Friday, December 01, 2017

Of homes past and present

There is something beautiful about moving into your own home. It is like loving someone. At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake has been made, you weren't actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love the house not so much because of all its perfections, but rather its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock, which wardrobe is loose, the tile that needs mending or, exactly how to open the door without their creaking. There are these little secrets that make it your home and you love it adapting to all its imperfections.

Picture courtesy: Images
This is yours. Your permanent settlement where you decide on raising a family. Your first car stands proud and your creation fills the podium with mud, water and tiny footprints. You carve every wall with a story. Every wardrobe has a cherished memory. The nook and crannies carry something funny, something scary.

Then there are those who live in rented apartments. Always knowing this is a temporary dwelling. They do the minimal to turn it into something that represents who they really are yet, doing as much to showcase their personality on every wall. If they did any more than a little, they wouldn't want to leave. An inevitable reality which they desire to come to pass. They desire that one day they will leave this temporary abode and move in to something of their own. Every wall will be a sketch of the past joys and present success. Every cupboard will hold a memory that will move forever.

And one day, when that happens, they will look back with a smile saying, "we had a good time, didn't we. I liked living here". 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

For as long as you believe

They go by many names and take many forms. They bring wonder and hope and joy and dreams. 

Last night, I watched Rise of the guardians, and like I say, children's movie always leave behind a valuable learning. 

My key takeaway from the movie-- what do you believe in? 

The movie kicks off with Santa Clause summoning the Easter bunny, Sandy and tooth fairy because boogeyman is up to some mischief. He can feel it in his tummy. Now it is up to these four to save the children around the world. But the man in the moon decides, four guardians aren't enough this time. He chooses Jack Frost to be the fifth guardian. Jack Frost is no guardian. No one believes in him. No one believes that it is Jack Frost who brings the snow. No one believes that it is he who designed the game of throwing snow balls. No one believes that Jack Frost is the one responsible for all the fun kids have on a snowy day. No one can see him. He isn't real unlike the tooth fairy who leaves behind a penny or, the easter bunny hiding colorful eggs or, Santa who keeps a list of naughty or nice or, Sandy who is the reason for sweet dreams. Why, even the guardians do not believe Jack Frost can be a guardian. He is just games and fun. No serious business. But the man in the moon's decision is final. Jack Frost is assigned to be a guardian. And now, it is up to Jack and the four guardians to save the children from the boogeyman hiding under their beds, giving them bad dreams. 

Pic credit: Google images

As the battle begins, boogey man first attacks Sandy, and robs children of their sweet dreams. It robs them of imagination and creativity and they are filled with fear. As children stop believing in "sweet dreams" Sandy begins loosing his powers. Next, the boogey man captures the tooth fairy's army so that they can not replace children's tooth under the pillow with a penny. All the easter eggs are destroyed. The children not finding easter eggs,  stop believing in the easter bunny and as the kids stop believing in the easter bunny, he starts loosing all his powers. Children all over the world are robbed of their beliefs in the guardians. But there is one boy who still believes. And that one boy is enough for Jack Frost to save the world and give kids their joy and hope. To bring wonder and hope. And as the kids start believing in the guardians, the guardians start getting their power back, defeating evil. 

Image courtesy: Google Images

What we believe in is what we give power to. For you to achieve anything, you first need to believe you can achieve it. You need to imagine it happening to you. If you need success, define what success means to you. Now start believing your success story. Start visualizing your success. It will change your attitude. It will empower you to change your actions to reach where you want to be. Do you think happy people have every thing? No. Not really. But they act in a way which shows they have every thing. It is their attitude. It is their behavior. They believe what they have is sufficient to be happy. Yes, fear comes and sadness comes. It is all a part of the game. It is life. But how you behave under any circumstance, is your choice. the choices you make are directly proportional to what your values are. And your values stem out of what you believe in. 

For as long as you believe, the guardians will save you with their lives. 

Need something to start believing in? Start by believing, you are loved. You are masterpiece created for a reason. 

