2019 mythbusters

Standard

2019 has been a year of myth buster of sorts. It appears that life keeps coasting along with not many changes, and then comes a year, once in a while, which kind of jerks the pace of our lives. 2019 has been once such year to me. Professionally speaking I have been coasting along for quite a while now, and personally too I have enjoyed a major event free life for a while now. A level plane can be looked at both, with happy contentment, and an unhappy anticipation. I guess I was more of the happy contentment kind of guy.

I have been a workaholic from my school days, I don’t mind slogging and I am kind of proud of using it as my differentiator. Endurance and perseverance have been my virtues. 2019 gave me a rare low workwise, to be able to slack a bit. With not much expected out of me, I could laze around a bit. I discovered lazy can be fun too. Long coffee breaks, chat sessions, thought breaks, you name it I have had it this year. It gave me some time to reskill myself, but also a lot of time just to relax and enjoy some time off. It’s really fun to be lazy.

Having a busy work life means, personal life invariably suffers. I hardly spent any time with my son in last few years. Last few months have been a boon when it comes to parenthood. I am really surprised by my teaching skills, and my ability to create a project out of everything. I am extremely proud parent to have thought my son a language, math skills and some general stuff over the last few months. My 6-year-old son is not entirely happy though, to surrender his free time. Having time with kids is really important to build the bond. I had been always guilty of not spending enough time with my son, this year has been amazing when it comes to family time.  Parent in me, has left me pleasantly surprised.

We love to be happy, we all do. A great aspect of hindu religion is to not instil any guilt in happiness. The true essence of happiness is in enjoying it. Last few months have been good in removing a lot of guilt from my happiness. Having time, kind of reduces the reason to be running short of it all the time, when you are doing something, you are not constantly worried about things which you are missing out on. This kind of helps you to enjoy what you are doing now, and in a way enjoy the happiness of “now”. It made me realize, it is OK to enjoy happiness and there is nothing else more important than that enjoyment.

Anxiety was to the fore in so many ways. After a long time, I did not know what is is going to happen in near future, I had no idea what is right, how much risk is too much, how much of laid back is too laid back. I hate anxiety and am too poor in coping up with it. Well guess what, surprise surprise, I got past it like a pro. I was super relaxed [comparatively] for most part of it, and I even enjoyed that state a bit.

2020 promises to be an exciting new year, with lots on the anvil. I am going to miss my free time, hopefully 2019 has taught me enough skills to be able to balance my life a little better.

Not so innocent

Standard

The incident dates back to couple of years, when a lady in our family made an observation about my then 4-year-old son. The lady remarked that ‘he’ is not innocent like her son. I guess like any normal parent, I did not like the comment, who would say such a thing about a 4-year-old child? The uneasiness on my part stemmed from the notion of innocence being a likable virtue in humans, even more so in kids. I have thought about it many a times since that day and observed my son more carefully on this subject. I think I agree with the lady’s observation of my son. He is not innocent. It does not mean he is not childish, but he is not a innocent child per se.

I began looking up what are the antonyms for innocent, to my surprise there is no clear antonym, instead there are what are called near antonyms. Some of them are ‘dishonest’, ‘artificial’, ‘devious’ etc, some others where ‘street smart’, ‘careful’, ‘mature’. Now just because I dont consider my son not innocent, does not mean he is any of the above antonyms of innocent. He is just not naive as many other kids.
.
As far as I can remember my childhood, I was never innocent, I always calculated what is beneficial to me, and in general considered good by whatever values I had at that age, and decided what I should do. I see the same qualities developing in my son for a while now, and I also see that he is sincere and smart. This is a combination which I believe has worked me throughout my childhood. Loss of innocence is termed like a bad thing, infact more than innocence being a virtue, lack of it is considered bigger a vice in the society. I do consider innocence a virtue, I guess, I do not subscribe to the notion that lack of it is a vice.

