Thursday, May 15, 2008

A day in a rat’s life

I crashed into his arms and he promptly hugged me. As the man apologized and moved on, my hubby quipped “There goes another man looking for an excuse to hug you”. It was all I cud do not to laugh out aloud in the middle of the office floor.
We had gone to get our customary cup of coffee at eleven in the morn and were walking back to our seats when all of a sudden at a corner, a colleague walking fast got right in my way and since I was walking at a quick pace, before I cud stop, we collided. The man opened his arms out wide and literally hugged me which in fact reduced the impact and kept me from spilling the hot coffee on both of us. Trust my hubby to never pass up a chance to pull my leg.….As I looked at him and thought of a wicked reply, I wondered, as I often do, on the workings of fate…He was everything I cud have wanted and more…and I was still surprised that no gal had snapped him up before I came along……..and he keeps saying he was surprised that I fell for him…chuckle..Ok.So we have a mutual admiration society going on…

I hurry back to my seat. It’s a typical day in the rat race.3 Releases going on simultaneously with umpteen fone calls, every nut I ever said a hi to calling up to find this detail or the other, unending cries from my teammates ”Anupama,this,Anupama that,Anupama,the other thing”, and the urge to change my name to Abrakatuchosui grows by the second; the fight not to throw up my hands in despair and say “I quit” becomes more difficult and the wish to go back home and hide under the bed with my dog becomes a heartfelt prayer. The temptation to yell at someone, call someone an idiot, the urge to tell someone “Get lost” or “No. I wont do it cos its ur job”, the constant fight to stay a professional and take pride in my work. Its one of those days when I lose sight of the fact that I am not a rat and neither do I want to be one. I lose every last rational thought and there is no relief to be found in a hot shower or a nap. Even in my dreams, I find myself counting the number of programs in each Release and wake up in a cold sweat cos I remembered that I had forgotten a task only to find that I had completed it last week.Yes, am a classic basket case on the verge of screaming every second. I stand up for a minute and stretch my aching back. I mutinously think of my last appraisal which was unsatisfactory indeed with a year’s hard work gone completely unappreciated. I think with despair of going home and making dinner and the next day’s lunch. I think with despair of a friend across the sea who has been mailing me faithfully every single day though I am not able to type her a reply. I think of the library books which are overdue and need to be returned. I think of how I had not had a stroke of exercise for the last one month and how I am stiff from sitting in my seat for so long. I think of how even my prayers had been said at the traffic signals on the road these days. I am too tired to even heave a sigh. Across the aisle, a guy with coffee brown eyes looks at me and winks. Chuckle….He is irresistible.
People ask me if I don’t get tired of seeing him all the time…since we both work in the same office, in the same bay and sit within 3 metres of each other. Absolutely not. Maybe cos I know it won’t be forever. Right now if I want to see him, I just have to stand up from my seat and there’s my hubby.And there are so many couples out there in this rat race who hardly get time together.

