My Days in the Sun

April 6, 2008

It is probably a dangerous thing to say, because, strangely enough, I have to admit to a superstitious belief that saying so might change it, but I’m going to risk saying it out loud anyway: I’m in a very happy place in my life right now. After a very, very long time, I realize that I’m not desperately wishing or waiting for anything any more. I wouldn’t describe my life as perfect, but this is as close as it gets.

  • My family is complete. The twins absolutely light up my life. There is immense satisfaction in doing all the mundane motherly chores for them. And satisfaction in seeing them grow in confidence, in ability, and – of course – in size.
  • Amit is a delighted, devoted and doting father – as I always knew he would be, but getting him to believe it was one helluva task.
  • True I’m not working, but at last I’m working on a project that I’ve always wanted to work on but never had the time – my travel website. I can only spare a couple of hours a day to work on it, but that’s enough – I know that if I keep at it, I can take it to some kind of completion by the end of the year. I’m in no hurry.
  • I can pick freelance projects to work on. I can reject work that’s not interesting enough. I am fortunate enough that I can afford not to work for pay if I choose – either not to work, or not to get paid. Currently, I’m somewhere in-between: I’m almost not working, and I’m certainly not getting paid; but either aspect might change sometime in the future.
  • I can, hopefully, find the time to resume – and, eventually, complete – my online Archaeology course. This is one of my few longest-standing desires still pending.

The only reasons I wouldn’t use the word perfect are:

  • I’d like to get out of the house more… if only for a daily walk, a bit of window-shopping, a cup of coffee.
  • I wish I had more time with Amit. Though I suppose that if after ten years of marriage I still feel that way, it can’t altogether be a bad thing…
  • Resuming my German classes doesn’t seem likely in the near future.
  • I still have to find a publisher for my travel book.

A couple of those might look like quite major areas of improvement, but they hardly make in dent in my general satisfaction with life at present. I’m sure things will change – after a while, I’ll probably start to miss working life. Or I might find it really stifling to be so extremely home-bound. Or… something. But right now, while the kids are well and everything’s going smoothly, I have to say that I’m in a good place in life, and I’m keeping my fingers (and toes etc) crossed that it stays that way at least for a while.

The Year That Was

December 31, 2007
In January this year, things were different. I was on hormones that were supposed to help me conceive. We didn’t know then that that was something that would never happen.

We’ve come a long way since then. And that progress has dominated this year for me. The whole process of infertility culminating in adoption was a difficult and unhappy one, but at last it has worked out for us. Now, none of the history matters any more.

Other things have happened in the past year. Most significantly, I quit my job and – most likely – ended my career of over a decade. That was a difficult decision, one that took a very long time to come to fruition, and one that – strangely enough – finally occured independent of the adoption. In view of the adoption, I have no doubt that it turned out to be the right decision, but I don’t know how things would have gone if the adoption hadn’t come through so soon. Would I actually have done the things I wanted to do, or would I have ultimately gone back to a desk job? And what about those other things that I wanted to do – will I ever get around to doing them now?

I traveled. We went to Bangkok, a first for me, and we went back to Ladakh and back to Nimaling, my idea of Paradise on Earth. The weather was perfect, better even than it had been the last time. If it is the last trek I ever do, I have no regrets – I have been twice-blessed.

I finally enrolled in a course on Archaeology! This, after about 15 years of waiting…

Looking back, at the start of the year I wanted to:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  3. Go back to playing the violin
  4. Take the next level of German course
  5. Stop doing dull, boring, meaningless work and get involved in something meaningful – or at least exciting
  6. Make at least one new friend
  7. Read at least a book a month
  8. Watch at least two movies a month (at a movie hall)
  9. Travel
  10. Get a publisher for my travel book
  11. Create a photo book

Of these, I’ve made absolutely no progress on numbers 3, 8, and 10, and only limited progress on number 2 (but not for want of trying).

Next year, I want to:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  3. Go back to playing the violin
  4. Complete another two modules of my online Archaeology course
  5. Work on a compilation of my existing travel articles for a website, book, or series of freelance articles

Will I be able to achieve even these few modest goals? I hope so, but only time will tell.

