THE HARDEST THING I EVER DID WAS TO BE JUST ME

The hardest thing I ever did was to be just me all the time.

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Life is set with rules and regulations for everyone. It is just that all these rules do not let you be what you are always. Every rule portrays you to be someone else according to someone else’s rules.

That is life – that is what everyone replies to who cribs about this.

Even when others lay the rules, it is not easy to be not who you are at times. I have encountered myself, quite a number of times in my life till now. Every time I come face to face with my own self, I just have to bid goodbye to it and take up the burden of being an epitome of a rule book.

If I have to pick the hardest moments I ever had to be just myself, then there are plenty of them. As most of the times, my life is not what I always wanted it to be.

When I wanted to study and conquer my dreams, my family wanted me to start a family and be bounded by the marital laws. It was hard. Even after conflicting thoughts with myself, I had to sacrifice and be bound to their rules. Yet again I failed to be just me.

When I struggled in my career, I again lost the ambitious me to the laws of family. Wherein I set my priorities higher for my family than my job. Just to blame me in the end for the magnificent end of it.

When I began to write, it was a natural fight with the society rules and just my rules. I write a lot more about the expression of love either emotionally or romantically, they entice me, but again it was ‘just me’ writing without abiding by the rules of a  ‘good woman’. Even when I am character assassinated as many things unimaginable to me, I still continued to do what I always wanted to do. It is hard to make a decision in favor of one’s own consciousness at times, but I decided to pen down only my true emotions which I wanted to write and not anything that never touched my heart.

Most of the time, it is hard to be what you want to be, but it is better to be what you are. Lying to oneself leads you to a downfall, be true to yourself and you will see you are happy.

Self-love is never harmful, it is the best medicine to your soul. Mostly, it is not selfishness or self-indulgence but it is more of taking care of one’s self rather than just giving away everything.

PARENTING – A RESPONSIBILITY WITH FULL-ON COMMITMENT

Parenting is a huge responsibility for which most couples land in, with their eyes wide open, ears sharpened and mind quite boggled. Even then it is a huge responsibility.  It is not easy to convince each other to reckon with the transition and adapt to it. But once you are a parent- you are always a parent, be it just for one kid, two or three or more. Parenting is not a cakewalk, it involves lots of hardships and commitment. As the couple enters into parenthood, they are responsible for a life that is growing up among them. It is not easy to understand and provide solutions for every instance, because in every instance a different solution looks appealing to the child.

Most people enter parenthood, expecting joy, the soothing presence of a baby, the sense of parenting, happiness of seeing a baby smile – but is that what it is all about?

A smile is worth -when you have undergone sadness. Happiness is worthwhile only when you know the harshness of sorrow. 

Parenting is all about committing yourself to your child as a couple. A child must be both parents’ responsibility. But if you look out in our society, we might stumble upon many families, where one of the parents has to take up the whole commitment. Most of the couples, after a child is born to them, leave the complete responsibility to one shoulder and burden them.  It always happens and none share the responsibilities and finally, parenting becomes the secret dagger to blame the partner for lack of commitment.

Parenting is all about commitment.  There are many things to keep in mind when you are a parent.

  1. It is not a single effort- As becoming a parent is not just a one-person effort, it is important to realize that, the task must be shared. The child is equally both mother and father’s responsibility. The sooner you realize it, the better the results.
  2. Give time –Time is essential. Parenting is not just about having a child. Parents should dedicatedly give time to their child and also ensure they spend it as a family. Mostly as kids grow up, they become independent and might not completely need parents to help them. I personally believe that a child should be given a requestive amount of attention at a very young age. This is the time when bonding happens.
  3. Kids rely on their parents, hence be their rock: Kids rely on parents for everything, from the very beginning. It is important to be their support, but it doesn’t mean you have to be there for everything, few things they should be let to experiment on their own. All you need is to offer a hand of help, they might not need it but will be happy to hear from you. As a parent, your commitment must be to guide them, as well as give them space to decide on their choices.
  4. Share your responsibilities: Parenting is a big task, hence it is ideal when sharing is done. Taking care of your child is not just one of the parents’ duties. A happy mother or father can only make a happy family. To get a happy mind, relaxation is important. When one of the parents takes up the whole responsibility, they get exhausted and will not be able to do it well. Both mother and father need to share their work so that the other person doesn’t get drained.
  5. Understanding: This is something that washes away quite soon in a marriage. You need to understand and support your partner in parenting too. He/She might be confused, hence understand their plight and be supportive.

