It is the journey that counts….

For quite some time I have believed that ” Winning is not important.. it is how you get there that matters”.  I have been trying to teach Nia the same thing for some time now too. I have been telling her that the journey is as important as the finish. That even if she doesn’t win or come first, as long as she enjoyed what she did, it is good.

But the competetive self in her doesn’t buy it. She sees the pleasure and the glory of a winner and strives to get there. No matter how much I tell her to enjoy something, her goal is to be a winner in it. It could be anything – dancing, singing, painting,  running or even collecting sweets at a carnival. I mean how does it matter if another child collected 2 sweets more than you? You have a basket full and the chances are you are not going to get to eat them anyway… But no.. she needs those two sweets  cause then she will have the max number… in short she becomes a winner!

I watched “ek mein aur ek tum” the other day and felt sorry for children who have parents like those of the guy – instead of celebrating the silver medal  they are rebuking him for not winning the Gold…. And then instead of letting him try further, they just put him into a new activity… Poor guy spends his entire life trying to please his parents n “WIN” them something…. Nia had a bit of that attitude too. If she thinks she can’t win it, she won’t even start it. By telling her again and again that winning is not EVERYTHING, I have been able to coax her into trying new things now.

But I do realise something. ” Winning is not important.. it is how you get there that matters” – this is something that you would say to someone who hasn’t won. It is more of a consolation line than really meeaning it. Won’t I like Nia to win everything she gets into??? Ofcourse i would. And how many times do you go to a winner and ask ” Did you enjoy it? cause the one who lost enjoyed it!” No – the winner is so busy enjoying winning that he doesn’t care if he enjoyed it…Even if he didn’t, he is making up for it now.  So would I like to teach her the same again??? ummm Noo.. I think what I would like to teach her is that Winning is important, but so is how you get there. If you put in your best efforts, enjoyed what you did, and still didn’t get to be the winner then it is ok. You should not STOP doing something just cause you can’t win it.  If you enjoy it, continue. If you can win something but don’t enjoy doing it, then what’s the point in doing it again?

God knows I am not the best dancer around.. but I love it too much to stop dancing. Even on a ” Bad- Back” day, I can still dance to my favorite song..  But I know I have the brains to solve dull Maths problems.. I can do it in my sleep.. but they are so boring to do that they make me wish I were asleep everytime I start solving them.  So .. my hope is that my kids can one day understand that Winning may be important, but it is not EVERYTHING!

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Keep it simple silly

Lately I have been observing Americans and what they do, how they behave and how they like things. I wanted to share my thoughts about it.. I am not saying all they do is good or all is bad. All I am doing is sharing my thoughts.

I am beginning to think that Americans like to keep things simple – The sun should rise around 6 AM and set around 6 PM. So if that doesn’t happen, they change their clocks accordingly ( That’s the only explanation for DST I could think of) !

Have you seen Americans driving? And have you ever seen an American in India? The look on their faces when they see Indian driving is that of total horror! I used to laugh about it but now I totally get it. Here every one moves in lanes.. and they would rather drive an extra mile than take a last-minute lane change risk! I guess that is because your wife will not have a chance to look out the window and say ” Honey, look at the great mangoes! Please stop here so I can buy some!”

When we see someone on the road, we slow down the car but keep crawling so that once the road is clear or if the person/cow/dog is out of the way, we can simply zoom past. Not here dear friends. If they see anyone on the road, they will stop their cars and wait for you to cross almost 5 feet away from where you are. They sure have patience, I’ll give them that!

Americans are very very courteous. I think I say or hear more “Thank you” and “sorry” in a day than I woud use in a month in India! 🙂 They would hold the door open for you, wait till you are done than try to sneak a way to grab a spoon that is near you.

It is interesting how they still think that people in India do not use electricity! As if we complete our masters studying under candle light!

A storm hit Northern New york and they were out of electricity for 2 days! They news featured people complaining that they had to live in their houses without electricity at 40 degree F. I quote ” No one should have to live in such conditions”.  When I informed them that in India we don’t use “central AC/heater” and it is quite normal for us to do without furnaces even at 37 degree F ( 1 Degree C), the look of horror on their faces was priceless!

