Category Archives: Musings

A Note to Self

The more I want to escape from writing, the more these incoherent thoughts and words keep coming back to me.

Most of us struggle with the way we deal with emotions. We roar, upheaval, hide , deny, and finally seem comfortable wearing a mask. We remove the mask, wanting to bear it all, yet, almost immediately wear another for the fear of being judged.

Invariably, we are back to the drawing board, trying to make sense , trying to cope, trying to put all the pieces together.

What I’ve noticed is leaving–(things, people, memories) as is, is fair, to us and to them.

Take people for example, you always want them to be a better version of themselves for you to be happy. To satisfy your needs. You try so hard to change them into what you envision them to be. I do that too. It’s a lost cause. People will be who they are, and you trying to tamper with their persona, is only going to cause unwanted pain.

Let it be. We weren’t meant to be perfect, or preach perfection. We are all flawed. Beautifully flawed. Else, what would separate us from each other, right?

I am a mother of a toddler. You can only imagine the amount of “reinventing” I have to do keep up. I used to be bitter, I was very hard on myself, and always felt angry, depressed and at wit’s end when I was amidst treating parenting like a doctrine we all needed to follow.

I threw that book. Left the mess. I wasn’t running the rat race for the “best parent” award. I told myself that having a messy house is better than having a messy mind. I stumble, I ache, I am covered in dirt but I am happier than I used to be.

I keep telling myself there is no right way to do this. Neither there is a set routine. Follow what your intuition tells you, and keep all the negativity in that closet. Visit it, yes, but don’t make it your wardrobe.

When things get messy, or unmanageable, leave. Let it be. Take a walk, hum a tune. Free your mind. It’s never easy, but if you don’t leave, how would you know that you want to come back?

If you aren’t already aware, we are a species that are constantly evolving, not just in the genetic sense, but also as a whole. The basic building blocks remain the same , however everything else keeps realigning and changing.

I left home, a decade ago for a different town to complete my studies. Then to a different country for work, and now live in a different country. I left work, to spend time with the little one, and now, I work and I am concious of my time with her, as it is so limited. The point I am trying to make here, is the constant state of leaving, and coming back. After a while, you realize that it is almost consistent, and probably mean the same thing.

Instead of treating this as displacement, try to create a home within you that is strong enough to shelter all the storms that life brings in. Be easy on yourself, smile a lot, do what you love, be with people who make you happy, love unconditionally , and let things be.

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The Woman in me

I see a pattern.

I am a powerhouse of emotions. There are somedays when I feel I can take over the world, and on other days I just want to hide in a box without saying a word.

I feel tired. Judged. Incompetent. Lazy. Feel like my whole world is falling apart. Under-appreciated. Over-worked. I lack motivation and I think of all the reasons why I shouldn’t do something. It’s not because I don’t enjoy doing it, it’s just that I don’t want to do it, For my own stupid, stubborn reasons.

I fear losing everything I have. I fear that no one will remember me, Or what I mean to them. I fear of being typecast and not having anyone to talk to. The worst kind of fear that creeps up on me is losing my memory.

Somedays I want to dance to a tune, and somedays I just want to turn the music down. Somedays I want to run outside and on others not move from my couch.

I love giving. It completes me. I give like crazy. Love like crazy too. But my expectation to be loved back the same way always gets me into trouble. I know, I know. Expectations cause all the pain. The unwanted baggage. I’m trying. I’m only human you know. Vulnerable. Sappy. Stupid at times. All I know is that we all need to be held. To be loved.

All of us experience pain and joy. The need to be appreciated. I, however, can’t take it when anything is in excess. I feel hopelessly broken, and whole in the same breath. I have laughed while crying and cried while laughing countless number of times.

The woman in me, goes through all this regularly. Every now and then. The range of these emotions can’t be expressed but only felt. Do you go through all this? Why? Has that ever crossed your mind?

Call me crazy, but perhaps we are meant to be like this. Like a wave, that has its peak and low which ends in some white noise. Take it all in. Breathe. Let it go. If everything was simple and straightforward we wouldn’t appreciate the highs the lows, the range or the pattern, no?

“Snap out of it woman. There is work to do”– says the mother in me.

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This and That

The last few weeks have been extremely demanding and crazy. I haven’t had the energy to sit down and put my thoughts in this space. There were too many things going on, and at one point I had to say “breathe”, don’t forget to.

The little bub started school, and I was dreaming about some me time, where I could, (I don’t know maybe stare at a wall for a couple of hours for starters) do as many things I wanted, alone, without having to constantly cater to a demanding toddler.

