2017…my year how it should be!

Unlike the previous years where I recap the year just gone by (which I do by going through my phone’s photo gallery), this time I intend to undo a few things that I did in the not-so-happening last year.  So without ado here goes my I WILL NOT list in no particular order of urgency:

I will NOT:

  1. indulge in road rage. No, I have never done that but I am so very close! My driving skills are pretty decent and over the time I believe they have become a little more than pretty decent as I have no choice but to drive! Luckily, my nearly 6-year old i10’s gearbox can’t vouch for my driving skills!(I do need an automatic next!). But if one wants to hear the choicest of words flowing mellifluously from my mouth it is when I am driving and driving alone! I am an extremely patient driver and a stickler of traffic rules which unfortunately doesn’t go down too well in my lovely millennium city. The car driver behind me can toot his horn endlessly asking me to jump a red light as there is no police stationed there! And so many other imbecile drivers exist that the choicest of words that I mumble thankfully remain within the car! I do fantasize many times having a super unbreakable car which could hit *bang bang bang* against all those cars that really flout all the traffic rules! Unfortunately, my expression of this lovely fantasy didn’t go down well with my mom and a friend with whom I shared delightedly. Instead I could see a look of appall on their faces! Plan of action: I intend to just cool down and take a few deep breaths and drive on!
  2. be penny wise and pound foolish. This should be the first point really. I don’t wish to even ponder or write further on this as it makes my heart sink a million times as I recall all those things that I should not have purchased! Plan of action: I am going to be a very very smart woman who will spend her money wisely. Full stop. (I can see that side smirk on my brother’s face if he is reading it!)
  3.  take my bad hair days so seriously that I start to get depressed and get them chopped from my waist length to neck in a matter of a few seconds.  It’s not that I don’t like my very short urbane haircut, I just can’t seem to maintain it! Most of the time it looks like a mushroom placed on my scalp and on worse hair days, I am reminded of Inspector Happu Singh ji from the tv serial, ‘bhabhijee ghar par hai.’ (see pic below) Plan of action: Those 300 of 365 days of my bad hair days can be tied down to a bun or a pony. 
  4. just blindly trot in the first shop I set my eyes on and make purchase. I still don’t know why I do this! What is the point of going all the way to Nehru place – the hub of gadget repair shops- by changing metro twice and not getting the best deal as I simply just walk in to one shop and pay whatever is quoted to me! Plan of action: Will explore more options/shops to find solutions and then make purchases. (somewhat connected to point 2 above)
  5. write blogs that are sad! that’s what my daughter said to me the last time – why are they mostly sad. I never thought they were sad but then most dilemmas are sad, no? Plan of action: I will attempt to write happier stuff!img_6457
  6. day dream! oh yes, this will be the toughest of all but I will emerge victorious! While I jog usually which is first thing in the day, I enter a different zone right away and I doubt if I am out of it all day! Plan of action: A virtual slap on my face for every time I step into my crazy, twisted vicarious world.

I am sure once I press the ‘post’ button I would remember a few more “not to do” things but let me take care of these above.

A very happy new year to all those who read from top to bottom of my blog! 🙂

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pic courtesies:

1st:assets.entrepreneur.com/content/16×9/822/1413407638-7-ways-shift-perspective-dreaded-no.jpg

2nd:gardengoatquote.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/0511-0809-0313-0828_woman_with_road_rage_clipart_image.png

3rd:http://static.english.pradesh18.com/pix/2016/03/5-3.jpg

4th:clicked by me of my daughter sketching her favourite model, Happy, who refused to be still!

 

Remembering Happy/Julie/Goldy

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Happy has been missing for the last five days. It could be even six. Nobody knows where she is. For the last two years she has made our lane and the adjoining ones her home. Everybody knows her. As I have gone asking people usually dog walkers, security guards and temporary labourers about her, I have realised that she has been very popular and called by different names like Julie and Goldy. I smiled when I heard her being addressed as Julie and why not, just as the name sounds, she is a posh lady-like creature. 

