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164: 13th June, 2017

14 Jun

13th June, 2017 came just like any other day did. It was a day I wasn’t particularly looking forward to, because we were leaving Bangalore, and it’s always sick to say bye. It’s a day of sorts, and one I won’t forget for some time.

It’s the day that reinforced the grander scheme of things, to me.

I always have been a planner. I plan every single thing. It’s annoyingly boring for many of you, but I couldn’t imagine my life under anyone else’ control, to be honest. Once I got married, the truth of the universe’s ways made itself present to me in more ways than one. Plans just didn’t seem to work, and making plans was beginning to get frustrating because A isn’t an obsessive planner like I am.

As time has proceeded – we’re inching towards completing two years – I’ve learnt with a greater ferocity that life cannot be trusted with your individual, minute, plans. It’s got a mind of its own, and it will conspire to make things happen as it deems fit.

And so we’re just playing along. Yet again.

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150: Zero Going On 150

30 May

I remember when I hit 50 posts; it was sometime in February. It felt surreal, almost like I had achieved the impossible; so low are my expectations from myself. But to be honest, those 50 didn’t come easily – there was a heady mix of struggle, doubt, creative inertia, blankness, and a lack of inspiration that I had to tackle with on a regular basis. That apart, and because blogging somewhere also boils down to the number game no matter how much a blogger denies its importance to them, my numbers were (and still are) not up to the mark – basically my content and blogger behaviour was just not attracting the readership that I desired. (It still isn’t, but that for later). However, (and I also mentioned this somewhere), there were many a time when I needed to show myself the mirror and remind myself of the purpose of this journey and who I was really embarking on it for. Shifting perspectives did help, because here I am, low numbers and all, at 150 posts today.

There are so many takeaways that I have from this experience already. Apart from the ones I have written about here already; where I celebrated one month, introspected a little at 90 days, looked back at a 100 days, and also fell into the pit of self-doubt regarding this concept of overfeeding, today makes me feel all this and more. For example:

I am grateful for me, for the time I have taken out to invest in this, for showing up, and just motoring on irrespective of everything else that tried dissuading me from going further. During this journey, I have realised the importance of genuine and conscious self-gratitude. Somehow this has become invisible, something that was kept on the back-burner for later which was then conveniently forgotten. Being thankful to everyone, everything, and one’s own self is mandatory because we are, ultimately, a part of this scheme of things, works, and circle too. This act of a simple thank you, minus any frills or falsities has made me realise the significance of genuine, ego-less thanks and the necessity for self-love for self-growth to take place. It, I think, stemmed from one of these marriage memes I saw on FB somewhere; something on the lines of “a marriage requires filling before it can be fulfilling”, which I analogised to this for myself “you cannot give if your cup is empty.”

The other thing I have learnt is that narrowing down my focus to a day at a time really helps in the long run. It has helped me get less overwhelmed by the large and looming fear of a three-digit number when I focus on just one. I hope I can imbibe this in the rest of my endeavours too.

On looking back, the road seems seamless, faultless, and just so smooth. Of course it doesn’t take a fool to realise that this wasn’t, in fact, my reality. But what I am going to take away from this is that no journey is hard if you show up and decide to take it forward; that roadblocks were made to make you slow down either to take in the view better, or to bring you back to humility that we might have not seen flying out the window.

I have become more observant, more fluent in my channels of expression, more comfortable with the way I express myself, less perturbed by comparisons and numbers, more confident in my own capabilities, and definitely more patient with my faculties. If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have come this far. Now if only I can keep this drive and focus going.

Lastly, it has made me feel more secure about myself. When I bring the mirror to me, I am reminded that this is something I am doing for my own self – irrespective of the numbers it may or may not garner as per my desires. This has reflected in the smallest of things which have brought me joy – that my readership is stronger than a promotional hit on a social media platform, that I have a dedicated bunch of faithful readers (with my mom taking the cake for this), and that I feel purposeful, almost humble as a writer/blogger for being able to achieve this. Quality over quantity, I remind myself. And that is exactly what we have given each other, dear reader. I wouldn’t have come this far if it wasn’t for this collective effort. For that, I do thank you, most genuinely and consciously, too. :)

143: The Twists and Turns of Adulthood

23 May

Today just wasn’t the day for me to catch a few winks in the afternoon. The internet guys called me a couple of times even when I’d asked them to kindly call and visit my sick internet connection only in the evening. Then the security guard rang my doorbell to tell me to remove my plants from my balcony, which I already had, and which I pointed out to him as he spoke to me. The painting labourers who are giving our building a facelift then decided to knock on my door with empty plastic bottles, to tell me that two balcony chairs needed moving. And then the maid arrived. So there really were just about a handful of minutes that I could dream during, post which I remained in bed slurping a creamy kulfi and a TedX talk by Shah Rukh Khan sent to me by S. Happy belated birthday, S! I figured she sent me this link because I dig the guy at some level. He really is a witty genius, okay! Anyhoo, I savoured what was left of my afternoon, in the self-obsessed but also tasteful compilation of experiences that were SRK’s.

