Day 13 : What are you excited about?

Right now :

  1. This online HTML/CSS/Javascript I am taking on Coursera. I have stayed put and actually finished the first week. Here I am, creating an ordered list using HTML tags, on my own blog. How cool!
  2. Starting my own software development team, which I aim to make into a service-based startup. And eventually a product-based company. It’s called The Mavericks.
  3. The prospect of learning ice skating basics.
  4. Writing my fashion blog The Damsel in.
  5. Planning a vacation in May. As a new year present, the hubby’s got me a planner notebook for 50 places I want to visit.}:)
  6. Reading 100 books this year, of which I am on the verge of completing the first.
  7. My recipe being published in Photoawardme calendar, sponsored by Jamie magazine, for the GCC region. And me being inspired enough to take up cooking on a regular basis. Psst…learning to bake a cake and muffins is in the offing.12507368_1704783346401947_2160340867192427617_n

  8. Running a fun run at the Dubai marathon.
  9. Getting to watch the finale of Downton Abbey soon.
  10. The prospect of turning into an amateur fashion designer. No kidding! I get visions of the garments I wanna make, like Jenna does in The Waitress.

Always :

This can go on and on, but I’ll list only the most important things to me.

  1. Meeting cats. Keeping a pet again someday. Maybe even a cat and a dog!
  2. Raising kids.
  3. Writing.
  4. The quest for an Olympic medal in air pistol shooting.
  5. Experiencing the phenomenon of aurora lights and viewing the sky from the other hemisphere (Southern).
  6. Dancing a night away, like college days. Even Garba in Navratri, for that matter.
  7. Taking 4 vacations a year.
  8. My dream of becoming a DIY pro.
  9. Learning to paint.
  10. The journey of becoming the person I want to be. Only a little remains. Just need discipline and perseverance. Hope to achieve it before I turn 30.

Day 12 : Write about 5 blessings in your life

1. My Grandparents

My parents have always lived with my grandparents and hence, I was raised mostly in their tender care.

My Grandpa took me out every evening at the Railway Station where we watched trains go by, while I ate the chivda in my tiffin. He inculcated the habit of reading in me, as I always mimicked him reading the newspaper or the novels (from the town library, which was established by my great Grandfather). He used to pickup and drop me to school on our Kinetic Honda, even in his 70s. During our short trips to the school, he used to tell me interesting stories, facts about the WWI & WWII (which he had witnessed) and other such trivia. Till this day, when I go home, he asks about who I am reading and discusses the ongoing news stories. He even knows what Twitter is, at the age of 92!

My Grandma fed me the most healthiest meals, while diverting my attention to the moon – as I was a very fussy eater. She told me all the stories of our Puranas – The Ramayana, The Mahabharata and even the Bhagwat. She is the epitome of contentment and has taught me to be happy under any circumstances. She has even been strict to me, when Mummy could not. On the other hand, she always rescued me from Mummy’s reprimands. She is a friend to me now that I am grown up. We watched movies together…old and new, Hindi and English. She has been my silent guiding light all these years.

My maternal Grandpa and Grandma were a decade and a half older than my paternal grandparents. But even they have left a lasting impression on my personality as a whole. I do not remember my Grandma much, but she was a living repository of old folk songs. She had a song for every small occasion. She was ever smiling. Her English was impeccable. Grandpa was a doctor and the most gregarious personality I have ever come across. He absorbed the most unpleasant shocks with grace and lived each day to the fullest. We were spoilt bad with the season’s best mangoes when we went to Nanihal. They taught me that life is a celebration.

I am blessed to have Grandparents hale and hearty throughout my childhood.

And a special mention to my paternal great Grandmother – she used to tell me – ” Don’t give up on education because you are a girl. Become a doctor, or an engineer.” Born in 1905, she was a progressive lady and had an outlook far wider than her times. I was 10 when she passed away, but not before she shaped my tiny mind.

2. Supportive and understanding parents

With 3 elders around to care for me, you’d figure they didn’t have to do much to raise me. But that did not keep them from lending their unique touches to my personality.

My Mom has always been in the background – taking my daily homework and keeping me focussed enough on my studies. She is the rock of our family. I have never given her enough credit, but she is the one who has taught me to keep my cool when the world is falling apart.