Nobody seems to know where she is.  Everyone, i.e. the concerned ones, are speculating where she could be. Nobody has seen her being taken away by the animal NGO van (after all she was sterilized at birth) or the municipal authority (but then why would they only take her when rest of the strays are happily roaming about and in fact there are some new faces too?) or have seen her breathless body.

In the past, I have gotten to know about the fates that our lane strays have met eventually but I am yet to hear about Happy.

“I am sure she has gone to the moon, mummy?”  my daughter said as we walked last night from our lane to the other to feed another old stray. I smiled thinking how she had started to mix reality with fantasy to justify Happy’s vanishing act.  But only to realise a minute later that there was no fantasy involved in her newly developing logical mind.

“Do you know Lalita?” she asked.

“I don’t.”

“The dog who was sent to the moon by the scientists?”

“Wasn’t she called Laika?” I asked.

The daughter was least interested in arguing about the real name.

She continued:

“May be some scientists took Happy away too to send her to the moon.”

I looked at the moon.

“Maybe,” I said.

As I go to collect my daughter from the school bus stop daily I miss having Happy accompanying me. Her chasing small kids, cyclists and motorbikes away and at the same time wagging her tail endlessly was an amusing sight.I have never seen a dog wag its tail and bark at the same time before.

She has the most peculiar bark and just as my daughter has described in the poster below. She made some three missing posters hoping that somebody will tell us about Happy.

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Over the last decade since I have seen many strays of our area come and go. I never had the courage to open my doors for them especially in times of rain and extreme heat as we share our building with two more neighbours. It was only about feeding them in the mornings and evenings. Of what they did the rest of the day was not my concern. Some times as I drive the car from the lane I see them looking for food in the garbage bins. After all, my one packet of biscuits for one dog a day is not going to keep their tummy filled for the rest of the day.

What have I learnt from Happy going missing? Nothing. Life goes on. Someday another dog will fill in Happy’s place. Perky, her mate, will have another mate. He will then not look at me with his pleading eyes asking me to search for Happy. Or perhaps he knows what happened to her as they were together most of the time. He looks at me helplessly knowing he will never be able to tell me the truth. .

I avoid reading articles that talk about the ill treatment meted to the strays in different parts of the city, country and abroad. I purposely avoid reading them as I feel utterly helpless. I remember my first job as a research assistant for an animal welfare organisation some 15 years ago. The founder, country’s most famed animal activist, said ” good for the pup!” when she was told that one of the strays that they had brought in her bungalow had passed away. I was fairly new then and didn’t know why she would say that. I thought she was being very mean. Now I know how wrong I was. This world is no place for strays.

I will wait for Happy and someday she will return. Older. Yet as pretty as ever. She would have stopped chasing motorbikes by then and would chide the younger dogs from doing what she did in her youth. 🙂

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(Happy joining us to the park every evening)

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(Happy enjoying the sand)

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(Happy running with my daughter)

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(Perky, Happy’s best mate)

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(Happy enjoying the puddle)

The Name Game

My brother removed  ‘Singh’ from his name and I removed ‘Jyot’  from my first name many years ago. We took our decisions independently and at different times. I don’t have any regrets but now after nearly a decade of formally cutting short my name I do feel bad. Feel bad for making changes to a possibly colourful story behind the keeping of my name (of which I am unaware!)

I realized recently that a lot goes into naming a child. From what I understand about my name was that my late paternal grandmother kept it. She was one dominating force in her time. I can visualize everyone keeping mum, including my folks, when she must have held me in my arms for the first time and said my name. And that was it. No ifs. No buts. Simarjyot it was. Did my parents like it? I don’t know. They accepted it …maybe happily, as it was taken for granted then.