To be honest, I have slowed down a bit after marriage. I take time to do the things I love doing. I actually discovered that I love cooking. My mama will get a huge laugh out of this. She tried hard to get me to cook while I was in college but I always managed to squirm my way out of the cooking part and stuck to the eating part. Now that am away from home, my dog gets to play that part. Lucky her.
I still don’t manage to do all that I want to .I cannot pinpoint exactly how I have changed but I have. I still have the drive to get the best of all worlds but maybe I do it more consciously and try to keep a balance. I keep in touch with my aunts and uncles more than I did when I was single. I hurry to finish my work so that I can go home early but I still take time to enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband. Talking to my mom and dad was always important but now it has become second to nothing. No matter am running late to office or it’s the dead of the night, when am talking to my parents, as far as am concerned the world comes to a standstill. My work does not suffer for this newfound pace of life.
Maybe it’s the realization that even if I win the rat race, I’d still be a rat. Though to be honest, there are times when I forget it and become a rat. Just the other day, inspite of a hectic schedule, I walked out for a minute with the hubby to buy a fruit bag for lunch .I sat under a shady tree enjoying the breeze and watching the cars whiz by while the hubby stood in line in the sun.(Yeah.I was protecting my complexion. A little sun wont hurt him since he anyway comes back looking brown after a round of cricket. Chuckle…The privileges of being married.)It was lovely. The flowers were out in full bloom and the trees were all a bright fresh green with new leaves.A treat for the eyes and the soul. Its one of those days when all u want to do is lie out there in the grass and read a book all the while enjoying the weather. Its one of those days when u can see what u want out of life very clearly, the kind that makes u realize that the journey is what matters. For a second I envied the fruitwala.He had an entire day of this bliss. At that moment I wud have gladly exchanged a couple of days of my life with him. And then I realized that the grass is always greener on the other side. For all I knew the guy wud be envying me my life in the air-conditioned office. Sigh, I don’t want to think of that Chaos awaiting me.
When I was in college, our hostel had this large terrace which looked out onto the mountains unmarred by any tall buildings. You cud see a huge expanse of the sky and the mountains. Everyday the sun wud go down behind the mountains setting the skies ablaze in unimaginably beautiful scarlet, oranges, pinks, purples and yellows. Each day I wud think that this beauty cannot be surpassed and the next day, it wud be even more magnificent. Every single day the sunset was heartrendingly beautiful.Poignant.It made u feel glad, sad, immensely tiny and moved to tears, not knowing why. The kind that made u want to go down on ur knees in gratitude for the privilege of being able to see it. The kind that washed u clean of the pettiness of life and made u feel that its ur own fault that u lost sight of what’s important to u..The kind that made u stand with ur mouth open in sheer awe. The kind that made u sigh in happiness when it got over. Nothing mattered after it. You got ur perspective on life right. You believed that God spoils u.I loved receiving parcels from home in those days and still do. Call me crazy but those days I honestly believed that God sent me a surprise parcel every day with a sunset in it.Well,I’ll admit it, I still believe that.
I don’t get to see a sunset everyday but God does send me a parcel everyday. It may be the chance to wander abt barefoot on the damp lawn outside the library after a long day at work when am so tired that I cant even think of getting dinner up. Or it may be a 2 year old with rosy cheeks smiling up at my stony face (though for the life of me, I cant figure out whether the kid is smiling at me cos his life is so happy or cos I look funny when am stony faced.) .Am not very particular abt the gifts and God probably knows it.
It cud be a laugh shared with a friend or some bit of kindness from a colleague or a good snap clicked by me or a plant growing in our tiny garden or even a recipe that turned out well.

I recently read something on the internet and it made so much sense that am posting it here.

“We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be more content when they are. After that we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.
We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire.
The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges.”

So true. There will never be a best car. There will never be a perfect spouse. There never will be perfect children. Life is rather simple and God only meant us to enjoy it. It’s we who make it complicated and a fight. Maybe if we all sat down and looked at a sunset, half the problems in the world wud be solved. Just imagine. Laden and Bush sharing a sunset together…Inspiring, isn’t it? Chuckle….

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Out from my head. On the blog.

