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Thursday, November 22

My Big Little Man

Happy Diwali, folks! (belated, sorry)

Exactly a month since I last wrote - caught in a whirlwind of activity, juggling work and home, festivals and routine. Aarush turned 4 last week, and I'm 1.5 months old in terms of NT age. Cheers to us!

I've said it before and I'll say it again - days don't pass, but years fly. I feel it when I see my son every single day. We don't think we're growing old, or our parents are getting older, but changes in kids are just so much more noticeable and adorable. From the gurgles to now complete sentences, superior Hindi and English vocabulary usage, arguments and comebacks - Aarush is a conversationalist's delight. And sometimes a bother, coz he's a chatterbox with no mute/stop button! He even sings to himself during solitary play or does running commentary and if I don't hear anything, I need to pop into his room and check if everything's okay and I generally find him asleep. Ha ha. 

The funniest words he's used recently are "Saba-naba Kich-di" instead of "Sabudana Khichadi" (= a sago delicacy frequently consumed during fasts, but also preferred otherwise). Oh he can very well enunciate "Sabudana Khichadi" but he insists that his teacher calls it "Sabanaba Kichdi" that's what it is, thank you very much. 

His favorite color is orange since birth, he loves shopping, especially for his car collection, and he is very clear about what he wants and doesn't. He does not like being touched, but he is obedient and inquisitive. You may call him shy the first time you see him, oh boy, wait till he is a little comfortable and you'll be enthralled by his energy and wit. "Your kid is not coming" - he said to a neighbor once, and "You don't care for your mother" - he told me when I chose to cross the road with him than his granny. Smart Alec.

Sonny boy made me immensely proud when he scored almost cent per cent marks in his school tests. Honestly, I would not mind much even if he got half as much. After all, I was a 90+%er all through school, and I don't think it matters at all now. Add to that, he joined the new school 3 months late, so my expectations were pretty low. Fortunately or unfortunately, he has set the bar high now, and I'm going to try and not let that color my future expectations from him! But he's a wiz, that chap - Hindi, English, coloring, writing, logic, sports, memory - you name it! Hurray.   

His EQ (emotional intelligence) is staggering, in my opinion. He's wiser beyond his years, more sensible and perceptive than most adults. (Could this be because he has immature, impulsive and aggressive parents, I wonder?)

He mediates fights, asks questions, seeks to understand, puts his point across, all very gently and honestly. He very expressive and sensitive as well, and I both, admire and fear this. Admire because he's such a beautiful human to be around, and fear because emotions bring more pain than joy in the world we live in. He is hurt when some kid refuses to play with him or doesn't do "dosti / batti". He is elated when someone else is happy, and he knows how to share and care. His demeanor with his little cousin and friends is marvelous and it almost nudges me to give him a sibling of his own, but no sirree - too high a price to pay for his companionship! I'm one and done. LOL. Got my own life, sanity and aspirations (and finances!) to consider, so no. At least not until circumstances change.

Circumstances.... all well, but nothing great. BAU (business as usual) but nothing that fires up the soul. Mild depression? Maybe. I have a hard time falling asleep at night, and then there are days when I don't want to get up from the bed. I worry about my weight, and binge on junk. Life is on track, no REAL trouble, per se. Got the resources, lack the will. Have responsibilities, but no dreams. I do shopping for others, I pursue others goals and problems as my own. Passions of the past have vanished, I feel more like the side cast of the story supporting the lead characters than actually the hero of mine. I don't know if that is good or bad, but it sure feels like I'm whiling away my time without making my time and abilities count. Matter of time, I hope. Until then, it is Facebook and Instagram checking, Bingo showdown craze, Splitsvilla and Koffee with Karan reruns, and some Netflix now and then. Oh, and when I can summon the perseverance and patience, it is to read Perfect Love by Shubha Vilas and conclude The Curse of Bramha by Jagmohan Bhanver. Writing (book or blog) is (as you can see) right at the bottom of the list. Why repeat and harp on what you've said 100 times before? Right? 

Went to get my eyes checked - and here's the news... I've got glasses again, thanks to my screen obsession - TV, laptop, mobile. 6 years spec-free was thrilling, and I have no regrets about my eye surgery - it was worth every penny and worth all the effort. Back to spectacles for now.

