Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The day I cried inconsolably looking at my daughter

"Its a baby girl!"
Doctors told me. From that moment till the moment they showed me her face, that wait felt like an eternity. When I saw her face, all I could think, she's beautiful and she's mine.... The most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I was over the moon, I had my c-section in the morning but I insisted she to be on my side (not in the crib) all day. I could not sleep in the day, neither in the night for I was so paranoid that something might happen to her. The entire experience was overwhelming!! Slowly and surely the routine set in and I was busy feeding her (like half of the day!! ;)), changing her nappies and what not. I also got busy caring for my own body and working towards recovery.

In the entire process, I almost forgot to let the experience and the change of having a baby sink in. I practically had no time. But then one fine day, I was looking at my daughter sleeping so peacefully and before I knew tears were rolling down my cheek and I just could not stop crying. All I could say was, "God, she's so cute!". I felt so vulnerable at that moment as if my heart has been ripped from my body in the form of my baby and is out for anybody to hurt. I could not help but think that I cannot let anything happen to my baby. I knew that I am to experience plethora of emotions I never knew before, the fears I never had, the happiness like never before and what not! I never felt so vulnerable yet happy at the same time. Its the feeling I have been struggling to put in words, this is the best I could come up with. But that day I realised what its like to be a mother. And I promised myself and my daughter that I will be there for her always no matter what and that I will never let anything happen to her always!
This image aptly describes what I felt:

Being mother changes you in so many ways! I wont trade this feeling for anything in this whole wide world!
Btw my husband had good laugh looking at my cry for no reason. He took a picture of me crying and still makes a point to tease me about the same ;) :P

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Indebted Generation

Just few days back I saw an impressive documentary “The World Before Her”, in that a strong independent charismatic girl justifies the fact that once when she lied to her parents, her father hit her leg with a burning iron rod. Her reply was “It’s his right, after all he decided to give birth to me and let me live even though I am a girl”. And the casualness with which she justified it, you know she believe in it to the core and is indebted to her father forever and will justify his wrongdoing forever! THIS part of the documentary struck me, it struck me hard, because I realized that its not only her, I and many more such women of our generation are indebted for so many things that are our right. I call this generation of women, "the indebted generation”.

I myself from the core of my heart am indebted that my father decided to send me to a bigger city for education. I am indebted to the fact that he always treats me like his boy. I am indebted that my husband let me pursue my career. I am indebted that he respects my identity and treats me like an equal. I am indebted that he has never stopped me from wearing the clothes I want to wear. Hush! So many things to be indebted for…. But I genuinely feel that and there is no getting away from that feeling.

But the question is should I feel indebted? If I had the talent and earned marks enough that I deserved to get the education at better place, is it not my right? If my parents gave birth to both me and my brother with all their wish and heart and love, is it not my right to be given same treatment as my brother? Doing job, being respected as a person, having freedom to do what I want and wear what I want, these all are my rights, my basic rights. Then why do I still feel the burden. Why do I still ask my husband, “are you sure I can wear this”, although I know he will always say yes. Why this guilt, why this burden? Have you even seen or heard a guy saying “My parents sent me to this better college for education, oh I am so grateful!” or “My father allowed me this overnight stay, he is so wonderful!” or “My wife allowed me to wear this shorts, I could not have asked for better wife!”. No they don’t. I don’t blame them; they are behaving the way they should. It’s their RIGHT, same as its ours.

But then why are we burdened with this guilt? Because nobody, neither my father, nor my husband asked me to be indebted, then from where does this strong feeling come? A little thought and the answer presents itself before us! Women have been oppressed historically. They have been deprived of their basic rights. I would call the previous generation or all the generations before couple of generations as “oppressed generation”. They were just followers; they had no right, no say. We have grown up seeing such women, such situations. So whatever freedom we are getting is BONUS, right! We feel we don’t deserve this and it’s a gift that we are getting from our life. We feel indebted!

What’s the problem with being indebted you say. I say "feeling indebted while exercising your basic right", feels right? Because then we justify wrong things right; I have seen women justifying the wrong doing of the man when she should not have. Because then it reflects everywhere, in our confidence in job; we get easily happy with what we got; we don’t feel we deserve more than that. It reflects in the way you lead your life etc. It reflects subconsciously in so many things…

A little gratitude is always good; my problem is not with that. But attributing something and someone for our basic rights, THAT needs to change. And that change is difficult; I can feel the resistance inside me while I am even writing this blog. However hard I try I might still be forever indebted to the wonderful men in my life. But there is hope, slowly and surely the next generations of women will get out of this burden and live freely. Our daughters will look up to us and hopefully won’t feel unnecessarily indebted for anything for that matter .She will lead a free life and will choose her path, her life and lead it with a much more boosting confidence than we do. I will look forward to that day J

And lastly I would take this opportunity to convey respect to all the wonderful men who have the courage to change and accept change. They are indeed a catalyst in our growth, for making the shift from oppressed generation to indebted generation. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Scar is Inevitable, Pain is Optional

Trust me when I say, I know what I am talking about.

