TRUSTING MY OWN DECISIONS BASED ON MY INTUITION

Well, my intuition is one of my best friends. It guides me when I need it the most. It makes me feel secure and safe in this wild world. It makes me do the right things at the right times.

What is Intuition?

It is that tiny little voice that says – “Just do it. Everything is gonna be alright.” It is your own sixth sense that tells you if your decision will take you where you want to go or not. It is that gut feeling or the vibes that one feels when something is not right. Even without enough analysis of something, you sometimes just know that you should do something or not do something.

Is the intuition always right?

No. It has failed me many times so that I could only learn better from my experience. Sometimes I failed multiple times but that’s just life. Isn’t it? Intuition is not always meant to be right. If it were, then all of us would be Gods.

When do I use my intuitions the most?

In trusting people. About 6 years back, after a few unfortunate incidents of betrayal at the hands of my “so-called” friends I made a decision. That decision was to get away from any friendship (or relationship) that seems fake. If I cannot make any meaningful conversations with a particular person, then there is no point in being in touch with that person just for gossiping about rest of the world.

Since that point in time, I have used my intuition the most in choosing my friends. And I must say that I have been really successful. I chose the right people who brought out the best in me whether it was the group of my apartment buddies, or my office lunch group, or my Candles family, or my child’s school friend’s moms etc. I am so glad that I haven’t faced any sort of a discomfort from any of my friends since I started to use my intuition to choose my friends and to decide how much to open up in front of whom.

I recall one such incident where I really trusted my intuition and took a decision. And I really got what I wanted. In the year 2013, I suffered a miscarriage and at that point of life I was so upset about not being able to conceive. We had seen doctors, got a lot of tests done and even taken a few treatments. It was not working out. We changed doctor after doctor because I had a strong feeling that I am not finding a good doctor. Little did I know then that infertility clinics is such a huge industry and it is very difficult to find an effective solution. I was looking for a doctor that I could connect with, a doctor who listened to me and my concerns about my body.

Eventually I found a doctor, recommended by a friend. And as soon as I met this doc, I knew that she was the one. She didn’t talk too much, she listened, she empathized and she didn’t talk medical jargon. She just looked at the reports and said – “Everything’s normal. Let us not worry too much. We will just take the right steps and see how it works.” The calm way in which she spoke I just knew that I could trust her. My intuition told me that this will work. And it did. Finally we were blessed with our boy in 2015 and life was good again.

How to sharpen your intuition

This is something that I am not an expert in (I am still learning). But I know for sure that to sharpen your intuition, you need to do the following

  1. Keep your thoughts organized. Don’t let your mind clutter with all the negativity. Negative self-talk is the killer for a strong intuition.
  2. Meditate and focus on the process of life. When I say process of life, I mean focus on something that proves that you are living. Like your breath, or the movement of your abdomen when you are breathing, or just focus on one of your fingers etc. There are a million ways to meditate effectively. Use what works for you.
  3. Do not take decisions when you are angry or upset. Your intuition is simply shut off when you are in a negative state of mind.
  4. If you are in doubt whether you are taking a right decision or not, take time. Time to breathe and slow down your thoughts or time to just sleep over it.

Your intuition will always make you trust your decisions and stick to them. Use it wisely!

A TRIBUTE TO OUR BEST COMPANIONS

Hachiko was a Japanese dog (breed: Akita) who waited for his master’s return for 9 years at the train station. His master died while he was at work and Hachiko tried his best to stop him from going to work that day because he could sense that something might happen to his master. Today, there is a statue of Hachiko at the train station as a tribute to his utmost loyalty to his master.

God bless these amazing creatures who are called “Man’s best friend” because they are the most loyal companions to us.

The poem below is dedicated to Hachiko and all the dogs who demonstrate remarkable loyalty to us and tremendous courage for our safety.

I run and I run coz I know my master is going to be in pain, 
I need to somehow stop him from getting on the train, 
He looks at me and finally stops driving, 
He pats me, kisses me and gives me a bone for licking. 

Bone is not what I want, 
My master’s safety is all I want. 
He doesn’t understand my tone, 
Even when I cry and howl. 

They say I am being naughty, 
But they can’t see I am doing my utmost duty, 
My master is my God, 
Even though I am just his Dog. 

He never returns, but I wait. 
It has been days and weeks, but I wait. 
It has been seasons and years, but I wait. 

They try to take me to a new home, 
But my master who gave me all the love is my only hope. 
I don’t need a new family, 
I am just content to be lonely. 

I wait for my master’s return till my last breath, 
Finally I unite with him after my own death. 

My master is my God, 
Even though I am just his Dog. 