And time for us to say adios...

Have a good one, fellas. 


Sunday, October 21

From Up Above


Happy Dassera, you'all!

Writing to you from mid air right now. (Obviously will post it once my flight lands!)

All I can see are diamonds and emeralds, rubies and sapphires. Busy moving jewels and endless streams of pearls. God must be delighted watching this scene from up above, day after day. 

God has also been more than kind to me, I do realize day after day. Maybe God favors the brave, or God helps those who help themselves. Either way, I accept the compliment (made by self) very graciously and thankfully. The pieces of my puzzled life have fallen together and I have crossed the eye of the storm to reach the calm. 

My new workplace seems fantastic, and while it's too early to say, I do believe 2 weeks is a good time to understand the true culture of a company and the people within. To put it in a nutshell, they've all made me feel so special and comfortable, it's like I belong here. And that's a huge statement, given that several people (and leaders) think the universe revolves around them and everyone else is second citizen or at their mercy. 

So, as 2nd Vice President at Northern Trust, I have joined the Enterprise Learning and Development team under the HR function. We're a lean team, and there's loads of exciting stuff in the pipeline so I'm totally looking forward to all my time of learning and network building. 12 years in the training domain have equipped me with reasonable expertise and my Master's in Psychology has bestowed me with fair insight to believe that this is going to be an exciting phase in my life. Not to mention, everybody who has blessed me and stood by me through times when the going wasn't so great. Change is the only permanent, my friend! Hang in there and good times will be here soon...

So, I'm in Bangalore for 2 weeks now, chilling at the Courtyard Marriott and working out of my office next door. What I did do in the short break before I joined NT, is enjoy a quick trip to Bhutan with my mum and offspring. While it wasn't the best vacation of my life (Ladakh was more mesmerizing and being with the superactive/stubborn duo was immensely tiring), it sure added to the stamps in my passport and enhanced my awareness about Buddha, the Divine Madman, and dzongs (=monasteries) in general. What probably stands out in my memory the most, is Punakha's Phallus obsession and the story of the Bhavachakra, as well as the surprisingly fresh air and juicy fruits and vegetables in Bhutan. There were many foreigners, especially at Taktsang monastery, famous as Tiger Nest - a huge edifice miraculously perched on top of a mountain, a trek that is not advised for the faint of heart and vigor. No doubt then that my mommy trounced the journey and added yet another feather to her magic stamina at 60 hat. The bash we threw at her birthday few weeks ago could well be mistaken for her 30th, LOL. What tenacity, what beauty, and what cooking skills! She's really a wonder. May she live long and healthy.

Coming up soon is Diwali and little Aaru's birthday. My new house is all ready and set to go on rent, since we've moved to a larger and posh-er apartment closer to my new workplace. So there, all sorted. The man is well, and a better man in many ways. We've caught up on some fun date nights at Kharadi's World Trade Center party destinations, and some films like Andhadhun (more frustrating than Brij Mohan Amar Rahe and Udta Punjab) and Badhai Ho (amusing one with great acting). We've also made the most of the Amazon shopping sale and other online scams. In a bid to save 20%, we have heartily spent 90% of our savings. Ha ha. Educated idiots, the bunch of us. Slaves of technology and trends. Bah.

And that's all I've got time for as we land in Namma Bengaluru. Talk to you soon. Ciao.


Wednesday, August 29

August Rush


So well, to take off from where we left last, after a lot of agonizing and wondering, speculating and criticising, I have finally made up my mind that Aaru Baby will be going to Phoenix. 

My reasons are myriad - top of the list is an unpleasant episode with the Admin head that got me biased against Kothari, as well as the fact that they do not allow eggs even in kids' lunch boxes. I mean, what the hell? Does the school have a right to interfere in the child's diet as well? Not to mention parents who do not have time to pack more elaborate meals for their kids... But the final nail in the coffin was that Phoenix is affiliated (and mentioned clearly) on the CBSE website, whereas Kothari has indirect affiliations through its sister concerns, but not for itself independently. 

