Muddled Thoughts

Does the shoes fit?

If you feel you’re knocking on closed doors, keep knocking. But only if they seem to have a window. At least make sure they would look out to see who’s there.

Then persist. For it’s a rare rock that doesn’t break by repeated hammering. Unless you’re not it’s weapon of choice.

Part of the beauty of this idea, this hypothesis of love, is its abstraction. Like water, it takes any shape, any form. Fills wherever it enters, empties whatever it leaves. Like it was never there.

For some, love is like a new idea in an artist’s mind. It takes shape in the head before it does for real on paper.

Sometimes the imagination is much better. At other times, you let go with the flow. Succumb and let your fingers take you to an ethereal creation. You stand back, breathless at what you’ve done.

Don’t be boggled by “what you thought” as opposed to “what it is”. The former will trap you, the later will let you know. And maybe let go.

You guard yourself like an ice bag, that would melt, time and again but never impart with all that it has. You would feel most yourself when frozen.

Unless someone manages to pierce right through. With a gentle hand of course. And then you realise you aren’t losing yourself. You’re just amalgamating into something better.

What you think is a leak, is a part of a higher process of creation. Let’s say you’re a machine. Your beloved laptop. You got to do away with the existing system to upgrade to a higher one. Something’s gotta end for a new one to begin.

Why do we hate endings so much? Why don’t we let things that run out their course, be? Attachment is wonderful till it becomes a leach.

Change. How wonderfully exciting and fearsome at the same time! Next to love, it’s perhaps the only thing that flaunts its oxymoronic capacity.

You guard your heart like a doorman. Watching strictly who passes by. Frisking them for anything they can use against you. For you think you’re precious. Or vulnerable. You are.

But so is everybody. Precious. Irreplaceable. For themselves anyway. Why not then make it a freeway? Let those come that seek to enter. Let those stay that meet your approval.

For everyone else, there’s always a well-spent goodbye. The gentle turning away and gradual fading as opposed to shocking them out of their wits by closing the door on their face, with a thud.

Selfless loving is seldom understood, let alone be appreciated.

Don’t stand with your high horse intimidating the curious eye. Don’t judge before knowing. Or write off before testing. Or succumb without doubting.

It’s a matter of life and death you know. This business of giving your heart to someone. You bestow them the power to enliven you or benumb.

But without love, the existence is merely perfunctory. Even animals exist. Even plants grow and wither. Even machines upgrade. That heart wasn’t given to you just to pump blood.

You’re subconsciously told and drilled to be ordinary, no matter how much they tell you to strive to be not. While the truth is, you’re supposed to move towards being a legend, no matter how much you strive to blend.

Or maybe the heart really was meant to just pump blood. Stupid humans dribbling it off course with their dirty mushy fingers. Then letting the poor heart dangle by their sleeve. But then we evolved into a multitasking race, didn’t we? Let’s explore it’s full potential.

We all take birth and do die. They say it’s the in between that matters.

The in between of being hopeless and hopeful. Of being raised to exultation and dumped into mourning. Between “what if” and “why not”. It’s never the extremes that teach us the survival skills anyway. Ah, the comfort of slinking into oblivion of the in-betweeness.

And then they still ask, why love? Why ain’t I enough? Because you aren’t programmed to be. Because no matter how much you master solitude, you’re slave to your desires.

Howsoever you bask in your self love, you crave appreciation. Some outspokenly. Some in hush hush subtlety. We love being loved.

Why fear a heart ache or a heart break? Do you fear death? Do you not get into your car each day knowing millions of people die in road accidents without it being their fault?

Do you not want to bungee jump or go trekking or scuba diving? Or for the less adventurous ones, visit a foreign land, taste exotic food, drive on an empty road by the sea at night?

We’re tuned differently in degrees, but like those toy soldiers made from a single teaspoon, we originate from the same base.

Find what gives solace to your heart and hold on tight to it. For however they’ve spoilt through over usage of this saying, but the truth is, you do only live once. And you’d die once and for all too.

Live, love, let live.

