Monthly Archives: May 2021

Those Were The Days

I just watched the Netflix Series – ‘Alma Mater – Inside the IIT dream’. It was a trip down memory lane – nostalgic, and I did not want it to end in some ways. So much packed in those days, just like peeling the layers of the onion.

I did my engineering and then did my MBA. Both of these experiences were only four and two years long, but a lot happens in those years at a rate that you cannot process.

In the series, they had a section on on-campus placements. I kid you not, my body constricted watching them go through it. I could relate at a visceral level. This you have to experience to know what I am talking about. The anticipation, shortlist, quant or aptitude test, interview. Your life up till then has been one thing after the other or, as Churchill said about history – ‘One damn thing after another. You study hard to get good grades in 10th to get into a good stream – science/arts. And then you study hard so that you can get into a good engineering college. And then you study hard so that you can get into a good company and then it switches to marriage, kids etc. But the pressure builds on.

And nobody – no one person is doing this to you. I do not ever recall my parents putting pressure. In my case, it was all self-inflicted, unknowingly. The world I created ended if I did not get placed. I still remember the very first company I interviewed with. I did not get the offer. I went nuts – I holed myself in my room and studied like crazy. Now, I wonder what I studied for an interview, but at that time, it was necessary. I remember my mom bringing me food to my room. And the actual day, we were there on campus for the entire day. I was such a bundle of nerves that I could not even eat. Everybody in my building knew. All my neighbours knew that I had my campus interviews. It was a big deal.

And I remember late in the day they announced the list, and my name was there. It was relief followed by a tug in the heart when some of my friends did not make it. I remember calling my mother, and the relief was palpable even on the phone.

All this drama, and when we showed up for work the first day, they had no idea we were joining – hehe!

At that time in my life – it was necessary. The drama, the stress, friendship – the experience was significant. It made me who I am today. It creates a bonding experience with others. I probably learnt a lot of life lessons in those situations which I cannot even articulate. Isn’t this what life all about – experiencing life situations. What has changed is now I am not as identified as those life situations. There is an understanding that this will also pass.

Enjoy what you have NOW as it will pass, but you, the watcher – remain the same.

Saluting Mother nature in all of us

I am my Father’s daughter. I have so many of his mannerisms that I can predict with almost 99% accuracy what he is thinking or saying. Growing up, I looked up to my dad, and he was/is my best friend. I would tell him everything and still, to this day, do so. And he never judged me or told me what to do – which is probably why I told him everything.

My relationship with my mom was more of a rebellious nature, primarily around marriage. It seemed to eclipse all other memories. My mom wanted me to get married, and I did not. Looking back more than the marriage – it was the act of ‘Being Told’ to do something. Life works out in mysterious ways, and I decided to do my MBA to avoid marriage. And I met my husband, Adam, during my MBA. As Master Oogway says in Kung-fu panda, ‘You often meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it.’

I took the course ‘Creativity and Personal Mastery’, which started changing my relationship with Mom. I was beginning to see where people were coming from. Yes, for the longest time ever, I was very selfish – still am but relatively less. And I understood her more than before. And as I have grown as a woman and been a wife, the understanding has increased. And my respect and appreciation for what a mother does have shot up exponentially.

Switching tracks, my brother has two daughters. And the youngest one was born when my parents were there. And I watched my mom and my dad interacts with the baby. My dad was amazed at what she did and said, ‘Wow, she grabbed my finger.’ And my mom even watching her over skype – the unconditional love in her eyes was so evident. She didn’t have to say it, but it was so clear that she was just so happy that my niece existed – however she was, regardless of what she was doing. I do not think my mom existed in that space – isn’t that wonderful. My niece responded to that love in ways that she did not to others. It is the unspoken language of true love. When I am sick, I want my mom around me. I am sure most of us do.

Women in my mom’s generation got married relatively young and were primarily housewives. They cooked and cooked and cooked some more. My mom still cooks for us as a family when we are all together. And she does that without any grumbling. I complain if I have to cook during the week or if cooking takes more than fifteen minutes. Granted that I have a day job. My mom and others like her have made peace with what is for the most of their lives. They have surrendered and learnt to live with the present moment and accept what it offers. There is very little resistance. All roads lead to Rome.

Recognize the mother nature in you and rejoice in it!

The Biggest Culprit Of All – Time

Eckhart Tolle tells the story of his dad, who in his older years remarked that the quality of mirrors has deteriorated since his younger days. I am sure most of us have looked at the mirror and wondered what happened? Or, go for reunions and somebody remarks on how young we were? Or, go through the albums and realize that some people are not alive anymore. Albums are a significant source of this realization – the wedding, the party, the celebration each of them was so crucial at that Time, and now they are just memories.

What happened? Time happened. Time is the biggest culprit of all, but nobody has ever seen Time. Because Time is a human-made concept that exists only in our heads. And in the head of society at large. But life does not happen in Time – it occurs in the now. Right now, there is no concept of Time – it may be 7:33 PM, but you cannot experience 7:33 PM. You can see it on the ever-pervasive timers on the laptop, phones, clocks on the wall, but you cannot feel it. You can only experience what is happening now. Hence, Time is the biggest culprit, but nobody has seen it.

Time manifests itself as past or present. Time – this four-letter word has become so powerful that it runs the world. We have even come up with sayings like Time is money or Time and tide wait for no man. Some courses teach you how to manage Time. Time management is a skill that you are supposed to have.

And in all honesty, it is driving most of the society mad. In my parents time, I never remember calling somebody to say, ‘Hey, can we come over?’. We would go over – and they would be there or not there. In our village there is no time – people follow the natural body clock – when the sun sets it Time for bed. Fast forward a few decades, we have calendars that sync with each other. We have watches and phones that remind us of different events. ‘Finding’ Time on people’s calendar is a nightmare. God knows what shape will Time take in the future.

We believe in the artificial deadlines that we have created that we do not even question anymore. I am not advocating that we do away with Time. Then it will create chaos – the world will stop functioning. But maybe there is a possibility to revisit our relationship with Time. Perhaps we stop thinking about the past or future so much but focus on the now? Maybe instead of thinking about what we need to next, we focus on where we are now? Instead of Time driving us – let presence drive us.

It is about Time (no pun intended) that we took our life away from Time and lived in. Instead of blocking into chunks for things to do – have some time where we live in a timeless – eternal world.

So, what has Time planned for you next?