Sunday, 13 October 2013

C'mon people, show some appreciation!

If we had woken up to the news that 5000 people died due to cyclone Phailin the blame game would have begun. Fb, Twitter, blogs and newspapers would be flooded by criticism. Of the government machinery, politicians, armed forces, everyone. But we didn't wake up to that news. For once it seems the government outdid itself. They rose up to the occasion and took steps to ensure minimum loss of life. I feel like standing up and giving them a huge round of applause. Yet there is a deafening silence. Where are all those people who are so quick to put snide, bitchy updates on FB when things go wrong? All the charities and NGO's that stand for a cause? Why aren't they flooding online spaces with appreciation, gratitude, happiness for a job well done?

While I sit, I realize this lack of gratitude and appreciation permeates down to every level of interaction. Between friends, in families, at work. We are so speedy with our snarky comments. It takes but a moment for us to start gossiping and judging people for their failures and faults. But rarely does a person hear a word of appreciation for a thoughtful deed. There is no gratitude for the unselfish acts people do for us everyday.

No one tells a parent, a sister, a friend that they handled a situation well in their lives. That they're doing a good job of raising their child or keeping their home or building their career. But god forbid if that child misbehaves or you find a cockroach in that house or that person gets fired. Will they get an earful then!

Sometimes that's really all we need. An acknowledgment of our life, our struggle, our effort. Some one to tell us we are doing a good job. Whether it's a person, an organisation or a government. We all need to hear praise to have the will to carry on. To do our best every day. To be better than we are today.

So c'mon people. Let's show some appreciation. For the government that helped save so many lives, for our parents and siblings, for our colleagues and co-workers, for everyone who touches our lives in so many unique ways. You know right? What goes around, comes around.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

What I missed out on

Growing up in a joint family was an interesting experience. Where as we had tons of fun with so many people around there was also plenty of screaming and shouting. As the years passed by the fun went down and the volume went up. My sisters and I reacted very differently to this situation.

Both my sisters were rebellious teenagers, bad-mouthing religion, fighting with the parents, dissing marriage and insisting that they will live-in if the need be. I was the quiet, mousy one. The disintegration of all family ties in the extended family made my sisters very anti-family. In me however it fueled the fire of wanting to build strong familial ties. All my life I can remember actively seeking that. Yet these are not things that we can control.

When I got married I thought I'd hit jackpot. I would finally have what I always wanted. A loving mother in law. A father in law I'd be able to talk to. But most of all a brother in law. My mom had two brother in laws. They at one point shared a great relationship. All the K3G's of the world had messed with my head. I wanted the Bhabi-Devar friendship I had seen so much of. Boy, was I in for a disappointment. It seemed almost cruel that my sisters who'd never wanted any of this got nicer in-laws by far. So did most of my friends. I know they all have their issues, but at least they can pick up the phone and have a civil conversation or hang out once in a while.

Even now when I see cousins hanging out, doing trips together, a stab of jealousy rips through me. I don't have the cousins. I don't have the in-laws. I don't have the husband.

In an interesting twist of events the ex started visiting my son again and for the first time in years things weren't angry and tense. That brought home, like nothing else had, what I was missing. Being a single parent you get used to doing everything on your own. You forget that if you had a partner it would have been different. Things may have been easier. And yet, I missed out on that too.

So yes, in moments like these, I feel sad. About all the relationships that I wanted. All the relationships that I missed out on. When I see a couple with their child or cousins having a blast. When I see someone hug their mother in law. I wish I had that. But I don't. That is my reality and I will have to make peace with it.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Write my name in the sky OR The kind of man I want

I grew up on an endless supply of Mills and Boon and Nora Roberts. A world of perfect people with perfect bodies and near perfect lives. They met to create perfect passion which led to perfect love. I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Then reality struck. I didn't have a perfect body. Did that immediately disqualify me as the heroine of my own life and love story? The emotionally challenged, commitment phobic men I fell for didn't blossom and bloom in the sunlight of my unconditional, limitless love. Buggers, why wasn't he taking the shape of the hero in the saga? Hadn't I been his shoulder to cry on, the only person in the world who understood him and unlocked the doors to his happiness?

Way back in 2006 my best friend got married. I was swept away by the romance and fairy tale that her courtship and marriage were. I had a battered and bruised heart myself. I'd been pining for a man who had walked out of my life and left me wondering how I'd messed up again. Little did I know the colossal mess-up was yet to come. I had just met the ex. There was an air of excitement and adventure about him. I was flattered that a good looking man like him was at all interested in me. So there I was drunk at my friend's cocktail party, flirting with this man on the phone. Bubbly with the euphoria around me and a fair bit of alcohol I said I would date him if he wrote my name in the sky. A grand romantic gesture. I was worth it right? Even now I remember the instant discomfort in his voice. Maybe that should have been the first warning bell for me.

But I chose to ignore it, as I had several before and several after. My choice of men has been pathetic to say the least. I have chosen men who have had little love, respect or commitment to me. I don't hold it against them because with time I have realized that they had less love, respect and commitment to themselves. I deliberately (though I didn't know it then) chose men who couldn't be there for themselves. I thought I'd be the one who fixed them, made them all better so that we could have our happy ever after. It didn't strike me that only we can fix ourselves, no one else.

So today, I choose to want another sort of man. I have had time to think, to reflect, to understand. I no longer want someone tall, dark and handsome. I don't want someone who drinks, smokes or drugs himself into oblivion. I don't need someone 'cool'.

I want someone who knows himself. I want a man who is willing to stand up for what he believes in. Who loves his family and his friends. Whose family and friends love him. A man who doesn't take himself or life too seriously. Someone who is committed to himself, to finding himself, to growing, to learning. I want a man who can enjoy the small things in life as much as the big. A man who can cry as hard as he can laugh.

Romance no longer means the same things to me as it once did. Yet I want a man who will give me romance and tenderness. A man who will care for me. Who will accept and cherish who I am.

The kind of man I want will write my name in the sky, without ever having to.