My Dad has always encouraged me in the quirkiest things I wanted to do – like planning to watch a ’99 solar eclipse in ’93 and actually doing so when the day came! You might think it’s not a big deal, but it is. Particularly because it wasn’t the Internet age yet and being in a small town, it was quite difficult to get the glasses to watch it. He went all the way to get a tinted glass cut from a large sheet at the local furniture shop, to keep an off-hand promise he had made 6 years back.

They let me paint my room, they let me and my friends DJ party at home in junior college, they let me keep pets. I could discuss anything under the sun with them.

And they knew when to let go!

After I went to college, they have never tried to keep excessive tabs on me.

3. Wonderful childhood

I had the best school ever and the best teachers ever and the best playmates ever. Our school went from a 2 room Kindergarten, to a former law court and finally to an owned building. Out batch has seen our school building being built. When we were in Senior Kg., we would be taken from the current building (law court) to the new building when it was just a skeleton. We’d be allowed to play for an hour or so and then head back. We moved to the new building in 1st Std. If I have my basics clear in languages, maths, science, history and other stuff, I have my teachers to thank for it.

They raised us like their own children and knew what each of us was up to!

I never felt that I was anything less than the city kids, thanks to my teachers.

It so happens sometimes that school time was so good, nothing extraordinary that happens now measures up to the magical days that were.

A big part of my childhood is the time spent with the younger sibling. When he was a baby, I watched out for him and he was in awe of his big sister. (At least that’s what I think.) Later,we fought, we hated each other and then made up for our fights. We had each other’s back when it mattered. I may have been sort of a bully to him in the those years, but that hopefully did not impact our sibling bond. He graciously included me in his gully cricket matches and humours me still, when I ask him to play a few overs with me.

He’s taught me to share and to be responsible.

If not for him, my childhood would not have been as wonderful as it was.

4. My husband

He’s the biggest surprise of my life. We were class-mates, who connected half-a-decade after school and the rest is history. I am the most ‘me’ when I am around him. He’s a dreamer like me and unlike me, he works on them. He keeps me grounded when I get over-confident and motivates me when I feel I have under-achieved.

The smile in his eyes is all I need, to know that life is beautiful.

5. My brain

Don’t look at me like that! If not for my brain, which has been shaped and nurtured by such insightful, loving, and knowledgeable people, how would I have enjoyed life? I am thankful that I am sane enough and that my dear brain makes my own company enjoyable to me. I am never bored when alone. I can just think of an interesting subject (day dream) and my loneliness vanishes. I am not schizophrenic, in case you are wondering. It aches to learn new things, grasps new concepts easily and goes into zero when I want it to. I hope my brain lasts till the lifetime and I don’t catch Alzheimer’s anytime soon.

Day 24 : Write about a lesson you have learned the hard way.

There are 2 parts of the lesson I learned the hard way : 1) Never put yourself on the back-burner. Learn to do things alone. 2) Never take bullying in any form.

I was self-centered till my school days. I was sure of everything I wanted to do throughout the day and never had the FOMO syndrome (Fear-of-missing-out). My life was perfect. No exaggeration in that statement.

When I went to college, I was exposed to so many different things and people that I spent most of my time observing others. I was not sure of myself anymore. I was not sure of my routine – what I wanted to do in the evenings, what I wanted to do on weekends…

I saw people coming and going to swimming classes, dance classes, music classes; I saw people getting passports made. I saw people preparing for GATE, CAT. All I did was observe. I did have plans for myself, but I kept waiting for a perfect time to start and a buddy to start with me. I always needed a buddy to go with me somewhere – be it shopping or sightseeing. If the buddy said no, I’d sit in my hostel room. That’s why I suffered from a major FOMO – where all the others had defined lives, varied activities, travelling opportunities and I felt I did nothing, had nothing.

In 2nd year, on my birthday, I sat alone in my hostel room till 9 PM in the night ‘cos none of my buddies (college and other) were free! Then we went out for the customary dinner. I was free since noon, and I had not a single soul who I could go out with. This may not seem like a big deal now, but it was a big deal that day. I found out how dependent I had let myself become…I could have gone out by myself! Why was I cribbing at all!