The one thing in his speech that did catch my attention is something I’ve been becoming aware of off late too. And it is this concept of autonomy in drawing our own definitions of our experiences. It was just yesterday while in conversation with P that I mentioned the exact same thing –  that we’re so habituated to this “unchangeable” and “rigid” concept of authority without realising that we’re now at a place of authority too. Perhaps we always had the right to our own authority, but it remained unrealised and therefore untouched. It’s in the small things, and consequently in the big things; the latent ways in which we accept definitions of right and wrong formulated by others, and make them our own.

We’re at a place where if we don’t respect our own selves, no one else will, is what I said to P last night. It’s a new baton that I’ve come face-to-face with and am intrigued by. I truly believe that you and I are here, because we’re worthy by our own merit and judgement to be here; and that we have an equal hand in setting boundaries and making rules that work for and with us. Gone are the days when I remember standing in school or college, just waiting to get out and take control of my life. But somewhere down the line, and thanks to this humongous baggage of “no questions asked”, it started to feel like I was living by others’ ways and rules. I find this platform especially relevant today when I have so many looking up to me, hoping that I have answers, control, and some semblance of stability. Moreover, I find it an intriguing path to walk down, dotted with sharp turns and ridges that are waiting for me to trip and fall, or to trip and fly.

This is really the best time to be alive because there’s no telling time than this, that what you do is yours and yours alone, in all your selfish and self-obsessed glory and necessities. It’s a struggle, but it’s most real too.

131: Glorifying Busyness

11 May

has been one of those ideas my mind has toyed with for a long time now…you know, the kind of busyness that seldom allows room for anything else to show face even? that kind of preoccupation where there’s no scope for anything else. It was something I’d wished desperately for especially last year when I needed an anchor for myself and the straying frays of my mind. I have that today, thankfully. Except I’m left with time to really.do.nothing.else. when I’m in the throes of this busyness I so wanted. Not even the time to breathe, forget sit or drink water or even grab a bite.

Which sucks to be honest. There’s nothing more uncool than this feeling of running against time no matter how smartly you’ve tried to schedule your work.

I’ve been on this self-preservation drive for a while now. Nothing can or should or will come before those things in my life which need to take precedence over everything else – my health; my mental, emotional, and physical stability; my time; my relationships; my peace. It’s coming at a cost unfortunately; sometimes in the form of either staying back to tide my plate over or just losing some chunk of work or money, or both. It’s always about weighing those options against what you can and are willing to compromise and compensate with. Each of us have our own circumstances, our own journeys, our own experiences to help us draw these boundaries the way we do.

Back then I remember wanting this because the combined force of leaving home, adjusting to a new life and a new place, apart from the various hoard of responsibilities that came rushing my way, made me want to seek cover, an escape, something to find refuge in. Work has helped me find that solace. And now that I have it, it’s a balancing act of propelling this busyness with glorifying the simpler and more important things in life as well – in groundedness, in stillness, in quietude, in being able to clear my mind when I want to, in being able to live in the moment, in finding my zen and thriving in it, and allowing absolutely nobody else to encroach into my zone of zen.

It’s my own creation, my own discovery, my own salvation to attain in this glorification of busyness that’s gotten us all spinning past scooting days on a calendar, completely unaware of time, space, or even ourselves.

This is an effort, and one I’m working hard at. Or that’s what I’ve promised myself and the dark circles I’ve brought upon myself, among other things.

*clinks her glass full of iced tang at the one you’re sharing with her*

Here’s some music therapy along with some iced tang therapy for dark-circled men and women who need a minute to be still.

 

 

Peace and namaste to you.

128: Wisdom

8 May

Sucking on this ice lolly rather whimsically, I can’t help but think of this prayer that I once used to begin my workday with back while working at a rehab.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

This Serenity Prayer was just another routine thing I mumbled back in the day; a formality, a must-do, a not so crucial thing that didn’t really make a difference to my life. I didn’t know, and I couldn’t have cared less. I was there to do my work, get the job done, and get my ass back home from that all-male rehab which wasn’t the most pleasant of settings I imagined spending my summers in. But it was the need of that hour, and it was to be done minus much preoccupation.