P.S. These were supposed to be random thoughts and hence probably the lack of any structure. But then I thought, let me put it here. Maybe the shoe fits someone.

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Indian Hospitality – The mindset!

Is it because foreigners really have low expectation from a developing country like ours? Or is it that Indians want optimal value for money?

Well, I am talking about hospitality – the way it is conceived, provided and expected by Indians.

Not just our country – maybe all of the Middle East and SE Asia. Every time I look up a property (AirBnB or hotels) in any of these parts of the world, it seems the Indians are just not happy enough. I think hospitality is such a big thing for us – Athithi Devo Bhava (Guest is GOD) that we expect more. Even when we visit people in the West we are horrified by how much we have to do ourselves. But a guest comes home and we fall overselves offering 8 dishes even for a simple chai meeting.

It’s the same way how cleanliness is to Japan? I guess every culture at large has its peculiarities or quirks , smothering guests is ours 😉

Or being overbearing guests!

I think no country does hospitality like the hotel industry in India. Just the simple act of almost affordable room service is an exception pretty much everywhere else. Amreekan hotels are functional. Of course there are fancy hotels that do desi kind of hospitality but they are way out of our reach least. Back home even at MTDC property you can order chai and pakode when it’s raining!

I think all of SE Asia does hospitality beautifully. Even in our homes – you call someone over for chai and you’ll have 6 snacks, home made.

It’s high threshold of Indian hospitality that does us in like you said. That is why the ITC managed hotels are so popular with the western and Indian travellers..they’ll throw in everythingin the name of hospitality to make you happy.

Indian hotels are the most overstaffed in comparison to similar hotels across categories anywhere in the world. Partly the reason foreigners can’t get over Indian hospitality. We, of course, take it for granted and then throw a tantrum when our expectations aren’t met.

Indians are also considered to be the rudest guests outside India. We’re so used to servility and the salaam-saab culture here that we forget when outside India, it’s considered basic courtesy to thank the staff for opening the door or serving your food, to the bell boy for having the honour of carrying his bags?

I feel Indians are used to a very high level of hospitality. Stay in any Indian five star and it’s obvious. Europe has no concept of hospitality – but any well travelled Indian would know and expect that. I for one have a problem travelling in European airlines – they just don’t know how to take care of you. Having moved to England to live here with my husband, I guess I will accept the reality…and look forward of being pampered when back home.

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Anxiety is hopelessness..

Anxiety is thinking you have everything under control,It’s feeling like your on top of the mountain,
Today you can handle anything, today you will conquer it all,
It’s assuming that everything will be okay because it is,
It’s getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed doing your makeup,

It’s being prepared to leave the house,

You practically skip to your car,
You get in, close the door, and you glance in the mirror,
Oops.
Anxiety is the rapid and sudden loss of control,
You slipped and now your rapidly spiraling back down the mountain,
It’s smashing into a brick wall that goes on forever,
It’s a flip of a switch and it doesn’t always make sense,
..I was just okay..I am okay..
It’s waking up with your heart pounding your breathing rapid,
There’s a golf ball in your throat,
You can’t breathe around it,
It’s the shaking hands,
Can’t look anyone in the eyes,
Begging someone to come help,
But praying no one comes near you,
It’s a sudden reeling loss of control,
And you just don’t know what to do,
And there’s nothing anyone else can do,
It’s the tears you won’t let fall because they won’t help,
It’s begging god for a sedative. 
You are okay but you are absolutely not okay,
There is nothing okay about how you feel,
If you don’t have anxiety you cannot understand what it feels like to have absolutely no idea what to do,
Regulating your breathing but your fingers and toes are tingling.
A war in your head you don’t always understand.
You know you need to breathe in for four hold for seven out for six,
You know you need to breathe all the way in and in again,
You know it’s just a panic attack,
You know you are okay,
You know it will be okay,
But you don’t know what to do.
Anxiety is getting your breathing under control,
Regulating your heart rate,

