I think, therefore I write

Tag: Life lessons (Page 1 of 14)

A tale of two houses

For many years now, it has been my dream to buy a bigger, better place to live in. Most of it stemmed from the fact that there were a lot of restrictions for me when I bought my first flat and I was neck deep in many other things to do it properly. Not to mention the fact that I was just starting out and lacked experience in building a dream home. A few years and a kid down the lane, I decided that as much as our flat was a great first home, it was not going to be my last.

So when the timing was right, we started house hunting. We just started looking casually and decided to get serious when we had options worth considering. I am unsure whether to call it luck, but soon enough, we stumbled upon some good candidates for our dream home. This post is about two of those which made the cut but were so starkly different that we could not make up our mind for a long time. One was a 3 BHK flat that, was in an apartment society, would let us be first owners, involved relocation, was very far from work. The other was a 3 BHK duplex villa that, was in a gated community, would let us be second owners, was just a stone’s throw from our current place and hence would be near to work.

To make things interesting, I had a history with the 3 BHK flat. Many years back, I had attended the house warming ceremony of a relative and had fallen in love with the flat. I loved that it was spacious, a layout that allowed me to imagine my dream home. You could call it love at first sight and I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that my dream to a better home was conceived there. When I started dreaming about a bigger and better place more often, the image of a dream home was one similar to that flat.

Years had passed and I didn’t think any new flat would be available for sale in that society but I still checked with our relatives about it when we started our house hunting. Much to our surprise, one last flat was available and it met all our requirements. The problem was that I hadn’t seriously considered about the distance from work, the connectivity to various parts of the city and the relocation involved. Like I said, it was love at first sight. Not much thinking was involved :). We tried searching for a similar flat in our preferred locality but in vain. Either we didn’t like the flat or the price was too high for its worth. So we started mentally preparing ourselves to deal with the distance from work and relocation logistics to take the deal forward with this flat.

But we were dealt a different set of cards. Every attempt we made to purchase that flat was thwarted by destiny. Either the seller was going after another purchaser or he changed his mind about the price or he wad not responsive to our interest in the house. Adit was able to accept that maybe it was not meant to be but I couldn’t let it go. I felt like I had not given my best effort as we were yet to receive a straight and strong NO. It felt like it was doable but slightly out of reach. I felt that I am yet to give my best shot before ceding.

While we were making these attempts, the lead for the villa opened up. I will be honest – I had difficulty falling in love with the villa like I did with the flat. Of course, the flat had a couple years to its credit as I had spent some time dreaming about it. My usual pros and cons list didn’t aid me much because the two options were in very different leagues. The price, the scope of renovation, the independence, the design of the house, the locality – everything was so starkly different that we couldn’t draw up a fair comparison between the two to choose one over the other. So we let the threads run in parallel hoping that when it comes to the wire, we would be able to choose.

Maybe our dilemma was too much for the universe that it intervened. Every time we would make a move forward with the flat, something happened to make us consider the villa. Every time we hit a hurdle with the villa deal, I used to pursue the flat because that’s where my heart still was. Adit warned me to take it slow and not to get caught up in it but I couldn’t help myself. However, every move of mine towards the flat triggered something and the universe pulled me back to the villa by offering an advantage that was not there before. It happened so many times that it would have been hilarious if I were not so close to the problem. And then finally, both were available to us if we wanted it and we had to decide. Adit was confused as well but he was able to look at it objectively. I had trouble doing the same. Even if one of us decided one way, we gave enough weightage to the other’s vote that the original decision was scraped. Eventually we chose to be practical and decided on the villa together. Traveling long distances to work is not something Bangalore dwellers can take lightly.

I believe in karma and destiny to some extent – more in the former than in the latter. This entire experience was about the pull of destiny for me. I had sleepless nights, shed many tears out of frustration, and cursed myself for nurturing such a dream that took every bit of mental and physical strength that I had. However, I understand that when I do build that dream home of mine and move into it, I know it will all feel worth the hassle. I am definitely grateful for the experience. There is a mound of work in the form of renovation, fixes waiting for me and there is a race track full of hurdles for me to reach that sweet spot of living comfortably in my dream home, but I am grateful that I have learnt a lot and that I was resilient in pursuing this dream. Also, I am incredibly grateful for the privilege to be able to consider building a dream home, a second time.

On a side note, at some point when it felt like we were going ahead with the flat, we stumbled upon a website that lets you build a 3D model of your house based on the floor plan. I didn’t think I had it in me to do it but I built the flat in 3D using it and learned a lot in the process. Ironically enough, I didn’t do it for the villa even when the deal was done. Maybe I will try it in the process of renovation. Anyway, the 3D modeling of the flat was fun and it warrants a separate post. I will write about it in a sequel of sorts.