Thursday, April 06, 2017

You are the mirror of your thoughts

Man is a visual being with an incredibly imaginative mind. Did you know that a human brain takes up to 10 millions bits of information per second? If I wrote the words, “A big black dog” your mind not only reads the words but also, creates a picture of a big black dog. This holds good in speech as well. Have you been in a conversation where a friend is describing a place he/she visited and you quickly form a picture about that place? What you see, what you hear, what you feel is all being processed to create a picture in our mind and form our opinions. 

Imagine, if the external world had so much influence in creating our opinions, how much will our inner world have a power on us? 

Interacting with people and silently noticing many more, I have noticed people keep putting themselves down. Few know it, most are unaware of the fact. Just yesterday, I was in a training, where we all gathered to learn the basics of coding, something that we were are interested in but, had very little knowledge in. One girl responded to the trainer saying, “so far I have not made a single mistake, I hope I won’t be making any in future”. To which another girl quickly responded saying, “I will compensate for it.  She won’t make any mistake and I am going to make a hundred”.

Do you see what is happening here? The first girls speech creates a picture in her mind of confidence and drives her to code without errors while, the second girl has already created a picture in her mind of her codes being a lot wrong. The way you see yourself is the way the world will see you. The whole training group now sympathises with her feeling she needs more attention than others. 

This girl probably does not even know that she is putting herself down. Just after the class, if someone told her, “I think your codes are going to have a lot of errors”, what do you think her reaction will be? Will she take offence or, will she say, “yeah. I think so too”?

The picture you create about yourself, is the way the world will see you. 

You are so fat. You are so ugly. You are born unlucky. Nothing good can come of your life. You won’t succeed. Imagine the impact these words will have if someone constantly kept telling you these. Now, replace the “You’s” in the sentence with I’s. What you tell yourself is more important than what the world tells about you. After all, you spend the maximum time with yourself. You can escape a negative person, but can’t escape yourself. You can shut a person who is negative or, you can distance yourself for such people but, you can not shut or, distance yourself from you. If you put yourself down, your brain is processing it even as you sleep or, are busy with something else. 

Image courtesy: bootcampmilitaryfitnessinstitute 
Instead, of seeing yourself at the defeated battle ground you are at, start seeing the victory ground you want to be at. Stat looking at your self as an attractive person. Imagine your life being where you want it to be. You never have to be stuck at the job you are at. If you want to be the VP of your company, you have to see yourself being it. To unleash your potential, you have to realise that you are worthy and capable of reaching that place. People will treat you right when you treat yourself right. If you want your marriage to be a bed of roses, start imagining it to be one. If you want to run a marathon, start imagining reaching the finish line. When you start seeing yourself achieving it, you have crossed your first step of preparations towards your goal. To give birth to something, you have to first conceive it. Start conceiving the idea of positivity, of growth, of success, of people loving you. Start respecting yourself for who you are. You are unique. You are a masterpiece. Created for something glorious. 

Let me encourage you to take a minute and paint a picture of who you want to be. Now imagine it everyday. Do it diligently and soon, you will come to see it pass. 

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Advice to me 20 year old self

