Things change, and so do we

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself – Andy Warol

Change is the only constant. Something we have all heard at some point in our life. We can all agree that this is not new.But do we change too? How often can we admit to that?. I guess i can finally say that i now do.

For long, i lived in self denial. Victimizing myself of situations i mostly put myself in, good and bad. I did not want to give up on my beliefs since childhood, nor could i deny what was in front of me. As time passed, i felt i was no different than a crying baby, wanting what i wanted for no reason.Being blinded by my beliefs versus facts.

As time passed, i not only realized of situations changing, i also had to teach myself to change.

DIVORCE, a taboo from where i came from. A situation i never wished to consider, let alone live through. But ever since i began my relationship with my only boyfriend and now ex husband, all i would think of was to do my best to not let it lead to a divorce. In spite of our differences, we were in love and that’s what binds us together. Everything was NORMAL, or at least that’s what i kept telling myself each time there was a red flag.

Every couple have fights, every fight leads to exchange of statements not meant to be shared, ours was no different, its normal, a sorry can change things, a smile shouldn’t be ignored. But when does it get too much to handle to believe its not normal?, when must we believe to deserve more or admit to ourself that a line has been crossed. Do we even need to draw a line in marriage?. I kept reasoning with myself in every possible way i could except acknowledge the fact that we were just not right for each other.

Unlike most families from my background, i had parents who wanted me to let go to move ahead, wanted me to opt for a divorce to have a better life. So it was just me, a battle that i had to come to terms with in my head. Because, I did not want to change, i did not want to be called a divorcee ever. Why am still not quite sure.

But then, just when i least expected it, i was able to give in. It felt good, to break my own wall. The word was just a mental block i had in my head which i carried all these years of my life. i had ahead of it a life much more engaging for both myself and my mind. I could finally begin to treat myself better and achieve more. I changed, i learnt to deal with myself in a way that didn’t hurt me for what i thought others would judge me for.

I always reflect on the decisions i have made, doing things more to be liked, versus what i like. But now, the last few months have been a process of healing, from the loss of my father, getting a divorce, finding love, breaking the wall that mentally blocked my happiness and finally the pandemic that we are all currently dealing with.

The brighter side

To be very honest as I began to write the idea that engulfed my brain, I was not too sure where I was going with it. But what I do know is that everything has another side to the side we mostly know or rather believe to know. Now how do we know which side we are on?,Or how do we believe to be on the right side.

Let me try explaining this in the form a story.

There was a man who was once popular. He was known for many things, his paintings were spectacular and richness beyond limits. He had everything he desired, a house, car and a beautiful wife. But then, quite suddenly he met with an unfortunate accident that cost him his eyesight. Eventually he began to loose everything he had, even his wife.

He lost every hope to live and felt he was the most unluckiest person on earth to have had everything but loose it all. He spent most of his time looking for hope to getting his sight back and through this all, while he kept pushing himself to find a solution, his caretakers began to leave with frustration.

And then he met this woman , she seemed to be patient, kind and compassionate. Despite his tantrums and repeated harassment, she did her best to care for his needs. Until one day, he lost sight of his humanity and hurt her deeply by calling her names. It was after that quite instantly he felt the rush of regret for becoming this monster and apologised to the woman profusely. Being understanding as she was, she forgave him and took care of him each day without running away.

Curious enough this man then asked her, how she did it, how she could be so patient and care for him the way she did without running away like the other caretakers did. And then she spoke of her past, a life full of joys and happiness until the day she lost her entire family to a natural disaster and lost her purpose in life. It was only then she began to understand what life meant and how she should never stop trying to help and give meaning to her time on earth.

This woman lost everything but the will to survive. Soon enough she was able to turn the man to a new leaf and he too began to appreciate life with his sorrow and they fell in love and lived happily ever after shouldering each other in their sorrows and joys.

There is always a brighter side to what we think we may know. It is just how we choose to see things, accepting and live in the best way we can.

We are presently being challenged with a lot of uncertainty, illness and other challenges. Irrespective of the situation, it is upto us on how we face them and look at the brighter side to be able to come out stronger.

A Liberation…

Writing is my passion, it helps me bring emotions to my words. The feeling is so refreshing. As I write I re-live every thought in my head, of the people and experiences that are close to my heart. The moments that were special and the moments that were painful.

Another interest to me now is to Travel. Travel to me meant trips with family and friends, never had I ever considered traveling by myself. I once believed people who travelled alone did so because they had no choice. And that was a wrong assumption that made me realize how naive I had been all these years to even think that way.

Although I wanted to travel, I chose to wait and do that with the man I would share my life with, the longer I waited the sooner I began to realise, the only certainty is my present, so why am I not making use of that while I dreamt of a future I may or may not have.

