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Do You Want to Break-Free Too?

Since I started writing on this blog, I have had many people share their stories of confusions with me. Recently, one story touched my heart and I felt the need to write this article.

This is a story about a young girl in her late 20’s who is going under a severe depression phase. All attempts by even the most reputed doctors have been in vain. She just wants to be alone and not do anything.

I spoke to her several times and asked her to get out, go for a world tour, a hiking trip or try something which is adventurous and out of her comfort zone. She told me that she would love to do all those but she belongs to a very conservative family and her parents would never let her travel alone without them. Her mother accompanies her even to visit the doctor.

Probably her depression is due to being confined in an environment which she cannot breakfree and run for her freedom to be happy. She is confused, she wants to get out but her restrictions from family won’t let her.

But she is not alone, this is the story of almost every adult who is still living with their parents, ofcourse not all become depressed, but if asked I can bet that most would say that they would love to live alone.

Few days ago, I happened to meet an old friend of mine who had something similar to share, “Parents can be annoying,” she said. “They interfere in decisions that I make. Whenever I try to make a decision about my life, I face lots of problems. My father goes to every other member of the family and asks their opinion but would never respect mine.” She wanted to go abroad to study further, but her father thought she wouldn’t be safe alone and refused.

In most of the third world countries where children still live with their parents until death, children have no say, parents still control what their children should do and not do even if children are old enough to take their own decisions. After marriage as well, the wife needs to come and live with everyone else and listen to her in-laws. Even she is not allowed to make decisions on her own and should seek permission for every small thing.

The family style found in the United States, where children typically move out when they are 18 years old, would never work in countries like India. Indian children cannot leave their parents because they need them and rely on them for support and advice. I have seen grown men who still rely on their mothers to do their laundry or make their food.

That’s how Indian culture goes, parents raise sons in hope that son will take care of them in old age and sons prefer to live with parents for support and easy life. Even if it requires frequent arguments, fights, loud bickering, all continue to live together forever.

Why is it so that kids growing up in western countries like USA prefer to live independently, even parents want their kids out as soon as they turn 18 but in countries like India, all stay together.

Are parents in USA more strong and capable that they don’t feel the need for their children to take care of them while parents in India are too weak and scared to live alone? Or it’s just the cultural difference, one which people are too strongly tied up to break?

I wonder, is it just us, or society as well who pressurizes the children to be with parents and not become independent, if a son leaves home, “What a shameful son, he left his old parents to rot while he enjoys his life”, I’m sure this is what he will have to hear!!!

For the girl in the story, this could be one of the reasons for her being depressed, but what do you feel? Should you still be with your parents and let them make decisions and control your life or it would be better for everyone to adopt the USA style of life?


How About Asking “Who I Am” Instead?


Any normal conversation you pick with a stranger, the first thing they would ask you, “What do you do?” I wonder, what I do for a living doesn’t have anything to do with who I am and yet a strange person is all set to form a complete characterization of my identity based on this one question.

That’s why it is annoying that all our conversations have to start with the dreaded question, “what do you do?”

As a society, we are obsessed with our jobs. Our obsessions stretch to a level where our profession becomes our self-identity and our job defines who we are. We don’t even know how to take vacations. A recent survey of working professional revealed that even on vacation they keep replying to work emails on phone.

Last week I was at a family gathering, a cousin of mine who is really obsessed about his work wanted to leave early. I asked him why the hurry and he replied, “My client’s mother passed away and I have to attend the funeral. I wouldn’t go if it was any neighbor, but as it’s my client I need to go anyhow”. Really annoying, but well, that’s what is reality, people eat, drink and sleep their jobs these days.

When I was working in Mauritius, I met a French couple. Inevitably I asked them, “what do you do?” (sorry about that). They simply replied, “we are divers”. It was not something they do for a living, but it was something they were passionate about and felt proud of.

It was a refreshing answer unlike all the other people I met who were “accounting manager at PWC”, “software engineer at Dell” or “marketing executive at KPMG”.

We live in a society where people are judged by what they do for a living. Your character is already set in people’s mind based on your profession. A doctor, lawyer, or an engineer top the list, followed by finance executives, accountants and teachers.