Even though parenting is something unplanned, there is a joy behind every moment of parenting. At times when I am exhausted, juggling around the responsibilities, end of the day, I feel like I am dead, but the moment my kids come and hug me, I feel energized.

In the end, the joy of being a parent is in the touch of your little one. There are no best or good parents – all are just work in progress parents.

HOW NOT TO PROCRASTINATE AND DEAL WITH TIME

black and white photo of clocks
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Strengths – We all are born with one or the other strength- all we need to do is discover it and nurture it for your betterment.

In my childhood, I was the laziest person I could say. People underestimated my own strengths which they neglected. When I started my job, again it was crucial for me to manage my time to handle everything from a job to home. Time swept by and it was time for much more responsibilities. This is when I realized I need to find time for many more things to do. With two kids, I was literally hanging on the minute hand of the clock to manage my time. At times I even wondered if I could grab much more time – but 24hours remained just 24 hours with no more or no less.

It was time – that I wanted to manage and yes I found ways to handle it in a much more effective way.  Here I am sharing with you the tips that have worked out and helping me do my things correctly.

  1. Do not panic: Most of us tend to lose time, panic a lot. Panicking is not the key to managing. Hence it is important not to panic even when we are unable to manage. Usually the times I ended up panicking, I lost track of everything I was doing and had to begin everything from scratch.
  2. Be Prepared: As the famous saying “Time and tide wait for no man ” – It is important to engrain in our thoughts that nothing waits for us. Hence it is important to harness ourselves before the tide arrives. Like if you are planning to cook something in the morning for kids lunch boxes, pre-plan everything like cutting vegetables or grating or keeping things ready that can save your time. Mornings can be quite tricky at times and trust me I have gone through all the worst part before I arrived at the good one.
  3. Let go:  Keep in mind that you cannot control time. Learn to flow with it, which is the best way to handle time. At times we might lose the grip of it, then learn to let it go. One way you won’t repent over the loss of that time and then get back to your tasks or routine.
  4. Plan Plan and Plan: This is the only thing that helps you manage your time. Like usually when it is Sunday, I can always choose to take a rest and chill, but most of the time I choose to plan my things for the week like preparing the batter for the whole week, that will make my breakfast planning instant- otherwise I end up browsing quick recipes. Even all the washing clothes and arranging the week’s uniforms for my kids are also planned ahead. I guess most parents do it.
  5. Be an early person: Nothing keeps you organized than being early, which gives you plenty of options to change your plans. Sometimes, I plan things and at times, I am left with no option to do it but try something else in its place. In such cases to buy time, it is important that we are quite ahead of the time.
  6. Multitasking: This is something that I feel buys me much more time to relax. Whenever I am in the kitchen cooking, I put the clothes to wash in the machine and once I am done with my kitchen work, I will be done with washing too. In this way, I get much more time to spend with my family or find some “Me -time “. It might not be easy to multi-task at times, but yes it’s worth trying. 
  7. Take rest, when exhausted: A break is much more needed for anyone. Do not strain yourself, but ensure you do things correctly. Most of us take up all the things together and then finally end up doing nothing. Hence it is important to find time and take proper breaks at regular intervals.

Tips might not work all the time, but there is always a way to nurture it into your lifestyle. I included these in my lifestyle and customized them according to my needs. All this comes with lots of patience and practice. It might not look easy at first, but gradually we become accustomed to it as a habit.

Try not to procrastinate on your tasks, which will lead you to deal with a bulk of it later.

So these are some tips, o f a busy working mother, of two kids, who have to manage time like a pro. I might not be a pro, but I do my best to be one.

So folks – Never lose hope, just gear on!!!

MY FIVE BITS OF ADVICE TO STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT

Advice is like – the more we give, the more we hate them. There is an interesting aspect for advice when we are at a younger age, we tend to listen but as we grow up, the listening skills enhance only in the case of negative advice. It seems that we have all our ears dedicated to the negative aspects.

Being a mom – I am more or less advising my kids every now and then, that even at times they stop me from doing so. (seems they are bored now itself).

Interestingly when the other person is in trouble, we are all filled with virtues, ideologies, ideas and much more. We become more like saints in that way even when we might not be able to correlate to various aspects, we can well ahead advice anyone.

All we need is the magic of words, weaved together in the most comfortable way to push into the person to make them viable and understandable.

