Incidents

Photo : Odyssey

His scooter skidded and fell and he went down with it. Both hit the ground but escaped without any damage, just that his mind and body were reeling from the shock for couple of days and he soon recovered. He thanked his stars and moved on.

He was leaving town after retirement, back to his native place. He had sold his car to someone he knew near his native place, so it was decided that his car mechanic Mani would drive him and his wife, drop them at their place, and then drop the car with the buyer. It was a long drive and they were enjoying it till they noticed that the car was moving faster than it should. It was overtaking vehicles dangerously and soon they were screaming as the car began swinging in and out of the oncoming traffic. Before they could even comprehend what was happening the car veered off the road into the paddy field and stopped dead. All went silent and they were quietly informed by Mani that he realized few minutes ago that the brake had failed and he was manoeuvring them to safety. Thanks to Mani who was part time working with police. He was  chasing down illegal smugglers in cars to nab them.

He was riding on his scooter with his wife as a passenger behind him. They were waiting at a signal for the light to turn green. Before they knew it, the vehicle standing next to them had brushed against them, toppling their scooter over just as the light turned green. The wife fell off the scooter and onto the ground, right in the path of a bus that had started moving. The visual of the large looming bus coming towards her knocked down helpless self made her decide never to ride in a two wheeler again.

This one is something I don’t know the details about. All that I got to hear from him was that he was driving with his wife by his side, hit the road divider, the car toppled over to the other side. Thanks to seatbelt and airbag they escaped without any serious injury. He thanked God and I told him,

”Yes dad, you should thank God for the miracle of keeping you and mom safe all these years of being on the road and through all the above incidents… or should I say accidents?”   

 

Can you spot?

This picture was taken by my husband as the sail boats representing different countries were pulling into Victoria during the Victoria Tall Ship Festival 2005.

Can you spot the men posing in various positions from top to bottom in the above picture? Isn’t it marvellous?

Decision Making

Photo : restoringdata.ca

I sucked at it. I don’t know if it was from the beginning or it just started when I became an independent individual. Anyhow, I became aware of it only after having it repeatedly pointed out: my reluctance to make decisions. At first I refused to accept that I couldn’t make decisions and then slowly started to defend my decision making capability. Then I vehemently reasoned it out as empathising with everyone’s point of view which just made decision making very very difficult.

For buying my clothes I would drag my husband along saying that he had better taste, all the while not realizing that I just couldn’t choose. I remember going to a shop to get couple of tops for myself and there was this salesgirl who recommended a red one. At first I outrightly refused saying it won’t suit me. She on the contrary said that in fact my skin tone was best suited for red. She insisted that I atleast give it a try. So I went to the change room, wore the red one, looked into the mirror and found myself looking quite good! I got that red one that day.

I slowly started to choose my own clothes. Sometimes it was difficult and sometimes, easy. An old friend of mine was visiting me after a very very long time and one of the things she pointed out to me was that I wasn’t as “well dressed” as before. My spontaneous reaction  was to tell her that that was my mom and this was me. I later realized how true it was. When I was with my parents my mom always styled me. I never chose a thing for myself! I also realized that I was OK with being criticized for my poor taste in dressing.

It was hit and miss with my clothing choice from then on. Sometimes I got criticized for my poor choice of clothes and sometimes, praised. I started learning to make better and better choices as time passed with more and more practice.

That’s it! I got it! I understood why I wasn’t able to make decisions before. It was because I didn’t want to take responsibility for my poor choices. I was shit scared of making mistakes. I was afraid of getting my ego bruised by others criticism, or most of all my own.

Today I am much braver in putting myself out there in open, focussing on learning and developing skills by practice and making mistakes!   

Patience

 

Photo: Two Cities

Patience to me meant to put up with other’s shortcomings genially. Shortly after my marriage my husband and I happened to be waiting for a bus. The bus didn’t turn up on time and our wait seemed indefinite. My husband noticed and commented that I was impatient and I flew off the handle. ME  and IMPATIENCE in the same sentence. Not possible! I was known to be an extremely patient person, or so I thought then. It wasn’t me who was impatient, it was the driver who was negligent and tardy!

