July 27, 2016

#Travel - Goa Calling


© www.nabanitadhar.in

It has been over a year since I was on holiday last. And let me save you the trouble here by telling you that a seven-month long maternity leave doesn't qualify as one. No, sir, it doesn't. So, yes my last vacation was way back in July last year as a 20-week-pregnant woman. After that, let's just say, I have been extremely busy. Thus, it goes without saying that it is about time I start planning the next.

Do you know what my ideal vacation looks like?

Traveling to a beach destination, checking in into a picturesque resort and doing absolutely nothing at all. Well, apart from reading and eating lots of good food, of course. Relaxation is the underlying reason behind my trips and that really doesn't include running around ticking touristy spots off my list. Of course, I don't say that is bad, quite the contrary really. I have done it myself and will do it again. That's how you really see a place in the real world. But every once in a while, all I want to do is sit by the pool, read a good book while sipping on a tropical drink. Sounds about perfect, doesn't it? It does to me.



My ideal yatra is about going somewhere not too far, doing things not too fast and coming back not too soon.

Where would I like to go to?


Goa, of course. Where else?



© www.nabanitadhar.in

I must be honest here and say that it was only last year that I had finally managed to set foot in this particular beach paradise of India. But I have been there twice ever since. I just love the feel of that place. And I love the beaches, especially the ones in South Goa, away from the maddening crowd. The coconut trees, the beautiful houses, the narrow roads and the whole feel of it, really.

Let you in on another secret?

I love Goa the best during monsoons. Yes, you read it right. Maybe it's got to do with it being an off season, I don't really know. But contrary to what travel websites might tell you, Goa is something else during monsoons. I loved it and I'm sure everyone would.


My Perfect Vacation - Traveling to a beach destination, checking in into a picturesque resort and doing absolutely nothing at all.

Get set and go.

The best thing about traveling to Goa from Bangalore is that it takes just about an hour to reach there by air. I usually prefer Indigo Airlines to any other Domestic Airlines and they will be my choice of carrier anytime I fly to Goa.

Once in Goa, the ride through the narrow roads with greenery on both sides in a chauffeur driven car from the resort, preferably the Taj Exotica, is what I look forward to. And once at the resort, it's just the sand, sea and my family that I need.

I think a trip designed for relaxation, when it comes to me, is about three things. Hassle free and quick travel, an awesome place to stay during the holiday and no itinerary. Makes sense? Well, to me, it does. Or, you can say an itinerary which writes by itself, is impromptu and spontaneous. Maybe a stroll along the beach, a pottery class, a magic show and some live salsa classes, doing things that I don't normally do and doing it at my own pace.

Last year the second trip to Goa was something similar. The leisurely pace of it was so good for my soul. I can't help but crave for it today when time seems on a leash. My ideal vacation. Really.


Time to fly to Goa, I think.

What's your ideal vacation? Where would you like to go right at this moment, if everything was sorted for you?


July 25, 2016

#MommyTalks - 8 Lessons From 8 Months Of Motherhood




They say if you want to do something well, prepare for it. But what happens if you don't?


When I took the decision to become a mother, I literally just decided to be a mother. I didn't think too deeply about it nor did I prepare for it. Much like everything else in life, I didn't ponder on the question too much. All through my pregnancy too, I kept postponing anything that required imagining my life post childbirth. Honestly, I didn't want to worry too much before it was time. And now that 8 months have passed since that eventful day when M came into our lives, do I regret not preparing myself for it? Well, I don't know, the jury is still out on that.

But I certainly have learnt quite a number of things on the job. Practical experience does that to you. So, here I am, just another ordinary woman sharing 8 lessons she learnt in these 8 months of being a mother.

8 lessons from 8 months of motherhood

I'm a superwoman too

While every woman is a superhero, no superwoman in her own right, I didn't know I was one too. No, I'm not joking. I really am the quintessential super-duper-heroine with a host of superpowers. Well, how else do you explain the things I have done in the past few months? Because I never thought I could do them in the first place. The birthing experience, for one. I never thought I could go through so much pain, so so much pain, and live to tell the tale. I never thought I could function without getting 8 hours of sleep at a stretch or that I could juggle a baby, work and my writing, even enjoy doing the same. It's exhausting and I'm perpetually tired but I'm doing it. So, am I a super-heroine or not?

