It’s snowing in here!!!

I love December. What’s not there to like? It’s the Friday of months! 🙂

I love the nip in the air. What’s not there to like? It’s that time when you’re not so cold that you need warm clothes, but you’re cold enough to want to hug yourself when you walk in the open.

I love the whole ‘end of year’ and ‘holiday’ season feel. What’s not there to like? Work pressure is less, people are always discussing upcoming holidays and there is generally talk of gifts, parties, presents and much friends-and-family love!

I love the colour, glitter and joy of the Christmas-y feel all around. What’s not there to like of all the reds-and-whites-and-greens around; the sparkly, beauteous gift boxes in every shop window; the sight of Santas and reindeers and lovely, snow-sprinkled Christmas trees decorated like a dream; the winter coats and woollen hats and happy scarves.

I love the Secret Santa games. What’s not there to like? It’s fun, it’s knowing someone just a little better, and all the guessing and wailing and cheering!

I love the carols that automatically start wafting out of every third house on the street. What’s not there to like? It’s the happiest kind of music, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not following that certain religion!

❤ Most of all, I LOVE THAT IT SNOWS on my blog! ❤
It brings me such joy, I cannot explain it. I went YAY the first December of this blog on WordPress – that was 8 years ago. Since then, every year in December, I’ve gone YAY when I logged in here. Till I went on a hiatus and completely forgot about it. Today, I logged in (purely force of habit formed in the past 30 days :P) and went “Whoaaaa snowwww! YAY it’s first of December on WordPress!” A colleague, totally bemused, pointed out that it was December 1 in most parts of the world, not just on my blog. Pfffft. What does she know! 🙂

In my current state of happiness, let me leave you with this…one I learnt of recently, thanks to my carols practice sessions 😉

It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

 

AND, TODAY IS A TOTALLY HAPPY DAY FOR ME! Yay, yay, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
*Mental somersaults, mental high-fives, mental jigs, and full-on hop-skip-and-jump joy*

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Day 30: You’ve not lived today until…

You’ve not lived today until you have done something
for someone who can never repay you!
John Bunyanjohn-bunyan

I found the words tremendously meaningful…
…because, we can never say for sure someone can never repay us (not even after either of our times is up, because the impact of some good things are felt long after it is done) and that means we continue trying to do something to that effect for as long as we live. How better can then your life be, if you persist to do something amazing everyday? 🙂

…and the image immensely touching
because, it speaks not just a thousand words, but a million emotions as well!

I am glad I came across this today,
to be able to make this my closing post for NaBloPoMo 2016!
.

THANK YOU
Swaram.
And all the lovely ladies, for a month of amazing reads.
This was fabulous!

Day 28: Because you fight like a girl

This is for girls who stay up all night, this is for you who is willing to fight.
For hidden fears, hurt, pain and tears, under the smiles, laughs, and giggles we hear.
Let your hair down, straight or curls, you’re beautiful because you fight like a girl.
For girls who wear short skirts, and their heart on their sleeve,
for girls who know how difficult it is to believe.
The girls who scream and cry to the pillows and tell them their goals,
for girls who have a secret, but can’t tell a soul.
Let your eyes be your diamonds, make them your pearls,
you’re beautiful because you fight like a girl.
For girls who have made mistakes and have regrets galore,
for girls that may not win, but always get up from the floor.
The girls who take life as comes, the girl who have broken the code,
for the girls who hope, that they’ll get better somewhere down the road.
Let your steps be a dance and jump and do the swirl,
you’re beautiful because you fight like a girl.
For the girls who love with all their heart, although sometimes gets broke,
to girls who think it’s over, to real girls, all girls, who have tears to soak.
You throw, you pick up and fall.
But just tell the world
‘I’m beautiful, because I fight like a girl.’


These aren’t my words, they were penned by the one and only Shah Rukh Khan.
I thought they were absolutely lovely…

and they reminded me of these…penned by my very own Shah Rukh Khan 😉

She is strong, very strong: I have seen her go through hell and emerge triumphantly
both at work and life. At work, for no fault of hers, she was cornered, isolated, and bitched about.
She came out unscathed and stronger.
In life, she was put through hell and she came out wounded but stronger.

