This journey..

.. is such a beautiful one. Also very rewarding.

I don’t even remember when I started blogging. I remember having a blog from 2006, much before I even met my husband. I started blogging consistently from 2008/2009 I think. Four different URLs and twelve plus years later, blogging is the one thing in life that has stayed.

Sometime ago, Prachee asked a question. Why do you blog? If it was a few years ago, I’d have said for the love of writing. Now, I don’t think I can say that cos although I still love writing I don’t write at all. Then why do I blog (at least for the one month of the year)? Friends. And the kindness and love I receive from here.

For someone who suffers from severe anxiety about everything including my own abilities, blogging has always given me the reassurance and validation that I needed. I’ve never gotten one negative comment for all the cribbing i do and I owe it to all of you for bearing with me all these years.

I can write a book on how each one of my blog friends have been such a huge part of my life. A lot of times, I know I don’t deserve it but I will gladly take it.

Feeling down and want a hug? Text Blog friends. What to do when quarantining because I was exposed to covid? Text blog friends. My pup bit my daughter, what to do? Text a blog friend. What’s the problem with my double decker cake? Text a blog friend. Have a toxic workplace and want to vent everyday? Text a blog friend. Need some Karthi love reiteration? Text a blog friend. The kind of support group you girls have been is just unimaginable.

I have never been consistent with anything in life. But one thing I have with me always is this blog (all urls included) and the memories.

Thanks Ani for initiating this blogathon. It’s been a pleasure reading all of you. And thank you for encouraging me through this month. You guys are awesome! ❤️

Bucket list

– See the Northern lights. At least once. I follow some people on twitter who are in Norway particularly Tromso and can’t get enough of it. Some day.

– Learn to crochet. I started but didn’t go anywhere. Need to restart it.

– Start singing. I so love singing but extremely afraid to sing with others present or put it out there in social media.

Run. I started running consistently in summer and somehow stopped abruptly. I really want to restart it.

Travel. Apart from northern lights, machu pichu , northeast India, Japan cherry blossom and so much more. When will this corono end?!

Learn to make macaroons and croissants.

Work or volunteer in a library and a political campaign after I earn enough for retirement.

Today..

.. has been a good day.

Early morning, Seema sent me a couple of videos about imposter syndrome. One from YouTube and another from Insta. Here I am sharing the YouTube video.

These videos had me nodding right through. Sharing this video was such a thoughtful thing to do. So much has been said about blog friends already by RM and Tharani, honestly to have such friends is such a blessing. Thank you, Seema! ❤️

I’ve been learning a lot of new things at work. Even before I can assimilate and get better at something, I get something else to do. Today, I had a long call with a colleague who was explaining things to me when she said, ‘you know why you are being given more and more work, it’s because we think you can do it. And believe me when I say it, it’s a compliment!’ I have been feeling relieved to think that I am doing okay at work.

I came home thinking I’ll watch Master but now I am super sleepy so vaathi has to wait till tomorrow. And I am still waiting for the newer episodes of Cook with Comali on Hotstar. Let’s see how the weekend pans out! 🤞🏻

Things on my mind

Imposter syndrome. Professionally. As a mom. As a cook. Even in social media including blogging, I evaluate myself everyday and ask if I am the person others think of me. Am I faking it till I make it? Will I ever make it?

Professionally, it keeps getting worse because I keep switching jobs either voluntarily or by compulsion. Every time, I meet new people, I am forced to prove myself. Every time I make a small mistake, I question my entire professional credentials. Everyone else seem to know everything while I am clouded with doubt at every point.

Similarly, as a parent. Whenever someone here say they look up to me, I can only think about my shortcomings. How I lose my patience with the kids. How I let them watch shows or play video games. How I don’t regulate their schedules or don’t egg them towards greatness.

This imposter syndrome has been my constant companion. A lot of times, I wonder if I am imagining things in my head or maybe, I really do suck. It’s a very difficult feeling to overcome. Sigh.

******

Patriarchy sucks. I know of someone who is a quiet, smart, beautiful young lady who got married a couple of years ago into a ‘conservative’ family. She was constantly ‘asked’ to adhere to rituals and practices and culture which she’s been doing dutifully. There are times when she has called her mom secretly and offered to pay for the stuff and their travel expenses but has pleaded them to do everything that her inlaws ask.

Every once in a while, when I hear about her stories, it makes me sad. I heard one of the worst things yesterday. She has to wear a dupatta at home all the time because she has a young brother in law staying in the same house as her. I was so outraged on her behalf yesterday and so angry I wish I could give her inlaws and husband a piece of my mind. This girl who I’ve seen from being a baby and is being treated like a property is just so unfair.

Some time ago, I read that a good evolved society is one where the divorce rates are high. This is the biggest indicator that women have as much agency as men. This is a thought I totally agree with. We are in 2021 and all that has changed is women are educated and they earn as much as men but they still are doing the same patriarchal sh*t in the guise of adhering to customs and culture.

This need and peer pressure of Desi parents to have their daughters married is beyond me. Until and unless we stop meddling with our kids’ life decisions, trust our kids with making the right choices and choosing to stand by them when things don’t go right, we are only going to travel backward. Culture and customs and peer pressure can wait; the only thing that matters is happiness and peace of our daughters.

Random Tuesday!

A few twos actually. 

Pani puri and paneer tikka. That’s what we had a for dinner today. Bhat’s paneer tikka technique came in super handy.

Schitt’s creek and Kim’s Convenience. Two of the most heart warming beautiful shows ever made. You can watch every episode and feel content. 

Chithra Chechi and SPB. Two of my absolute favorite singers got honored with the Padma awards. Of course, they are beyond awards but still the awards make them more awesome!

