To My Valentine

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I promise to always be there for you!!!

I promise to be wide awake when you start Netflix marathons for hours together 😀

I promise to give you my frank opinion without sugar-coating even if you hate it

I promise to always trust you and never doubt your actions 😛

I promise to be your best friend for life and share all our gossips 😎

I promise I will always cherish that ‘special coffee’ made by you more than the ‘Starbucks’ 🙂

I promise to never go to bed angry even if we have to stay up all night

I promise to be your 3 AM friend when you feel lost and low 🙁

I promise never to keep score even when I am clearly winning and will force you to do the same 😉

I promise to love you, honor you, respect you but not ‘obey you’, because that’s a little feminist 😛

I promise to love you even if you get fat, bald and grumpy

I promise I will take you on holidays even when we grow old, I will pick the place and you pay! ➡

I promise to always appreciate what I have even when things are dark

I promise to always be on your side and support you unconditionally

I promise to send you random texts and leave silly gifts without any occasion to remind you how special you are 😉

I promise to defend you to other even if you are wrong and then secretly correct you 😕

I promise to love you more with each passing year

I promise that you will be my valentine for life

To all this and more, I promise to keep my promises!

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The Judgement…!

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We live in a judgmental world, do we not?

Judging others is a part of our daily lives today without knowing how bad and unworthy a trait it is to possess; we carry on doing it every instant. It is strange how we cherry-pick labels for each other. We decide that others aren’t quite the way they should be.

There is a lot of hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness here. We want to reject others as they are, but insist that others love and accept us the way we are.

We as a society are judgmental, because we lack acceptance and empathy!

I see people passing judgement every now and then; sometimes I am a part of the conversation and sometime, I just wonder, wish I could stop them.

Mr. X’s son failed in class 10th. “What a shame! Black spot to family” Someone remarked!

No one cared to know that, Mr. X’s son won in the National hockey team! No one cared to know that, Mr. X’s son was fighting cancer! No one cared to know, Mr. X’s son had music as his passion! No one cared to understand, it could be just a bad year!”

A forty-something women in a metro, braiding a doll’s hair, singing to herself. “She must be mentally retarded, what is she doing travelling alone like that, she is definitely not sane”. People made fun of her and mocked at her.

No one cared to know, she might be taking that doll for her kids as a gift. It could be her childhood doll, she found this morning, with thousand memories attached. She could be taking it for donation to an orphanage. No one knows her history but everyone had their ‘judgement sword’ on, ready to stigmatize, ready to disrespect something that is ‘not-normal’ as per the societal norms”

Women and men are praised for looking a certain way, but women and men are put down for not meeting a certain standard. Even in today’s world women are expected to run errands at home and those who don’t are labeled. They automatically become incompetent homemakers or wives.  Men are still looked down upon if they chose specific profession or chose to work around the house in specific parts of world.

In a lot of marriages, we will find great examples of our judgmental tendency. We marry, and then almost immediately, we stand in judgment of the person we promised to love, almost every action is judged upon, criticized and reasoned for. We want them to change to ours and our family likes. They are judged for their opinion and actions.  According to a survey, this is one of the main causes of failed marriages in today’s world.

I read somewhere:

 “The way you measure yourself is how you measure others and how you assume others measure you”

A tricky statement but absolutely true!

Here are few examples:

“If you measure your value through relationship with your family, then you will measure others by same standard: That is closeness to their family. If they don’t live with their family, or do not visit home often, you will judge them as being irresponsible or being bad son/daughter regardless of their lives or their family values. Even if they have a happy family, you will end up believing that it’s all a facade and they are bound to be unhappy.”

“If for you travel and partying are important to value life as worthwhile, then you will measure other by same standard: How many times in a year they travel or how many times in a week they party. If they don’t travel much or stay home all weekend, you will judge them as losers regardless of their needs.”

“If women have been taught that taking care of home and men in the house as her sole responsibility in a marriage, she will measure the other women in the same scale. If other women don’t fall in her expectations, or got out to work rather than take care of home, she will immediately judge them as bad homemakers regardless of their own ideologies.”

It is mostly are own insecurities that we judge in others. When we are insecure and/or unhappy with whom we are, we try to put other people down.

This is the reason an average looking women, always find fault in how the other people look or are dressed. Even good-looking women with deep-seated insecurities or complexes look for all the ways to tag people around them as ugly.

We judge because we have deep-seated learning from our society or homes and our mind reason that to be correct.

This is why Men from ‘male dominated homes’ or ‘abusive homes’ disregard the opinions from their partner and are quick to judge them as invaluable. They are the ones who are also perpetrators of domestic violence because they assume it is fine to do so.

We judge because we are scared or intimidated by others and hence we will put them down.

Quite often  daughter-in-law’s are judged for choices they make in running errands at home because quite often they are viewed as threats and are disrespected by other women to feel powerful.

What is worse is we not only judge but to make matters worse we believe in our judgement!