About ten years ago I met a woman whose little boy was called Siddhant but she kept addressing him with some another long name which I can’t even remember now. It didn’t even sound like a nick name like Sid, Siddhu, Golu, Molu etc. Soon she told me that Siddhant was the name of her choice and the other was of her mother-in-law’s choice. Since they didn’t want to disappoint her, they stuck to both the names! Talk about the child and identity issues! And more than that it explained the battle of the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law.

A friend of mine who is expecting her first child soon and her husband have decided upon the names for both girl and a boy. The dilemma? They have not shared it with their respective parents yet and don’t know what their reactions will be. The names, when I was told, could make ones ears point up. Lovely names though. There was this whole one long conversation I had with her over the phone a few days ago when she just fretted upon this issue. She only calmed down when she ended up telling the chosen names the next morning to her mother-in-law. It didn’t turn out to be a big deal as much as she vexed a night before. And I know she will be only completely satisfied once the names are registered after the baby’s birth.

Another close friend happily told us the name of his baby boy a few years ago only to tell us later that it had been changed and then changed again. Too many people were involved in suggesting the name of his child. So much so that he gave up in the end. It was perhaps another battle of the in-laws. I never asked him so who was it that suggested this name. Too personal matter.

The politics that goes into naming the babies especially in a society like ours where despite most of us living out of the joint family setup still feel out of decency and our upbringing to involve our elders in matters such as this is grave.

Besides the domestic politics, there is a deep analysis too that some do in naming their babies. A friend’s friend has refused to keep his daughter’s name Sita because he would not like to associate his daughter with Queen Sita of Hindu mythology, Ramayana who underwent miseries all her life despite being a pious queen and an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi. Who would have thought that the name Sita would be also deliberated upon! If such is the case then none would name their babies from folks and mythology be it for their  little girl or a boy as our mythical heroes and heroines underwent enough trepidation in life. Just name any one top of your head. Lord Rama? Being evicted from his own house followed by 14 years of exile and then a hard battle fought with Ravana! Ganesha? Had his head chopped by his daddy just for listening to his mummy? Draupadi, ofcourse is a no-no. She was humiliated way too much. Karna, the tragic hero whose life started tragically and ended in one too despite being a good soul through out.  Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, who waited for him most of her life while he travelled the world.

I wonder what the children of Hollywood celebrities think when they are named Apple, North (with a surname West), Dusty Rose, Shiloh etc. Maybe not any different from the rest of us as they have always been called that. Or they are trained to take on the burdens of being a celebrity right from their birth!

So for all those who think that they could have been named something else or like me shorten their names, or choose to be called by another name instead of the rightful one, think again.  Let us not be an anticlimactic factor to our very own story/process that went into keeping our names. 🙂

 

(image courtesy: https://a.dilcdn.com/bl/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2010/06/nametag1.jpg)

 

My twig got stuck – comprehending depression at its nascent stage

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In the roller coaster ride of life, I have at this time hit the bottom (or is the trench even deeper?). I choose to be aloof, I choose to talk and meet a ‘chosen few’ and I choose to reflect on things that I would never otherwise. Reflection has never come naturally to me as I have always gone with the flow – where my life is like a twig that has fallen in the stream and it flows at the pace of the water current. It has been mostly a very smooth ride with only now and then some thing or somebody picking up the twig out of curiosity for a while and then throwing it back into the water body (much to my respite!). At this point the twig has been stuck to a tree by the stream. It can feel the current rush around it but nonetheless, it is stuck. I would call this point being stagnant. Others would call it boredom and depending on the state of mind and the length of stagnancy some may even call it being lonely and depressed.

I have understood loneliness and sadness, despite never consciously subjecting myself to the term ‘depression’, much better at this stage of life. No amount of reading about others mental state is helpful. No matter how many happy quotes you read, it is very difficult to bring yourself up and get going.

