Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Beating the Blues like Champ Mum

There are too many illusions around us that lure in a way that we begin to believe thats real. I have been through such since a long while. I created a perplexity around me. The mist of myth is slowly fading to reveal the reality. I read this beautiful line "monotony & solitude stimulates a creative mind" Many a times, either the monotony or the solitude keeps missing, and then we never realize that we have a creative mind and it can create wonders. 
Off late, I have made peace with my situation and I am more still and calm than ever before. It takes a lot to accept and come to terms with something that you have never contemplated. Though I never personally endorsed the stereotyped choices, at a certain point I started getting succumbed to such. The moment I cleared my mind of what I really am, I understand I am crossing over my own path. All I am talking about is an inner battle a new mom goes through. The stereotyped thinking I meant is either you choose to leave your little one with a daycare/parental care or you pause or give up your work to look after the baby. 
For many, including me pausing work is a big reason to start feeling low and give up dreaming about making it big that once you are. Your world starts to slowly cringe down to few others like you and you drift away in a world thats too far from what have created once. This happened to me and many others I know. Thats when we feel lost, depressed and sometimes not at ease. I honestly was not at ease though it was absolutely my choice to stay at home. For many moons, I stayed in a bewildered sphere. I kept consoling me as if I was sacrificing. This kept going until I got saturated and stressed. And then this crazy yet meaningful life changing thought came to my mind....I wondered what is that I am really missing, why I am unable to completely enjoy what I chose with my heart, why is the happy decision seeming more difficult to be pulled off??? In calm moments, I realized what makes me happy. 
I identify myself as a person who dwells where happiness is, no matter if it requires me to give up something and even if that something sounds too enticing, and my decision seems too adventurous and difficult. And I stood by those decisions, because they made me happy, they left me with beautiful memories. Had I chose to live otherwise with those somethings, perhaps I wouldnt have made great memories neither I would have felt so happy. And that was realization. There are many out there who have been boggling in this sphere, but just break away from the mundane and give it one clear thought, I am sure you will find your answers. I may sound like one old psychiatrist but thats very true. I kept reading every other piece of write ups by SAHM(stay at home mums) & Working mums, but I honestly never found my answers. I dont know why.  I am venting out my experience now with a hope to trigger those unanswered, lost questions that you have been dealing with. If so, I shall be happy and proud of myself because I know what sort of battle it is that you have been fighting without a clue.
Now, the reality is when you really have an inner urge to make it big no matter what, there is no need to feel low. Feeling low is a mythical illusion that one has carved out of expectations and stereotypes. Accept that this is just a pause, a much needed one indeed, to have no regrets that you missed your baby's very young age. This acceptance allows you to think and imagine better things other than cribbing about missing working lifestyle like your contemporaries do. Its great if you can balance both work and baby, its great even if you chose to give up work but its not great if give up the baby. 
A mother's duty is to nurture the child with love and affection, if you choose to seek something else over this, you better dont give birth. Just because you are a social being, you need not stick to the rules of the society when you dont really believe in it, it could be marriage or motherhood. I loved what Sania Mirza said to the interviewer about being judged for not being a mother to be called an actual achiever while she conquers the top seat in her game. How insanely minuscule narrow mindset we live with? This kind of social pressure is often leading many of our women to take motherhood as a compulsive choice rather than willful choice. Let not the social pressure clinch you in any which way. You will either ways be judged, questioned, grilled and baked, so choose what makes you happy and dont stop dreaming big because you chose to step down from the race for a while, not forever. 
These are my learnings over the past year..nurturing a child is no less than a job, enjoying your time off is not a sin, dreaming big is a must, make the most of it while it lasts.