STORY OF COURAGE THAT INSPIRED ME

Sometime in mid-1990’s, there was a man who worked as a Scientist for a CSIR laboratory in a small city of Dehradun. He had limited resources but immense will and courage to make a difference to the society. He was deeply moved by the rag-pickers who would keep hunting for clean waste in the piles waste dumps. It was unhealthy and utterly filthy.

For months together, the sight of these rag-pickers troubled him. Somehow he had to help them get clean waste so that these people don’t have to hunt for recyclable waste and carry them to the factories to earn their living. They deserve a respectable life, they deserve a healthy life. This thought made home in his mind.

In 1990’s, there was no concept of waste segregation existing in our country. This man lived in Government quarters with his family in a Government colony. And he came up with the thought of waste segregation – it was just a thought to start with. He wrote articles on why we should segregate waste at source and how it can help the society as a whole. He wrote poems on the same. For advertising his thought, he even dressed his younger daughter as a rag-picker during the fancy dress competition in colony fete (she got the first prize for acting a rag-picker, reciting her father’s poem and conveying a social message).

He had already put his thoughts on paper which had become quite famous. Now he wanted to put his words on action. A couple of his colleagues supported him and he went to each household in the colony and educated them on waste segregation. The idea was simple, they had to keep biodegradable (food) waste in a separate bin that could go to a compose pit and they had to keep non-biodegradable (plastic, glass, etc) in big plastic bag provided to them. Every week he would arrange for a few rag-pickers to come in colony and pick up the non-biodegradable waste from all the households. It was win-win for all. Rag-pickers got clean waste and residents of the colony could now become 0 waste producing community.

He called it “Rag-picker” scheme. It was a huge hit not only in the colony but in the entire city. He got media attention and attention from educational institutions. In spite of all this, he stayed grounded. His team of rag-pickers was not huge but with time he saw a tremendous transformation in them. They were now in better clothes, had watch on their wrists and they were in a position to buy small houses for themselves. He did everything possible to keep the scheme going till he was living in the colony.


Union Ministry of Environment in India released Solid Waste Management rules in 2016 which called for Waste segregation at source as a mandatory requirement. But a common man made this mandatory under “Rag-picker Scheme” at least 20 years earlier in IIP colony, Dehradun.


To do an act of this kind is courage. It takes patience, drive, will and most importantly it needs courage to stand up for an ignored section of society and do something for them.

This man is my Father. And this one act, inspired me to the core. I understood at a young age that without making a difference to your society, your life is practically worthless. Courage is not always about swords and fights, it is almost always about using a Pen to put your thoughts in words and then to use those words to create an action that makes a real difference.

COURAGE TO LEAVE THE SAFE HAVEN AND BE INDEPENDENT

“Courage is not always a roar. Sometimes, it is just that tiny little voice in your head that says – I can do it and I will try again tomorrow.”

Just today I was listening to the Amazon music station “Best of Bollywood in 2006” and Alexa played songs like – Mitwaa and kya mujhe pyar hai. And I got transported to that year of my life that was one of the major transitions for me.

I passed out of Engineering College in 2006 and was without any campus placement as our small little government college in the middle of the Himalayas had no such opportunities. All of my batchmates were moving to Bangalore to look for a job but my dad didn’t believe in living in PG’s and searching for a job. He wasn’t ready to send me to a city that had none of our relatives who could help me. So, the farthest I could go to was Mumbai at my sister’s place. 

I spent a month in Mumbai only to realize there were no opportunities that could suit me there. And I was also aware that my friends in Bangalore were writing entrances all over Bangalore. I spent hours at the internet café applying for jobs on the job portals. I had no laptop, no internet and a basic Nokia 1100 phone.

Finally, I got an interview call from Bangalore and I jumped at the opportunity. I told my parents and my sis that I have to take this and I went. I stayed with my friends in a PG for 3 days and did everything possible to participate in as many fresher’s job fairs as possible. During those 3 days, I got rejected at least twice in the interviews. I came back to Mumbai to stay for some more time but not a single call in that city came my way. Fortunately for me, I got an interview call from GE which I managed to postpone by a week and arrange for the tickets. This time I was sure that I wasn’t coming back to Mumbai. 

I packed my bags and told my family that I have to do this. I cannot keep travelling between the two cities and it wasn’t helping. That was when my dad decided to support me. He arranged for me to stay in one of CSIR guest houses. While on the train (Udyan Express) that took 24 hours from Mumbai to Bangalore – I was a nervous wreck. I was too anxious and spent most of my time crying and getting panicky. It had been 3-4 months since I was on a job hunt and nothing was working out. I had been rejected a few times already. I had been the topper in my college and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t making it through. 

The CSIR guest house was an amazing place, a huge room just for me. I stayed in that guest house for 2 days and literally didn’t step out of the room even once because I was busy preparing for the interviews. Manipal Hospital on Old Airport Road was right opposite to the guest house and I just went there twice a day to eat food in the hospital canteen. 3rd day was my interview at GE which went inconclusive. 

