Happy tenth!

A decade – ten years it has been – of togetherness. Should I be saying – ‘you complete me‘? Nah, I would rather say – ‘I am incomplete without you‘! 🙂

It has not been a easy ride (is anybody’s ever?) – there have been ups and downs, triumphs and trials, laughs and lows, tears and toasts… moments when one’s felt euphoric, that life can never be better and others when one has felt down in the dumps, like it was the worst!

Marriage, they say is a life-changing event. I would agree whole-heartedly, especially it still is, in our society and is an important milestone in each of our lives. It’s important that you have someone to share your thoughts with, to laugh-along or to find solace when you’re upset about something – a friend, a companion, a lover, a guide, a protector, a provider, someone who needs your care and attention like a child. I’d say, we experience a plethora of relationships through our spouse. The demands are different and the roles you need to essay keep changing, it’s a dynamic relationship – ever-changing and that’s what makes it interesting. And no matter how many years pass, each day is different.

The initial years are all about moments that set your heart a-flutter – when you’re discovering each other and what makes him/ her tick. You’re fine-tuning your frequencies, being in generous moods to adjust and accept, all in the name of love/ tenderness that you feel for the other person. Whoever said that one has to be in love to get married, was ill-informed. There can be love after marriage too – as has been proved by the several hundreds of arranged marriages over the generations of our parents and grand-parents. You might argue all you want – that these marriages were not on equal terms, that the women didn’t have much choice and the men had the final word always. But you can’t deny that there was love – that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? that love can have so many manifestations!

Slowly as you settle into the humdrum of married life, a few years down the line, life starts losing it’s rosy sheen and you begin to see the flaws and the idiosyncrasies in the partner – what used to amuse you once, might just irritate you or worse still, might be disgusting in some extreme cases. You begin to make further adjustments and a slow sense of familiarity and sometimes resignation – looking at the bigger picture, sets in. Also around the beginning of these years, a child makes an appearance and priorities shift. The bundle of joy becomes the attention-seeker and all efforts go in trying to appease and take care of your child. The child is the apple of your eyes and every single routine begins to revolve around him/ her. The marriage and the sense of seeking comfort in each others’ arms takes a back-seat.

Further years cause more adipose tissues to be built around the relationship as each settles into their own comfort zones and the keen sense of sensitiveness (which is a given during the early years) starts disappearing and you begin to take your partner for granted. Another child or two doesn’t change the equation much and each gets busier with their own lives, there’s hardly any time or opportunity for heart-to-heart talks. And romance? Well, if you are a keen observer, you can surely see it fly out of the window! 😀

I guess, it’s the latter years which again gives opportunities for rekindling the romance?! After running non-stop being a part of the rat-race, when you finally retire and take a breather, that’s when you look at everything around you afresh, with new eyes. The small gestures and sacrifices which would’ve gone unseen and unappreciated over the years get a second look.Sometimes the enormity of the sacrifices which the partner has had to make – which inevitably in most cases in our society turns out to be the woman, begins to dawn upon you. Or maybe not. You just begin to appreciate your spouse a teeny bit more. It’s also the time when the birds have flew the nest, the children are all grown up and busy running the rat-races of their own lives and don’t have much time and don’t need you any longer (till they have kids of their own, that is! 😀 ). You find solace in each other’s company. Further additions to the family in the name of the grandchildren keep you busy and you rediscover the pure unadulterated joy that children can bring to one’s lives. And so it goes on… The lucky ones get to spend these golden times together, the unlucky ones not so.

I guess I’ve generalized a lot in visualising the life-scenes played out above, but most often this, with a few tweaks and side-plots here and there, is the story of our lives 😀

Parenthood and the companionship for the latter years of one’s life – these are reasons enough for marriage, according to me. Parenthood is an inexplicable joy – there are people who are single/ married-with-no-kids who are happy doing their own thing in life. Ha ha, we too were happy go-lucky, travelling around and enjoying the various perks of not having kids, for quite some time. But then, once you are a parent there’s no looking back. That one tiny bundle makes all the difference, you wouldn’t want to trade that feeling for anything in the world. It becomes the focus of all your thoughts and energies and deeds. All you want is the well-being and happiness of your child. Heck, we tried doing a couples-only trip for the tenth anniversary, but couldn’t get the little imp out of our thoughts! 😀 Sights and sounds and actions and happenings reminded us of him all the time and we missed him badly, while he was having a rocking, rollicking time with cousins at his grandma’s! 😛