Plastering on a smile,

And pretending everything is okay,
Even though there’s a thundercloud behind you that you just can’t escape.
Pretending you aren’t barely holding on, to what?
It is wanting to claw at your skin and crawl out of your body because there is no reason for things to be this overwhelming and wrong.
Anxiety is the pure joy of feeling like you have control,
And the depression of being thrown back to the sharks,
Constantly trying to balance your racing mind and react the way you should if you were okay,
It’s learning how to smile just right, laugh just so, tilt your head and nod like your listening but you just can’t focus,
It’s so desperately wanting to just be normal, 
It’s knowing you should be enjoying something but you just aren’t,
It’s choosing not to go out, not to get up, not to move forward.
It is your mind creating irrational fears of things you don’t need to fear,
Anxiety is hopelessness,
But it’s not hopeless.

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Matilda effect…

In 1993, Margaret Rossiter coined a term for the forgotten women in science and, more generally, academia: The Matilda Effect. There was a pattern throughout history, she argued, of women who, when compared to men, failed to receive equal recognition or reputation for equal scientific achievement. These are the women whose names have been relegated to footnotes, or whose accomplishments have been scrubbed out like a blemish.”

The Matilda Effect is defined as “the systematic repression and denial of the contribution of woman scientists in research, whose work is often attributed to their male colleagues” but which applies to other fields as well and goes doubly for women of color. This is just science, not even history in the larger sense. The absence of women in history is man made.

Let’s ask ourselves is this still happening today and if yes – why are we women putting up with it? Rather than getting mad at men, let’s partner to empower women and men to collaborate as equals and true partners

While I know first hand about men taking credit for others work, it doesn’t stop at just taking credit for women’s work. Inferior people in the right positions will take credit for others work no matter gender to further themselves. These people should be the targets.

True. Beyond that is the intolerable and undeniable fact that such a vast number of women do not enjoy basic human rights the world over, are enslaved, and treated as less than a self. The record is damning. Each woman is someone’s sister, daughter, or mother, each is an “I”, a self. Yet still, even now in this day and age they are treated without basic freedoms and basic human rights. It is intollerable.

Strong honorable men are not threatened by strong women, often they have a strong vibrant woman at their side 🙂

Hear a magnetic song to celebrate any day as Women’s Day!!!

https://youtu.be/HucAF6Pg-vg

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“Not my problem”?? Its you.

Any partner who sees their partner suffering and, whether the reason is reasonable or not, says “It’s not my problem. It’s you” is not a partner. 

Partnership is about coming together when things are hard, not distancing from it. This is a basic tenet of any good relationship – empathy and compassion for the other person, not to mention if what you are doing is hurting the other person, stopping it. You do not have to accept less than that because you have mental issues.

I think there is something to be said for not being overly anxious or insecure when our significant others have friends they could potentially be attracted to. That being said, though, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a line in which loyalties end up being compromised. So, I’m not sure that I agree that this is totally our thing to figure out. Some of the activities might seem to be potentially problematic and tiptoeing up to some line of inappropriateness (it’s one of those things where even if you can’t define the line, you sort of recognize it when it shows up). Also, if some of those behaviors are painful to you, they are painful to you, and a good partner will at least try to be sensitive to that rather than say it’s totally your thing to figure out.

Partner’s behavior would make one feel insecure. It doesn’t have to be “is he going to have an affair”; it can just be “is our connection dying on the vine and am I seeing the signs of it in the way he is no longer prioritizing me”.

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When joy and grief are knitted together…

I could barely read this but its a good read.

https://driftingthrough.com/2015/01/30/lessons-from-the-worst-day-of-my-life-2/
The lessons are invaluable and at least the experience has left us with those.

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Is marriage an achievement?

A friend forwarded this image to me on Whatsapp. Not sure I agree entirely. A wedding is not an achievement. A good, balanced marriage certainly is, calling for years of work on the part of both parties.