A lovely apartment has been chosen as well to be our next abode - I am moving houses every few months, and I'm now a pro in packing up and moving, it seems! It's not fun really, but it doesn't appear very hard either, after having done it so often. The view and location of our new nest more than make up for the bills we're shelling out, and we hope to call it home for upwards of 2-3 years now. Time to kick up our heels and settle in. Touch wood!

This month has been pretty chilled out in terms of work as I wind up my current activities and handover to the team in prep for my exit in 2 weeks. I'm not really sure what I'll do in my break, to be honest, possibly spend time with the fam, sleep, watch endless Adam Sandler and horror movies on Netflix, catch up with buds with buds, read, eat, repeat. Jordan beckons but I'm ok for a short escapade somewhere closer, too. My just-turned-60-yet-looks-16 mother and I could set out to relive our Andaman holiday last year, with the minor in tow, obviously. You will surely hear about that, once I know...

But what I've really had on my mind for the last few days is that we focus too much on the heroes and protagonists at the cost of the side-heroes, villains and cheerleaders. I don't just mean this in the movie context, although that makes for a bright analogy - people watch and applaud the sportsman, the cheerleaders go unnoticed and unappreciated (watch "Death Note" for reference). The hero stands out in movies, but the people who make it happen remain unknown or unliked or unnoticed - this includes the villain and side roles, the makeup and costume guys, spotboys, etc. 

And where am I going with this? When you look at the success of one person, don't forget that it is always team effort - be it the mother/housewife who keeps things in order for the man to shine at work, or the backend team that makes the project manager look like a star - give credit where it is due. If your pride is your winning alone, then you're not looking hard enough. All those speeches when someone wins an award, are true - your family and your support systems must be acknowledged. Not once, or twice. But ongoing. Let your victories not go to your head. It could all collapse without the support of those that love you and vouch for you.

"Gold" - the movie that I watched most recently - a mix of Gadar and Chak De! The wife gives an idea that helps the man get a gold for the hockey team. The junior manager who could not have proved his mettle without the supportive Mr Bhatia. The star centre forwards who could not have shone had the team not worked as one unit. The message has been drilled umpteen times, and that's a great reminder, even if the film itself was not outstanding. Waiting for some fun in the form of "Stree" now... and hoping to finish "The Curse of Bramha" before then.

Adios till then! And peace to Kerala in these troubled time...


Thursday, August 2

Balance your Accounts

I actually wanted to come here today and talk to you about something educational and developmental - the Leadership Challenge, a book by Kouzes and Posner, and about how it gives you useful practices to become a more effective leader. 

But then, real life crises and harder challenges inundated me - something that I must share now, and something that requires the Leadership Challenge to wait for next time.

I love horror flicks, but what really got me in a frenzy were two movies : Udta Punjab and The Butterfly Effect. The films freaked me out, about how helpless and desperate some lives become, for little or no fault of theirs. Bullies and pricks mess up your sanity and innocent people suffer for the dastardly acts of monsters in human disguise. Have these creatures got no bloody conscience? 

Sorry if you have no context as I rant, and it's okay if you haven't seen these films. If you're as sensitive as me, their effect will stay on with you long after you watch them. Life suddenly becomes too real, and unbearable. Which it actually is. After all, when you read in the news that 8 men raped a pregnant goat, and young girls are paraded naked and abused, then you lose whatever little hope you have in God and humanity. Really, how did we manage to fuck up so bad? Is this where our intelligence has led us? Did God really plan all of this to turn out this way? Is this what was described eons ago as Kal-Yug? 

And apparently, we're not even halfway yet. There's still a lot more decades to go before Kalyug attains its full g(l)ory. I shudder at the thought, and I'm glad I'll be gone long before then. If the final Kalki avatar is going to set things right, then it's no mean task that we're setting out for him. Shiva's Tandav is definitely going to be welcome to end this madness.

We're evolving, they say. Industry 4.0 is here where artificial intelligence and automation will make our lives easier. We're creating robots and machines that can do things for us, giving us more time and luxury. In my opinion, all of us need to get back to constructive work, and stop fooling around. Idle mind is devil's workshop. Which is where people get ideas to loot and cheat others, abuse and wreck those that they think are lesser than us. Lesser in age, or status, or level, or other criteria that doesn't matter one bit in the long run. 

