0

This is a reminder to…

….be kind to yourself.

Maybe it’s one of those days, where things don’t feel right. Maybe, it’s the blues. Maybe self-doubt decided to say ‘hey’ and proceeded to stick around. Perhaps that led to sadness providing  you with some unsolicited companionship. Something could be in your head, clouding your thoughts and better reasoning. Maybe, common sense has decided to take a hike.

But, remember, it’s OKAY!

Just, be kind to yourself.

Advertisements
18

Of the mirage called Social Media

I considered de-activating my Facebook today, along with Instagram. The problem is not my time spent on social media, but the posts being thrown at me. My ‘suggested pages’ are full of influencers who seem to be drowning in brand new shiny things and enticing followers with the same idea. It ain’t good enough if it ain’t new and shiny enough. But better sense prevailed once common sense hit me in the face again. I need my social media active for the dog rescue work, if nothing else. Also, for a little bit of my own vanity, you know, right? And how it affects me, should ideally be in my hands(easier said than done!)

As a person with wavering self-esteem and social anxiety, ‘influencers’ can stress me out easily. From innocently surfing their feeds with honest appreciation, I find myself going down the dark path of feeling like setting my closet on fire. If I don’t have anything new every single time, it should not be the end of the world. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the exponents of minimalist living coming up with some bestsellers, and if I follow them, it wouldn’t take me long to fall into the depressed state of ‘why I don’t have ANYTHING?!’ So basically, in either situation, minimalism or materialism, I don’t have anything, and I am the end loser.

In a similar vein, travelogues and travel posts are having the same effect on me, where my life feels simply not exciting enough. Imtiaz Ali has done no favors to the middle class youth by making movies that glorify giving up everything and making #wanderlust the in thing. ‘Not all those who wander are lost’ is so overused that J. R. R. Tolkien must be cringing, from the beyond! I don’t want to depress people by launching into a tirade about my overly practical head and the constant turbulence of responsibilities and duties, so I just shrug and let it go. Situations aren’t the same for everyone, and so aren’t priorities.

Should I be jealous of the person, who is always out and about and has a g-astronomically gorgeous feed of choicest cuisines and craft drinks? I feel like I am not living up the best days of my life if I am not exploring every nook and cranny of the town, when I see a stunning picture of a cocktail against a very instagrammable mosaic wall. I may be whiling away my weekdays on my couch watching crap TV when I should be spending dough on the best looking Buddha Bowl. On the other hand, I may actually be saving myself some cash and energy and could perhaps be actually happy, but that’s not the point.

It’s easy to assume that someone’s beautiful FB/Insta feed is actually their entire life. That all the pictures showcased and curated aren’t just a part, but the entirety of their existence. That gorgeous face shining through the filtered sunlight in the trendy lace dress, might be covering up some anxiety that I may have assumed to never exist. The beautiful blue sea in throwback picture may be a disguise for uncertainty in the future. There is a reason why everyone’s feed looks and feels happy, joyous and enviable. We never know what is going on behind someone’s perfect life. It could really be wonderful, or could be a mirage that we are running towards, cursing our own life in process. I need to keep reminding myself, that moments of life cannot be forcefully created and curated. Every picture, should have a memory and a story. The story could be totally personal that maybe puts a smile on your face, or makes you tear up with nostalgia. But it’s yours to keep.

After all, why should I let anyone else have the power to influence me into believing that my life sucks? I am more than enough for that. 😉

0

Signs that you are a Game of Thrones addict.