Ok I admit it is more comfortable to live here with temperature at just the right setting for you. You can wear ANYTHING at home irrespective of the temperature outside..

We are told that Americans don’t use the horn. What they mean is that they don’t use it as much as we do. We use a horn every 10 seconds of our driving, while they use it once in an hour of their driving. And NO it is doesn’t mean that they are abusing, it is for the SAME reason as ours–  to let the other person know that we are there!

I knew that Americans like their privacy and respect yours, but I was very sad to see that even your mother was supposed to call you before coming to meet you. You can’t just show up at anyone’s doorstep and expect them to be happy to see you- no not even your mother!

While some of my inital impressions about Americans have grown stronger into an opinion, others have dissolved  to become misconceptions. I have enjoyed my stay in America so far, but I will admit, I’ll rather go back and live in India where I know I belong and where everyday is not spent learning or understanding the behaviour of my fellow beings. I know what behaviour is acceptable in India and I don’t have to think twice about it. I am sure if my kids grew up in America, they would be more comfortable than I would be.

There may be a lot of things inIndia that need improvement but there are a lot of things that work as well! For one – I like to be able to go see my family anytime I want!

Thoughts of a worried mom

Priyanka’s post got me thinking..

 Yes, Nia is a reflection of us, both me and Vikrant. And I am not sure I like what she is getting to be. She seems to be picking up the worst of me and Vikrant. Is it cause we are spending more time scolding her than anything else?

 When we thought of having kids, it scared me. Well I am not exactly a “kids person”. Before having a niece, I could have sworn I hate kids. Well, I didn’t know how you could love yelling, demanding, self-centered monsters! I was scared of having misbehaved kids myself. And before I had my kids, I was one of those misbehaved yelling demanding self-centered monsters! How my mom found it in herself to love me is still a mystery.

 So when I had Nia I was sure I wanted to be strict with her so she was not misbehaved. I was blessed to have her, a docile angel who wanted to be pampered and protected from the world. But even then I was not taking chances and I put further restrictions. Don’t touch the glass objects, don’t climb the unstable chair, be careful when you crawl under the table… and so on. Now that I think of it, I do have a well behaved girl who is amazing with outsiders but at home it is a whole different story. ( I know I am the same and that is what scares me) But in the process did I hamper her creativity? Did I stop her from exploring? Am I stopping her from being herself and wanting her to become what I want her to be?

 

It is not easy being a mother. And my grandma’s generation was better off. They always had someone with them who knew what they were doing, like their mother or mother in law, and they did not know about all the psychology issues that we hear about now. If they felt that they needed to scold the child or even slap them once in a while then it was ok. Today when I think that Nia deserves a slap, I start thinking about how it would affect her and if it would give her some kind of a complex! God I don’t know anything about raising children but I do want what is best for them.

 If I were to go back to when Nia was 1 year old, I know that the one thing I will change is that I will NOT scold her or shout at her as much as I did! I used to get frustrated but I have to lead by example and shouting is not something I want her to learn. I remember when I used to punish her too. I would tell her to stand in a corner and she would do that – till the time I got tired and asked her to come back. The punishments stopped when I went to my mother’s place cause my mom wouldn’t let me, and Nia’s health improved.

 Another thing I would change is Vikrant’s absence. Even now Nia is insecure about her parents going away and leaving her alone. Even though I have never left her alone anywhere, her biggest fear seems to be our absence.

 What really goes on in a child’s mind? How do I help her grow and make her own decisions and live her own life while also keeping her in check? Where do I get all my answers cause surely a book doesn’t have all the answers I am looking for!

What Women want!

 

A friend of mine is getting married and, like all bachelors, is worried about the responsibility he is taking. Though I know he is probably the last person to read this blog, I thought I’ll still share it with those who choose to read it.

What do women want? What will make them happy?

What would make a marriage work?

Okie, so there are a lot of things, small and big, and I can’t even hope to cover it all. But I will keep it simple.

Women want to feel like the princess they read about in the fairy tales.

They don’t mind playing second to someone in most aspects of life but when it comes to marriage or “their guy” they have to be the number one.. they have to be the princess who their charming prince tries to “sweep off their feet”.