In 2015, if I am right with the year, LinkedIn started a series, “If I Were 22,” asking some of the world’s top voices in business to share what they’d do differently — and keep the same. More than 50 Influencers dusted off old yearbooks and dug into their archives for vintage photos from their 20s. Compiling it all into a year book, the series invited people like you and me to do the same. I know I am a little late to do it. But having just entered the band wagon of being 30's, I'd like to take the chance to reminisce my 20's. The age of freedom and responsibilities.
Graduating at the age of 19, I soon started working in a call centre despite my parents discomfort with me working at odd hours. But, I still did it and thankfully they supported me whole heartedly.
Before, I turned 20, I got an offer to join Google - a dream land for many. I packed my bag and baggage trekking towards a new journey of entering adulthood. 20's brought heart aches and it brought the embrace of a lifelong relationship.
At the age of 22, I broke multiple limbs on the left side of my body which till date are taking time to heal. Amidst, the sympathising eyes of strangers and support of family and friends; between dealing with what I lost and what I want to gain, I grew into being a stronger person. My rise after my fall, made me an inspiration to others. But the greatest gift I received in my 20's apart from a child was the gift of understanding the Bible. The gift of knowing who I am and why I am.
I feel I am too young to write on #IfIWere22 but, then a lot happened in my 20’s. I left the comforts of my parents’ house and moved to another city. Experienced cupid broken and rebuilt. Broke multiple limbs. Got married, had a child. Found God and understood what love really is.
#IfIWere22, I would like to keep my 20's exactly the same with all its failures and all its success. With every road block and every path that was paved for me. My success has taught me to believe in the power of me. My failures have taught me humility. I learnt that pride and humility need to be dusted out in the same way. Looking back at what life has given me, I can only confirm the age-old belief, that everything happens for a reason. Whether it happens for good or, for bad is left entirely up to you. Life will throw challenges your way. But how you deal with the situation is your choice. The choices you make will build your character -- for good or for bad.
I'd advice my 20-year-old is to make the right choices.
Make the right choice in the way you treat people. Family and friends are precious. They will always act as your anchor. Love them unconditionally; Forgive undoubtedly; Laugh uncontrollably. Make the right choice on how you want to feel. Don't pity yourself. Ever. No matter what you lose or, how much you lose. The way you see yourself, is the way, the world will see you. Your choices will help you build character. Build a character you would want to leave behind. A character people would want to follow. And always remember that the gift of free will was given for a reason. You decide whether you want to keep it as a gift or turn it into a curse. Last but not the least, understand the fact that, God is still on the throne. As long as He reigns, the sun will always shine.
Happy 30's!
Find me on LinekedIn 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Inside Out

Man, is an emotional being. A thousand emotions run through our mind every day. They help us survive and lead the life we ought to. They keep us from danger yet allowing us to be adventurous. They help us form our likes and dislikes and on the whole, help build our personality. Inside out is a fantastically put animated movie showcasing five emotions - joy, disgust, fear, anger and sadness in the life of a 11-year-old Riley who is mainly governed by Joy, the de facto leader ensuring Riley is happy all the time. 

For my family, Inside out is a very special movie not just because it has an amazing story line and teaching but because it was Arrow's first movie in a theater. Having watched it in 2015, it still lingers in my mind, curiously asking myself which emotion of mine is on the console today? 

The movie journey's through Riley growing up and how her experiences start forming memories of which some become core memories that in turn power aspects of her personality. While Joy's role is to ensure Riley’s happiness, fear keeps her away from danger, disgust allows her to make the right decision, anger is to keep things fair while sadness...well no one know what the role of sadness is. As an effort to keep Riley happy, Joy distracts sadness and limits her to a corner. Something which a lot of us do hoping we will be happy. 

Many a times, we too make the mistake Joy made. We bottle our sadness up, limiting it to a circle. We ignore it; we try to replace it with positivity, thinking it will go away. The problem is it does not work that way. We may succeed in masking it, pushing it deeper and deeper into our soul.  

Riley's bottled sadness began showing up in different forms. She begins feeling easily irritated. She loses interest in hockey, snaps at her friend and father, lies and even runs away. Fear, anger and disgust start taking control. When feelings are ignored, buried deep down, or not allowed to be expressed, they push back harder and create the potential for explosion. 

Soon Joy realizes no matter how much she tries, she cannot keep Riley happy all the time. Joy lets sadness play her part. While the movie revolves around Joy, it is Sadness that teaches us how all our emotions serve a purpose. Every feeling gives us information about our experiences, and about other people’s experiences. They clue us in to life’s challenges and rewards. They motivate us to connect with others, and to make changes in our lives. They keep us safe and they encourage us to take risks. We need all our feelings to make these things happen. We need all our feelings to stay healthy.

When Riley expressed sadness, her parents realized she needed more support. When Riley was allowed to feel sad without pressure to be any other way, and when she and her parents recognized her feelings, she was able to move forward, in a healthy way.

