Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pongal

Happy Pongal.

I will eventually get around to making it sometime today. I made holige yesterday for the first time and it turned out pretty well.

My mind is cluttered and I need to write to try for some clarity.

I don't feel enough. I really don't. I don't feel enough of a daughter (except as a financial parasite) because what am I doing for my parents really? Zilch. I don't feel enough of a mother because I don't even know what my kids need or are capable of or how they need to be encouraged. I don't feel enough of a wife because my husband seems pretty self sufficient. If there were no kids, what value would I add to this relationship? Do I define myself by my relationships? Yes. I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's what it is.

Feeling low today. Hopefully more writing (here and in a private journal) will help.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

So much for loving myself

So much water has flown under the bridge...I am no closer than I was 2 years ago to loving myself.
I've no idea what that means. Self care seems like another hard task for an already overwhelmed person. So I careen towards disaster...not knowing what the heck else to do.

Instead of my usual reading about autism, I've been taking a break and reading about understanding men, women etc. in an effort to improve things. Not that it needed improving. Oh no, it's perfect! What? If I sweep things away under the carpet, do they still exist?

While I have undeniably learned a lot about how men and women process things differently, think differently, expect different things from a relationship etc., mostly I am filled with rage that I am not a man! I wish I had the privilege of being a man, being able to automatically focus on my career, have a wife cook, clean and keep house for me (no matter how badly).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Loving myself

Series of late nights. Non existent sleep. Bad head cold and sore throat. Two needy children who want my love and attention. Criticism from the people I thought were my greatest support. Feeling so un loved and unsupported.

How can I give love and attention, when I don't feel loved myself? When I don't feel understood or appreciated, how am I supposed to ladle out affection and appreciation. Barrel is empty people. Move on!

And then I got to thinking, who am I expecting love from? My children love me but they are too young to *give* love. My husband has his own duties and preoccupations? When was the last time I gave him love? Everyone I see is running around with a barrel that's kind of getting empty - drained by their own little and big problems. 

Logically that leaves only me to love myself and replenish myself when supply is running low. So I'll start with a hot cup of ginger tea and some quiet time for myself today. Won't fill 'er up but at least I won't be running on empty.



Monday, December 23, 2013

Attractiveness

I don't feel attractive most of the time and truth is I don't even think about it much. There is too much else going on in my life that getting through the day and maybe getting some sleep seems more important than anything else. And when I do think about it, it is more of guilt about not getting my hair done or keeping my feet hydrated...stuff like that. I don't beat myself up about my weight anymore.

Wasn't always this way. There was a time when no matter how good or competent I was at everything else, I let my weight and negativity about it define my identity. I felt crappy and inferior ALL the time. It's even more brutal when you're single, as I was many years ago. It gets in the way of trying to get to know another person and enjoying their company because all your headspace is occupied with crappy thoughts about yourself. And then you convince yourself that the other person is thinking crap about you as well, thereby demolishing any chances you might have had.

My parents set me up with a bunch of different guys before I met the one who would become my husband. I started the process feeling somewhat interested but it quickly turned into something I dreaded. I didn't enjoy the phone conversations, setting up meetings and then seeing the disappointment in their eyes and then not getting a call back and meanwhile getting berated by my parents for being fat. And I dieted. Oh I dieted and worked out like a maniac...which led to some pretty bad hormonal outcomes and compromised immunity. If you have never been fat, the above statement would make no sense to you. Isn't diet and exercise good for you? Yes and no. This is not a post about that though.

So the guy I met before my husband: I had no hopes, no interest. As instructed by my parents, I told him outright 'I am fat. If you still want to meet up, we can'. Never mind that I was creative, intelligent, well educated, good at my job...none of those things even seemed to matter. I wasn't prepared for his reply. 'So what? I am dark but I don't go telling people that as an introduction. I am more than one attribute of myself.'

We met in person a week or two later. I remember actually enjoying my conversation with his guy. There was no bated breath of 'will he like me?' I was actually interacting and finding out if we liked each other. A couple of hours into the conversation we realized it wouldn't be a good match. He was too driven and ambitious for my liking. He felt I was too dreamy and vague for his liking with all my plans of maybe writing a book 'someday'. So we didn't get any further with this.

And then came along my husband. I actually enjoyed talking with him on the phone and looked forward to meeting him. I actually found myself *flirting* when he visited. Flirting requires you to actually feel good about yourself. I could not have been in this state of mind even a couple of months before. This guy stayed on for more than a couple of hours and we ended up talking all day long. And then he reluctantly left and said he would be back again the next day. And of course he ended up staying in my life since then. :-)

I wish I could say that was the end of my self-image issues and I lived happily ever after. It took another 7 or 8 years to get past it. That was a turning point though, one that I am grateful for.







Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dealing with it

I read an article online yesterday about a lady who has never quite come to terms with not having had another child. Doesn't seem like a big deal but to her it is. Her narrative is pretty emotional. Got me thinking about all the things I've not come to terms with yet....starting with being away from India, from my parents.

It's like a big raw wound. Time covers it up with scabs and it seems like it's healing but then I visit them or they visit me and voila it opens up again. Painful as hell. And I question my self, what the hell am I doing in this city when I don't want to be here. at. all? And when I fall sick or feel low about other things, this joins in with the other hurts and makes it all into one giant snowball of a hurt.

I dont know how to deal with it. I wish I did. All I know is when I first left home to fly away, I didn't know it was going to be forever. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

This and that and that too

A wise soul once told me "You've got to do what you've got to do before you can do what you want to do."
Well, guess what wise soul? I took your words too seriously without even intending to. At that time it  sounded profound. At any given time when I wasn't doing what I wanted to be doing, I justified it saying I am doing what I've got to do. Soon, I'll be doing what I want to do. Soon.

It's been 11 years since then. 11 years of not doing what I want to do. 11 years of not even exploring what I want to do. Heck, I've no clue what I want.

And the list of things that I've got to do? Keeps growing. Will never end.

I can't stop doing them though. So I need to find the time to do the things I want to do in between the other things.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

desires

Today I told my baby daughter that she should never get married but have as many boyfriends as she wants/desires and have an amazing successful career too. Then I realized that what I want for her may not be what she wants for herself when she is older. Also, maybe this vision is what I wanted for myself (in retrospect).

So I think what I really want for her is to have and  seek whatever she wants from life without my imposing my wills/wants on her.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When we spend too much time thinking what life SHOULD be, we miss out on what it is, right now.
Random much?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kuttima

So I have a daughter now, all of 6 weeks old. New hope for an old and cynical heart.
My son is super jealous and my heart aches for him and for the new one. Through the sleeplessness and anxiety about the future, my love for her grows on. I can't stop kissing her perfect little head and her tiny little nose..

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Free

Breaking my long time silence here to say a couple of things.

It's no secret I am fat. Really fat. What you probably don't know is how it has affected my life and dominated my thought process. Okay, I might have talked a bit about that too...

Well, I am on a new diet. It's called Eat Whatever The Heck You Want diet. No, seriously!

I am done obsessing over my weight. I am done trying this method and that method and low-this and low-that. I am done with weight loss shakes. I am done with counting carbs, counting calories, counting whatever the next fad is.

So am I going to just gorge on cookies and ice-cream? None of your business really! To answer your question though: Yes and no. I am not sure how this is going to look. Some days may have cookies and ice-cream and other days may have other things...I am not going to plan every  bite I eat though. Financial constraints will also probably dictate a lot of home cooked food and I don't cook ice-cream or cookies very well.

Had my bloodwork done recently and all my levels (the cholesterol, the triglycerides, etc.) are looking good! So much for the fat = public health menace viewpoint.

I can almost hear you mutter 'Just wait a few years and it will be different'. Okay, we'll talk again then.
I do know skinny people my age with high cholesterol levels and the like. So it's not really all that simple.

In final conclusion, may I direct you to a couple of  fine articles?

http://www.insecurewriters.com/BrainChild.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-bacon-phd-ma-ma/health-at-every-size_b_1314339.html

Friday, January 06, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. May it be filled with health and anything else you really desire.

My life has been crazy these past few months but I am not ready to offer it for public scrutiny. Hence the silence here on my blog. I am also not able to pretend that everything is fine while there sits a very large elephant in my living room. So more silence!

I don't know when that will change and if it will change. But until it does, the silence will continue for the most part, I think. Time will tell...


Saturday, August 13, 2011

How strange it is to be surrounded by people and yet feel so lonely!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Women

I have always gotten along better with men than with women. I do have many women friends but it's always very complicated, emotional and sometimes maddening. I picked up a book from the library hoping to gain some insights and understanding, since there seems to be a book for every topic under the sun. Instead of gaining understanding, I am now terrified at all the viciousness documented in the book. It truly does seem like women are women's worse enemies and some women think nothing of lying, stealing, gossiping and back-stabbing to get their way. The more I read, the more I feel like escaping to some all-male world... as if that were some utopia. As if!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Quote

My cousin sent me this quote recently via email.

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."

I am not sure what the context was, but it is a pretty awesome quote all the same. I can think so many different relationships in my life I can apply it to - from my son to my friends. Very insightful indeed!