 

So if you can make her feel like that princess even 60% of the time, you will have a very happy wife who is ready to go through whatever you put her through the rest of the time.. and yes it includes late nights at work and even an occasional boys time out!

So remember 60% of the time after marriage should be such that she feels like a princess. Even if it is a simple call telling her you will be late, or that you like how she smells, or that you think that a little fat makes her look sweet! I am not saying you stop working and spent the whole day admiring her.. no no no.. Making someone feel special doesn’t take the whole day.. It just takes a few minutes, a few thoughtful minutes.

 Of course she wants to be the most important lady in your life. She will not want to play second to anyone, not even your mother. Take it as you want… but if you can make her feel that even though you love your mother, she is still the most important person in your life, your wife can be your mother’s best friend.

 

Keep your Promises – or don’t make them. Broken promises hurt more because it feels like betrayal. So if you are promising her now, before marriage, that you will have a cook and she doesn’t need to step inside a kitchen unless she wants to, stick to it, or else don’t say anything like this.

Say you are sorry when you know you have made a mistake. You might have said something or you might have forgotten some occassion that was important to her, don’t make it an ego issue. Just say sorry. It works much better than you imagine.

 

Trust her. There is nothing that feels worse than a husband who won’t trust you. Despite all the Saas-Bahu serials you see on TV, not every daughter in law is out to destroy you and your family. She may not know how to communicate with you yet, but she will learn. But till she does, trust her that she is not always speaking against you or your family or to cause a rift between you. Ask her what she really wants before you decide she is the black sheep of the family. She may just have a different perspective about things. Either you will learn from her or she will start to realize how things work in your family.

And finally, learn to forgive and give her a chance. Like all humans, she will make mistakes- may be a lot of them. Instead of holding them against her for the rest of your life, forgive her and give her a chance to improve. 

All the best trying to figure out the rest!

Thoughts after Delhi Belly

So I watched the much talked about movie – Delhi Belly. My thoughts on and after that movie – Nice movie that could easily be made much cleaner. I mean do you really need to hear an abuse every 2 minutes in the movie? No. Fine you want to show the “real” world where the son of a rich father stays in a house whose roof falls off! But even in the real world do we really abuse THAT much? The movie should leave an impression on you based on the story it tells, but all I remember of that movie are the abuses.

I don’t know about you but I come from a family where abuses are not so common. Frankly I have not heard my father use the MC BC MF abuse EVER. His biggest abuse (that he used in front of us kids) was “ullu ka patha” and “Gadhe ka bachcha”. So you can well imagine what hell broke loose when I started using the F word in college. Everyone abuses, alright but for us sexual abuse were unheard of. Even today I can not get myself to say the MC BC words and use the abbreviation if I ever need to make its reference like I just did.

I too abuse, not at home but when I drive. And even then I stick to the ullu idiot type of abuses – harmless right! Well no not really, cause I realised that my 3-year-old can easily pick those up. And I can not even begin to describe how I feel about a child using abuses. I dislike it, no I hate it… no actually I feel so disgusted with the idea of a child abusing that I can’t go further on that topic. So imagine my horror when I realised that, unknowingly, I had taught my daughter an abuse.. not the ullu gadha type .. but (i am guessing ) a sexual one … Let us face it ..Bhaag Bhaag is a catchy song.. and I had NO IDEA that DK Bose was an abuse. One could hear me and Nia sing that song quite often.. yes.. laugh all you want.. but when someone told me it was an abuse I was horrified. The efforts I had to put in NOT to sing that song and also to make Nia stop singing…. Every now and then we hear it being played somewhere and start humming it. But now I am particular to skip the abusing bit.

So back to the movie Delhi Belly .. Why so many abuses in one movie? I quite like the movie but I would have liked it better if it was cleaner.

The purpose of life …

Caught in the daily routine of life, we tend to forget what life is all about. But there are days when we sit down and wonder, what is the purpose of our lives? Is it to earn money and provide for the kids? Is it to enjoy the moment and spend lavishly to buy happiness? No one really knows, and I am no sage, but here are my two cents —

The purpose of life is to be happy. Yes, it is as simple as that.