Having a friend and partner for old age helps one lead a complete, fulfilling life, I believe. We see so many single elders sad and depressed due to lack of company when their world slows down. From the looks of it, the spouse in this case is irreplaceable. It also helps to keep each other busy, active, chirpy and occupied, without causing unnecessary interferences and upsets with the kids’ lives. After all, what can be more satisfying than having your life-long companion by your side as you watch the years pass by, your children grow up, your efforts bear fruit, and you walk together, hand-in-hand into the most gorgeous, brightest sunset of your life?! 🙂

And that, is what I wish for us, on this occasion! Happy tenth PK, and here’s looking forward to spending many many more, with you by my side! 🙂

 

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Talk of the Frangipani and the lure of firang-lands

Hellooo, I say ** and wait for the echoes to come back to me** ‘coz obviously there aren’t any readers here any more! 😀
Before I change my mind and think that it’s too much effort to type out a post, let me get on with what I have to say.

Firstly, I am thrilled that the very first flowers on my ‘Frangipani‘ plant have bloomed and there are many more buds ready to burst-forth! 😀 I’ve always wanted to have this plant (also called the “temple tree” as someone mentioned) in my home, mainly for it’s heavenly fragrance and the flowers themselves, which are so beautiful with their velvety shaded petals. And I was particular that I wanted this variety which had the smaller yellow flowers – not the pink ones or the long-petal-ed white ones! The gardener who got the plant for us must’ve prayed, and prayed hard – I’d threatened him of dire consequences if it turned out to be of any other variety! Did I already mention that I am thrilled?!! 😀

Sometimes I go back to my old blog posts and read what I’d written. Sometimes I flinch, but those occasions aren’t many – mostly I am left wondering if I indeed wrote all that at some point in time. I seemed to have so much to say! An opinion on everything, I’d find topics to write about so easily. Books that I read, movies I watched, trips that I went on, the everyday happenings, the events unfolding around the world – sporting and otherwise; I seemed to be so “tuned in”. These days if I think of writing something, I feel “zoned out”; like it is so much of an effort. It’s like I have this a sudden urge to write – something, anything! But most often I’m unable to type out a post at a stretch and later in the day I am back in the seemingly thought-less void!

Nevertheless to get on with the post, amongst other everyday happenings we managed to catch a night show of the movie “Airlift” recently. We liked the movie – although it is not an exact representation, it is a take of the events that unfolded in Kuwait in the early 90s and how a couple of individuals and the Indian government came to the rescue of the 1.7 lakh Indian refugees who were holed up at Kuwait after the Iraqi attack. Akshay Kumar‘s character is based on the lives of two businessmen whose almost heroic efforts were instrumental in getting these people back home during the crisis situation. I especially loved the role played by the seemingly inconsequential Joint Secretary in the External Affairs ministry; all said and done he had a major role to play in getting the Indian govt. to act! At the end of the movie as they flashed the statistics of it being the single biggest airlift operation in the world – with Indian Airlines flying in nearly 490 flights over 50 days to evacuate all those people, I had goosebumps and my heart swelled with pride! The movie brought a lump to my throat, a similar memory I have is from my school days when we’d watched Border – the story of how a few dozen men fought the fierce battle at the border to wrench control from enemies, for the country’s sake; not caring for their lives or their families.

When I look at friends and aquaintances and hear of them flying away to far-off lands in search of better opportunities and a better lifestyle, I wonder. As it happens, most often, once you go and start living elsewhere, especially when it offers a more conducive atmosphere for your work and life, doesn’t it become more and more difficult to get back to the homeland knowing the harsh realities that await you here? When we as adults find it so difficult to adjust, just spare a thought for the young kids who’re bundled off, who’ve never seen anything of the kind to be even prepared for! No doubt the foreign shores have much to offer but does it outweigh the feeling of being at one’s home, amongst family and friends? And what about these external factors on which one doesn’t have control – like the harsh weather extremities or the insurgent revolts or the terrible terror attacks? One has to be ready to sign up for all these too, along with all the niceties, isn’t it? Of course, there’s no guarantee that one’s own country is free from all these – but doesn’t it make sense to have one’s family, friends and support systems firmly around, to face such difficulties?

January also saw me making a quick trip to Kerala to attend a friend and ex-colleague’s wedding, with family and another colleague’s family in tow. The wedding itself held at the famous temple premises in the town of Guruvayur was a quickie and we spent some time exploring the surrounding attractions. The said collegue has already flown away from her nest, to settle in the hinterlands of Amreeka. Sigh! One can’t help but feel for her aging parents – who of course were thrilled to see her getting married! But how about being around when they need you the most in their sunset years?