#newmom #stayathomemom #makepeace



Monday, August 22, 2016

Silver is the new Gold

Silver is the new Gold. We know how obsessed we are with metal Gold, have we ever loved Silver over Gold, I dont think so. Thanks to the Badminton Ace Sindhu for bringing over this new trend of loving silver instead of Gold. Her Silver medal did seem very precious than anything to us.
She definitely deserved Gold but there was someone even better than her who flew away with Gold after playing the toughest and perhaps the most interesting game of her life. But none of us have been mean to Sindhu for not winning the best. We were contended with the second best and rained accolades for her performance. But why?? because we all witnessed how well our girl fought giving all she had and did not loose her spirits for once. Dont you think she had the greatest pressure of winning a Gold for her country which has been waiting in extreme eagerness?As a nation we never really cared when the sports champions other than cricketers excelled in many international sporting arenas. Because this is bigger than any other sporting event, and our champions forayed into finals despite so many drawbacks in the nation, we googled them to cheer them. Sadly, they have to be googled because we never knew them before. We might have found their names appear here and there but because it was not cricket or movies or scandalous, we did not care. Isnt it unfortunate? How many of us knew that Sindhu is already received a Padmasri. Now we go gaga over celebrating their success. Nevertheless, I am happy that we are looking beyond cricket and movies at least now. The welcome celebration for these winning champs is even more exciting and definitely the best. they have been felicitated very well although they were not facilitated with best sporting infrastructure before. 
There might be a million praises for Sindhu. Sakshi & Deepa, but to me they proved something else. Let me throw some light on what I felt after their winning. 
Settling for less: Yes, I mean they settled for less. It is not a joke to contend in the worlds best sporting arena with the kind of training standards that are not in par to the rest of the world and reach the finals. That itself is a greatest achievement. To win a medal is an extra boon. And not to forget they all are first timers. How could one not appreciate Carolina Marine's play, she was extremely good but Sindhu did not get discouraged. Thanks to Gopichand for mentoring her to be so strong in such pressure. She bounced back with so much force each time we thought she would loose. I had goosebumps at her display of perseverance. But the fact is Carolina was better and she won Gold and Sindhu had to accept the Silver. But with great sporting spirit she happily accepted it. Shouldnt we learn such spirit? Same with Sakshi, had she lost her hope, she would have been floored by the Khazakistan player easily. It was the few seconds, she reserved her place for bronze. And of course Deepa, who performed the best and won appreciation for her never let down performance though she couldnt win a medal. To those parents who push your children to any extent to win and when they dont, the way you make them feel worthless, this is tight slap on your face. Push your children to give their best not to win or loose. How many children and youngsters took to suicide unable to battle the pressure of loosing? Even after loosing, how many of us would have given several reasons or cried foul over the winner instead of accepting the fact? The attitude comes out of great upbringing, decent guidance and immense clarity. 
Knowing once own ground: I think the people, it could be the coach, parents or supporters who must hold the player to the roots at times instead of pushing them to aim for impossible feats. If you have watched Sindhus interview post the match, she clearly stated she never went there to win the medal. Her strategy was to take it match by match. Had she aimed for the Gold straight away, she could have underestimated her opponent and got over confident. She knew where she stood in her sport, she worked to better her skill rather than aiming to win something. She definitely had a dream to win a medal at Olympics but that did not push her to make desperate attempts. Again thanks to Gopichand for guiding her in the right direction. And of course her parents for not being so desperate about winning. In one of her interviews along with her dad, it was clear that her parents kept her rooted and clear of what is important. This never took away from believing and remaining with reality despite working her best.
I am also happy for another reason as I mentioned above that now many will look beyond cricket. Cricket has literally overshadowed all other sports. I grew up in a city where we got to move along with the best players of Badminton and Chess. We knew their achievements closely from time to time, we heard their names very often in school, college and in the neighborhoods. Somehow badminton and Chess were like one of common sports that saw some encouragement in my city. I am sure, it will go to the next level very soon. I so wish we encourage our children even in sports in the right spirits. Its not about the medals, the accolades, the rewards, but encourage them to enjoy the beauty of the sport.

