Disconnect to Connect  ~ Part 5


Ambiguity of Acceptance – The wait that has begun has to end.

How often do you accept “Life is like that” in one go when a situation not only zombie bites you in the butt but, makes sure that you burn in smoldering flames of regret and ennui for a long long time? Does the acceptance come easily? Or, you use resistance of denial just to buy time to see if, the zombie turned situation could by some brush of luck animate back itself to perfection by an injection of correction serum? Not making sense, right? But then, does life make? Sense?

If life made sense, then Adam and Eve would have remained celibate for eons, given their control over going ‘astray’. Life was perhaps designed not to make sense, rather. Long back, I read in a book that our time on Earth is just a test and, the souls come down to redeem brownie points through sufferings and intolerable cruelty just to ensure that they ascend to higher levels. Like they say, there are seven realms in the Universe with the lowest one for sinners and the highest one for saints. That perhaps gives some kind of explanation to why a new born in a govt hospital is treated differently as compared to the one in a private hospital. It is a reality one cannot run from and, a reality that has absolutely no comprehensible reason for it to happen.

Life is like that. Life is unfair.

life

I can just go on and on about the seemingly unfair challenges life throws at every given chance. But then, that would make me the loudest complain box the world ever had, right? And, I will be absolutely straying away from my vortex of reason. As much as I would want to rant, I would just hold back and recount what my father once told me long before I was married. “Think about how you will get through today. Nalai paadu Narayanan Paadu! (meaning – Tomorrow’s headache is God’s headache. Today is yours. So, heal it)

The statement makes a lot of sense to me even today, though I have not come to terms with it yet. Let’s say a diversion in road that happens all of a sudden still shifts my core and, not for good reasons. No matter how much the mind livens itself with all that pep talk with self on how our lives are like rivers and they shall continue to take diversions unexpectedly, nothing actually does prepare you for that moment when it does happen. Because when the diversion happens and ESPECIALLY NOT IN YOUR FAVOR, it will hurt. And no matter what, you will crib. Believe me, no amount of positivism and faith seems to get through to you when that sudden moment arrives. It all begins with shock followed by denial. “It cannot happen now” is followed by “Why did it happen?” The redundant questions never cease.

But that is just one side to the entire Pandora box. Fears of unknown, as I have known have the ability to make you, break you, braise you, roast you and then toss you on the tides as if you were a ragged Barbie doll! And, those times test your verve in the worst possible manner. And, you still have faith to get through.

Acceptance is not a light word. It carries with it, unbearable weight of fears, perplexities, confusions, and countless rebuttals. And, the ambiguity sticks to it like a glue. And, it is this ambiguity that hurts. It is the dependence on that ambiguity that hurts. It is the chain of bondage that makes the ambiguity more wicked. And yet, the world swears by it.

Well, that is the beauty of hope and faith, I suppose. No matter how bad a day gets, we always wake up with the hope that a new day, a new dawn will be good, or at least better than the previous one. A painful learning process to learn a beautiful lesson, indeed!

The learning of acceptance has begun.

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The Guilty Mother ~ Part 3


There are umpteen times in my life when I have almost believed that I am not doing things the right way. There have been times when my anger inadvertently spills on my son whose grasping power and understanding of life is far beyond his years. And yet, I would be reprimanding him horribly over his academics. After all, I am the quintessential Indian mother despite the ‘coolness’ I seem to exude in my blog! Anyways, before I give in to my habit of digressing, I would like to reflect on why this series means the world to me.

Someone has rightly said – Thoughts that clog are like grime. They do not let the seeds of clarity germinate. Thoughts have to flow somewhere. And, that is how this series was born. I had to let the guilt ridden thoughts move out to get replaced by acceptance of who I am.  So, while these free flowing reflections continued to give me those tiny bursts of optimism that, I will learn from my mistakes along the way, something happened yesterday. And, I wasn’t prepared for it. The guilty mother syndrome attacked me again.

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Has it ever occurred to you that, life throws pleasant surprises and rude shocks when you least expect them? An outburst of euphoria or, a mighty wave of melancholia is what arrives as the outcome. Both have repercussions that impart life lessons of the highest order.

When Liz Hurley says those lines in Be-Dazzled – “Be careful what you wish for!”, the devil in her meant business. After all, it is the Devil’s job to feed the desires. And so, Elliot Richards learns it the hard way that no matter how and what you wish for, you can never completely be sure of what you really want from life. There is a portion of that contract with the Universe that, the Universe is supposed to fill in. And, that one section changes quite a lot for an individual. It is as if, you are always going to have a web of intangibles that shall follow you wherever you go. And, some of which you will never identify till the time comes. It is like, you fell down the stairs and, you tread carefully the next time. And, it is during that instant when you inadvertently burn your fingers and, you wonder – “Wow! I did not expect this to happen!” That is life. I get it.