I was standing in a long line in the bank to withdraw some cash. I was almost near the counter just one  person in front of me. The cashier decides to take a break. I cursed my stars, my fate and so wished that I had been ahead of two persons so I didn’t have to wait there and then unnecessarily for god knows how long?! I was irritated and fidgety and… I noticed I wasn’t patient at all in this situation. Voila!! I got it. I am patient with shortcomings of people but not with situations.

But does it make any sense? Isn’t everything  that happens in your life a “situation”? Maybe what I mean is that I unconsciously am patient with people I know, to get away with the impression of being a patient person.

I have been playacting being patient with few who held the power to prove otherwise to me. As life progressed and I at last took the responsibility of being grown up I noticed how impatient I was with my life. I wanted everything to be done with.

The most eagerly awaited prize was being a mother for me. I couldn’t wait to become one. And after I became one I couldn’t stop from wanting to reach these so-called “milestones” as fast as possible and be done with. What I was supposed to be enjoying became almost an agony! And why? Because everything was going on as it should be? Even the ones which didn’t look good at the beginning were turning out to be beautiful in their own way as time progressed.

All I needed to do was just wait patiently enjoying every little moment we passed… OH!OH!OH! I get it now! I get what patience is!! Do you ?

Sweets

Photo: Krishna.org

I was visiting my aunt, one of my mother’s sisters with my one year old daughter. On the way from my in-law’s home to my aunt’s place I asked the cab driver to stop at a particular local sweet stall. The driver told me that he could take me to a better sweet stall and I went along with his suggestion. The moment I saw the shop I hesitated but the driver assured me that the sweets would be good and I bought them. I presented the sweets to my aunt, had lunch with her and her husband, spent some more time in her company and went straight to my in-law’s home.

The next day I get a call from my aunt who gently lets me know that the sweets that I bought her were of bad quality. They were made using inferior quality of oil. They were so awful that she had no option but to throw it away. She felt bad about wasting all that money. She wished that I had just showed up without feeling compelled to bring a gift along.

I was embarrassed and mortified at my own stupidity. I was also worried about my mother-in-law’s reaction as she would have heard my side of the conversation and guessed who and what was being discussed.  Her words of advice to me were: “ Stick to fruits, it is the safest and  traditional way of gifting an elder.”

My initial concern was that soon the story of my stupidity was going to circulate among my relatives embarrassing not only me but my parents too! I berated myself and wondered how I could so easily get duped by a stranger, the cab driver? Why didn’t I decide not to buy the sweets the moment I wasn’t impressed by the shop?  Even if I decided to overrule my initial  judgement  why didn’t I have the sense to sample the sweets before buying?

I analysed my behaviour and came to the conclusion that I would have not acted this dumb if I were at ease. I was stressed out because I had underestimated the time to reach my aunt’s place and I was hell bent on impressing my aunt with my punctuality at the same time I didn’t want to turn up at her place empty handed. I had let my in-laws know exactly when to expect me back home and I wanted to keep up my word  at any cost.

It took me a while to turn my attention from feeling like a total idiot to what my aunt would have thought of it. I think she felt totally hurt and insulted by the quality of the gift (I don’t blame her). I made her feel unimportant and worthless. I think she called me mainly to let me know that I had slighted her and that I had better learn to treat her respectfully from then on.

On the personal end,  I learnt that I need to learn a lot about prioritizing and organizing.                

Online Shopping

Photo: MyCustomer

It was supposed to be as easy as this :

Scene 1: location – my current temporary furnished apartment

I am sitting in my pyjamas in front of my laptop. With a click or two I purchase the sofa I want!

and a few days later…..

Scene 2: location – my unfurnished new apartment

The sofa is sitting in the living room. Me and my family thank the delivery guy.                                               

                                                   The End

But what happened was:

Scene 1: location – my current temporary furnished apartment

I am sitting in my pyjamas in front of my laptop. With a click or two I purchase the sofa I want!

A few days later ON the scheduled date of delivery……

Scene 2: location – my unfurnished new apartment

My daughter sitting on the floor resting her back against the wall nibbling chips absentmindedly. Me staring into space.My husband walking up and down checking the time now and then. From 11AM till 3PM.

Scene 3: location – my unfurnished new apartment at 3PM

My husband calls their office. We hear him say

”What! Not today?”  “Are you sure?”

“Please deliver it day after tomorrow”  “Thank you”.