Guess, it’s a very debatable topic. I, for one, have always believed and will continue to believe that with all it’s flaws and fantasies, India is the place to be, for me. There’s nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing that is really worthwhile enough, to leave and head away from here! India – with her myriad extremes is truly incredible – while there is beauties galore, there are several beasts one has to battle with too. But as I mentioned, at the end of the day, it’s home! 🙂

In search of solutions…

As I was saying in my previous post, I am ending up traveling 2 hours each way to office daily. During one such soujourn back home where the roads seemed to be stretching on and on, me and my colleague were discussing the possible steps that we could take to overcome this daily commute issue. Suddenly one of us had this idea and I thought a lot about it later too. I even discussed it with the hubby and it was he who gave the idea of putting it up here.

Well, the idea we had was nothing ingenious – it’s a pretty commonplace one. The question I have is – why hasn’t it been implemented yet? We were basically discussing that the IT companies should build living quarters for their employees at a distance which is within the 5 km radius from their workplaces. Now, as all of us are aware, this is a pretty common thing with the Government and Public sector units. Any big government organization or a PSU have living quarters built and allotted to their employees. The companies which come to mind are the IIMs, IISc, HMT, BEL, HAL, ISRO, DRDO, NAL etc. The size, quality and comfort of the quarters allotted of course depends on the hierarchy levels and is decided based on the seniority of the employees. Now, why can’t IT companies take a leaf out of their books and implement a similar idea? Here are some points why I think this needs to be done:

  • This will help scores of employees (like me, me, me!!) who have to travel from far-off places everyday to work – staying close-by helps in better time management, productivity improvements and better work-life balance with more quality time to be spent with family
  • This will help reduce the traffic on the roads to a big extent I believe – with the office cabs having to ply only between the quarters and offices as opposed to going all over the city and also the scores of people who ride/ drive to work might not need to do so, atleast not for long distances
  • This will help companies in retaining their employee base – after all what do we want in life? – a workplace offering good opportunities and challenges, a good working environment and a good team to work with – all these apart from a decent salary of course. But the most challenging aspect of working these days has become the daily commute which eats into a major chunk of our everyday lives. We spend hours on the road – neither working nor spending time with family. So if somebody offered me the option of staying within a vicinity of 5-10 kms from work in decent company provided accomodation, I wouldn’t mind taking it even with a few concessions on the other fronts like salary and facilities!
  • The real estate prices in Bangalore have gone spiralling upwards ever since it became the IT-hub. Scores of apartments have sprung up in all corners of the city – thanks to the crowds from other parts of India who typically find the apartment-living therapy more convenient rather than staying in independent houses. What this has resulted in is flats being built and given out on rent – even on small gullies with hardly space for more than one 4-wheeler to move in. I sometimes wonder at the quotes of rent I hear from my colleagues who live close to the ITPL/ Whitefield hub – it has become a means for good money-making – if you have a place to stay in this area give it out for rent and find yourself another rented place elsewhere at a lower cost! We can try to curb this trend if companies can offer living accomodation to its employees.
  • Lastly, living in quarters builds a beautiful sense of community living. It’s a lovely experience with kids of all the families coming together to play, learn and grow up together – irrespective of caste, creed and status. Some of my earliest memories are times spent growing up in the living quarters of the institution that my dad worked in. I remember the fun times we had as kids – running around bare feet on sunny afternoons chasing butterflies, playing kunte-bille and kalla-police and generally running around in gay abandon, sliding down concrete stair slopes and scraping our knees, visiting each others’ houses on festival days and revelling in all the fun! And all this within the safe confines of community living where our parents didn’t have to worry about their kids running out into the roads… I believe this adds hugely to our personalities and defines the kind of people we turn out to be.

The hubby was of the opinion that this model won’t work out – he said look at the condition of all those govt. quarters which were built years ago – the maintenance costs will run into lakhs of rupees. I say – you are looking at companies which mostly run on government funds – the reliability of which, we all know and can imagine. But here I am talking about private companies and that too not the small fry, but the big giants who declare their profits every quarter with pride and who’s revenues run into billions. As for maintenance, take that money from our salaries, I sure won’t mind paying a few thousands from my pocket yearly for the maintenance of the house I live in, provided it is properly accounted for and managed efficiently. It would be equivalent to the maintenance charges collected as part of rent by the house owners even otherwise!