If I didn’t travel now, it may never be a possibility in future. There are so many places I mean to visit and I honestly do not know if I would have all that time. And so I finally did it, my first ever solo trip, to a city which had a lot of history, beautiful architecture and amazing churches, that can almost be compared to Europe, the city of Montreal.

Just when I was about to write-off my life because of the way it was treating me, things happened. It was not just one but rather a string of events that led to this liberating moment, which I probably should have experienced years ago that could have changed my whole perspective or life.

For those of you who don’t know me and not aware of what’s happened with me and my family in the last few months, it would probably seem simple. Life is hard for all of us, but how we overcome from it all is what defines each of us differently.

I have finally been able to walk ahead, and will NEVER look back. This is not something that comes naturally to me, because I am the person who always overthinks (still do) and always have the habit of going over every single detail that led to the events that I ideally didn’t expect to happen, because I wanted to be perfect. Well who doesn’t, working towards perfection is one thing but being one is easier said than done.

It’s like I had the answer to a better life but never meant to use it as a solution at all, why? I have absolutely no clue.

Although most people blame others for their misfortunes I predominantly blamed myself, to the point where I actually began to believe everything was my fault. My father died because of me, is what I told myself and mom sometime back.

It may sound stupid, but yes it is true, there have been so many sleepless nights where I would crib, cry and yell at myself for not being the perfect daughter my dad deserved, I reduced his lifespan by missing his phone call which would have delayed him from leaving and meeting with that fateful accident. Even though he explicitly told me that he was proud of me just two weeks before his death it didn’t matter to me for what had happened.

But, I am past those moments and I would want to give almost all the credit to all those people who love me, coached me and reminded me of who I am. I say almost because come on, I want to take a little bit of the credit to bringing myself back to being me don’t you think !

So what changed?My thoughts.

The mind is a powerful vessel that can crush or mould you to be your best self. What I thought was not life threatening was actually the main reason for my life to almost fall apart or handicap me for the rest of my life. The feeling that literally tortured me every single moment of my life since 2015 was this. UNFORGIVENESS

I always told myself forgive one an another, but I never taught myself to forgive me. I blamed myself for everything that ruined my happiness and my family’s peace even when it was actually not even me being the cause of it all.

Long story short, this trip showed me how life can be, when you choose to look forward, think clearly and trust yourself.

Because folks, we have just one life and so remember

    Let go of your sad past, but remember all the joys of it.
    Look forward to your future, but learn from your mistakes.
    Overthink a little but not to a point where it drives you insane.
    Lastly, love yourself and share that love with the person who accepts you for who you are.

PS: Not all this knowledge came from my head, like I said I share this credit with God, friends and family that made me who I am today. Love you all!

Down memory lane…

Ever since I first set foot in this city, My emotions took me on an exciting roller coaster ride, my thoughts raced through my mind and the feeling was blissful. New York is indeed a city, where, there is nothing you can’t do! I literally did, eventually, play Alicia keys, Empire State of mind! It felt so motivating.

That was when I probably, for the first time had the desire to move to the United States of America. The land of unlimited opportunities. Every city has its, pro’s and con’s. New York being a tourist attraction and one of the most popular cities of the United States did bring a few disadvantages too, it’s busy hustle and bustle, the lonely isles and expensive goods were all part of the package deal!

I loved it anyway, cause this place taught me to be strong, driven and focussed, to do what is to be done, to succeed. I was unlucky to have visited the city after the fateful 9/11 terror attack, but did get to hear and witness the way the city came together, growing up again from the ashes.

And that’s why I knew, that this was a place for a person like me, and not just me, when life throws you down and you feel you hit rock bottom, there is nothing wrong from starting afresh, lost time is always better than a lost and meaningless life.

And so a Phoenix I shall be, growing back up, from the ashes, just as New York did.

To Break or not to Break!

Irrespective of the context, we always hear this don’t we? 

“Bend the rules!” or “Break the Rules!”, 

Are all rules meant to be broken and bent! If it was, why would people invest their time creating them in the first place.

There are times, I get all rebellious myself, but conclude, it’s more appropriate to question your action, before doing something reckless, and land up regretting it for the rest of your life, which, by the way, has also happened to me, on numerous occasions. 

But then, there are certain rules, that are meant to be followed without question, just so that there is no hassle in the society, or institution that built them.

One such example, I solely wish to highlight, are the traffic rules. How many of us know a loved one we lost, due to reckless drivers and pedestrians, so many lives are lost or crippled just because they want to take the quickest approach versus the safest. Is it worth it? Maybe to you it may, when you save that extra few minutes of time, but when another life is lost, you become, the cause for their time lost with his/her loved ones, what would you have to say to them?

