Thursday, August 1, 2019

Define me


Today, i registered on a very interesting website -, where you get to share stories, experiences and articles with thousands of other women.
To write a story here, you need to create a profile and to create a profile you need to send in a bio.
A biography, a little article describing yourself, a little tidbit of information which when faced with the blank box seems to evoke such contradictory emotions in me.
The blank white box with the rectangular black border glares at me, daring me to try and fit my 33 years of wisdom(!)in the little space that it provides. Little does it know how much the blank space intimidates me. Not because it is so compact, but because it is so blank. The blankness gives it an illusion of space, unlimited space waiting for me to start sharing my life, demanding me to reveal all my inner thoughts, dreams and demons, urging me to expose my weaknesses and glorify my strengths. Waiting for me to fill the space with all pomp and show that it thinks my life is.
I start to write, and i cannot. Not a single word.
How do you describe yourself? Do you start with your schooling and likes and dislikes? Do you enumerate your educational or professional achievements?
Do you start with your career, or your hobbies or your family?
What make you, you?
I thought long and hard. If someone from the outside were to look into my life right now, at this very frenzied moment in time and space what would they think of me? Would they see the crazy woman who looks high on dope speeding across the factory departments trying to meet every topline and bottomline that is set? Would they see the frantic person trying to accomplish 1001 tasks in a ever shortening work day to go home with some sort of sense of a job well done? Would they see the mother whose very being rests on the happiness or her daughter or the guilty mother holding her child's hand at night wondering if she is spending enough time with her? Would they see the woman made happy by the light of respect and love showered on her by her husband or the sad woman who misses her husband every day, second guessing her choice of a long distance relationship? Would they see the woman made strong by her parents, or would they see the 33 year old who still needs to call her dad to fix the inverter or the pump?  Would they see a woman made independent by her inspirational mother, or the woman who needs to talk to her mother every single day?
It is so difficult to define ourselves, because we are full of contradictions. We cannot be conveniently put in a category, yet it feels like our joys, struggles and experiences are universal. We are so different, yet so same in so many ways.
Then what does define us?
This is what i finally wrote on the site under the heading "bio" -

"I am a second generation entrepreneur of a manufacturing set up in Aurangabad, mother to a feisty 3 year old, wife to a calm 34 year old, sister to an amazing social entrepreneur and daughter to the world's greatest parents.
I love my job, i love reading varied genres - classical literature to free eBooks on amazon kindle and i love cooking, baking and traveling."

What then defines us is not us, but the people around us. The people who care about us, what we mean to these people and how incomplete our definition would be without them. What defines us is what we love doing, not what makes us money. We hear so many times to never let people's opinions define us. Whoever said this was obviously being judged by the wrong people.

I am lucky to be defined by people, my people.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Day 6: Photo a day: Who needs friends, when you have cousins?

A very big and happy part of my childhood memories is occupied by summer holidays at Pune with my cousins, ranging from ages 15 to 5.
Bright summer days, cool evenings, pepsicola (Popsicle), vada pav, "fun time" on the terrace, galli cricket, movies, music, fights and meals. The lovely summer holidays were made memorable not because of the place or the weather but because it meant long stays with my cousins.
Cousins who could understand the joy of ringing the door bells of the flats and running away, cousins who could understand the exhilaration of jumping down cupboards on to mattresses, the fright of the neighbor finding you while you are scouring through their well kept garden for your cricket ball, the jubilation of making music on steel utensils in the afternoon.
I used to always wonder how it would be to stay in the same city as my cousins all year round, what joy!
With our recent shift to Aurangabad, i am sure A will enjoy her summers in Pune with her cousins. However, she gets also will know how it is to have a cousin in the same city.
I was expecting a whole lot of attention seeking behavior from her when the new baby arrived, but she has been absolutely fabulous - intrigued by the baby, willing to help out in whatever way she can, mostly by staying out of the way.
She is happy she has her own little baby brother. Whew!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Day 5 of Photo a day : Unadulterated joy

This photo got me thinking - When was the last time i shrieked with joy? And i mean an actual shriek, a yelp, a people-staring-at-you if you are in public kind of a sound?
Not in forever.
I understand masking our fears, doubts and insecurities, but why the good emotions?
When i asked A if she wanted to have an ice cream, she yelled "yay" in her loudest voice, she jumped up and down till we reached the ice cream cart and she smiled goofy all the way there.

