How many viewed my whtsapp status today?

Does the title sound silly and absurd?  Yes, might be the answer for most of you but at some point or the other you remember the anxiety of posting a status message/photo on Whtsapp, Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn etc and then following it up to see how many liked it, loved it, hated it and commented on it!  Being a part of this so called routine nowadays, is it the beginning or ending of some psychological disorder?

I follow this routine and this blog is an attempt to understand why I do it. After pondering a lot on this, I realized that I do it just because its my reaction to a momentary feeling of happiness, excitement and by posting it immediately on the social media do I miss being in the moment?  No,  I have somehow learned to live in the moment and yet capture that moment through my social media update. Sharing with the friends and family helps me feel connected to them and I know for a fact that the recipients on the other end might not feel the same. But in this virtual world it feels nice to assume that they do and a bit of assumption intended to do no harm to anybody works well for my life. So why not do things which make you happy? Oh wait! should i empathize with that person who infers and assumes so much more than what I stated through my update message or photo? Well, I cannot bother myself with how the many people viewing my update perceive it! I have the confidence that people who really matter to me feel that I shared the update with good intentions, will smile for me, will laugh with me, will think with me, will ask me, will appreciate with me, will give me their honest opinion if necessary and that is all that  matters to me!

Oh I definitely have some basic ground rules and some crazy etiquette I follow when I update anything on the social media. Yes, primarily most of my updates are “Capture a moment in time” . There are definitely some social filters applied, some contacts censored, no faces on Insta and I do not see the need to publicize that whole list here as they are rules created by me and followed by me!

I am no celebrity but  I feel the urge to declare this for all the silent, pretending to be invisible, active, honest, aggressive, genuine and competitor followers :

  • It’s JUST AN UPDATE – comment/like/share if you genuinely feel like, NO reaction is also just fine
  • Don’t infer or assume anything, please reach out before doing so if that inference or assumption leads to a dire consequence LOL
  • Doesn’t call for any empathy or sympathy and definitely NOT COMPETITION! ( Oh, she used 10 hashtags so I will use 15, they have gone to a X restaurant so I will go to Y,  Peter got that toy for his son so I should get a better one for my daughter etc etc!)
  • Grow Up and grow out of the immaturity of being judgmental when viewing these updates

Try not to be a social media hypocrite – checking the social media whenever possible and yet announcing that everybody else is just overusing it unnecessarily except you.

At this age, I don’t believe leading a dual life. I put what I want to in my status. Maybe I will outgrow this habit and become totally inactive some day but I prefer experiencing that on my own rather than being told. Until then, I shall continue enjoying leaving behind my digital footprints and hope you will too! 🙂

 

 

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My Musings about Politics

Can you describe politics in one word or maybe in a sentence?  I bet you are trying hard to do that now but most of you are also thinking how does it matter; politics is something I am least interested in. THINK AGAIN!

I am not talking only about the politics of/by a politician but politics in our day today life. When I Wikipedia_ed it I got my one word to describe it, Multifaceted.  I recently finished watching 5 seasons of the American political thriller television series – House of Cards. I now wait for its final season to be released in November. I am sad it will not have Kevin Spacey but well, the show must go on. While I was watching this I felt even though I am not the president of US or nowhere near of becoming one, politics is such a vital part of our lives. Might not be so much in our personal lives but the moment we think about our professional lives; I definitely feel like a politician fighting to win a major election. If anybody reading this article has ever come across a workplace void of politics, please give me a shout out!  And I will send across my CV to you, haha!

The moment I step into my workplace, it’s like I don another personality – this personality has been molded and manipulated by the past experiences, lessons learnt, observations and interpretations. Two things which are genuine is my smile and the passion I have for what I do as my job. But trust me, the culture of a company you work for aids that passion or puts a damper on it that you become habituated to just doing the work you do for just surviving or hanging in there. Are the relationships we share with our colleagues real or fake or something in between? Are we always in the race of proving ourselves, giving our best and waiting for that one appreciation we crave for, I am not getting into the financial expectation here but the emotional one. Do we always wonder about weighing out carefully the words we utter, aware of the office gossips and grapevine? How much does all of these factors influence our productivity? I would say a lot indeed. It affects our attitude/contributions towards teamwork, our readiness to walk that extra mile in doing our job or becoming the one to PLAY POLITICS and being diplomatic! ‘Play politics’ in all fairness gives a negative connotation to the word politics.  I strongly agree that you soak in the company culture and if playing politics is part of it, you just begin to play it unintentionally at the start and intentionally as you spend more years in the same company.  Is this good or bad? I have no definite answer but I take the liberty here to give you my interpretation of it.