"Dharma Kshetra", one of the shows on Netflix, is a drama on how everyone in Mahabharata was summoned into Chitragupta's court to account for their actions and accusations. Everyone, right from Draupadi (episode 1) to the Pandavas and Kauravas and even Krishna, were asked uncomfortable questions to justify their intent and acts. 

Think of your life, and this trial in your final journey. When you are interrogated about what you are doing and what you've done, to yourself and to others, will you be able to explain? Would it sound acceptable and respectable? Will you be able to earn awe and empathy with your answers or will you be condemned and ridiculed? What you tell others is important, but what is more significant is what you tell yourself. You can't fool your own conscience. And that is why some of us achieve enlightenment and peace while others keep running like headless chickens, suffering and failing in life. 

Know yourself, know your purpose in life, know the means to these ends, and do what you got to do. Not coz someone is watching, but because your final accounts will be scrutinized and your final rating will be a mirror to all that you've been and done in your life, intentionally or involuntarily. Watched mutely as someone was harassed? Participated (through direct action or complete inaction) in embarrassing someone? Hurt someone with your words and deeds? Exploited someone or never acknowledged and valued those that were there for you? Lived and laughed at others' expense? Nothing will be forgotten, nothing will be forgiven. Not unless you acknowledge and repent, change yourself and be a good person, deserving of being called a human. Like the popular joke claims, a priest was sentenced to hell and a driver to heaven, because people remembered the Almighty when the driver drove, but they yawned with boredom when the priest gave sermons. 

Jokes apart, time to get less sombre. 

Something else that has been on my mind like a puzzle I'm unable to decipher, is finalizing a school for my kid. Yes, we're going to be moving (again) which calls for a change in school, daycare, home and neighborhood. My friends and family are trying to wrap their heads around our constant movement, but I take it as a test of adaptability and flexibility - a level of maturity and readiness that God desires us to attain. 

While I am quite excited about the move, the hassle of getting Aarush admitted in a good (CBSE) school with daycare facility is getting to me. I've shortlisted two options - Phoenix and Kothari, both in Kharadi, but their overall resemblance is confusing me. While Kothari has many positive reviews, I found Phoenix more spacious and airy. They're both charging a bomb to raise my child, but that's an obvious consequence of choosing to pursue a full-time career with no help at home. Once this decision is made, it will stay for at least 5-8 years, and that is why it is all the more critical that I make the right call for my bundle of joy, affection, energy, creativity, wisdom, talent and intelligence. I don't believe in burdening the child and making him grow up too soon, but I also want him set on the right track for success and satisfaction, to be a good person with the right skills and emotions enabling him to lead a happy life and be an effective, worthy individual in society. 

... And it's time to wrap up! 

Keep smiling, you.


Thursday, July 19

Paths Well Trod

She grew up - from a quiet child, bullied and bright, to a teenage girl with few friends and many fears but many more dreams.

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.

Dating. Chaos.

Marriage. More chaos.

Motherhood. Boom.

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. 

Stay happy!


Friday, July 13

Show me No Shows

I just gave someone my blog details, and then I realised... All I have been going these past few months/years is cribbing outside and flaking within. Gawd, the way my blog has evolved is from fun and happy-go-lucky, creative and lively to cynical and grumpy under the guise of wise and resilient. 

I earlier thought my long writing gaps and absences were my miss, but now they appear a boon; too much crabbiness for you to deal with already!

So, well, let me tell you what I've been doing these last 2 months, and what I plan to do these next few weeks...

Let's get the basics out of the way - I watched Sacred Games, all 8 episodes in Season 1, and I uncovered just how much social pressure shapes our actions. The show was good, though not extraordinary, but what struck me, was how much of a prisoner we have become to technology and entertainment. Earlier we used to wait one full week to watch the next episode of one of the handful shows on TV, but now with Netflix, Amazon Prime, SonyLiv, Voot, Hotstar and what not, we sit down like mindless zombies and keep watching episode after episode on loop, totally out of control of our brains, and utterly manipulated by the entertainment providers. Just how useful are these shows anyway? Do they teach us anything new, anything worth knowing, something to not be missed? 