I was heartbroken, sending her away for a couple of hours a day. It probably is one of the toughest things i’ve done as a mother until now.

Everyone said it would get better and she would slowly start getting adjusted to this new adjustment.

The first two weeks were painful, a lot of tears were shed. And the next few weeks weren’t easy either as she kept falling sick. In between getting her to like school and get her used to the Idea of school, I was barely ready for the whole “immunity build up” exercise as she was sick every other day. Needless to say, I haven’t slept in weeks (as a part of my immunity build up, heh) and I hope that she has had her exposure to all possible viruses as germs in school (please lord, I’m that desperate!!)

I’ve also had to put down a lot of speculations regarding my so called lack of interest in going back to work–because apparently I’m either lazy, planning a second child, too comfortable (if there is such a thing when you’re a mother), enjoying motherhood, have no career plans as my drive is dead (I can continue this list, but I’ll save you the embarrassment).

While the world is busy judging me and my capabilities as a mother and as a person, I’ve been keeping busy with concentrating growing with my child. I haven’t given up on school yet (she will go back in tomorrow after a week of being sick), trying not to let people and their ways get to me, investing time doing things that make me smile, learning how to drive, helping finalize a few ideas and putting them to action, registering our own company amongst other things. I know now for a fact that it is not a sin to take it easy. I’m not in a rush to realize all my ambitions right this second. I’m constantly learning to be silly, crazy, inquisitive and competing with my child for the “terrible two’s tantrum throne”.

If I haven’t got back to you, it’s because of all this and more. If you still haven’t understood this, then perhaps you never will.

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For the Love of Chai

( I wrote this post as a guest blogger for onceuponachaitime.com. The original post can be found here)

“Shruthi, Wake up! Its 4 A.M. You have that test today” called my mom from her room. Drat! That dreaded test. Waking up was so hard during school days especially when accompanied by a glass of hot milk. Um, Yum. I always asked my mom why I couldn’t have coffee or tea instead of milk and she said I could once I grew up. But I was fifteen. I had not yet had my first cup of tea.

A few years later, I was in a different city studying for college. My first sip of tea was at the dorm kitchen. Watery (ewww) and sugary which later went on to become a morning ritual. I was all of nineteen years old. Dorm and college tea time led to discovering friends who were like minded and kept the mind off the lousy food they served.

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If I missed a cup of tea, someone else would always use my name at the dorm kitchen to drink it (you know who you are). The tea in the college cafeteria (or canteen) was far more bearable than the dorm. It definitely had the right amount of milk, milk powder, or whatever it is that they added. Breakfast accompanied by a warm cup of tea, gave an excuse to catch up on the bustling gossip scene at college. Who is dating whom, which boy/girl is currently the most popular in the single scene, when is the next student party, what new rules to break, why we disliked a particular group of girls, what kind of clothes to wear to look hip, would purple be a good hair color, and many such important topics would be covered in that fifteen minute break. Skipping a particular class or a practical lab session would add even more value with a cup of tea with my partners in crime. That glass of tea also made me a very approachable person and a familiar face to most of the freshmen. Drinking tea made me seem hipster and omnipresent.

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I sang for my college band, and lo! You guessed it right; I had to have my cup of chai before all the practice sessions. Sometimes, when the sessions ran until late night, a cup of tea was a much welcomed ice breaker with all other band mates.

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Since most of us ended up being broke by the end of the month, we would order a by two, or by three cup of tea (one cup of tea divided equally into two, or three portions) on credit. Having that cup of tea was such a necessity because we couldn’t afford breakfast.

Late night tea time during exams made the dreaded subjects look easier. Since eating or drinking from outside wasn’t allowed, it was always some sort of an accomplishment to sneak a few flasks of hot tea into the room. Tea was an excuse to pull an all-nighter, only to talk more about all other topics than the exam itself and fall asleep much earlier than usual.

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Many years later when I came to the United States where I didn’t know a soul (apart from my husband) in my current city, seeing Chai Latte on the Starbucks menu brought a smile on my face. Even though it didn’t taste the same as the homegrown Indian tea, I somewhere found a sense of belonging in an alien country and suddenly it didn’t look so bad.

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Tea was a constant companion through ups and downs and heartbreaks. Having a cup of tea made every task look doable, and brought this undying confidence in me. A cup of tea always cheers me up. I’ve met my closest friends over a cup of tea and have been through most of my memorable journeys with them (plus tea of course). After being a mother, when nights seemed long and lonely, nothing made me feel better than a good cup of tea. They say nothing is constant, but I know that the love for a cup of tea will always remain constant. I look forward to drinking my cup of tea every morning, and will continue this association for a long time to come.