So, when I was brooding in my solace and doing nothing, I asked myself, “what do I do?” I got confused, I have taken up so many roles, not sure how to answer that. Should I reply straight from my resume and brag about the director position I hold in my company or should I talk about the real me whose passion is to write. I write on this blog without getting paid for it, I just write coz I love to pen down my thoughts. So maybe that’s what I do, “I write”.

Knowing what someone does for a living is good, but not really the first choice of question. How about you ask me, “where do I live” or “how many kids I have”. At least you would have known me better to form an impression about me.

As I write, I’m reminded of an old poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, this is how it starts:

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

Such an amazing thought, may we all share this vision one day and live for our passions and not define our identities based on our professions.


Just Became a Mother and Losing it Already?

It was one of the most precious moments of my life when my doctor took him out of my vagina and put him on my tummy. He was the most adorable baby you’ve ever seen and I was just grateful to God that it was mine.

He was amazing, smiling and playing most of the time, adorable during the day but terrible at night. Yes, you guessed it right, he was not a great sleeper. He wanted to nurse all night long and somehow it took the fun out of nursing. I still love it but going without proper sleep for 15 long days would dampen your mood for sure.

So it began some 15 days back when I started doing this all-night party thing with my baby boy and one day I went berserk.

I got up pretty late that day as he kept me awake most of the night, had my breakfast while nursing him and gave him a bath and hoped that he will sleep for couple of hours and I will get some break for myself.

He was very sleepy, I could see in his eyes, but he would just not sleep. The moment I would put him down in his cot, he would start crying, wanting to be held in my arms.

I’m a working mother and it was getting really difficult to manage work and home balance and I just lost it somehow.

I live with my husband’s parents and my mother in law came up to my little one and said, “My poor baby has no one taking care of him since morning, let me take him with me”. I snapped, “Is his mother dead, I’m sitting with him since morning leaving my work and you say no one is taking care of him”.

Just don’t know what happened to me, probably it was frustration of not being able to sleep, or just the fact that in spite of dedicating my whole time to the baby, I just don’t deserve such a statement even if it was a joke.

My mother-in-law was shocked that I said such a thing and I know she was just joking but I was equally shocked that I could say something like this.

She took the baby with her in the other room and put him to sleep after an hour or so, but I was left thinking, “this is just not me, what is wrong with me”.

So, I realized, being a mom is not easy, but there are certain things you can do to not “lose it”.

  1. Be serious about sleep: Yes, you need to work and take care of house too, but your body needs rest and you need to make it a priority no matter what.
  2. Be willing to take help: Initially I used to feel stupid and weak for asking help, shouldn’t I be able to calm my own baby down? But if you are a nursing mother then you are doing a lot already, it is ok to let someone else put your baby to sleep or play with him so that you can take some rest.
  3. Your baby is fine: Just go out for a walk for sometime leaving your baby at home with friends or family, you need to clear your head and get some “me” time so that you can be back happy and charged up to take care of your little bundle of joy.

This was a day when I had actually lost my soul, but since then I have tried to be calm about it and never stopped loving my baby no matter how many nights he kept me awake…

And yes, in process of being a good mother, I have for sure snapped, back-answered and hurt many people’s feelings which I feel awful about but I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for trying to be a Super Mom.


Whose Child Is It, Anyways?

couplefightingoverchildA child – One of the most precious gifts of God. From the moment he is born, he fills our hearts with happiness and joy.

But whose child is it anyways?

God Says – It is mine coz I have sent him from heaven directly in to the mother’s womb. At least that’s what happened to Mother Mary.

Mother Says – It is mine coz I carried him for nine months, feed him my milk and stay awake whole night so that he can sleep well.

Father Says – It is mine coz scientifically it wouldn’t be born without my sperm and I’m paying for his upbringing.

Grandmothers (both maternal and paternal) Says – It is mine coz I have given birth to the father / mother of the child and they wouldn’t have come without me, so eventually I’m the foundation.

Grandfathers (both maternal and paternal) Says – It is mine coz like the grandmother, I’m the fore bringer of the mother and father of the child.