  1. You are constantly being told that you know nothing. Mostly, by your mom, though.
  2. You enjoy embellishing your life achievements a la your resume. Remember that proficiency in C++ coding, where you learnt that it is C Plus Plus and not C Add Add?
  3. With the embellishments, comes your job title. Chances are it is comprised of atleast 6 words. Hydraulic and Mechanical  Analysis Director of Product Development. And Mother of low NPSHR inducers.
  4. You prefer referencing yourself in third person. Or in no person. A girl has no name. Specially for you, you drunk creep.
  5. You are convinced that people at work are trying to steal your Iron Throne aka office chair.
  6. While playing Name-Place-Animal-Things, you get into a long drawn argument that Dragon should work for animal name starting with D.
  7. Weddings scare the death out of you. (Fine, marriage).
  8. You know that it is a fatal flaw not to run zigzag. In Dodgeball.
  9. As soon as the temperature drops to 70 F, you grab your jacket because ” Winter is coming”. #SoCalWeather
  10. A crow isn’t a crow for you anymore. It’s a raven.
  11. You spend your evenings trying out crazy braids from pinterest for that King’s Landing style and give up after realizing that you will always look like the beggar from Braavos.
  12. Your ‘Oh God’ has turned into ‘The Old Gods and New’.
  13. You are proficient at ‘sword dancing’ with your shampoo bottle.
  14. You are mad at George R R Martin for being so old and distracted. And at HBO for the crazy delays.
  15. Before FIFA 2018, you knew of Croatia only as King’s Landing.
2

As my heart speaks (Guest post by the Father)

Today marks Moony’s 3rd passing away anniversary. One day, we know you are coming back to us in some form to fill up the void that you left…. We shall wait.

A splash of my life...

My dad wrote this and sent it to me over the weekend. I have no words to explain how I feel when I read it. It is the most beautiful, heartfelt tribute I have ever seen.
*——————————–*

As my heart speaks.

20th July 2015. The fateful day on which our dearest Moony left us. He left behind an empty life for us. Didn’t you realize that dear Moony? On that day I lost part of my life, an important part of my body. He was integral part of my life. How could he leave me?

15 years. That was the time he was with me all the time showering selfless love. That sometimes made me feel ashamed as we all do the things with some return in mind. But not he. For him it was only giving. Giving affection, love and pleasure. He drove away my stress, my worries. He…

View original post 476 more words

14

Being back home…

I came back to my 1st home, Pune, after about 2.5 years. It felt different, yet familiar. The magic of belonging and not-belonging still holds true! There are so many new things in the city, that I felt quite lost and pleasantly so. This visit also saw some major changes happening, specially about my future visits and I am still upset about that!

One of the reasons for the visit was to make sure ze best friend gets married to her guy and doesn’t skip her own wedding! I ensured that by booking my tickets to India, insisting that she book our tickets to her home town and the wedding venue, and making sure to keep her in my sight during the last couple of days. We had fun last few days, shopping, eating Idlis and getting Mehendi done at my place on our last day in Pune. Going around on her scooty on her last day before traveling for her wedding, I felt really, really sad that this was going to be perhaps the last time we went about town. We both wondered when would we ever do this again, where we went out, bought a bunch of trinkets, had momos and went back home. Not having to worry about anything else. I feel terribly sad that I will have only the boys to hang out with whenever I come home next! Not that they are horrible people, but they are not my girls!

The wedding turned out to be quite fun. We had a mini hostel room reunion and it was great to catch up with the girls! I got to travel to the southernmost tip of India and checked off Kanyakumari from my bucketlist. The place is unique because it is a confluence point for three seas, the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It was hot beyond reason, but we lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, a tale of terrible behavior by tourists, lack of peace, and plastic trash everywhere. The Vivekananda Memorial was beautiful, and would have been amazingly peaceful, if the people would have been respectful. It was underwhelming, and disappointing. Luckily, the cab driver took us to another spot on the other edge of Kanyakumari, where there was no human in sight. Now, that was stunning! The water was so blue and clean, and the visibility was glorious so that we could see the nuclear plant of Kundankulam from the shore.

The rest of the trip is passing by in a daze of laziness, rains, humidity and gluttony. I have gotten drenched in rains in Pune more than I have seen rain in the last year in California. The monsoon has gained way too much speed right now, and my flights back to SD are causing a good amount of stress. The humidity has made my hair crazy but I am not complaining! The added task of filling buckets of soft water from kitchen tap to wash hair has been interesting, but apparently everyone does it here! The groundwater is hard and is terrible for skin and hair, and hence this exercise. Gluttony is at it’s peak per usual and I am on my see-food diet. I refuse to refuse food offered to me, and I have been downing everything as long as it is vegetarian. Bring on the street food, mom-made food, desserts, and my mint antacids like cherry on top. It has been glorious!