Everyone thinks they know what's best for my child

Well, as a species, humans tend to have boundary issues. So, is it really surprising that I find so many noses meddling in which is probably just my family's business? I should force feed my eight-month-old every 2 hours because the aunt of my colleague's husband's mother thinks so. Or, I should not use formula milk. The suggestions are not only countless but never ending, at times hilarious too. Well, I can't change them but I have learnt to ignore them altogether. Or, write a post to get over them.

I'm still a woman first

I'm still a woman. I still believe in the same things. I have dreams, aspirations and hobbies. I haven't given up on anything on account of becoming a mother. Yes, I'm pressed for time and need some planning but I haven't, and I won't stop being my own person. I have learnt how important it is to keep my identity alive along with this new role.

I'm fallible

Parents make mistakes too. I remember the first mistake I made as a mother. That taught me how I need to remember that I'm learning too and sometimes I may goof up. I need to go easy on myself because it is a lifelong role and I can't afford to burn out so soon.

Being a working mother isn't a sin

I won't say it has been easy leaving M in the crèche. Quite the contrary really. I have had my doubts about my decision. I have wondered if I'm enough if this is not wrong. Tell you what, it isn't. Being a working mother is neither a sin nor a sign of neglecting my child. I'm a mother regardless of my job status. I owe no one any explanation.

It's okay to crave for some me-time 

I do. And I get that when I'm in the office or when everyone is asleep. I'm not a machine on duty. So, it's perfectly alright to be happy when I get some free time even if it's when M is in the crèche. There's nothing to feel guilty about wanting to heave a sigh of relief.

Got to let go of a few fetishes

Not to long ago I was a cleanliness freak. Well, you could say I was Monica (from FRIENDS). But I had to let that go. Well, not completely of course but now I have accepted that dusting every day is a distant dream. The possibility, extremely rare. There's only so much I can stretch my body to and I really don't have the stamina to include dusting in that.

Happy me equals a happy child

It's pretty simple really. I can raise a happy child only if I'm happy myself. So, all along this journey, I need to remember this, for her and for myself.

Well, those were the introspective eights of my stint as a mother so far.

Tell me, what you think? And what lessons have you learnt on a similar journey?


July 21, 2016

I'm Still Weird Because


Images Source: www.pixabay.com

Every year starting 2014, I have done a post about how weird I am. Don't roll your eyes just yet, you'll get your chance later. I promise. Last year it was called I’m Weird Because and it listed my quirks for you to devour. Frankly, I enjoyed every moment of writing that. The year before that, I had done the very first of the series, 'I'm Blank Because', which again was a lot of fun. These posts inspired by Little Miss Momma's Post - I'm Blank Because were, and still, are my way of letting my hair down. Well, I did say, I'm weird, didn't I?

Here I am again today, to repeat this exercise, to laugh a little and basically take it a little easy.

So, are you ready?

Let's find out how my weirdness has evolved since the last time I prepared this list. Shall we?