So, before we all even begin to think of NOT following rules, ask yourself this, is your action affecting only you, if your answer is NO, then take the most responsible step, FOLLOW your rules!.

Responsibility

Although am certain we all know what responsibility means, I would want to reiterate the same. Responsibility is the state or fact of having duty towards something or someone. I began to analyze this in more detail. Firstly, who gives us this responsibility and where does it come from.

Let’s start from the basics, I wake up every morning and would be told by my parents to brush my teeth, at first I was told to but later I took the decision to do it myself to have healthy teeth. So where did the responsibility come from ? parents? Or me ?.

I must say it’s both, although originally my parents did instill the discipline of keeping myself clean, I later did realize the importance of being clean and became self responsible. And Thats how we all do learn.

Now, let’s talk about bigger and more prominent responsibilities that begin at our homes, which originally used to make sense to me, but later honestly started to piss me off. Back in the days, and even today in certain parts of the world, for instance, India where I come from, it was always believed, that the husband is to be the breadwinner of the family while the wife is the caretaker of the home and kids. The father, in disciplining the kids while the mother, in nurturing them.

  • I must say, it was not a perfect balance but it worked anyway, so will not want to argue. But now, in today’s world, where things are far more complicated and expensive, life is not as simple as it was. Families do need two people’s support to go hand in hand, to barely even make it through the month, and then there are additional factors to consider like health, transport, recreation etc..
  • And so, Is it fair to live by the same rules!
  • Did you notice ? Responsibility eventually became rules. Responsibility comes from within, after being instilled by elders, when we were KIDS, which eventually we follow, cause we are old enough to decide what’s best for us.
  • But rules on the other hand, are imposed by authoritative people, when they are responsible towards someone or a situation, which to me is pretty much what the system should be at work, because there, we are a team working towards a common goal and rules are required.
  • But at home, all we need is to take EQUAL responsibility towards are own families and not talk rules, be more understanding, and not blames. A wife must cook, clean and take care of children, a husband must earn and buy things for the family. What if the wife earns too, what if she enjoys a career as much as she enjoys spending time with her children, what if the husband wants to play with his kid as much as he spends time at work.

    At our homes, it’s not about mom doing the cooking and dad doing the fixing, it’s about sharing responsibility, Why ? Because WE ARE ONE FAMILY , and the first thing we do as a family is love each other, and when we love each other helping each other comes naturally , and when that happens, nobody feels like pointing fingers to say, you are a woman, go to the kitchen and cook me a meal, or hey, you are a man go buy the groceries.

    It’s a place, where the woman can come home tired one day and her husband cooks dinner instead, or they both help each other where one cooks and the other does the dishes, the kids are shared responsibility cause although they are mother and father, together they make parents to the same Child.

    Unfortunately, a lot of families still play by the old immature MAN MADE rules that’s so behind time, and you know what’s funny? This has got nothing to do with education, because self learning ended at toilet training for a few of them!

    And so, people who believe in humanity, pick up your socks and be responsible, not just to yourself, but to your families. It’s always easy to point fingers,but when you take responsibility that’s when respect is earned.

    The prospect to retire..

    How many of us have thought about retirement ? Am sure most of us, me excluded, have plans towards retirement in terms of monetary savings, but that’s not what am referring to, Have we thought about the things we would like to do I meant? Like travel, or maybe get back to a hobby or probably pursue a new one, and the likes of that.

    I do not know what each of us think of retirement, but to me it will be an honor and blessing to experience it. There are a lot of people who still wish or wished they could retire but didn’t get to, for various reasons, which I will not touch upon at this point.

    But I did realize this bit, every individual should have the privilege of living life to the fullest at every phase of their lives.As kids although it is required for us to study, spending time with family and doing activities together, getting to know our grandparents, external sports etc would be ideal.

    Likewise, as youth and adults we would be blessed to have good moments of life building relationships with friends, more family and career. Technology is a boon in today’s world but it’s always worthwhile to go the traditional route every once a while, like visiting each other as opposed to phones, writing letters as opposed to texts, eating meals at home as one family as opposed to dinner dates at restaurants so on and so forth.

    One such individual I was honoured to meet and know for the last year is Mohani, it’s when we talked I realised how much I am in my own bubble, 30 years at mercer and then retirement, I was like wow, how did you do it, and she says “it would not have been possible without her more of a friend than colleague Connie”. Her shadow as she was referred to. Relationships, are so important to cherish and the growth it makes over a period of time is simply amazing.