The biggest problem now is, how to deal with the gnawing pain of leaving home, again. I was hoping that I was used to this by now, but it still feels new just like back in 2009. All the euphoria of coming to motherland, to home, to family, is replaced by this weird nervousness of having to leave again during the last week. Anyone and everyone visiting HAS to say “Oh, she’s leaving this Saturday?! It’s almost here!” YES WE KNOW! I find it insanely annoying when they have to ask me about my next visit and if I would take as much time between visits like last time. I see my parents going about their daily life, and I wonder how they would continue after I leave. And I wonder how I would continue after I go back? This woe puts all the stupid dry hair, humidity, fatty food issues to shame.

Anyhoo, for now, this is all the fun stuff that I have to share. I am constantly monitoring the flood situation in Mumbai for my trip to the airport, and palpitating a bit. Hopefully, this stress will be for nothing, and I would be catching my flight without too much hassle. Here’s to wishing and hoping for the best!

See y’all on the other side of the globe!

 

 

13

Of Mumbai rains, rails and ruination.

For the uninitiated(you shouldn’t be, and should read ALL my posts), I am from Pune, Maharashtra, India. Mumbai is 3 hours away and is quite easy to get to by trains, buses, shared cabs, and even flights. Yet, I avoid going there if it’s in my hands, which usually is not. I have to take a lot of my flights to and from Mumbai, and a lot of my visa work happens there. I just got back and had crazy Mumbai experiences in just one day. Everything was annoying and irritating, except the people. The people of Mumbai save the city, while the people from Pune(including, yours truly) are what takes the city down. All because of the torrential downpour and all that goes wrong with the city right away.

The rains! Holy moly! Now, I have mentioned earlier about how my feelings have turned around about rains, ever since I left Lonavala. I miss them, and when it rains the little bit in SD, I enjoy them. But Mumbai rains, are not rains. They feel like a punishment. I am not talking about the Sealink, Worli seaface, South Bombay kind of rains where people instagram rainy pictures with #mumbairains #rainandchai and all that fancy stuff that goes with it. I am talking about the ‘plastic bags floating in murky brown water and the constant feeling of something brushing against your leg’ kind of rain.

We had to go to Mumbai and reach somewhere right by 10 am, and so we left Pune well in time by 6 am. We were on the expressway and it was gorgeous everywhere! Lush green mountains, foggy valleys, milky waterfalls cutting the landscape in stripes, painted a beautiful scene and made for a wonderful drive. I was quite excited about the drive with that kind of a scene. That was, until we got to Mumbai. Our cab slowed down to a snail’s pace, and the rain that was rain earlier, turned into splashes of buckets. Within a couple of kilometers, we got stuck in knee-deep water. It was 9 by this time, and tempers were flying high, all mine. I was starting to panic and I was folding up my pants to get ready to walk the last couple miles if I absolutely had to! We could see some cars, bikes and a bus dying in the water and starting a terrible traffic jam. Somehow, we got through that terrible stretch and managed to reach our location in time. After a while, my mom called and told us about a bridge collapse in Andheri. And this driver forgot that he was driving a double decker bus and rammed it into an overhead horizontal barricade, thankfully without injuries to anyone.

My question is, HOW? How does this happen to Mumbai year after year? Every year the corporation claims that they have worked on the drains, the potholes, and consulted the meteorological department to plan well in advance for the monsoons so that they don’t wreak havoc on the city. Yet, that is all that happens. The authorities have an equal hand with the crazy monsoons to ensure that public life is disrupted. Specially after the deluges every year that claim lives, and the horrible footbridge collapse incident from last year, the blame game that goes on between state government, railway department and Mumbai corporation, is pathetic. Until tonight, rail officials and municipal corporations have been busy passing the responsibility to each other. While all this goes on, the common man suffers. Due to the closure of a lot of train tracks due to the bridge collapse, millions of people haven’t reached home yet.

This is a sorry state of affairs, and nobody knows how to solve it because the people responsible for solving it, don’t give a damn. Until they do, Mumbai people will deal with the rains in their amazing creative ways and their extremely helpful natures. I have heard powerful stories of human chains, and strangers coming together to help people through the floods. While the authorities slumber, the common man sweats.