A little thing like ice cream could make her react like that, imagine our life where we have so much more to be grateful for and how we just lack the ability to enjoy it. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Day 4: Photo a day: Systems in place

It is really difficult to set systems, every manger knows that. A shop floor presents a continuous tug of war between getting things done quickly and getting things done as per systems set.

Imagine to my surprise, when i walked on the shop floor in the morning i saw my supervisor leaning against the machine, intently studying a piece of paper on it. This intense scrutiny of paper, any paper, is a very new concept in this department. A department headed by a supervisor who firmly believes that his job is changing dies, solving maintenance problems and dialing machine settings as against - training people under him to change dies and set up control settings on machines, manpower allocation and rejection control. He was at the machine and NOT frantically trying to get it running. He actually thought studying the piece of paper was more important than starting the machine.

He was intently studying the control plan - his nemesis, a direct challenger to his years of experience on the machine. He had progressed from using the control plan as a prop for ISO auditors to actually acknowledging its presence, to ultimately accepting its usefulness in completing his job.

That indeed was a proud moment. A moment where you know you have managed to change someone's mindset, their direction of thinking and way of doing things.
It took years to get to this stage with the supervisor, it is going to take him days to get the people under him onto this path.
Now on to the next system goal!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Day 3: Photo a day - Happiness in solitude

It's day 3, and one of those rare days when A is not with me for the night.
I come back from a night out with my childhood friends ( that is another moment in itself)! I come back to a quiet house.
No lights, no digital noise, no loud laughter or A's sweet voice either.
I used to have moments like these before A was born. But for the last two and half years, it has been really difficult to get these moments to myself.
To be with myself without any agenda.

We say in this age of social media, with no personal touch we are isolating ourselves, feeling alone. But the feeling i experienced was not this type of loneliness, it was more like the feeling you have after a good nostalgic conversation, but just with yourself.
To be all alone, but surrounded by love.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Day 2 of Photo a day: Stillness in movement

I thought this to be a pretty straightforward kind of an assignment to restart blogging.
But i realize now just how difficult it is to select that one moment, the one photo to capture your day. Forget narrowing down to one moment, it is difficult to narrow down to even one of the thousands of emotions we feel everyday.
The same day can be represented by utter joy, and utter despair.
Do the ups define the day, or do the downs own it, I wonder?
The point is, i realize, no one moment can make or break a day. Even a time frame as limited as 24 hours can have so many defining moments.
So for my day 2, i have not one but two photos.
I couldn't pick one.

A little moment snatched with A in the afternoon.
Observing the fluttering butterfly, wondering at the colors on its wings, just holding A close to gaze upon a beautiful creature. Feeling a wave of stillness through movement.

The second moment is the dreaded moment of every parent, when they know their child has outgrown something that they wish they could hold on to just a little bit longer.
In my case - A wanting to sleep on the bed and not be rocked to sleep. I had a feeling i was going to lose this experience. I knew the habit was on its way out, i wanted to stop it, i felt cheated. If someone had told me sooner that A would outgrow being rocked so quickly, i would never have cribbed about all the times when i did have to rock her, i would never have read all those books which made me believe that the child sleeping on its own is a milestone to be celebrated, i would never have frowned and fretted over bedtime discipline, i wouldn't have looked with awe, but with pity, at the parent gloating about their kid's independent sleeping habits.
Oh well, it had to end sometime. This was the moment!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A photo a day, keeps the blues away...Day 1: Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes

Its been a long, very long (amounts-to-starting-a-new-blog in the blog space - long) time.
But ignoring the time gap for now, and taking a jump into the present, i wanted to start this series with a 30 day project.
A photo challenge project - finding the one moment that defined my day, made my day, brought me happiness or made me think.
A photo to represent the essence of my day.
My objective - to see my life in images, to get a wider perspective of my daily existence, to try and look at everyday life as something more than the get up-get ready-work-sleep routine that i seem to get stuck in many a times. Something i tried doing with my 30 days happiness project.
Things have changed so much, we have moved towns, A has grown up and how! And all of the changes, the good ones, the bad ones, the reactions, the consequences, the effects need to be recorded -  To understand how we have changed, what has changed us and what will make us better, happier.
 I think this project will help with that.

So to begin -

October 1st, 2018
Day 1

The highlight of  this day has to be the sight of my handsome nephew - all ready to go out.... to the hospital. Oh well, but we did dress him up! And doesn't he look absolutely adorable?

We keep forgetting how it is the tiniest, littlest things that make our world go round and round, upside down!