Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The HOLY CRAP I'm going to be 30 soon moment

In a year. Yes, as I actually turn 29 this year, I'm focusing all my energy (as any normal person would do) on wheezing about the fact that next year I'm turning the big 30. When I was a kid, I always assumed life was downhill after 25 and although the last 3 years have easily been the best three of my life yet, I still harbor the notion of 30 = olydmoldy. I think what really bothers me about turning older, is the fact that age is a milestone that reminds you about how far you've come [ or not ]. 30 specially, is significant because it seems old and when you're younger, in school and college - 30 was monumentally old. It's that age when everyone has a family and kids and are discussing PTA meetings and what not. To be fair, almost all my friends are doing that currently. While I wouldn't exchange lives for the world, it does remind me that I had wanted the same thing most Indian girls want - a nice husband and a baby before 30 :) How funny it seems to even admit it now.

So, in order to not sit around lamenting the impending age - in usual Serendipity get up and go achieve stuff style, here is a WIP [ work in progress ] bucket list.

Things to do before I turn 30 [ ~Dec 2013], in no order of priority.

  • Learn Spanish
  • Bungee jump [ off a cliff / bridge - preferably not a mechanical structure but this isn't a dealbreaker ]
  • Learn Swing dance [ Status : classes in motion right now :) ]
  • Get a fun, short hair cut for old times sake. [ Most likely in Jan, after attending a slew of weddings in India]
  • Read the entire Mahabharata [ Status : reading it currently ]
  • Visit one new country / continent
  • Send Mom, Dad and bro to one fully paid, International trip.
  • Swim with the Dolphins
  • Go to a Formula 1 race [ Status : Nov 17/18 in Austin - tickets bought! ]
  • Do the superman ride at Six flags.
  • Weigh under 60 kilos [ Current status : 63 kgs ]
That's what I have right now, I'll update this list periodically as and when things occur to me. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This week has been such a whirlwind of activity, a flurry of ups and downs. I'm glad I was busy enough to not drown in being overwhelmed, and stayed afloat amidst all the happenings.

Our company announced layoffs this week - our revenue is down 10% QOQ and overall, the industry and all players are in a slump. While this isn't new news, work has been stressful in that waking up everyday my first thought usually is "ugh, do I have to go?". What makes me go are the people I meet, and my paycheck, but it pains me to confess that while I like what I do, I don't "love" it. The writing's been on the wall since a while now, we all knew the company numbers were headed south - but its a different feeling when its announced and there is certainty around the fact that there are faces you wont see soon.

The anticipation is what gets to me. I'm in a place right now where I JUST WANT TO BE ON THE OTHER SIDE! One way or the other, I just want the layoffs to be done with so we can all move on with our lives as opposed to waking up everyday and thinking "Could this be the day?" I see nervousness in my colleagues, specially the old timers, who know they've done their time and are an expensive resource for the work they do, when someone young, fresh and less expensive could easily do what they do. Everyone's in cruise mode : just doing enough to sustain 8 hours a day. For a on-the-go, lets get stuff done person like me, its a painful, (far too) laid back situation to be in. Since the layoffs dint happen this week, I guess we're entering one more week of over speculation and feeling blah. :(

So why am I here, one may ask. In short, I sold out. I took the easy way out - I took the first job that was offered to me, in the company I had already interned at - which gave me a great signing starting figure with a sizable signing bonus for the industry I'm in. This is by no stretch my dream job and its apparent everyday when I need reasons to wake up and go to work. However, knowing what I do and having admitted it at this point for me is meaningless because I am trapped in the visa tangle. So, this being one of those life decisions I have no control over, I suck it up and be a grown up about it. I hope one day, I can find my way to a passion. One day, someday ..

Now,  the good : I went out every single night this week. It was totally intentional because everyone was saying this week the layoffs were bound to happen [ they din't] and if that was the case, I wanted to keep myself occupied so that my nerves dint get the better of me. I went swing dancing on tuesday, to dinner at an awesome restaurant downtown which is owned by Sandra Bullock on wednesday with my girls C and Jo, on a grouper to a new Vintage bar downtown on thursday, and to dinner at a Thai restaurant on thursday. Each night was super fun, and a great way to look forward to each day.