After that, the challenge began as I had to find a place to live. I couldn’t stay in the Guest House for longer. None of my friend’s PG had a vacant place, so I just found a Working Women’s Hostel near my friend’s PG. The room had to be shared with 4 other girls and the first day I entered and saw my bed – there was a lizard on the mattress. But I had no choice now. I just drove the lizard away (it was a big deal because at home I wouldn’t sleep in the room that had a lizard) and slept on the mattress. I mostly ate at Shiv Sagar nearby which sold the North Indian meal Rs. 35/- then. It was more than enough for me. 

A few days later GE called me in again and the next round of interviews bore results finally. In those few days, I and my friends would travel all across Bangalore with copies of our resumes, dressed in formal clothes, travelling in local BMTC (non-AC) buses – we always bought the daily pass of Rs. 25/- and continued to hop from one job fair to another. 

Every night the uncertainty was killing. The next day was the same struggle. Even though we were going through a tough time, we found ways to keep ourselves elated. We sang to each other, danced at weird times in the night and did a lot to keep ourselves going. Life was tough, one night we had a theft in the hostel. Some random thief entered our room and took away all the cash and phones. That was the first time in my life that I felt terribly scared and felt like giving up. I didn’t care much about the lost cash and phone but felt worried about my own safety. All the stories of struggling girls getting raped were circling in my head. 

Finally, when the job came my way, it all got settled. I finally left that hostel and moved into a flat with one of my friends and life looked nicer and in control again. 

This is the story of 2006 and sometimes I just wonder – where did I get all that courage from to deal with this struggle? My parents were more than happy to just let me stay at home with them and arrange a groom for me. That would have been a convenient option, but that wasn’t acceptable to me. I craved to earn my own money and earn my independence. I didn’t want to live with family, I wanted to live that struggle because I really needed to know then – How much courage can I really muster? And I did surprise myself. 

HONESTY IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY

Well, we have been taught since our childhood that we should be honest. However, as kids in school – nobody really tells us that being honest also has its consequences which are not always in your favour.

Something similar happened to Sharda when she tried to be honest at her workplace. She was working for an organization for 10+ years and she had learnt a lot from there. She had joined it as a fresher and managed to grow to a much higher position. Since the last couple of years, she had started to feel stagnant and wanted to move out. But no such brilliant offers were coming up.

She had realized that the atmosphere of her team had been deteriorating for quite some time especially since her new manager had joined a couple of years back. He was not only incompetent but also favoured the wrong people. This was causing a lot of politics at the workplace. She initially did not bother about it. She believed that if she continued to perform at her work, she could stay away from this politics. But she was wrong.

As she continued over the last 2 years, things were only getting worse. She finally got an offer from another organization which she readily accepted. But before leaving she went ahead and reported to HR, all that was happening to her team. Not only that, she even reported these things to the head of the business when she was asked the reason for resigning. The favouritism, gender discrimination, blame games, personal comments and everything that had bothered her in lately.

She expected action to be taken. But in the 3 months of her notice period, she saw no change at all, in fact, some of her team members turned hostile towards her. She left this job and joined a better organization and a better team.

One of her ex-team members called her one evening and told her that her superiors in the previous organization had defamed her a lot. She was incorrectly being blamed a lot for all the wrongs that had happened in the department. And that was all because her concerns were not handled in the right way.

Sharda was far away from that hostile environment but it still impacted her. She had been wronged.

This is a very common scenario especially at the workplace wherein subordinates are forced to move on when they really cannot deal with the unfair situations at work. Their honest opinions are used against them and power of position often wins.

___________________________________________________________________________________

A few years back, I had to face a similar situation at the workplace. It wasn’t as bad as what Sharda faced. I had issues with the way our Department Head was managing our team. He was always micro-managing and had no trust in the team. As the team lead, I was finding it difficult to keep him away so that my team could have space to work the way we wanted.

My immediate manager however understood the situation really well and was very well on our side. I was asked for my honest opinion and blurted out all my frustration in front of her. It was very clear to her that I saw our Department Head as the major and only issue in that team.

My manager was a genuine person and she once said – “You are not scared to call a spade a spade and that is really good.”

She genuinely appreciated my honesty and handled the situation for me. It was a huge risk that I had taken. The situation could have very easily turned against me but I was lucky to have the right person as a Manager to whom I could confide in. The moral of the story is – Don’t always give your honest opinion. Sometimes people just ask you for your opinion because they want to play against you. It doesn’t work. Honesty is the best policy only when honesty is used with the right trustworthy person.