I’m a girl who made mistakes and have regrets galore, the one that did not win,
but definitely got up from the floor. The one who takes life as comes, the one who has always broken the code, the one that truly hopes to get better
somewhere down the road
.

.

P.S. I threw the diet out the window and destroyed the very thought of wanting to take on a diet…
because I fight like a girl,
and I won’t give into things that will stop me from taking life as it comes
(for, it always comes to me with Biriyani love)! 😀 

Day 26: Please stop the trolling!

Just because there are smartphones and there is Internet and there are apps that allow to us to spread just about anything, I don’t think there is any NEED to troll people whose actions have ABSOLUTELY NO bearing on you..

I am stunned at the uproar the wedding of two film stars in Kerala created yesterday. And I’m even more stunned at how educated friends of mine have been bombarding me with these “jokes” and memes. Stop it.

So what if they both are divorced? So what if they maintained that there was nothing going on between them? So what if the daughter of the man chose to support her father’s second marriage? So what if his first wife ‘sacrificed’ her career for him and the child? So what if there was always talk of these two ending up together someday?

Who are we to judge anybody? Who are we to say she suffered for the past how-many-ever years with him and yet he is now with another woman? Who are we to say the daughter was heartless in supporting her father and cared nothing for the mother who went through labour to bring her into this world? Who are we to claim she never had any faults? Who are we to claim he never had any faults? Who are we to decide which parent the child should support in such a case? In any case, how it it your right to get involved in their lives to the extent of being vile, crude and downright crassy?

For God’s sake. This is about the lives of a family that fell apart…and a new one that formed. No one knows what went on in those lives in the past years. No one knows if he was a devil, if she was a devil, if the child was not brought up well. No one knows what prompted the discord and what created the distances. No one knows what split two people apart and what brought two people together.

Everything we’ve known came from the grapevine. It’s all pure speculation. How can we just change sides when it suits us? You all, supporting the ex-wife and mourning over her huge sacrifice of career and being a mother — did you so quickly forget how you all blamed her for being a horrible mother and terrible wife when the divorce happened? 😮

Stop the trolling. This is not affecting your life by any measure. This is not going to make you wait outside theatres in mile-long queues. This is not going to make IFFI stop making good movies that humanity needs and turn their lenses on what’s happenings in outer space. This is not going to take away any jobs you/your family have in various parts of the world.

Stop the trolling. And for God’s sake, leave them alone. How people choose to live their lives, within their rights and life premises, is none of anybody else’s business.

Stop the trolling. Your troll jokes and forwards are NOT FUNNY. If you think they are, and if you can’t help spreading that shit, spare me. I exited some WhatsApp groups yesterday to which you all promptly added me back. Trust me: if you can’t stop, I will not think twice about blocking you and never remembering to unblock you after that. And I don’t mean just this instance.

Have some class, and have some principles.

Day 22: ‘For the apparel oft proclaims the man’

This phrase isn’t mine, of course. It was coined by the great Shakespeare. For his famous play, Hamlet, where Lord Polonius enlightens Laertes on a few rules of life; the phrase in question addressing the point of “being presentable.” Most of us commonly know this phrase as “Clothes/Dress maketh a man.

Over 3 years ago, a week before joining Accenture, I received a call from my soon-to-be manager, for confirmation that I will be joining his team (well, a good two months had passed since the interview, so confirmation was justified, I suppose). That’s when I was “by the way” informed that there is a dress code that’s to be strictly adhered to in office. “Business formals — western or Indian,” he said. How I managed not to blurt out “What! Are you serious!?” beats me. Or ummm, maybe I did blurt that out. Subtlety is not (always) my closest companion.

Dismay. Anxiety. Panic. In that order. And a good amount of self angst! Why do I always say “Mmm…not right now, nothing.” at every job interview when they ask me if I have any questions? Why do I not ask these severely important, life-altering questions? Why! W.H.Y!?

For 23 years of my life, someone other than myself decided what I would wear. At kindergarten. At school. At college. And again, at college. Then one fine day, the great powers of the universe conspired in my favor. I got a job in an advertising agency. That was the beginning of a new era. Well, I wish I could say I was like a caged animal let free, and all that. Sadly, no. I suppose the conditioning over 23 years was pretty binding.

