Fool no more

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1st April is popular as ‘April Fools Day’. While this is a pranksters D’day, they can fool people as much as they like😉, I believe it also holds a very significant meaning in our lives.

31st March marks the end of the financial calender for most countries and 1st April marks the beginning of a new fiscal year. For most of us it means making sure our taxes are paid. However, sometimes we are not able to meet those dues and as a result we end up paying way more than planned for, sometimes even forfeiting a huge chunk of our salary.

How does this affect us?

I would like to make reference here to our personal lives. During the last year what investments did we make on ourselves so that we would be saved the burden of taxes at this time?

By taxes I mean,  regrets, disappointments, failure, loss and no personal satisfaction.

Our actions and choices during the year, determine what our progress will be this year.

If we had
– upskilled ourselves
– Worked on our weaknesses
– Paid attention to the feedback shared by our colleagues and managers
– Understood the importance of giving time to relationships
– Learnt from the mistakes we made
– Took chances on things close to our heart
– monitored our physical health and well being closely

Well, we would have made the necessary payments on our life on time.  We would now be in a better position to

– nominate ourselves for that big promotion
– built more confidence in our strengths
– worked on areas of improvement for overall betterment
– had better rapport and trust with the people around us
– be better prepared to watch for signs that resulted in mistakes or failure
– prioritized the important things in life
– and finally, be fit to pursue our dreams and ambitions

This is one more opportunity to get your life and priorities aligned to what you desire or dream of achieving.

It is one more opportunity to work on your Emotional Bank Account.

It is the time to decide that next year, your taxes are going to bear fruit.

If we can make the necessary investments financially to avoid huge tax cuts, why can’t we make some adjustments to our lives and ensure the dividends we receive are double fold and empowering.

May your 1st April be an eye opener to the various pranks life can play on us from time to time😊

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Celebrating Women’s Day!

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8th March, International Womens’ Day!

A day dedicated to women. A day when people, especially men, talk about the strength of women and the dedication of women and how women are so much more than men. A day when they talk about giving women an equal stature in society and respect.

A day when women squeeze out every ounce of support for their events on empowering women, giving voice to some of their concerns and trying to get a whole world to change their perception of women.

And then comes 9th March!

Everything goes back to as it was before 8th March.

No, I am not being critical or cynical. I just don’t believe it is necessary to have to celebrate a ‘Woman’ or a ‘Man’ on any one particular day.

I consider myself a feminist. But my views are different from the so called feminists that put women on a pedestal.

I believe men and women both have their place in life. Both have their roles in life as well. By nature a man cannot give birth and a woman does not have the natural physical strength of a man. These are facts.

However, I do believe that the world has evolved and has brought in a lot more opportunities and a completely different mind set to its inhabitants. It has given room for every person, irrespective of gender to stretch their limits and achieve much more than they could have before. We are now witnessing stories of immense courage, resilience and success which are not restricted to only one gender.

It is then, with this perspective, that I believe there should be equal opportunities for women, should they wish, to pursue whatever road they like. There should not be any restrictions or conditions. Girls and boys should be treated equally at home and at the work place.

I understand, women have been primary care givers at home since time immemorial. But, that does not mean they should give up on their dreams or aspirations. Men too have been bread winners in families through the ages but that also does not mean that they should be held solely responsible for providing for their families.

This gender distinction needs to change. Once we remove the tags attached to each gender we will have better relationships and more successful people in the world.

Empowering a woman in equal measures will strengthen the society because, it will create an equal safe space for all.

Celebrating a gender on one day is really not fair. People in our lives should be celebrated everyday. They should be made to feel important, loved and valued, irrespective of which gender they belong to. This will also give our newer generations the impetus to accept people for what they are rather than the gender they represent.

 

The Other You

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Has there ever been a time in your life when you feel “If only I could be that person” or have you ever wanted something but was just not sure of what others might think of you?
Have you ever felt like changing your image that people have of you?

I know I have been in these situations many times.

The good news is you can!

In all of us there is a little voice that is very contradictory by nature. It may be the mischievous one, the playful one, the sexy one (ahem!), or the more serious, practical and logical one.