Of course it works both ways. I do feel resentful when others try to run my life for me, which for some reason they seem to want to do ALL THE  TIME. Gee, thanks, I am flattered but back off people and I'll back off too! But then again, don't you  really want all my superior knowledge and wisdom? ;-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Water supply

Tomorrow apparently there will be a hearing at city hall to decide if fluoridation of the Calgary drinking water supply will continue or not. I don't claim to know much about this issue but intuitively I am not in favor of fluoridation.

Fluoride is there in toothpaste and if all we want are better teeth, why ingest the stuff internally and possibly let it affect our bones and who knows what else?

Of course there is a ton of other stuff in the drinking water that we can't remove because they're not added deliberately. They're just side effects of our lifestyle. Like the xenoestrogens generated from people ingesting birth control pills or Prozac residues from people taking Prozac. Birth control pills are hailed as one of the best inventions of last century because they freed women from endless birthing and allowed them to do other things. Empowered them!  Didn't come free though, did it? The residues from the pills release estrogenic compounds into the environment  disrupting the endocrine systems of  fish, animals and humans. It comes around, back to us in the form of cancers and whatnot. But we see only the initial convenience and the freedom. As with everything else...


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 2011

Hoping this year is nice for you and for me...and everyone one else of course!

Feeling a bit low since the day started with a self-destructive announcement from a friend. I can't reveal the specifics of her choices here. All I can say is I feel impotent rage because I can do nothing to influence her choices. I suppose everyone has a right to self destruct.

I was listening to the radio last night and they were talking about all the destruction that happened last year - Haiti earthquake, Haiti Cholera, Pakistan floods etc. Those are disasters where the people didn't have a say. Couldn't avoid the destruction...

But when there is a choice, why march towards it? Why?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Small and white

Idlis were never my favorite food when I was growing up. I complained a lot when these were made, although that didn't seem to stop my mother from making them. And then I grew up, moved away etc. As with most things, absence did make my heart fonder for  idlis. By the time I was a grad student, a plate of idlis with hot sambar and spicy coconut chutney was among my top food desires. Sadly this wasn't a desire that could be fulfilled often, given our crazy schedules and lack of culinary knowledge and equipment. We did buy the instant idli mixes occasionally when we made it to the Indian store but that was rare.  Mostly we stuffed our faces with cereal and bread.

Then I got married and acquired an electric grinder and a good blender (mixie) too. Suddenly I had the equipment. I still didn't have the time or more importantly the motivation. The thought of cleaning up after the grinder did its work was somehow a huge mental block. In addition, I had absorbed some of the 'diet' wisdom floating around and was trying to up my protein levels. Seen from that point of view, idlis seemed hideous - just blobs of flour, a veritable eating disaster. So I even had a good reason to back up my laziness ;-). So we stuffed our faces with a different kind of cereal (made with soy protein isolates and other such trash) and  bread that tasted simply terrible. The things we ate in the name of nutrition!

These days idlis are back in favour in our household. Why, you ask? Long story. Basically we are trying to eat more 'real' food and less processed stuff sold as food in the grocery store. To hell with all the other things - high fat, high protein, low fat, whatchamacallit. It's just another way of looking at things...a view that might change if things don't suit us. For now though, this is the view and the grinder is back at work.

If you are one of those protein conscious, idli-shunning, cereal guzzlers - here is a link that might make you pause between your spoonfuls of cornflakes.
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/05/traditional-preparation-methods-improve.html

Basically the author (who seems to know his stuff) writes that traditional ways of preparing grain reduces the level of toxins and anti-nutrients which are present to some degree in almost all grains. This renders them more nutritious and digestible. What traditional methods? Grinding and fermenting specifically seems to have been common among several traditional cuisines (such as ours). Fermenting action by the bacteria fills in the missing amino acids and elevates the protein quality considerably.  Pretty smart of our ancestors to have figured that out, don't you think? Yet another reason to not discard our traditions, just because the western ones seem more right..

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

In a world full of battles, how many do you pick and how do you decide?

I have recently been reading too much about environmental toxins and all the possible ways they get in. The air, the water, the carpet, the food packaging, the food... the list is endless and all pervasive. All this has done, is drive me crazy and paranoid.

What all can I do really? Can I with 100% certainty exclude all the toxins from my life? No. I have made some changes - buying less processed food, buying more organic foods when possible, cooking more, using far fewer cosmetics than before, eliminating non-stick cookware... They make me feel like I am doing something. And yet maybe all this is nothing. Maybe the jet fuel doses we get from living close to the airport are more potent than any of these positive changes. I'll never know...Makes me question the wisdom of even making the changes I've made. If we're headed to hell anyway, why bother?