And then, there are times when you have to seek out the intangibles and try figuring out ways to uncoil the tangles.

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Yesterday, my son returned home with a black eye. Rather, a swollen left eye. My heart gushed out extreme anxiety and, my thoughts raced at a speed of million miles per second. It is not a sight a mother is prepared for. Especially, watching the gusty yet soft hearted six plus year old looking at you and trying to figure out how the incident need be narrated.

I could see that the patch below his left eye was swollen and, it pained him when I touched it gently. I gave him an ice compress and asked him. Cutting a long story short, he annoyed another boy verbally and got a physical take away from the boy who pushed my son. A hit against the bench probably gave him what was visibly big! I was angry. I could almost feel the steam emerging from my skin. I was supremely annoyed and, my anger could not contain itself. I was almost on the verge of riding away to school on my two wheeler with my son and, give a piece of my mind to the school. And then, the drizzle that had begun started transforming into a stormy rain outside. I took it as a sign from the Universe that, I must first calm down and think first. Think before you leap – is what the Universe whispered to me.

It took me almost two hours to control my own impulses and, finally ask my son in the most calm and candid manner – “What exactly happened and, how?”

Sadly, the son had complained to the teacher who had probably not paid much attention to the fact, given that her period was over for the day as she walked off. So, my son had to move around with a swollen eye for the whole day believing that teachers are too busy to hear him out. This part agonized me intensely. Teachers’ Day just went by, right? And, teachers who are paid to teach our children the rights and the wrongs, the good and the bad, the do’s and don’ts walk away when children walk up to them with issues. This hurt me very deep.

It was a good decision that I did not walk up to the principal and pour out my excruciating angst in the most acerbic manner yesterday. And, a misguided anger that is allowed to run has only burned bridges and, ruined relations. And, this was the first bruise that I was dealing with, after all. I had to address my anger in a way that it was heard in the right tone at the right time. The idea was to jolt the system out of a lackadaisical slumber that it was being watched intently without batting an eyelid.

And so, after unusually staying awake till midnight yesterday, I drafted a letter this morning. I made two letters, one that I sent through my son and the other, through a friend who is also a teacher in the same school. Within an hour, I got a call from my husband saying that he received a call from the school coordinator who wished to speak with me at the earliest. I called an hour later and, was pleasantly surprised when the voice at the other end not only apologized profusely but, also assured me that the teacher in question was to be called and questioned about it. She even told me that I could take it to the principal if I wished and that, the other said boy’s parents could be called and counselled too. It is here, I intervened and explained that I had no anger towards the child that did this to my son. The other boy is also of the same age as my son. They are absolutely in their element when they indulge in mischief and petty fights. However, it is the teacher’s duty to make sure that the children understand the boundaries of their indulgences. And that, is what I have an issue with, these days.

Teachers have to be given a free hand when disciplining children. Unfortunately, the current generation of parents harbor an extremely antagonistic attitude towards physical enforcement of discipline in school. And it is precisely why, children have started taking teachers and elders less seriously than before. It is even more unfortunate that the teachers too have taken a step back and, have resigned to the fact that nothing can be done about it. As long as the pay check fills in monthly bracket, a teacher rarely gives in to retrospection on whether things could get any better.

It is at this point I reflected on my own childhood. A recent post on Teachers day by a very senior lady that I adore, triggered some painful incidents that I battled when I was at my low. This honest voice reminded me about how teachers day also highlights the scars by a few ones that made you feel out of place, miserable and low during the growing years. I have had two odd teachers of that kind and, although I never spoke about them, I still feel the hurt at times, especially for those moments when they have just disliked me because I belonged to a different state. I remember one telling me bluntly that I wouldn’t fare well in her subject in my tenth boards. I went into a depression and, it took my mother 48 hours of constantly feeding me with optimism that, one misguided teacher’s remark should not break my verve to succeed and that, I must prove her wrong by faring well. I still remember my mother’s words – She is your teacher and, life is teaching you through her that life will be unfair and that, you will fall. But, you shall rise too!

Those words have come a long way for me. The hurt remains in a quaint little portion of my heart because, as children, we embrace our teachers as our second mothers. Rejection from them is simply not acceptable to us. But then, leaving aside the two, the other teachers were gems and, it is their oodles of confidence in me that pushed me up the ladder.

Life is unfair, the statement rings true nevertheless.

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Today as a mother when I sent my son in the bus, I felt every ounce of pain and trauma my mother would have felt every time, I cried, fell, failed and bruised myself in miserable ways. But then, my mother is made of steel. When she saw me battling a life threatening condition four years back, I saw the gumption with which she took care of everyone, especially my son who was just two years old then. Her faith that I will return back hale and hearty moved the Gods, melted the Universe and, gave me the will to fight back. Although we do not necessarily agree on everything, I always fall back on my first teacher – my mother when I am lost in tides of ennui.