I have understood why depression is co-related to loneliness. Why it is difficult to ask for help when one is undergoing this phase in life? Here are my reasons pointed:

  1. Because you don’t have a sad club to join. You are on your own.If you are sensible you would know that whining before family and friends has a certain limitation. The more you whine the more agitated they will be with you at one point. If they cannot express their agitation they will be barely listening to you – not hearing you. People will tell you to meet friends more often, go out, join a book club or a riders club or take up zumba or even practise yoga. Do they help? I can’t vouch for any but most in my area from my experience of taking my daughter to these dance, art and yoga lessons have taught me that they are plain money-making machines. There is less or no learning. If the purpose is to make new friends and socialise, you begin to realise how fake people look around you. You hate to be around depressed souls so why should they be around you? You fake just as they when you join them!
  2. Because though people say never compare the story of your life with the others as you are on a different chapter than theirs but you just can’t help it. While I write this and struggle to increase my workflow, I have just heard my phone beep. Upon checking my notification from a recently downloaded no-nonsense news app is that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made 3.4 bn USD in an hour after positive second quarter earnings. Wow! Ok, he and his ilk are rich shots and they make insane money and no way my life chapters are ever reaching theirs (practically writing!) but then when you start to look around people nearby whose chapters could be possibly nearer yours, you can’t but help making comparisons. Suddenly their life looks glamorous. they are getting promoted, they are switching jobs, they are getting huge bonuses, some are bored with their world travels. So when you make an effort to get up, get out and visit them in order to cheer yourself up, you end up returning home more depressed.
  3. Because you do not want to get out of your comfort zone. It is connected to the first point. There may not be a sad club but joining a happy club is an effort. Your home is your comfort zone. Not realising that it has imprisoned you. That drive to push you out of the house is missing. You have become an unknown parasite feeding on the comforts provided by your loved ones. You begin to adapt to this environment. Everything is being provided for so what else could you want? You are all to yourself. You are not making friends. You are not making enemies. You are doing nothing.
  4. Because you do not want to break down. You want to look strong. You try hard to believe that all will be ok but when? You know good times follow the bad times but how long is the bad time to be? There are thousands of inspirational quotes on every cloud having a silver lining, light at the end of the tunnel and storm before the calm but nobody can tell how long the storm will last, how long the tunnel is and when will the silver lining of the cloud be displayed. Not everyone is as patient as the other. While some don’t breakdown, others just drift to another world. I have imagined just laying on the water on my back with my eyes closed and it is a beautiful feeling. i do not have the courage to go to another world on my own but I have realised that if someone decides to do this, one should not call them weak as nobody can take this course of action in a weak state of mind. Respect them. They must have gone through a lot.

So, how does one fight and get out of loneliness and sadness?

I will tell you when it happens! The tunnel can’t be that long after all! 🙂

 

img: me!

 

Courtesy Calls – A perception

Is it essential to pay visit to someone who is recovering from sickness or an accident in a hospital when you know that you can’t go and that the ‘someone’ is being taken good care of? Someone with whom you have a relationship that goes beyond social obligations. You know the person will understand. And if they don’t happen to understand, as I learnt last month, you know that they were never close to you! An eye-opener moment!

Not one, but many such hospital-related moments occurred in the last one year which eventually, to be precise last month, made me change my perception completely.

Episode 1:

My father underwent a leg surgery early last year, followed by tongue surgery in August and then radiotherapy in October which meant he had to stay and also make many visits to the hospital. I happened to be with him in the last two where the tongue surgery and the radiotherapy took place in the city I live. Mum flew to be with him in the first one – the city where he works.

In all these three times, my brother, who lives in the UK, couldn’t fly down. He had in fact met all of us back home barely a month before my father was diagnosed with carcinoma in August. I kept thinking in my head, why is he not flying down immediately after hearing this shocking news! And over the weeks, the thought persisted in my head, why can he still not come? Should he not be coming? Is this how a son should be? I was a bundle of nerves then and overlooked the practical side. While I was trying to play a dutiful daughter by giving company to my father, my brother was calling up his sources and finding the doctors and hospitals that were best for my father – keeping distance, his age and every logistics in mind. He was doing the spade work. Convincing my thick-skinned father on why he should be getting treated in an ABC hospital and not XYZ is a task.  In fact he got everything lined up and kept me on my toes too by making me coordinate with the doctors.