Until later 🙂

Parenting lessons #1

I must admit, I am a skeptical and a cynical person for the most part. Although, I outwardly appear strong and positive to many, most of the times, I am worrying about something or the other inside. I struggle with keeping negative thoughts at bay and hence I go into a constant loop of overthinking, worrying, and fear. Given this predisposition, you could imagine the level of anxiety, stress, and fear my mind can generate as this horrible pandemic rages on. The only way I seem to be able to cope is to live in denial for the most part while taking all the necessary precautions anyway. I spend my daytime doing all the chores, cribbing and crying over how difficult it is. I spend my nights thinking about my privilege of being able to work and earn from home, having the family safe so far, and having my essential needs met.

As I oscillate between being the ingrate and being extremely grateful for everything I have, our toddler has taken to different coping methods of being cooped inside with no one to play with, her parents always claiming that they have some or the other work to do. I worry about her, her social skills, the impact of this situation on her, her future, and so on. It may seem like overkill but what did I tell you? I am a worrier. If I worry about general stuff, my life, or my husband 50 times a day, I worry about our daughter 100 times a day.

Anyway, today I gave my daughter a fishing game to keep her engaged while I was working. The game goes through the typical workflow of catching a fish with a fishing rod. She claimed that the fish needed water to live and only then she can catch the fish from the water. No matter what I said, she was not convinced that it is just play and she can pretend that there is water. So I gave her a box with water and asked her to put the fish inside it and then play fishing. She was okay with that for a while. Then she wanted to feed the fish. Again the same routine of convincing her that it is not really required as she was going to catch the fish anyway and her denial continued. Finally I gave in just so that I can get back to work, I gave her bits of paper and asked her to use it as pretend food for the fish.

She was finally playing happily when I noticed that she was not catching the fish at all. When I probed her with a few questions, I realized that she was happier pretending that the fish are happily swimming in the water, feeding on what she is giving them than actually catching them and putting them out of the water, thereby costing their lives. She actually reasoned with me that she does not want to catch the poor fish because they would become sad and that they cannot live. (Yeah, she still hasn’t grasped the concept of life-death fully well but to a fair extent).

This whole thing just goes to show how much positivity and hope kids have in spite of being in a bad situation. I know that their innocence and loving nature is what gives them the ability to see the good in everything. Something as simple as the glee when they get a cookie makes them forget everything else. I long for that. I am tired of being an adult, worrying all the time. I wish I could be like a kid, just being who I am, now. I have heard that the way to do this is being mindful of the present and realizing the power of now, but that is definitely easier said than done.

Until later 🙂

P.S: I did an intentional twist with the title. It is not a lesson in parenting, it is a lesson learnt as a parent.

Too good to be true

I have always believed that when something is too good to be true, it probably is. That’s the reason I approach seasonal offers, giveaways, and the like with a sense of wariness. However, I fell long and hard in one experience. I had hired a domestic help when I moved to our new home back in 2015.

It was my first experience as an employer and I didn’t know the nuances of being the boss for a domestic help. I decided to just be compassionate and honest with my expectations. It seemed to be working fine and despite my neighbors having issues with the same maid, I didn’t have much to complain other than the occasional issue of her taking off on many days without informing. I took it in my stride and just warned her to inform me when she takes off. I have almost never cut her pay, have given her an advance on her payment whenever she needed it for her family, even loaned her a significant amount when she claimed that her son had met with an accident and she needed money for hospital expenses. I never gave her extra work, was sympathetic when she was ill etc. Overall, we had a very cordial employer-employee relationship.

Over a period of time, I noticed her dropping work from other houses and expected her to do the same with us as she had gotten a big contract of cleaning the corridors of the entire apartment. I understood that it would get her the salary she needed in one go, without having to go to 7-8 houses and build up her salary. It also meant intense effort for 2-3 hours of her day but after that she gets the entire day off. So I expected her to tell me that she cannot continue working for me and had resigned to the fact that I had to get another maid. I was also a bit sad because she was the best at what she did. She used to wash the vessels sparkling clean and she cleaned every corner of the house she could reach. While many of friends kept cribbing about the quality of work that their househelps did, I considered myself lucky to have found someone who cleaned the place better than I could. In any case, she never dropped the work at my place and I assumed that it was because she found it easy enough to complete along with the apartment cleaning work and also because I was never very strict with her in terms of leave and other issues.

I should have known better. What I didn’t know was that she was maintaining a very calm and low profile with me and probably took extra effort to keep me impressed (this is my guess, could be wrong) while she was skimming money from us. We had found ourselves second guessing that we had less money in our wallets but assumed that we had missed monitoring our expenses. This last month, we had started logging our expenses to the penny and when we found ourselves in the same position for more than 3 times in a row, we knew something was amiss. What followed was a cat and mouse game and eventually I gathered evidence, confronted, and fired her. When I spoke to my neighbors, I learnt that she had done similar things in other houses and got fired from there.

Now, I don’t know how long she has been stealing from me – was it recent or was I a fool all these years but I am glad that it came to an end. And now I understood that there are other things to look for other than the quality of the work. For the past week, I felt so enraged that I was such a fool to have trusted her. But there is no point in crying now when it was really my mistake to have done so. So in all aspects of life, when something is too good to be true, it is.