The swing dance evening stood out as the most fun : We were 2 leads short, so the instructor would fill in and dance with the woman who was single [ we rotate leads, so no couple dances together all the time, and no single lead/follower is alone ]. So one critique he gave me was that I would keep looking at the floor - I should look up, and at my lead preferably. I tried doing that, and looked at him while we danced, and broke into a HUGE BLUSH. He grinned at me when that happened and asked if I'm just shy in life. Now anyone who knows me in real life, knows thats FAR FROM THE TRUTH!! Its the proximity of another man, one whose not my boyfriend, I suppose that makes me blush. I spent that entire evening blushing, looking at my feet WAY more than normal, and altogether embarrassed. I'm glad that somewhere, that shy girl still exists under this tough exterior.. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Once upon a long time ago

My mom is turning 60 in Jan'13 - and is the single most source of inspiration in my life. Having grown up in a small town in India, her transition into a modern thinking and free spirited modern woman is truly inspiring. She says and does things that I strive to emulate, and is my biggest strength, confidante and rock. It amazes me that I have seen more of the world than she has [ traveled to a few more countries, lived alone for a few years etc ] yet, with her minimal exposure she embodies a perfect harmony of the dichotomy of a traditional, loving Indian housewife, with the modern thinking, idealist unbound societal being. There are innumerable times when I have a conversation with her where she says things which just astound me into speechlessness and open up a whole new world of a stream of thought where my mind probably wouldn't venture.

Last evening, case in point. Kamal, was a maid who lived with us for 23 years. She came to us as an orphan when she was 18, illiterate, thin, overworked and jaded with life. My parents took her in and she grew to be a part of the family - someone who ate what we did, traveled with us on vacations, did our Diwali Pujas with us.. Time again, past a certain age my parents asked if she wanted to be married, sent back to the village, and she said no, she couldn't bear the thought of leaving us : her real family, or the comfort of our home and hearts. We used to put away all her money, bought her gold bangles and earrings from her savings and did everything that was our duty.

Until one fine day, she disappeared. She was supposed to go to the grocery store a minute away from the house and be back in 10 mins, but never returned. I will never EVER forget that day. As time drew on, we called the neighbours, watchmen, liftmen, we circled the entire community and our mood went from mild anger ['why is she late'] to concern ['could something have happened?' to outright frantic hysteria ['something has definitely happened - its been 3 hours, she's a woman, she's illiterate how will she help herself if she's ina bad situation??]. We didn't eat dinner that night, neither did we sleep for the next week. The next day, it was cold and rainy and my dad circled the periphery of the area she knew how to travel to, to no avail. 

We couldn't write a police complaint because if you're above 18, it has to be >24 hours to file a missing complaint. My mom and I were inconsolable. We were certain she was being held against her will, and something terrible had happened. I remember being awake and watching TV on mute in the living room because I couldn't bear the thought of where she might be while im in my comfortable bed. Days and months went by in uncertainty and no news. We didn't celebrate Diwali that year as we thought we were responsible for a person :illiterate and orphaned who we were supposed to protect and failed. 

The thought that she could have run away and gotten married NEVER crossed our mind - 1) My parents had time and again asked her if she wanted to and that they will get her married and she said no. 2) Having lived with us 23 years we just didn't think it possible for someone to betray us like that and put us through that much misery...

A year later, we found out she was married and had run away, A year spent being guilty, miserable and disrupted we found out she had done what we least expected her to. 

Fast forward to today - she recently got in touch with my mother, in dire straits imploring to be taken back.She left her physically abusive husband and baby, works in a house for two men who mistreat her, and has had a rough life. Its been more than 8 years since the incident where she left us but for me, the wounds are still fresh. My mother heard her story and her heart melted, and is considering taking her back - this is the conversation which made me hang up, thank god for a mother like mine, and promise myself to strive to be like her as mush as I can.

