Irony loves me

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8 months back I quit a new job 4 months after joining. It was a terrible workplace and like most start ups, there were ethical compromises. The details of that decision and experience are for another blog post on another day.

In the last 6 months, every organization I had applied for jobs during the unemployment period has reached out to me. No, not the head hunters but the HR itself. And am not sure if I should laugh or cry at the irony. Sure, things worked out fine. Am working in a great place at an excellent salary in the profile I was looking for. Am surrounded by well wishers at work and my manager is a very close friend. The city is comfortable with great food, lots of travel destinations around the city and KC is with me. So, yeah. Things worked out great even though it required some compromises.

Everytime the HR contact me, I want to tell them “Where the hell were you 8 months back? What is the point now? Am not going to quit from here for a very long time” but all I say is “Am not looking for opportunities right now but let’s stay in touch. In the meantime, maybe I can refer someone for the job”.

I spent months feeling like a failure, cut off from most of my friends, lost interest in most things – gym, reading, blogging, sex and had to see a therapist to help me build back my confidence. I am still the same person. So, what is the difference between then and now? Nothing, really. Just luck. Or destiny. I don’t know. During those months I would think that there is a plan for me and I just have to wait for it to unfold. Well, I still don’t know what the plan is. I have no idea where am going to be and what am going to be doing a year down the line.

All I know is today. And maybe tomorrow. And maybe this month. That’s it.

A friend called today because she was upset. She wondered why she has only 2 or 3 people she can reach out to when she is depressed. And I thought back to my low days. I didn’t reach out to anyone. Sure, KC was there. My family didn’t nag me about being unemployed because I had broken down in front of them. But I didn’t reach out to any of my close friends. Nor did I keep up pretences due to which the friendship suffered.

All I wanted to do was stay home and somehow make it to the gym. That’s all.

A normal person would feel validated  by the sudden surge of interest but not me. Am going to find a way to crib about this as well.

  1. Good night.

Corporate assholes

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This post is about annoyances I have to deal with from non colleagues. There are many, many posts on annoying colleagues on this blog already.

1) People who promote their organization’s brand on their personal social media accounts.

You aren’t getting paid for it so why torture people who are connected to you on Facebook/IG/Twitter. That is what LinkedIn is for. Matlab, am not sure which is worse – anniversary/baby pics or ads of brands. If it was your brand, I understand why you would want to promote it so hard. But, such loyalty for an organization which treats employees like they are dispensable?

2) People who call you for competition/confidential information

This group is classified into two – those who want to gain an understanding of the category/competition/financials to help them do their job better. This is perfectly ok and am always, always available for such conversations even for acquaintances and strangers.

The 2nd class of people want this information to earn brownie points in some presentation to their organization. Which is a surprise because nobody has ever asked me to source competition information to enhance my PPT or have I been penalized for not having such information. Basically, these are people willing to put your job at stake for their careers. I am perfectly ok with giving up such friendships for my roti, kapda and makaan. Now my standard answer is “I don’t know” which isn’t completely a lie because in sales, we don’t really know much. Ignorance is bliss and I never want to give it up.

3) People who call you after 8 pm to talk about their work life.

List of things am probably doing – reading, sexting, shagging, Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hotstar, adding pretty stuff to Myntra/Ajio wishlist (and never buying it), counting my Bath and Body works candles stash, working out, stalking Rahul Khanna on IG, laundry, counting the Lindt stash in my fridge.

Your boring corporate career has lesser priority than staring at my ceiling. Nobody cares about how hard you work or the long hours you spend in corporate chutiyaap.

I am never going to be that bored in life that I will call and talk to someone about my worklife. Hell, I barely ever call and bother to keep track of gossip at workplace. Ignorance is bliss.

4) People who don’t move on once they quit an organization.

I follow a simple rule – cut off from previous organization till you are completely over it. It is like how you would deal with a breakup. Get under someone else, move on, break off contact till you are sure you have moved on. So, no phone calls gossiping about ex colleagues, avoid meeting up with anyone except those who are friends and just MOVE ON.

Rant over

Goes back to staring at the ceiling in the silence


Forgiveness

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Who came up with the term “forgive and forget”? Forgiveness, I understand as a hypothetical concept. But how do you forget? That is how history repeats itself. Over and over again. But hey, someone warned against that as well. Maybe it was the same person. But if he did forget, how did he know history is repeating itself?

Ok. Ok. That isn’t what the post is about.