 

We haven’t been sent here to suffer. On the contrary, we are here to be happy. So whatever you do, is to be happy. We learn things as a child, our first step is taken and we get applauded. We made our parents happy and we are happy. We study hard, get to a good college and then a good job… all so that we can earn well and live comfortably.

Yes, we were sent to this earth to be happy. But today if I am going to be happy by spending all my money on food and clothes, should I do that? No, cause if I do that how will I be happy tomorrow? So I am going to redefine the purpose of life.. It is to be happy today and tomorrow. Our aim should be long-term happiness. Am I going to be happy today by spending lavishly but at the same time, saving some for tomorrow? Sure why not, chances are that I will just as happy as I would have been had I spent all my money.

Similar rule applies to all aspects of our life. At any point when you start feeling sad and lonely, you should try to think what would make you happy and then do it. But remember, happy not just today but in the long term as well. Someone would say, what if what would make me happy would make someone else sad? Well, the answer is: how important is that person for you? I am not saying that you should make yourself happy at all costs. If what you do, puts someone else in a loss or hurts someone, then how can it be a long-term happiness? And if that person is very important to you, then his/her happiness will affect your happiness as well. So doing something that will make him sad can not make you happy in the long-term.

May be an example will make it clearer. Today I want to party, all through the night, get drunk and have not a care in this world. I feel that will make me happy. But there are people who get effected by this – my husband and my kids. My husband will not be happy if I get drunk and my kids will feel abandoned if I am partying through the night. Sure I would have been happy today if I went for that party, but tomorrow when I come back, I would see my family who got effected. Would I be happy then? No, I don’t think so. So, I balance it out. I go for the party, enjoy and dance to my heart’s content ( or in my case till I have the stamina) and then head home to my family. I am happy and so is my family.

I am not sure how many of you agree or even see sense in what I wrote, but I still feel : The purpose of life is to be happy, today and tomorrow but always keeping your priorities in mind.

It was a Saturday

“What time is it?” wondered Shruti as she opened her eyes in the morning. It was 6 AM. She still had another hour before she really had to get up. “Or I could get up and get some household work done while Yana sleeps” thought Shruti. At 7:30 she tried to wake up Sid, “Utho, you’ll get late for office”.  ” You are the only wife who likes to send her husband to work on a saturday” exclaimed a sleepy Sid. ” Oh its saturday! I am sorry. Go to sleep” replied Shruti. ” Darn, the househelp would come in late as well. And I have already prepared lunch! Why am I so forgetful? Why did I not realise it is Saturday?” Yana woke up and Shruti got busy bathing, feeding and playing with her daughter. She adored her. Her world revolved around her. When Sid woke up they had breakfast. “Let’s go out today. There are some fantastic sales. Even Mark and Spenser has 70% off” said Shruti. “Shruti, I don’t like to go out every weekend. You do realise that I go out everyday and would like a day to sit at home” replied Sid, “I know you like to go out on weekends cause you are home the whole week. But let’s go tomorrow. Ok?” “Fine, achcha the computer isn’t working again, have a look at it, ok?” and she settled down with Yana and finishing the household chores.

“Who is ringing the bell at this unearthly hour?”, Ruchi said rubbing her eyes, yawning. It’s just 3:30 PM but its Saturday.. I could have slept a bit more. She opened the door. It was Shanti. Ummmm … I could still snooze a bit. ‘Baby .. Baby utho… Khana bana diya hai, kha lo…’ Shanti said. ‘Hmmm theek hai Shanti’ “Uth jao baby, 4:30 ho gaye hain… ” “Are Shanti, Saturday Sunday late aaya karo na” ‘ Ab iss se late kya aaon baby. Ghar pahunchte hoe 5 baj jaye ge”. “Achcha theek hai, kya banaya hai?” “Aallo beans” “uff achcha kal kuch achcha bannana, yeh lo Rs. 20 kal ki sabhji le aana.” “Kal ke liye rajma le aao, raat ko bhigo dena. Aur haan maggi bhi khatam hai. Le aana. Ab mein jati hoon” Uhhh the house was clean, food cooked, she really could just get up eat, get ready and be out of the house in another hour. OR she could sleep.