I’m still weird because……

  • I like having lunch alone at the office because everyone else eats so slowly! I hate waiting for them or even engaging in small talk while devouring my food.
  • I still carry a sweater to office even in the middle of summers.
  • I still absolutely abhor fruits, especially mangoes.
  • I start with dislike when I meet someone new to avoid getting hurt.
  • I have an internal timer which makes me want to finish everything as soon as I start it. Ridiculous, I know.
  • I don't know what kind of conversation to have with the other mommies at M's creche.
  • I still can't drive.
  • I'm not comfortable chatting with anyone in person or on social media.
  • I'm horrible at initiating conversation. I can only answer questions posed to me and sometimes I don't even ask any back.
  • I always need a third person around when I go to meet friends so that the onus of continuing the conversation does not fall on me.
  • I want to control everything that goes on in the lives of those I love so that they never get hurt.
  • I still don't enjoy going for long drives. They are simply tiring!
  • I feel like everyone else gets everything easily and I'm stuck with trying without luck.
  • I still feel like the entire world is out to get me.
  • I have started liking Ginger Tea, which knowing me, is really something.
  • I still have no interest in ice-creams.
  • I would rather spend my holidays sleeping in than going for a trip outside.
  • I'm still always angry. I'm the SHE-HULK.
  • I still can't take criticism. It just makes me angry and defensive.
  • I hate being added to Whatsapp Groups.
  • I never forgive nor forget.
  • I absolutely dislike people who think the best way to do anything is to do it their way.
  • When I'm told that I have to do something which I don't want to, I try every possible trick in the book to not do it at all.
  • I still can feel extreme heat and extreme cold, in the same space, within a span of a minute!
  • I avoid socializing with office people outside of work. This can never change.
  • It's been a year but I still don't like what my cook prepares for dinner.  The strange thing is I don't even want to throw him out. Well, not just yet.
  • I have this strange apathy towards cumin seeds but the powder, I like. My cook though always wants to put cumin seeds in everything he prepares. I hate that. So, I just hide them from him.
  • I hate it when guests walk all over my living room carpet with their dirty shoes on. Who does that?
  • I still don't take kindly to being told what to do, how to do and when to do by people who clearly have no idea how to sort even the smallest of problems in their own lives!
  • I still don't like lending my books to anyone. I believe, if you want to read, buy your own books!
  • My family thinks I keep fighting with everyone but I don't agree! (PS: God Forbid if you cross me!)
  • I feel no one cleans my house better than myself but I have slowly started to accept that either I can clean my house or rest, now that I have an infant at home.
  • I hate it when my cook makes my kitchen dirty. I feel like throwing him out but out of sheer laziness I don't.
  • I don't like having pets at home.
  • I love dancing when no one else in around.
  • I'm still paranoid about my sister going out after 10 at night. I make her send me her Whatsapp location just so I know she is at home, safe. I literally stalk her! The latest is that she has muted me on Whatsapp.
  • I stomp my feet when I'm angry and make weird faces.
  • I possess a supernatural eves-dropping capability. So, I listen to all conversations going on around me without even realizing that I'm doing so.
  • I have never got caught doing anything I wasn't supposed to and I have always done things that I wasn't supposed to!
  • I was born an old lady in a young person's body and am now on the way to becoming an old person in an old person's body.


Well, I guess that much weirdness is enough for the day. Don't you think?

It still is very cathartic, writing about your weird habits. Trust me.

Tell me are you a little weird too, in your own way of course? If yes, I'd love to hear and know that I'm not alone! And if you had told me last year, then tell me, have you picked up any new quirks along the way in the past year?

Go on!


July 18, 2016

#MommyTalks - What If My Daughter Has Gap Teeth Like Mine?



My daughter turned 8 months old on the 14th of this month. She's almost a year old when it seems just like yesterday that she was born

Can't believe it has been 8 months already since the words I have a daughter started to mean something. Can't believe it has been 8 months since I became a mother. 

Time flew by so fast. So, fast that the first real moment when I became a mother now seems way back in the past and my birthing experience, a blur. That pre-motherhood life now seems a distant reality, which, I must be honest, I do crave for sometimes. It's hard to fathom how time passed by changing nappies, planning feeds and of course with lots of cuddles, tears, and kisses. 

These past months have been about so many firsts. The first time she smiled at us. The first time she sat up. The first time she rolled. The first time she travelled by air. Her first day at the crèche. And now her very first teeth.

Yes, we seem to have come upon that milestone, teething. These days when she laughs, two tiny teeth make their presence felt. Never knew though that this would also be a reason to celebrate. Oh motherhood, you baffle me each day.

While each of her firsts has been exciting, this one has gotten me a little worried. If you have met me in person then you might have an inkling as to why. 

My central incisors have a gap in between which just doesn't fit the standards of conventional beauty. Yes, I have gap teeth and they are crooked too.

Though I have never really been bothered about it or felt the need to compensate for it, I also know that people have often made fun of it behind my back. Sometimes even on my face. It is the first thing people notice about me. I know.

Today, with my daughter teething, I'm suddenly filled with an anxiety. What if her teeth turn out to be like mine? Will she be able to handle being mocked at by her peers? Will her confidence be affected by how she looks on the outside?

Motherhood really does make you apprehensive about all sorts of things. This being no different. 

If I were someone else, I would have asked her not to worry about it at all. But knowing me, I know I wouldn't listen to me. But listen to me, I must. 

This sudden fear makes me realise how important it is for me to teach my daughter about beauty. No, not what the society propagates as beauty but the real meaning of beauty. I need to tell her, no actually show her, that beauty is skin deep no matter how clichéd it sounds.