It is important to understand each individual is different and have their own set of needs, values and belief. What we may find as important, they may consider as a unnecessary and vice versa.

We might find family values as integral, but most people do not.

We may view the world based on our ambition and materialistic things we possess, but most people do not.

We may consider someone as happy with the number of friends they have or number of parties they attend but most people do not.

We need to remember when we judge others we do not define them but ourselves!

 

We need realism to deal with reality!

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I was recently going through some blog posts and I was amazed by a pattern that I could trace out in most of the posts! Each article that I read and the experiences shared by different authors were all so ‘idealistic’. I mean of course I have nothing against the concept of ‘idealism’ but how idealistic can one person be in real life?

Idealists, practically live in wonderland thinking that life is like a fairy tale. Well if that were the case then there would be no poverty, unemployment, wrong choices, heartbreaks but as we all know, that is not the case!

I usually prefer reality; it is all about portraying your real self and real emotions as regular folks—bored housewives struggling for some alone time, depressed teenagers, stressed working women longing for vacations, not-so-in –love couples trying hard to make the marriage work, poor spinsters, petty government officials & a successful entrepreneur struggling to meet work-life balance—living ordinary lives. Let’s face it: most of us don’t live crazy exciting lives, after all.

Realism is also not about trying to portray the real life characters as ideals, selfless, God fearing people always! As in real life it’s all a mix of selfishness, small fights, dilemmas, crises, hang-ups, love, hatred, dislikes, sadness, happiness but that is what makes ordinary life meaningful.

Thinking outside the box and writing what reader might consider ideal or perfect is NOT idealism! What remains important is knowing your limitations and being honest with yourself about what works within your story rather than trying to make yourself look serene and pure!

Strangers are fascinating. I always get curious about the lives of people I don’t know? We know that they’re like us, but we also know that they’re different from us.  What about that cute colleague in office, who never says a word to anyone? Does he have friends? What about that woman who left her husband? Why that guy ended up an alcoholic, or why that kid ran away from home?

Reading it is like peeping through a keyhole into the lives of others but as we all know nothing is perfect. In social media, all seems so wonderful – vacations, smiling faces, perfect relationships and also the best seller “quotes”. It makes me wonder, all those people who share such amazing quotes, do ever follow them in real life? Well, you know the answers!

Maybe this is where the fatigue is coming in. We always compete to prove ourselves right, perfect and ideal. Challenges arise and not all of them are resolved with a happy ending.  If I read about an author’s life or his beautifully drafted story, I would want to read something realistic not a ‘preaching’, though written exceptionally well, but has no meaning in real life as it is not heartfelt.

We need to get real. We need to understand. We need to feel.

You are all that I need…!

You are the sunshine that starts each morning

The moonlight that concludes my day…

You walk with me in all that I do

And the words I say!

You are the reason for the smile on my face

The twinkle in my eyes

The love in my heart

The Completeness in my life

You are the hand held in mine

My best friend, my love

My confidant to share all

You are my crazy, mature, loving

Thoughtful and caring guy

The one who understands me

A way too deeply

You are the blush to my cheek

Elixir to my soul

You are the voice that makes me go weak

You are all that I need…!

Winning after losing

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Its ironical how fraction of seconds

Can change our life’s  directions,

With no possible way to escape

I wonder  if it was truly my life’s reflections.

 

No one will understand my zeal for winning

I simply  can not express the pain of losing.

 

Standing there every night, so scared and so hollow

Veil of loneliness creep up like a dark mist swallow

 

I wanted to run away somewhere new and unclear

A place with no judgement or fear,

I was blind and now I see

Best things in life are usually free.

 

They will always tell you what you can and can not be

But that is not who I am,  I now focus on me!

 

 

 

The Focused Leader

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“A nation is inspired by the thoughts and actions of its leaders, both political and spiritual.”

I read these lines recently and it directed my thoughts to think what true leadership is? Is it merely having an upper hand and controlling others, telling them what to do and when to do it? Is it merely raising the protest and governing it, is it merely in the long speeches and monologues? Is it obtained through fear, restrictions and punishments?

Great leaders don’t tell people what to do, but instead take them to where they need to be.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”  – Ronald Reagan”

A true leader inspires even the youngest mind and is followed by millions, not because he is feared but because he is respected by all.

I have grown up being inspired by one of India’s iconic leader “Baharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee”, like most of us in India. It was then when I had least knowledge of politics, when I was barely aware of country’s economic situations or what lay beyond the scope of our school syllabus. But what inspired me even then his work and his way with words! An exceptional orator!

I remember one of his speeches where he advocated his vision to transform India into one of the biggest global economies and motivated the nation to becoming a better, more educated and a first world nation. He emphasized in his speech:

“Our aim should be to make India a global R&D hub.”

The secret that lies behind the prosperity of nations is simple but profound: ideas matter and this requires effective leadership. There is a direct link between Good Governance, effective leadership and economic prosperity. This is relevant by the difference between African and Asian countries, many of which started their history as states at the same point in the 1960s which is striking. It is evident from the facts that the lack of effective leadership could be one of the many causes for Africa’s lagging behind from the rest of the world.