#rioolympics2016  #pvsindhu  #gopichand  #sakshimalik



Friday, May 27, 2016

Married Otherwise

"Marriages are made in Heaven" thats what we have been said and believed all these years....until recently, I thought marriage is between two individuals, their families and their social circle. But I was totally shocked to know the new trend of marriage(at least new to me) and there's a name to it too. Its called Open Marriage. The first time I got to know about this term is just couple of days ago. I was pulled into this fitness/diet group in Facebook which is obsessed with weight loss, fitness and diet. I dont have qualms about it, no wrong in being obsessed with healthy lifestyle but now and then there are these jerky strokes from some of the members posting anonymous questions seeking advice which blow me out. One such question was about Open Marriage, the lady who posted was in a dilemma as her open marriage secret was leaked to close family aide and she wants to be advised on how to deal with this problem. 
1st of all, when I first read the term, Open Marriage, I was wondering what kind of marriage it would be. I knew of gay marriages and trans-gender marriages too but this one seemed new. As I went on to find out the meaning, I was dumbstruck. In this kind of marriage, you are married to one but you have the liberty to choose multiple partners with the consent of your spouse. And these people get entertained at "swinger clubs"... Another new term for a matron like me. 
What shocked and disgusted me even more was those wisest ladies of the group pouring in suggestions usually about newest fitness activities, best dietary options etc have also jumped in to rescue this lady. And the lady's problem was not get out of the marriage but how to camouflage their living style. The wise ladies were so mature to not judge such marriages, they were so wise to not call it awkward. They advised the anonymous on how to handle such situations with all their wisdom and intellect. None of those who posted a comment were offensive. I was wondering, if its the growing tolerance towards such weird activities or maybe that didnt even appear weird to them the way it did to me. 
What I couldnt decipher about this sort of marriages is; why in the hell do they want to get into a marriage and then keep changing partners when all they need is a different partner every time. It is very degrading to see such concept to be associated to a sacred institution like marriage. Every culture respects marriage and believes its sacred and hence performed in spiritual sense. I maybe sounding too worried about something thats not known to many but imagine if so called wise ladies of the group (in Facebook) are so tolerant and nonjudgmental about this concept, what do you expect out of those youngsters desperate to experiment with their lives? Wouldnt this be a spoil sport for them??

When deepika padukone's my choice video released, there were many people who were gutted to hear the phrase my choice to chose a partner out of marriage. Because it sounded socially awkward, in others words unacceptable. Either you live in a marriage or get out of it but not sail in two boats. But what about these trending open marriages?? Are they not a threat for social living? Would you want your son or daughter to end up in an open marriage? Now one may ask, why are shouting your lungs out when two adults have mutual consent to choose other partners...because I found its perverse. 
Not all may agree with me but I wanted iterate a fact that, if this sort of activities are encouraged, we may end up with maddening lifestyles. The so called wise people today are way too tolerant about this kind of acts but are totally recalcitrant about normal social practices. And there are these over diplomatic celebrities who always are non judgmental about anything and everything unless it burns their own arse. Especially some ladies of the group that I mentioned are an example of over diplomacy and stupid ignorance of the reality. There wouldn't have been so many divorces/breakups if those couples have had so much maturity to handle infidelity like these folks do. 
I believe marriage is a commitment, I dont know if I am way too behind with the current trends to accept this sort of culture but the least I would expect is that they do not associate it with marriage. 



Friday, May 20, 2016

Body Shaming, a Sin

Body Shaming, a term that has become popular when many celebrities started opening up about their own experiences of body shaming. Though the term was coined recently or at least became popular recently, this kind of act has been in there in our society since many ages. Not just our society but everywhere in the world, sad that this is existing even in this day and age.

 Bullying at schools is very common, but how far this bullying goes is something that has to be monitored by teachers and parents. Generally bullying doesnt account for a serious wrong doing but it creates a social stigma in the victim, be it about his/her body or about the society's perception towards him/her. One would start cringing in shame or die in fear unable to combat the bullying. 

When I was in high school, I was very lean and not so like the other girls in my class (I do not want to say I was not beautiful, because that feeling was what made me cringe in shame), I was just not like others. I was what I was and sad that I did not appreciate myself. I was bullied for having a lean body with no attractive stats like them. When each of the other girls would boast of their growing vital stats, I couldnt talk of any. Neither I was rich enough to battle those bullies with flamboyance nor I was bold enough to beat them out in verbal combat. I was pretty good at studies, indeed much better than my bullies, but even that did not save me from what I had gone through.

Ironically, the bullies were also my friends. There were times I would come home and cry in silence, and hated to look myself in the mirror. I never counted my blessings. I kept going through these bad experiences that made me loose many opportunities. There was an audition call once for a skit to be played at interschool competition, I was very enthusiastic and enrolled myself for the audition. I was selected for a role. With lot of excitement, I attended the first rehearsal class too, my instructor was quite impressed with me. But my bullies started bullying me for the role I got. I was given a beggar's role in the skit. I thought I was good at acting but then I was told because I looked lean and ugly, I was given such a role. Ashamed, I decided not to be a part of it. My instructor sent a word with other participants many a times and I lied I was not keeping well and I will not be able to continue. I hid myself whenever I had to face him. My bullies got better roles in the same skit and it also won the best skit award in the competition and the girl who played the beggar's role got best actor award too. She came and thanked me for leaving the role. I felt very sad but did not overcome my fears. 