In the end, as Riley grew, we saw memories that were not so solidly blue, yellow, red, or green. The majority were not just yellow anymore either. And the memories that included blue were not viewed as negative. We saw memories with mixed emotions, ones that were red and blue, green and yellow. Riley’s Control Center helped her grow and learn that experiences aren’t assigned just one emotion and that all the emotions are helpful for her, even Sadness.

Have you ever found yourself controlled by a particular emotion? Have you ever stopped for a moment to ponder which is the emotion that has built your character? Or do you let every emotion play its part? I know a person who is addressed as "happiness" and I know a person who is addressed as "Rotal" (Hindi for cry-baby). Both of them amazing personalities. 

If you haven't watched the movie, I encourage you to do so. You can read the review on IMDB

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Confessions of an ex-girlfriend

Confessions of an ex-girlfriend by Lynda Curnyn, was the second book I read. Veronica decides to die by Pualo Cohelo being the first.

A chicklit, the book is narrated by the main character Emma, who is heartbroken after her boyfriend follows his bliss to Hollywood leaving Emma behind and the various people who are there to help her as well as to add to her agony. 10 years have passed since I read that book and hardly remember much about it except the title. Even as I read the book, I knew that one day I would write something with the title. Laughing at the wits of the author, it was like I was preparing myself to one day be an ex-girlfriend. I tried using the title for Lux and Sood. I tried real hard to fit the title in for Dragon too but, none fit in. Never had any confessions to make to them, just a box smelling of cigarettes and laughter; Of an old jacket, a perfume which I ensure never gets over and a silver watch. Finally, I see the finish line towards which I run to pen something with the title. 

Was I his girlfriend? Who defines the definition? Is it Merriam-Webster, Thesaurus, Oxford or is it left to the individual? I do not know but I know I was a friend. And I loved. Loved with every iota my heart could give. I never told him why I loved him, even when he asked, I never did. Because why I loved did not matter in the end. What do you do when a humorous character that you fell in love with has no more jokes to tickle you? The most beautiful girl who you once held is so disrobed today that she has stopped looking at herself in the mirror. The one you married for her voice has no more melody leaving her throat. Don't you just continue loving them for just them? Do you continue loving the things of the person or, is it the person that you fall in love with?

The first day I spoke to Chang, I knew I would talk to him again. "That day I knew, that two words alone weren't all we had. Our conversations and chat were going to run longer than that. But for today, couple of words shared, weren't that bad." Is what I once wrote about him. Indeed, I spoke to him more and then more and then for hours and hours together. Did I care about him? No. Did he matter to me? No. But talking to him made me happy. He could talk non-stop. So much that I could fade out and return to find him still talking. He had stories about his past with which his eyes would light up. Through his eyes, I would enter the land of his stories. As a mute spectator, I would be deafened to his voice only to stare at his lips move. Was he anyone to me then? Not really. But I enjoyed his company. Then one day, I saw that beneath that confident person was a fussy child not ashamed to claim what he thought was his. Was I his? No. I wasn't. Seeing that childlike innocence, that day I decided I'd give him not only the candy he wanted but also a pony ride. How I would do it, I did not know. It is a different thing that what I thought was a candy and what I thought was the pony ride got mixed up, none the less, he was happy. Seeing him happy, made me happy. If he was sad or upset, surprisingly, it affected me too. I was his friend and he was mine. He played the guitar, he played the drums. He sang and he danced. He impressed every person he met. But was it this that impressed me? It was never about his talents. It confused me why seeing him with other girls made me upset. Did I ever have other feelings for him? No. Never. Then one day I realized that I had created a wall around me, an invisible one, to avoid him from getting too close. The realization came late but at least I knew why the wall. Did I want to break that wall? No. Experience teaches you a thing or two. His genuineness and openness were stronger that my defense. The first brick I broke then, reluctantly, the second. It was difficult. I was hesitant. But then I turned around and saw him waiting. A person so true. Someone who believed in me. Someone who saw the person I was inside. And just like that with the pull of a simple string, the wall came crumbling down like a curtain being rolled up for an exciting play. I knew I am going to love him from this day on. That was my day of love. There was no turning back then. Why I cared for him, I did not know. At times, I wondered if our souls were knit. I hunted for what that really meant because it so felt like they were. David and Johnathan. Why would I ever be so interested in him otherwise? He wasn't the kind of guy that would interest me.