Well, what do you think? Is it really a non-do-able prospect? I’d sure like to hear what others think…

ಒಂಟಿತನ ಮತ್ತು ದೇವರು

ಜೀವನ ಎಷ್ಟು ವಿಚಿತ್ರ ಅಲ್ಲವೇ? ಹೇಳೋದಕ್ಕೆ ನಾವು ಸಮಾಜ ಜೀವಿಗಳು… ನಮಗೆ ಸಂಸಾರ – ಅಪ್ಪ, ಅಮ್ಮ, ಅಕ್ಕ, ತಂಗಿ, ಅಣ್ಣ, ತಮ್ಮ, ಗಂಡ, ಹೆಂಡತಿ, ಮಗ, ಮಗಳು, ಅಜ್ಜಿ, ತಾತ … ಹೀಗೆ ನೂರಾರು ಸಂಬಂಧಿಕರು; ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಶಾಲೆಯ, ಕಾಲೇಜಿನ ಸಹಪಾಠಿಗಳು, ಕೆಲಸದ ಸಹುದ್ಯೋಗಿಗಳು, ಅದಲ್ಲದೆ ಅಕ್ಕ-ಪಕ್ಕದ ಮನೆಯವರು, ದಾರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೋಗಿ ಬರುವಾಗ ಸಿಗುವ ಹಾಯ್-ಬೈ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತರು… ಅಬ್ಬ! ಅದೆಷ್ಟು ಜನ!

ಆದರೆ ದಿನದ ಕೆಲವು ಕ್ಷಣಗಳು ಇರುತ್ತವೆ – ನಮಗೆ ಯಾರು ಇಲ್ಲವೆನ್ನಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ, ಯಾವುದೂ ಬೇಡವಾಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ – ನಾವು ಎಷ್ಟು ಒಬ್ಬಂಟಿಗರು ಎನ್ನುವ ಕಹಿ ಭಾವನೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನದ ತಿಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬೇಸರದ ಅಲೆಗಳನ್ನು ಎಬ್ಬಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಅದಕ್ಕೇ ಇರಬೇಕು ಮನುಷ್ಯ ಇಷ್ಟು ವೈಜ್ಞಾನಿಕವಾಗಿ ಹಾಗು ತಂತ್ರಜ್ಞಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಮುಂದುವರಿದರೂ ಎಲ್ಲೋ ಒಂದು ಕಡೆ – ಆ ‘ದೇವನಿರುವನು’ ಎಂಬುದು ಒಂದು ನಿಶ್ಚಲ ಸತ್ಯ, ಎಂದು ಇನ್ನೂ ನಂಬಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಸಂಬಂಧಗಳ ಬಂಧನಗಳಿಂದ ಮುಕ್ತರಾಗಲು ನಾವು ದೇವರ ಮೊರೆ ಹೊಕ್ಕುತ್ತೇವೆ!

Woes of a working mother

I am back at work today – after staying away for nearly 8 months from what I knew as active work. What’s the feeling like? Well, to be honest, today morning as I walked the plush carpeted corridors amidst the familar sounds of key strokes and the team-mate chatter and coffee-cup clinks, I felt happy to be back. But that immediately had me feeling guilty – here I am, staying away from my baby – the tiny little being all of 5.5 months – whose strongest bond is with me – his mother; shouldn’t I be pining to be back with him? I realized with a pang, that as much as I wanted to be back with him – hear him coo and gurgle and flash his priceless toothless grin at me with the little jig he reserves for me when I warble his favourite phrases or rhymes; I also liked being back at work, away from the four walls at home.

Many times over the past month and a half when I stayed at home with the little one, managing on my own with just the hubby’s support, I found myself losing patience – particularly at times when he would be super-cranky and would wail for unknown reasons; feeding, rocking, singing – nothing would soothe him and my nerves would be frayed; I would be miserable for being unable to pacify him and angry at myself for being affected so much 😦 That would have me worrying at nights – am I a bad mother? I suppose this is a question every mother asks herself at one time or the other.

It is at such times that my respect for the stay-at-home-mothers (SAHMs) would increase manifold. I salute these women – really, it is no easy job (if I can call it that), taking care of one’s children, handling the multitude of problems that keeps popping up and more importantly staying sane amidst it all and being happy for doing what one’s doing. I realize it is not as easy as it seems – our society especially has been notorious for labeling such women as ‘mere’ housewives, since ages. You really gotta be a house-wife once to know what it involves.