The vision of our former Prime Minister; to build a productive economy and a stable society needs pragmatist as a leader—one who has knowledge and skill to restructure the system, and thus, would resist the temptation to maintain the status quo.

 

After Hours

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“What do you want from me? I have a demanding job and I need to check this email from office, its urgent.”

How many times have you looked at your emails already today? Do you feel under constant pressure to do so?

“I am busy the whole week!  I work 60 hours a week!”

Are you one of them who sit long hours in office?

People these days’ lead crazy lives, am I right?

But being busy all the time is not a lifestyle, it’s an existence.

Exhaustion can sometimes numb your mind and you may feel a sense of pride over being able to state that you worked extra hours at office this week, last week or last month.

I know because I’ve done it in the past, and probably still do it. It may give you a sense of how important you are to your employer. But trust me it never is the case!

If you dig deep in, it’s a road block and not just because of famous theory of ‘work-life balance’ but also that there seems to be an organizational glitch and you have been working two people’s job or may be more! You need to stop being proud of overworking ourselves. You can’t do anything when you’re half dead. You can’t do things efficiently when you’re tired.

When’s the last time you said “No” at work? Or are you one of those who feel part of having a job is putting up with whatever’s asked of them?

There was a time during one of my previous jobs where I was working almost 10-12 hours per day.  I was so busy that I missed my meals. I was almost always working on weekends. I was perpetually exhausted and anxious. This is not who I wanted to be. That’s when I realized sometimes you might want to say ‘NO’ to overwhelming workload or chronically unreasonable deadlines.

You don’t have to be aggressive about it but just have to learn art of negotiations. Contrary to people’s belief, there is room to push back or renegotiate when something’s unreasonable and doing so tends to make people much happier at work.

So does it all again narrow down to age-old concept of ‘work-life balance’? Well No! I am not a promoter of this concept at all. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic!

With various modes of communication and technological advancements it is not possible to completely shut off work when at home and vice-versa. You may have to check an urgent email at home or stay a few hours after office on a certain day to meet a deadline and you may even have to respond to your spouse or parent’s phone while at office and take leave for home renovations or holidays. We need to accept the fact that life is and should be more flexible than following a fixed schedule or routine 365 days a year.

What you need is a ‘balanced lifestyle’. Instead of just letting life happen, you need to make deliberate choices about what you want from work and how you may want to spend your leisure time. You need to have a strong sense of who you are, your values, and what is important to you and at what time and have a strong support network who you can rely on in times of difficulties!

After all Its only “When your life works, your work works!”

 

Don’t know what to say to you…

I don’t know what to do…

Don’t know what to say to you?

Was it true?

Was it all a joke?

Whatever it is, I’ll choke!

Waiting for you to come up to me

Waiting for you to ask…

Waiting for you to say,

You love me forever and a day

Soon I realised

My mind paralysed

I am left alone

With a heart of a stone

I am staring at you with open arms…

Longing to listen to those subtle charms!

I don’t know what to do…

Don’t know what to say to you?

Love Lost

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Is it wrong to still have hope

That one day I will win this battle dwelling within

My breaking and shaking soul

I have lost one true love

And I am cursed forever more

Gaining nothing more than lore

And a heart which has been torn

A fact I must consider

You want me nothing more than a memory

A chance is all I ask

If I failed, I’ll leave

But one thing you must believe

Forever broken my heart shall be…!

Live your life, Live your dreams

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I was browsing through Facebook and an interesting quote caught my attention:

“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.”

This got me thinking a lot about how many times in life do we actually live for ourselves first? Aren’t our choices are mostly a reflection of others’ want us to do or what others’ find ‘right’ or what is acceptable in our society?

Since a young age, we have been bombarded with unsolicited advice telling us how best to live our lives: Which traits are good and which are bad and which are a sin!

You will find number of people around you who are there to judge and criticize your every action. You sometimes feel you are under some kind of surveillance, if you took the right step, they are all praises but if you took one step for your happiness, which they might perceive as ‘wrong’, you will immediately be tagged as “Evil”, “selfish”, “unkind”, “unsocial”, the list of tags is endless! People even have a say in how and why we should be happy in a particular circumstance!

What no one tells you is, people who put unsolicited advice on you usually have a vested interest in you. In other words, their actions are driven by self-interest, not your interest. They do it to benefit themselves, not to benefit you.

What no one will ever tell you is you will never get a second chance at living this life. This should be the motivation to start doing what you want instead of some hollow path based on expectations of other people.

Of course, some people won’t understand your choices. But such is life! You can’t please everybody. When you follow your heart, you will actively displease people.  But you know what they will be fine because they are too worried about themselves to worry about you for too long.

If you don’t like what you see, make changes until you do like what you see. Create life for yourself that is a reflection of what makes you happy. And do so unapologetically and as the foremost goal of your life!

“Don’t set boundaries, expand your horizons!”