Learning to play politics becomes a way of the work life because you want to be in the good books of your managers, get the best appraisal and the bottom-line – to continue having that job in these economically testing times. Some good karmas from my previous life maybe, that till date I have had amazing managers to work with and for and always shared a good relationship with them.  Maybe that is because of me or maybe because of them – but I can say that I did eventually learn to play the politics but never with a bad intention in the heart or the head to downplay another person. Maybe that’s why I survived and still surviving. Playing politics for me is in three steps:

1. First, deliver your best – don’t leave any stone unturned from your side of the work/task/project

2. Be a little show off and opportunistic – this makes sense only when you learn to do it at the right time and with the right people. Our judgement of this rightness improves with the years of experience and exposure. I say exposure because for me it is on that farther side of a bell curve from working with different nationalities. This is an opportunity life has thrown at me and I succeeded in catching it!

3. Don’t get stuck up in only playing politics. See the bigger picture, if you only play politics it just becomes relevant to that current company you are working for but if you aim at becoming a retrospective politician playing for the LIFE POWER you will definitely succeed.

I don’t know if this made sense to you, but writing this put a lot of clarity in my head and thus this will be my musings about politics. Frank Underwood, the main character of House of cards brilliantly enacts ‘breaking the fourth wall’ i.e. talking to audience and the one I love the most is,” After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal.

Passing on..

To write or not to write – I have been subconsciously thinking about this topic since the last few weeks! Oh not because it’s a serious one but because I was not able to understand it completely and still haven’t. Maybe some of you will say it’s too soon in life to think about this ( assuming my articles appease to the younger generation haha ) and some will say it’s not even worth thinking. I agree with both.We can elude it but it will come for us sooner or later – DEATH.

Why DEATH? I live in the Middle East and its merry making time now – EID holidays so why such a dark topic I asked myself? yes, I was inspired by three sources here. One was the book I read ” when breath becomes air “, second the brilliant comedy Bollywood movie “Karwaan” and the last was Kevin Spacey’s character in “House of cards.” I would not go into the details of each one of these but all the three touched upon the subject of death in one or the other way.

In the book, Dr.Paul being a cancer specialist is diagnosed by cancer. He accepts it with so much of grace that I learnt , when you are put into a life situation where the end is obvious you don’t have a choice but how you traverse to that end is your choice. One thing for sure is that having a support system of family and friends makes all the difference in such a situation.

The movie is about dead body mix up- wrong dead body is being transported by road to be exchanged with the right one. The comic in the movie is hilarious but with the forethought about death in my head I thought what is our significance when our heart stops? Are we just a dead body? Do we make up our mind when alive on how we want to be buried/cremated/ burnt etc? How we wish our funeral to be? Do we want our organs to be donated? I do not have the answers to these questions but are they worth being asked?

If you have watched house of cards, we might just know what politics is! Kevin spacey’s character claims to beat death of others at many instances by his plan and power. Also says about his own death that people will remember him for his legacy and he will die as the most powerful politician the world has seen! Are such ambitions even worth?

You might feel my article has too many questions and very few answers! But after a lot of thought into this I realized that there is no right or wrong perception of death. It might be one to me and the other to you. What is important to understand that we have to keep in mind that our ultimate end is DEATH. We do not get to choose how and when that will happen but we do get to choose how we live until that happens! Maybe this is a cliched ending but to accept – DEATH is our ultimatum in the true sense is not an easy thing to do! Try that…

Ok, it’s the holidays so I will think about a lighter topic to write next 🙂

Agar Dil Raazi Ho! ( If your heart agrees)

“Agar dil Raazi ho” – the title song of Alia Bhat’s movie Raazi echos our life shenanigans! Do we listen to our heart or the head? After watching this brilliant espionage thriller, oh yes my respect for Alia as an actor grew by many folds and the heart grew fonder of Vicky Kaushal ( Iqbal ) – I have started to follow him on insta! Apart from these instant reactions, during the drive back home I wondered about many things in the movie but pondered about two things :

” Can we ever be so patriotic like this Kashmiri Muslim young lady?” – for our generation what is the definition of patriotism anymore?