But.

I did discover the joys of “casual” dressing. Of wearing a comfortable pair of jeans every day (yes, different clean ones). And the comforts of shirts that don’t fit in the formal category (and at times, T-shirts). And every company I worked at allowed me to wear those. And not all of them were advertising agencies, let me tell you; there were other Fortune 50 giants in the list too. And in all those years, not only did I forget that “dress code” was still in practice, I also reached a stage where my wardrobe scored a grand zero in the formal wear department, Indian or otherwise!

To quote a very observant ex-colleague of mine, I’m apparently “more boyish than many boys” she knows. Must give her credit for this one because it is true. In my defense, I grew up in a house full of boys — what else can one expect? So yes, the comforts of a good pair of sports sneakers is something I have fallen addict to…and the only kind of outfits that goes with them are western casuals (not my fault!) 😀 Yes, my love for sportsy footwear is actually the only biggest reason for my choice of preferred attire!

Or maybe not. As a person too, I’m not too “formal.” While I am courteous and polite, I’m in that category that generally goes “Yaaaaaaaayy!” where others might opt to just say “Oh, that’s great news!”

So where were we? Ah – dismay, anxiety and panic. Dismay that I only had the weekend to go shopping (I left the previous company on a Friday and joined Accenture the following Monday). Anxiety of not knowing which shops to walk into, what kind to buy and if I’d ever feel comfortable in those. Panic of realizing that anything and everything I picked from the Indian business formals (read as Kurtis and other such) department were either too big or too small (leaving me feeling like Goldilocks who got into a house that had no baby bear living there)! But wardrobe rehaul was done, not too happily.

It was a struggle, those initial days: of not having a pocket to stuff my phone and wallet into…of having to go rickety-ricket on a pair of sandals (which I still do, without failing to go “twainnng!” and nearly toppling over at least once a day — God, I miss my sneakers!)…of not being able to pull on that favorite shirt and feel secure and warm in its apparent familiarity…and other such. (Frankly, after a full two and half years, I still never came to terms with it; oh, how I wait for the blessed Fridays.)

And just about when the rumour mills began buzzing with news of a soon-to-come casual-everyday dress code in Accenture, I got myself offered a job in Kuwait, which I grabbed. And, like lightning on a snake-bite victim, the HR said they have a “western formals only” dress code, since the company is mostly British. Bloody Nora! 🙄

For some strange reason, though I was always most at home in a pair of jeans, I’ve never worn formal trousers in my life, except try it on once inside a trial room before quickly discarding it (along with the thought of ever having to be in one). So, this was NOT good news for me.

Again.

Dismay. Anxiety. Panic. In that order. Dismay that I was finally having to suffer for the WIFE‘s constant curses of my boyish attire and my worst nightmare was coming true (OK, that’s taking this a bit too much – my worst nightmare is ever having to go to jail). Anxiety of not knowing which shops to walk into, what kind to buy and that I will never be able to carry off the “formal” look. Panic at the price tags that were mostly in the 4-digits category and me simply not being rich enough. But wardrobe rehaul was done, not at allllll happily.

Because  I had to go shopping for western formals, a category I knew NOTHING about, with none other than the Queen of Subtlety and (self-declared, but totally justified) Fashionista! Not once, but twice! 🙄 That’s a whole new post, my shopping experience with two people who were hell bent on making me a girl (finally! as they would add).

Now, going back to how “the apparel oft proclaims the man.” What’s really the idea behind being dressed a certain way four days of the week and differently on the fifth? I can discern no difference in how things  on Fridays (or Thursdays, in the Middle East) are, compared to the rest of the week: not in the responsibilities we shoulder, the tasks we handle, or the people we work with. In fact, at Accenture, Fridays never cut us any slack! There have been several instances of people pinging me on Skype (internal office chat) a little before 8.30 p.m. (we worked 11 a.m.- 8.30 p.m.), lamenting the fact that we were “still working at this hour on a Friday evening.” And, it’s the same story here on Thursday. We work straight from 8 through 5 on every single Thursday! 😛

