When “I” speaks… listen

Alarm did not go off, your child tells you at the last
moment that he has an unfinished homework, your favourite dress is not ironed,
your help decides to take an off, you are already late for work, the boss has
her own story and you know what that translates to, your period arrives a tad
bit early (Oh yeah!) or worse it is late (Gosh!), an additional work comes over
your pending list, your kid arrives with a exam date list and portions, your
younger one is in a particularly cranky mood (Ya, they have that knack, they
really do) and your mother calls you to complain how you don’t give her time. 
Finally the day is over, and you retire to your bedroom. You give that puppy
look to your husband or the mirror (pick your choice) and say: “I want to go to
some place far. Where there is no one. Just me and peace.” (Himalayas is the
first choice. I know.)
I have heard this many times and said it many more times.
Later I have asked:
Really? Do you really want to go?
Nah, a mortal soul is not meant for finding solace in the
Himalayas. You are a part of the circus and finding yourself amidst all this,
is well… your agenda.
What would I be without my crazy family, crazier friends and
n number of add-ons in my life?
Boring, blah, like the doordarshan intro ad which went round
and round till your eyes go all spooky.
I ain’t trading all that for anything. Trust me, even you
won’t. The reasons would call for another blog post (Patrons, please remind)
We are running. Running all the time. From the time we are
born, we are a product of expectations more and less of nature. We should hold
our neck at 3 months, stand at 8, walk at 11. We should sing the rhymes at 3
years, write words at 5, score well throughout, get an enviable education and a
more enviable job. Get married at a ‘decent’ age and have kids at a more ‘decent’
age. Take correct decisions, prove people right, raise good children, take care
of parents, grow in our career, listen to people if we don’t have careers
(Sitting at home…What are you thinking?!) Make money for myself, make money for
kids, get them married, help them raise their kids. Woah!!
Sorry, where was I? Literally, Where AM “I”?
I want to say No to my boss. (What will he think?)
I want to not cook something yummy for my kids (Will my kids
hate me? Or Will the teacher think how bad I am as a mother?)
I want to wear no make-up today. (Will people think I have
been crying?)
I want to go on an expensive trip abroad and see places.
(Will my kids’ education suffer?)
I want to earn money, lots of money. (If he can, I can too!)
I want to become the
fore-runner of a multi-national organisation. (I want to prove to my friends that
I am “the person.”)
I want to learn something new. (People will think I have
gone crazy at this age.)
I want to stop wearing kurtas and wear that skirt. (My
neighbour will laugh at me.)
What does “I” do?
I do things, because “someone” out there is watching us or
judging us.
I always say one thing to myself. When I am 60, will it
matter? Most of the time I get my answer. You will too. Ask yourself.
It will matter if your health suffered when you took up more
work than usual, or you missed time with your growing kids, or you have so much
to tell your grandkids about your younger self, or you have seen exotic places,
or have tried something new every year, made lots of friends, or just done what
you felt you should do.
I recently saw a video in which real people were giving advice to younger ones.  A 47 year old
said: Stop thinking about what people are thinking about you. They are not
thinking at all. A 72 year old said: It’s never too late to try something new.
An 85 year old said: Spend all your money, or else your kids will do it for
you. And like my friend said “the epic one” said by a 93 year old: Don’t listen
to others. Nobody knows what the hell they are doing!
Change…Change for yourself. Not for someone. Anything done
for someone else is temporary. When you do something for yourself, you fall in
love with yourself all over again. Go on, be a little selfish. Selfish is not a
taboo word. Even cholesterol is good and bad. Ditch the bad selfish and love
being the good selfish. Give yourself the due regard it deserves. 
At the worst, you
will make mistakes, pick wrong choices, and tell yourself: What books don’t teach,
mistakes do. Move on.
And people. Well, they talk anyway. Will they matter when
you are 60? But you will. Oh BTW, 60 is the new 40. There’s a lot more to go.

Less is more.

While growing up, I used to travel to Kerala by train. No AC compartment, but good old 2nd Class. I never knew what it was like to be in AC, so the need never arose. It used to be a long 48 hours travel time from Delhi to Kerala. I used to carry a bag full of books even then. The moment the train would start, I would climb up on the highest berth and stay put with my books. But post dinner, my favourite pastime was to sit near the window and look out. I would wish for some small village to come by. Well, I loved to watch a small house or a hut with far away lights inside it. It was like the lights are twinkling for me. Sometimes, I could see smoke coming out of the chimney, or a lady cooking food or a child with her mother. Infact, on any give day I used to and still love to look out at random homes during late evenings. Switched on lights still comfort me. Watching people doing their chores makes me feel all warm.

I like it because I feel life is ON. It is ON for everyone around. Does not matter whether you are big or small, young or old, rich or poor.    
Just the other day, I was waiting at a traffic signal. I saw a young man, looked like a construction worker, walking back home. It was a Saturday evening. He was walking out of a chicken shop. He has ear phones on and was singing along. His walk had a rhythm. He was probably thinking about the wholesome dinner that awaits him. It brought a smile to my face. My son was with me and I said, “Look at him. Happy in his own world.”
And I wondered how little it takes to be happy. 
When I started working for the first time, I can say that it was not one of my best memories. The working hours were long, working Saturdays and long distance to work. No..No… not a good combination at all. There was one thing that held me together. You may laugh at this, but well, this was and is me. I would call up my mother at work and ask her what’s for dinner. To listen her tell me the menu for dinner would bring a wave of joy in my heart. I was reminded that life is more than this job. 
And I wondered how little it takes to be happy. 
The last few days, my help brought her 4 year old niece to work. The little girl’s mother was off to the village and there was no one to take care of her. The 1st day she was quiet and looked unwelcoming. But the 2nd day, my 5 year old walked up to her offering a cookie. She promptly took it and in a matter of minutes, the two girls were running around the house. The short giggles coming out of the two girls was so heart warming. My mother and I were left smiling all the while. A stage when money, fashion, fancy things does not matter. All one needs is someone to laugh with. 
And I wondered how little it takes to be happy. 
We are so busy in our lives, relationships are getting lesser, we want more of everything else. It doesn’t seem to stop. In reality, it takes so less to be happy. I know the daily hustle of getting things done sometimes can squeeze us out. But a moment or more helps us to look beyond. To see that there is so much more to life than meeting deadlines, keeping people happy, making money and building that dream house. 
Life is on.