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Posts tagged ‘realizations’

14th August 2009

This date marks the 3 year anniversary of my arrival in the US as a wet-behind-the-ears naïve girl with dreams in her eyes. The last 3 years have been an incredible journey. A journey of friendship, heartbreak, love, frustration, success, failure and so much more. A journey of growing up – of flying away from the protective nest that was my home. A journey of the eventual transformation of a girl to a woman. A journey of realization of one’s strengths and weaknesses – leading to some semblance of wisdom. A journey of the quest to learn and acquire knowledge – and the incidental learning of many other things. As I sit and reminisce about the last 3 years, I cannot help but wonder if I truly have a reason to rejoice and celebrate them. Or should I just think of it all as a bittersweet experience, something that had to happen because – such is life.

I guess I would like to begin by thinking about all the things that made me regret having made the decision to leave my country and my home. I still miss my family just as much as I missed them the day I left. I still wish I was there to watch them grow up and old – I wish I was there to watch my little brother cross one milestone after another. I wish I was there when my mom bought something she had always wanted, to see the expression of excitement and the raised pitch of her voice to go with it. I wish I was there to watch my dad punch the air during a cricket game and to get him started on a discussion on politics and stock markets. I wish I was there to help out with the household chores and even to get yelled at for not doing something right.

I truly miss the rush of activity, the sights and sounds of the different times of the day. The smell of the early morning coffee, the sound of the velaikkari washing the utensils, my mom cutting out the weeds in the garden and my dad trying to help and ending up shearing my mom’s beloved flowering plants instead, my dad going into my brother’s room to wake him up (after being yelled at by mom for snipping up her plants), the sounds of the autos and buses, the sight of the dust rising up and settling down in their wake, the cows assuming the world is their toilet – I could go on and on about every single detail that is such a part of India’s myriad personality.

But that is about all I miss and about all the reasons I have to be even if only slightly bummed out today. I think I do have more reasons to be happy about. I cannot even begin to describe the experience I had of living alone, away from home where there was no Mommy to cook food on time, no Daddy to take care of the bills and the finances. There was just me and my measly grad student salary that had to cover the rent, groceries, bills and so on. I cannot believe I managed to even save up a small amount every month. I realized just how well my mother had trained me to be able to run a household independently. I could cook and clean and not let the house be infested by bugs and roaches as I had seen happen with my other counterparts. I realized that I have a keen aesthetic sense and combined with my OCD, I managed to make sure our house was always hospitable – our house was like home.

I learned the hard way that people are not always what they seem. That there are people who will think evil things even if you truly meant them no harm. That there are people who expect the world of you and yet will not move a muscle when it is their turn. And should you so much as refuse them a favor that no sane person would do even for their own kith and kin, you instantly become the bad guy. That the only people who truly make you happy are the ones who have the good sense to understand your every action. No one else is worth it.

I learned that when your need is driven by money, no matter how well you do, you just don’t get the chance to prove yourself. And that quitting when I’m at the top of my game is how I usually operate. I also learned how much I hate loans. And how I have always made sure I repaid mine well in advance of the pay period. I learned how much I love to drive. And how much an inanimate object can mean to me. I discovered that I am not one to skimp on something I really want. And I am also not one to crib about something I don’t have – I am actually one of those people who make the best of what they have and pro-actively seek means to better their situation, if they so wish to.

I realized that going to grad school and getting your doctorate degree is no indicator of how smart you really are. And that smartness also really means nothing – how you treat yourself and others around you is really all that counts. That it’s better to know how lucky you are to be with someone than to wonder how lucky they are to be with you. That confidence is one thing, and arrogance quite another. That realizing the difference between the two is the difference between being smart and being thick.

That high heels actually make me look good. And that tall girls don’t need high heels is a myth. That in a few years I will not look like I do now, so I need to make the most of what I have. Especially since I live in a country where everything goes. And that convincing my mom of this has been some of the toughest convincing I have had to do in a long time. 🙂

Looking back on this post and the last 3 years, I do believe I’m happier than when I started out. And I probably wouldn’t change a thing in these 3 years. But none of them can keep me from going back to where I belong. And if I ever forget that, I have this post to remind me of what is out there, and what will eventually take me back home.

Me, me , me and.. you guessed it.. more me!!

Hello world! It has been a while since I posted. Work has been very demanding and I don’t get the time to blog from work as I used to. Other things have been happening, I will tell you one day, when I am ready. But as I was talking to Dewdrop yesterday I realized that there are some things about me that I wouldn’t want to change. And so, today, for the first time ever, I have decided that I will go all out and tell you guys things that I like about myself. Things that make me proud of who I am. To give credit where it is due, I lifted this off here.