No. All they do is give us meat to talk about to our peers who are senseless zombies like us, and ways to engage our mind and divert it from other, more ambitious, constructive actions. Real hobbies are dead today, because all we mention in our CVs and online portals under the hobby section is watch TV and listen to music. I used to write poetry and stories on my blog; these last few years - all I have done is write reviews of shows and movies and (very rarely) books. Damn! Just where did I go wrong... I thought I was a sensible lass, what crass!

The person who reminds me I am better off, is my husband, whose aim in life seems to watch all videos under the sun, useful or otherwise. The only person in my life who truly seems to have a balance of live versus unreal is my son - he is the one who enjoys conversations, likes to be outdoors and connect with the real world. He does like an occasional cartoon or two, but he's far superior to us adults when he says, "Enough now, let's play together". Child, indeed, is the father of man. Thank you, little Aaru, for teaching me this crucial lesson. 

We look for validation in all that we do. Am I watching the latest shows? What am I missing out on? What is everyone around me doing? How badly will I suffer if I am left out? 

We have lost our souls and our individualities. Me, no exception. I loved Game of Thrones after initially shunning it, until I could bear it no longer. I am eager to watch the ultimate season next year. I love Roadies that I religiously follow every week on Voot, and Splitsvilla, all thanks to my hero, Rannvijay Singha. I also have an inclination towards horror and comedy on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Koffee with Karan and BFF with Jeep was also interesting. 

I was drawn to this easy channel of entertainment, an obsession that kept me away from intelligent pursuits like reading, writing and doing something more tangible. I said work and the kid exhausted me, so I sunk into the sofa with my mobile phone and spent hours online, disconnected from real life, real people and my real self. I had no time for praying and meditation or exercise. But I was always available online. WhatsApp and Facebook made me more distant from those that sat right next to me. I left WhatsApp groups that were not relevant or useful, which made me watch dumb videos and memes, and shared endless Good Morning and mindless banter. I unfriended/unfollowed folks that I did not resonate with anymore. I make it a point to keep my phone away when I am with people, and I try not to look at it, until absolutely essential. I spend time on LinkedIn and news sites, and I have disabled all notifications from time-wasting apps. 

I am guilty, consider me reformed. 

Drawing a line is critical, to know when to stop and where to focus. It does not mean that you have to completely end something, but you need to know what is urgent and important, if you want to live life the best possible way. You decide your priorities, but your achievements determine your life. Be a fool and a slave to the wrong things, and that's all you'll ever be good for. Crap. A wasted life. Nothing to write home about, and a feeling of worthlessness long after the ship has sailed and others have moved on to greener pastures and better lives.

I hope the right people read this, I hope this post touches at least one, at least some of you. It will be my personal victory if you get on board with me in this struggle that appears flimsy, but will be a turning point in the long run. Evaluate your time, your life, your decisions. Anything that you should not be doing, quit. Something that has been on your bucket list forever, do it now. Clothes that you haven't worn and stuff you haven't used in the last 6 months, throw it - you will never use it again. Trust me. You won't miss it. For all you know, you don't even know when and where you misplaced it. Friends that you haven't met in ages - well, either you are not friends anymore, or you need to take the time to rebuild that relationship which you have taken for granted and cast away to the dogs.

I had only been thinking of blogging for some days. 

I did it today. I'll procrastinate later, I said. 

Get up, get a life. Get your life back. 

Lofty words. I know. But easy to do, no? 

Instead of "I don't have time"
Say - "You/This is not a priority"

Instead of "rejected"
Say - "redirected"

Your life will change. Don't mess up the big things for the small stuff. 

No regrets; that's what your epitaph should say.

I'm here if you need me. 


Thursday, May 10

Just Settle

Hi Fellas,

So I told you last time about how teens act grown up and say the (over)smartest of things? Well, now I met some 20 year olds that say their hearts are broken and that they feel old. Don't know what that makes me... 

I sure think our parents and their fathers have younger spirits than we do. They were resilient, patient and determined. Now we are all spoilt brats with grandiose ideas about how things should be, a privileged lot that cannot take failure and delay in good spirit. 

God bless us all with wisdom and peace.