VULNERABILITY GONE WRONG – X

Next morning as Shaloween put her alarm on snooze, still wanting to catch up those last 10-15 mins of sleep, she heard her phone ring. It can only be her mom to call her at 6 am, she picked up and lazily said – “Good Morning ma, I hope all is good with you.”


“Hi Shaloween” came a male voice from the other end.


She woke up straight on her bed and looked at the phone in utter surprise. It was Shekhar Chandra. She was at loss of words and just managed to utter “Hello…. Sir?”


“Listen I am sorry for what I did. I am feeling quite ashamed. You are right, this is indeed harassment. I am not entitled to behave this way with you. Please understand that my intentions were not wrong. I genuinely like you and would like to be a part of your life. However, if this is not something that you want – I will go away and not bother you again.” Said Chandra apologetically.


Shaloween was shocked. She didn’t expect this turn of action. She was almost prepared to shout out a few nasty words at him but he is really apologizing.


“Ok”, totally at the loss of words, she could only say this.


“So, are we good with each other now? Let us just keep our conversation professional from now on. I promise that I won’t come in your personal way now unless you want me to. If ever you change your mind and want to come into my life – you have my number. I would really love that.” Said Shekhar Chandra in a flirtiest tone.


“Sir, I hope you are not going to let any of this have an impact on my work. I have really worked hard in this project and I was thinking that you might just push all my due credit down the drain. I really hope that you won’t do this.” Said Shaloween a bit doubtful.


There was silence at the other end.

“Shalu, I am not that kind of a person. I feel hurt that you thought that I would stoop down to this level.” Said Shekhar in a low voice.


“I am sorry Sir. I hardly know you, I can only judge by little interactions that we have had.”


“Didn’t I tell you earlier – you like to judge me, isn’t it? Well, let us meet in a few hours at office.” Shekhar said without letting her complete the sentence.


He hung the phone. No goodbyes.

That felt really weird. Shaloween opened the letter she had composed for ICC. She read it multiple times and felt guilty about it. “Did I judge the guy wrongly? Maybe he is genuine person wanting to be my friend and I just… anyway. I am glad that all this over, hopefully it would be a normal day at work. I am tired of having these eventful days now.”


Was this episode of her life really over? 

VULNERABILITY GONE WRONG – II

Who is this guy, Shekhar Chandra?” 

What look is he talking about?

I look different! When have I met him earlier?” 

He is from Lojigarh. That’s what Arvind has said“, said Shaloween aloud. 

Shaloween jogged her memory really hard to childhood days, neighborhood, school friends, college friends, tuition friends, friends of friends, siblings of friends – but this name Shekhar Chandra was just not ringing any bells. 

She hopped into the bean bag in her balcony with a mug of cold coffee still staring at the message from him.

She dialed her mom’s number. After a little bit of chit chat with her mom, she asked her mom if she knew anybody by the name of Shekhar Chandra. Her mom thought for a while but replied in negative. 

No, I don’t think so. But you know when you were in Class XII and we stayed in that rented house in Shastri Nagar for a while, there were a lot of families that we never interacted with. Never got a chance, we were so busy building our own home and you obviously had your board papers. What a bookworm you were, always so sincere. I hope you don’t work through day and night now at least. These are the days to have fun and you know what all I used to do….

Ok mom. I really need to hang up now. Have to eat my dinner” said Shaloween in a hurry. 

Oh, it is already 10:30 pm. When will you eat? You need to take care of yourself naa. Ok, go eat quickly”, said mom in her typical motherly style. 

Shaloween hung up. Hunger was really far from her and so was sleep. She had to find out the next day who this guy is and why would he send such a mysterious message that makes absolutely no sense. 

Maybe she would call up her brother too tomorrow. Now, it would be too late in the night for him. 

Her brother was in South Korea since last couple of years, working for a Korean phone company. He was minting really good money but had somehow lost touch with her. She had a very deep connection with her brother – Mohit. But since he got married and moved to Korea, it has been really difficult to keep up that connection. Although she knows that whenever he would visit her, they would still talk about things through the night. That sibling connection is never really lost. 

Sleep still far from her, she thought of hunting this guy on social media. She searched Facebook and Instagram, found his profile. But there was hardly any info about him. Just a few pictures with some random cars, none with the family. She had to admit that he was indeed a very handsome guy and he looked quite well to do in his lifestyle. She had no mutual friends with him. It looked like he hardly used social media platforms. 

She downloaded Shekhar’s profile picture and sent it to her brother with caption – “Do you know this guy by any chance? He is Shekhar Chandra from Lojigarh

Finally, her eyes started to get heavy and she decided to end the day. Tomorrow she would observe Shekhar for any other weird behaviors and if required would confront him directly. This hide and seek game is not her cup of tea, she would rather have direct answers to her countless questions.