I read somewhere that “people make assumptions about work ethic, intelligence and professionalism based on how others are dressed while at the office.” So then, do none of these (work ethic, intelligence and professionalism) matter on a Friday? 😀 So yeah, what makes the Friday more casual than the rest of the days, that we are allowed a bit more freedom in matters concerning our “apparel”? If there is a logic, it beats me. It will be muchly appreciated if any of you can give me some insights into this. Also, let me clarify right away that I am not proposing being allowed to wear torn jeans and ripped shirts and so on I’m only talking about permissible limits to being “casual” in a professional environment. I honestly believe we’re all at our best on every given day, including on Fridays/Thursdays – so, does it really hurt to allow through the week, what we currently are allowed to wear on a “dress-down day”? *tilts head in hope, waiting for the Al-mighty to say “Al-right…go ahead!”*

Sigh. I miss my jeans and sneakers! I do, I do, I still muchhhhhhhhhhhly do!

Day 20: The voice of my subconscious

When I wrote this post yesterday, I had a lot of questions kicking up a mini-storm in my head, derailing my otherwise logical thought process. When Varsh commented that if only we knew all the answers, life would be much less complicated, I told her travel was the answer to everything, especially if to somewhere in the Himalayan region 😉

Which is true, of course. But, when you are not all set for travel, there is another source for answers to these kinds of questions! And, that’s in Hobbes. If you follow Calvin and Hobbes, you’re probably nodding your head right now. Haven’t you wondered how Calvin always asks these philosophical, highly intriguing and seemingly rhetorical questions, only to have Hobbes respond with the simplest answers? Little surprise then, that the answer is in yourself 🙂 In the rare chance that you actually get it from another person altogether, then be assured that person is, in essence, your subconscious!

Anyway, after I posted this yesterday, I got well told off by my subconscious, who then sat me down and took those questions one by one.

Here are enlightenments from my subconscious (up for debate, though not for agreement, because my subconscious is mine own and might think and perform differently from yours for good measure)

Q: Reflections, when ugly, are never the mirror’s fault. It is the fault of the “object” and the “light” that reflects off it at a bad angle. But you do need the mirror to show that to you. Unless you choose to never look in the mirror. Is that wise, though?
A: Not at all. Though, if in your search for ugly reflections, you’re missing out on the beautiful ones, then you’re defeating the whole purpose of reflections and probably should stop it right away! Or, look for the beautiful ones instead and see how they weigh against the ugly ones. Whatever you do, make sure the outcome is a good one. Else, don’t attempt it. It gives you no returns in the long run.

Q: Looking back at the past and drawing lines to the present…is that a good thing to do? Does reflecting on the past and regretting not acting on a certain intuition then…make it sensible to consider that decision now?
A: Yes, it is a great thing to do to help you spot potholes from afar and steer away from them. But unless the people, situations and feeling are the exact same now as they were then, that decision from then is irrelevant in the now. It’s got to be a fresh, well thought out one that will consider and help you brace against impact from all angles.

Q: Are intuitions any good, or is it just a fancy term for a comparison at different levels? Are they just bad feelings to brush off with Hope and Faith, or are they things needing serious thought?
A: Intuitions are good, to be listened to. They’re not fancy or to be brushed off at any time. Please, always listen. Never walk into something you have doubts about. If you’re not convinced, don’t do it.

Q: How much, what kind and when is it OK to forgive? If you cannot forget, what’s the point in forgiving, when memory serves to rekindle the same feelings many times over? How genuine, then, is that forgiveness…and how fruitful?
A: If it didn’t include physical abuse/violence and deliberate false accusations/character assassination, the rest could be considered forgivable. This is a matter of personal choice, of course. But broadly, if it is in someone’s character to accept fault and be corrected, then they deserve that chance at forgiveness. But, just one chance. It’s good to not forget, because if life slaps you in the face again, you know what and how you survived previously. It makes you stronger, wiser. Forgetting something is not in anyone’s immediate control, but the forgiveness can be truly genuine if it is from the heart, with no unhealthy intentions…and highly fruitful in salvaging a lot that matters in life.