I like the innocence in my child’s laughter, I dont dread the lack of it in his smile. I like the innocence in my son’s attachment to his mother, I dont dread the lack of it in his interaction with the world.

Boiling cauldron

Standard

Self-confidence is a very funny thing, it takes years and years to build, and is lost in moments. For a guy who has not been used to being insecure, when it comes to anything other than social life, losing confidence at a slow pace has not been easy to handle. Disasters should occur in an instant, the slow ones are the most painful. Lately I have been having a tough time trying to motivate myself at work, it has been more than 15 years since I felt this way about my work. Last time around, I was fresh off college, with absolutely no responsibilities and a wide horizon of oppertunities, this time around I have a whole bunch of other things to consider before making things better for myself. The worst part of the whole thing, is convincing yourself that it is okey to break out of a well paying comfort zone for something called work satisfaction. I have to admit, my family has been my biggest strength in last couple of months. They have unknowingly helped me a lot in this low time, by providing me a great sense of purpose.  Enjoying ego is bad, but it has been a pet peeve for many of us. Having your ego broken is a very hard problem to face. Feeling inferior is not an easy task. I hate myself for not taking any concrete action to solve my problem, I hate the fact that I am waiting for time to set everything right, I hate the fact that I am just not willing to fight, its so not me.

Straightening a curved line

Standard

It is a common conception that time will heal everything. It adds a layer of cushion to all our pain, both physical and especially mental. Anything that the life throws at you, time is always there to weaken the blow. It is amazing how time can make you forget almost everything, how it kind of curves a straight line, and straightens a curved one.

Fortunately, time is linear. There is no way of going back, I suppose not until someone proves it wrong. I can count thousands of occasions where, I have thought, if only I could go back in time. To be honest though, I guess we are lucky that we can’t do that.

Memory, on the other hand can defy time in a way in which only it can. It can make us go back and forth into time which has long since seized to exist, with versions of people hard to relate. Memory is to past, what fantasy is to present and future, in many a case equally incredible.

I wonder, how time affects memory? Apart from the fact that we make new memories and probably get rid of some old ones or parts of it. Isn’t what remains equally charred?. Memory does not change with time, it does not become sweetened. It does make you miss what you had, seldom does it make you enjoy what you have acquired.

For all the people who have heard about time being the ultimate healer, how it makes us forget all things bad. I would say, it is good to have hope, however it is better to accept bitterness. We would love to have our kids color within the lines, however the reality is that we accept their wild strokes outside those lines.

 

Insiders

Standard

“How can we form new memories, if all we do is, create whatsapp groups and message memories from the past?. ” asked one of my cousins. It did not make much sense to me the day he mentioned this, however today as I came across one of the lines in a book I was reading, kind of reminded me the true nature of that question. The line read “We become insiders to the past, and outsiders to the present”.  We love to be insiders, period. I guess if we feel at home in the past, it is natural that we love being in it, as we are true insiders there.

Many of us are coasters, and we love to drift along with time. The expectation is that, time will create circumstances, make us meet people, create opportunities for building memories. It is not like we put in effort to create the old ones, why do I need to do it now?. The above argument has made perfect sense to me for long. I guess time does create all of this, but may be not necessarily in a way you would enjoy, not necessarily in a way you would cherish at a later time. If you believe in quantity, I guess time will not disappoint.

I want to believe age is holding us back, lack of time is holding us back, but sadly it is probably our closed mind. I guess, I need to unblock myself. I need to put in some effort. Here is a list of things I came up with, as note to myself.

  1. When you meet people whom you are comfortable with [Read people from your past], stop remembering older days, meet at a newer setting, and think of newer topics and activities.
  2. When presented with a new social event, prioritize if it involves new people, or a new activity.
  3. Think of at least one activity every weekend which you have been wanting to do in a long time, and do it.
  4. Reconnect with people from various parts of the world whom you have lost touch with, and check what they are up to.
  5. Listen to what your kids say or want to do, they will always surprise you.
  6. Travel alone at least once a year. You will invariable make new friends.