I was pretty good at singing, but I never dared to sing in the school competitions, I was decently good at speaking but I avoided taking part in the debates. I had great interest in hockey, but my instructor shamed me too calling that I was leaner than the hockey stick and next day I stopped going back to the hockey game. I kept giving reasons of illnesses to avoid being called by the coaches and teachers. All because of my body that was shamed to be ugly. 

At one point I broke down in my mums presence, that is when I knew that what the bullies in my class were doing was absolutely wrong and there was no need to be ashamed of my own body,.that everyone will have their own growth patterns, and school is not where you go to appreciate each other's bodies but learn good things for life, that I should appreciate my best blessings and focus on that instead of trivial things like shape of the body. Thanks to mum for instilling so much confidence in me and standing by me when I almost collapsed. The last year in high school was eventful for me, I did take part in many competitions, skits and stage acts. 

Thanks to her for teaching not to body shame anyone. I remember an incident when my mum gave a hard warning slap when I called a lady fat in a slang. That was not a hard slap on face but for my mind which meant I was very wrong. I never dared to repeat such. Often my mum would associate body shaming as a sin because if we do that to someone we will be returned with the same at some point. I wish my bullies had mothers who were like my mum or may be they had a double face. 
In no time what my mother said came true, in my bullies terms, I grew into a pretty betty while they turned into big and round figures. I did not smile to shame them but I went on to improve my confidence. After that I never felt bad the way I looked and I will not let that happen to my daughter too. 

Just like my mum, if all other mums out there can teach their kids about not body shaming others and feeling good in their own skin, the world would be a much better place.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Leopard Lesson

Its been a while I pondered upon anything else except my daughters thoughts. A hyper active baby will never let you think anything else except her.
Staying home kind of made my brain foggy, I haven't really sorted it out to suit the stay at home schedule. My schedule back seated many of my activities one of which is writing. The very first chance I got to write is today and here I go typing down my thoughts.
While am here temporarily put up in my hometown since the new year started, the news about Leopard creating a furore in Bangalore makes me think about it more as an environmental engineer than any common person. Some people said its the leopard which sneaked out of its habitat and is going wild in the city. While some conservationists say it is the people who have inhabited the forest zones and encroached the animals residences.

As an environmental engineer, I would partly agree with the second argument. But I would also like to add that out of the thousands of developments happening in and around Bangalore, how many of them cater to the real needs apart from the investment interests of the rich. In 2012, there was a survey that revealed that Bangalore has got about 30% of unoccupied flats/homes. This figure must have definitely gone up by now. The development sprawl has outrageously erased the boundaries of different sensitive zones. Especially those zones that are typical bird, animal and insect habitats.
Its not just the greed of the development companies but the craze of investment by the rich to own two or three flats/homes because they can afford to. But are they interested to rent it out? Not always. Many flats are kept unoccupied for years. In some cases, the owner of the flat stays outside the country and doesn't really care to rent the flat/home. This investment interest of common people and land lust of the development companies are eating up the green cover of the city.

I wish the government sets strict guidelines to save the little green spaces left in small pockets in the city. Once known as garden city of India, now Bangalore turns up no less than a concrete jungle. Many locals and immigrants keep ranting that there is a drastic variation in temperatures with increase of this sprawl. Yet there are many development companies who are not responsibly developing the land but their greed to cash in as much as land to earn extra is killing the left over pervious lands.
Here I am cribbing about the developers but forgot to mention the common people who build homes without leaving any set back limits and just go on expanding the building as much as they can. Having worked with couple of clients who wanted me to design a home for them, I could somehow convince them to leave setbacks and green space just to add a little breather to their homes. But how many such people are convinced to do so and how many designers are putting an effort to remind this aspect.
We all of us have created problems such as excessive deforestation, encroachment of animal habitats, irresponsible sprawl, investing in properties whether needed or not, building spaces more than required, leaving zero setbacks, erasing the green cover to add more built up space etc. In short our concrete lust is just veiling up to show us the real picture. This leopard wander is just another reminder to us. Dried up bore wells, increasing temperatures, high levels of pollution, none of these effected us. Will a leopard do the job??
#LeopardinSchool #Bangalore

P.S I just realized that I had written a similar post back in 2012.