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.

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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!”

Does Weight Really Matters?

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“She’s so fat, it’s disgusting”, “She’d be pretty if she was skinnier!”, “Keep eating like that and you’re going to be a butterball,”.  “Oh. Honey! You have such a pretty face, if only you were thin!” “You are too skinny for a girl!”

Have you ever heard, or said the above to yourself, then you have practiced what is known as body shaming, and you’re not alone. We have all been there, whether it’s us doing the body shaming or being body shamed or being the spectator of some else being body shamed.

People body shame for having curves or having none.  No matter how many empowerment conferences, TED talks, and blog posts are out there, men and women keep tearing one another down over physical appearance.

If someone is overweight, there may be numerous factors, meaning it’s not always due to poor discipline or willpower. The human body has a tremendous capacity for variation, which is why everyone looks different! There are people who are happy with the way they look and there who desire changes in body image, the point is whatever it may be, only opinion that matters is their own.

It’s not like our society is typically bad and criticize people based on everything. You must have heard people standing up for each other when someone is criticized for their skin colour, sex or height.

Then why not stand up for criticism against weight?

Criticizing someone for weight is ironically considered acceptable.

Can you see the logic in this? It’s for the fact that someone’s skin colour or height isn’t something reversible but they can always reduce weight through diet and exercise.

So we assume if someone is overweight or underweight our criticism is not inhuman. Is it really?

Well I believe, It is as in-human as the others!

Research say some people are more prone to gaining weight, there are genetics involved. I am not saying every obese person can use this as an excuse, what I am trying to Imply is it could be one of those factors. Sometimes hormones plays the role and even certain people are more inclined toward eating high calorific food due to certain factors in brain, research is still ongoing.

But, such people can always eat healthy or do regular exercise, right?

Well, again that is not always easy. According to research by Cambridge University, where they examined 100 popular food items under Government criteria as healthy or not and the findings showed that healthy food costs three times as much as unhealthy food!

It’s not just the price it is the availability as well that affects. Junk food outlets like McDonald’s, Pizza hut, Dominos, KFC etc. are invariably available but how many salad or green veggies outlet do we have in our city?

Think it from the perspective of someone working 12-14 hours a day, getting just ten minutes lunch break. Would you go around looking for healthier expensive options or grab a bite of something that’s across the street and cheap?

Fine, now you would say even if we agree so far, ‘you have fair chance of being obese’, ‘not getting healthier options to eat’ but what about exercise? That is something all can do, right?

It is a good point but not always applicable as exercise requires time! Someone might be commuting 3-4 hours a day after a 10-12 hours job; someone might be raising children or nursing a new-born; caring for sick parents or spouse; someone with physical limitation; lack of safe places to walk or exercise.  The reasons can be anything from challenging work life situation to psychological stress. Stress is also linked with binge eating.

What we need to understand and communicate is being ‘overweight’ is nothing to be ashamed of and likewise nothing to be mocked at. The reason to lose or gain weight should only come from your inner self, if that makes you happy and at your own pace. There can be times when you are too busy running to make both ends meet and you overlook your health and diet. But these are the times; you need to feel even more confident.

Find things you LIKE about your body.  Maybe, despite your body image struggles, you love a new hairstyle you discovered.

Find something physical or nonphysical that makes you YOU and celebrate it every day!

The Perfect Marriage

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Does happily ever after really exist or is that just some silly phrase out of a fairy tale?

The fact is at no point in life can you be perfect at anything, but you can prepare yourself for the adventures of life.

And one of life’s biggest challenges is marriage!

Marriage is considered to be one of the hardest aspects of life to control and requires preparation emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

The old notion of “soulmate” is just overrated; “True soulmates” are the one you are married to no matter how unreal you might find them in the moment of aggression.

This is especially true as it is said that “true soulmates are not born but made!” It isn’t something that will happen in the first month, or even in the first year. It will take time, and patience, and commitment. It is believed that with the right amount of love, happiness, and communication anything is possible and your dreams of being together forever may one day come true.

I was married on 25th December 2015 and I have learnt both the numerous ways to destroy and build a successful marriage through “live experiences”.

Few months into our marital bliss, we sobbed on our couch with our heads in our hands. We fought numerous times and we made up even more. Each fight taught something new about each other and led to the reality check of ‘being married’. We disagreed on finances, our ideas of running the household, family, friends, even sometimes on our views about current news! Sometimes our fight led to other person jumping to conclusion without other completing the sentences. I found some his views unreal as he was sometimes stubborn and annoying during such fights and he might have felt the same as we never knew these aspects while we were dating!

Isn’t it during such fight we feel that this is not what I bargained my freedom for? Isn’t it during those hard times we do feel, marriages sucks and most often we assume the other person has changed or maybe we never really knew who they really were!

This happens because we often fold inside of ourselves these lengthy lists of qualifications, standards, and traits we expect the “right person” to meet. But the reality is there is no such thing as “right person” and this is because no one is perfect. There are in-built flaws in all of us and you just have to learn to live with it.

Do you really think there is any such thing as “the right person will come and wipe of your tears and your life will become magical”? Well NO! No one has that kind of power. How can one expect another person to encompass all of the ideals he or she is so grossly incapable of encompassing?

There are thousands of articles available that tell you ‘Dos and Don’ts of a successful marriage.  But the fact is every marriage is different and the rules cannot be same for all.

What I learned and still am is:

 “Believe in your partner and their intentions like we believe in ourselves!”

This does not mean turning a blind eye but it only implies considering them as part of you and trusting their actions even at a point when you know you are on the verge of breaking.

I strongly believe after being married to the person I love the most now is “No matter how wonderful he is, he isn’t a knight-in-shining anything because I am certainly no princess either!” And it would be unfair for me to expect him to be.