Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I stifled tears this morning

Best buddies always... the two loves of my life!
There have been several firsts in the four decades I’ve been around here. Numerous occasions when I clutched my churning tummy, pasted a rehearsed smile and walked ahead.

This morning was one such. “Mama going…Cornflakes on the table…Please wake up on time.” I whispered into by baby’s ears, kissed her good luck before I left for work at 5.45am.

Mornings have been papa-daughter’s playfield since years, as I leave home around 5.30am. Today, as the husband is out of town and I can’t afford a day off, I sat my girl down for a chat last night.

“Hello, locking the door is not rocket science. Catching the school bus is not a marathon, either. Is that clear, mama,” chided my 14-year-old.

“I understand. But you are doing it for the first time, baby, don’t oversleep…you have your exams, and I can’t be returning from work to….”

“Chill, mama. I am not a kid,” my grandma threw in, hurt at being instructed.

I reset the morning alarm, re-ran the chores over in my head again. That is when I realised how much of my morning tasks the husband silently does without seeking a word of credit. All I do is pack lunch boxes and hop into the car. The kitchen is spic n span when I return at noon; the plants watered, the geezer and lights switched off, the beds made, laundry basket emptied, milk and essentials replenished…most importantly, our girl is in school on time.

As I pulled the covers over, she snuggled in to ask: “What time do you actually leave, like actually leave,” before quickly collecting herself, “O am just asking because I’ve never seen you go. I’ll be fine mama, don’t you worry, I’m an independent girl you see!”

Was my baby being strong? For me?

As a toddler, when I left her for the first time with a house help, she screeched her lungs out, flaying her arms at me. I vividly remember the moments that day. I plucked her off my bosom and into the maid’s arms and ran out without turning to take look, banged the door shut and plonked myself on the door mat. I sat outside the door for about 30 minutes, until she stopped crying and fell asleep before I left for work.

There was yet another first before that. The most painful to date. On the 56th day after the Divine gifted us our beautiful baby, I had to leave her with my mom in India and take a flight to Dubai for lack of social support.

My baby’s first step, I didn’t see.
My baby’s first babbly word, I didn’t hear.
My baby’s first hug, I didn’t feel.
My baby’s first toothy smile, I didn’t see
My baby’s first solid food, I didn’t feed…

I was marching on to fetch a decent job that would allow our baby to legally stay with us – as a family. Even when well-meaning friends suggested I go back. I was determined not to. If it’s hard for a mother, isn’t it hard to the new father?

I’ve had colleagues ask, “If I had really given birth to her?”  A friend asked, “Are you a woman?”, “How can you stay away from your own child?”

I am. I am a woman, who chokes on words to forgive.
I am a mother, who stifles tears to smile.
I am a wife, who hides fears to let my man do his duties.

I am a woman who is proud to be an inspiration for my girl. I saw her last night – battling her fears to take another new step.

A humble request to all women folks – Stop cribbing. Now! 

You can never be courageous enough. Do only what you 'FEEL' is right.

And please! Never ever seek your worth and value in others!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Bewitching Bitchweed

Ah! I've landed. What a ride it had been all the way to Miko Valley! Suffice to say, it was tumultuous, exhilarating, adventurous, fantastical, soul-searching... Hey, hold on! I did go searching, but that was with Alice to look for her sister Lily.
I accompanied Alice through rough, dusty and dark lanes amid mountain valleys of the Lilliputian world with pixies, dwarfs, elves, bunny rabbits, cats and gothic angles for our company, munching on apple tarts. Did I see a Geisha there, too? But how could she have got there all the way from Japan? I was hallucinating, perhaps.
I was on a high. Definitely. Often tripping through the 130-odd pages after mastering RHY [for all you uninitiated, it's an extreme form of yoga practiced by ancient Himalayan saints]. And thus I travelled in a realm that I would otherwise be too busy to willingly undertake brushing aside my daily needs.
I spent time with the Royal Prince, discovered Alice’s tea estate, met her dad and learnt about their Burmese-German lineage... O yea! We even met with an accident when Alice's car was washed down the stream somewhere atop 3,000 meters on Kunzang Mountain and was rescued by a Tibetan lady...
But, I blame Alice for that. She was drunk. Too full of herself. Pre-occupied. Swearing expletives with every swag of her ciggie. She had literally gone bonkers. Imagine eating 'avatar-altering' mushrooms that some crazy-looking dwarf offered her, only because she wanted his help in reaching Miko Valley. WTF! Will any human who claims to be mature and responsible ever do that? That's Alice for you. She even risked and exposed herself to a hypnotic body massage to accomplish her mission. And I wondered why on earth, please!
But, by the time she started playing the 'Four Doors' game, I began questioning myself. I had trusted Alice when I set out with her on her mission. She did give me sneak previews into her past with her Prince Charming but I was so engrossed in her quirkiness and taking in sights along the drive that I failed to see her real motive through. What a bitchweed!
Those of you interested in knowing if she found her sister Lily, well, all I say is take the trip with Alice. It's worth it!
Fantastically narrated novella by Dipu Darko. Engrossing and well-paced. If it's poetic and spiritual, it is also contemporary and colloquial. There are numerous gems for keeps. I love these..."When you look at art, it has to do something to you...even if it is revolting, it should stun you with its revulsion." "Beauty is light like ether and deep as ocean". "No creatures apart from humans carry baggage!" And the beautiful rhyme, too, "The knave of hearts, he stole her heart and took them all away!"
However, there are some places you may not want to agree with the author. "Man becomes lightest when dead." Really? Or is it light? Especially when the reader is given servings of karma, chakras and sleeping serpents… nevertheless, let's leave it to perception.
And what do you say when the author writes, "Similar to advices in new age books, she [protagonist] could see her life flash before her eyes." That's, indeed, a cheeky take, I would say, when in the preceding pages there are 'advices' on capturing fear..."Fear is the most potent drug in the world."  "Treat fear like a drug. Use and abuse it like adrenalin..."
Also, restricting the use of italics only for verse would have made it easier on the eye. But when the ride is as soul-stirring as this is, rest assured your eyes are focussed beyond what appears to the bare vision.
So even as you lay back watching Alice and Lily play ‘den’, be prepared to spring up when you learn that the Prince’s mom knew of her death many lifetimes ago. Wonder which world are we in exactly? Perhaps a dystopian world with hippies, pixies, you and me smoking hashish hollering around in holographic town hopping out of helipads…
Yes, that's 'Bitchweed'. Let go off yourself, completely, to read beyond what your eyes see, feel beyond what the words mean, and search beyond what your mind permits.
Best wishes to Dipu Darko!
God Bless!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