Q: How can you weigh the unknown repercussions of your decisions against your future happiness? What if your intuition fails you and you don’t take what could have been the best decision of your life?
A: Everyone knows the answer to this 🙄 It’s the future we’re talking about! Don’t, and you can’t, plan it.

Q: How trustworthy can today’s promises be, when tomorrow is a whole new day?
A: Go ahead and trust – it will do you good. It does make you vulnerable, yes, but not if you’re in the right hands. So, before you call on your heart and trust someone (again), call on your mind and make that smart assessment of whose promises will be kept and whose will not. But please, do trust. For people cannot rip open their hearts and show you that they mean it – they can only tell you and hope for your trust.

Q: Does anyone know how the scalded cat, that feared even cold water, finally got over its fear? Is fear a good reason to not believe?
A: Well, this is a secret of my species; I’m not really allowed to divulge it to your kind. But for you, and only for you, I shall. We just got thirsty. Think about it…if we relied on fear as a good reason to believe that water (in all forms) was going to burn us, we’d have all died of thirst and become extinct. So, no – fear is never a good reason to not believe; fact is.

Q: In an attempt to stay positive, is it wise to brush the unknown, unexpected and unhappy under the carpet?
A: No. Well, the unknown and unexpected are not in your control. The unhappy, however, is. Goes a little back to the first question, really. But if the attempt to stay positive is supported by fact, faith, trust and hope, then maybe (just maybe) brush it under for now. Because, there will always be an opportunity to lift that carpet and clean it up for good.

Q: How late is too late?
A: It’s never too late, for anything. No decision you take is the final decision of your life, unless it is to take your life itself. Which I, as your subconscious, will never let you do: because your life is mine too…and I am, because you are.

If there is one thing I’m grateful for in life, it is my subconscious 🙂 What would I do without you!?

Day 18: The one that stuck to the plan

Once up on a time, there were two little girls who met in school. They sat next to each other on the front bench in class. Both of them did not know what prompted it, but neither thought twice about starting a friendship.

One was studious, the other didn’t care. One was sober and soft-spoken, the other was a rebel. One was a total girl, the other wasn’t. Yet, none of these ever came in the way of their friendship. Because there was a common love that ruled over everything else. The love for books, and the shared joy from reading the same ones. Together, they devoured the books in the school’s tiny library. Most weeks, once the library hour was over, the librarian had to shoo them out to make way for the next batch! So, they went to public libraries and devoured more books. They discussed their reading list and constantly exchanged books and experiences.

As the months went by, in one of the conversations, they both decided they would grow up to be a writer and and a published author! This, then, remained a constant through the rest of their days together. “When I become an author…” was a frequent way to start one of their never-ending discussions.

A whole year went by. And then one moved away to a new city, when her father was transferred there. The friendship continued, strong as ever…for both were aspiring writers, and write they did! Long letters, written neatly and laboriously over many pages, kept them both updated on what the other was up to. In time, however, other friends walked into their lives. Priorities and situations changed, and the letters became far and few between.

Till one day, three years later, a letter arrived from the one who moved away: she was moving back into town, and joining back at the same school! Much joy and anticipation, till school began after the long summer break! Only, there were now other friends in the picture, and they were no longer even in the same class, forget sitting next to each other. The bond had evolved over time, into one that would remain, but not as close as it once was. The only thing that did not change: love for books, and the promise to be an author one day.

Both completed school and went their separate ways again, entering the job market. One was thrilled with the designation at her first job, and jumped it joy when she got her first visiting card that said she was a “Writer.” She remembered her friend and wondered what she’d say to this. The other went on to become an Engineer.

Many year passed.

The one that began her career as a writer, did not stay writer for too long, except dabble on her blog, even today. The one that became an engineer, although also dabbled with blogging, stuck to the plan. And is a published author today! 🙂

ramya

So proud of you, girl! 🙂

In her own words…

There is no feeling quite like seeing your name in print for the first time- It is a queer mixture of pride, disbelief and elation! Writing has been a long journey of learning and self-discovery, and as I finally take the leap from being a writer to being a published author, I have only my lovely family, friends and awesome readers to thank!