So while I was gathering my nerves a few days ago after having given a verbal lesson on why my son needs to take care of his stuff in school, an incident happened the same evening and, a new Pandora box presented itself. My son was annoyed with me that I did not allow him to go with the neighborhood gang of elder boys to one of the boys’ homes. Although he hid his resentment, I was hurt that he could not understand my point of view, especially when I wasn’t aware about the boys’ families too. Technically, our clashes have begun. And, his resentment is sure to turn into defiance in coming years. I am aware of that too.

So, when the son returned with a black eye, the guilty mother in me broke down yesterday. All sorts of thoughts made me feel that I wasn’t making him tough or maybe, I am restricting him too much and what not! It is then, my mother calmed me down – “Look! He is not a cotton candy. He is a young boy that will make a fine gentleman one day, given his genetic make. But then, he is also going to get hurt. You cannot stop that. And, you must not. He will face those unbearable moments of confusion when peer pressures will eat into your equation with him. He will be frustrated with you at one point too. Be prepared for that. Deal with it. You will feel miserable about yourself too. It is natural. But you are your own  solution as much as you are your own problem. You cannot get a perpetual good name from your children every single time. Nor can they meet your expectations every single day. It will never happen. So, don’t go after the “I am the best mom” tag. Just be the regular mother and, you will know that complexities in parenting are regular too!”

I guess, I have to learn to accept every moment with the flow. And, I have to start reiterating to self about the importance of faith in myself and in my son and that, as a team we will cross the hurdles as they come, one at a time. The emotional mother in me finally reached a truce with my practical side. And, I hope the truce lives happily ever after. Again wishful thinking, right? Ha! Who can control the fickle mind?

Back to business.

P.S: The Guilty Mother ~ Part 2

The Guilty Mother ~ Part 1

I get that

 

 

 

Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 4


Pregnant fears are meant to scar you, sear you, braise you, grill you and, torch you. How else, will you know what Faith means? 

Ever since I started writing this series – Disconnect to Connect, I feel the noise in my head slowly diffusing away. I would rather put it as – a free flowing river that knows no boundaries. Thoughts need way to move ahead. They are those electrons that need to be channeled in a route that yields purpose. Else, rogue electrons cause havoc by seeding pregnant fears. Oh! Pregnant fear! It is such an underrated demon. We don’t anticipate it coming. We don’t acknowledge its existence. We believe we are brave enough to tackle anything until, the pregnant fear decides to unveil its pawn and checkmate you!

Have you ever been psychologically scarred?

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“Have you ever been psychologically scarred?” – I was asked this question long back. Psychological scarring, I believed, was a hoax. I admit with all humbleness that, I believed it to be just another jargon to add more cautions and red alerts in the health world. And, I continued believing it until I faced the pregnant fears for the first time in the year 2013. For reasons known best to me, this year will remain an important landmark in my life. And, I have been blogging about this every now and then. Not because, I want to brag about it but because, I feel it is my moral obligation to remind myself that life is a gift and, pains and gains are just takeaways that tag along. Yes, I need constant reminders lest the pregnant fears threaten me again.

It is that year that taught me how important our own life is, more than the others’ more so, knowing how the other lives depend on our own well being.

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The war my rogue immune system waged against me…..The day ‘I’ turned against me…..The time, my doppelganger threatened me in the most feral way……… 7th March’13 – The day I was thrown from the comforting cocoon of love, amazement and wonder into a war where I was my own soldier, my own saarthi and, my own nemesis!

While I lay in ICU in March ’13, oscillating between worlds I did not comprehend, I came quite close to questioning God, rather launched an acerbic diatribe on HIM and the Universe –

“Why? Why me? You cannot do this to me! This is wrong at so many levels! You snatched away my MIL when my husband was barely 11 years old. And, do you intend doing the same to my son? You cannot be so heartless! I have my parents to take care of. I have to take care of my husband and son. I have to take care of my father in law. And, you cannot turn your face away now. I have so much to do yet………..”

(somewhere the tirade transformed into kneeling and pleading in the other dimension where I could visualize myself  at the mercy of Universe)

“Please, give me a second chance. I will take my life seriously. I will not take it for granted. Please, my family needs me. You of all must know!”

That was the moment, the nasal twine started disappearing after I had lost my speech and, suffered from a blurred vision. However, there was a far deeper message for me from that night. I reckon now, how silent my mind became when I had cried the whole night facing my worst fears. I came quite close to being pushed off the cliff. That fear of drowning in an abyss of nothingness was more terrifying than anything dark to name. Fear of unknown is like a bolt from the blue. It shifts your core in a split second. It is like a landslide, an earthquake, a tsunami that comes with subtle warnings that are barely understood. I took a year to heal.