Until then, good luck to me fishing for my floating flipflops, each time I go to Mumbai during monsoon. Well, atleast my feet did not get dirty in Mumbai. There was constant flowing water to wash them clean. 😉

8

Just breathe(And then freak the F out)

I have a very important cautionary note for people who meet me, and are close to me. It’s not easy being me. I am not an easy person to deal with, and heck, I cant handle myself most of the time. I pity the poor  who still have stuck around me to discover how I am the most adorable creature ever. Right, Moo?

I have realized something over the past few months after starting at this job with the new head of the company. He can be a tad impatient with the R&D process. That more or less results in stressful situations that shouldn’t even be that way. Me being me, I panic easily. What I have learnt about myself is that my body reacts to stressful situations by numbing down. I feel insanely sleepy as soon as my b^tt’s on fire and it gets comically difficult for me to even keep my eyes open! I struggle to stifle yawns while he is talking to me and it’s even worse trying to prevent that sunscreen-moisturizer-ey perspiration thing happening. It’s a mad struggle and I have to rush to caffeinate myself. But then, I get cracking on my task, and then it just flows.

This mode of panic has resulted in some ridiculous incidents in the past. I am pretty sure, the mad bouts of stress induced laughter before exam times are etched in S’s mind. We knew we are going to drop dead post exam, so might as well, err, ‘live love LAUGH’! I have jumped off and back into another compartment of a moving local train in a bout of panic attack to ensure that my friend got on safely. And I jumped off and back into my original one with another friend! Why? PANIC! I have cried my eyeballs out, laughed, done both at the same times, tripped over my two feet bouncing around the room, fallen into a puddle running at full speed, fallen into a pool of dog throw-up, and so many oddball things for no reason except panic.

I had a pretty bad hormone induced panicky situation, over the last weekend when I started my periods a couple days early which may have wrecked havoc on my hormones. For 2 days, I was a sobbing, crying mess of tears and even I couldn’t figure out why. I tried to go to the mall to improve my situation and had a meltdown at the Bath and Body Works store. I was texting Moo the whole time with fat tears rolling down my cheeks and she was being a cheeky little thing laughing at me. I was going through the worst things in my mind, and I was having full blown panic attacks with me struggling to breathe. I was being extremely needy and irrationally upset. Thankfully the anxiety died down after my day 1 got done, and some food getting into my system with some TLC and a heartwarming bowl of dal(lentils) and rice.

I came across an old FB memory where Ani said that I could just give her a missed call if I still had butterflies about actually making a phone call! Yep! I don’t know why, but trying to call people up puts me in a weird panic mode. So does my entire hold list at the library becoming available with just 21 days to finish EVERYTHING. And meeting brand new people without any dogs to latch onto. And telling the server that they gave me water with ice, when I asked for water without ice. And trying to coordinate with 5 people about meeting somewhere when 2 of them are the classic flakes. And the list goes on…

So what do I do to handle it? I just cry till I fall into a stupor.

I kid, I kid.

So simple! I put on a nice, bright smile while my insides scream at the highest decibel unheard by human ears and go on with my day! A very powerfully uplifting thing that is, a smile. 🙂

 

8

How not to be THAT girl on Tinder…

I have spoken plenty on how guys should behave on Tinder/Coffee Meets Bagel/Bumble or whatever profile you are on. But for the sake of equality, I should jot down the way us girls should also behave. It is unfair to demand only men be a certain way while being totally disrespectful and/or obnoxious. There is no reason we should get away with it.