Thankfully marriage was never ever a topic in our household. Education and career was. I was never told not to do this, not to say this, etc because I had to get married one day. During studies when other girls used to fantasize about marriage I on the other hand thought about polishing my skill, volunteering and even started working. And when I was earning, girls my age were getting married and I on the other hand was learning new skills and thinking about how to get a house on my name! My family never ever got worried about our marriage and when the right time came I married on my terms and by my choice and still living how I wanted to. 

Individual religious beliefs also have a high impact on this uneven happiness or otherwise in the marriage. 

Making a marriage, or any relationship, work takes effort. Being happy in a marriage, or other relationship, is an achievement that should be celebrated. 

Getting married in and of itself is not an achievement. Getting married is not a goal. It is just a thing that can happen or not in the middle of all your achievements. And when it happens make sure you get married on your own terms. 🙂

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Love is…

First day of the year and I am more excited than anyone. Another beautiful chapter to be written over a year.

Excitedly I opened my gifted journal to the first question. It happens to be the most over-used and misunderstood word – LOVE. It is never easy to define love…or is it?

Infatuation is not love.

Attention is not love.

Sex is not love.

Love is mysterious.

I don’t know if I believe in the idea of soul mates or love at first sight. But I do believe that I have someone who is exactly right for me. Not because he was perfect, or because I was, but because our combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two individuals fit like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

When we are incomplete, we are always searching for somebody to complete us. But, after a few years of a relationship, we blame our partners for the feeling of un-fulfillment. Let’s admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us. Choosing to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure. The most painful thing is losing ourself in the process of loving someone too much or expecting someone to love us in a certain way, and forgetting that we are special too.

People like to say love is unconditional, but even so it definitely should come with a disclaimer. Falling in love is easy but staying in love is a huge responsibility. It’s like someone wants you to be happy and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won’t be happy unless you are. Phew – now that’s a vicious cycle and a responsibility! But if there is always an expectation attached – something in return, then its heading to a disaster. 

We will question our partner if they really love us. We will ask this a dozen times but do we ever ask if they are mad at us. When someone is angry, we don’t doubt it for a moment. Thus the reverse should be true also. We doubt the positive qualities in others, but seldom the negative. Why do we doubt the negative in life instead of having faith in the positive? Is it so difficult? Are we engineered like that?

We secretly wish for that special person who is right for us. But if we happen to have kissed a few frogs, we begin to suspect the existence of the prince. Why is so? Was I wrong in some way to find partners who were wrong in a complementary way? I don’t think that’s the case – they helped me a lot to grow fully into my own wrongness.

And it isn’t until we finally overcome our deepest fears, our courage of taking another change – the ones that make us truly who we are – that we are ready to find a lifelong partner. Only then do we finally know what we are looking for. But not just any wrong person: the right-wrong person – someone we lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. I think as we grow wiser with time, we are more willing with our accumulated courage take a chance on someone. Becoming soul-mates takes a lifetime to perfect. We have to recognize that there cannot be any relationship unless there is commitment, loyalty, love, patience, and persistence.

It’s said that “When God knows we are ready for commitment, He will reveal the right person even under the wrong circumstances.” I strongly believe in it because I found that special person who is wrong for me in just the right way – someone who knows the shape of my fears and contour my dreams.

Its amazing how a person who was a stranger suddenly meant the world to me. He deserves the world and one day I will find out how to give it to him.

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Give another chance, can you?

Whilst I am trying to keep things light around because I am in the happiest phase of my life, sometimes things like relationships becomes a weighty subject.

Like it did for a dear friend of mine – let me call her Annie.

After a string of dates with a series of losers, players, flakes and bores, her next foray into the dating world led her to the classic selfish jerk. She meets a promising man. He’s employed. He’s interesting. He’s passionate about the world around him. He says he wants to get married one day. He seems normal – you know how hard it is to find a normal guy.

But life turned around for her soon enough. He put her down and manipulated her every chance he got. Being inexperienced, she assumed this was normal. Her confidence plummeted, and even after discovering his infidelity few times she didn’t have the courage to break it off with him. She even moved to a different country to be with this man. Basically, she tried everything (Love is blind for many). She didn’t think she was doing anything wrong, and didn’t feel she deserved any better.