I would love to hear some tips from people out there in the blog world.

Looking forward.

Standard

I looked forward to every exam during my school and college days, it was in a way looking forward to their results. For a person who was from lower middle class, these results held the key to a good job, and a comfortable world, both of which I looked forward to. For 21 years of my life, largely my goals were very simple, study well get a good job was its motto. I really looked forward to end of this phase, where I thought I can spend my time on my other interests and goals.

I looked forward to visiting ‘America’ a dream country. I somehow never had it in me, to migrate there, enjoy their standard of life. This was long before I even developed enough maturity as to why I didn’t want to move there. When I started to work, and many of my friends chose America as a country to go and settle, I looked forward to visit the country. I looked forward to see what is it that, attracts so many people, I looked forward to experience the standard which everyone was so happy about.

With all the material things which I looked forward to, I never had enough thoughts on how much I was missing out on the human front, on the emotional front. I started looking forward to more meaningful friendships, a meaningful relationship, and whole lot of people in my life who will add new meaning to my life.

As I grew older. I looked forward to even more riches. I looked forward to a 4 figure monthly salary, I looked forward to buying properties, I looked forward to owning things which I missed out on growing up, I looked forward to eating out when I can.

There was a time, where I looked forward to the final series of tv show friends. I discovered books. I looked forward to reading authors whom I adored, reading about things and plots which were so vivid and varied then what I am accustomed to. I discovered writing and I looked forward to reaching out to people through my blog. meeting and knowing more people online.  I discovered travelling, and I looked forward to travelling to many places which I carefully picked out from the world. The idea of planning and picking places to go, places to eat at in itself was a big thing to look forward to, much before I ended up in those places.

I looked forward to parenthood. I knew I would love to pass on things to my child, I looked forward to many things he started learning.

Recently I was asked by an ‘app’ what is it that I was looking forward to.

Bam!.. I didn’t have anything which I was looking forward to. The discovery that I was not looking forward to anything made me really sad. Instantaneously I messaged a friend about this, if it is sad that I don’t look forward to anything now. I don’t think anyone can answer that to me, but still in a desperate attempt to get over this discovery I was making an attempt to get some comfort. There is nothing I could think of at that moment as to why  I do not have anything to look forward to,  and if it was ok to be that way.

A great feature to many of these online music website, is their playlists. There is playlist for everything, mood you are in, activity you are doing, the city you are at, the singers you love, the time period you are thinking. You name it, there is a playlist for that. I was listening to a random playlist that morning on my travel to a destination for my vacation. As I was travelling with someone, I did not have much control on the music they played, and I was struck with this random playlist which kept playing songs. As the time passed, I started to wait for the unknown lyrics and tunes, some which I ended up liking, some which I wanted to desperately end, some which were too average for me to develop an opinion on them, some familiar, some alien to me. I really looked forward to listening to the next song in the list. It was so in the moment that, the looking forward to lasted just a song, and there was no holding onto. Two days later as I was back from my vacation and on my way to work. I wanted to try this again, where I play a random playlist and relive that experience.

I realized I have begun to see my life as this playlist, with random sequence of familiar and unfamiliar things, with lovable and not so lovable events which I eagerly look forward to. Unlike long ago, where I had concrete things to look forward to, I have more blended canvas for a life, where I know there are going to be occasions where I look forward to things which are short lived, and then move on to other things. Some of the things life throws at us are highly challenging, some of these challenges last a long time, they test our patience, they test our skills, some let us win, and some defeat us, at the end if there is one, there is going to be another challenge. We get to meet many people, some stand by us, some move apart, some stick to us long enough, some are happy to hug and say goodbye. We buy new things, some we look forward to, some we save up for, some are impulsive buys.

 

I have no clue what is going to be tomorrow, I look forward to that unknown. Looking forward to what’s in store. Looking forward to life.