I am guilty of a fair few things here and I am trying to work on it. I will not talk about what results have come my way yet. Because, nope. But still, in the hopes of being an overall better person, I would like to implement all of these, and would love it if my gal pals could too as well. So here it goes…

  1. First and foremost, keep an open mind, for God’s sakes! 1-2 dates aren’t enough to judge a person usually, unless it’s gone way south already.
  2. Please respect time. “Don’t ask me why I am late if I am wearing a winged eyeliner” is not acceptable. Please!
  3. Don’t ridicule a guy’s English without any context about his background. In the same vein, if you are not comfortable and feel a language barrier creeping up, its okay! It happens.
  4. Do not talk about your ex unless it comes up, and keep it light and breezy. You are talking to a potential partner and not to an agony aunt.
  5. This is a point of debate, but I always offer to split. I do consider it gentlemanly if the guy picks up the tab a couple of times at least in the beginning, but I can be my own sugar mama too.
  6. Do not lecture someone on vegetarianism or veganism, or even meat eating. Start the lecture after a few dates. 😉
  7. Reminder to myself: Displaying shock and anger and arguing over why everyone MUST read Harry Potter is not gonna get you anywhere. Look surprised, take a deep breath, mention subtly how it is the best series ever, and move on to his other interests.
  8. Ladies, keep the phone away, please. Okay, a picture for your yelp is okay(once you explain your elite status, woohoo!) but dont start Instagrammin’.
  9. Please don’t be mean and condescending about his interests, family, friends, job, background. It’s not nice anyways, and anywhere.
  10. In the same vein, don’t be mean about other people. Not on a date, and not even otherwise. It’s just not nice. Occasional lapses are of course allowed, with the BFF.

So go ahead, take that chance…. You never know….

 

6

A tragedy called ‘the college diet’.

My buddy at work is sick. He has something that I will not mention, but it is because of his terrible diet, complete lack of physical activities and him thinking that he is an invincible 24 year old. I have already given him earfuls about how he is ruining his health by giving him my own examples from my early days in USA.

Continuing with the nostalgia from my SDSU days, I had a trip laughing my glutes off about some of the weird habits I had developed in year 1. Obviously, I was away from home, and had to make all my decisions myself, that included lifestyle choices. Add to that the facts that I was supremely lazy, loved sleeping, and was practically jobless, broke, and had classes on alternate evenings at night. Things were okay in Lonavala, because the college mess/cafeteria was really good and provided healthy food. I had developed a very weird day cycle for myself. I would sleep at 3-4 am and wake up by 1-2 pm everyday. This continued for a while till I got a Grader position finally. I bucked up and started going to school at 10 am even if I had nothing to do there. I would simply sit in the library and work on my assignments or watch shows when I had nothing to do. There was this nice secluded booth that I preferred, where I could eat my lunch in peace.

Speaking of my lunch, it usually looked like cat food. I barely got a month to learn cooking before I moved away from home and my food of choice was Khichdi(rice-lentil stew). I would make as much as my pressure cooker would allow and put it in tupperwares and refrigerate it. Anyone who makes khichdi, knows that it is disgusting even after an hour, so please use your imagination to think what 2 day old khichdi could be like. Or dont.

I had totally failed to learn how to make roti/paratha(indian bread like tortilla) while at home, and I was left to my own devices. I had tried tortillas from the store and ready-to-make roti, but something about the preservative smell really grossed me out. It is not an easy task when making the dough, rolling it and cooking it is involved. So I would make around 10 paratha at once that would be enough for 3 meals, and freeze them. That had to be the worst idea ever because they would get insanely hard and crispy flatbread like when reheated. Abhi used to laugh at my parathas and still remembers the crumbly mess I would make while eating them. I gave up pretty soon, and switched to bread instead.

I was eating in the worst possible ways. I would eat milk poha for dinner(Abhi remembers that as well and never fails to make fun of me for that, rightly so). I would skip lunches and eat a giant meal of rice with a variation of lentil-potato curry made by whichever roommate’s turn that night was. I had forgotten about the concept of breakfast. I would sometimes simply have coldstone creamery’s strawberry cheesecake icecream for dinner.

