Category Archives: Always one step behind

They don’t make ’em like that anymore

Being born in a very modest salaried family I was raised in a one bedroom apartment. Love, respect, freedom, consideration, compassion and tolerance are some of the values I learned there. I may not have had much else, but love and respect were abound.

My father was the sole earner for the longest time. He would leave a set amount of cash in a common place where my mother knew she could pick up money for herself; as and when she needed it. No questions asked.

As a young child, I always considered it an endearing arrangement between my parents. I revered my father for the respect and freedom he ensured my mother received. My mother never felt the deprivation, control, lack of self respect that comes with lack of an income.  Her economic empowerment at at time that she made no money, was inspiring.

When I got married, I wanted a set amount of money to be put aside for me naturally. I used to call it “pocket money”. Times had changed, credit cards were the way to go, my then new husband said to me. He abhorred the idea of pocket money, but instead gave me 3 credit cards to use. Of course I was taken aback. I didn’t want to feel like I had to explain the money I would like to spend on me.

I could spend whatever money I wanted to, he would often reassure me. Instead I felt like I was being controlled. I couldn’t wait to get my “own money” to feel the same love and freedom my mother enjoyed so many years ago.

My “own money” didn’t come for the longest time. Graduate school and medical residency lends itself to school loans and large credit card bills, not an income. So where does that leave me. Still no pocket money, instead 3 credit cards to my name and a not so new husband taking care of me and all of my expenses.

Only recently was I listening to a documentary on the plight of women in some societies. Rich husbands who would provide an “allowance” to their wives. In a society which does not invest in its women to educate them which could then translate to empowerment seems unreal. But it isn’t. As I was listening to this documentary with my blood boiling to all degrees of fury, I was reminded of my own equation with my husband.

He never once bought into the whole “pocket money”/ “allowance” business despite my several protests. And though there was a lack of that second paycheck he always treated me as an equal. It has only taken me 9 years of being married to finally appreciate this level of respect and love. It is true, they don’t make ’em like that any more. ūüôā

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Monday blues

I feel like I am a life time behind on things. Things I wanted to do, I need to achieve. My personal goals, wishes and hopes. I seem to have no motivation. I am worried. I have asked myself at least 3 times today, do I need to call the counselor. I have personally benefited from a session with the counselor, but it wasn’t in ways it was intended to be. I realized then that no one can tell me how to feel. What I feel I feel and I have no control over it. The person I pay a hefty fee to just listen to me, has even less control over my feelings. I realized that if I spoke to myself more than I already do, then maybe I wont be in all the muck I usually find myself in. I need to rationalize my thoughts. Hence thinking about the need to call a counselor is worrisome at best. When exactly and where did I lose my shit?

I am amazed at how¬†perfect everyone’s life looks from the outside. I have had friends tell me they envy my life, marriage, friendships, accomplishments.. the list goes on. I sometimes fall into that trap myself. I find myself envying others. After all people always project the best of themselves. Even though we are all flawed, our relationships are a constant work in progress and we¬†sleep every night along with our insecurities and unfulfilled aspirations.¬†We remain alone in our struggles and fears. I am tired of¬†putting my best self forward all the time. Can I stop being an adult sometimes?

Another week starts. 5 weeks to go until the new year and we can all start pretending the new year will some how be different from the last. Happy Monday y’all.

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Thought-pourri

A Monday is a good time to put some thoughts I think. I have noticed that the busier I am the more regular I am with writing on my blog. To be fair to me, I have had exams, change in course, probably working on a change in career, looking for mentors, traveling, looking for a place to buy, and staying healthy for what lies ahead of us. To say I didn’t have my plate full would be lying.

My husband and I finally went to Europe. After being together for 8 years, we finally went on the much promised/discussed visit to Paris. Will  probably write more about that in another post. Friends and family were quick to label our trip many things because now every thing has a name to it. For us, it was just a trip that took long to get on to. My husband and I relived our times in Europe, felt very young and carefree again and loved every minute of being there without having to explain any of our guilty pleasures.

I feel very tired of people around me. I feel scrutinized, judged, commented upon, advised to constantly. I miss the relationships that would just take me for who I am. I miss easy breezy relationships. I no longer feel that people would be happy for my success, or share my happiness just for it. I always seem to get questions, doubts, dark clouds. I am reaching a point where I don’t feel like sharing anything with anyone.

When there are dark clouds all over you, it is hard to stay happy and content and stress free. It is difficult to believe this is a good place to bring in a child. It is difficult to create a small bubble that feels safe and warm and yours. And despite all of it, people will tell you to. My question to them is how?

If you read all this and care to share a kind or encouraging word, or just a hi-five you are most welcome to. And don’t worry. Now that this is out of my system, I am sure life will look up.