But I also realize, it is not really my cup of tea, atleast now, at the present stage of my life. 5 years down the line, who knows? I might feel like being one of them. But then, would it be too late? Isn’t it now that my baby needs me the most? Won’t I be missing out on all the joy of seeing him grow everyday as a baby and turn into a toddler? Once he grows and begins school, he might not miss me so much. He will then have a small world of his own – his playmates, his friends and others. Isn’t it now that I am his world? (well mostly… his dad wouldn’t agree though! :D)

How does one strike a balance between these needs – my need as an individual to identify myself – as a mother and outside of being a mother? I am so confused and sad! 😦

A perspective on marriage

Several guys and gals in our team have gotten engaged in recent months – in fact so much so that, we were planning to nick-name our bay as the Marriage Bureau! 😀 So the scene can be very well imagined – long hours spent on the net browsing, chatting, checking photos, taking impromptu leaves for shopping and extended phone conversations through-out the day. The sufferer in all this is the work, of course and the poor manager, who is at a loss – one needs to get work done, at the same time one cannot be ruling with an iron fist and bar all of the above – after all, it’s a rosy period in anybody’s life which he/ she wouldn’t want to miss out on. I am one such poor manager trying to get the message across with my hapless jokes and humour, which fall flat on their face 😦

On one of the occasions when the team member was seen to be talking on the phone for almost the entire day, while sitting at his desk – supposedly working but the headphones firmly in his ears, after a few jibes, I quipped – ‘Don’t talk so much now, whatever you say will come back to bite you after the wedding’ 😀 I said it in good humour and thinking that it is a sentiment which will be acknowledged by many married folks. But the other so said married and unmarried folks were quick to seize the opportunity to quip right back – ‘Anu is speaking from experience!’ and I could only retort – ‘Why only me, isn’t it true for everyone?’

Later when I was recounting this incident to friends over lunch, I was surprised to see that their reaction was also quite unexpected. I got the feeling that people found it awkward and troublesome to accept something as simple as – life changes after marriage. The point I am trying to make is this – the golden few months before the wedding when you are getting to know the other person is always rosy and nice – because you are on your best behavior, you are trying to find ways to please and impress the other person – rather unknowingly too sometimes. The flaws are not so much in focus as are the pleasant niceties. But a year or two into marriage, as you slowly settle down into a life with your partner – you make adjustments, you accept some differences, you assert your own choices and basically you win trust, gain understanding and start to take a practical look at life without the rosy shades of romance always being on.

This is not to say that life will be devoid of romance and excitement or a realization that you love your partner any less. In fact we begin to realize that we fall in love with the partner in spite of their shortcomings (as you perceive them) and for the very same person who he/she is.

So I wonder why it is so difficult to accept this simple and natural fact about married life. Why do people take pleasure in insisting that it is a problem with you and this isn’t necessarily the case with everyone else? Or do I come across as a cynic with this practical perspective about marriage? So, what do you folks have to say?

Wake-up call!

I watched “Wake up Sid” and loved it. It has woken up a lot of supine thoughts in my head – the most prominent being the need to love one’s work. It has left me wondering – how wonderful it must be to get up every day and actually look forward to your day ahead at work with happy thoughts about tackling the challenges that lie lined up. How thrilling it must be to actually work where your creative interests and instincts lie – work not to complete a task or to see your salary credited in your account end of month, but for the deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment it provides you every time you do it – be it every day or month or years.  I simply fell in love with the work that Sid and Aisha do – the magazine they work with, the ambience of the place, the spirit, the passion and precision with which the deadlines are met and the long hard hours of toil put in before the product takes shape and the thrill of pleasure that is sure to run up and down their spines when they spot the fruits of their labour – in the form of the glossy magazine hitting the stands every month.

Wow! Through the weekend I sulked and told the hubby – I don’t want to go back to my boring office work and computer, come Monday. Voila! Here I am, back doing what I always do – type away long winding emails – giving explanations and reasons, follow up and get work done by the team, solve issues or ensure that they get solved, prepare excel sheets and update statuses… well you get the drift, don’t you? Do I have a choice? Of course I do! I can give it all up and run away and say I’ll do what I wanna do – albeit, with the keen thought that I won’t have a promised on-time pay-packet at the end of the month. But what is it that I wanna do? Do I know? Well… I have ideas… which I know don’t amount to much by themselves… am I exceptionally good at something? Well… there’s singing and there’s writing… and that’s about it… that’s about it?? Am I really really good at this? Well… not really, if you wanna put it that way! And then, am I brave enough to step away from the well-trodden path and do something out of the ordinary? Hmm… umm…So there, that doesn’t leave me with much choice, does it?

Seriously speaking, I did leave the movie hall envying people who get to do what they love – I understand that it depends on the choice one makes when it comes to taking up a profession – and it goes right back to one’s high school/ college days sometimes – choosing to stick with one’s love of art or literature or Science – instead of going along with the crowd and making a choice simply because that seems to be the right thing to do at the time or yielding to parental pressure.

Well, there’s still hope for me, I hope! If not now, at least in later years I hope to be doing something I love and loving what I do!