Here is my share of advice :

  1. First- Stop Overdoing – Out of exemplifying experience, I know that we all tend to do a lot more to our loved ones and even strangers. It is ideal to stop overdoing things because we are always taken for granted.
  2. Secondly – Stop Overthinking – Thinking is good, but overthinking leads to troubles which never existed in the first place. I have seen people over imagining and then finally making up a different story for a simple aspect of life. Don’t you think that making it much more complicated is making your life chaos?
  3. Thirdly – Stop Overloading – Being a mother, I had .. No actually, I have a very bad tendency to overload myself. At times you need to relax, cherish some free time for yourself- as none can take care of you other than yourself.
  4. Fourth – Stop Underestimating – We all degrade ourselves a lot at times. Think of yourself as a perfect creation of God, as for sure God doesn’t make such mistakes. Be strong and lead strong.
  5. Fifth – Stop OverExpecting – Expectation is like poison. The higher we expect, the more we get hurt. It is better to go with the flow. Do not expect anyone to be a part of your life, because you want it that way.

These five pieces of advice, I cherish the most and try to include them in my life. It is just my share of advice which I give everyone I love.

Hence in short -Stop Overdoing, Overthinking, Overloading, Underestimating and OverExpecting and live a happy life.

MY FIRST JOB – TIME TO RECOLLECT

Everything has to begin somewhere and it certainly ends elsewhere.
Every day is a new beginning and it ends somewhere.

I would love to share my experience with my first job.

It was a lovely day when I and my friends set out to the campus recruitment drive happening in a college in our native place, Cochin. In fact, being a careless person, I was the only one not carrying anything for the campus interview. Most of them came with a CV, photo, and copy of certificates and much more and me – just nothing. I was never intending to do anything. After reaching the campus, I realised I was I didn’t even carry sufficient money. I was, I am and I guess I will be totally absent-minded.

Thanks to the loving people who are supporting me and bearing me. My friend’s dad, on his scooter, took me all around the city to find a place to get my photo or even other stuff printed- luckily which I had saved on my email. Even though we managed to at least get a resume, I was happy. It was then when the exam began, and I went in to write it.

As usual, I was never expectant about getting to the next level. To my surprise, there was my name among 250 others – I was shocked. I called my parents informed them- they were super proud of me. I always feel blessed to have such kind-hearted people around me.

It was a long wait for the call letter. Still, the very first time I received it,  my happiness knew no bounds. My dad gifted me a Nokia 1100- the very first mobile phone I had. In September, I was all set for my training which was in Bhubaneshwar. The campus was huge, we all trainees had a big room to stay in. It was hard for me to find any familiar faces, but there weren’t any.

This morning was quite pleasant.

I  woke up and freshened up and walked towards the training centre. I could see groups of people coming into the same building. All had hopes and dreams and enthusiasm for the upcoming things the future had in store for them. I too walked in, grabbed a chair in the corner and sat there. I knew no one in the room, still, I decked up my face with a smile for everyone. It all began in a jiffy.

But I could still recollect the moments of my days- I had in the Infosys Campus, which became a piece of memory to cherish forever. Even though it didn’t last long, it still changed my life.

A few friends I made there, remain, my friends, the rest drifted away like me. It was a memorable time for me though. The only thing I carried ahead was the teaching and the moments of fun I had with my friends there.

Even though I had many more dreams to conquer, my path drifted away from there. Still, it was the first job in my life. The first something doesn’t have to be very dramatic in everyone’s life but it does leave some very valuable memories to carry forward with, in life. It allows us to the scope to experience something new and learn from it. I didn’t have anything dramatic in my first job yet, I had lessons which I learned for life that came afterward.

WRITING CURED MY SANITY

Ever since I became a mother, I was completely lost. It was like a new era of my life, that confused me to the core. For one moment I wanted to be a perfect mom, the next moment I lost it with my impatience. It took me so long to understand that there is nothing like a “perfect mom”. We all do some or the other way to be a good mom or maybe an average – but motherhood is not measured using a scorecard. Exactly this is what I learned as my first lesson from the time I began to write. It helped me burst the sanity of perfection and much more.

And all I began to do is love my kids with all my heart. People might point fingers at me for being so insane. But I was enjoying it to the core. The moment I shed a cloak of sanity and trying to fit in, I was happier and merrier.

It was all the moment I began to share my experiences. It showed me that I was not just alone in the world dealing with the same issues. And I could literally enjoy the moments of my life.