On one of my follow up visits, I remember the kind words of the neurosurgeon Dr. Vyas, who treated me –

“Narayani! You have healed to the best of my knowledge. But, you have a bigger battle to fight. You have to face your fears now. And the only way to do it is, accepting that whatever flip happened in your system was a judgmental error of your immune system. And that, you need to stop feeling afraid. Your condition is something like the landslide that happened in Uttarakhand. There is no more reason to it than an unplanned cloudburst or a sudden receding of the sea….., none that I could pin point. After all, what happened to you, happens to one in a million people.”

After all, Dr Vyas acknowledged that I was his first case with that condition and that, psychological scarring would not be abnormal in my case. Later, the husband to make me smile, held me close and said – “Even Amitabh Bachhan suffered from the same condition and, it took him a long while to recover!” Was it supposed to make me feel better? I adore AB. That day, I did feel better. And, AB inspires me no matter how he may have erred as a human. I do love him a lot.

Life is a beautiful gift. And, Faith is such a warm feeling, elixir of life actually. However, you realize it only after you face the acid test yourself. Yes, it takes an enormous amount of mental energy to give life to that word – Faith! And, for someone who has begged the Universe to give a second chance, take it from me – Faith comes alive only after you know how deep you could fall and, the chance to fly was given right at the moment when the foot slipped! That tiny instant of uncertainty is all it takes to build the word Faith!

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2013 unlocked a dam of pregnant fears I never knew, existed. I would be lying if I say I do not harbor them now. There are nights when I don’t get sleep still. Sometimes, over thinking makes me feel worse. Someone once told me that such unexplained incidents scar you psychologically and that, it is normal to get affected. Does it? Maybe. Yes, I have suffered nightmares in the past four years. I am sure they will continue to visit me. Maybe, there is a hidden message in them too, from the Universe. But this time, my instinct calms me down and convinces me – These nightmares have a purpose. You shall discover the purpose when the time is ripe. After all, every cloud has a silver lining.

And, on nights when I am attacked by disturbing dreams led by demons from past, I instantly listen to Kanda Shasti Kavacham and Vel Maral, as suggested by my mother. And, sleep comes after a while. Every morning after that year, when I have woken up, the first thing I have done is thank the Universe for listening to me. I still do. I may forget birthdays and anniversaries but, I will never be able to forget 7th March’13, the day I learned the importance of fears and how, it connects us to the Universe with faith.

In hindsight, I believe there was a sign for me, a bread crumb perhaps that the Universe had left for me. It is a strange thing that when I was getting admitted on that day, the Gulmohar tree in front of my block (in the prev station) was drying up. It was as if the leaves had fallen off all of a sudden. For a strange reason, that image was stuck in my head the day I was wheeled into the hospital. A month later when I was discharged, I came back to see small leaves appearing on that tree. As days passed, many fresh leaves started sprouting. That was the first sign I got from Nature. Maybe, because I discovered the importance of solitude wherein, I could sit and listen to the signals that the elements were sending me.

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Four years have gone by. Ever since, every sunrise and every sunset feels unique for me. They are never the same. Every day, the dawn and dusk emerge with myriad patterns as if throwing a message to the Earthlings– Every day will be a different test.

My eyes still well up when I see a mother monkey cuddling her baby in my garden. Did I ever take time to notice anything other than humans in the past? I am overwhelmed by the sight of a mother peacock trying to test the agility and pro activeness of her babies! There is so much to learn from these mothers. They too get annoyed with their kids and yet, guard them with their lives!

Sometimes, I simply stand for a few seconds on the long walking plaza during morning walks to just admire the lush green foliage emanating an orange-ish yellow tinge when the first rays of Sun fall on it. And, the unexplained chaos in the way the clouds align themselves in the sky seem to throw a jigsaw puzzle at me. In the next station, I need a terrace. I am sure, I will get it!

The treatment I underwent then, had some side effects that I am battling still. But, I am not complaining about them. Because, that day I begged and the Universe relented. I still have a life to sort the battles out. To win shall remain the goal. And Of course, the journey was never meant to be easy. Was it ever? 😉

However, in the past four years, I have also learned to harness my faith in the universe, the elements and the vibrations that whisper noiselessly in our ears. I have learned to listen. I have learned to associate more with what I feel about myself, my surroundings and, the million energies operating around my frequencies. Sometimes, I am disappointed that I haven’t found too many right people to associate with. And at the same, I am also blessed to have the few that I can fall back on without giving a second thought, my keepers after all!

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Every incident as I look back has taught me something along the way. Beginning from tantrums to get into that taxi and not the bus, innocent flirtations in teenage, secret desires in forbidden world that more often than not were quenched in dreams, toxic relationships at a later stage, the unexpected miss in friendships that sank without a trace only because they were the perfect example of shallow advertising, the ugly fights with the loved ones over not being understood, the attack of Myasthenia gravis and the many rumble strips that exposed me to mortal dangers of life without pushing me onto them, but merely brushing them against me! How deep I have felt about everything since then…..After all these years, I finally understand the substantial weightage given to the Universe. It works in tandem with our thoughts, our vibrations, our energies and, our souls.