Its tuf when u want the best of all worlds…and especially when ur job is not as challenging or as rewarding as u wud like it to be, u can either moan abt it or u can start working on the list of things-to-do-someday….and that’s what I did. All of a sudden, I found that my job did not give me the returns I expected for what I invested. Blame it on the management or on the client but the bottom line was that “this is how things worked” on this team.Ok…lets not go into all that. It just digs up a lot of bitterness and I prefer not to have the extra luggage. and so I decided to take a look at my to-do-someday list.…I don’t hate my job or anything but I decided that I need to get back in touch with my creative side. It helped that I have a hubby who absolutely loves it when I do something artsy.I got out my paints and painted a picture. I started spending more time on decorating our house and writing .I started reading more and I made a new friend whom I mailed every day.I took out my camera and got a few lovely snaps. I started my newest hobby of jewellery making. Now the problem with having so many hobbies is that u cannot be up todate on all ur projects. My second painting has been awaiting the final touches for over 2 months and my jewellery making skills have improved. My writing has been suffering while my reading has been going on at a stop-start-stop pace. And I have forgotten my photography techniques.….and to top it all, I want it all….chuckle…I never learnt to slow down and decide on one thing…I always want it all and I always want it now….so here is the plan. I want to write at least 3-4 times a week, mail my friend as much as possible, make at least 1 pair of earrings every day, paint on the weekends, read as much as I can and still be able to keep my house looking neat and tidy, ring up my dad more often, ring up my relatives and friends once a month atleast.Wow!!!Wudnt I be perfect? The trouble is even when am not able to do all this,I still believe that its possible to do it all…I managed to tidy our clothes cupboard finally last Friday and it still looks neat and tidy. The trouble with the 2 of us working is that the laundry never gets folded. We did the laundry on weekends but the Laundry room wud be so crowded that it took a lot of juggling to get our clothes washed and dried.So we switched to doing the laundry on the weekdays when the laundry room wud be empty. The trouble with this arrangement was that by the time the clothes were dry, it wud be late in the night and we wud leave the clothes jumbled up on the couch. The next day when we wanted to sit on the couch,they wud be moved in the same jumbled form onto the bed and at night back to the couch. This wud go on for a couple of days until finally I wud give up on my good intentions of tidying the clothes cupboard and stuff the jumble into the already messy cupboard. So even when I did tidy up the house,scrubbed the bathroom and the kitchen, my cupboard wud always keep niggling at the back of my mind. Finally, it came to a point where when we needed something from the cupboard, we wud pull it all out, pick out our thing and pile it all back in. Its tuf to find something in that jumble even when u have it all out on the bed and the floor. On Friday, when I had to do some office work from home which basically required me to click a button once every half an hour and monitor, I set up the laptop where I cud see it and started on my cupboard. It took me a good 2-3 hrs.But by the time I finished my office work which involved clicking the mouse 10 times and staring at the screen, I had a neat and tidy cupboard. I felt real good. Finally I had a clean house and a tidy cupboard.U may think what’s the big deal abt having a neat and tidy cupboard. I’ll tell u.I read it somewhere that even if u have a tidy house but a messy cupboard which is hidden from the world, it indicates that u have certain hidden emotional issues. Now to all of u out there who are thinking guiltily abt ur own untidy cupboards and wondering if u had any hidden emotional issues ,let me tell u.I don’t believe that u have an untidy closet cos u have emotional issues. I bet the guy who figured that one had never ever tidied his cupboard and was just taking a jab at his poor wife cos he was not able to find his underwear in their messy closet. There is something abt having to tidy a clothes cupboard that turns a good woman into an ostrich that buries its head in the sand. We cringe at the thought of our cupboards, promise ourselves to tidy it up every other day and never get round to doing it.Atleast that was my case, until I finally did it.I pulled out just one shelf of clothes,sorted,folded and arranged them on the bed and the bare shelf looked so neat that I started on the next one.By then I knew I wud get it done.And viola!I did it.It also helped that this was done on a weekday cos it left my weekend guilt free.I did all the cleaning and tidying around the house on the during the weekdays last week and to my amazement ,found that it was easier than trying to do it on the weekend. On weekends, just the thought of tidying up was enuf to keep me in bed. Of course, am tired when I come home from work, but when I do tidy up and the house looks nice, it relaxes me much more than anything else. And the weekend turned out to be much more fun cos I did not have a huge pile of things to do. The cupboard was the only thing which was a pain in the …um…double cheeked rear region. And I did it while I was finishing my office task and on a weekday. Isn’t that nice? After all those weekends where I kept putting it off, I finally did it on a weekday.

Most of us who work outside home feel too tired to tidy up but I must say that that the sooner we get up and do it, the easier it is. The guilt alone is enuf to make us feel worse. And when u stand up and look around,you can literally feel urself relax. There is something abt a neat house which brings home a sense of being a successful woman.
Now after all that rambling…. I’ll come back to my plan of action so that I get it all and get it all done.I shall write one page post everyday. Just one page. Come on.How tuf can that be? If I can’t write a page a day then what’s the whole point of writing? And if nothing else, its good practice. And then painting is going to be done only on the weekends. Now the reason for this is, I need daylight. So weekends are the best. And I shall try to make at least one pair of earrings a day. Now while this sounds like its gonna be the simplest of all the projects, it really is not.Cos I have to cook dinner, tidy up the house, then finish the earrings….That’s a bit tuf,u see. But I wud hate to put it off for the weekends.Cos then it wud become more of a chore. So I like to do it on the weekdays. And then I decided I shall read in bed. Just before I pop off to sleep. Those 5 -10 min of reading shud do the trick…so there I have it all planned out. Now its just abt working it out.Somedays it just may not work. Like today. I have so much office work which am finishing simultaneously while I am writing this. But atleast I wud have tried. Like today. I was only planning to write a page to keep my resolution. But here I seem to have happily rambled on for 2 whole pages. Isn’t that great? Just shows, where there is a will, there is a way.