Told all her life that she was dark and ugly, until she believed she could be smart but little else.
A rebel with conservative parents who had a hard time raising her. They set rules that she broke anyway with a sharp and silver tongue, much to their agony and helplessness.
Alcohol, modeling, boyfriends and late nights - she did it all, no matter who said what.
"It's my life", she mused and declared, throwing caution to the winds.
"I'm careful, and I know what I'm doing. I won't live a life with regrets and I am responsible for all that I do."
She worked and she studied, and she did both well.
She met the boy she knew she'd spend her life with.
And then they broke up.
Actually, she did. He was heartbroken.
She did not like breaking hearts, but she respected candor more than she valued courtesy.
Life went on. People came and went. She had her heart broken, but she made more than a few good friends on the way.
Marriage. More chaos.
It was no fairy tale. Facebook pictures and tags lie. Motherhood drives you insane. It strips you of your personal life, and it takes away all your sleep and peace. There are moments of joy, no doubt, but they are far outweighed by a feeling of overwhelming frustration and responsibility. You never feel good enough. You always think you're doing a shoddy job. You always blame yourself, or your partner, or your family, everyone - all for the tiny tinker who dominates your life and thoughts, every single second. You can't enjoy that drink or that cuppa or a book or a show.
You don't own your life anymore. And that sucks, especially when everyone else is going their way without a hint of concern for your lacklustre, possessed life.
And then, slowly but steadily, things fall in place. The poop prince(ss) gets toilet-trained and sleeps through the night, allowing you some time for yourself and your partner. Their endless questions throughout the day give way to independent play and school time. Homework and fees are a tiny consequence when you get to work productively in office and focus on your ambitions and bucket list.
The delight mounts when your kid starts expanding his vocabulary - "Mujhe tik ke baithna hai" (=I need some backrest) says my little man this morning as he gingerly settled down in my unwelcoming lap to drink his superhero milk. "Don't use bad words", he mentioned the other day, when I called the Ola guy "ridiculous" for cancelling my trip. He jigs to "Cutie Pie" from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and my heart dances with him. He proudly tells me the name of all his classmates, and I try to recall if he had ever been small or was it just my imagination. He knows me so well, that I oil his hair on Saturdays and then we put a towel on the bed to prevent the liquid seeping through the covers. He knows he needs to wash up when he gets home, and that he needs to be prompt when he is called. He is confident and he is smart, and he knows it all.
I've done a good job, I think.
Raising a child is hard. Raising one with good manners and values is harder.
I get pitiful looks for keeping my child in the daycare for 6 hours while I am away at work. Ask them if they will come home and be their caretaker, and then people have other priorities.
You got to do it all. And you got to do it all well. Work, home, kids - nothing can be put on the backburner. Time is of the essence. What you avoid now, will avoid you later.
Prioritize, yes. Procrastinate, nope. No sirree. Not at all.
I got 4D's for you - Delegate, Dump, Defer or just DO it.
How high you soar, how fast you rise when you fall - that is what defines you. Not the labels others put on you.
Don't let your achievements go to your head, rein in that arrogance - you will need humility when you are knocked down by sorrow and failure.
Life doesn't have clear wins and losses, there is always a trade-off. We are all winners in different spaces at different times. The bar is different for us all. God's fair, after all.
What you believe about yourself matters, but what matters more is where that belief takes you in life.
Problems come and crises go. Some folks stay, others walk away. Life always works out in the end.
When you're alone, don't hate your company.
When you look at the mirror - like the person who looks back at you.
I'm here if you need me.