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!

Cheerio,
Anuja

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? 

Rephrase: 
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. 

Cheers!
Anuja    


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