Once every while, we all need to disconnect with the world to connect with ourselves. Disconnecting with the world is not merely going to a secluded place with family. It also means, disconnecting with the family itself to give oneself the time to understand every thought, every word, every action that stems from the soul. It is important, I tell you. Because, we take our own lives for granted and, we lead the world into believing the same.

Maybe, that is the reason, pregnant fears were born. To make us realize otherwise.

I say – Slay the damn Jabberwocky! But, don’t underestimate its existence. Ever.

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It is never too late…..to take that pause!


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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Between the hoots of the silver white owl

that sits on your table with a button of snooze

And, meeting reminders that sing from your phone

While you lie there and wonder, if you could just be left alone….

While you take in the first whiff of coffee, after your first floss,

Remember milady, It is never too late…to take that pause!

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Between singeing your fingers in the simmering tea cup,

when you attempted to get the day’s first sunny side up

And, reading those blazing headlines of fire and blood,

You somehow missed your usual eight o clock bus!

And so, while you take a cab and roll down the glass….

Remember milady, it is never too late to take that pause!

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Between the never ending home chores

That feast on your wows and woes,

And, towering over kids while they scribble and babble…..

You are engulfed by waves of never ceasing trials

As you stand ramrod, making those flat breads and sauce,

Remember milady, it is never too late to take that pause!

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This post is dedicated to all women who tirelessly work with no breaks, managing home and work with the same finesse but, rarely appreciated. To all those women, it is never too late to take that pause!

Pause-Breathe

Will the next conflict be over water?


There is God and, there is the Devil. 

God is kind. He allows humans to explore their wolf, dog and sheep sides alike. He allows humans to make mistakes and learn.

Devil is sinister. He prods humans to feed the wolf side more. And, he ensures that mistakes are repeated in countless different ways!

And then, there is Mother Nature.

Mother Nature is the equalizer. She doesn’t take sides. When the time comes, she looks at her log book. The checks and balances have to be evened. And so, she brings back the balance in unfathomable ways that shift the core in humans. And then, everything becomes calm. Just like it did after 2004 Tsunami.

We pray to Gods that we cannot see. We despise the Satan that we cannot feel. But, we continue to ignore and abuse Mother Nature, the only visible force of omnipresence, the only life force we have, the only mother who holds us together.

Ironical? Sadly so.

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Temples are made. Yagnas are performed. Gods must be appeased. But, Gods smile back. Because, the caretaker Mother Nature is not happy. And, humans haven’t realized the horror that is yet to come. Because, we have disappointed Mother Nature and her rivers!

Below is stats collected from Rally for Rivers Campaign

  • Ganges has entered the endangered rivers list.
  • Godavari is drying up.
  • Cauvery that is being fought for by two foolish states has lost 40% of its density.
  • Krishna and Narmada have lost about 60% of their volume.
  • Other rivers like Bharatpuzha of Kerala, Kabini of Karnataka, Palar and Vaigai of Tamil Nadu, Musal of Odisha and Kshipra of MP are heading towards the same sinister fate.

25% of India is turning into a desert! How worried should we be?

Men in power are busy chasing fame. Masses are busy sharing images and news of dastardly acts of shame. Teenagers are busy jumping off roofs because a game by a sea creature’s name challenged them!

But that doesn’t change the fact – Rivers, Our rivers – the very life force that give humans everything they need, are dying. Slowly. Painfully. Steadily.

That day is not far when water shall become the source of a war, an ugly war that shall tear humanity to shreds! Today, I saw a poster with the last drop of water clinging to the faucet! In years to come, humans will be killing each other for that one drop. And, the bulwark for the calamity is already getting laid at the same pace our rivers are drying.

SWA And Team. 

SWA (Service Wives Association), a formidable force of army, navy and air force wives, has joined hands with this campaign and, are bringing this important message to every school, every home and every town.

 

SWA

SWA and ISHA’s message to our parents and teachers

  1. Tree plantation is not a one day affair. Planting saplings, watering them daily, tending to them like your children is synonymous with the very idea of raising children. So, SWA and ISHA sincerely request you all to inculcate in children, the habit of tending to plants and trees on a daily basis till it becomes a habit. Beginning with children of pre-primary and primary phase, this daily habit shall leave an indelible impression as minds of little children are like wet clay on a potter’s wheel.
  2. Parents and teachers can together adopt the concept of compost pit where seeds, peels and other discards of fruits and vegetables can be put into the pit evenly to decompose. They turn into a carbon and nitrogen rich source of natural fertilizers which are a great source of nourishment for the soil. (Learning how to make compost pit.)
  3. Every drop of water that is saved, is a drop of prayer to calm our Mother Nature. Beginning this message with children will surely bring in a positive change.