” Can we ever sacrifice our kid’s life or happiness ( maybe life is an unthinkable word here) for some greater good? ”

I am not reviewing the movie here because it is definitely worth your watch and I don’t want to spoil that for you!

To watch this movie redefining a Muslim’s patriotism for our country on the first day of Ramadan is not a mere coincidence maybe but God’s way of saying ” Humanity , love, beliefs, loyalty, relationships and patriotism are beyond religions!”

I was intrigued by the REAl ” Sehmat” woman and have been trying to read about her. She had abstained herself from the pleasures of materialistic life so maybe even if she was alive ( I read she passed away just last month) she wouldn’t have probably watched the movie or even revealed her identity to the world. Navy officer Harinder Sikka who wrote the book ‘Calling Sehmat’ on which the movie is based met the real one and his illustrations of those interactions portrays this once a spy girl as “I have made peace with my past and I don’t want to talk about it to the world” types of person. But the most interesting aspect is that after returning to India she did not continue to live in Kashmir but moved to Punjab and lived in Abdul’s house! People who have watched the movie will know that this was her way of making amends to her actions – atonement of life! My heart just said wow!

Another aspect of the movie that really touched my heart was how the relationship between Sehmat and Iqbal was portrayed by these two phenomenal actors.

I for a fact do not like reading a book after watching its movie or vice versa. So the credit goes to Meghana Gulzar for changing that -I am looking forward to grab a copy of the book to read now!

Dil Raazi hai! 💜

To be or not to be in the reality!

When things start to get better ( at-least that’s how we perceive it) and when we think we have grabbed a much awaited opportunity, we cease to exist in the reality! I shall speak for myself because I am not yet that life experienced to know for sure if most of us do that!

This is definitely about my job hunt but more about the life lessons it taught me. After nearly 2.5 years of a motherhood break from the career I am so passionate about, early this year my old company calls me to rejoin for a part time role. I was so elated. It might have been the most practical option for the company at these economically testing times but for me it was special because nobody before had been given that part time option. So I feel blessed even today and I carry on delivering my best. Oh ya! No regrets ever for the motherhood break or the career change. One manager of mine gave me a beautiful life theory, ” Regrets are not life worthy but being retrospective definitely is!”

After few transition weeks into this job, my intellect craved for more and I started to pursue the full time job hunt. That one interview happened and I got a mail saying I am not shortlisted. I convinced myself maybe I was not full time ready. We are all good at convincing ourselves or at-least have become! Then the same company which failed to give a reason for the first time contacts me after two months, saying it was nothing to do with me but the position was put on hold. I was so relieved and excited that now I realize that was the day I stopped being in reality! Oh I am talking about the mental space else I was fulfilling all the roles as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and myself on a daily basis. Then 2 more rounds of interview happened. One was about making a presentation in front of the team I was being hired into -I thoroughly enjoyed preparing and delivering it. Then the HR interview with the most pathetic person I have met till date. Then the waiting period – draft offer wow- frustrating waiting period. With respect to timelines – Frustrating is an understatement when you work in the Middle East and a lousy recruitment team!

In that waiting period, I ceased to be in the reality! I started to over think and over analyze things, drifted to the past being retrospective and to the future imagining reality in my mind! In my head, it was like I had already joined this new company and thus I was not going that extra mile in the current company. I was definitely covering my base – a basic professional etiquette I wouldn’t miss even after that long career break. Then yesterday I get an abrupt email that they wouldn’t be going forward with the offer. For a few minutes I did not know how to react and get my head into the reality! But then calmness helps you to make sense of things. For that few minutes between that abrupt email without the reason from the recruiter and my probable hiring manager calling me, my head went into a roller coaster ride of analyzing things – maybe I pushed it too hard to make it a reality on my timeframes maybe I was not good enough for that job etc etc. oh the amount of self doubt we do at times like this is unbelievable. Then that British hiring manager ( I mention the nationality only to admire their clarity of communication!) told me that the reason was the silliest – nothing to do with me, some nutcase in the higher management wants an Arabic speaking person for this role which was not the position requirement at all,it was his whim and fancy requirement!