All this lead to my amazing metabolism from my teenage years breaking down completely, and I had invariably packed on an extra 25 lbs. My face looked ridiculous, I got wayyyy curvier and I was huffing-puffing if I had to walk another 10 minutes or climb another flight of stairs. Finally, it hit me that I was no longer fit. That’s when I decided enough was enough. That, and vanity. I tossed out the terrible eating habits, started including breakfast and a snack in my diet, switched to green leafy salads for lunch and cut down my dinner portion to the right size. I still was overloading on carbs, so I started walking to school which was a good 2 mile away, and joined the SDSU gym. That’s where the health bug bit me. Things are okay now. I still over-indulge, but maintain some discipline during the week, and I work out. I am happy where I am with respect to health. *Touchwood*

It is hard. It is difficult when you are thrown into the unknown when you leave home to reach for your dreams. We have all lived such sheltered lives, that it is so easy to forget what is important. Everybody tells you to study hard, be successful, be good, but your own body gets forgotten. Assignments, jobs, commutes pile up, and health and fitness become secondary. Sleep becomes a nuisance and black coffee becomes our best friend.

So dear Mr. Chia, unless you want to be fed with a tube for the rest of your life, get your running shoes out, and stow away all your instant ramen packets. Get on it!

Auntie PB, signing off!

 

16

Assertion

This is one quality that doesn’t come easily to me. If you know me, you would know that I am extremely non-confrontational, as detailed in my stories about my ex-roommates, xBF’s family(where it took me a long time to finally express my desires), and some issues with ex managers and professors. If I have to be in a position where I must speak and ask for what I deserve, you will for sure find my neck going red and all bothered. I also have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to making decisions, from picking a place to eat, to a job change. Not the best sight for a strong, confident woman! But somehow, I manage to cover the front up with my raised eyebrows(it’s a thing) and clear enunciation. No wonder I did well in college vivas and have a 100% interview success rate. I could fake it!

My close friend is going through similar challenges at work, and she is gearing up to make herself heard loud and clear. While we strategize for that, we also have to make sure we cut through some extra mental barriers with us being young, non-American, mechanical engineers who should get the respect they deserve and to be seen as hard working people irrespective of age, gender or nationality.

When I started as a Research Assistant in the 2nd semester of my Master’s, I knew that the projects were sponsored by one of the Top 10 companies and my peers were being paid. But my professor didn’t talk to me about it and so I let it go, and continued with my on campus jobs. The time spent in meeting those 20 work-hours a week was eating into my research time. But there was no way I could let the jobs go, since I was supporting my living and school expenses and I did not want to ask for any more funds from my parents. Then we reached a point after 1.5 years where this girl Yoyo and me, were the only unpaid RAs and my buddy Brian kept pushing us to ask for the assistant-ship. I had a block in my mind convinced that if he felt I deserved it, he would have offered. Finally, after Brian physically dragged me and pushed me to our Professor’s office, I asked for pay to cut one of the jobs off. And his response? Yeah, just go and fill out the paperwork and he gave me the location of the HR department! That was it! I kicked myself for wasting 1.5 years! If only I had asked sooner…

At my previous company, I had DC, my mentor, watching my back. He made sure I got good raises, even if it meant simply reaching the recommended wage per the US labor department. But as soon as the responsibility moved to the Engineering Manager post DC’s part time and then full time retirement, we all got stuck with a 3.5% annual raise, with some fun politics involved with the all-boys club. So when I got my offer letter from my new company, and I got offered the exact salary as my current job, I knew I had to negotiate to justify my switch and moving to San Diego. So out came my recent raise, calculator, salary.com charts, immigration expenses and I asked for something in the middle of the graph. As soon as I hit ‘send’, I broke into a ball of sweat and with a dozen ‘oh shit!’ thrown in with my dad laughing in the background. I got a reply the very next day, with an acceptance and a revised offer letter, and I could not believe it! Thank Goodness I could do it over email and not on the phone. Negotiating my pay has to be the coolest thing I have done, specially considering the type of person I am.

There have been countless meetings where I have been interrupted, spoken over, man-splained, and the only thing that keeps me going is the way I manage to say, ‘I would not do it that way and that is my professional opinion’. I am humble, polite, and I am not afraid of accepting mistakes and learning. I consider these to be my strengths and I have to keep reminding myself that anyone treating these as my weaknesses, will have to be dealt with the previously mentioned raised brows.

To anyone, who is feeling that they aren’t being heard and respected for their power, know that you aren’t alone in feeling that way. All you have to do is make sure that you roar louder and stronger. Roll back your shoulders, raise your chin, and go do your thing!

Superwoman