I've got my hands full and my head overflowing with certain things on the personal and professional front. What frustrates me on both sides is that people are insecure, selfish and encourage mediocrity. People who work hard and believe in fairness (me!) are living in an Utopian world and just grilling themselves for no reason. The cat that gets the milk is the crying baby who won't do anything apart from complaining and licking a$$ 

So, well, what do we do? We can't do what they do, and we can't give up, so we keep shuffling, hoping our efforts will get recognized and rewarded, that karma will deal out the best consequences for each one of us. You get what you deserve. Always. But each time you expect, you will be disappointed. 99% of the times. 

Sometimes you just got to settle, you know. Sometimes you just got to stop looking. Like marriage. You assign yourself for life to this one person, for better and better-er. Similarly, your situation - whether it rocks or sucks (well, fix it then!) Or a job... Accept or change. But really, don't crib. Won't help. Doesn't resolve anything. Only makes life hard for you and harder for those around you.   

I'm watching a lot of Netflix these days, the hubby got a new subscription obviously. But it's mostly animated and kid movies coz the kid dominates TV time. Unless we're playing Tekken on the PlayStation, which all of us enjoy. Reading has taken a backseat to such a pathetic extent that I can't even recall which novel I last held. Probably the Geeta one, which I'm yet to complete. Nor have I made progress on my book writing dream. Stuck with the challenges of daily life, and too busy to actually make a constructive effort. Pushing my goals ahead, and procrastinating, horribly in pursuit of money like that creature in Ice Age who chases a nut. I'm a nut myself. I'm going nuts. Three cheers.

No seriously, I am going nuts. 

So well, I watched Avengers recently - the Infinity War one, and it was pretty interesting. I found myself actually agreeing with Thanos. Very controversial, I know. So won't talk about it now. Maybe when the sequel comes. 

Deadpool was horrid though. Silly comedy. No more DP for moi. 

Until then...


Wednesday, April 11

Shame and Scandal

Hi Folks,

For the first time ever, I attended a live comedy show, Pune Comedy Festival 3.0, and it was a memorable experience. 

While Kunal Kamra stole the show with his political witticisms, Biswa Kalyan Rath - hubby's favorite - was pretty amusing, too. His style is crude and therefore funny, and obviously abuses make up the crux of the content for all comedians out there. There were some others like Abish Mathew (more hype than meat) and Jeeveshu Ahluwalia (more childhood stories than gags). Daniel Fernandes and a couple of newbies were part of the performing clan, and it was an evening well spent. 

The venue was huge - Royal Palms on Koregaon Park road, but the washrooms were terrible, and I'm never going back again on that count. You charge a bomb for tickets, you extort more money for food and refreshments, then the least you can do as organising committee and event venue is to have better toilets. Those mobile, plastic closets with no lights inside, placed in dingy corners do NOT qualify as safe or usable. Shame.

( Don't know Game of Thrones? Watch all seasons now before the finale next year! Winter is Coming ... )

There's this park I used to frequent in my previous residential area, and there's this young love that I enjoyed watching bloom. 

Now I understand that what appears a matter of life and death (literally!) at that age, appears so amusing and silly to you when you grow up to middle age.

( Yes, I am middle-aged and I know it. The greys don't excite me, but the thought that I am wiser and non-materialistic has its thrill. )

So, this boy and girl, both in their mid teens, meet up (almost) everyday in the park, and while their friends go doing their games and banter, this pair sits under the tree discussing sombre stuff or announces their romance discreetly in Romeo-Juliet style, balcony et al.    

That the boy is lovestruck is evident in the way he tries to play it cool and suave, macho yet courteous, but his bulk doesn't entirely give him the superhero, world savior look. The girl couldn't care less about that coz she is hopelessly impressed with his style, and her simplicity and spontaneity, accompanied with a little shyness, do little to conceal her emotions. They're a feast to the senses, the way they talk a tad too casually like they don't care, yet switch in a second to become overly concerned, how they flirt without flirting, and care without wanting to show it openly. If you've been in love, you'll know what that means.     
So, while Aarush is frolicking in the sand, I walk away so that I don't lose my calm with all the specks flying around and getting in his hair and clothes, and that is when I overhear these love birds, talking about how seriously one takes life, or how busy one is with studies, and generally, the one is the girl, and the guy dishes out wisdom in truckloads. The girl watches him with stars in her eyes, and he talks like he's Bill Gates reincarnated. 