Maybe my daughter will end up having teeth like mine. Or, even hair like mine, brittle and defying gravity. Maybe she'll be nothing like me. But to me and S, she'll still be the prettiest, most precious girl in the whole wide world. For us, her beauty will be in her heart, in her confidence and in her being comfortable in her own skin. So, if anything, this little anxiety that fills me today should serve as a reminder of the things I need to teach her.

I know she's just 8 months old but in no time comparisons will start. In fact, a lot of it has started already. Oh, she doesn't crawl, yet? What, she doesn't say mum yet? She has very little hair, so sad!

See what I mean? 

I need to teach her, and remind myself too, that what people think about her isn't important. I need to teach her that education is beautiful. And hence, every educated person is beautiful. I need to teach her, and remind myself too, that it's the heart which is beautiful. And hence, every good person is beautiful. What others think of her wouldn't and shouldn't matter because we never really can change people's opinions or perceptions.

As she sleeps beside me, I promise myself that I'll help her see beauty in substance and not in the sexist, unfair parameters set by society. I promise that I'll never complain about my hair or teeth in front of her. I certainly wouldn't pass on my insecurities on to her with that kind of behaviour.

As she grows older through teething, falls, bodily changes and more, I'll whisper into her ears every single night that she is enough, she is strong and she is beautiful. I'll tell her that she's beautiful just the way she is, with or without a gap between her teeth.


***



July 11, 2016

The Nightingale - My Thoughts On The Book




Books. 

There are good books and there are great books. There are those which make you want to drop everything to just read. There are those which make you forget that the milk is done or that the stove is on. Those that kidnap your senses and take you to a different world altogether. Those which connect with you in ways unimaginable. Those which touch you, leave you pondering long after the last pages were turned. Those which stay with you forever. I read one such book last week. I read 'The Nightingale' by Kristin Hannah. A book which is and does everything I just described and more.

It has been a long time since I did a book review on the blog. But this book, this wonderfully written book, definitely needs a mention. This book warrants that I write down everything I feel about it, save it in this written universe of mine.

If you are interested in getting this book for yourself don't forget to check for Amazon coupons first.

The Book

Blurb


Bravery, courage, fear and love, in a time of war.


Despite their differences, Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger. bolder Isabelle lives in Paris, while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their child. But when the Second World War breaks out and Antoine is conscripted to fight, Isabelle is sent to the country by her father to help Vianne.


As war develops, the strength of sisters' relationship is put to the test. With life changing and confronted by unbelievable horrors, Vianne and Isabelle find themselves responding in ways they never thought possible, as bravery and resistance take differing forms for each of the two sisters.


Vivid and exquisite in its illumination of a time and place defined by atrocity, but also humanity and courage, Kristin Hannah's novel will provoke thought and discussion long after readers turn the final page.

My Thoughts on the book

The Nightingale is a story set in France during the Second World War. It is the tale of two sisters, their fight for survival and of resistance in German-occupied France.

Somehow this book talks to me in so many different ways that I can't even seem to find the right words to express. It wouldn't be far-fetched to say that it has seduced my senses and left me wanting for more.

The story begins with an elderly woman recollecting her past. She starts with these wonderful lines which set the tone for the rest of the book.

In love, we find out who we want to be.
In war, we find out who we are.

We are then taken back to 1939 just before the German occupation of France. From there on you follow the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, as they live, fight, survive and resist; essentially grow, during one of the most terrible wars in human history.

The first thing I like about the book is that although it is set during World War II, it revolves around women. And this tiny little fact which is so often ignored is, for me, the selling point of The Nightingale. It is what drew me towards it in the first place. Yes, traditionally men fight, are in the firing line, at the borders and take bullets. And when one talks about war, it is almost always from the perspective of men. The women, their lives, and contributions, almost always conveniently forgotten. But we all know that their sacrifices, their part in resisting and fighting the enemy can't be discounted. This book addresses that very area, something which is almost never talked about. Something that reaches somewhere deep within me and binds me to it as a reader.

One of my favorite books, Unbroken, is actually the true story of an American World War II survivor. It is a book which gave me more than a story to think about. For days after reading the book, I felt connected to it as a reader and still do. I remember experiencing a similar kind of satisfaction after reading The Paris Wife though it wasn't about war at all. But these were books to which I connected as a reader on so many different levels. And tell you what, I feel the same kind of joy after reading The Nightingale. Maybe more.