It’s just that we do not pay much attention to it.

We believe the persona that is externally visible is the one we need to nurture.

Well, you may be a little bit off target here. You see that inner voice is actually the real one.

Welcome to the ‘Other You’

I can vouch for this fact because I am living proof. I have two very strong personas buried deep within me. And, I have also seen the folly of giving too much attention to only one.

I may be lucky in that I have two first names. And both are extremely contrasting in meaning as well. While using one I automatically become a more matured, serious, responsible individual who is willing to put others happiness before her own. But when I switch to the other persona, magically my thoughts and behaviour transform into a self confident, no nonsense, frank and independent girl-woman. Yes, this is the one that gets me into a lot of trouble😉

Surprisingly, I love the latter me, which I have only recently discovered and understood.

You see, we change ourselves so much to please others or to get certain privileges that we lose out on what really means a lot to us. We sacrifice ourselves and because it is a done thing we don’t really think much about it. Till we come face to face with a situation that tests our inner self. That’s when we crumble, we are torn, not willing to give in.

During my growing years everytime my ‘latter me’ tried to make its presence felt it was subdued by strict parenting. So, to me that was rebellious. I was not allowed to give it a voice.

Luckily for me I got the opportunity quite late in my life. And, it has opened a Pandora’s Box of immense opportunity for me. It has allowed me to add meaning to my life.

I need both my personas to keep me grounded and balanced, because that is who I really am.

No, I do not have a medical problem!😉

It just that I believe we should be true to who we really are. Do not misrepresent yourself. You have a lot of potential and sometimes it is that inner voice that gives you the inspiration and motivation to take that extra step.

It is the one who believes in you.

I can … can’t I?

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How many of you have been in a situation where you really feel you can do something, but don’t because you have been told you can’t?

For most of our early lives, we believe what we are told we can or can’t do. Not out of capability or ability but as a societal or gender norm.

We start believing that to be true and all our adult life is spent trying to prove those naysayers either true or false. We either become passive bystanders allowing life to pass us by or we rebel and become social outcasts.

I have been fortunate to have two great teachers in my life.
My children and my dogs!

Shocked! Surprised!

It’s true. There’s no greater example of this testimony than watching children and dogs.

My first lesson was way back when my firstborn started preschool or Montessori. The first day was more stressful for me than him. I had heard stories about little ones crying nonstop, being fearful and giving all a hard time. Looking back I now find I never noticed any of those signs on my son’s face. He was excited to be going to school with his new tiffin box filled with his favorite treats and his little bag with his favorite cartoon character on it.

And as any new paranoid mother (actually I was the only one), I spent his first day at school sitting outside his class just in case he needed me! (Seems I can be quite persuasive with authority at times😉)

He did not!

As I peeped in through the glass doors, I saw him and a few other children happily exchanging stories and readily accepting their new leader, their teacher!

What struck me was that most of them came from regional language backgrounds with maybe a splattering of English under their little belts, but that did not stop them from communicating with each other. There was no hesitancy in trying whatever means they could to get their message across.

A big eye opener indeed! Children have never ceased to amaze me and I am always eager to engage with children because their minds are so fertile and pure. Makes you want to be that way as well.

However, as adults we can’t!

And why? Because you would be termed immature, you would not be taken seriously and in severe cases … considered mental.

With dogs especially I have learned that if you care about something or someone it’s OK to make a fool of yourself over that. Dogs will do the silliest of things if it means getting a pat or a treat or just a ‘good doggie ‘ from its owner. And they have no limits.

We can’t.

Once we reach a certain age an invisible code of conduct is automatically put in place and fears we never knew about are thrust upon us. Ability is gauged by who you are and what gender you represent. Opportunities are given only to the privileged and deserving few based on many social factors.

If we recollect, most of our fears are imaginary. We base our reactions on word of mouth or maybe beliefs that have been passed down.

I too have a few unfounded fears that I am trying to get off my bucket list because I believe I have the power to change my perceptions.

Some things cannot be explained and so as we go through life, I for one have started asking myself why am I afraid. If others can and have done something what is stopping me?