Birth of a child is a transition phase for everyone, a wife becomes a mother, a mother becomes a grandmother and a son becomes a father.

Ownership is a very broad term, from child’s clothes to his schooling, there are so many decisions to be made and everyone feels responsible towards it in some way or the other. Conflicts arises, debates happen and differences are created when opinions are different. Parenthood is being questioned by elders who have already being in that place before, they vouch by their experience even though they were lousy when they were parents themselves.

The poor little child who cannot speak or walk yet, keeps looking at the circus around him and wonders how foolish everyone is for taking ownership. He is no one’s child coz he is an independent human and everyone else is just a prop to help him grow. It’s just a matter of few years when he will be mature enough to select his own clothes, pick his own college and nurture his own career without anyone else meddling into his life.

A child is no one’s, no matter what age, he will always be the master of his own will.


The Greatest Feeling – Let Go and Be Stronger

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~Dalai Lama

We all want to be happy, feel good about our lives, and yet we get attached to things that bring us nothing but grief and pain. A job, home or friends, there are so many things to which unknowingly we get so attached that if changed they leave us heart broken. But one lesson that I have learned in my life is that in order to become stronger, you need to let go things that make you weaker.

When we are happy, we feel that the happiness is due to the materialistic things in life. When I was in college, a friend of mine gave me a special locket as a birthday present, I was happy and kept that locket with me since a very long time. When the locket broke, I felt a deep void as if something was taken away from me. But what I didn’t realize was that it is not the locket that gave me happiness but the gesture of my friend for buying it was important. It symbolized our friendship and I didn’t need any locket to remember her. This realization made our friendship even stronger and that too without any special objects as memories.

It’s Not Easy, I Know

Till date I have a closet full of things from my past, greeting cards, friendship bands, keychains, rings, and what not. Each and every item is a symbol of an incident in the past and I have tried to preserve those since a long time. When I had to shift houses, it was a tough choice for me, how can I let go of those memories. I felt as if I needed to take each item with me to remember my past, but as I was traveling abroad, I could not take those with me as taking the items of basic needs was more important. So, after a spending lot of emotional hours looking at those things, I took a big box and dumped all the items in it. I even marked the box “MEMORIES”.

That was a beginning of letting go of things. I will never forget the people who gave me those things, but putting them in a box made way to bring new people in my life and not compare them with my past. In order to remember my old friends, I didn’t need some card or band, I had the memories in my heart, in my talks and in my writing. I have begun to feel that items need to be preserved for people who have weak memory which thanks to God I don’t have.

Is it easy, you may ask, and I would say NO. Letting go is not easy, but when you understand the pros and cons it definitely makes the job easy.

When you get up every morning, ask yourself, what is one thing I do not need in my life and discard that thing. Clear up the junk in your closet and in your brains and make way for new memories to crop in. Trust me, life would be much happier and you would be stronger!


Acid Attack, Really? Have Men Fallen This Low?

Are you betrayed in love by someone? Did someone reject your proposal? Well here is the solution, “Buy our cheap acid and throw it on face of the person hurting you”.

This could easily be the marketing mantra for people who are selling acids in general stores. After all it is a cheap product, the sellers never question why someone wants to buy and they really don’t care also. In fact concentrated acid is so easily available that you can buy a whole bucket of it and drown someone in it and it would hardly cost you few dollars.

Acidic Crime

Crime against women is not something new. Women since ages have been abused, harassed, beaten, raped, trafficked, killed by lovers, fathers, brothers, uncles, friends and strangers. Women continue to suffer, and yet they love men because that is how God intended them to be.

But of all the crimes, the one which is most cruel is throwing acid. Sulphuric Acid – a commonly available chemical which is used in labs and households for multiple purposes. I still remember the time when I was in my school and we were to do some experiments in the Chemistry lab. Our teacher warned us that Sulphuric Acid is one of the most dangerous chemicals and we should handle with care. Even a drop on our body can cause tremendous pain and burns. Little did we know that this chemical is used by men around the world as a tool to prove their manhood over women.

Are Men Cowards?