Which character did I like best?

I think both Vianne and Isabelle touched me. At the beginning of the book, these two were so different. But as the book drew to a close, they somehow seemed to become more alike. Brave in their own different ways yet in very much the same. Each resisting the horror in her own way. As the story progressed they seemed to tend towards each other. And maybe it's just me but some of their reactions, actions too, reminded me of myself and my sister. 

But still, if you ask, I think I liked Vianne slightly more. She was brave to a whole different level. It is so easy to resist while in hiding. But it takes a lot of courage to stay with the enemy, keeping your head down and then resist, survive and even attempt the extraordinary. It takes more courage to be brave when the lives of your children are at stake. That's Vianne for you and that's why she's my favorite in the book.

The Nightingale is a story of discovery. The sisters found out who they were as individuals and as sisters. They found out who there were alone and together. They found out they were capable of doing things they wouldn't have ever imagined in their wildest of dreams. I had read somewhere that during wars, common men and women come out of their cocoons and perform tasks otherwise deemed impossible or outrageous. The sisters end up enduring and doing something similar.

But the book is not only about Vianne or Isabelle. Each character had an allure, every other character has an allure. Whether Gaetan or Anouk, every character is so intricately woven. Each with so many layers that you feel satisfied at every turn of the page.

Now, this being also a book which sheds light on German atrocities during the war, you would think liking a German character is impossible. But truth be told, I also liked Captain Beck's character a lot. He was the enemy you wanted to like, maybe even love.

Do I recommend the book?

Of course, I do. Very rarely do you come across books that tell you more than just a story. The Nightingale is one. Don't miss out on it!


Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: Pan Books
Cost: Rs. 399/-
Verdict: 5/5

***This is a sponsored post***




July 4, 2016

#ViewFromMyWindow - Nuances Of Love




You look into your boarding pass and see that the gate is at least 10 minutes away from where you are.

Carrying your infant, you and your husband start walking towards that.

The airport is huge. Lots of people around. As you make your way, you hear bits and pieces of conversations, tidbits of the lives of fellow travelers. So many stories under one roof. So many relationships under one roof.


Grand gestures never a great relationship make.

You follow the signs and there at the distance you notice the travelator. Carrying you baby as you step into the first, there it is. A hand steadying you, providing support from behind. It's almost like the hand felt your slight apprehension as you first saw the travelator. Yes, almost as if it knew you weren't totally confident about stepping on it with a baby in your arms.


Relationships thrive in those gestures born subconsciously.

That hand, as you know from the touch, belongs to your husband. Your partner. You didn't tell him of your sudden fear. But he, himself carrying the baby bag and your carry-on luggage, somehow knew that you needed a reassuring hand. Actually, he didn't even know that he knew. Makes sense?

It strangely does.

It was just a reflex action for him. As if your bodies, your minds knew you needed each other's support and the other came to help.

That's what a relationship, a good one at that, does. That's what it looks like.

Every relationship has tells, those involuntary gestures or reflexes, which speak volumes about it. Running your hand through her hair in passing, hugging him out of the blue in between chores or just your hands involuntarily finding each other as you cross a busy road. These speak the truth of any relationship more than gifts or verbal declarations ever could. These make a relationship beautiful and special. Everlasting too.

Today, I celebrate ten years of one such beautiful relationship. Today, I celebrate a decade of a relationship on which I, along with my husband, have worked with love and sincerity. From dating to being married, it has been a wonderful journey. 10 years and counting. Today, I celebrate a decade of a decision that has given me so much and more.

So, let's talk about love today. Have you seen a beautiful relationship? Tell me the story, I'd love to hear. Let's spread some love this Monday.



June 27, 2016

#ViewFromMyWindow - Women At Work




Often when I talk about the obstacles that women face in the workplace, people brush it off as overreaction or probably even over sensitivity. It irks me at times but then I realize their views don't nullify what I face or might have faced at the workplace. Or, what millions of other women face every single day.

Now, before I proceed, let me just say, what I'm about to write is based on my 8 odd years in the industry, on what I have seen and heard. And yes, maybe I should add this disclaimer too - any reassemble to any person, dead or alive, is purely coincidental. Or, maybe not!

