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I am THIS…….. and more !!!

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What are you doing these days??? This is a question that is asked at least 5 when times I meet people. My answer these days usually is “Nothing” or “I take pictures…… The answer usually varies depending upon the person I am talking to. Some years back when this question was asked, I would launch onto a rhetoric monologue about the challenges of the industry to survive in the present economy…… to my current predicament of having no time at all or the current job market….. but these days my answer usually stuns people. Over a period of time I have realised that this question is usually an ice breaker to a conversation and people in general would rather speak about their professional lives. The other alternative is usually gossip or serials which is something I steer very clear of.  I have been in the career rat race since a very long time. Having started working at the age of 16 and been working ever since, independent, self-reliant et al…….. somewhere down the line I realised that I didn’t have any life apart from the professional life. I was very ambitious and at that point I wanted to change the world and do awesome stuff.

But all I did was wake up in the morning do my regular household chores rush to take the train or drive myself to work, where I battled the traffic then the office politics and all the paraphernalia that came with it only to return home to do more work cooking and cleaning and then fall exhausted to sleep only to repeat all the things all over again. Holidays were dreaded!!! Because it meant a whole day of marathon cooking cleaning washing and more cooking cleaning washing. Well I was disillusioned. Being independent self-reliant was a joke because I was a slave to my job and the monotony my master. Don’t get me wrong I loved my work like any other person was even very good at it and also kinda loved cooking, but the monotony of the whole thing finally got to me. Striking a balance was unquestioned because I was miserable in what I did. I didn’t have time for anybody not even for myself, just an isolated sad self-pitying case…… I was just a nameless spoke in somebody elses well oiled machine.

So when I happened to break both my ankles at the same time and was confined to bed with my feet in the air I took another look at my life. I was standing on my own two feet one day and the next day I was literally off it. I didn’t like what I saw!!! I was another piece of a huge machine which was just that….. a piece of machine. I didn’t do anything besides being a very miniscule part of the machine. Also my health was suffering and when I saw my wardrobe I realised that all the clothes I possessed were stuff that I went to work in. So basically that meant that I didn’t have a life, I was unhealthy and I didn’t know where I was going and most important……. I was not happy. So I took the forced medical break and decided to make the most of it. I realised that I loved painting and took to it in a big way. My love for the camera which had been present ever since I first held my dad’s Agfa and my sister told me to stop my breath and press the shutter for that perfect shot became the highlight of my life. My love for plants and flowers. Experimenting with cooking and inventing and innovating in the kitchen.  The biggest surprise that came to me from nowhere was that I loved teaching. It hit me hard because I always thought of myself as a hard-nosed corporate person. I belonged to a family of teachers but I always believed that I was the odd one out. This was a surprise that hit me hard.

I took to all of these with the same focus that I put in my job. The result was that I didn’t go back to work. I won’t say that I am the best photographer or the best painter or the best chef  or best gardener or the best teacher…….. I am all of these and more and these are things that make me very happy. I wont lie about missing the Gandhi factor in my life which I got at the end of each month. But the compensations in comparison are far more immense…… my professional degrees are put more to use today than it has been when I was working full-time. My brain can think from angles I had never thought of before. I feel I don’t have any limitations and can do anything and everything. I find new things to do at every turn in life and I enjoy all of them and the perfectionist in me gets them done to the “T”.  I have learnt to improvise and accept things and today I realise that I have much much more to achieve than I have till date. I have more time for my personal relations as compared to before. I have to acknowledge here that if it hadn’t been for hubby I wouldn’t have been able to do this. But since he is taking care of the monetary aspects of life I have the liberty to do stuff that I like. And I am very thankful to him for that. Today I am no longer a corporate person but I am so much more…… I am a better wife a better daughter a photographer a teacher a temperamental but still….. a painter,  an ok cook, a gardener………. also a very happy person and much much more………

 

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

 

Queen….. the Rani who finds her wings !!!!

I saw Queen yesterday. The movie where Kangana Ranaut plays Rani, the main protagonist. The story is of a simple and “GOOD” girl who gets dumped at the altar by her bf of many years….. only to embark on a journey to her pre arranged honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam all by herself, meeting people who are totally different from her, beating thugs in paris, selling golgappas in amsterdam and finding herself in the process.