I've probably repeated this kind of thing in my blog over and over...But some days the pessimism is just too much to contain within..

Buying

I bought a new computer recently. It was kind of thrilling, waiting for it to arrive, to open it up, install all my software, give it a name..whatever. So I understand the craziness happening all around me. All the spending and the buying...Gives a temporary high!
And then there are days when it gets overwhelming. All these discounts and giveaways and promos. Special discount days. Cyber Mondays. Friends and family days. Pre-Christmas sales. Boxing day sales. Holiday sales. End of the season sales. Winter sales. Stop this madness, I want to scream. Stop. Just stop. Breathe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kindness

I just read an article online about random acts of kindness and it got me thinking. I have received several such acts of kindness from complete strangers - like help in pushing my car to a parking lot and lending me a cell phone(mine is never charged when I need it) when it broke down in an intersection. In Belfast last year, any time I went on a train or a bus, there was always someone who helped me with carrying my stroller (with my son strapped in) up or down the train/bus as needed. When I was a student in Troy, plenty of kind people invited us over for Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving and such. It was nice to be so welcomed by people who didn't know us to begin with. So plenty of  things like that. One relatively big incident happened about 13 years ago.

I was a student-intern in Ahmedabad with more emotion than reason (that part may not have changed much). Weekdays were for working and weekends were for roaming around, taking in the sights. And there were plenty of sights, especially for a student of architecture. I was lucky in finding friends who were also interested in roaming around, looking at buildings. One weekend we had planned a trip to Modhera to see the sun temple. The previous weekend we had gone to Adalaj to see the stepped well. It was a fantastic trip and cost us all of 10 Rupees each in bus fare.

We were supposed to leave at 9am that morning for Modhera. These were the days before cell phones. My friends lived in an apartment with no phone connection at all. I lived in a hostel with no phone connection either. I had to cross the road to get to the tea stall/STD booth if I needed to make a call. At any rate if I didn't reach their apartment around 9am, it would mean that I wasn't interested in joining them. I did get delayed that day though because of various reasons and I arrived around 9:30am to find them all gone. I was angry. Very angry.

I didn't know the language. I didn't know where Modhera was or how to get there. All I had was my fury. How dare they leave me behind? Especially when they knew I was so excited about going there? I had Rs.30 in my bag and figured that would be enough, based on how much our trip cost the previous week. I had no idea that Modhera was considerably further away. I headed to the bus stop and took a bus to the junction that we went the previous week. From there I assumed I'd find a bus to Modhera. However, at the bus station I came to know that I'd have to catch a bus to a place called Bechraji and from there to Modhera.

After I got on the bus and bought the ticket to Bechraji, I realized with a shock that it took more than half the money I had in my hand. What if the remainder of the journey cost just as much? I didn't have enough money to go back from Bechraji. If I made it to Modhera and didn't see my friends, how would I return? Perhaps my best bet would be to get down at some intermediate stop before the bus reached Bechraji. That way I might be able to get back. If I needed money, what could I do? Could I sell my watch? I had scratched it and beat it up to a degree that it was a marvel that it still worked. I doubted anyone would pay me money for that.
Panic!

An elderly man sitting opposite me observed my confusion. I saw that he had a kind face. So with my broken Hindi I enquired where the bus would stop next and how much it would cost me to get back to Ahmedabad. Instead of answering, he asked me why I wanted to know and where I wanted to go. My story came tumbling out in bits and I didn't want to reveal too much about my situation. What if he was a creep?  He assured me that he would put me on the right bus to Modhera. When I tried to explain I wanted to get back to Ahmedabad, he didn't seem to understand. He did mention that the ticket to Modhera would be less than Rs.10. That was a relief of sorts. Hopefully I'd find my friends at the temple and everything would be fine.

So at the Bechraji bus terminal, he pointed out the right bus. I thanked him and tried to shake him off. However he was persistent that he wanted to come with me to Modhera and make sure that I met my friends. He also told me that if my friends weren't there, he'd accompany me back to Ahmedabad and revealed he had a daughter the same age. I don't know why but I trusted him. He insisted on paying my bus ticket to Modhera despite my protests and also insisted on buying me hot 'Chaa' (tea) from a tea stall in the bus station.

Everything did work out. My friends were still there at the temple when I arrived. Needless to say, I got a sound dressing down from them for my rash trip. My friend attempted to repay the old man for the ticket from Bechraji to Modhera but he refused to accept it. I was very moved by his kindness. He could have been a creep and things could have gone very wrong. But he wasn't and years later I still remember his kindness and calm reassurance in the face of my panic.