All of us face a situation in life one/multiple times when the "painful" side of Life slap us with big jolt and we feel our life is shattered. That jolt leaves a 'scar' in our Life and then the pain takes over. Pain is pain, be it big or small. I always say to each one his/her own. One cannot and should not compare pain of one person with another, it would be idiotic to do so.

There are some things on which we have control in Life and others we don't. We have no control over the circumstances but we definitely have control over how to react to it, how long to brood about it and off course how early to come out of it. When we are scarred, follows the pain and with pain comes self-pity which inflicts more pain. Being in self-pity mode is apparently very easy and comfortable. Its comfortable I say because its definitely easier than being strong and face and fight situation. When people around you see you feeling bad for yourself, they also start feeling bad for you. There comes "sympathy". Sympathy is equally comforting but not healthy at all! Sympathy in turn leads to more self-pity. Thus we get stuck in the vicious cycle of self-pity in attempt of not facing pain only to increase the duration of pain in longer run.

I am not by any means suggesting that don't feel pain, that don't share pain. I am never in support of denying emotions ever in my life. I am the most emotional one and my closed one will swear by it. All I am requesting is don't fall prey to the comfortable couch of self-pity for long duration. Look around, identify your blessings. I understand its not easy but that's what makes it important. Count your blessings. Stop others from feeling bad for you, it doesn't help AT ALL. Rather show them how Life should be lead, make them proud of you (not that it matters what others think of you). There will be a set of people who will think of you as 'heartless' for battling pain so soon and trying to be happy. Such sadistic people are in abundance, don't let them inflict guilt in you for trying to be happy and moving on so fast.

Pain will take its time to go away. And however hard you try it will keep showing up at your door again and again. Everything takes time, but how much time is what you can control and I truly believe in it. The 'scar' will be there and initially will keep reminding you of pain, will imbibe fear in you. You have to battle it. But in longer run that 'scar' should remind you of how bravely you fought you pain and not of how miserable you were.

Time heals everything they say, I agree. But the point is no one dictates "how much" time, only YOU can.
I Believe!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Don't leave before you leave

It all starts when a girl child is born. Traditionally we have been bringing up our daughters and sons differently. Please don’t get me wrong here, kindly hear me out. When I say differently I mean not by the things we provide them or how we love them. I mean by the way we treat them, the kind of dreams we show them, the kind of games we play with them…. It differs…don’t you agree? We bring up our son to be fearless, independent, achiever. But also aim to make our daughter independent but we protect her, shield her from the badness of world and imbibe values in her which teach her to “adjust” and be “accommodating” as its required for her future life when she becomes someone’s DIL, wife, mother… According to me it all starts there.

Until very recently and even now the kind of career girls are advised to choose were the ones which would possibly be accepted by her family-to-be and/or would provide her flexibility to manage house and work. And from then, every step, every decision we take is around the “fact” that we would be getting married and would have family very soon. And the funny thing is that “very soon” starts much much sooner than it should have started…. That starts getting reflecting everywhere, the company we choose, the role we choose, the responsibility we choose and sadly so.

It is for this attitude of majority of women is Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook, the author of book “Lean In” and my ideal says “Don't leave before you leave”. She got my attention when in one of her talks she said this and it resonated with me because then she actually caught me red-handed. I can list numerous instances when I took a step back, not because anyone asked me to but because it was my own fear of what will happen when I start a family. Those things are so deeply imbibed in our minds by our upbringing, by our society, that it gets difficult to overcome that notion and go about taking new responsibilities, asking for new roles, and being aggressive about the career.

It’s a long road before you get married and long road even after you get married and before you have kids. And it’s a good 9 months even after you conceive. What we should strive for is to find a good partner who values your career equally. There is no point in limiting your possibilities right now for what “might” happen in future. And dude, who knows the future…no one! So today is the day and its full of possibilities, its full of energy and vigor. Everything can be catered to when the time comes. And trust me if you have a fulfilling job where you are needed, respected and rewarded, you will have more motivations to make things happen and there is higher probability that you will continue to have a fulfilling career even after you have family and kid.