Today is a different time. It’s seven years later, a long enough period for a lot to have happened, even if one was inert, existentially or otherwise. This has been a recurring thought to me off-late – to let go, to let go, to let go in absolution. I haven’t inspected the fear of letting go in absolution; no I have not. Neither have I bothered looking over the cliff to see the view and/or the fall. Like many things universal, this cliche is definitely easier said than done. But I’m fighting hard to not just try. And each day for a while now, has been exactly that – a reminder to work towards jumping off this cliff.

Sucking on this rather comforting lolly, I wish to, by action, also tell the world to go suck it.

I’m taking what’s mine and I’m walking away – go suck it.

I’m drawing my lines and you nasty, line-encroacher you, can go suck it.

I’m not going to care, and you can go suck it.

Watch me make 50% become my new 100% while you, my dear universe, can yes, go suck it.


This has made me feel better, strangely. I felt like I’ve left what’s unnecessary and jumped off the cliff. Or maybe that’s the soothing comfort of the ice lolly speaking – the sheer blindness of denial. Whatever it is, I’m feeling better already – a little less of me is preoccupied with things that really don’t matter (which I thought really did), and a lot of me is urging to fight this battle as hard as I can.

I hope you had a more fruitful Monday. Have this ice lolly, and suck it. Trust me.

(PS, thank you for stomaching the rant. I owe you!)

117: Short Notes

27 Apr

In continuation of yesterday’s post and sick tease, we woke up to some serious stormy conditions – no visible sunrise on time, no colour-changing sky, deep black pregnant clouds, no flirty breeze, no dust storm and no wind storm. It was dark when I woke up, which was both comforting and weird (530am feels like 7am these days). We opened our balcony doors to the fantastic outdoors while sipping our respective cuppas. I didn’t soak clothes to be washed later – typical Bangalore mentality, especially when you wake up to conditions like I did today. An umbrella found its place in my rucksack, and off we dispersed to our offices. All of us – kids (big and small), teachers, guards – looked at the sky as we crossed our sports field en-route the main building. Kids exclaimed in glee dekho aaj to sky bhi nahin dikha, bas badal hi badal (look! we didn’t get to see the sky today, just clouds and more clouds). And then when I checked the quadrangle an hour later, the sky was right there in its blueness with all those promising clouds GONE.

If you haven’t gathered so far, I can’t handle this tease. It’s a cruel joke to play. :(

****

I’m beginning to get attached to my students, both seniors and juniors. I am a loyal and possessive person by default, so it goes without saying that this was bound to happen. A delusional me never imagined connecting or even getting attached to students here. We’re now clear why I called myself delusional here. I’ve picked my favourites – and most of them are the naughty kinds. The teacher in me cannot and will not be partial to anyone, but how can I not have expected my heart to soften towards kids who are in this like you and me were once upon a time. Damn it!

****

A came home early and when I opened the door expecting our AC to be delivered, it was him instead – :) . He brought flowers for me today – lilies – and I happened to bake the best ever banana cake I’ve ever baked, which I fed him with. There’s gratitude in this serendipitous synchronicity that was today. :)

****

115: The Ease Of Walking Halfway

25 Apr

It was till almost 11pm last night when I finally got up from my chair to head to bed. I knew what I wanted to do in class today, except I didn’t have the means to get it all done. It’s finally time to get into that part of my subject which I find both fascinatingly intriguing and painful to study as well. My mind only kept insisting that I begin this new chapter with either a reading from a book or by watching a movie based on the same book.

I rushed to my Kindle (what a blessing technology is) only to find the book unavailable, perhaps for controversial reasons. A visit to the bookstore was out of the question. Besides, venturing into this heat towards zero guarantees is a risk I wasn’t willing to take. However, some thinking and help later, I had the movie with me, ready for my students to watch today.

They came halfway too, today. Having sacrificed their break to watch this movie made it seem worth my while. I wish I could be there to see them through the end of the movie (I had another class, but they watched the entire thing in one sitting, letting it spill into their next hour). One needs support, answers, closure when you’re dealing with something so real, yet so unknown and new.

I am looking forward to opening them up to more experiences with my subject, but in time of course. However, these small joys of working, learning, exploring avenues and potentials of learning seal the deal completely.

114: Manic Monday

24 Apr

My posts are increasingly a review about the days that come and sometimes crash into me or days I mostly walk into with some sense of chaos. I hope to work on that and write more about meaningful things, except the only meaningful things that occupy my mind are that of school and class-related work. It’s something I’m working on.