  • I have a razor sharp mind and a wit to go with it. Sarcasm and a caustic tongue are the natural by-products of such a disposition. I am capable of very profound thought. I am also frank to the point of brutality. Put all that together, and you’ve got in me the best friend you can ever ask for.
  • I am fiercely critical of myself and I cannot accept things people say about me unless I am sure that if I were appraising me I would be saying the same things. This makes me my best and worst critic, except not best so really only my worst critic. This also makes me come across as very modest. 😛
  • There is very little happening around me that I am unaware of. I observe and assimilate everything that I experience. I also usually don’t let on about how acutely observant I am.
  • I have the ability to break things down – problems, circumstances, feelings – anything and analyze right down to the tiniest detail. I also have the ability to dichotomize. I can objectively separate out things that tend to get muddled up -the heart and the mind, especially.
  • I achieve what I want. I am capable of pushing myself to the limits. And then extending my limits some more. Consequently, I always end things on my own terms.
  • I am very good company, irrespective of my personal mood. I am fun, I have a sense of humor and if nothing else, I can make you laugh for the time that you are with me. I am also one of the few people I know who would never expect you to stop having a good time just because I am indisposed.
  • I am very adaptive and I can survive anywhere. I also learnt at a very young age how to be self sufficient so living away from family was not a problem for me. I am very efficient and can multi-task exceedingly well.
  • I have nice eyes. They’re always full of warmth and affection and will always twinkle when I see you (if I like you that is). You will always know what I’m thinking by looking into my eyes, quite literally the mirror to my soul. I also have long artistic fingers. And a winning smile.
  • I have no illusions about my looks. I am not beautiful. I am what most people would call attractive. And I know how to wear clothes that flatter my athletic build. I stand taller than many women at 5’6″ and so I stand out. If you see me somewhere, you would do a double take. I also have very clear skin (touchwood).

Wow, that felt good! And I could have gone on for a bit, but I think I need to stop.

Now, don’t throw stones at me if you really know me. *ducks out of sight until next post*

Picture Perfect.. Really?

Words spoken. Words written. Words read and understood. Words that affect one in a way that nothing ever has. They make one wonder, they take one on imaginary trips to a time, a place of fantasy. Of peace and love. Of harmony. Of a time when one didn’t exist.

At least not to them. They were two hearts, two souls in love. For now and for eternity. They bore each other’s pain, each other’s sorrow. They unburdened their tribulations on one another. They hurt each other. They fought. But they made up. And were more deeply in love than ever. They were perfect for each other. He loved everything about her. Her feisty nature, her long curly hair, her short stature, her mood swings, her brilliance, that he found so rare in others of her species. She loved his steadfast reliability, his composition in the face of crisis, his ability to soothe her fears with just a ‘hello’. His unpretentious nature, his courage. They were meant to be. In every way possible.

The universe thought otherwise. They were seperated by a divide. And what they thought was a perfect world was quickly befouled by what society dictated. He was being sucked into a quagmire that he could only break out of if he were ready to forsake everything he held close. His peers advised him to do it. What did they know, they were young and as hot blooded as he. She waited at the banks, watching him suffer, sinking deeper and deeper, helpless, unable to reach out, try as she might. And then she watched him go under. She waited. He had left, never to return.

He loves someone else today, the memory of his beautiful past all but gone. The scars remain, but his present is a lot sunnier. He is happy, he is making progress in all aspects of his life.  She sometimes wonders if she had met him first, how different would things have been. She wonders what it would have been like to be the first woman he kissed.

Somewhere in the depths of one’s soul, something stirs. Something rankles, making one think about what could have been. If today would be a reality if yesterday was altered. If one needs to live life under rules put down by an abstract institution, rules that really are just a product of a few warped imaginations. If fighting for your love is really worth it. Should dreams remain just that – dreams that may never be fulfilled? Why should you be shown something potentially beautiful, only to be snatched away?

Society argues – do not make a choice if you cannot justify it. What kind of choice is society really giving me then, if what I choose will only be overruled? Society says you are too young to understand the implications. How young is too young? And even if they were older and made the same choice society wouldn’t approve, so I sense the tidings of some vintage hypocrisy here. The truth is, you have no choice. You do whatever it takes to keep society happy and you live with it. If you are the type. If you fight for it, you fight for the rest of your lives.

