, and this one was chosen by me... I was a gullible, stupid fool in love, and I wanted it to work, first to escape the tag of "separated/divorced" and then for my son to have a "normal" childhood with both parents.

Normal did not last, with my "amazing" spouse who was obsessed with his mother, his work, and his phone. All that he did for me and my kid was a favor, and at my expense and planning. And that too, at his mercy. I requested, tolerated, begged, and yelled. Until I got thrashed in front of the maid. I did not call the police this time, it's pointless. But I did realize that I could not live with an asshole any longer and there was no way I could mend this disgusting relationship where I wanted to die every day and did not have any zeal for life. I had compromised enough and this was not my destiny. My son deserved a better life, with a loving family, that actually cared, unlike my dear husband's side that only knows to exploit and harass.

Those of you who know us, will say unabashedly that I'm the one who's loud and upfront, and he's kind and patient. He has two faces, that man, one for the public and one at home. I wouldn't be surprised if he uncovers temper control and mental health issues later in life. His apparent independence is a result and not a quality, or rather a defense mechanism since he doesn't have anyone at all to call his own. And that is why, I and my son, he never considered family. He counts colleague and sibling happiness as supreme, even though they use him, and nobody is ever there for him in his troubles. Only alcohol and infidelity (which he was guilty of last time) are not reasons for marriages breaking; lack of hope, companionship, communication, solidarity, commitment and belonging also are equally valid.

You don't agree?
That's fine. The wearer wore the pinching shoes for almost a decade before taking this call. Let's just leave it at that....

He did not appreciate or value me, that hurt. But that I was never a part of his life, that was my real insight. He did not need me, and there was no way I wanted to be a burden on him. His carefree life where he only wanted to serve others but not take complete responsibility for anyone. And so, even now, I will raise the child alone, with no support from him physical or financial. Emotional, there never was any. You don't miss what you don't have ....

He tells me I'm gonna lose my son and he's gonna hate me when he grows up. Well, I can't think of many kids who had 100% convivial relationships with their parents while growing up. I know I had a fair number of issues with mine, partly coz I chose to do rebellious things that weren't wrong in my opinion and partly coz my parents were fearful and naive. What's in my hands is to give my son a good upbringing and healthy environment, with opportunities and happiness, and I'm geared up to accomplish all of this. All by hook, no crook.

Here I am, finding my peace, trying to mend my life piece by piece. And truth be told, it's not as hard as I had imagined. Separation is not a stigma anymore, and I've found wonderful people who give me strength and remind me of my worth. They are not my family, but I'm blessed to have their support and wishes. I am flooded with goodwill and opportunities at work, and I have a social life that promises to get better. Aarush is slightly struggling with this change, as is to be expected, but he is an extraordinary lad and I'm sure this is the best for him and us. I cannot predict what will happen next, but anything is going to be better than what was, I'm certain...

I did not have to declare this here or anywhere. There is no need for me to. But I always start on a clean slate. That is also what I did when I started my chapter with him, not open to the wisdom that this was not my story, but only a couple of anecdotes. I am meant for bigger things and a better life... And God wants me to have it, after tasting what I wanted so badly for myself. I chose poorly, but He cannot bear for me to suffer. And now I choose Him. He will figure it out as he sees fit.

Reading has taken a backseat, as I was busy working on my profile for the Jobs For Her HerRising awards. I've been nominated as an influencer in Learning and Development (L&D) and this is such an honor, regardless of whether I win or not. I've also been invited to a Ted Talk sometime later this year, and I can't thank God enough for all that's coming my way.

All for the best!

Love,
Anuja



Tuesday, April 16

April update

Helloooo!

Three months have passed since I last peeped in here. Happy times to report, fortunately!

I complete 6 months at Northern Trust, time flies! So far so good, nothing to complain about. I'm now certified on 5 choices to extraordinary productivity by Franklin Covey and on my way to Crucial Conversations. Built a strong network already and working on achieving some key goals for the team and myself. 

2019 has been kind to me, and I'm not prepared to have it jinxed yet, so touch wood!

March saw 2 sudden events, a wedding in Goa (such a gala affair) and my debut as a speaker at a panel discussion in an LND summit on disruption and innovation in the field of learning and development. Check out some pictures of both these rosy memories...










And of course, GoT finale is here! Watched the first episode with a lot of gusto. If you haven't figured out what I'm talking about, I can only feel sorry about your lack of connect with reality and trends. Game of Thrones, one of the top shows of all time, which 2 years ago meant nothing to me, but one look and I was floored. You must watch, if you haven't. You're missing something. And there's no pride in claomicl "I haven't watched one episode of GoT". Coz we are all on the same side, we're all breathing! 

I did some reading too, yay! Sidney Sheldon's The Silent Widow followed by The Naturalist now. Bring it on! Plus movies: Avengers, Dumbo, RAW... A balanced life beckons.

Seen so much of love around me, and a fair amount of unpleasantness too, but with more wisdom and patience than before. Hopefully it will only get better....

Until we meet again!

Lots of love and best wishes
Anuja

Wednesday, January 9

2019 - The Last Teen This Century

Hello Folks, Happy New Year!

Santa did not get me any gifts but guess who did... My Little Big Man. He just doesn't stop surprising me. The incredible angel. All of 4 years. Gave away his precious purse of coins to buy me a brand new two wheeler because my current (or last) one was 12 years old and not in the best of looks and performance. "Main aapko new Scooty dilaunga" he says, "and helmet bhi" - and he did not even think twice, bat an eyelid or hesitate as he handed over his complete collection of coins to me, every one of them. My heart went out to him and I marveled at his generosity. I'm blessed, and I often forget it. He is truly an angel sent from up above with a heart of gold.

My Uncle gifted me a black Scooty Pep + under his name on his birthday, December 9, 2016. 
My 4 year old son got me a shiny blue Scooty Pep + on December 31, 2018.   

The adults in my life offered and asked me to change my ancient bike, but words are just words, right? All the while that I spent trying to help others and fix their lives and problems, nobody worried even once about getting me something that was so integral to my own life. I have chosen not to drive, but nothing stopped my spouse and father from buying me a scooter, and yet they did not and my son did. The fact that he did not have enough money does not even count, because his intent and determination were greater than those of the responsible men in my family. I am not disappointed in anyone, but I am certainly hurt - don't people who are grateful and responsible deserve to be cared and gifted? Or does only the crying child get the milk?

Some motivation to grow up and take charge of your life... !

As I get older and wiser, I realize my temper and tongue are still aflame. I see things happening around me, things that are unfair, that are not good, but they happen anyway. Goodness is not always rewarded, and good people suffer at the cost of the bad ones. And yet, you continue to be good, coz that is who you are. I cannot say I am the perfect model for my son, but I do try to teach him well and he is a great kid. So worthy in fact, that I get to learn from him. He wins skating competitions and running races in school, but he wins hearts everywhere with his intelligence and kindness. God bless him, and I hope he doesn't get his heart broken by unworthy uncaring pricks that abound in the universe.  
 
And a thought as I close today:
Happiness is not something someone else can give you or visualize for you, you have to find it yourself, within yourself, create it for yourself.    

All the best in the pursuit of happiness this 2019.  
 
Cheerio!
Anuja

Oh to find the one you love....

Oh to find the one you love.... And the one who stands by you. Come rain or shine, this single soul Makes all your hopes come true. He...