The character of rani is so beautifully balanced. Though she comes from an orthodox indian background….. where at every juncture in life she is told what to do by her parents or her fiancee or her friends……. she totally accepts the other people she meets on her journey without wanting to change them. Yes she is scandalised on more than one occasion. Be it when she finds her new friend sleeping with lots of men or when she meets the stripper at amsterdam or when she has to  share a room with three other men at a hostel. But her journey to discovering independence for herself is beautiful.

Her non judgemental attitude stands out. Be it the waitress who has a child out of wedlock or the stripper in amsterdam who is waiting for a package from her mother from home or her mother in law who thinks she shd join the kitty party. She takes people at face value. People are the same world wide. People from all parts of the world whoever they are….. are scared of lizards….. i think tht is what we need to realise. Color language sex dont really matter. The humor in the movie is totally not lost on the audience infact it is superbly timed and keeps the audience glued….. asking more. The total lack of melodrama and the punju crass makes it more appealing to me. The simplicity of the main protagonist is outstanding….. it makes her more endearing to u.

For me the movie is about finding wings……  every girl needs to find her wings and shd know to fly….. every guy needs it too but girls need it more than them. Because at every juncture in life they are forced to prove themselves and at tht time it helps to know your true potential.  Nothing can beat the independence of soaring high and feeling you can do everything and achieve everything.

The movie was also about finding goodness in the seemingly worst situations. The best part of the movie was not making a love equation between the main protagonist and the guys she meets on her journey. She lets them be for what they were. Friends on a journey who share moments of time together and help each other close traumatic chapters of their life and discover themselves….. and then move on with a promise to keep in touch…… you really dont need to marry everybody u come in contact with u no. It was a fresh breath of breather from the other bollywood movies where getting hooked up is soooo necessary.

I personally think every woman shd take a trip like this one atleast once in her life….. without the cocoon of protection from family and relatives. I loved the last scene where she hands back the ring to her fiancee and thanks him. I had a smile for all the 15 kms ride back home. I think i am inspired enuf to go to a trip like that one.

I would give the movie a 10 out of 10…… full paisa wasool.

Forgive yourself……. as you would forgive your neighbours.

All through school and college…… one thing was dinned into my mind by teachers parents….. never point a finger at others. Point it at yourself. When you point a finger at others remember the other fingers are pointing at you. So on and so forth. Until we reached a stage where we were told that never find fault with others. All the fault remains with only one person…… that is you. To the extent that we hate our own existence on planet earth. It is very easy to convince such a person that Hiroshima Nagasaki and tsunami happened because of one and only one reason……. YOU…… just because you lived on this planet……. your existence caused it……. you are responsible. The fact that I wasn’t born then does not really hold any significance…… could be preamble to my birth. 
I think they over did it…… self recrimination is such a common thing that these days they teach us about forgiving yourself. Let go…… being benevolent towards ourselves. Louise Hay in most of her books talks about the same thing. She explains that most diseases that ail us today are a mirror to the hatred we have of our selves. We r too demanding of our selves and expect super human skills….. which is an absolute mirage. The dissatisfaction that we have of our selves is today reached a point that we need to look at ourselves from other peoples point of view to reach the “I’m-not-so-bad” place. We look at ourselves not from our own eyes but that of somebody else and accept their judgement whatever it may be. We can be non judgmental about the world at large but when it comes to ourselves…… naah…… never….. the crooked nose….. the crooked eyebrow or the increasing waistline is all we see.
These days forgiving other people for hurting you is so much easier than forgiving yourself.  You have to constantly remind yourself that you are a nice person. Remind yourself to Forgive yourself on a daily basis for not meeting your targets and not be upset with yourself for not being able to reach the Utopian place that u have set yourself to be in and forgive yourself for hurting others and also a constantly remind yourself that you are not responsible for the whole world. You are already doing your bit and stop beating yourself up for the mistakes that other people make…… That is part of their learning curve. It will only make them wiser and smarter in the long run.
The control freaks that we have become push us beyond the levels that are sometimes inhuman. We crave for a lot of stuff which are sometimes beyond our means….. but we convince ourselves that we can only be happy only if we achieve that and then push ourselves to achieving it. In the process we accumulate a lot of self hate and make very very less concessions for ourselves for not achieving it. We become our biggest critic and very less tolerant about our mistakes and spend a lot of money on long therapy sessions of standing in front of a mirror and telling yourself that I love you and that you are a nice person. 
I remember watching a Bollywood movie where the main protagonist tells “main apni favorite hu” meaning i am my favorite person. That is my favorite dialogue till date. Also there was this part where on looking in the mirror she says “you are so beautiful…… how can anybody look so beautiful”.  I wish i would reach that place someday and fall in love with myself……. so i too can forgive all my so-called sins….. like i forgive everything about the people i love. If someone calls you a narcissist its their problem not yours.