A girl is being proposed by a guy, but she refuses. She does not like him, and she says that bluntly to him. Being a man how he could face rejection, he would be a laughing matter among his friends. So, he decides to show off his manliness, buys a bottle of concentrated acid, gathers two of his friends, and throws it on the girl while she is sleeping. They all laugh while the girl is crying in pain and go away leaving her alone.

The girl is left scarred, possibly blind and without any hope for future. She was punished for using her fundamental right of choosing her life partner. The guy being a coward, could not face humiliation, uses a deadly weapon to show off how powerful he is.

A girl faces rejection in her life countless times. Rejection at birth of being born as a girl, rejection during interview as she is not a man, rejection for marriage as she is not beautiful, and many others. Life is always tough being a girl, and yet she is strong enough to survive everything and stand strong. She does not carry acid in her purse throwing at people who reject her. She learns to adapt and grow ahead.

But men are men and they will always try to find cheap ways to show how powerful they are. They don’t care if the girl is left faceless, or continues to suffer in pain, they just know that they were somehow able to take out revenge.

Are There No Laws?

The question that arises is that why is acid still being sold so easily in stores around the corner? Why there are no regulations on what type of acid can be sold, where and how? If the crimes related to acid attack are so much on rise, then why are people making the laws sitting and doing nothing about it?

I agree that acid is a chemical applied to everyday use in houses and labs and people do need it. However, what I fail to understand is that why the sale of this is chemical not limited? Concentrated acid should be made illegal. Instead diluted acid should be available in stores which people can use for cleaning purposes.

Moreover, it is not just about how men get hold of acid, it is also about the ease with which they escape from being imprisoned. Some easily get bail, and others are able to get their jail term reduced to 2-3 years only. These criminals roam around freely threatening the victims and searching for other victims to attack.

Crime against women has always been taken as an easy subject, something not to be very strict about. Maybe the lawmakers are men themselves and thus, till date no strict law has been implemented against such crimes.

In my opinion life imprisonment or life sentence are too easy for men who commit these crimes. If men need to be taught a lesson then they should be given what they give. If they throw acid on someone, the victim should be allowed to throw acid on him. If they rape a woman, then their genitals should be cut off. An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, this is how we will be able to fight crime in this world and teach a lesson to these criminals.


Did Education Really Help Me?

“When Students cheat on exams it’s because our School System values grades more than Students value learning.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

During my entire education lifespan I have been a brilliant student, always performing well, getting highest grades and not to mention I was the modal student for all teachers. I have many awards and certificates to back-up my meritorious performance. advanced-education-job

Today if I look back and think for a moment, are those awards helping me in anyway? Did those grades really help me learn the reality of how to be successful in life? In fact, now that I think of, I do not even remember a lot of things I learned in schools and colleges for which I scored A grades that time. It’s not that I’m dumb, but what seemed important at that time is no longer relevant. I was then focused on trying to cram the words into my brains so that I would just write that down on my papers without really trying to picture how it would fit in the reality. My goal was just one, get highest marks.

So, were my parents really stupid enough to send me to school, then to college and on top of it to post-grad college too? Did they not know that these educational institutes are not going to teach me anything and that these degrees and awards will not matter in the struggle of real life success?

It was neither my parents fault, nor mine. It is how our education system is built today, you get high grades and you are suddenly a genius, you fail and you become a matter of shame. I have seen parents boasting their kid’s grades all the time and mentioning how brilliant he/she is. But just coz your kid is not performing well in school, does not mean he is stupid. This is one lesson which probably all famous scientists and businessmen learned early and hence dropped out of schools and colleges to learn something which was more meaningful.

I was not able to learn this lesson before and hence finished my studies. But what I did learn was that I was not cut out for the typical jobs which are defined by default once you finish your degree. For e.g. if you are a software engineer, you will end up with a job of a coder/programmer. Or if you are a MBBS, you will for sure work in some hospital as a doctor.

I never liked to be part of the cattle herd, and probably that is why I feel that education from books has not helped me much really. I wouldn’t say that going to school or college was wrong, in fact it was one of the best times of my life. I got to live other real life experiences there which probably are helping me a lot today.