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Thoughts on Newtown shooting tragedy

Fear. Anger. Grief. Denial. Pain.

This is what I am feeling right now.

Death. How is anyone supposed to “deal” with it?

I was putting my daughter down for her nap when I heard about it. My first thought was, such tiny beautiful, innocent little children. Why? God! Why?

Did I go on an rampage, expressing grief and anger on social networking -Yes. I know it’s empty, these threats. They don’t do squat for what everyone is going through. Nor does it really contribute towards a solution to what the actual problem is.

Imagine, the plight of the parents, they say. How would it be to get THAT phone call. Honestly, I can’t, I really can’t. I don’t know how they are dealing. I’m praying. For them. For those little ones. For the shooter. For the survivors of this heinous tragedy. For me. For the blessings I have.

I am from India. I am used to the apathy of the government towards the loss of life. There are people that die everyday, life doesn’t stop, it just goes on is the attitude.

I expected differently here. America- The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave. I thought, I chose wisely for my child. Until yesterday. Now, I’m slowly losing confidence in the choice I made. I haven’t slept, because I keep imagining something horrible happening to my family, my child.

No, I’m not good at remembering statistics or numbers, drawing graphs, nor am I a political reporter. Honestly, I didn’t understand the need to shove cameras into the face of those little ones just to get your news ratings high. Unfortunately, that’s the sort of world we live in.

I am however, a mother. Just like all those mothers who are currently- I don’t know, what to say here. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I am thinking from a mothers point of view. All they wanted was their children to go to school. Is that too much to ask?

No parent must ever bury their child. Never. That is the worst, that could ever happen to a parent.

And God. Where were you? Really? Testing our faith for the umpteenth time is it? I hope if you exist, have some answers to give, for all those innocent people who have been repeatedly dying for no fault of theirs.

I know the pundits, and all those people who benefit from killing are writing their own speeches right now. Some smug assholes are saying “About time, America paid for its own sins”. The rest will forget this incident, like it never happened, because “Hey, it didn’t affect us, right?”.

We humans always rise above and beyond such incidents. We adapt. That’s how we are built to function.
Please, not this time. Not once again. Mr. President are you listening?

I know, I’m rambling. I’m calling everyone out. I don’t know much about guns, or how they work. I know guns are manual, semi-automatic and automatic. Could automatic weapons
(used a LOT these days) have some sort of electronic chip inside, that could help in jamming the device? I will be called stupid and a dreamer if I expect a gun ban. I know about this “Right to bear arms” amendment. But laws around weapon purchase, and availability of such weapons freely and readily should be stopped (supermarkets, really?). Some sort of background check on people buying such weapons. I hope obamacare does more to help the mentally ill. Make it accessible. A lot more counseling centers, and networking to help students cope with their stress. More family time, telling each other how much they are loved. Often.

Go ahead. Judge me. Call me dumb. But I’m ready to offer a hundred of such solutions, rather than none.

Sometimes I feel Gandhi was right about non-violence. An Eye for an Eye is not always the answer. Praying for all those innocent victims who lost their lives time after time, some too early, in innumerable numbers, because of human greed.

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A Father’s Daughter Becomes A Mother

( This Article first appeared on Masalamommas, an online Magazine for mom’s with a South Asian Connection. You can also read it here.)


We’ve always heard the terms “Daddy’s Girl” and “Mamma’s Boy”, and very rarely the opposites of it. I’m not hinting that a child prefers a certain parent over the other or vice versa, but I guess they say that for a reason. I’ve always been (still am)”Daddy’s little girl”. Apparently, the first word I uttered was “Appa”- (dad in Kannada). I don’t think it was a coincidence either. What I feel for the man is a mixture of awe, adoration, respect and undying love. Your father is the first male you know since birth, or even before. According to a BBC documentary I watched, the child starts connecting and relating to the fathers voice inside the womb itself. That is deep.

I have inherited a lot of my father’s qualities and attributes. The man can speak over ten languages, play about fourteen instruments, make everyone laugh until their stomach hurts and cries like a baby watching movies.

It was a life changing experience for me when my father left to go work in another country. I was eleven. It meant having to let go of everything we did together. Studying, playing, motorcycle rides, jam sessions, eating together, falling asleep on his huge tummy-everything.

His leaving left a void, which I’ve tried to fill the most of my adult life.