 

If you are reading my blog, sitting in a place where you are not in a position to be a part of this immediate change, just give a missed call on the image given below. Pledge your support today. BECAUSE, IT IS NOW OR NEVER.

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Watch this video in which Sadhguru explains the situation of rivers in India as it is. And, it is not a good situation.

Click on –> RALLY FOR RIVERS (or,  copy paste this link –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tg1OaK_JzM on your browser)

 

 

 

 

 

WoWs and WoEs of a content writer!!


Scene 1: (Two years back)

“What do you do?”
Me: “I write for websites.”
“What do you write?”
Me: “Whatever the client provides as requirements….I take the cue and write.”
“ohh….So do you get paid for it?
Me: “yes, I do.”
“How much do they pay you?”

I almost cringed. If that gentleman had next asked my age, I would have pulled off the clingy facade of sweetness and exposed the acerbic person underneath. But, the gentleman survived. Why? I did not answer. And, he did not ask again. Anything more.
Not long after this conversation happened, another interesting conversation happened a couple of months later.

Scene 2:
“So, you write for websites…i.e generate content for websites….”
Me: “Yes Ma’am”
“But, there is no creativity in just taking content from Internet and rephrasing in your own words. That is the reason, I do not relate with this career. No originality..”
Me: “…………………………………………”

I did not know how to respond. So, I again kept quiet. I don’t believe in breaking mind bubbles of people. As long as their thoughts do not bubble out and intrude into my head space, I am fine with them screaming their lungs out from roof tops that Galileo was wrong about Earth being round and, the rabbit they caught had three legs. Only! (The Tamil proverb literally translated from – Naan pidicha Moyalukku moone Kaalu)

Scene 3: (Happened recently)
“So, you are a content writer eh…”
“Yes.. ”
“Basically, you just play around with words right?”
I took a deep breath.
“Yes, that is exactly what I do. Only that playing takes away half of my day”

Predictably, the person did not understand the later part of my statement.
I sighed.

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“What do you want to become in life?”
This question was my Achilles’ heel in my growing years. I have never given weird answers. But, I had many in the head. The three that topped my list were –

“I want to become a pagan.”
“I want to become a newsreader.”
“I wanted to become a Beatrix Kiddo!”

….I wonder what the reactions would have been. Thankfully, I spared my parents the horror of the first and the third. But the ‘newsreader’ thing of the three was the first to enamour me. I began watching DD news at the age of seven….(I am sure my parents thought it is the DD music that I took a liking for….)

The way Salma Sultan perched a pink rose on the side of her bun that matched with her pink saari is a sight that is still fresh in my memory. It is like I can almost smell that memory. Neeti Ravindran’s mole, Shobana Jagdish’s sweet voice, Kaveri Mukherjee’s crisp cotton saris and Gitanjali Iyer’s hair style had some tantalizing effect on me. I never quite understood what they spoke, given my age. But, I connected with the way they spoke. Clarity is the word. Even today, I feel there is no news reader that could present news like this breed. And, I had wanted to become one then.

Seasons passed. These memories were pushed underneath the pressures of academic world. And soon, I was 18 years of age with the same annoying question staring at my face– “What do you want to become in life?”

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It is almost a decade since I quit the IT industry and, chose content writing as a career.  No, there was no preconceived notions about it. I tried it because I wanted change. And, I dreaded if this professional change wore me out soon… But, it did not. It stayed. Maybe, I finally entered a zone where I did not have to feel competition that worked on “There is only way to the top.” philosophy

But, the beginning was not easy. With no lit background, my pace did not match with the ones that had. However, I was ready to learn. Blogging happened along the way too. Slowly and steadily, I got into the arena where, I was a small fish trying to find my path in the ocean.

Post marriage and, having a kid, I freelanced. It is here, I experienced encounters of all kinds. There were a few that did not pay me as they had promised. It hurt. But, I did not fight back. For some reason, I was indebted to even those, as my writing skills went up a notch having written quite a lot of articles for them. There were a few that wanted me to change my writing style, which I couldn’t. After a few stumbles here and there in the virtual world, I finally chanced on an email from a well known author who was interested in giving me writing assignments. And that, she mentioned I had a nice blog, made me feel good about myself.