No feelings please… Respect your Boss!

The other day the husband returned home from work on time after eons. 

They've got a new recruit and the team has now some breathing space, he said.

"How's the new person?" I asked. "Young chap. Fresher..."

"Please. Please. Please... Respect him," I pleaded.

"Of course, I do!" the husband was puzzled. "Don't play The Boss," I threatened. Now he was completely lost.

Bosses - they come in varied specifications - men, women, fat, thin, tall, short, long haired, bald head,   bristled, moustached... but essentially they are same. Barring a few. In my 18 years' experience in 7 organisations across two countries I've had just 3 bosses who wouldn't make it to the omnipresent 'Boss Breed'. My salutes and respect to the three great leaders.

Include them in your prayers for their wellbeing and sanity 

Today, lemme write only about 'The Boss Breed' here.

I have a request - Please don't hate this breed. That doesn't mean you ought to love them. If you think it's necessary to harbour any feelings at all, then please pity them. Never forget to include them in your prayers. Most of you would be already doing it. But include them in your prayers for their wellbeing and sanity. Ask the Lord God Divine to bless them. To bless them with maturity and a sense of security, too. They need abundance of both.

Especially those...

Boss Floss #1: Who do not know how to end a compliment or a remark with a period. Compliments for them are on these lines..."Excellent job. Well done, but you could have done it quicker." Remarks go like this... "You are a senior, how could you have let it pass, it's not acceptable listen, I know how hard-working you are, but..." [Breathing exercise must be made mandatory at workplace to teach them when to pause. Breathe-in. Pause. Breathe-out. Pause.] 

Boss Floss #2: Who always point out your mistakes and mention about the volatile market scenario in the same breath until they have an emergency and you become the perfect candidate who knows it all. [They’ve all mastered in fear pyschosis] 

Boss Floss #3: Who always have to resist and hold up your leave application no matter how and when you present it to them. When you apply a few days before you need it, you are given a list of others on the team who have already applied during the period. 'No overlaps, please. Change your dates'. Now you think you are wiser and apply four months in advance the next time, and you are asked to first ensure no one else plans to go while you are gone. [Signing without resisting is injurious to their esteem!] 

Boss Floss #4: Who raise their voice at juniors at their slightest error while they let go graver and serious overlaps by others like a meek lamb. I overheard one swearing at a junior, 'I feel dirty cleaning your shit' - irked at having to edit an article written badly by the latter. One of my previous editors, over the two years I reported to her, never once okayed a headline I wrote.  She always asked one of her cronies to redo my work. One day, passing my work to her trusted aide, she muttered, 'Useless good for nothing ******' [They believe they single-handedly sustain the company] 

Boss Floss #5: Who consider themselves God's gift to the profession. No matter how rotten their proposal or how irrelevant their idea is, they will huff into your collar until you give in to them. [Remember your kindergarten rhyme yes sir, yes sir three bags full sir. Peace.] 

Boss Floss #6: Who do not know to differentiate between personal attacks and general banter in the name of making conversation to bridge designation gap. 

Boss Floss #7: Who do not realise their staff also have only two hands, one head and a life just like they do. Forwarding a dozen mails to be actioned all within the same deadline and then asking for explanation why they aren't done is not an act of authority. Even a secretary can do that.

Ask the Lord God to bless them with maturity and a sense of security  

I can go on…

Until we learn to RESPECT one another. Respect the other person who is working with you. No matter how inexperienced, how junior, how senior he/she is. Oh yea, it's pathetic to see how office boys are treated. They serve tea, water, wash the cups [lipstick-stained and cigarette-smelling ones, too] and they do not deserve a look. Forget a smile. Respect folks.

If he or she is with you now it's for a reason. Trust me. The Universe, thankfully, doesn't act like you whimsically. Just consider them to be a soul who's sharing the time and space with you at this phase in your journey in this lifetime. We are all constantly moving. We will all one day walk the bent and disappear from one another’s sight.

Make an attempt to understand this simple logic, and see how the equation changes.