How long ago was it now?

September 21, 2011

It has been a while since I last blogged… I cannot remember the last time I read a book to completion, that is barring the ones that I have been re-reading online. It has been quite a while since I have had the satisfaction of running a fully functioning piece of code and taking pride in the fact that it was my creation.

It has been a while since I did anything that I would have once considered necessary to call myself productive. Yet, I am happier than ever, inspite of not being in pursuit of it. That, I guess, is the joy of parenthood.

All day, I hang with my son, cook, eat, sleep, feed him, fool with him, play with him, sometimes be strict with him and tell him what and what not to do, but most times just let him tell me what and what not to do. Waiting for my husband to get back from work is the only hardship that I have probably faced in a long long time and even then I have company. The joy of seeing my husband return from work is now doubled. It is a sight to behold to see my son running helter skelter to receive his dad. My son looks almost like an exact replica of his father. But he inherited 3 distinct characteristics of mine: my bulbous nose, my temper and my love for his father – my husband. It is reassuring to see my son cling, pull, smother, nag and do all that I do to make a nuisance of myself with his dad and get away with it!

Oh, the joy of it!

I have, atlast, crossed the line. The much coveted line that I thought I would cross when I turned 18 and became eligible to vote, but did not. Then at the time I first started earning my living. Then at the time I got married. The elusive line beyond which I could consider myself a grown-up. Well, for me, it has taken another life to grow with to make me a grown up.

So here is to my son, and the recommencement of blogging!

Process In Execution

February 10, 2009

My brain is almost always on overdrive analyzing things.  But hardly has that ever taxed me.  If there is one thing that can overload it, it would be attempting to translate the resulting action items of my thought process into an executable form that is acceptable to people impaired by narrow minds.

My frame of reference might be small.  My sampling of life experiences might be limited.  My freedom of living might be narrow.  But despite all that, I have a broad mind, even if I say so myself.

By “broad”, I do not mean modern or knowledgeble or wise.  By “narrow”, I do not mean traditional or mean or ignorant.  By a broad mind, I mean understanding people for what they are and accepting them as they are.  That also includes understanding yourself for what you are and attempting to be a better person than you are. 

I fall short in one capacity.  Instead of focusing my energy completely on attempting to be a better person than I am, I get distracted by looking for acceptance in my fellow beings.  Some of them, I discover are the narrow minds that I have trouble communicating with.  These narrow minds pose a problem to me not because of being narrow, but because they are deliberately closed and locked and therefore condemn and deny broader vision.

My fault is a perfect example to demostrate the following teaching:

Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone.  – The Dhammapada

A good friend of mine wondered – why would somebody better than you travel with you?  Well, he will, if you strive to be better and succeed to be his equal.

The lesson here being, associate yourself with people who have higher standards than you.  Again, let me reinforce that a higher standard is not defined by birth, advantages, affluence or even society.  It is defined by that which is the foundation of all religion, the pioneer of philanthropy, the corner stone of philosophy – that which defines mankind – humanism. 

I am learning to move on, to consciously move away from those who do not grow in standards or grow-up, period.  Choosing the right over the wrong is a struggle – not in choice, but in action.  This is one of the action items.

I am working on it.          

Dealing With In-laws

November 21, 2008

I deem myself experienced enough to hold forth on the subject.  So if you are looking for help, let me know if the following works.

1. Your spouse/parents/sister/brother may be an angel to you.  But not necessarily as an in-law.  So you cannot force love when there is none deserved.

2. Just getting married into a family does not make you part of the family.  You have to work towards it.  Even after working on it, if you are not allowed to belong, do not worry.  The family does not deserve you.

3. You may have known someone all your life.  But their spouse may know them better than you do.  So live with it.

4. Crying does not make you an innocent and snapping back does not make you a villain.  So try not to provoke and try not to offend.

5. If you feel you were treated unfairly, then do not give them another chance to treat you unfairly again.  Keep your distance.  But be polite and kind.  Being sarcastic and waiting for opportunities to retaliate will not make you any more endearing.

6. If you are visiting on a holiday, please respect and understand that it is a holiday for your host also.  Or you may be on vacation while your host may be working.  Do not take them, their time, place or generosity for granted.

7. Respect one’s home.  You may be asked to feel at home.  But it does not make it your home.

8. A home is a place where one de-stresses.  So if you are a guest, try not to stress out your host.

9. When you want to use something of your host’s, it is only polite to ask to use the same.  The host is going to say yes even if they did not want to.  But they will be happy doing it because you respected them enough to ask.

10. Do not jump, rush and try to show yourself in a better light by intruding in a couple’s life.

11. If you have an agenda, there is nothing wrong.  But do not manipulate and pretend that the agenda was made for the other’s benefit.