Before reflecting on today, let me quickly reflect on the embarrassment that was yesterday’s RCB match. I’ll assume they have a menacingly dense grey cloud holding fort right above their heads, because there’s just no other explanation to that. I mean I actually have no words for the joke of a nightmare that experience was. But I’m an RCB girl, and I’ll just have to give my team the best vibes and thoughts I can. FOOLS.

Today was about learning, throwing myself out there a little more than I’m used to, and tackling fear by its horns. It turns out that rushing head-on into a fear sort of dismantles it instantly. I was left feeling victorious, empowered, and so silly for being afraid of something I’d obviously magnified in my mind over the weekend, and therefore consequently wasted so many brain noodles on this stress.

There’s a palpable joy in accountability, in watching someone, even if it is one person, turn to you and say thank you with genuineness. Sense of self and confidence intact, gratitude patches even the most fulfilled souls. Maybe this is what keeps teachers going despite the cruel hell their daily life can be, on an okay day. Maybe it is about being a little more than a forgotten speck whom the world walks past. I don’t know, and I’m not sure.

Meeting students fresh out of their board exams, students I’ve never met before, and students who looked at me as though my being there made a difference to them (even though talking about an exam is the last thing anyone wants immediately after a paper), was an eye-opener today.

Every single day is a new day, and every single day brings forth an opening leaf with fresh lines to read, learn, and cherish.

108: The Irony Of Self-Preservation

18 Apr

As I got home from work today, ensconced in my own rather sticky web of thoughts – all work-related – I tried shutting my mind off for a bit. It’s a thing I’m actively and aggressively trying to do because someone like me needs this sort of push to compartmentalize, draw boundaries, and segregate work from home. Or work from my non-work life in general. If it’s something I try to live by within my work – to be organized, in control, and just aware – then it’s something I’m not doing enough of once my work day ends. It wasn’t the case when I was working earlier – my shut laptop and exit from the building meant work after that would only be dealt with the next day, which isn’t as demarcated and strict now. It’s okay for work to spill into every other aspect of life; it’s a done thing.

We’re currently working on this chapter called ‘meeting life challenges’ which primarily deals with stress. To come back from school having taught my classes the meaning, threat, and nature of stress, and how it’s imperative to de-stress consciously and subconsciously, only made me realise that some urgent self-application was indeed due too.

Being assertive is a faraway dream, but being strict about one’s own self-preservation, irrespective of how the general trend is, is possible. It’s not going to stop me from trying and figuring it out, that’s for sure. To have my mind buzzing with thoughts about school, when I’m out of school is an experience I’m undergoing and a challenge that needs to be tackled. It’s normal, I’m told. But for someone who takes more stress than normal people, I’ve got to find my way, and quickly.

Here’s my takeaway for the day – to practice as I preach, or teach, in this context. :)

100: A Hundred Days Of Blogging

10 Apr

It’s been challenging, fascinating, intriguing and interesting, insightful, beautiful, and an extremely satisfying experience so far. Little did I think or imagine that I’d make it to a 100 days. It’s been crazy for sure, what with these annoying bouts of fluctuations swirling in my midst. Sometimes there’s clarity, structure, and even inspiration; while sometimes my faculties remain inert even though my mind’s brimming with activity. It’s been happening more prominently the past week or two, and I haven’t figured a way around it so far. Just showing up seems to make it all a little less domineering and easier than these blocks seem. This is definitely a feat; more the attempt of this challenge than its numbers. I’m uncertain about tomorrow, but today’s what I’ve got my eyes on, and that’s all there is to it.

My reading has slumped drastically since I last finished Krakauer’s book sometime ago. Caught in the trap of a work-life and the demands of domesticity, making time for some designated reading has been harder than I thought it would be. When it’s time to hit the sack, there’s no scope of sinking into a book what with my senses already half asleep. With that having taken a hit, it’s directly affected my ability to write as well. It just seems harder to write when I’m not reading, which is an interesting insight to this whole thing. I guess I just have to work harder and smarter to get a stronger foothold over this thing called balance, without feeling overwhelmed or overworked. Sometimes this need to do something becomes a plate full of everything that goes out of control. Either way, the biggest achievement for me would be to feel a sense of happiness, satisfaction, and rejuvenation from all this. Feeling haggard, let-down, and unproductive isn’t what I set out to feel, and if that comes at a cost, then so be it.

From this 100 days of blogging, I’ve learnt discipline, perseverance, time-management, productivity, thinking out of the box, apart from gathering this sense of achievement, peace, and satisfaction. It’s been motivating and inspiring to say the least. And it definitely has been rewarding at a deeply intrinsic level.

Thank you for reading and walking along. :)