In the 3rd year, we had a bully of a professor who forced us into choosing lab partners as project partners and the subjects he gave, as our projects. We (3 of us, in serial roll numbers) were given an oft made robot to make again – none of us liked the project. It happened because he was ticked off by one person from our batch and declared ‘I won’t let any of you make any project’. Ultimately some people convinced him to ‘let us do the projects’ and he laid those conditions. All I did was observe! I thought somebody would raise a voice (and then I’d join in. I had completely changed from my school days, when I’d promptly speak up for myself.) – our batch had almost all the top 5 students in the class. Nobody spoke up. Maybe they were okay with the project groups and the projects they had got. However, his decision affected our project group the most. He illegally made projects for students from other colleges. The project he gave us was much in demand. He made our group of 3 get material for 6 additional replicas of our project instead of the 1 we would have made for ourselves! To quote fairly, he gave us the money for his share of the materials. But it was enough to make me (and us) feel bullied. My Dad told me to report to the Principal or go talk to the professor. But I felt that I should better remain invisible, as I am not that good at engineering studies that I’d pass if he’d try to fail me out of anger. The semester ended with me passing with 47/50 in the project and failing 3 theory subjects! All because I waited for others to speak up and also did not concentrate on other things – ignoring this single thing which I supposedly could not fix. The next semester, the same project was up on display and I passed every subject and failed the project. Why? Because the examiner thought we’d got the project made from outside. Talk about irony. Had I had the guts to speak up against the professor at the onset, I would have failed (if I did) with integrity.

Well, these were the 2 incidences (one minor, one major) when I learned my lesson! But learning a lesson and bringing it into practice are two different things. It takes a lot of time, even years, to implement something that overrides your inner tendency.

I never took bullying after that. I tried to break the other tendency by joining a tennis class by myself, after college was over in 2008. I went for 2 whole months and then stopped because the family noticed it was too physically taxing for me.

Something inside me had snapped after 2004 (when I left home) and I always waited for others to make the plans; dropped my plans at a single point of resistance from parents/buddies. I often made my schedule according to others’. This continued to a lesser extent in my office days too.

The struggle of doing things for self and to avoid being overwhelmed by others’ activities/schedules continues even now. This year I have stepped up and learned shooting in my free time. Alone.

I have now begun to step out by myself, without having to have a buddy accompany me. I have learned to calm the FOMO syndrome and focus only on what seems important to me.

Day 16 : Something that you miss

There are many things that I miss. Most of the times, they get auto-blocked considering I have so many things to do at all given times. One thing that I cannot block and often comes to me in my dreams is my childhood.

Childhood to me is till 17, the wonderful 17 years that I spent at home – with the most amazing school buddies one could have.

I miss the quiet afternoons painting in the shade of the giant neem tree in our ground. Though I could hardly paint, I miss the pains I undertook to try to paint.

I miss the starry nights and the once-seen meteor shower where we counted upto 459 shooting stars. They were so near, the stars…

I miss Chunky, my cat. How she came running from about 5 blocks away when I called out from the terrace…

I miss my grandparents’ health. I do not like to see them frail.

I miss being awed by special effects in movies like the Jurassic Park.

I miss the grandeur of the zoo and the planetarium at Baroda – it is in ruins now. As a kid I was left open jawed at the shows, now there is hardly anyone to watch the shows. And the kids are noisy, dabble with mobile phones mid-show – I wish they had the same wonder as our generation. But I am too quick to judge, maybe they wonder at other things now…

I miss being the teacher’s pet. Being scolded and patted on the back, equally.

I miss playing music. I miss reading comics.

I miss being amazed by technology. The first time I handled a computer mouse. The DOS game ‘Carmen’ I played in Computer period…

Mostly, I miss my attitude towards life as a kid. It is there some lucky days; on other days I am forced by grown-ups into thinking like a grown-up – whatever that means, I still have to figure out what thinking like a grown-up means.

There are so many other things I miss…in a good way. But I am happy living on, each day, making new memories, buying new things – that I will someday miss. 🙂

Day 15 : Bullet point your whole day

Well, yesterday was a Sunday.

* Tell myself I will get up at 6, latest by 7. And wake up at 9.
* Brush teeth and make a hasty breakfast of tea and biscuits.
Think of writing, make some notes. Reply to emails.
* Make an elaborate lunch, it being a weekend.
* Doze off.
* Get up with a start at 6 (pm) and feel guilty to have missed the shooting class. (Yes, shooting, more on that later.) And then remember today is Sunday! *phew*
* Clean the house. Appreciate self on the result.
* Go for a short walk with the husband.
* Make do with Pasta for dinner.
*And, it’s a movie night! Go to the movies! Jurassic World this time.