It was 5PM when Shruti woke up from her afternoon nap. Sid was washing the car. He loves the car, the TV and his computer more than me, smiled Shruti. Oh isn’t that what every housewife thinks? Anyways let me call Ruchi. It has been a while since I met her and she is just a few kilometers away. She remembered when Ruchi was in college and came over  every other day to Shruti’s bachelor pad as they called it. They were very close then. Yes, I’ll ask her to come over today.

The phone rang. Huh what??? Hello… “you are still sleeping?” cried her mother, “it’s almost 6PM”. ” Oh hi mum, yeah I felt like sleeping”, said Ruchi.  ” You really should get up now, didn’t Shanti come today?”, Mother asked. ” She did, cleaned the house, cooked and left” ” You know you really shouldn’t trust maids like this. You should keep an eye on her”, advised mom. “Mummy, what’s the point? It’s not like I have any valuables. Infact I don’t own a thing here. Not even a frying pan. My purse and clothes are locked in the cupboard. What will she steal? Maggi?” “still..” began her mother but Ruchi cut her short. “Mom I have to go get maggi.. I better get ready now.” ” Are, we speak once in a week and you can’t even spare 5 minutes for your mother? You didn’t even ask me how me and your father are?” ” Mum I am sure everyone is ok. Besides, you know my routine. If I call you at night you are asleep. And at this time everyday I am too busy at work. You know how it is mum.” ” Yes dear I know. One day you will realise that you take us for granted. Achcha talk to Shruti today. Don’t forget.” “Moooommmm, Shruti will insist on meeting”, she cribbed. “So what is wrong with that. She is your sister. You used to idolize her not so long ago” “Cousin,” she put in,” and I used to idolize her cause she was working, on her own, living a dream life when I was still in college. Now she is married and all she talks about is her baby. I like that baby, she is cute, but do I HAVE to listen to EVERYTHING she does?” “Hmm one day you will understand , but today you call her and talk to her, Promise!” ” Ok mom.. the things I do for you Bye… Love you”.

Ruchi wasn’t a CEO or even a manager in the company she worked for, but she was good at what she did and more importantly, she was happy with what she did. She liked her schedule even if no one around her understood it. She got up, called Shruti and as expected they made a program to meet.

Okieeee, shopping done and Shruti is about 10 minutes away, time to get some coffee. Ummmm nothing like a cold coffee with lots of chocolate.  Uh, there is Shruti. Hmm check out her new car. Sid really does pamper her. Well I am happy for her. ‘Heyyy Hiiii how have you been” she said hugging Shruti. ” I am good, sorry got a little late, Yana vomited all over me just as I was getting out of the house”, exclaimed Shruti, ” are nahi I changed before I came”, she continued on seeing her expressions and eagerness to get out of the hug. Ruchi grinned. “are yeh kya? Why waste Rs 100 on cold coffee. Ghar pe Sid isse achchi coffee pila deta”, said Shruti.  ” yeah right” Ruchi said. “What’s all this you have Ruchi? Maggi? It’s not healthy you know. Anyways you could have gone to big bazzar rather than shopping at City Centre. You get good deals there and City centre is just costly” Ruchi laughed and then realised in horror that Shruti was serious. ” God Shruti, what happened to you? I didn’t even think of the cost. I wanted it and I bought it. Isn’t that what you used to do?” “Uh yes, but that was 5 years ago. Today I think before I spend. Even with groceries I try to figure out where I can save.” replied Shruti as they headed to her house and family.

It was 10 PM when Shruti dropped her home. She had a good time at Shruti’s house. Yana was adorable except for her diaper disaster. Sid was sweet as always. She liked meeting them. But now she was late for that party. Ruchi called Shaily and arranged for her to pick her up. She got ready as soon as she could and headed for the new clubhouse in Saket where they danced the night away. Yes it was a typical Saturday for Ruchi, and she loved every bit of it.

Shruti put Yana down in her cot for the night. Hmm it was a good day. She enjoyed Ruchi’s company. Sid was watching TV when she cuddled up with him to watch a movie. Yes it was a typical Saturday for Shruti and she loved every bit of it.

By the way.. You might have already guessed, Shruti and Ruchi are both me, just 6 years apart 🙂