“I once met a guy, 
A guy like none I would like
He stared at me long enough
And tried to converse with his eyes.
I held his gaze and gave him a look to speak,
"Keep your attitude. You are too cute to be by my side"
I once met a guy like this,
Who wasn't fit for my thoughts, no matter how hard he tried.”

Something I have never told him but often wondered. And still think about it. Or at least, did until yesterday. Maybe, I ought to stop doing that.

He taught me many things. With him, I learned something new every day. I set forth to unlearn every wrong I had mastered and he came along. He gave me the best gift anyone in the world could ever give me. Through him I saw what hope and faith meant. He mentored me with things he knew would help me. Through him I saw how important it is to know your identity. I loved not just him, but everything that was his. Not the gifts that he had, but who and what he was with or without them. I loved who he wanted to be. I loved how passionate he was about the things he loved. How he proudly owned everything he loves. If he loved it or liked it, it was his. Thinking about it today, he did not like anything. People like you and me like things. He loves them. A thing like, like does not exist for him. He loved what was his and he made what he loved his. Am I not a proof enough. No wonder he claimed me as his. The passionate nature of his is what I fell in love with. His belief in me is what made me love him. How he demanded me to be his friend swept me off my feet to give my all to him.

What do I tell him why I love him? If there was a unit to measure the happiness I feel when I am with him, I would have given him the number and told him why I love him. Every time I was sad, he was the one I wanted to go to, to turn my day up. I loved him because I could tell him anything and everything. Not telling him wasn't even an option he was ready to take. I loved him because he did not give me an option of keeping things to myself. I loved him because I never once saw him judge me. With him I knew that I had to count my by one. I loved him because he gave me a book that reveals the secrets to being happy. He stopped referencing the book and yet I saw him practicing it. Yes, I married the singer who lost her voice. But by the time the question was asked, it wasn't the voice. I was in love with the person. I did not care about the voice any more. The disrobed figure of the most beautiful lady that I held, was still the prettiest to me. For I knew what was beneath that disfigured face of hers. I knew I loved him because every pain of his pierced my heart. His tears flooded my heart. It wasn't about the jokes any more. It wasn't the stories anymore. All that mattered was that he wanted to share them with me. And that, I loved. His eyes changed colors when he spoke to me. He had the entire universe to choose from but he chose me. That is what made me love him.

Chang, I confess for the times I gave you an unsatisfactory answer when you asked why. I could tell you a thousand reasons as to why I love you or what I love about you and I would still not be done. But if I had to tell you my top 5,

1. You believed in me. You saw who I was and loved me for being me. You claimed me. You demanded I be your friend and did not let go until I was your friend. The adamant child that you are. 

2. Your concern for me was always genuine. You have always wanted the best for me.

3. You invited me to share your life. Your fear and your courage, your sadness and your joy; you shared them all with me.

4. You loved Arrow so genuinely. Maybe because he is a good child, but I'd like to believe that you loved him because he is my child. Every time I see him kiss you, I love you a little more. Every time he sings your song, I can't help but love you a little extra. 

5. Your very presence fills me with happiness. And today, as we walk away, just the fact that I knew you and what we had, keeps a smile on me.

Doesn't matter what you have and what you don't. Doesn't matter what you do or don't. I'd love you because I chose to love you. You were pretty persistent that I do that. Maybe I did not do it the way you wanted me to. And I love and thank you for introducing me to The Book. Something I will always value and cherish and carry with me. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Teachers, Preachers and Followers

My son adores my friend, Mr. Smarty Pants. This adoration sprung up when I told him "Friday is coming"! His first reaction was, call Uncle. Smarty Pants so I can tell him to come home. I took a deep breath, hid my emotions behind my smile and said, I don't think he will come. "Why"? "He is busy maybe that is why." "But he did not come for so long and he told he will". Some emotions are best hidden from children especially when they are the negatives one's involving two of the child's super heroes. It was wrong of me to tell him that Mr. Smarty Pants does not want to talk to your mumma. Maybe he will never want to either. But what came out of it made me realize, how easy it is to mold a child.