But this is just me, right, what does everybody else think? So, I decided to evaluate what my friends and classmates think about their education. They gave me 4 responses of why they chose to study:

  1. Get a “real” job
  2. Learn and enhance knowledge
  3. Get big pay check, doesn’t matter what kind of Job I do
  4. To add another degree to my resume

Point #2 still makes sense, but rest of them are simply crap. But sadly, this is what is happening in reality. Almost 95% of my classmates from my graduate school were not interested in what they were studying, they just wanted to finish the course and get a job as an IT consultant which they did not even liked, but which paid big salaries.

Today, I can say that I’m a graduate, but I feel saddened to think that I wasted so many years of my life studying things which I no longer remember now.


Timeless Life Lessons!!!! Do They Still Exist?

Few weeks back we all decided to go on a family trip for the weekend. We hired a driver as it was going to be a long drive and none of us was willing to drive for that long. The driver came early morning around 6 AM so that we could make an early start. We all packed, and put our luggage out. My mother was the last person to come out and as soon as she was out she saw that the driver was smoking. My mother cares for everyone and considers it her duty to correct lives of everyone around her. So, being a good person, she told the driver, “Son, you are too young. Listen to my advice and stop smoking as it can kill you”. The driver probably got scared fearing that he might not get his pay and threw the cigarette away.

Seeing this I realized that there are many such occasions in all of our lives when we meet people who will give timeless advices which they have applied in their lives and are according to them the only way to live life. No matter how grown or successful you become, you will keep encountering such people in the form of your parents, friends, relatives, office colleagues and even strangers.

Parents – Whether to Listen to them or not?

One of the most common categories of people who would give you advice is your parents. My mother always wants things to happen her way and God forbid if you try to do anything different. I agree all she wants is to protect her kids and not let them make the mistakes she did. But in reality she wouldn’t give suggestions but absolute decisions and if you don’t follow, she would not talk to you for weeks, behave as if she is the victim in the house and will keep a sad face. This will go on till you go to her and admit that she was right and that you will do as she says.

I agree she has lived her life for so long and learned her lessons as life moved on. But that was a complete different era, one cannot expect everyone to behave the same way and follow the same old principles in the changing times. There are no timeless lessons, life teaches you your own lessons. Everyone wants to make their own mistakes and learn from them, not to be spoon fed.

I always try to ensure that I do not give any advice unless I’m asked. If someone thinks that my opinion is going to help them, they would come and ask and if they don’t follow it then also I will not be offended. Now this has earned me the honour and respect and my opinions are valued as well. I prefer not to interfere and let people learn their own lessons. Most important, I always try to stay diplomatic, never tell people they are wrong, appreciate what they think and add-on to it.

Learn your own lessons!

Now that I have grown up, I like to do things on my own. I prefer to take my own decisions and let people around me also do the same. In fact when I look back in the childhood and see the advices my parents gave, some of them were so absurd that I ponder, “What the hell were they thinking?” Those lessons and advices sure would not work now.

That’s just one part, I have met many friends and relatives also who would want to impose their life lessons on me. But I have now realized one important lesson of my own, there are no timeless lessons, life moves on, situations changes, generation changes and everyone should learn their own lessons. Listen to people brag about how great they are and how they have come up in life coz of those principles, but make your own decisions and learn in life as you go ahead.


Cooking Burns and Pancakes

“These Pancakes just tastes horrible, has no taste at all”, commented my mother as soon as she put one bite in her mouth. I tasted it then, yes it was not that great, kind of OK for me. But the comment was hurtful. It was not that I deliberately made bad food. I put in the same amount of effort, same amount of time, just my sheer back luck this time. Plus I’m not in Master Chef Competition that I’m cooking to be judged, so yes I don’t handle criticism well when I sweat in the kitchen and my efforts are not appreciated. I know the comment was not a deliberate attempt to hurt me, but oh well when we all know that the taste is bad, then why say it out loud. Appreciate cooking of someone

We all do cooking, sometimes out of passion and sometimes out of force. Even if we are experienced in cooking and have been doing this for past many years, the end product is not always the same. Sometimes it’s burnt, sometime tasteless and sometimes just finger licking delicious. But the effort to make that food nevertheless most of the time remains the same. You take out time from work, cook something for your loved ones, only to see them making faces and passing comments that the food is bad. It’s not a good moment for anyone who has spent the past 1 hour sweating in the heat trying to come up with something nice.