My point of view : For me, the wounds are still fresh, I still hold Kamal responsible for hurting me and my family beyond belief for something she could have avoided completely with a simple conversation. We grieved for her, and prayed for her all the days we thought something terrible had happened to her. Our lives came to a standstill for a long time - My mom kept falling ill with the stress, I left my job for a few months to just be home, manage things study for the CAT {which I did a bad job of doing} and we all had to deal with a sudden pivot in our daily routine. My little brother [8 years old at the time] couldn't understand why a pall of gloom had descended over the house. All in all, from my eyes, what she did to us was unforgivable and If the decision were mine, I wouldn't have a heart big enough to forgive.

My mother: She said just a few things, in her usual contained style - and those hit home. "She gave us her youth S, She was loyal to us for 23 years, dont forget that for the one grave mistake she made. She gave us the best years of her life, and today when she's worn out and jaded, we owe it to her. She has no one, no family, and has been burnt once.. she's made her mistake and learned from it. After all, if my son or daughter were to run away from my house and resurface a year later, I'd have no choice but to forgive, forget and re-love, right? We all have one, giant, regret in our lives and this is hers - we are no one to punish her for it forever. For the people who judge me, for taking her back into my home after such a betrayal - well, those people aren't going to give me my medicines when I'm sick, neither are they going to help me keep my house clean when I'm no longer able to do it myself - I'll live with their judgement and my peace of mind."

As I write this, I am overwhelmed with love, tears and respect for this person who gave birth to me. My mother, who continually shows me that life isn't about holding grudges and hard and fast rules, but about fluid, dynamic interchangeable emotions, about evolving through your experiences, about becoming the most forgiving person you can be, how its not about remembering how someone wronged you, but about how much of your life that person partook of, about how much love people give and take from you. Life is about growing up, and not old, looking ahead not back and carrying with you only those experiences and memories that are woven into the fabric of your being, and leaving behind scars and unpleasant moments like shedding dead skin.... 

Life Update

The hardest thing to do, after a long absence here is to actually start a blog post. Life, after all, throws so much at you all the time that its hard to figure out where to start. 

Things did not work out with me and P. He flew here, to make things work, but they didn't. I had built up that weekend in my head so much that maybe it was inevitable? I've come to firmly NOT be over enthusiastic about any upcoming events in my life, fearing that they will be less fantastic than anticipated - trips, events : I try not to think about them and live them before they happen to make sure they don't disappoint. And then, usually when they go of well, its a pleasant surprise. 

So what went wrong? Many many things - first of all, I think I moved on a little bit, and he didn't. I think when we dated right before graduation, I was so intoxicated by being vulnerable to someone again, by being swept of my feet and doing things I'd never done before that I glossed over all his flaws and deal breakers. I missed all the signals then because I was enjoying being a fool in love. He was taller [wayy taller ], older, wiser and I LOVED being a little girl around him. I loved being the one who didn't have to know how to solve each problem and how to handle both people's emotions. In all my past relationships, me with my ultra large boisterous personality have managed to overtake the man's role in the relationship and oftentimes, be the man. Here, I didn't - I was wined and dined and dressed up and looked forward to feeling pretty. 

So what changed? He came in that weekend prepared to talk about the logistics of long distance.. BUT wasn't sure when/if he wants to settle down. He is also one of those men who will avoid confrontation / conversations regarding ANYTHING serious like his life depends on it. I remember many an evening when I just wanted to talk about a bad day at work or something upsetting me in general, and he wouldn't know how to handle that : major deal breaker.

So here I am - single again, and loving it* [*Terms and conditions apply].

In lieu of the impending 29th birthday and my new years resolution this year, I've decided that these two months have to be the most fun by far. My new years resolution this year was to reduce my "Never have I ever's"and by Joe, I've done new and different things. Went on a grouper , went on my first date ever with a boy who wasnt a friend / friends friend [ was a lottt of fun!], Joined swing dance class, Joined a bunch of like minded people groups on Meetup, Traveled to Turkey, New York. Boston, Niagara Falls, Chicago, Houston - going to Florida Keys over thanksgiving with two friends and home to Mumbai in December. All in all, cant complain. Life, after all, is what you make of it, and I'm trying to make it large!