12. After you have forced somebody to spend a lot of money for your amusement, do not call them close-fisted.

13. After you have spent somebody else’s money, do not call yourself generous.

14. If you want to run a home, run your own home.

15. If one has idiosyncrasies about one’s own home and space, respect that it is their right and wish to do whatever in their own home.  If you have idiosyncrasies of own, your are welcome to indulge in those, in their home, only if you do not trespass on their space.

16. Your advise is invaluable.  But it may not be wanted.  So please refrain yourself.

So I will refrain myself, for now.  But before I sign-off, just think about it.  I started off about dealing with in-laws in specific.  But it broadened into treating people in general.  After all in-laws, me and you included, are people.  It does not take a genius to figure it out.  Just treat them as you would a stranger in this civilized world.  Distant, polite, kind and with a smile.  No more, no less.

Is that too much to ask?

***UPDATE  While on the topic, here is an article that hits the nail right on the head:

Things That Ring Me Off

November 21, 2008

Here is a list of things that tick me off when it comes to phone conversations.

1. You call.  I am busy.  I make time for you.  I make a conversation and you do not listen to a word I say.

2. I call.  You are busy.  But you make time for me anyway.  I make a conversation.  You do not listen to a word I say.

3. I call.  You are not busy.  I make a conversation.  You are carrying on a conversation with somebody at your end.  I realise I should get off the phone.  I say maybe I should let you go.  You say, no, no.  You make a conversation.  I respond and you continue the conversation with somebody at your end.

4. I call or you call.  We have a conversation going.  You say something out of the context.  I am puzzled.  I realize you are introducing something unrelated so that whoever is listening to your side of the conversation at your end is going to be pleased with you for having said that.  I understand and I would like to help.  I try to stay on the subject that you just introduced, but you do not encourage it.  I am not amused.

To my credit, I never make calls for the sake of formalty or just because I have time to kill.  I call because I want to connect.  If you do not, then please do disconnect.  : )

And to all those I have ticked off by answering the phone but not keeping up my end of the conversation, inadvertantly or otherwise, I apologize.

I have learnt my lesson.

Rip Effect

October 3, 2008

You throw a stone in still water, ripples are only but expected.  The act of throwing a stone is over and done with in no time but it will take its own course for the ripples to settle and the stillness to return.  Metaphorically speaking, life is like that.  Newton’s laws of motion apply to emotions and actions as well.

But there are variations in your role.  Sometimes you are the water.  Sometimes you are the stone.  And sometimes you are the thrower.  Sometimes you might even be a dog that accidentally got in the way of the stone!  From each one’s point of view, there is justification.  Perhaps, a purpose.  Perhaps, even justice.  Though the last is rarely the case, if you put your mind to it and work hard enough, you can still find justice.

Whatever be the case, do not bottle up your feelings.  Even if you are judged, there will atleast be one person in this world, who, though might not agree that you are right, will understand your feelings.  One confidant, one fellowman, one soul that sees the justification in your feelings is all you need to save yourself the mental agony eroding your senses.

So go find that person to confide in.  Do not wait.  Do not think you can handle everything on your own.  If you are not able to sort out your disagreement directly with the person as you may not even agree to disagree, do not set yourself in an infinite loop of misunderstanding.  Do not foolishly think that you are a tattletale for discussing it with a third person.  Watch out when your feelings overwhelm you and do not let them destroy you.  Seek help.  If you do not, the ripple effect might rip your life apart and drive you over the edge.  But choose carefully.

Be wise.  Do not jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Go to a person who will understand; if you are having unkind thoughts, which is quite normal, your confidant should not encourage you to feel them anymore.  Once you feel that bond of kinship, that feeling of empathy from another soul, believe me, the black cloud will dissipate and the sun will shine.

Read William Blake’s The Poison Tree.  Take his advice and nip it in the bud.

And thank you, my mother, for being my confidant and being the gardener who cleaned up my weeds. 

Philosophically Speaking

August 14, 2008

Life really started looking up for me once I started living the belief that you have to always do the right thing.  Unfortunately, though I also believed that things have to but go right if you follow this policy religiously, I faltered.  Because I made the mistake of assuming that everybody else will also do the right thing.  Though it came as no surprise that life is not ideal, I was shocked that it was the people that I had the most trust in that seemed to let me down.

And therein lay the problem.  Not that the people let me down.  Because that, philosophically speaking, is not true, when it is I who set up that expectation and thereby set myself up to take a fall.  Let us analyse this further – generically.  Let us assume characters “A” and “B”.