 

Fatherhood blues

Standard

These are times when I feel guilty. guilty of chosing career our my life. The guilt was not much until I got a life, I had a family, I had a wife, I had a son. The guilt grew exponentially as my career picked up at the same rate. For someone who swears by his perseverence and determination to make things better at work, and feels responsible for all the problems he can spot and works his best to solve them, his personal guilt also ends up showing up like a problem which needs to be dealt with. This is just plain sad. The worse though are the strange things I end up doing to feel less guilty. Career is like any other dangerous addiction, it sweet poisions your life and body just like any other addiction, which atleast come with a warning on the package. Everyday I have this strange feeling of having to make this tough choice between being what I am at work, and being a father.

Sometimes I learn rhymes, I watch tv shows, I also listen to music which my son likes, just to make sure I am not left far behind from his world. When I am away at work, or going back late to our house, and I am feeling left out from his life, I have something to fallback to, to get a glimpse. There is also a secret hope, that in whatever little time I have with him, he doesnt think our worlds are mutually alien to each other.

Kids love their moms, and moms love their kids. There is nothing that a father can do which can count as a bigger scarifice than what a mother does without even realizing it. I wonder if there can be jealousy in parenthood. At the cost of sounding petty, I admit there is. I feel jealous at various times when I see my wife bond with my son without any effort, and at the ease with which he clings to her. As an engineer, I can write pages of reasons why this happens, and how or why I dont end up doing any of those things. There are times when your mind does not accept the nature, and just wants to compete against it. I have always believed that when someone says “its not a competion”, it is a way of covering up the loss. Parenthood is not a competition, moms and dads dont compete with each other. Why do I have a feeling that I am losing.

Parents are like mixed doubles team trying to win a championship of parenthood. Each pair have their own strategy, their good and bad plans. Some of the tactics are universal though. The idea of good cop and bad cop being one such tactic. World hates sterotypes, but how much ever we hate anything, you cannot ignore its existance. For ages fathers have been the bad cops. Kids predominantly are always told to tidy up or face consequences when daddy gets home. Many a times they look at us, and probably must see a cop with a baton. I hate being the bad cop. I would love to be the good cop, and be the one my son runs to when my wife plays bad cop. Like any good team, I guess all dads have to byte the bullet and assume of the role of bad cop. It is not easy.

I did not know I was an alpha male, until I realized I was, one day. I see that my son is turning into one day by day. It is not an easy task to deal with two alpha males in the family. I am sure my wife has already realized it.

When kids are growing up, there are many little pleasures they bring about. There is nothing better than your little discoveries when they have picked up your traits, specially the ones which you are proud of. The joy it brings is something which cannot be explained in words. I love my son’s obsession with time. He sets a time for everything that he does on a daily basis, and makes sure he sticks to it. More importantly he makes sure the other people stick to it too, and keeps hurrying up my family if they are running late. There are times when people can literally catch me smiling when this is running about. Yes, he also has opinion about everything under the earth, and he fights for his views till the end of the earth. I told you, two alphas are horrible thing for a house.

I remember few years ago when I was a new father, my wish was “I wish I could enable debugs for kids, it would have been so easy to solve their problems”. Children do not work as per our plan, in fact they hardly stick to their own plan. I guess they are not a project that parents work on, they cannot be planned and executed. It may sound dumb, but our minds have just got tuned to our professions so much that we deal with everything like we do at work.

Kids are hyperactive, and they love to keep jumping from one thing to another. When they are asleep they are the best things on this planet. The look of innocense on their faces, the unknown smiles in their sleep, how they cling to our bodies, and how they scoop into our chests. One of the best moments of my day, is when I curl up next to my son in the morning when he is still in bed. There is nothing worse then when they wake up and tear themselves away from you. < pun intended >

Bad fathers have too many expectations from their kids. All fathers have expectations from kids. I am not able to choose one.