Now don't go judging me, coz I really do not intend to pry, but the chap does speak too loudly, and the park is only so big that I end up covering the circumference in 5 minutes or less. 

The other day he started off his rant with "Yaar main itna depress ho jata hu, tum log itna jaldi kyu shadi karte ho?"

( = "I'm depressed, why do you guys wed so soon?" )

I was deeply concerned about a couple of things here. 

What do these kids know about depression? Has the word lost importance since I last knew it? Did he not mean "sad" or "upset", instead choosing to substitute it with such a terrifying state of mind and existence?

Why are they talking about marriage now? Is the girl getting married already? Were they talking about someone else? Are they planning something? Will their action retain their safety, physically and emotionally? 
Needless to say, my questions remain unanswered, and the duo are on my mind. 

But here's a confession. I was depressed to a fair degree in 2015-2016. Post partum depression could be a possibility, but I realise it only now, and I was a mess back then. I was also going through a personal crisis at that time, and life seemed lost. I wasn't hungry, I wasn't sleepy, or I slept in bursts. I was a wreck, either crying or shouting, losing my cool with everyone and everything. I was a ticking time bomb, and my parents and a few friends were my rock. They took my trash behavior and stood by me. I did not know how it felt to smile, and having a little child dependent on me made my life harder. 

Time doesn't stand still, fortunately, situations changed, and when I look back now, I am just so glad that it's over. It seemed like forever. 

Dealing with depression is hard, dealing with someone who is depressed is harder. You can't do anything right with them, and you don't know what is the right thing to do anyway. You don't know when and if things will change, what will make them change, and they're as predictable as a parrot (meaning not predictable at all).

So thankful that people are now aware that mental illness is just as normal as physical disease, and that there is nothing to be ashamed about. Most of the things that are cited as vices of the current generation actually existed in all societies earlier too, just that people did not seek help nor talk about it. Divorces don't happen more in our time coz we don't know how to maintain relationships, they happen because we don't believe in being sad forever. Abuse isn't a curse of the 21st century. It happened earlier also, but people did not have the guts to take action. Our older generations believe we are doomed, the truth is we are more accountable and strong than they ever were. We speak our mind, and we do what we believe in. If that is called disrespect, so be it. At least we don't repent for someone else's mistake later or stay dependent on someone for life. 

Follow your heart, follow your head. Follow what you believe in, and what you can stand up for. No matter who's on the other side. 

People will come around. Or they won't. 

It doesn't matter. What matters is that at the end, you'll feel like you lived your life your way. Mistakes, achievements, joys and sorrows and everything in between.

But what's absolutely gruesome right now is the rape culture and scandals that have come to the fore. Due to Unnao / Kathua / Asifa, The entire country has finally woken up to the fact that our womenfolk are not safe. Not by religion, not by age, not by clothes, class or behaviors - everyone is at risk for rape by our uncontrolled men and their vile desires. It pains me to see this situation and unfortunately, the most that people can do is voice their opinion on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, talk or blog about it, sign petitions and then go back to their life and routines. Kalyug is going from bad to worse, and I'm worried. 

What am I doing about it? Raising a son with the right values and respect for others, be it young or old, male or female. But I also bear the brunt of statements like "You're still your dad's daughter, not a woman yet" and "you and your feminism" (if I so much as question why rules are different for men and women). Yes sirree, men in our country need a royal washing down, coz no matter how much they pretend to respect women, the reality is 99% of them still don't think us equal, or consider it a favor and applaud their generosity and open-mindedness. 

It's not called open minded when the thought crosses your mind, dickheads. 

Shame. On the men themselves, and the families that raise them. 

And yet we shall survive... and voice our opinion...till we can.

- Princess

Wednesday, March 21


Hola Amigos,

Happy Women's Day to all the ladies and not so gentle-women out there!

How dining and gifting privileged females today contributes to upliftment of women, remains a mystery to me, but it sure is a lot of fun in our corporate and social circles, so YAY and bring it on. But, the women who TRULY need freedom and rights are the ones that have not even heard about riffraff like Women's Day. More power to them, and may they experience life and joys in whatever ways accessible to them. Amen. #PressforProgress

And in the same vein, men, you un-thank-ed, only despised and criticised species, more love to you guys too. You're expected to be strong yet controlled, gentle yet "manly" at the same time. You're supposed to have your act together and have an answer for everything. My heart goes out to you. Keep doing the best you can, just like us women, and children, and open category and reserved tribes and minorities. Godspeed to us all.