*** My apologies. Comments are disabled on this post. ***

There’s a sad sort of clanging in the air

In all ways 2008 has been a most eventful year for me. 2007 was seen spent as a student, coping with the realities of having chosen a less-trodden path and paying for it. 2008 drove home the realization stronger than ever. Decisions were made, by me and for me. Decisions that shaped my life and my future. Decisions that, for the first time ever, were made based on the people around me. I saw my life peak through tremendous joy in the beginning. Things were looking up and the wheels were being set in motion, amidst much opposition from my closest of kin.

But in my heart of hearts I somehow always knew that this wasn’t my calling. I knew that there was something amiss in the grand scheme of things and the fact that I was planning my life around a somewhat exhaustive and demanding journey that I was about to set on not only scared me, but also made me question everything I had known to believe about myself. Whether I was capable was beyond doubt. A profound analysis of this phase led me to weigh out the cause-and-effect relationship of some of the events over the past 2 years. I went on to question every single decision I had made, taking into consideration every person that was affected by my decisions and the repercussions of any decisions I made now, and how they would all affect the people in my life from now on into the future. Much opinion-taking and giving was indulged in; many friends came in and offered sound advice. I appreciated their involvement and valued each of their opinions. Whether I agreed with them or not, it helped in that it made me see why I needed to go through with this and served to solidify the basis of my current decision. I stood my ground firmly and went ahead to take the plunge. What followed were 4 months of frustration and a forced “sabbatical” from doing many of my favorite things, blogging included.

2008 also heightened my insecurities. My moments of self doubt became longer-lasting. I questioned everything and everyone, hurting people closest to me. But I have slowly learned how to overcome my insecurities and although I may not have gotten rid of them completely, I have definitely managed to successfully push them to the back of my mind where they lie, now dormant. They surface now and then but I know how to deal with them. To this end I have only person to thank for and I think they know I’m talking about them. If you hadn’t been so supportive and understanding, I doubt if I could have made it this far.

I have moved 3 times this year and I am hoping I won’t have to move again in the next year or so. I have a new life here and I am loving it. There is of course a fly in this soup. Something that I have slowly learned to deal with, but each time it only gets progressively harder. Like everything else, I will work around it.

And of course, I have to mention how much blogging has helped. I have made some truly awesome friends here and I wouldn’t change a single thing in 2008 just because of this. Prashanth and I developed quite a bond and he became my support system through my times of frustration. Of course, it helped that we were kinda going through the same thing. DDD is another such friend. I traveled to TX and met Rayshma and her husband. And I had some really good times with them. She is now one of my closest friends and I am looking forward to many more years of such madness with her. Love you babe!

And of course, I have no idea what I’m doing for New Years Eve and I really really want to wear this pretty dress I bought so I need to figure out something real quick. Or maybe I’ll just open a bag of microwave popcorn (97% fat free butter) and watch a movie. Sheesh, I really need a life.

To conclude, I hope you guys had a fantastic 2008 and you will have an even more fantabulous 2009. Please keep updating your blogs regularly and continue to read my randomness with equal vigor. Love you all. Muah!

Sunday Evening Musings

Cary Brothers playing in the background, you have a weird sense of expectation intermingled with a sense of self doubt. You wonder if this was worth the wait. The frustration, the anger, the surrender. And then the resurrection. At what cost? To spend these lonely cold evenings alone? You read, you listen, you write. But nothing seems to fill the emptiness that threatens to consume you. You check the watch every so often, hoping, praying that it’s time to sleep. The clock seems stuck at 8.33. And what will sleep bring? You know you will sleep, eventually, because your body will overpower your thought. Which is what the purpose was anyway.

But while you wait for that to happen, you have no choice but to live with your thoughts. Thoughts that seem to be all around you, in your head, out of your body, ricocheting off the silent walls, creeping into your brain and draining you of any semblance of hope or happiness you might have left. You wonder why it has to be this hard. Why, after all these months of struggling to get here, now that you have it you wish you didn’t. You wish you had something better. Human nature. Never ceases to surprise you.

The clock is at 8.42 now. You are surprised that it took you this long to type out the few sentences above, even though your mind is flooding with thoughts. The pain, the longing, the solitude: how do you express what they are doing to you? How do you explain why it is that you made this particular choice? Does the alternative seem more appealing now? Certainly not. Logically it follows that you chose well. Then why is it leaving you feeling this lousy?

You pick up the phone. You want to call the one person you know will make you feel better. And yet you don’t. Because calling him will only serve to emphatically drive home what you already know.

It’s 10 minutes off 9. You decide to get something to eat because you need your body functioning normally if you want to get through this week. And then the phone rings. You smile. Because, after all, you wouldn’t have this feeling of pleasure and hope, of the joy of your next meeting if you hadn’t chosen this path.

Dating, Living-in, What?