Episode 2:

A few months ago my friend was relating a marital dispute between her sister and her husband and how the sister was upset that the husband didn’t stay back in the hospital at nights when their child was hospitalised. The emotional side of her had overpowered the practical side, just like me. The husband was working all day long so that the child could get the treatment in the best of hospitals! It was not as if he was partying while the wife stayed the nights in the hospitals.

Episode 3:

Last month when I was in Goa for a few days, a friend happened to visit me. He called me one afternoon telling me that he fell off a bike while riding it. Though he had escaped with minor scratches he was in the hospital getting himself checked. After asking if he wanted any help to which he refused, we decided to catch up later in the day which never happened. And when I did see him the next day, he was all upset. He was in no mood to talk and in that half an hour we had become absolute strangers. A decade long friendship was over in no time. We haven’t talked since.

I had to be on both the sides of the fence (hospital in this case – as an expected visitor and expecting visitors) to finally understand that formalities such as courtesy calls are meant for acquaintances and distance relatives. A relationship with a person goes beyond such calls.

My brother’s love for our father and vice versa would not grow any less. So would the love of my friend’s sister’s husband toward their child and vice versa.

As far as the episode with my friend is concerned, it is such a pity that it took us a decade to realize that our friendship was superficial. It didn’t transcend beyond social norms. Sigh!

In defence of Friendzone

So if you have been friendzoned you will in all likelihood be jeered at or frowned upon by friends. The Internet has articles giving tips on how you can avoid being friendzoned. It is a derogatory word and I seem to wonder why.

Firstly, for those still unfamiliar with the term Friendzone and are too lazy to Google, it simply means a one-sided love/sexual feeling with a member of opposite sex who considers you just as a friend.

The term Friendzone may have been coined in the recent years but the situation has existed forever.  There has been more than one time that I have flatly refused to go beyond platonic with a few dear friends of mine. No, I didn’t look down upon them then or even now. Rather it was the fear of losing them which was greater than any other ephemeral feeling. I can proudly say that all of those platonic friends continue to remain my very good friends even decades later. The bond has only become stronger. And for those few that skipped entering the friendzone, I really don’t know where they are today and frankly, I can’t be bothered.  I remember then shedding tears (and yeah, my wears!) for them then. Over the years it has made me simply laugh at my past follies.  Those ephemeral relationships gave me only headaches and heartaches.

It is awkward dealing with a Friendzoned friend as you are not stupid to not know what is going on with him/her. After much time (hoping that it will be understood), I usually bring the awkward topic up to break the ice. It is not easy. The emotions are running high from one end. There are those deeply rooted ideas that need to be dissected and discarded. It ironically jeopardizes my relationship temporarily with them but I know I will eventually make them see my point.

I don’t see why all relationships, especially with a very good friend should have a need to culminate into having sex or ‘blossom into love’. Are we too tired to have a variety of people in our lives that can fulfil our various needs? Why are we lazy and hope that this one friend can handle all our emotional, physical and other needs?

Nothing wrong in being friendzoned, really!

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(image courtesy: http://www.davidwygant.com/wp-content/uploads/635723523920520029683466699_Friendzone.png)

 

Interpreter of Falls with a thud

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Three mornings ago I had a fall. Not the phrasal pride going for a fall or the falling in love (how I wish!).  The fall where we lose our physical balance and land on the surface with a thud. I remember my falling down in slow motion. I felt every second and helplessly thought how I could defy gravity. I looked around to hold onto something but to no avail. My hands were filled with my gizmos without which I am helpless while I jog. It was a great thud. I chafed the right dorsal and elbow and got minor bruises on my left knee. I got up. Looked around. Collected my pair of specs, iPod, iPhone and my senses before I walked back home. Barring my senses, everything was functioning fine and without a scratch , talk about they being fragile! There was nobody on the track then. It wasn’t such a big deal too considering the fact that I could get up and be back on my toes right away.