You know when you are a woman trying to make your mark or even just doing your day to day work, you need to work extra hard to be taken seriously. If you do well, most people attribute it to your looks or how well you gel with your superiors. Your aptitude, attitude and hard work are blatantly ignored. Everything you get is attributed to external appearance or sympathy.


When I was a fresher, a woman, let's call her K, joined our project midway as a lead. We already had a male lead then, let's call him X, a veteran of sorts in the project. K was on-boarded because the project was expanding and needed two leads for taking care of things. K happened to be the one available who had experience in the domain as well. She was good too, really good.

When K joined, as is the norm, X had to give her the project tool specific knowledge transition, bring her up-to-speed, so to speak. But what he did was this.

He didn't tell her everything that she needed to know about the project. He avoided or cancelled sessions meant for that or conveniently missed telling her important things in the sessions which he reluctantly happened to take. He didn't even make an attempt to disguise his intentions or the lack of any thereof.

After a point of time, she realized what was happening too and confronted him. That's when he told her 'if I tell you everything then how will I hold on to my importance in the project'. Yes, in these very words and in front of the entire team.

Now my question to you is this, would he have been able to say the same thing if K was a he instead of she? Think about it.

I'll give you another example.

There was this team I worked in which had a balanced representation from both genders. Now the women would come in early; single women, mothers, and wives, sit and complete their work to leave early. The men, few of them, would come in late, go for those frequent cigarette and tea breaks and then stretch till late night to get their work done. Obviously as long as work was being done, it shouldn't have mattered. But it did. And do you know, which group was reprimanded?

Well, the women, of course. Don't ask me why because I surely don't see any logic in any of it. Apparently, they weren't staying late. Ridiculous, right?

Another instance.

A friend of mine wasn't taken into any project during her pregnancy because she couldn't give a commitment for an entire year at a stretch. She was ready. She was ready to commit till she would have to go on leave but no one was willing to take her. Apparently, pregnancy disqualified her and made her incapable of work. They wanted a commitment of a year from a woman who would be delivering a baby in 9 months time. Ridiculous don't you think?

So for no fault of hers, rather for the nonsense logic of some others, she was given a bad rating when she joined back. Why? Well, because she was not in any project for the better part of her pregnancy. Again, for no fault of hers. Fair? I think not.

This, my friends, is the kind of thing that people choose to ignore. This is the kind of nonsense that we face. Well, at least I was fortunate to have had a good experience at work during my pregnancy. But not all are so lucky.

The thing is, women do face issues at the work place. And when they fight back they are labelled emotional or called ridiculous names. It irks me because believe it or not, women are serious about their careers too. Remember, an honorable minister being called Aunty National by a newspaper? Would they have even dared to do it for a male leader? Never!

Closer home, you must have read about what one manager told me when I was promoted. He preferred my male counterpart to me and didn't hide his displeasure at the fact that I edged his favorite out on account of previous ratings, a deciding factor for promotions. He wouldn't have dared to express his displeasure had I been a male. I'm sure.

So, in subtle ways, these prejudices still exist. Every woman has to face it in one way or the other, doesn't happen in our imaginations, you know.

Well, tell you what, next time you hear jokes about women leaving early, think about a few things, will you? Ask yourself if you will be able to balance office, home, taking care of kids, family, food, washing and more, even with help? How will your life be if you are pressed for time for yourself? If your answers are 'no' and 'can't imagine' then please don't forward these jokes anymore.

You know my husband has worked in a team where all the team members were leads and all men. None of them ever tried to impose their authority on the other. They were peers and they knew it. That's being professional.

Now listen to this. The first day I came back to work, my peer tells me in front of the team that I'll be reporting to him. Do you think he would have done that had I been a guy? He wouldn't even have dared.

He did a few other things too, behaved in ways you would call unprofessional rather misbehaved, which I'll leave out for now. Maybe I'll write about that in the future but for now, let's just say he took me to be a fool. Maybe not having a high pitched voice gives people the impression that I'm ready to be bullied. Anyways.

Time and again, it is assumed that women would be submissive, wouldn't confront or point out mistakes. Well, more so if you are a woman back from maternity leave. Apparently, being on maternity leave makes you some kind of a dimwit. Apparently, you lose all your skills and probably even experience. The term long leave is thrown around as an insult.