My mother had to raise two girls (me and my sister aged two then), amidst all the speculation that she would fail at it. We chose to live away from family and relatives to avoid additional pressure. It wasn’t an easy transition for my mother or for us. We didn’t foresee, what we had signed up for. Even though dad visited us once in six months in the years that followed, the major chunk of raising both of us was done by my mother.

The absence of my father forced me to teach myself a number of things. Apart from schoolwork, I had to learn being prim, well behaved, being a role model to my younger sister and help my mother with all the additional chores (bank work, paying bills, doing grocery shopping, managing money) as I was the eldest child. I couldn’t bring too many personal or school problems home as I didn’t want to burden my mother.
I wasn’t very comfortable interacting with men, for the very same reason. I had to grow up very quickly.

Sometimes, his absence was conspicuous during all the accolades I won. He would’ve clapped the loudest, have his head held high and would’ve been so proud of me if he was around. My mother couldn’t attend many of these ceremonies because she had a toddler to care for. A part of me slowly didn’t want to do well, or win anything because his absence was unbearable at all such events.

My dad wrote tons of letters, sometimes one every week. They were so colorful and always had a picture of him or two, explaining what he did there and how things were. We sometimes got audio tapes too. I missed him even more, but never could get too weak in my letters. I wanted him to think that we were okay and I was doing really well with coping. I was afraid that showing my weakness would make him weak as well. I carried some of those letters with me to school, to feel his presence. I still have a box somewhere at home that has all his letters.

My father’s absence might be one of the major reasons that strained my relationship with my mother. I am not very proud of it. She was a disciplinarian and always wanted us to be the best. Our performance in school and extracurricular activities had to be great. Otherwise it would reflect badly on her and her upbringing. There was too much pressure. At least, that’s the way I saw it. To channel the resentment I had, I started being difficult and indifferent towards my mother’s feelings. My grades started dropping in school. I had started nurturing the rebel in me.

It took a while for things to get back on track, and I am glad they did. My father started visiting home regularly as the years passed. He always made it a point to be home during important events, exams and award functions. We still missed him; however the schedule adjustment was a blessing.

When I became a parent, I had this in my head that I had to take the lead. I was still functioning like before and was always in a “go” mode. I ended up doing a lot, being exhausted, angry and discontent. In turn I wasn’t able to enjoy my child as much. I was being authoritative and expecting too much.

I had to then ask myself to slow down. I started sharing responsibilities with my husband. We worked together to come up with a schedule for both of us. He watched her during weekends while I got some rest. I then stopped to realize that my child has a wonderful father. She is daddy’s little girl, just like how I was (still am) daddy’s little girl. I still sometimes write him off, only to realize that he keeps trying hard every minute, to be the best dad he can be to her. The bond that they share is beautiful and beyond comparison.

When I look back now I realize that my mother was only trying to play both the roles. It was really hard and she did so well. I have also made peace with the fact that my dad left to give us a better life. I was able to do what I am doing and get the education I wanted because of the sacrifices my parents made.

Since then, I’ve been trying to fill in the “Mamma’s boy” role with my mother. That has been going fairly well. (I say “Mamma’s boy” here as we are two girls. Since I am the elder daughter, I am trying to be the son she never had.)

Each parent brings their own set of ideals and values to the table, and it is so important to have both of them on board. Even though I wasn’t fortunate enough to always have my father around while growing up, my daughter is very lucky to have a doting father around her. Maybe it is time to stop filling the void, because it has been filled, by a wonderful man, my husband and the father to my daughter.

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What is Love?

I am not a poet, nor a wordsmith. You may call me foolish for attempting to describe love. This post will always be work in progress, as I might need a lifetime to understand Love.

Love is,

Seeing the multitude of colors that the sunrise and sunset bring everyday, with awe, and taking a moment to surrender;

Holding hands with someone who makes you feel stable, grounded, and wanted;

Having the belief that you will rise again after a number of failures;

Going through the same set of mundane activities each day, with enthusiasm, in different ways;

Not giving up because they didn’t fit a certain criteria you had in mind;

The ability to express your emotions without fear of being judged, but also knowing when to be quiet;

Not being perfect;

Being yourself and not letting someone else’s feelings change who you are;

Being able to forgive, and also forget;

Showing a random act of kindness and bringing a smile;

Finding Joy and peace in others happiness;

Opening your heart to new possibilities despite your past experiences;

To pray for others and for yourself;

To heal and being able to heal;

Universal;

Unconditional;

The ability to Let go;

Hope

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