Travel and relocation when you're single is an exciting proposition, replete with adventure and learning. Moving houses with a toddler is nothing short of a natural calamity. The entire search begins with criteria that you had no clue about a few years ago. While grocery shops in the vicinity is important, a play area gets precedence. Similarly, your office could be a fair mile away, but the school and daycare need to be clean and convenient. How you balance the trade-offs is harder than deciding the ratings during this appraisal season where layoffs and poor hikes are changing the team and game. Pleased to report, in light of this realisation, that we have finally found a workable solution and space for all our needs. Life 2.0 begins this April 2018. Stay tuned!

But that's not going to be the end of this post. No. There's outrage that must be dispelled. Why, you ask? Or maybe, AGAIN? Ha ha.

As I comb websites and browse info for my son's admission, I come across many parent forums and groups, and all of them have one thing to share this quarter - how schools are harassing us for donations and exorbitant fees. The same curriculum and activities are offered by different schools at entirely different rates. I agree that infrastructure and facilities could vary, but that is not explained by 4 lac building fees and X amount of random, undisclosed charges. How much money can we cough up anyway? And how much extra will our kids learn anyway, given their age and capacity? I really think parents should be cautious and responsible when dealing with such shameless schools, well-established ones at that, and take a call on how much is fair and when they need to voice their concern. As long as parents stay quiet and comply, schools and institutions will continue to exploit. The one who allows and accepts torture is equally to be blamed as the oppressor, after all.

Life's going pretty good, right now, nothing too stressful or difficult. Pissed about the 150 quintals of mango wood being burnt in UP to campaign again pollution (WTF!) and all the news about Nirav Modi and looting and cheating. Ruin us middle class, hardworking, penny crunching and pound saving idiots, milk us for all we're worth and leave us to suffer silently. That's what India is all about, coz we don't respect education and equality and development. Divide us using caste and other bullshit criteria so that we don't realise how you're using us to fulfil your own aspirations. We deserve it, coz we don't get up to fix it. We only post on Facebook and Twitter and blogs and get likes and GIFs, but nothing will really happen or change. After all, how many rapists and scamsters get caught and penalized? Lynching makes total sense to me. Let the masses decide.   

Personally, I've lost a few 3 am friends this year, and while it doesn't bother me, I sure feel bad about it. Yet, times change, people change, priorities change - like I mentioned in my previous posts, you walk together for some time, then part ways, and have no hard feelings, instead cherishing what was, and blessing people along their individual paths and goals. See you soon, again, hopefully, dear friend. There is nothing more I could have done, without pushing myself on you, and that I'd never do, out of respect for me and you. After all, friendships cannot be forced or faked, right? The curse of us millenials, useful at times, depressing on other occasions.

Not really sure about the benefits of dark chocolate, but what I'm chewing now very often, is Amul Dark Chocolate. It's an absolute delight, guys, and much cheaper than overpriced, daft versions of bitter chocolate. I've tried the 55% and delighted. Moving on to 75% before I hit 99% - try it, if you have a taste for it, or develop one!

The last movie I watched was Pari, just like I promised - not horror at all, more like gross and romance. I'm also enjoying Roadies Xtreme and Jeep BFFs on Voot these days. No time for reading, yet tons of time to socialize on Facebook and play Toy Blast - quite addictive, both of them. I'm on level 1135 of Toy Blast. LOL. Yikes. Learning apps and Healthy apps just aren't that tempting enough, akin to healthy food and non-junk. I do try to walk 8k or more, since reducing weight is on my mind. But well, I agonize about that enough, and I don't want to yap about it on the blog.

And just like that, it's time to wind up!

Good talking to you'all, fellas. Be good, be happy.


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.


Goodbye, Abba - You shall be missed

Subhash R Rathi. A man of umpteen roles and talents. He was a son, brother, husband, uncle, grandfather, partner, colleague, friend, advisor...