Save me…….. save yourself !!!!

When people cry “exploitation” or say that they are being exploited and complain and cry about it to others. I don’t have the patience of feeling bad about such people. If you think you have been exploited you ask for an explanation from the exploiter and rather than playing victim and crying over it, you fight for your rights. And if you wish to continue the existence of the one exploited you should  cry over it at your convenience at your own abode. 

The victim is as much to be blamed for the exploitation as is the exploiter, simply for the simple reason that they wish to take the sacrificial mode. I understand that in most cases you might  not be able to do anything about it. But atleast speak out that you have been exploited, and refuse to be the end of any more exploitation.
Gone is the era of Sulochanas and Nirupa Roys. Today you have to stand up and fight for your own rights. If you don’t do it you will be deemed as weak and only the faces of the exploiters will keep changing. Your status-quo will remain the same. That of the poor sad victim who is weak……. a person who needs protection. Is that how you wish to be mentioned???  Not me!!! Id prefer going down fighting than stay back and cry. Call it the Maratha salt in my blood but I don’t budge from issues that I believe in.

I don’t believe in the tolerance method by Gandhi…….. waiting for the person’s subconscious to alter his decision and make a better judgement. That could have been applicable in that particular era but I believe in the philosophy of non-tolerance:  “You cant take me for granted and treat me like that……. I deserve more respect……. you either give it to me or butt off from my life“. 
If I give people their due, is it wrong for me to expect the same from them???
The world is round. All that goeth cometh right back. Well that might be true…… I have even seen a lot of stances of that coming true but for me waiting for the world to go around and then complete its rotation and making things equal is barbaric. Id rather speak my piece and let peace reign for the rest of my life than waiting my whole life for the other shoe to drop. I don’t need people who live off other people in my life. Maybe my world gets a little smaller but I live the way I want to on my own terms.
I am not talking revenge or anything violent just the fact that “I am a person just like you and you should treat me like you treat yourself ” If you think something is not good for yourself how can you take it that it would be good for me. In family I see a lot of people who would buy a very expensive dress for themselves and give away the thing that they don’t like to somebody else. If they think that the dress is not fit for wearing why do the expect the other person to wear it??? Does the world have different rules for you and me???
You and you alone are responsible for yourself. If you bog down and accept it without voicing your opinion you are nothing but a coward. Because even if you don’t voice it, it wont stop you from feeling cheated and bitter. I would rather speak my mind and hold my peace for life than keep feeling robbed.
For its survival every relationship should be based on a set of rules, which are equal for all. I have seen that when there are no equal rules, the relationship becomes bitter and disintegrates and falls apart at some point of time. It is deemed to break down. On the other hand a relationship with rules has boundaries and nobody is taken for granted……. nobody feels cheated. A relationship based on trust and mutual respect lasts a lifetime and even more. On the other hand a weak relation of one person encroaching on the other….. one person calling shots and the other person not getting an opportunity to have a say feels cheated and usually crumbles. 
Sulochana’s and Nirupa Roys are symbols for sacrifice they usually lived in poverty were cheated felt bad about one and all and cried all the time but Shasikala always got the best clothes make up the best cars never in poverty a happy life……… What i want to reiterate is Id rather be called the bad person than sit back home and live my life subdued and all the time feeling cheated. People have to understand that every human being on earth is equal and everybody deserves to be treated well. I quote the bible here (my convent upbringing):
Mathew 7:12 :  “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Amen