When someone hurts us deeply, the fantasy is that they will realize what assholes they have been and apologize. Though, I have never apologized to anyone. Made up with them years later and tried to be a better human being with them? Sure. Apologized? No. That happens only in movies, I assumed. Until someone whose apology I had fantasized about actually said “Sorry”. Not in the way men usually do. Most men know that “Sorry” works beautifully with women. Most married men have learned this secret and they say “Sorry” at the drop of a hat. Not that kind of fake and pretend “Sorry”. But a genuine one. Out of the blue. I didn’t ask for it. I wasn’t being mean and nasty about how things had ended. I was at a stage where I barely remembered and nothing in my life or personality was affected by incidents that happened when I was 17+ years of age.

Instead of being gracious, my reaction was “this is too little, a little too late”. It isn’t a reaction am proud of. Very few humans are self aware and know or care when they’ve hurt someone. Let’s face it. At the core of it, we are all terrible people. We are opportunists who will hurt whoever we can to get what we want. Period. So, when someone wants to make amends for their shitty behavior, the least one can do is be polite about it. I wasn’t. Because there was nothing to forgive anymore. It didn’t matter. It would have meant more, so much more if the apology had come when I was hurting. Any scraps of kindness thrown my way would have been appreciated and made me feel better.

What is the point when that part of life feels like a distant dream? But usually fantasies come true when we stop caring about them.

That’s life.


Lost my tooth, not the wisdom

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It was 1st Jan and like an irresponsible child I mentioned to my parents the need to see a dentist. One day before my flight. One whole day after I arrived. There was a debate on whose dentist is better, Dad or Mom’s. Mom pushed hard for her guy while Dad stayed quiet. I had enough of bad dentists in Mumbai and wanted to see a good one. The appointment was taken for 5 pm. At 4:45 pm, Dad called from downstairs.

Yes, people. In small towns, one lives in big houses which have an upstairs and downstairs and those are connected by actual phones. The ground floor is Dad’s hospital. Not a clinic. An actual, fully equipped hospital. The 1st floor has more hospital rooms and an empty section has been rented (sold?) out to another doctor for his HOSPITAL (not clinic). The 2nd floor is where the house begins. The 3rd floor is the terrace converted into 3 rooms when marriage was on the cards for my sister and the 4th floor is the terrace. I am not boasting. As someone who has spent a considerable amount of her independent life in a 1bhk and the current 1900 sq feet flat seems really, really huge in comparison; am in awe that people can still live this lavishly

I use my phone’s hotspot to connect to Netflix on the TV. My parents are the last, loyal customers of BSNL. Even BSNL is now begging them to switch but dad refuses to give up. Hopefully, my constant praises of Airtel broadband means this is the last month for BSNL in that house.

Airtel, I demand an influencer fee

I turn on Soorma for Mom to watch, change out of my old Zara shrug and put on a newer (=worn less but bought around the same time) Zara cardigan because Mom criticised it. This is a habit that has been inherited. I critic KC’s clothes and make sure he is well dressed at all times. And when he is not, point it out to him. So, no shorts to a mall in Gurgaon unless they are classy and stylish. Though in Mumbai, he could wear whatever he wants because the standards are so low. Every time I have to remind him “Pretend like we will be going back to Gurgaon and keep your dressing standards high. Even in Mumbai”. Kolkata is a stylish city so we are trying to up our dressing game after a year of dressing shabbily.

Dad drives me to the dentist, like he drove me to the stadium for a morning run AND waited for me to finish my run. I am escorted everywhere like a spoiled child. My whole life I have craved for independence but in my mid 30s, this treatment makes me feel special. If any other man insisted on doing this for me, it would be very, very irritating and annoying.

The hospital is a Father-son duo practice with 2 other dentists joining them. I had seen the dentist at Raheja hospital in Mahim a few months after my issue started. She didn’t charge me, did some cleaning and gave kindergarten level advice. A month later, I was back and begged her to take money and give me some REAL advice and treatment. But she just smiled and sent me on my way.

This dentist didn’t pull any punches and said “You should get that wisdom tooth extracted”

Me : Ok. I have a flight at 4 pm but can I come early morning tomorrow?

Him : Sure

Dad : Why tomorrow? Get it done now.

Me : Wait. Hold on. I don’t even have my phone with me. (Priorities!!!)

Dad : You will board a flight few hours after a surgery tomorrow. Better to get it done now and have a whole night to recuperate. Or are your afraid?

(Nobody can manipulate you like your parents. Sometimes, knowingly. In this case, unknowingly).

Me : Of course, am not afraid. Bring on the needles. Right into my mouth. We are doing this. Right now. Who needs a few hours to mentally prepare? Not me, for sure.