In one of their parties, her man’s best friend forced himself onto her. Next day, she confided in her man as he was the only person she really knew who would understand and support her during her emotional distress.

Instead of supporting, he laughed at her. This ignorant “man” told her she “was only good for sex anyway.”

Tragically, part of her believed him.

It’s easy to see why Annie is now terrified of relationships. Even when she meets a guy that seems nice, she rules them out fearing he’s another jerk. She’s wounded and in her own words, “cynical.”

We know intellectually that not every man is as bad as the ones we have encountered. It would be a huge mistake to blame each new guy for the sins of the men in our past.

Nonetheless, moving on is not as easy as snapping our fingers and putting trauma such as infidelity and emotional cruelty behind us. Our experiences are very real, very painful, and they are bound to shade our whole view of the world.

We need to remind ourselvesJust please don’t let them determine it.

Yes, easier said than done!

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Leaders who do things right…or wrong

One of the most important relationships in our lives — that between the manager and the managed.

I will use the word `boss’ rather than `leader,’ `manager,’ or `supervisor’ (although all are bosses) because it implies an authority figure that has direct and frequent contact with subordinates – and who is responsible for personally directing and evaluating their work.

We are living through a period of tremendous change in the workplace and the world alike. It takes us online, gives us advice on how to dress for success, and reiterates how to present our ideas effectively.

I see leadership as a craft; something personal. We all want our team to think we are a good boss, right? We all also want to get perfect results and please our own boss, right? Why does it seem so hard to do one, not at the expense of the other?

Growing up we all had interactions with one leader or another. The way leaders lead in the past is different than how we have to lead today. Our teams are a hybrid of physical and virtual and figuring out how to effectively lead is a challenge all while maintaining our own “style”. For example, growing up my old leaders were not tech savvy – facebook, twitter and instagram didn’t mean much or were not invented. But in today’s world social media is everywhere. From Generation X to the new Millennial generation, we need to understand the importance of how each generation thinks, plans, and finally leads in their professional life – goal setting, preparation and finding ones strengths in the fields that one will become leaders in.

However, often we are in dilemma I bet many other like me face…

There is a generational difference in attitude and expectations and this will inevitably affect leadership style. The old ways are certainly dated and the old school values of individual responsibility and self-reliance are not as ingrained in a connected generation more focused on cooperation and group work. This is not inherently a good or bad thing, but a change that is best acknowledged and accommodated for.

For some reason, when a capable employee who seems to get along with fellow employees becomes “the boss”, something usually happens with how they interact with those same employees; and that “something” usually isn’t good. Welcome to corporate world, where a good two-thirds of its employees don’t like their jobs, primarily because they don’t like their bosses. In the business world, however, everyone agrees that having a “good boss” is highly preferable to having a “bad boss.”

I am not capable to talk about the leadership theory, but I believe that I can balance it with pragmatic lens on the real world. This is a fundamentally optimistic point of view: it is saying that we can all improve, that we are all working prototypes capable of learning and getting better.

However defined, a “boss” by nature is given or somehow obtains at least some degree of control of and – yes – responsibility for others, for better or worse “when performing essential chores like taking charge, making wise decisions, and turning talk into action. They are pounding themselves and their people so hard for short term results of any kind that they have forgotten how to get the best out of them. They have never needed peak levels of creativity, engagement, and risk-taking by their very best people.

A mark of being a good boss is that people don’t notice what you are doing, but are merely aware of that things are going well. And for bad boss, people tend to notice only where they are spectacularly bad and miss most of the components and contributing factors. I believe that they should understand human nature and knows what you should do, shouldn’t do and not be foolish enough to do just because, for a moment in time Mr Boss, you have got the power to get away with a temporary cover up.

Whose resonance not only made you laugh but also made you wonder what you were thinking by getting into organizational life in the first place? In reality, bosses are rarely good all around or bad all around, but instead some kind of a mix.

Well, I’m getting close to my word limit (self imposed) or I could go on and on. Hopefully I have succeeded in whetting your appetite.

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