As soon as he puts the phone down I yell  ”Man! I can’t believe we wasted a whole day for this!” My daughter goes “It was boring. Next time I will get my laptop .“

Scene 4: location- in the car on our way to the current apartment. Time 5PM.

The phone rings. My husband picks up the phone.

”What! delivery NOW! You are at the gate huh? Sorry we are not in the apartment!” “Hindi malum?”

He passes the phone to me and I break off in Hindi “Your office told us you won’t be coming today. We are  far away from the apartment. Please come day after tomorrow.” I get desperate when I realize he can’t understand Hindi either.

“Thursday banni, Thursday banni, Thursday banni…..” My face is distorted in anguish!

Cut!!

Second take: Two days later on Thursday , our second attempt to get the sofa delivered

Scene 2: location: my unfurnished new apartment

We are waiting for the delivery. The phone rings. I immediately pick up, listen to the delivery guy and say ”Anytime, anytime but before 6”. His “Ok” sounds feeble and confused.

We wait for some time and then call up the office.“Oh no! Not AFTER 6 it’s BEFORE 6!”

I walk around in circles raving “Why the hell did I say before 6.I should have left it at ANYTIME” From 11AM to 6PM pacing around our empty unfurnished apartment.

Cut!!

Third take: our third attempt to get the sofa delivered on Friday.

Scene 2: location : my unfurnished new apartment

We google search the word NOW in Kannada. We are desperate to get it right this time.

The phone rings. I pick up and with great enthusiasm exclaim “Iga! Iga! Iga!” I sense that the delivery boy is taken aback but hope and pray that he understood me this time.

After an hour or so our doorbell rings. We open our door in great anticipation.

Eureka ! It’s the delivery man with our sofa!!!

The End ! At last !

 

   

 

                                              

 

Alignment

I was standing about three feet away from my daughter who was sitting on her chair bent over the table, intent on getting it right. Why was I standing there? For moral support. To ensure that she got it right the very first time. Why were we so desperate that she nailed it the very first time?  Because she was doing the fair copy of the very last one on a booklet which was already impeccably done without a single mistake by her. We were hell-bent on her not slipping up at the very end and ruining a otherwise perfectly done job. Compromising perfection was not an option, it meant re-doing the whole assignment which was my daughter’s worst nightmare!

Man! Talk about performance anxiety. The whole time I was standing beside her I was a nervous wreck. I could feel my stomach cramping, my breathing becoming faster, sweating, my hands shivering. I wasn’t sure whether my presence was helping her or disturbing her. I didn’t know whether  to be a passive or active helper.

As I was standing there feeling lost and unsure, my daughter’s frustrated words “Shit! It looks horrible! I screwed it up!” jolted me into action. I told her to calm down and focussed on resolving the issue. She came up with the solution of tearing that particular page and just re-doing that part alone but wasn’t sure if she could do it without ruining the booklet. I took up that responsibility and did it.

She started doing that part of the assignment again. This time around I keenly observed what she was doing and was guiding her along step by step. It took me some time to realize why she was struggling with this particular task and even more time to come up with strategies that would help her. We somehow finished it! It wasn’t as perfect as we wanted it to be but we were happy to have done it fairly well.          

The next few hours I indulged in self flagellation; I was hit by guilt for not catching onto what was happening earlier. I had just assumed that she was not paying enough attention when it came to aligning data especially huge numbers while writing. If only I had been paying attention to her rough work and listening to her more carefully through all our discussions as to how to go about it, I would have realized right then that my way or approach wouldn’t work for her. In fact her trying to do it my way was the problem. If only I had …….If only I had……..If only I had…….

After I got over that event. I could look back objectively and trace my emotional  travel from being nervous, unsure, unclear, lost when I was blindly going after perfection, to being decisive and determined when my focus shifted from perfection to entirely dealing with issue in hand, to being accepting, satisfied, joyful, happy when I could appreciate my daughter’s earnest effort.

Today I feel I got to know about myself and my daughter better through this event. Get the feeling that that experience was much bigger and significant than the marks that were involved, her 12th grade, her academic education. Got to learn a thing or two that’s going to serve me and my daughter well in the coming years.

Gosh! How easily one can lose one’s perceptive; agonizing over getting the alignment perfect on paper for half a mark while totally neglecting to pay any attention to aligning oneself.