The father called his son and within 15 mins, I was surrounded by 4 people peering into my mouth. I wondered what it would have been like to become a dentist. Dad’s hospital could have been converted into my practice. There would be no taxes to pay. A small town with a metro town 75 km away and a lavish lifestyle. I mean, 1.5 hours travel one way in a city like Mumbai is a daily hustle without 1/10th of the perks. This was one of the paths I could have gone down. Because admission into dental with my 12th marks was a real possibility. In fact, admission into medical was a real possibility if I didn’t have principles like not taking admission on donation. Every educated member of my family (less than 5 people) tried to convince me pursue a career in dental. But I had my heart set on journalism. I wanted to study literature and write and be a pauper sharing a flat with 10 other people in a rundown, unsafe building. Was the current life and career better than either of these paths? Is a career more fulfilling looking at unhygienic mouths vs licking dirty asses? There are no clear winners (or losers) in this comparative study.

45 mins later they were done and my wisdom tooth emerged victorious. I saw it lying on the dentist’s tray, all bloody and twisted. Dad was sitting patiently behind. He offered to pay the Father dentist but the money was turned down.

Dad : Please let me pay

Him : No. No. We won’t charge you for the skill. Do you charge for skill when we visit your hospital?

My father is a paediatrician and while he is very good, the amount of effort required for diagnosing and treating a kid doesn’t match up to how much effort the dentist put into the surgery. But he didn’t let my dad pay. And I didn’t want to offer to pay dad back because there is no way he would have let me. He would have laughed instead. “Look at this child of mine, trying to me pay me back peanuts”.

But that is how small towns work. Connections and socialising translates into a barter system which does not involve money. Dad’s free treatment to people of some social standing, relatives, acquaintances translates into my never having to stand in a queue in any government office. We get escorted to the front of the queue during voting, we sit in the AC office of the RTO guy while my driving license gets renewed etc etc. Money isn’t everything here. Our caste, religion, education, connections, social standing along with wealth is our identity. Sure, my Dad was the one who started from scratch (mostly) but his caste and religion are inherited. All of his and my mom’s efforts make our lives easier in that state. We could have done what many others do, stayed in this orbit and propelled ourselves forward. But all of us chose to leave and start new, independent lives mostly based on merit, out of reach of our parents’ influence.

On some days, it seems like the stupidest thing we have done.

On other days, not so much.


Bucket list for 2020

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I can’t enter the New Year without a to do list, so here it is:

  1. Read good books. Quality over quantity. Read 50 books I can rate 4+ out of 5 on Goodreads.
  2. Read authors of various nationalities. Get introduced to books by more authors.
  3. Try and write everyday – either in a journal or on this blog.
  4. Go on a trek this year
  5. Take a solo trip
  6. Explore all the great places in the Eastern part of the country. Make a monthly trip plan.
  7. Get back to the earlier fitness levels.
  8. Get to full form full range push ups
  9. Run 700 km this year without half marathons
  10. Run in 10 different and new cities/towns this year
  11. Bake a new recipe every month
  12. Avoid conflict with family as much as possible.
  13. Donate to a charity
  14. Stop shopping for clothes and shoes. Get to zero impulse shopping this year.
  15. Maintain a strict work life balance. Remind myself everyday that as much as I’d like it, the organization will not fall apart if I leave work on time.
  16. Take lesser bullshit from men this year. There is always scope for improvement on this front because men continue to be shitty.
  17. Avoid liqour, late nights, boring conversations and anything that takes me away from my hobbies and goals.
  18. Continue to de-clutter people from my life without guilt
  19. Network more. Network better. But with the right people.
  20. Get a dog. Top priority.

That’s it. Good night.

 

 


New year, new me. Same old bullshit

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If you are here to read about how much I have “learned” this year, then you are at the wrong blog. Not that blogs even exist now. The decade is ending, I should move on but am not ready yet. Unless you want to offer your technological expertise and help shift all the posts from the last 13 years to somewhere safe, am staying right here.

It was shitty year and I should talk about the positives or about the fact that things turned out ok. But life is about one shit replacing the last one. Only our memories are short so we forget. Not going to be this generous with 2019.

But tonight, am going to make my resolutions for 2020. It will be usual bullshit – run more, read more, workout more, write more, blah blah blah. Nothing new. Drop in if your NYE sucks.

Anyway, ciao. I would like to finish reading the last book of 2019 and get one goal ticked off.


Heroes don’t exist

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I like to figure people out. Those who seem like a puzzle holding onto their deepest, darkest secrets like it is the last piece of chocolate make me uncomfortable. When their words don’t match their actions and they aren’t consistent, I don’t trust them. No matter how genuine they may seem on the surface. However trustworthy.