I have mentioned that I am 24, single unmarried (wink wink 😉 ) and loving it. I also have some very close friends, all more or less my age. Most of them are dating, in relationships, blah, blah and blah and this whole social charade gets me thinking…. I have a few relationship questions that need clarification. Maybe someone should publish a manual that has in-depth answers. I wonder if the Hitchhiker’s Guide had them.

Dating: When is an appropriate time to start saying you’re dating? One, two, three dates? And, really, what does qualify as dating? Coffee, dinner, movie, drinks, thrown in with copious amounts of subtle flirting and double entendres hidden in every sentence we speak? Then does that mean that some people I know end up dating even their friends (or people they “claim” are their friends) ? A touch here, a naughty smile there, a peck on the cheek that lingered a moment too long? And how long does it take to actually proceed from “a date” to “dating” ?

Relationship: When does it go from “dating” to “being in a relationship” ? Is there an intermediate phase in between these two? And amongst all this confusion when does the first kiss take place? And how long does it take to move from the kiss to other, more interesting things? Does it mean that whoever you’re getting it on with is the person you’re in a relationship with? And what if you’re with them, have all the benefits of a relationship (well, I can only think of one big benefit, but for peace of mind, let’s add the plural) and yet deny ever being in the relationship/going around/blah-bloo-blah?

Commitment: We’ve all heard this word. And in all probability, more often than not we’ve heard it along with the phrase “not ready”. So when does a relationship transform into a commitment? And does making out have any part to play in this? I for one cannot imagine a guy being committed to a girl because she’s mind-numbingly hot in bed/makes love like a tigress. And I do happen to know women who would sleep with men and then claim to be “not ready for a commitment” leaving the guy gaping. But I also happen to know men who do the exact same thing. So what does commitment mean?

Living together: So do you live together once you’ve “committed” to one another? When you’re in a “relationship”? Please tell me you don’t move in together when you’re dating. Does living together require the relationship to pass the above two stages? Or can it be done in between one of these? So does it also signify that your relationship is definitely moving towards marriage? How much time passes between the living-in and the popping-of-final-question? So when you’re living with someone, you’re all but married right? So then why do people break up even after years of living together? And is it allowed to come back with the “no commitment” drill after you’ve lived with someone?

And, the most puzzling question of all…. Where does “love” fit in the grand scheme of relationship-y things? When is an appropriate time to say the dreaded 3 words? How easy or difficult is it to slide from one intense (emotionally and physically) relationship to another while having said (or at least felt) the L-word?

Maybe we should all go back to our parents’ and grandparents’ generations where life was simple and you didn’t have to think so much. Meet boy, parents say yes, you say yes, get married, sleep with the almost-stranger you just married, have kids, live happily ever after.

Pshaw.

The Choices We Make

“Every man is entitled to life, libery and the pursuit of happiness.” And so go the famous inalienable rights.

I have spent the last one year pursuing something that I thought would make my life immeasurably happy. And it took me 2 weeks of concentrated thinking to realize that there are other, bigger, more important things that I must think about, before going after a tenuous, fickle dream.

When it comes down to it, happiness is what we create for ourselves. We know that there are some things that have to be sacrificed for attaining others. And such has been the norm of life so far and such it will be for all life ahead. However, I ask: must we consider our choices as “giving up” ? Why do we have to give it a strong negative connotation by calling it “sacrifice” ?

A year ago I made a decision that would affect the course of my entire life. But I was the only person affected by it. I was the only person who would be happy by that decision of mine. Today, changing that decision has changed so many facets of my life. It has affected so many people involved, it has made everyone around me so happy that it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing after all.

What about me, you ask? Well, I am not going to be a saint and say everyone’s happiness is my happiness. Admittedly, I was saddened by it. But, I am also incredibly relieved. I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my chest. I feel like I am finally being given an opportunity to make the best of what I have, to explore possibilities that were hitherto closed off because of that one decision.

I am also glad that this realization came to me when I had everything I wanted. I am glad that I decided this of my own accord, and not because circumstances made me. I am leaving at the top, when there is nothing to stop me from going ahead but my own free will. And my own free will has made me see sense in not going ahead with something that would have me caged for years. Something that would stagnate my growth and suffocate my spirit.

I feel liberated. I feel happy. I feel alive. Now, what was that about the inalienable rights?

As I leave, my first attempt at poetry:

the opening of the eyes
the rush of blood to the head
the heart beating a violent tattoo against her chest
she saw in front of her the vast sea of possibility

the gaping expanse ahead
the soaring heights above
the yawning depths below
made her spread her arms wide
and fly, far away, into eternity.