Happy Monday, y’all. Here is to upwards and onwards!

 

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The struggle is real!

Wow 22 days since my last post. So much has happened, needless to say. Time flies when you are having fun they say, or when life takes such a turn that you want to bury your head in a deep hole and never come out of it. I am not liking being an adult. This phase has been tough to put it mildly. I almost had a nervous breakdown last week. ¬†A very new feeling for me. I used to think nervous breakdowns were an urban myth. Then I survived it. Or perhaps I have become adept at faking it, till I make it. To overcome the feeling of impending doom, I decided to¬†shut down completely; help reset the brain. No phone calls, messages, social media, well meaning friends, not so well meaning family, husband, neighbor, you get the idea. Suddenly, like the coming on of a light bulb I felt like there was no point in all the stress I was taking on. So what that I am jobless, with a master’s loan looming on my head, my husband might lose his job this week, we are struggling emotionally and physically due to lack of a baby, need to work on my master’s thesis, mothers are being mothers, cousins have failing kidneys, closest friend is now a recovering alcoholic and our adopted friends are really getting onto our nerves. Really when you lay it out like that, it is just another weekday! No biggie!

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The village

When I got married to my husband I knew I was in for a different experience. ¬†I wasn’t expecting good, bad, better or worse just different. I strongly believe that people all over the world are the same despite race, culture, language and geographical differences. My faith led me to believe I would be fine in my¬†adopted family in spite of different traditions, food, culture and people.

I knew we were different people due to differences in our upbringing, the cities we were raised in, experiences we had amassed along our individual journeys. Six years after we got married decided to experience the life my mother in law had adopted. A life in a village in the southern region of the state called Odisha, formerly known as Orissa.

It’s been an enriching experience. Orissa happens to be a farmer friendly well organized state with little corruption at the grass root level. That translates into flourishing farm lands, rich farmers with assets beyond our city folk imagination. Life is¬†pure manual labor from the minute you wake up, which is generally very early to the minute you sleep. This is interspersed with village gossip and politics. Something we city folk would miserably fail at as we have no talent in those departments.

On the face of it, everyone is nice, caring, hardworking, independent and proficient in the art of family drama. No one would miss a beat to participate in village gossip, politics, land deals and pettiness. But such is life in a small place, where people don’t lock their doors and food could be served from any kitchen. There is a certain openness in this place, where love and affection is abundant. However when it comes to land and money, things can change any moment. Family feuds can start at any time, sisters can disown brothers, marriage arrangements can be broken all over a land deal gone bad.

In such a volatile environment, I find myself a stranger and yet well accepted. I know I walk a very thin line, between being likable to becoming a threat. Nothing is subtle here and it amazes me that a lot of city folk think, the villagers are simple people. The ironies are interesting and I look forward to many more experiences.

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It doesn’t begin even after it has…

Countless couples like me and my husband did everything in our 20’s not to have children. In our 30’s we are doing everything to have at least one child. Each one of us has our own different struggle stories. That, it is raining babies provides some sort of solace. But then it would be a lie to say it doesn’t hurt just a little bit every time we hear of our friends and family having a baby. Every¬†month we go through the cycle of reliving our ¬†disappointment yet again.

We hold on to hope day in and day out. We pray, we become the support the other needs. We remind ourselves that we are there for each other and that no matter what we love each other. We are each other’s anchors, because this journey can really drain you emotionally, physically, not to mention financially.

Yet we both have come to realize that having a baby isn’t the end of it. In the recent months we have been exposed to a different side to parenting. No one tells you about their autistic child, or their five year old who is diagnosed of Crohn’s disease. No one tells you how much parents worry about the health of their child, or how much¬†their life changes. How saving for college takes on a whole new meaning. No one tells you that even when their child becomes an adult¬†parents spend¬†sleepless nights when they know their child is struggling. I guess not enough likes for reality.

No one tells you that if you think having a baby is tough, you have no idea what having a baby really means.

 

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Hello

It recently hit me that happiest people can also have a world of emptiness, fear and doubts. Just because people smile a lot, talk a lot, eat a lot or hug a lot, they don’t necessarily not struggle with daily stresses. Stress hits everyone and how we react to it, defines us.

Same goes for depression. Just because someone goes through their daily motions of wake, work, eat, exercise, sex, sleep doesn’t mean they couldn’t have have something gnawing at their hearts, minds and subconscious. Sometimes we see those symptoms, sometimes we don’t.

Counselors aren’t mythical creatures. They have gone to a real school and learned¬†real tricks to help us reset our brains. I think it could be cultural but I see a lot of resistance to getting help. With the growing unhappiness¬†in our society, I see an increased value in their services.

So this year, my hope for myself is to slow down a bit, relax, be content, be patient with people and things around me and find true happiness. What are your hopes for yourself?

 

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