But this post isn’t about them. It is about people I have known and liked for a very long time. But after years of seeing only the best about them, I can see the chinks in their armour and get a glimpse into their core. And it is not good. Hell, it is ugly. Worse, the stereotypes are bang on. What do I do now? It is so ugly it makes me want to cry. I want to shake them hard and scream “You too? Really?”

  • Put the peeled layers back and pretend like I saw nothing? That isn’t hard, you know

  • Cut myself off but pretend like everything is ok till it is convenient for me?

  • Avoid all situations which demand proximity? After all, it is a busy life and avoiding someone isn’t that hard.

It is sad when heroes and mentors fall from their pedestal. When adulthood means being let down one more time.


Not hating my body so much anymore

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This post is getting typed while am half asleep so please ignore any typos. I guess most of the posts are going to mention sleep since it is such an important part of life. Atleast the sleep at night. Am not a fan of daytime naps.

This was the only week I didn’t spend hating on my body in the entire year. I hate what I have done to it because of stress, lack of proper nutrition and workouts. It has been hard being consistent despite the lack of fast progress. The difference between earlier period and now is that, earlier I had zero expectations. I had no idea how far I could go or what kind of progress I could see. Any small change was good enough. But now there is a milestone and once I reach there, there will be more.

This post is about where am today. Today, am happy with what my body looks like. My hips look taut and round (thanks to lots and lots of squats), the shoulders are rounded, the double chin has reduced, clothes fit and look better, collar bones are visible. The only con is losing inches on my boobs but some of my favourite dresses fit better and my chest doesn’t feel suffocated. It has taken weeks of workouts, tracking macros, eating 2-4 eggs and whey protein, counting every calorie and planning each meal. Am looking forward to the next phase. But today feels good. Today am proud of where I am and can see the significant progress that has been made.

PS : This post has been written after bingeing on fried rice, momos and a piece of plum cake with hot chocolate. But tomorrow is a new day with the opportunity to start afresh.

Good night.


Guilty

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It is way past my bedtime and am sorely going to regret being up this late when the morning run will be skipped. But, the guilt of not writing anything for one more night would have weighed heavily on my mind.

The weeks prior to this one were hectic with work and socialising. I decided to put a hard stop to work this week every evening, no matter what. Not just because I wanted to hit the gym and eat home cooked dinner every night but because I set the culture for my team. Sure, am new in the role, enthusiastic and want to do 100 things in the shortest time possible. But that is unfair to the people around me. Unlike me, they have friends and families to go back to. My working late puts the pressure on the others to stay back late in office. Most of my responsibilities are dependent on other people and not done individually. As hard as it is to come to terms with, the organisation is not going to fall apart if I end work on time. But my life, hobbies, goals, dreams and relationships surely will.

It has been a good week when there was sufficient time to workout, eat home cooked meals, read and Netflix. The only thing left out was blogging/writing. I wish I could write everyday. No matter what. Just 15 mins. That is it. Why is it so hard? Why does the thought of putting words on paper or typing them out exhaust me? Isn’t writing supposed to be rejuvenating? Or is it about taking the first step and everything else will follow? Just open the journal and stare at it for 5 mins. Everyday. Or open the webpage everyday? Let me try that.

People think spending time on social media is a waste of time and takes you away from more productive things. Social media makes me feel less lonely. I don’t feel the urge to resort to drinking or binge eating or calling random on my phone book. I guess, to each his/her own.

Ciao.


Exhaustion…. Anxiety… Or… Something else

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Last week was quite bad. I was working late hours to strike off everything on my “to do” list and my meals weren’t planned. But the worst part was not being able to get a workout in. I carried my gym bag to work everyday. All that had to be done was climb a few steps to the next floor and workout. Simple. But it didn’t happen because of exhaustion. It took hours of lounging around to push myself out of bed in the mornings. I was sore and weak. Low energy is the scariest thing in my life. Because am usually a very high energy person. What the hell was happening? Was I stressed? Do I need to slow down? Is it anxiety?

The questions were answered today when I started menstruating. It has been more than 20 years of hitting puberty and yet, every month the signs of PMS are different. Some months, the signs are emotional rather than physical. Why can’t they just be predictable? Thanks universe  for making it more difficult than it has to be.

I finished reading the book “She Said” by Jodi  Kantor and Megan Twohey. They are the journalists who investigated the charges of rape and sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. They are credited with starting the “Me Too” movement. The book uncovers how a man with power, influence and money used it to harass women from all walks of life. Even actresses. The women kept shut because they were offered money for silence. If you can’t bring down the man on your own, there is no other option. The men around him brushed his behavior under the carpet. Men always, always band together and rarely step in.

There is so much I want to say about this issue but is there any point? Haven’t I raged and ranted enough?

Ciao.