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I am not an avid reader, but I love reading.  If I could recollect the first book I read -it was Matilda – the story of a little girl with unlimited dreams. I was more like her, but with much more limitations to succeed. Earlier the thoughts were cluttered in my head. And all I did was just think – rethink-think and again re-think polishing it a little bit. At times it confuses my present and the past. The moment I began to write the thoughts cloud reduced to minute ones, as my thoughts began to float in my words. It was a turning point in my life.

Writing has befriended me like no one ever can. I could weave my dreams, realisation, achievements and even my limitations in a better way. I could write even when I was judged many times. It helped to boost my confidence, making me realise a hidden potential in me.

The more I write, the more I feel relieved.

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Finally, during my times of depression, especially the one’s most ladies can’t wade off – the postpartum depressions- writing helped to build a career in my life. Even when the pay off was not so grand, I enjoyed every bit of appreciation that occurred to me.

In a way, writing helped me discover a hidden me, who was in great slumber.

My key advice to newbies would be, keep writing, never stop your pen from bleeding. Do not be discouraged by unwanted comments. Just ignore it and move on. You have better things to listen to.

Writing is discovering your insanity and then embracing it. This is how my SoulRecitals was born.

Happy Reading And Writing!!!

OH MY CHILLIES – YOU ARE HOT

green chili with fire
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Green slender ones, it impresses me as nothing else does. Yes, I am referring to chillies. You might wonder what makes me so fond of chilli. If you ever take a look into my fridge, and even my balcony garden, you will find chillies everywhere.

My first encounter with Chilli

It was when I was a kid, I used to notice my mom, add these green chillies to the coconut chutney my mom makes. The tinge of green that it brings to the chutney was something impressive.

As I grew up, these chillies became a part of my cooking. There was not even a dish, without chillies I cooked. Even the red ones also took my heart, when it comes to taste. In Kerala, whenever we make tapioca especially the boiled ones, we have the green chillies (tiny ones) with shallots and yes it tastes awesome, that even as I write my mouth waters. 😛

Love at first sight

green chili peppers
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Every day, when I am off to work, on the way, I pass by a market area, and all you see is a bunch of fresh veggies. As I go by bus, I can see vendors unloading sacks full of chillies onto the spaces for selling. It is always fascinating to watch all those tiny green slender ones, load up.

Again Chillies

focus photo of round brown wooden bowl filled with chili lot
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Chillies, tinier ones are mostly used in the pickles and ones that are salted and added to vinegar ….the taste is just WOW. You can find an array of lemon, mango, gooseberries pickled with green tender chillies at my home.

Amazing facts about Green Chillies

Let me put up a few facts about green chilli, which will make you fall in love with it…

  1. Green chilli is rich in vitamin B6, vitamin A, iron, copper, potassium and a small amount of protein and carbohydrates
  2. It is rich in dietary fibre, which makes it important for your healthy digestive system.
  3. Have green chillies and own a healthy glowing skin – as it contains Vitamin C.
  4. Aid digestion – Hope you all know saliva is a major add-on to our food that aids digestion of food. When you consume chilli, you produce more saliva, which will help in fastening digestion.
  5. Good for weight loss – Green chillies can help in weight loss and burn excess fat by increasing metabolism.
  6. Good for diabetics – Including green chillies (the tiny ones especially) in the diet is best to control the increased blood sugar level and it also helps to balance it.
  7. Combat sinus and cold as it contains capsaicin.
  8. When in pain take green chilli. It emits heat into the body that acts as a painkiller.
  9. Green chillies on consuming cause release of a chemical called endorphins, which can control mood swings.
  10. Green Chillies are a good source of iron, ideal for those who are deficient in iron.
  11. Rich in Vitamin A and is ideal for mucous membranes. Yet another good reason to include chillies is :

    photo of assorted vegetables and fruits on rack
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Loaded with a capsaicin-a chemical compound that makes chilli peppers taste hot — you can eat them raw, fried or in a roasted form along with salads and as a side dish in your main meals. It tastes awesome!! Trust ME!!!

 

Chillies taught me a lesson

Over and over as I ponder on chillies, it reminded me that the over usage of chillies can burn our tongue that finally, all taste seems fake.  It’s important that we don’t add too many chillies beyond our requirements. When I became a mother, every notion about taste changed – I  minimized so many things like chillies as I wanted my kids to enjoy what they eat. I knew they won’t be able to eat if I had too many chillies.

It was then that I realised like chillies, we need to be minimal in many things we use or with the circle of friends we have. An overabundance of anything in life does not make life richer.

Final thoughts on my chilli Love

If you have nothing to eat at home, no curry enchants you, then all you need to do is just fry salted chillies and then have it with plain rice.