Well, I am out. So before I go, here’s some of my favorite Dino comics. Please follow them if you’re not already. They are the best!

Appa

It’s going to be three years in March. Every time, someone wants to know about my parents, I make a mental calculation in my head about the number of years. A few months became one. One became one and a half. One and a half became two. And now two is going to be three.

Most of the time, I tell myself that all that happened is for the best. Appa didn’t suffer much. Appa was with us when we were at our happiest. And his last few years were the most peaceful ones ever. But then, there are days when I get agitated about Appa passing away this early. He was just sixty six. He could’ve, he should’ve, been with us for a few more years. Few more isn’t being greedy, is it?

Every morning, as I wake up, I think about him. After three long years, do we still have it in us to think about someone every day? Apparently, we do. Most days, I smile recalling things. On some days, I feel sad. As days pass, the memories of him has become hazy. Was he wearing his blue shirt when we went to Sangeetha for the last time? What were his exact words when we watched Kabali at Satyam? Was it a Sunday or week day when we sat in the terrace watching the dark clouds cover the sky waiting for the storm to engulf us all the while eating samosas from Rajaveni? Along with this hazy memory, comes the guilt of forgetting details.

Then, the triggers. Small ones. Like when watching cook with comali yesterday, chef Dhamu patting Shivangi on her head and telling her super da. Eyes water thinking about how Appa used to do the same thing to me. Appa wasn’t very sentimental or expressive. But that pride when I did something even remotely good, he would just pat my head, smile and say super da kanna.

As we grow older, we tend to bond over death of parents. The other day, I was talking to my manager about going to India. ‘I have no one left in India now. The last time I went was when my dad passed away!’, he said. I paused for a moment, smiled to cover up my tears, uttered a feeble me too and left his cabin as soon as I could.

I couldn’t read Tharani’s post yesterday without choking up. Every happy milestone and festival has a big void now that cannot be replaced.

We tend to think that the years will minimize the pain. It’s been three years. Tears don’t flow as freely now. But they are still there. The struggle to breathe for a second when I read about someone’s dad or things that remind me of Appa is still the same. I am almost certain that thirty years down the line, this pain will still remain.

Let’s talk about Aaron Sorkin

I got introduced to Sorkin, more particularly fell in love with his words from, what else but The West Wing. Aaron Sorkin is the creator of The West Wing. He wrote almost every episode of the first four seasons (total of seven seasons) of The West Wing. The first four seasons had 95 Emmy nominations, out of which they won 26 awards. And everyone who has seen The West Wing would agree it was because of Sorkin.

Sorkin’s dialogues have a rhythmic character to it. They are long, fast, beautiful prose turned into exceedingly good acting by the actors he chooses. His casting is his biggest strongpoints, apart from his words of course.

Once I finished watching The West Wing for the first time, I was so fascinated with Sorkin that I scoured the OTT streaming sites for more of Sorkin’s works. And I found a bunch of movies on Netflix.

The Social Network. It was the simple story of the origin of Facebook and the resulting law suits. People did not believe the story held enough promise to become an interesting film. But, then Sorkin won an Oscar for directing and writing it. This one scene from the movie, a betrayal and acceptance and its repercussions, is one of the greatest scenes ever written and acted and filmed –

Then, there’s Steve Jobs. This movie was based on the biographical book on Jobs written by Walter Isaacson. The film is not about Jobs’ personal life but only a part of the launches of milestone Apple products and his relationship with his daughter. Jobs was shown in an extremely kind way and having read the biography, I do not subscribe to this kinder version of Jobs. In my opinion, this movie was more about Joana Hoffman (played extremely well by Kate Winslet) the marketing head at McIntosh who was Jobs’ confidant and who was the only one who could knock some sense into him. ‘In both 1981 and 1982, she won a satirical award at Apple given to “the person who did the best job of standing up to Jobs.’ After watching the film, every time, I am at a crossroads at work with my boss, I think about this scene from the movie.

Then, there’s Money Ball about Oakland Athletic Baseball team’s 2002 season (based on a book again). It took me a while to understand the baseball buying rules, but the movie was still gripping.

Oh, I also forgot to mention about The NewsRoom. This is a 3 season series and like the title suggests it’s about the studio happenings of a news channel. The pilot episode, wait this one particular scene, (Jeff Daniels’ Will McAvoy FTW!) ‘why is America the greatest country in the world?’ is just enough to keep you intrigued through the 3 seasons. It’s a shame that we got only 3 seasons.

And the last and the latest one of Sorkin’s works. The Trial of Chaicago 7. Based on true incidents from 1968. Courtroom drama which is still relevant till today. The greatest actors given the most poignant words to speak because Sorkin. This movie was my best movie of 2020. If you want to watch one movie that can make you think, watch this.

I have a few criticisms about Sorkin’s works as well. But, that’s for another day. Today, we celebrate Sorkin’s writing.

Difference

This morning I read something which I’ve been thinking about a lot. Someone on Twitter said that people in the East Coast are kind but not nice and people in the West Coast are nice but not kind.

It’s not about the East – West divide that made me think but the difference between niceness and kindness. Niceness is apparently just showing empathy but not doing anything about it whereas kindness is not doing mere lip service but going all out and helping others.

For example, you see someone carrying a heavy thing, you stop by and say my god, that must be heavy and walk away – this is being nice. You feel the pain but do nothing about it. Then, when you see someone carrying stuff, you don’t have to be nice to them but just go help them carry it or a part of it – that is being kind. Nice words are not required when kindness is shown.

Amma and I often talk about this without naming it and articulating it this well. Accidents are our ideal example. When we witness an accident on the road, what would our first reaction be? Do we stop doing what we do and rush to help? Or, do we empathize with the person suffering and move on to our next responsibility?