    She plans on spending her time with the two most important men in her life, her husband and son, and the most wonderful thing which she said, she intends to do is relax, cause she deserves and earned it, I wish you all the very best in life!

    Although I did not get to spend a lot of quality work time with her, our journey has just begun as friends. She is an inspiration and will always be the woman I know who knows how to hustle with a smile, I salute you!

    A day to remember and forget…

    If you ever think, today was a bad day, the coffee sucked,life seems boring or work was not productive, think again, somewhere out there, other people could be going through a lot worse. It was one such morning i woke up to, on the 21st of January 2019, sulking to the previous evening of a not so happening Sunday and lack of hope to a productive Monday. Everything seemed to be going okay, until that fateful text I saw from the corner of my eye, “Anu don’t freak out,we are on our way to mysore, dad met with an accident”.

    I try to revisit every detail that happened thereafter, when did we last speak, what did he last say, is he awake, will I see him alive. To end your suspense, I lost my father the following day and life as I knew it, changed from that instant. People say to grieve the loss of your loved one is hard yet necessary, and time heals everything, but it seemed close to impossible, to accept any of that logic. The world stood still and time never mattered again.

    It was a day to remember and to forget.

    I cannot begin to explain, or relive the relationship between us as father and daughter, but, he meant more than just a role model. Like every daughter are to their dads, I was the apple of my dad’s eye, and he is and will always be, my super hero. He had really big feet and his shoes will always be hard to fill for any of us, his absence left a crater in our lives.

    Everyone of us must leave this earth some day, but how and when will always be a mystery. No measure of time can better prepare us for that moment of loss and there is never a right time to leave, whether the person is young or old.

    As I gaze up the sky, or the roof while I sleep, I get to talking, asking him for a sign, assuring me he will always be there, we cannot explain but feel he is around and never left, and yet, his tangible presence will always be missed.

    And so, what we all must do is live in the present, although it is important to save for the future, living the present is equally important. Never wait to tell the one you love how much you care, never hesitate to try something new or be somewhere that mattered. Always bear a smile and stay in touch with those that matter, there is no perfect time, there is no perfect day. It is always going to be now or else will get to never!

    I love you dad, I long for your comfort, you will forever be in my heart and embedded in my soul. I miss you !

    If there is something I could tell…

    If there is something I could tell you,

    It would be nothing at all,

    Everything I imagined of us,

    Came crashing to a stall,

    I could not help but wonder,

    What did we do wrong?

    That’s when it dawned on me;I was always accused of fault.

    No matter how hard I tried , I failed to console myself,

    It takes two to make things work, and so two of us with fault.

    So, if there was something I could tell you,

    It would be nothing at all.

    There have been times I stepped down, times I took blame,

    Times I remained silent, times when I was shamed,

    In enduring these moments,the only thought I held on to,

    ‘No matter how helpless you feel, there will come light, in the end’

    So if there is something I could tell you,

    That would be nothing at all.

    I never admitted defeat,or want to accept our end,

    However rough the path we strode,I made all efforts to sail,

    It was only until later, that time helped me see,

    How many times in my words above, did I use the word I?

    We were never we, and THAT was our dead end,

    So, if there is anything that I could tell you,

    Its that there is nothing left at all.

    To do, or not to do…

    It’s been a while since I last wrote, I took time to think of a situation or emotion that would inspire me to write. As I reflected on a few things that I considered to write along the way, I stumbled on the recent rage that shook India on the murder and rape of a minor girl. Firstly, it’s not new to us watching a rape case being narrated over the news , but what really startled me was the fact that the victim was no older than 8 years! I cannot even gather myself around the fact of what it would have been like for her and her family to go through the horrific crime those men heartlessly committed.

    What shook me further was, there are a group of people backing these rapists, wanting them to be pardoned for this act! Who are these murderers? And who are the real murderers??!, To me, it’s the society that allows this to happen that should be ashamed and blamed. Although they are not the trigger, they are a cause for still letting this prevail for so long.

    We need to teach our female population to achieve and grow towards success, unlike hiding behind shadows of fear, from criminals who could be lurking behind them ready to pounce.

    These incidents only brings us to realize the fact that our country is not safe, not safe until we bring stringent laws in place that instill fear among individuals before they can even think of committing a crime as opposed to creating fear among people for their women who feel unsafe. These men know they can get their way in life, if they have money or a political background which easily let’s them walk away from punishment!

    This needs to change !

    This needs to stop!

    WE THE PEOPLE! BY THE PEOPLE! FOR THE PEOPLE!

    These are not mere words, as a society, let’s not let these or any criminal escape from justice and let us take responsibility of making our country a safer place to live in!