1.  “A” trusts “B”.
2.  “A” does the right thing, ‘r’.
3.  “A” is in state Happiness.
4.  “B” is in state Happiness.
5.  “B” does a thing, ‘t’.
6.  “A” cannot believe “B” would do ‘t’, especially considering “A” has done ‘r’.
7.  “B” does not understand what all the fuss is about ‘t’.
8.  “A” never gets over it.
9.  “A” is in state Unhappiness.
10. “B” continues in state Happiness.
11. “A” goes to state Lonely Unhappiness.

Let us assume here for a second that ‘t’ is also the right thing.  Then “A” failed to take the right path at step 8.

Now let us assume that ‘t’ is the wrong thing, the unfair thing, the unthinkable thing.  Then, where would you say that “A” faltered?  Yes, it is again, step 8.  “A” is wronged.  That is alright.  “A” is wallowing in self-pity.  That is also alright.  “A” is terribly misunderstood.  Yes, yes, so be it.  “A” will never forget this happened.  Okay, not a problem.  “A” blames “B”.  NO!!!!  Now, here is the most blatant mistep, if there is one –  giving up the power and control to rule the state of YOUR HAPPINESS.

So what would the solution be?  Let us hear what the “WISE” suggests that “A” should do.  BE POSITIVE AND MOVE ON.  Right on the money!  Do I hear anybody saying “DUH!”?  Well, that was also my first reaction.  But I cannot help but agree with the “WISE”.  Was it “B”‘s fault that “A” expected “B” to do the right thing that is a counterpart to ‘r’?  No.  Was it “A” who believed in always doing the right thing?  Yes.  Then what would the right thing be?

So, what would be the right thing?

Let us now substitute “ME” for “A”.  What would the right thing be?  I have no idea.  ‘t’ is irrevocable, so it has to be accepted.  Everything that can be derived from ‘t’ would plague my mind.  But I still don’t know what step 8 should be.  So, in my opinion, the right thing to do, when you have run out of right paths to take or when there is no right path in sight, would be to – NOT TAKE THE WRONG PATH.

So I will quit blaming.  And try not to do the wrong thing by taking my mind off of it and doing something productive.

Live and let live.

***UPDATE  “A” exaggerates.  “A” over-reacts.  “A” is only human.  Now the tables turn.  Substitute “ME” for “B”.

Phonetically speaking…

July 17, 2008

Atlast, I got to read Val McDermid’s “A Place of Execution”.  One of the aspects of her books that stand out, is the realistic depiction of the police enquiries, the investigation, the interrogation, the shock the victim’s kin experience when the bads news is conveyed to them; above all, it is the slow, drawn out, dragging, but relentless course of events that follow a major upheaval that is most realistic.  Thank God, it is only a book and there is an end to it; and with it, comes a conclusion.  Imagine reality… the actual agony… the stress, the wait, the unknown.  Thank God it is only a book.

Now you see why I should lay off books, especially murder mysteries.  I get too involved.  I usually prefer movies, because, at the most, it would run for 3 hours.  But a book, say, of about 500 pages, takes 2-3 days and it is impossible to move on until the last page, the last line, the last word is read.

Alright, enough about death and trauma. Speaking of which, an incident comes to my mind.  In my previous job, apart from building the tool, I was also responsible for installing and deploying the product at the client’s.  And after that, there would be occasions where I would have to troubleshoot and sometimes, instead of going over myself, I would have to walk-through somebody at the client’s to fix issues that come up. So once, on the phone, I had to tell an engineer there to reset a flag to “T”.  She couldn’t quite get what I was saying.  She asked me, “B?”.  I say, “No, ‘T'”.  She was still not sure, so I said, “It is ‘T’…”.  I racked my brain… and still straining hard, I told her, “I cannot think of a word that starts with ‘T’!”.  (I know, I know!)  She tried to help me, “Is it ‘P’ as in ‘Pig’?”  (LOL all you like, you will be ROTF soon!!)  And I said, “NO, it is ‘T’ as in ‘TRAUMA’!”  PHEW!!!!  There was complete silence at the other end. I bet, they put the call on MUTE and were rolling on the floor laughing!

I was laughing hard myself, but only in my head!  Because my job comes before my image (or the lack of it).  So I just got on with it!  The flag was dutifully reset, I did what I had to, and they did what they had to; and all was well and the status of all the transactions automatically changed to ‘S’.  Yes, ‘S’ as in “Success”!

The people at this client’s place were very kind.  I loved working with them.  My only regret is, for selfish (and cowardly) reasons, I could not even say bye or thank you to them when I left.  But I shall forever have fond memories of them, and always, wish them the best.  Through this medium, I say ‘T’ as in “THANKS” to them!