Until later 🙂

Reality check 2020

All I wished for the 2020 year was to go by fast as I wasn’t handling being a working mom to a vivacious toddler all that well. I don’t know about fast but the year sure did take quite a turn. Not just for me but for the entire world. I feel for what has happened and I know that I cannot control anything other than my actions and maybe influence my loved ones. So I am not here to write about how the corona virus situation is bad and how this lock down is the worst crisis I have ever seen in my life. It is, indeed, but I want to write about the reality check that this situation has given me.

While many in this world may not accept, before this lock down, my life revolved around running a household and working at a corporate job. My schedule was clockwork and I couldn’t spare one second extra for anything. I did not have time to chew my food before I swallowed, no time for myself, no time for entertainment. Or at least that’s how I felt. If my maid or babysitter fell sick one day, my world would be doomed. Or so I thought. In short, I thought that my world revolved only because I had house help and a babysitter who was fairly regular and good at her job.

Well, when the COVID-19 situation got worse, I told my maid and babysitter to take a few days off even before the lock down was announced by the government. In my mind, I was going crazy but I had to do it for my family. With a toddler and a diabetic husband, I was not taking any chances. However, I thought that a week’s time would resolve things enough to go back to normal. Then came the lock down announcement and the reality hit me as I scrolled through the numbers every day with growing paranoia.

As the whole country shut down, sparing essential services, and our companies asking us to work from home, I thought that I was going to take off as long as this situation prevailed. Fortunately, as life gave me lemons, it showed me a way to make lemonade too. With Adit stepping it up, household chores were manageable.

Aditi, my daughter, took me by surprise by not throwing a tantrum to go out and play. *Touch wood* She has been an angel when compared to what I imagined she would be, locked inside a house and her parents glued to their office laptops. She has taken an interest in learning to help in chores as much as her age allows. She tries to fold laundry, sorts the groceries into piles for me to stock away, puts away dried vessels. She also eats by herself and plays by herself for the most part. Yes, she is still a kid and throws a bit of tantrum now and then but nothing out of ordinary in this out of ordinary situation.

I have had to let go of a lot of things to make it work but it did teach me not to be so much of a control freak. When I think of people whose livelihood is affected, who cannot be with their families, who are struggling to survive, my problems are not even a dust speck’s worth. So here I am taking on life one day at a time, hoping the world will heal, hoping that people get through.

Stay safe, stay in, stay healthy!

Until later 🙂

Inching towards a better me

As the clock slowly inches towards 12 AM, I am stepping towards being another year older and another year wiser. Every year when I think of having done with another year in the calendar, I wonder if I have really gotten wiser. Change doesn’t come that easy to me.

However, this year is a bit different. I realize that I have started accepting myself for who I am, albeit very slowly. For starters, I see that I am more comfortable in my skin. I have started enjoying myself and the choices I make with lesser doubts. I have accepted that I don’t have to like cooking to cook healthy and tasty food for my family and more importantly I have accepted that it is okay to not like cooking. And parenting. When I became a mother, I expected selflessness and sacrifice to come easily. It did not. And there are not many people who feel the same way or are willing to share out even if they feel so. Being non typical fed to my guilt and overthinking. However, I have come to accept that feeling so is just fine.

Being a working mom with a toddler has pushed me in improving myself as a person. I am running so much that I hardly have time for myself. My schedule is like clockwork and depends on a lot of people/things being perfect, say, my babysitter, my maid, my husband, my work, my colleagues, the delivery guys etc. Trying to run a life that demands this level of a perfection with so many factors is terribly exhausting and I just get by. So the sheer frustration of being the primary caretaker for everyone else but me drove me to take steps that I was refusing to.

I have now started dressing how I really want to rather than based on what I want others to think about me. I step out of my comfort zone and experiment and I gotta say, the results are good. My self confidence is increasing with every extra thing I manage and every previously unimaginable thing I accomplish. I am becoming increasingly confident in the fact that I do not need to be protected and that I can be a role model, if need be, to my kid. The number of guilt trips I take have reduced. The number of times I question myself or my decisions have reduced. I am capable of letting go of some things that would otherwise drive me crazy. I have learnt to agree to disagree. I have learnt that my choices may not be acceptable or likeable for others. Today, I truly believe that I can stand and deal the challenges that life gives me. Of course, I will cry, crib and worry, there is still a lot of work in progress, but I believe that I can pick myself up.

Sometimes, I wonder if I am pushing myself too much and there is a bigger cost to all this but right now I feel like it is worth the life I am living today. Being a full time working mother who manages both work and household without a typical support system is not something I ever thought I would be able to do. But here I am! Doing it, living it and having it all. I am not bragging here but I am merely astonished at the fact. It has not been a easy journey, with a type 1 diabetic spouse who needs additional help in managing his health and lifestyle that are otherwise a given for most people, a toddler who is as adamant as her parents put together, if not more, and almost zero support system.

10 years back, I wouldn’t have believed that I’d feel like this ever. But today I am proud of who I am and the life that Adit and I have built. So here’s to a better year that helps me progress and gives me the strength to handle life even better.

Until later 🙂

« Older posts