Ohh to be young again

For the past few days I’ve been coming across a lot of people who get whimsical and melancholy when they mention their youth. The very thought of going back say twenty years made me think….. do I want to go back. What would I change??? 
When we were young all we wanted to do universally is…… to grow up. Old age at that time was anybody who was 15 years older than you. As we grew up our goals changed but we wished we reached higher in life in all spheres. Twenty years ago for anyone my age was the time for new hopes dreams ambitions a new lease that life is giving you. A time for love some budding some missed opportunities some mistakes. Ambition career….. A carefree…… stress free……. no baggage existence. You didn’t ever have to use the words “You remember ” ending with “I told you so” Because then there was absolutely no past…….. good or bad…… just the beginning. Unlike today where it seems to have become a prefix before every sentence we use.
Most of the people I know would want to go back unerringly to the past. A whole billion and trillion dollar industry is thriving on this whimsical nature of humans. First it is the pimples they cater to and then soon when you are just about breathing a sign of relief it is the wrinkles that get to you. Crow feet get a whole new meaning….. they are no longer talking about a species of the animal planet and you actually know what botox is. You open any newspaper in any country or surf any channel in any language in any country. There will be people reminding you of that glorious time of your life…… your youth. Mothers of a grown child being called a college student. Husbands suddenly being besotted with their wives all over again…… and so on.
When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.
Mark Twain

I recently encountered a group of mothers who wished to be called “Babes”, it made them feel younger. The social networking sites are teeming with eloquent and enviable sighs of   “You are looking so young”.  “You have stopped aging what is the secret”……. that, I think is supposed to make you feel happy unlike Mark Twain who thinks otherwise. 
Aging has now become a big time commercial market teeming with umpteen number of products. Just recently I visited a mall which had two floors full of only beauty products 75% of which were of anti aging products: creams food tablets shape wear you name it. 
Is aging an emotional condition or is Youth something to hold on to as the passage of time. Is living in memories a good thing or bad thing. 
For years I have seen my mother age gracefully. She has taken pride in every strand of white hair that has sprung up….. every tooth that she has lost. She has never tried to look younger. But don’t we all want to get younger???
 A friend of mine told me that if he got younger again he would lose all his money and all the knowledge and experience he has gained. He was happy in his skin and the place that he is now emotionally and had all that he wanted today……. loving family friends job etc. Aging had therefore worked well for him. He was wiser and richer. Another opinion was that they could catch up on missed opportunities and undoing mistakes. Being younger opens up a wide arena of options in life which you lose out in the race for a perfect career, perfect life partner, perfect house, perfect kids, perfect retirement. Only to look back and look longingly at what could have been. Or wait for the elusive time machine to actually be invented.
Aging is a natural process so embracing it is the only way to go. It is the could have beens that haunt you. Since this is a one way path, there is no going back. Aging means you can take life real slow and don’t have to be anywhere at any point of time. Because you understand that nothing can really change if you don’t. Failures in life have only made you stronger. Mistakes taught you a new way to think. They have only enriched your learning curve. 
My generation saw the transition from paper to computers to laptops to tablets. For us we don’t really need to study the history of processing of information. Especially in my country where we moved from a closed to a global economy.We lived history. Suddenly from watching one channel we were watching 100’s. Armani gucci made their way to our shops. Unlike today’s generation who will probably have to read to understand filing or will never have known life without an enter button. 
For me aging is a relief. I dont want to go back and relive the past however fabulous and glamorous it was. Going back would mean having to live all over again. go through all the travails again. Yet when I pause at the could have beens I am wistful for a moment. Living in memories is surely not healthy. But visiting them occasionally is good for the soul reminds you of what you wanted and gives you clarity of what u have to do to reach the peaceful state. 
I carry a pair of really old jeans of the bygone era wherever I go. I dont fit into it anymore but it symbolize all the events of the past.  And when I fit into it believe me……. You cant make me stop smiling. My very own anti aging product. You are after all…… as old as you think!!!
Purani jeans aur guitar……..  bas yaaden yaaden yaaden reh jati hai !!!!

