Lennon Had It Right!

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I’m not feeling particularly nostalgic or philosophical today so have no fear that this is one of “those” posts.

After a week of particularly fragmented sleep due to a very, very unfortunate incident witnessed, I finally slept good and proper. And it was also due to a long, no-holds barred, candid talk with my father.

It seems to me that while life is something that we are born into; it’s also something that keeps happening around us whether we are consciously in the moment or not. It does go on. Extremely fluidly.

One moment someone is literally surrounded by all that is good and the next moment they are gone. Really, really gone. Because saying they passed on doesn’t seem to do justice to it.

One moment you’re one of a bunch of quasi-serious group of girls studying the human mind, ogling boys, chatting with strangers on the net for the thrill of it and bunking classes to watch Hyderabad Blues (first day-first show) and then you blink and you’re a housewife who buys sheets based on thread count and is quite happy about it as well.

One day you’re the thread that holds together someone’s sanity and the next you’re nowhere in the horizon because life happened and people moved on; and so did you.

One day you were playing hopscotch and counting nickels to see if you had enough for an ice cream sandwich and the next you were just among the multitude of kids who were moving out of home room to go to French or Spanish class.

You make plans. We all do. We plan the hell out of our lives. Even those who don’t have a proper schematic in place and aren’t hopelessly anal about where they’re going and how they want to get there. But things still keep happening around us, we get caught up in them and sometimes they lead someplace good and other times it leads to places we can’t wait to get out of fast enough.

If I look back today on things good and bad, the only thing that consistently occurs to me is that I have enough to go on to look ahead as well. And not just through rose-colored glasses to see the prettiness. To also see things for how they are: a shifting balance of things that test us to the core and those which lift us up to glorious peaks of joy.

And no…this post will not end with an “embrace life now!” or “count your blessings and live each day to the fullest” kind of blather. It’s just an ongoing realization of how we are yet to plumb the depths of all that’s in store for us and how the tip of the iceberg isn’t really a bad place to be when everything else is still ahead of you.

Makes me feel good about the times to come. In a mildly daunted and yet-excited way.

So since I have to end the post on some note, let it be this.

After A Long Break…From Writing

Been visiting my folks back in my hometown. It’s kind of become an annual trip during the brat’s summer holidays. It’s part torture and part relaxation but the fun comes and goes. I say that because the concept of fun not only changes from person to person but sometimes even from day-to-day.

One day locking yourself up in a room and just reading Asterix comics can be bliss where another day going for a trip on a river despite the icky-sticky humidity can be pretty damn good too!

But be as that may I have some blog posts bursting to get out. Haven’t blogged at in the past month. Barring my renewed love for Instagram, I wasn’t doing anything else at all. A break of sorts.

Anyhow one of the things that did catch my eye and then my head was the essay written by Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg, after her husband passed away.

Apart from the utterly heartfelt words that Sandberg wrote, what really caught my attention were her updates on Facebook throughout the entire  time she was in mourning.

She didn’t do any of the silly and utterly without value kind of updates like check-ins into malls or fashionable places or used emojis to describe how she was feeling but she her work updates, things which probably kept her grounded during that indescribably difficult time.

But I have to wonder if uneasy does rest the head wearing the crown. Do you have time to actually grieve, go where your life is taking you or are you beholden to a greater power- your work?

My father, although not in Sandberg’s league, is a pretty well-established person in his own field. And he seldom switches off. While it isn’t as hectic as it was before he retired (for the first time) he hasn’t entirely cut the cord either. And it must be hard to do…if you have done something for most of your adult life, especially when you distinguish yourself at it.

But while there is something to be said for going up the ladder, there are times when being a foot soldier or a cog in the system might be a blessed thing as well.

Here endeth the first one of the pent-up blog posts. More posts to follow. Some on my photo blog. Check it out here.