He sighed and held my palm and said, "it does not matter who wants to talk to you. It does not even matter who loves you. What matter is how much you love someone". "You be your best. Be so good that the other person has no other choice but to be good. And if the other person still does not want to be good, let him be bad. You don't be bad." "The Bible says love everyone". For an instance, I saw myself in his eyes. My teaching, my preaching. I had a follower. As Paresh looked smilingly at the mother and his five year-old-boy--the teacher, the preacher' the boy has two new followers.

Have you broken your best friends heart? Has your friend broken your heart? Is there a void in your heart? What do you want to fill it with?

Surrounded to be free

The past I can not undo
but a happier future for you is what I look forward to.
I thought I'd be the person who will always be by your side
For all the times you wept and each night that you cried.
But today I realize, only me would not suffice
You yearn for someone who would be your sunrise
From my heart I say, and each word I say is true,
I hurt for every pain you have been through
And wish life once again changed around and made you you.
But is my love so overwhelming that it might be me stopping you?
Then benevolent, I'd rather be, Isn't that how it is supposed to be?
Never alone do I wish this world you will ever have to see,
May you be surrounded in a love that makes you feel free.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Mr. Perfect and little miss control freak.

I love everything that I have. I love my child. I love my parents, my brother. I loved my dogs, may they rest in peace. I love the place I work at. I love my friends. I love to have them. And Oh! Yes, I love my husband too. What's not to love in him?

My husband is no ordinary man. He's got the looks. A perfect body with not an ounce of fat hanging loose. A handsome man, he stands a perfect 5'11" tall, smelling like ocean and wood and some mystic spice and when he dances, it's like a serene flow of water. He helps around the house. Does the dishes, helps me with laundry and hosts amazing parties. He has a flaw or two no doubt. He is a horse when he sings, clumsy when it comes to handling ceramic or glassware but then he never sings plus a horse still sings better than a donkey and I don't mind a china or two hitting the ground either. He is amazing at work, an over achiever. His friends love him. His colleagues look up to him. He is well spoken. He is calm when the toddler throws a tantrum. He managed the sleepless nights and poop everywhere phase so well. He is the favorite uncle of every child. He is just perfect and the list would go on unless I try really hard to stop which I am going to do.

Everywhere I go, I get to hear how lucky I am. What a husband you have. I hear that phrase so often. Oh! The pride that sits on my smile then. Or at least, used to. How can a woman not be happy with something like this? How much more can one expect? Do I not have it all and more? 

And what am I? Little miss control freak. Yes. That is what. I am born with the super power of envisioning the most efficient way of doing a task. And in the quickest possible way. I like to clean the house and clean it my way because no one does it as perfectly as I do. I am the one sitting on the passenger seat giving directions. Yes, my mind registers routes better than his. I love to iron my husband's clothes and match the socks with the trouser, not only because I love to show some tender loving care so often but also, because I want him to look better than the rest. I lay down his meal and dress his plate just so he would enjoy an uninterrupted meal. I don't like him to discipline the child because I want him to be the good cop. See, it's not a bad thing--being a control freak. But then I have been told, you are dulling his decision making skills. Control freaks are just better at decision making. People in comparison to control freaks are dull people. So here is week 1 of slowing things down, holding myself back from making the world a better place to live in. Of keeping my opinions to myself. And giving myself a chance to see that maybe the other person is not doing it all wrong. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Will we understand your way?

A song left midway, a work incompletely done,
Putting everything owned in a bag, 
Blundering back to God he went. 
Mysterious paths his hopeful heart once again trod.
What mountain of pain and peace he won?

Why won't his hand you take and soothe his heart?
A truant passionate fool he has become. 
How hard can the bread of life be to understand?
Your ways, your love and passion for mankind; 
Why in school must we forever remain?