Many women chose to enjoy motherhood and dedicate themselves completely to their kid for few years and I have utmost respect for the decision and such women. But even this choice should not stop you from giving your best to your career and have a fulfilling workplace experience. If you leave on a high note having made an impact, I am sure your company would want you back after the long break you decided to take.

So a very strong and relevant message to all beautiful, talented ladies out there please “Don’t leave before you leave” and soon we will be rocking and ruling the workplace J. Amen!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Unconventional Ones

I have always admired people who go against the flow, against the norms, against the usual and do something different, something unconventional and devote their life to a purpose. They blindly follow their passion. One of the reasons I admire them so much is that may be I would have liked to, but could not really find my passion and don't really have the strong principles to abide by and devote my life to. I am like many others, the majority, who go with the flow and gets shaped by the consequences of life.... May be that's why I admire such gutsy people so deeply as I know what it takes to follow your dream, something I don't have....

I recently met one such guy on my Coorg trip, Abhishek. A botanist, wild life photographer, an environmentalist, working towards wild life and nature conservation and what not! I consider myself very fortunate to have him as guide on a rain forest trail and a hike. The moment I saw him, I felt a strange serenity and peace on his face, I knew this guy is not abiding by the laws of material world. There was something earthy about him....

As we conversed with him, we realized his in-depth knowledge of his field, his passion towards nature. It was only when we asked that he told us that he is from a rich Jain family where he is supposed to become a money making machine but chose otherwise. The way he handled leeches, spiders, flowers...you can feel his deep and true love for it...the unconditional one. He has a set of principles he followed and was very relaxed about it and respected other's way of life too. It was indeed an experience meeting him, being with him for whatever few hours I could.

Meeting Abhishek was a humbling experience but at the same time it showed me mirror, it showed me what I could not be. It made me realize what a life it could be following your passion, living your passion. It would not be as "comfortable" as my life currently is but would indeed be a satisfactory one. I also felt so jealous of how Abhishek could identify his passion, his purpose at such an early age i.e. in school itself.... I just kept feeling why I could not and why I still cannot. I felt its too late since I dont have that "one passion" I could gamble my life for, I better stop dreaming about it...

And that's when I met Megha, my pottery session instructor, the very next day in Coorg. If I am to describe her in one word, it would be butterfly. An arty kind of person (ouch!) in comfortable cotton clothes and an unconventional nose ring. She believed in giving space to the creativity in the person and didn't really nag me while I was playing with clay. But a thought kept bothering me, what could make a person choose a career in pottery and with that inquisitiveness, I started a conversation with her.

Megha has always been the person to whom nothing could interest for more than a while but that didn't stop her from trying to find her passion. As she fondly told me, "currently" she felt connected to pottery and that this gives her solace. She had recently left her well earning job for "pottery". Before pottery it was painting, dancing etc. She confided in me how her mother feels worried about her because of her nature and then she said "If you are following your passion, then nature would provide you."

Megha taught me its never too late, I should keep trying, I should keep exploring and doing things I like and maybe, just maybe someday I will find that one thing I can devote my life to, or maybe I will not. But I should not shy away or stop that exploration. As exploration itself is also a beautiful process. You know what, maybe all my life I won't find that "one" thing. But in that pursuit, I would have tried and explored so many things! Or maybe learning is my thing, learning is my passion, that's something time will tell... For now, salute to all those unconventional ones, those brave ones, those gutsy ones. Mucho respecto!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Ganpati taught me this

As I have claimed before, as of now, I am an atheist and I have my reasons to be so. I am a rebel but I am not arrogant. So when a friend insisted I make Ganpati this year I happily obliged. To tell you frankly I had a reason, an important reason to make Ganpati. To create. There is no other happiness like creation and I know it very well. So I started with faith in my friend and to experience creation.

It was indeed a beautiful process, the more I started getting involved the more I started loving it. And with all my heart I created ganpati giving attention to as minute detail as I can. It was a fun process and its the same process which made me more and more attached to it each day. And by the time it was ready I had this strong feeling "its mine". And with it came the sulking feeling that I will have to let it go... Even people around me started asking why I would want to do visarjan(immersion) of something I took so much effort on. But thankfully I didn't get tempted to change my mind.