I can… can’t I?

Santa’s Christmas Miracle!

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This year the Christmas spirit was very dull for me and I saw no reason to go the extra mile!
So, that cold misty morning, a few days before Christmas, when the sun had not yet fully woken as well, and my Spottie boy came a knocking at my door, I was in no mood to get out of my warm bed and take him for his walk. But, he is not one to take ‘no’ for an answer and so off we went.
His usual places, and one in particular seemed more interesting than usual. In the darkness I felt him tugging his way towards a small grassy patch. I saw frenetic movement and with Spottie getting very excited, the first rays of the sun fell on a weak, small little bundle, looking up at me with the most pitiful eyes. “Please leave me to die in peace” they implored.
I had found the last piece of my family jigsaw!
I quickly returned home, picked up some chicken stock and threw in some dry pedigree, an old towel of spotties’ and a bottle of water and raced back to her. She was frightened and though she wanted to eat, I could see she was having a very difficult time, her mouth seemed stuck shut. I tentively went to pick her up and on shaking legs, her fright powering her escape, she started running onto the open road. A few cars had by now started on their daily trips and in desperation I ran after the little dog, as she fell, wobbled and made her way away from me. I have never been more thankful to the stray dogs, who, though feral by nature, cornered this new comer and thus made it easier for me to get hold of her. It had taken me the full length of a busy road to finally catch her!
She was still fighting but I covered her completely and kept speaking in soothing tones to her, till she finally collapsed, totally exhausted against my neck. She was home!
Well, she had been severely neglected, dehydrated and was in the throes of the effects of distemper. A bag of bones, no energy to walk but the most beautiful eyes that somehow still had hope.  Dogs abandoned by heartless breeders.
With immense support and wonderful treatment from my friendly vet, Dr. Priya, we have managed to give her another chance at a family life.
I present NONI – the newest link in our family!
She still has a very, very long way to go, but she now has a reason to do so and I am not giving up.
She is my little gift from God, a Christmas miracle!

Age to Order

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What does one do when your age defines who you should be?  What you should do?  How you should be?

I am at that stage in my life, where, though I may be considered middle aged, I have not aged mentally (in the right sense of course!).  I have a lot of life in me, just don’t know how and where to channel it or make it work for me.

I thought I had it all at one point in my life.  Unfortunately, I was living in a fool’s paradise.

The reality hits hard when one is single.  How much can you allow your work, family and routine to be responsible for filling your life?

Yes, some of us may have had our chances at a relationship, but circumstances change.  The dreams, the aspirations and the person we wanted, sometimes are not the same.  No amount of adjusting, compromising or even sacrificing can bring that satisfaction.  What do you do then?

I find myself, a single mother at 52, longing for the comfort of a companion.  I long for the romantic wooing of a lover.  I wish to be pampered as all young lovers do when exploring each other at the beginning.  I wish to call someone mine…

But here comes the reality check!

I am at that age where I will not be blinded by fakeness or synthetic emotions.  I need stimulating conversation.  I need to be given my space and respect.  I need someone strong enough to accept his own and my weaknesses. I don’t need excuses.

Tall order?  I guess it is.

Guys, this is not an advertisement for a soul mate or partner.  I just wonder if I am alone in this.  Is there something I am doing or not doing, that is keeping me away from taking my happiness in my hands?  Because, yes, at the end of the day, I am still searching for that elusive entity that will complete my order in life!

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Listening to the rain…

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As the world winds up for the day, I too, in my little corner of the world, embrace the darkness that is thrust upon me. No, nothing very dramatic, as my kids would definitely expect, but …Power cut!

Though temporary, it does induce a break from the monotony of the day. A very productive one for me personally.

As I sit by the window, overlooking the balcony, I find myself continuously drawn to the pouring rain outside. It has been incessantly raining with varying degrees of severity throughout the day. The weatherman did give us the heads up, but all said and done, is one really ever prepared?

The Dreamer in me takes over!