I don’t remember having any memories of falling down ever as an adult; even the childhood ones are bleak. This fall got me physical wounds but also reminded me of the times when people I knew closely fell down and how it had an impact on me. Those sublime learnings took a manifestation finally when I went heading down the bricky track! Here are my interpretations and all the learnings – some that I have conquered, some that I hopefully will and some that I doubt I ever will.

Pride: Your pride is at stake when you fall down. Not one, but two of my very good friends from two completely different groups asked me “did somebody see you fall?”  Of course it was all in jest. But that is one thing you notice. I did look around too. And was happy to see only I saw it happen. Why do we take it as a humiliation? I need to still find an answer to it. [TO BE CONQUERED]

Honour:  So a few years ago when my dad fell down as he tried to dribble a stray football in a park I was upset. Not as much as for that I couldn’t help him since I was just behind him (bad reflexes that I have!) but more so as I had never seen him lose his balance ever. He was perfect. Someone who had a gait of a lion. Who has ever seen a lion fall down?  It however taught me that daddy’s are humans too. Spiderman does lose his grip sometimes but he will always be Spiderman! [CONQUERED]

Fear/Phobia: I witnessed a friend’s foot getting tangled to a chain-barrier as she was crossing over it. She fell right on her face. Ever since that day, which happened nearly two decades ago, I have a fear of such chain-barriers.  No matter how low they are to the surface I would rather skip crossing over them. The very thought of it is making me nervous now. [CAN NEVER BE CONQUERED]

Health:  I remember my mother telling me a few months ago, based on facts that people tend to start falling down more as they age due to a deficiency of a vitamin – was it B-complex? Only, if I had heard it better then because once she starts talking science I just try to grasp the essence and skip the technicalities and I confess I can’t tell one vitamin from the other! Which now means that I will be asking her to repeat herself on this subject (which she would be happy too like always!) and I would listen carefully this time! My diet needs modifying. [TO BE CONQUERED]

Mental: I must be thinking something! That is what I do usually – live in my vicarious world and play situations in my head that will most likely never happen in the real world. Not the superstar ones where I am dancing on the stage and have a frenzied audience but the ones where I have smart answers to everything and smart reactions to every situation! Pretty realistic but still a dream! Time to shake off the thoughts and replace them with practical ones. I can’t see myself falling down over them! [TO BE CONQUERED]

Philosophical: The crux- I am catching up with age. Strangely, all my mirrors lie. But this is a sign that my reflexes are getting poorer – the shoes are the same, the jogging track is the same. Time to toy with the idea that got planted this morning by my brother who, unaware that  I had a fall (pity he is not on my Snapchat!), suggested that I should try dancing as it is the best form of exercise. I need to give this a thought. My chances of falling down with a thud are less in this exercise forma. I will skip ballet anyway – my body is too rigid for it! [NEARLY CONQUERED]

Astrological: I fell down on a Saturday and my mother, who balances her life between uber modernity and unbelievable superstitiousness, was not too pleased when I recounted my “great” fall over the phone to her. It could be a sheer coincidence that most of the time we, the family, have a great fall it usually happens on a Saturday. She fell off a cycle in a cycle shop  on a Saturday herself about 6 months ago as she unwillingly mounted a new cycle to choose for me simply because I couldn’t do it myself as I was wearing a skirt! My daughter, again on a Saturday, had a bad fall from a cycle 2-3 years ago. I did go to the temple that evening to appease Lord Saturn for something I don’t know what I had caused his fury about. [NO COMMENTS]

What all one fall can do! Talk about Newton! 🙂