 But I won't deny that I was sad inside. I also proposed to my MIL if we should extend the duration of our Ganpati stay but thankfully she disagreed. Yes, I used word "thankfully" because I had to learn to control the temptation and to 'let go'. Ganpati taught me happiness comes for reason, happiness comes for season and like everything else it should go. It's only when you let go of a happiness will other find its way in your life. It taught me, that when happiness comes it ought to be celebrated with all love, energy and vigor. It taught me that you can only create but not own anything for that matter....like everything else it must take its own destiny and should go.... 

Letting go is such an important lesson to learn for it creates space for new, for it keeps your ego in check, for it allows you to move and progress in life. My ganpati taught me this...

It's beautiful that if you have willingness and open mind how everything has a lesson hidden in it....
As I always believe life is here to teach you and make you better person everyday only if you 
Live to learn and
Learn to live!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Show me their faces, I demand!

Sigh, we are slapped with “yet another” gang-rape. And it enrages me deeply, so intensely, beyond all possible explanations. I just feel so vulnerable and I know each woman in this country shares this emotion with me. So what do I do about it, I try and avoid reading or writing about it, I didn't read news-papers for a few days after such incidents. Even otherwise if I see any mention of rape I turn blind eye on that news. I pretend that its not affecting me, I am still the fearless Komal I knew, I am still “free” and woman of 20th century who can achieve anything a man can and be the way she wants to be and go where she wants to go and when she wants to.

I assume the plan has worked out fine for me until  one fine day I have a face-off with my pretension. While me and my husband are hiking on a nearby hill, he said “Lets be adventurous” and suggested we climb down the hill from the road less taken from a forest patch. For the fear of not being looked at unadventurous and fattu I reluctantly agreed. All the 20-30 minutes that we were climbing down I was on lookout all the time, the lookout was not for I might encounter snake or reptile or wild animal for that matter. I was on lookout was for the most dangerous of all animals…human. And I realized what became of me…a woman who cannot even climb down a silly hill without the fear of being “gang-raped” for that matter. Paralyzed…concerned…afraid…fattu… that’s what has become of me. Funny enough I cannot even trust what seem to be school going boys. Even the “so-called” minors are capable of such horrendous act. Irony, how can they be called bloody “minors “ if they are capable of doing what they did….

And why don’t I feel afraid, I have no one I can trust. When those, the protector of society, the police don’t think even once before asking questions like “what was that girl doing there” as if being and walking free is only the birth right of men. I just wanted to be adventurous, use my birth right of freedom… but such answers won’t be good enough for them. And why do I feel safe when even I hear news of the police gang raping women in their custody. You know what, I don’t even know which side I would prefer to go if I have “gang-rapists” on one side and “police” on another. I honestly don’t know the answer.

No offence meant here, I know good police men exist, just like good men exist but how am I to trust one…please answer me. And on top of it, you hide faces of such devils. I see TV hoping I get to see what such devils look like. I want to look in their eyes and see what cruelty lies in there. I want to see because I want to remember that look and hopefully identify the “rapist” category of people and beware of them. I would like to believe that they are not normal human beings. They cannot be normal looking human beings, can they? How is one of us capable of such hideous act! Just the thought of the act run shivers down my spine. How can they? No, they cannot be normal looking human beings. They must be having those devilish red eyes, or the horns coming out of their head. I want to believe so and I want to verify that, show me their faces, I demand. 

Alas… I know I would be disappointed… I know they are no different… I know they look like one of us…however hard it is for me to believe but I know they are unidentifiable…they don’t stand out, they are simply one of us! There is no way I can identify them…and possibly protect myself. They can be anytime, anywhere ready to pounce on any of us the moment they get the chance…. That saddens me beyond anything…. I am not safe…I am not free…I can trust NO ONE!
And why they have the privilege of hiding their face. They don’t deserve it! Their face need to be seen by everyone and I say why only face, they must be brought in public and should be paraded naked for that matter! Should they not be given the same treatment they gave to the poor helpless girl…. I know this is not going to happen in this “democratic” country. But the only way to control these animals is to imbibe fear in them and many others in their category. I don’t think we can imbibe “respect for women” in them by any means. No ways, for their act and their mentality, this seems to be a far-fetched idea to me! They should be treated as the act they did, like animals. I think even animals must be feeling ashamed for being compared to these devils.

have stopped thinking why they do this, its beyond me to justify or reason such acts. I don’t care what and when stringent laws would be implemented and followed for that matter. All I want to feel is “safe”, all I want to be is “free”. All I want is not to worry for my mother, sisters, aunts, daughters…if they would reach home safely every day. All I want is peace of mind. How long do I wait before I get it…..