Well, I was definitely sad but somehow relieved to have the clarity than the frustrating waiting period. The day went by beautifully as I started being in the present and immersed myself in many things I call wonderful distractions – spent time with my son at his favorite play zone, got work home from the current company, spoke to my lifelines and ended it with a dinner treat with some lovely people.

Life lessons learnt :

1. Never stop being in the reality – try to make a conscious effort towards it

2. Somethings are not under your control and we cannot do much about it. Everything happens for a reason and most of the times for the good. Accept it!

3. The blessing of life is PEOPLE in your life – for me these are the purpose and always stand by me redefining and reinstating that purpose in me

4. A job is not end of the world maybe I had started to think it is in the excitement of getting back into the workforce.

5. There are some lousy recruitment people but there are also that few people like this British person- a true L&D practitioner, sad I did not get to work with him but in these days of LinkedIn he will definitely continue to be my professional mentor.

It’s the weekend! Let me continue to be in the reality and start enjoying it!

See you again sometime soon! Until then be happy being in the REALITY 🙂

Am I missing my prolactin & oxytocin already?

11 July 2017

It’s been six days and I still feel a part of me missing! I craved for a full night’s sleep for the past two years and when that night came last week it was not at all peaceful. I woke up missing all those sleepless nights. I can’t believe what IT has done to a mother who reluctantly started doing it, and then said it will just be for a maximum six months, one year….IT is our (my son’s & mine) BREASTFEEDING (BF) JOURNEY.

My son is 21 months old now and I had thought weaning him off his precious “NAANAA” (that is what he calls the breast milk) would be an impossible task to do. Now I know why they say kids are like God. I wanted to touch the two year mark and at times also thought about child-led weaning. But somehow off late the sleepless nights were taking a toll on my health and my moods. Thus I prepared myself mentally for a couple of weeks and kept saying the same to him lest he understood. There is no right time for weaning off par the initial six months; it totally depends on the mother-kid duo. I am at my mom’s place for a while now, so with all the support around I thought it should be a doable task!

On Wednesday, 12th of July my maid applied an herbal green concoction on my nipples which had a pungent smell. She told me it’s totally safe even if he licks it and I knew I could trust her blindly (she has been with my family for twenty years now and is like my elder sister). That afternoon we told him a story that the ‘NAANAA’ is hurt, smelly and not clean. So he should stop drinking it. He listened very carefully. Then when he saw the green thingy he made a very sad face and said ‘’CLEAN.” My heart melted and my hands reached for the towel to clean it and feed him. But I controlled my emotions. I told him even if I clean it the smell will not go away. He observed for a while, touched but the smell was a very unpleasant one even for my adult nose! He cried a bit but then as if it all made sense to him he said “ NAANAA GAAYAA” (wounded) “BEDA”( don’t need) “DIRTY” “CLOSE” “AAMELE”( I shall drink later) . I was flabbergasted – with a tear and a smile! The next three or four days it was the same repeat story but on a lower scale. One complete day he did not even ask for it. He mentions it very rarely but then as soon I repeat the story he says “BEDA”.  I never imagined weaning off would be so easy for him. If I knew maybe I would have continued for another few months! In fact it was tough on me physically (fever and acidity) and mentally. A heartfelt thanks to my mom, dad and maid for the last one week.

I miss that intimate bonding time with him. But glad that I have 21 months of memories to cherish forever!

My BF journey started like most other first time mothers’, not really knowing a lot and quite unprepared for the first few weeks of challenges like lactating, latching, comfortable position, wearing the right feeding bra, how long to feed, to time the feed or not, to feed from both the breasts or one at a time, burping techniques etc. As I gradually learnt to deal with all these, a bigger question arose – The baby isn’t putting on weight, do you produce enough milk to suffice it’s growing hunger?