And, I began my work with SSK, an army wife like me who was not only nice but quite professional. It is under her, I got all the exposure I needed. If I asked for experience, she handed me the horizon. The pay was not great. But, I thoroughly enjoyed writing articles for the clients that came through her. I think, I covered almost every topic under the Sun – be it business, art, academics, travel, medical et al..I also got to write gist for TedX videos, in the process getting to hear some of the amazing people reveal their simple side to us. It was a liberating experience for me. But, I also struggled with deadlines. The lady was kind though, and gave me a day more than she gave other writers. A few months later, I found myself in a better position. And, I moved ahead, took a break and, joined another firm, looking for different topics to work on. This firm was run by a nice couple who gave me a list of subjects that I had not explored yet. Product reviews, brands, Gaming technologies and, everything related to e-Commerce came my way. Although a part of me felt quite drab writing about them, but I continued. After all, work is work. The struggles continued. And, I was always the last one to submit work, nevertheless on time. I took a break after a few months of intense writing. And now, I have resumed work again.

However, this time the pressures are not breathing down on my neck. I am a bit more relaxed than what I was years before, as a struggling content writer. And yet, I have a long long way to go. Every assignment that I undertake makes me work hard. And, once I submit it, I always look at it and, question myself – “Could it have been better, any better?” It may appear strange but, I get this feeling after writing even a blog post.  For some reason, I do not let that question die. Somehow, it makes me yearn to make it better.

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It so happened that post marriage, a relative had casually passed a remark – “Narayani…I don’t think content writing is something unique. You shouldn’t have left that job at MNC. And, you not only left it but, now have taken up a job that is paying you peanuts! And, writing is something that anyone can do! No big deal. Why? Even I can write articles. I have a pHD background.”

That was the day I had submitted my first article of 600 words, a week after I joined the firm that provided content writing services.

Would anyone believe that it took me a week to write those 600 words with around 15 keywords that should not be repeated in a way that the reader loses interest and, in the process I had to make sure that the article was not only grammatically correct but also plagiarism free? It was a very simple topic and yet, I struggled for a week while, my subordinates wrote around 4 to 7 articles per day in the time window between 10 AM to 6 PM (with an hour of lunch break)

Did his statement demoralize me? No. I understood, he just couldn’t see the challenge and beauty in the field of writing, the way I saw it.

And for people who think, assume and believe that content writing is mere word play and nothing more…..I have nothing to prove. You have the right to express your views. And, I have the right to reserve my silence.

Because, there are days when as a content writer, I take about five hours to write a 500 word article on the dynamics of marketing in business with strategies deployed, covering as many related subjects and, as a blogger in my personal space, I end up writing more than 1000 words in less than thirty minutes! Just like I did now.

Now, that is the difference, my friend. That is the difference.

snoopy-writing

Disconnect to connect ~ Part 3


For some reason, I have been toying with the idea of expressing my thoughts on this ailment. But, as they say there is always a time and place to let the thoughts flow. To say, this ailment bothers me would be an understatement. After all, I am not the severely affected one. So, why should it bother me? Yet, it does. I am made of flesh and blood to feel the wave of repulsion, after all. And, repulsion from what? …..an ailment that spares no one, an endemic that affects the body and mind, a termite that destroys the voice that questions from within. – The illness of appeasing.

ii

The illness of appeasing is far desired to be left uncured than to be destroyed.

A year back, I had visited an event somewhere away from my place. A VVIP was arriving and so, the arrangements were exemplary. Rangolis with fine colours and, vibrant white and yellow marigolds sprawled across the entire porch. It was a beautiful sight. And no wonder, people making them had put every ounce of devotion into it. I could see the last minute directions too when, one of the hosts felt that a particular addition could be made in the designs near the entrance. It was definitely a scene of a queen bee instructing the worker bees to prepare for the hive. If I could give that compliment in the real world too, I thought.

Queen bees lead a regiment of worker bees to make a living. Although I have already committed a cardinal sin of even drawing an analogy between the queen bee and the hostess, I couldn’t help comparing the worker bees with the group of people who were engaged in the beautification, which was neither their job nor their hobby. Let’s say these people helped with good will. Or, let me add – it was a forcefully induced goodwill that usually comes closest to following instructions. The VVIP arrived. The event took off well. And, once the event was over, the photographs were taken. A deluge of compliments poured in from the guests. The hosts were happy. The guests were impressed. The food was good. The clicks were well timed and perfect. And, everyone went back home, happy. No, not everyone. I wasn’t happy. The huge patterns of rangolis with beautiful peacocks and earthen lamps would be cleaned off post the event. All good things have to end, right? All that hard work by a group of people for a host who wanted to appease a guest  would simply be wiped out. I was repulsed. And, it was not the first time I saw the manifestation of this illness. It won’t be the last time either.

This also explains why I feel sore at the very thought of attending glamorous weddings, extravagant parties and, exclusive meets that demand too much of man power for a decor that shall be razed to the ground once the event is over. Simplicity is not everyone’s forte in character, just like the uncommonness of common sense.

That said, as long it is done as a job that is paid for and, people are earning a living out of it, I cannot diss it completely. But, I will continue to harbor untold concerns about the profligacy that people look for when they host such events.