Mc Dream Home

My new pet project these days is “HOUSE Hunting” and man………. is it tiring or what??? I am either on the field looking at potential apartments or researching them on the net. At other times I am thinking about them…… another very very tedious process. I haven’t touched my camera since Diwali night. None of the flats I see fall into the Mc Dream Home category. Finding a dream house is like falling in love with the dream person. I am sure you think I am gross comparing these two things but seriously…… its like you love somebody’s eyes or somebody’s smile or somebody’s dimples, somebody’s sense of humor, somebody’s ………  I’m definitely getting soft in the head!!!!
 
Just to clear the air I meant a mixture of Shahrukh Khan, Hritik Roshan, Amir Khan (not the dead singer), Salman Khan, Khalli…….?????? (now where did that come from???…… soft part of the head…… I guess!!!) whatever…… Coming back to the point….. Mc Dream Home!!! Every house I see has a certain feature that I like sometimes it is the living room sometimes the spacious bedroom sometimes the kitchen, sometimes it is the terrace or the view etc only you never find all of them in one single place.

Just like in the case with LOVE…….. even if you do find McDreamy and fall in love with him…… he should love you back….. here comes affordability.  So the search is on as I scour the streets of my city braving the cold evenings and the dry and hot afternoons. Result I am down with a bad throat infection. Sometimes when I speak I have to look around to make sure that the broken creepy croaky voice is mine and don’t even make me start as to when I am laughing….. I sound like the creepiest chudail (witch). I used to look like one now I even sound like one…… Any fancy dress shows coming up???

Coming back to Mc Dream Home…….. the construction companies are so sly that what they put up on paper and what they actually give are two different things. The built-up area and the available carpet area differs from what they put up on paper. Most of the under construction apartments that I saw are so tiny that I had to change my mind and go for the ready possession flats. Here I can buy what I see. So much more comfortable!!!!Plus the waiting period of the possession of the flat and the builder’s tantrums are something you wont have to endure. Most builders delay possession and charge an escalation plus the amenities mentioned in the brochures are grossly over rated for eg:  Landscaped gardens, children play area, Relaxation benches, senior citizens’ corner, lawns, open air fitness area and jogging tracks are actually a small little teeny-meeny grassy park with a bench and some winding lanes. Gymnasiums are actually areas in the club house where a little treadmill and exercycle is kept.

The only disadvantage at this point of time is the affordability. Finance is one hell of a competing sector. Since I have posted feelers about my intention to buy a property I have been totally bogged down by brokers selling properties and finance guys offering various schemes so much that my earlier silence loving and never ringing phone does not stop ringing and there usually is somebody waiting on the other line. I have got so confused that I agree to meet somebody and hand over documentation to another….. I negotiate details with one and end up asking no demanding loan features offered from a completely different bank. It is so confusing!!!!

To top it all the brokers have been offering me everything from heritage buildings to pigeon hole homes. Just today I was offered to view a home that was older than me !!!!Most of these flats have an array of single working people or students staying on rent. The reason……. they pay more money and vacate immediately. I recently saw one house where there were four burly unshaven less clothed men lounging in the living room and when I entered more and more men seemed to keep coming out of woodwork……. so many that i completely lost count of them. As I walked around to see the house more and more men came out. All of them looking at you as if you walked into the “never seen a female” male section of Tihar jail with very very HUGE eyes. I immediately was on my toes because the house was dirty and I rejected buying it. All I could think of was : RRRRRRUUNNNNNNNN!!!!

The female students/working professionals on the other hand are better they are really neat and clean but again most properties in the market for resale are not really worth an investment. The smooth talking brokers take the cake. They make the properties on resale seem like it is the next thing after Taj Mahal and the usual all it requires is a fresh coat of paint. What they mean is pull down the walls and the plaster and also re-tile the entire floor and change all the electric fixtures and bathroom fittings and install new woodwork……. THATS ALL!!!

So my basically hunt for McDreamHome is still on but now I am armed with lots of between the lines reading knowledge and clear specific requirements about what I want in my home. So I’m ready……. bring it on!!!!!

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