I have had sleepless nights over this question and my son did really scare us with his weight issues for the first few months even though at birth he was a healthy 3.25 kgs baby. Only with time I realized that it had nothing to do the quantity of the milk I produced, a lot more to do with some of the family genes from the husband’s side of being lean but very healthy and active. It is the most stupid question one can ask a breastfeeding mother and the mother must be stupider if she bothers answering such a question or even giving it a thought. Trust me at times I have chosen to stay stupider because of some of the idiotic women folk who talk nonsense about these things without understanding the body science. The formula milk companies must have used this question and such women/men as their marketing aids when they started off. How did babies’ generations before us survive without formula if all the mothers doubted their supply?

Here I need to thank a Facebook group called BSIM (Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers). I have been a silent reader of this group but it has helped me immensely throughout my journey. It’s one of the major reasons for me to have come so far in this journey in spite of blocked ducts, blisters, baby weight issues etc. The other reasons are my gynaecologist, my son’s paediatrician and of course my husband and family.

After we crossed the initial hurdles, both of us have enjoyed the journey thoroughly even though at times it tested our patience, endurance and my tears. There was a stage when I was comfortable feeding him only in a sitting position on a chair and then we did it standing, sleeping, squatting, in the room, hall, restaurant, feeding rooms, bathrooms where there was no other option, car and the list is endless. Well, in a mosque too! I live in Doha, Qatar (Middle Eastern country) where there are no feeding rooms in most of the malls/restaurants/public places. I took the liberty of discussing this issue with a good Qatari friend and she said I could go to a mosque/prayer room (there is one in every vicinity). That is where all the ladies go irrespective of their religion and nobody objects it. I was overwhelmed by this openness. Then came the acrobatic phase along with the drinking, then the biting and then the naughty toddler. The most easiest and convenient part of BF is no bottles; no sterilization, no preplanning and you can BF without any stress/effort when you travel, when you are tired and when the baby is tired/cranky/sick.

Oh yes! The question lurked in my head and I was reminded time and again by some people, ‘What if he never leaves it? What if he gets too used to it?’ My sister in a very jovial manner once said he might become like Robin ( Vale of Arryn) from  Game Of Thrones! Trust me the right time will just come when both of you are ready.

When it is over, you will wish if you could go back in time to feel their warmth, closeness, smile, and happiness, the content look in their eyes, cuteness and naughtiness. This natural physical act not only strengthens the bond but also relaxes the mother.

From my experience, just a few pointers to new mommies or to be ones

1 . Enjoy pregnancy but give BF a forethought – attend post natal classes.

2. Initial few weeks are challenging for both you and the baby, just hang in there but don’t give up

3. Never ever doubt your milk supply. Love your breasts and treat them well

4. Don’t set a deadline to stop it. Continue it until you feel like and both of you have a choice of doing it. Please turn a deaf year to people who say it’s of no use continuing once the child turns one.

5. Remember breast milk is the most precious gift you can give to your child – so the longer the better! ( why precious – stronger immune system, better IQ etc Google the rest as my article is already very lengthy!)

We are truly going to miss it….

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS – My BF journey wouldn’t be possible without these people:

1. Of course my Son – Anav

2. Dr. Sonia Mandappa (Gynaecologist) – for her support & guidance whenever we needed it. The best part about her she answers all your questions and even the silliest one with a big genuine happy smile.

3. Dr. Madhu Patel (Paediatrician) – for everything but more for never endorsing formula until really necessary and emphasising on the importance of the second year of breastfeeding.

4. Lactation Consultant Ratna – for her support during the first few days.

5. Facebook group BSIM

6. The Qatari Friend

7. Aasawari Deshpande – a good friend for her valuable tips

8. My dearest hubby

9. My mom, sister, dad, aunties and the extended family.

10. My maid, Dakshaini – especially for her age old herbal weaning technique

Lastly, thanks to all the people who told me to stop at six months or at least by one year – their ignorance challenged me to continue and prove them wrong!