There is a rhythmic pattern to the rain falling – its drumbeat effect on the tin awnings, the crescendo that builds as the rain lashes with all its fury, finally falling to the gentle but steady pitter patter – a reminder that it is a force to be reckoned with and not taken lightly!

It makes me realize also that nature has its own way of proving a point. In its own motherly fashion, when gentle reminders do not work, it brings out the cane. Unfortunately, we as a race, are very lethargic in our affection for Mother Nature. Maybe, this time we sit up and take notice.

After all, as Julia Roberts very eloquently quoted Mother Nature “I don’t really need people; People need me. I have been here for eons. I have fed species greater than you and I have starved species greater than you. I am prepared to evolve!”

I am listening to the rain… Are you?

Life

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How’s life? This is a common greeting all of us have received some time or other.

“Life sucks!!!” I have no job, no girlfriend, and no friends, bored to death……!”

What answers do people really expect? How do you react to such replies?

But, no, people lie and say “Life’s good, never been better”

What is life? Is it just an existence where one follows the same routine day in and day out? Does it rely on our destiny and fate? Is it determined by the stars and moon? Who decides how we are to live our lives? Who makes the rules and regulations that we know as “Societal Norms?” What or who is “Society”? And above all who has been given the power to judge how one lives his/her life?

To me life is like a Kite! A beautiful and simple piece of engineering that gives as much pleasure to the person watching it soar as to the person actually maneuvering its moves. Life is simple – there should be no complications – Live and let live – Happiness should be the goal of all of our lives.

As the kite we should start from the ground and gradually soar to great heights, be it in our career or personal lives. We should maneuver our paths in symphony with the wind, allowing its force to guide us to success rather than drag us along in its fury. There may come along certain elements to act as stumbling blocks and to make us falter – but we should be able to hold strong and trust the hand holding the line.

I believe we are all placed here on this earth as part of a great plan. We each have a mission to accomplish. Most of us don’t know what that is. But each one of us makes a difference or leaves an impact in some inconspicuous way. I believe we each have our own destiny and that no matter how hard we try to divert from unpleasant things we need to go through that phase, to learn from the experience.

I believe one should live life to the fullest. Enjoy every moment and have no regrets. Do everything ones heart desires – within reason of course. Trust me, its not easy!! There are massive boulders to block your path each and every step of the way. But if you are true to yourself and believe in what you do, life can be a very enriching experience!

I know!!! I’ve lived my life on my terms, My Way and that’s the only way I’ll have it!!

Perception

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This is a word that is practiced more than it is understood.  We, as humans, have an uncanny knack of forming opinions based on our own perceptions, and then allowing those to dominate our lives.  Animals on the other hand, live in a free world, where no perceptions or expectations are necessary.

This is not a study on the meaning of the word, I would just like to share my thoughts about how this affects our daily lives.  

From an early age, most of us are taught that feelings are natural and should not be suppressed.  However, should those feelings be expressed during school or college days, we are considered ‘bad company’.  “A decent child would never say something like that” or “if she was brought up right, she would never have done that”.  The crime in question here, a school child expressing their thoughts about another child’s appearance or behavior, or maybe a college girl who was seen partying into the wee hours of the morning.  

How do our minds come to such conclusions based on our senses? 

Its easy.  Rules were laid down a long long time ago, to control and bracketise people into societal norms.  In a way, it is a good thing.  For those of us who learn and grow.  But for those who are too lazy to make the change and are complacent in their little cocoons, it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of others.  

A newly appointed manager, risen through the ranks, having experienced the many idiosyncrasies of previous managers, is disappointed yet again.  Why people he considered to be “good” managers are just ordinary people after all! They expect you to be available whenever a meeting is scheduled, and on time as well, but turn up late or not at all.  After all, that is the privilege of a manager! Or is it?

How true then, does our perception prove?  Who is to say that what we perceive to be true or right, is actually so? If we are proved wrong, what value is given to the senses of intuition? What senses do we rely on to guide us through the bylanes of conscious living, striving to be the best, breaking down barriers that confine and stunt us? Or do we look through the eyes of the un-informed, biased, narrow-minded folks for whom perception is just another word in the dictionary.