I Give Thanks For…Retaining A Grip On My Sanity

When I was a kid studying in P.S 20 in Flushing, N.Y.C we learnt about the Pilgrims and how Thanksgiving came about.

In India, we don’t have a dedicated holiday to commemorate Thanksgiving but global trends being what they are, things catch on and we get together to eat the Thanksgiving turkey, reach out to friends and family during this time and give our thanks for good health, the life we lead et al.

But at times it’s essential to give thanks for things that keep us grounded and “normal” even before the onset of the holiday.

Anyone who knows me well will vouch for the fact that being demure, having patience and essentially being ladylike isn’t in my DNA or my behavior.

While I’m faar off from being uncouth but flaring up, mouthing off and generally not holding back on my opinions of things and people who irritate me is something that I’m prone to do. And I *do* tend to go on about it.

This move to a new apartment and getting the kinks worked out has been stressful to an extreme I’ve not experienced before. We are bereft of daily emotional support barring each other (Red& I i.e.), work isn’t something that agrees to take a backseat entirely and having an active and lively child entails pushing yourself above and beyond the known resources of energy and mental stamina.

In the midst of all this if you throw vendors who are tardy to the point of being almost absent, work pressures and seeing so little of each other that we’re practically bonded via chat apps and sms, it creates fissures in one’s equilibrium that are very difficult to overcome.

See, accepting that there is imbalance in the immediate environment is inevitable. To what extent you allow it to develop from being a bugbear to a maelstrom is entirely your call.

So here I am giving thanks for people who are my safety net, my outlets for inconvenient outbursts and rants and generally who make me feel that no matter HOW untethered I feel I don’t actually come undone.

Thank you.

My residual sanity thanks you all profusely.

bth_exploding-head-zone

The Best Laid Plans

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Robert Burns- To A Mouse

I’ve not often had my plans crumble down. In fact am all about planning. Usually get into the realm of head-in-the-clouds so far do I wander off with my thoughts.

But it’s beyond daydreams and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It’s more of the everyday things which really either help you stay afloat or pull you under.

A few years ago when I was pregnant with MLM I made plans of being the best mother out there. I certainly did not plan to turn into a screeching shrew who lives in her track pants and waits for deliverance and neither did I think that having a career was going to entail so much thought. It’s the circle of life- you grow up, get an education of some kind and get a job of some kind else you mooch off someone to sustain yourself.

But taking a conscious step back from work pretty much turned into an situation where was very little scope of being able to work the timings I wanted, do the kind of work I wanted and still be able to give the lion’s share of my time to my child. Oh and I forgot to factor in me-time..that was a joke by the way!

But I did work. For a little over a year. Did reasonably well too I thought too before the ugly specter of work-life balance (WLB) raised it’s insidious little head.

At the last place I worked before MLM was born I used to facilitate in-house workshops on WLB and I thought it was fairly doable. Provided you made it a priority and did everything possible to attain it.

Know what I think now? It’s HOGWASH!!

When your child (ren) is/are older possibly then being able to do things on your terms becomes a bit more viable without feeling like you’ve descended through Dante’s Hell but prior to that you never really know what kind of a path your life will take. Am not even venturing into the arena of curveballs. But the kind of decisions you might make for the health of your family or for your own benefit might end up making you accrue a lot more dividends that you’ll have to pay in person through compromises, frustrations and a lot of food for thought.

Bottom line? We don’t like changes unless there’s an outright benefit that we can sense and even enjoy from the onset. Anything that you need to wait for seems to come not only too slowly but often makes you lose sight of your rationale in indulging in it to begin with.

But having to make big decisions is necessary from time to time. It helps you prioritize, makes you think hard and think clearly and pushes you to do concrete things.

So the intangibles and the semi daydreams will just have to wait for their day in the sun.

In the meanwhile….carpe noctem anyone?

P.S: I want to shoot the person who propogated this WLB theory. Either it’s a man or someone who has a trust fund or a very good nanny! It’s certainly not a person like ME!