Why make people happy?

I have never understood the need to appease a person who is revered. He could be anyone, right from the ‘Bade papa’ at home to the VVIP politicians, Godmen and all those who lead a clout. If the person is truly revered, there is no need to appease him. But then, we have all fallen for that trap. That one person has to be made happy and, has to be made feel good. Else what? I don’t know.

And, the trap gets laid right from home. It is a very tricky situation. As much as one doesn’t want it, the centripetal force releasing from the vortex that has rooted itself from years of social conditioning, continues to pull you in. After all, to be in the middle of the pack is any day a better option to survive than walking like a scorned tiger. Man is a social animal, they say. He cannot be an island. Now, that is cliche.

I faced a very similar trap in the previous station for a different reason though. My son was a preschooler those days. And, a home with a preschooler cannot be a museum. It is more often than not, a Mowgly’s Jungle that is often visited by Pete’s dragon, Fee-Fye-Fo-Fum from Jack’s world and sometimes, also by three bears from Goldilock’s encounter. To keep my sanity from disintegrating was a daunting task. And, needless to say, men can only help as much as they can. Women have complex minds that sometimes spew lava in the form of frustrated mothers, nagging wives and, disillusioned women who stare in horror at the rehashed décor of their homes that suddenly look the insides of a birdhouse as compared to the palatial decors around. Today, while I type this post I can say with brutal honesty that I have sailed past those turbulent phases wherein, the hubby’s desire to have a home sans clutter and my own inability to meet that expectation made me feel out of place in this world. It was in those days I learned to question – “Why? Why should I keep a home in a way that must only make people happy but not me?”

Housekeeping is like politics. Everyone has a say in it but no one wants to be a part of it.

Here, I would also like to add – Housekeeping is an absolutely thankless job and, continues to remain so until you have clearly outsourced your home keeping business effectively.

I understood it early. My husband resigned to the depth of this statement later. And, the son reaffirms the statement every single day, as he chooses to create his Jurassic world countless times, in every room. And, I have no qualms admitting that my true self sustains in utter chaos, much to the annoyance of my parents and my husband who are all afflicted with the opposite of it.

But, we did find a solution. It took me a long while to help the men in my family understand that, the desire for a good home should spring from within and not from an intent to gain appreciation from the world. The idea is to appease the self first. And now, Sundays are days when hubby and son take charge and do their bit in furniture dusting and removing cobwebs. No job in the world is exclusively designed for a woman, except breast feeding.

My perception of the illness

After all these years, have my thoughts towards appeasing changed? No. I still detest the idea to impress someone with the thought that it would make them happy. Because I am a selfish female, I always end up asking myself – “Am I happy doing it?” And yet, I have done my bit for people not because I wanted to gain trust and confidence around but, to try every experience that felt new. There have also been times when I have refused politely. Not because, I could not do it, but because I did not want to do it. And, I am not guilty of it either. But such instances, I can almost count them on my finger tips. Maybe, there will come a day when my refusals outnumber my give-ins and, I finally can choose where and when I want to help.

Do I sound rude? Oh yes, I am. Helping, is one thing. When that help becomes a tool to appease, it enters a rife mode. And trust me, the line that sets apart one from the other is as thin as a hairline. It is very much there but often, misses the eye! What is worse, the intention to help soon transforms into a self imposed moral obligation and, soon becomes a burden that one is neither able to unload, nor carry. Quite a predicament, right?

No more advice on ‘judgmental(s)’

Every action of ours is connected with how we respond to the little things out there in the world. A woman who believes she is a doormat should not expect to be treated like a queen by a man. A man who believes he is spiritual enough to alter people’s thoughts with his words, should be humble enough to accept that there is a chunk of people in the world who may not concur with his views and yet, believe in God. Not realizing this fact leads to all major wrongs happening to humans. Because, while they are supposed to disconnect with the world to connect with themselves, they end up doing just the opposite – Disconnecting from self to connect with the world.

This is primarily why I have stopped expecting people around to be non judgmental. No, it is not possible. Such negatives define us humans, right? Common, let’s face it. The moment we go vocal with our self righteous streak shining bright with statements like – “You have no right to judge”, we have already turned into one. And, you know the funny thing – At the end of the day, it don’t matter how the world judges you. It just don’t matter at all. People need new meat everyday. You, my friend are not going to remain fresh in their memories forever unless, you have disconnected with them to connect with yourself!

So, what matters after all?

What really matters is how you accept yourself with no malice, with all pluses and minuses intact.

What matters is the pat on the back that your mirror reflection gives – “So what if you had a very bad day? You have come this far. And, you will go far ahead too.”

What matters is the confidence the face on the other side of the mirror gives you while you brush your teeth in the morning – “You is important”

And, that is all that matters.

All. That. Matters.

Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 1

Disconnect to Connect ~ Part 2