I guess it is an inherent nature of most of us to comment openly. But some people like me are lucky enough to have that someone special who will always appreciate your effort and not say anything to hurt you. They know that you also know that food is not good, so why say it out loud to make you feel bad. That’s true love, when you support your partner no matter what, see the hard work he/she has put in and not judge based on the outcome.

Cooking is just one scenario, but this theory applies to all of us in our day to day activities, when we shout, fight or abuse our loved ones on small activities that ended up as failures. In fact we ourselves are the failures coz we fail to see the efforts they have put in, and just see results. Always remember to not hurt someone just because they are not good cooks, open your eyes and see that they are making an attempt to keep your plate full.


Are You Living in the “What-If” Syndrome?

If there is one word that connects all of us together is “Worry”. We all worry, some a lot, some not so much, but during Worry-What-if-cartoonmy life span so far I have met few people who clearly top the list. They would always visualize the worst case scenario and even have a strong belief that it could happen. A hurricane of “what-ifs” would spin in their heads as they plan their routine. What if I can’t pay the loan in 1 year? What if I become critically ill? What if my daughter does not get married? What if I become broke?

The stream of these questions is non-stop. If you think about it, all these what-ifs revolve around negativity. Our fears and worries keep us thinking about the time if any of those become a reality. Is it because we suffer from lack of self-confidence and we do not trust our skills and abilities?

Why Not Make Space for Positive What-Ifs?

Let’s try an experiment and brush aside the negative what-ifs to make way for some positive ones. What if I win a lottery worth million dollars? What if I become a successful surgeon? What if I get promoted as a manager? What if my kids grow independent and rich? What if I find true happiness? What if I eat healthy and stay healthy?

How do we feel now? Better, happy and positive? I often try this and smile at myself imagining all those good things. It all seems too good, we know it’s the right thing to do and yet we still keep thinking about those negative “what-ifs”.

Why Is It So Hard To Leave Negativity Behind?

It’s not a surprise that almost 9 out of 10 people suffer from what-if syndrome. First of all those who have this syndrome tend to be a control freak too. They want to know what’s going on, what will happen in future. They will always keep going to all those astrologers who claim to be able to predict future. The truth is none of us can. No matter how much you worry, future will be based on your actions and hard work alone. This uncertainty about future is something which makes most of us worry and have those negative what-ifs clobbering our minds non-stop.

One more trait of such people is lack in self confidence in themselves and trust on others. Do I have the skills to be successful? Am I the right one for him? Will I be able to make this report? Do I have the capabilities to payback my loan? This is all crap, we are all lot more capable of doing things that we think. We just lack behind in self-confidence.

There is one more important factor forcing us to think negative and that is fear of change. When you have lived in the same place, same way, same routine with same people for a very long time, you tend to develop a fear of change. You grow so comfortable with the way things are that a slightest change makes you worry. In order to make sure things stay the same, we even go to great lengths. If we find something that can threaten our routine, we go into protective mode and feel stressed. The stress wears us out and makes us worry a lot with negative “what-ifs” about the consequences of the change. It’s nice to be comfortable, isn’t it? But that’s not what life is all about, life is about changes and new things.

Any Remedies?

No, I don’t have any. Even I struggle with these negative questions everyday. I can be superfluous and say, “Don’t be scared, develop more confidence and step out of your comfort zone”. But it’s not easy and I know that. But maybe once a while when these what-ifs bother you, try to convert the negatives ones into positive ones. Instead of asking yourself “What if I become a broke?”, ask “What if I become rich?”. “What if I don’t get a visa?” becomes “What if I get a visa?” “What if I don’t finish the project on time? turns into “What if the project is completed on time?”

Just few words here and there and you can change the meaning of your life and bring some positivity into things you do.