Don't get me wrong, I have worked with some wonderful people during the course of my career. I had a manager once who let me confront the client developer directly on call. I was just a team member then, not even a lead but he respected me. This manager was from the client side and he appreciated everything I did. I have also had people who put faith in what I can do and my intent.

But having said that, there have been some bad experiences too. Every time something went awry, it reaffirmed my belief that as a woman these few individuals see me as someone they can trample upon. It was always by someone who thought it was okay to belittle me for being a woman.

But, sir, I'm no pushover. I may even be scared at a prospective confrontation, it's normal, but I'll never let anyone walk all over me. My parents, my education and my experience, have all taught me to be strong and not put up with nonsense. That's who I'll be whether you like it or not.

Well, I'm raring to go, work really hard and show people that I can balance my career, an infant and my writing too. Anyone who can't do all the three things simultaneously has no right to pull me down because I won't be.

Woman, proud and determined to do well. You don't scare me.




June 20, 2016

#MommyTalks - I'm Enough. Aren't I?



As I quietly walk out of the door leaving her with strangers, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Three days since I joined back at work and M started going to crèche. Three days and in these 72 hours, I must have weighed the pros and cons of being a working mother at least zillion times. No, gazillion times! Not only that, I've also asked myself if I'll be able to handle both. Am I enough for the challenge that lies ahead? Am I really enough?

If the past 3 days are any indication of the times that lay ahead then it is not going to be easy in any way. I'm already feeling the pressure. Every part of by body is aching, I'm exhausted and I feel like I'm going to collapse at any moment. But that's just the physical aspect of things.

Emotionally too it's taxing and extremely painful to leave a part of you, a part you love the most, a part you want to keep safe from everything bad in this world, in the care of strangers. Professionals, yes, but still strangers. Hence, as I look towards life as a working mother, I wonder again and again if I'll be able to do it. If I'm enough.

And as if self-doubt wasn't the only thing tugging at my heart, people around don't make it easier either. Not family, mind you. It's the others. Every step you take as a mother is scrutinised minutely. If you put your left feet forward, they'll judge you for not using your right. If you feed your baby banana, they'll judge you for not feeding her Kiwi. If you give her biscuits, they'll judge you for not using everything organic. You are doomed no matter what you do. So, imagine the stares and innuendos when you put your seven-month-old in the crèche. So, it brings me to that place all over again. Will I be able to handle both my daughter and work? Will what I am, be enough?

I don't have a clear answer, though, not by far. I just hear echoes in response to my doubts. Echoes of my past. Echoes of things I had done and faced. Echoes in a voice not so unfamiliar saying yes I'm enough.


Emotionally too it's taxing and extremely painful to leave a part of you, a part you love the most, a part you want to keep safe from everything bad in this world, in the care of strangers.

One of the things about being a mother is that you become this ticking time bomb emotionally, ready to explode at every instant. And that makes things more difficult occasionally.

I always wanted to continue working even after having a child. I still do. Before the very first day I left her at the crèche, I hardly had any doubts about it. I always knew I would be able to do it. In fact, I'm still sure that this is what I need to do, somewhere deep down. But now, every time I turn away from her, I ask myself if I'm really sure about this. That walk from the crèche to my office is one of the toughest and I do it at least two times a day. And then I wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew. If I'm capable of being a working mother and not failing in it. If I'm enough. If my resolve, thinking, and views are enough to sail me through.


What if I fail miserably at both?

It's a never-ending conflict, confusion. Her happiness. My happiness. Her future. My future. Our future. And also not so much of a conflict, at the same time. But every time I walk out of the crèche, self-doubt encompasses me.

Deep down I know it'll be alright. So many women juggle work and their personal lives. I'll be able to do it too. I fought fire once, the fire which wanted to engulf me. I was brave then I can be brave now. But that snarky guilt raises it's head and makes me feel horrible inside. Well, nobody said motherhood would be easy, right?

I want to scream at the top of my voice saying I shouldn't worry, that I'm enough. But a tiny squeaky voice stops me. It overpowers that familiar voice of reassurance. Hence, I just want to drown out that pesky sound of self-doubt one way or the other.

I want to keep saying that I'm enough and I'll be able to handle it, till I start believing in it completely.

Maybe, one day soon enough!


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Write Tribe
Linking to #FridayReflections hosted by Write Tribe and Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life

#MondayMusings
Linking to #MondayMusings by Everyday Gyaan