Women of Substance

January 16, 2007
Not that Women’s Day is around the corner (as far as I know), but somehow I got to thinking of all the things I admired in many of my women friends, and I realized how many “women of substance” I have in my friends’ circle. Here’s to the women…

  • Who, coming from a strictly orthodox family, experimented with non-vegetarianism
  • Who went abroad to travel, knowing that it would involve taking a loan she could scarcely afford, with a housing loan under way and no rich husband in sight
  • Who went abroad to study knowing that funds were scarce, and survived a week on a buck because she wouldn’t ask for money… ok, that was stupid, but I understand
  • Who made a controversial religious choice, and stuck to it
  • Who turned the traditional laws of marriage on their head, then steadfastly refused to get married on any terms but their own, even when it meant a broken engagement, intrusive questions from “well-meaning” friends and relatives, and watching year-by-year as friends and peers got married
  • Who left a home in a village, a conservative family where no woman had ever worked, and moved to a big city and made a life and a career for herself against all odds, despite efforts to force her into marriage
  • Who went ahead and bought a home (and a double bed), despite being single
  • Who gave up job, career, friends, and family and accompanied their husbands abroad, sometimes to non-English-speaking countries, knowing it would be difficult
  • Who made the decision to ditch a husband who was completely worthless, even at the risk of spending the rest of her life alone
  • Who survived – after the death of a husband within two short years of marriage – alone, miles from home, jobless, and deep in debt
  • Who had the courage to admit that she didn’t want what she had always thought she wanted

I’m sure there will be a part two to this some day, but for the moment, let me just say that this list is more indicative than exhaustive.

Looking Forward

January 2, 2007

Sigh. End of the year. Start of the year. Time to look back. Time to look ahead. Time to make resolutions… and to break them. Most importantly, time to make nonsensical lists, like those that follow.

Things I Want To Do in 2007

  • Get pregnant

If not, then ALL of the following (in any order):

  • Lose weight
  • Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  • Go back to playing the violin
  • Take the next level of German course
  • Stop doing dull, boring, meaningless work and get involved in something meaningful – or at least exciting
  • Make at least one new friend
  • Read at least a book a month
  • Watch at least two movies a month (at a movie hall)
  • Travel
  • Get a publisher for my travel book
  • Create a photo book

Things I LIKED About 2006

  • Work (specifically, the lack of it)
  • Colleagues (specifically one or two)
  • My boss (former)
  • Friends (all)
  • Husband (most of the time)
  • Health (apart from the odd dose of antibiotics)
  • My bike
  • German class (97%)
  • E61 (features!)
  • Travel (Ladakh, Ranthambhore)
  • Money (income)

Things I DIDN’T Like About 2006

  • Work (specifically, the lack of it)
  • Colleagues (specifically one or two)
  • My boss (current)
  • Health (gynecologists!)
  • German class (eight months of weekends)
  • E61 (bugs!)
  • Travel (Rain! Relatives!)
  • Money (wealth)

And here’s why I’ll never be a poet… I just can’t get it out of my head that poetry should involve metre and rhyme.

…Looking Back

Same desk, same laptop, same old work,
An older boss, a smaller team.
Different projects, all the same,
Sheer boredom makes me want to scream.

A year gone by at the tennis courts,
Struggling with backhand and serve
Slipping, falling, holding on,
Coach says: “She’s got a nerve.”

My book is still a manuscript,
The way it was a year ago.
At least one publisher took a look,
I waited, prayed, hoped… they said “no.”

Go here! Go there! Do this! Get that!
So many ways to fill the days.
Trying too hard, thinking too little,
Question marks lost in the haze.

Eating, drinking, living well,
Gaining weight! It’s a shame.
Some clothes still fit, some don’t, not quite,
At least the shoes are still the same.

The hair is longer, wilder, but,
Just as thin and just as black.
The face in the mirror looks just the same,
Me looking forward, me looking back.

Achievements and Regrets

January 25, 2006

I had gone for my weekly walk (it’s supposed to be daily, but it sort of becomes weekly) and thinking about nothing, as one does when walking alone in the park, and I started thinking of all the things I had done that I was happy about. And one thing led to another and finally this is what resulted (in no particular order):

I’m glad that I

  • Took a break from work to go trekking in the Himalayas for 3 months
  • Finally got around to buying and riding a ‘guy’s bike’
  • Enrolled for a Master’s degree – so many years after graduation (and in a completely different subject)
  • Taught myself to whistle with two fingers in my mouth (after years of trying)
  • Learnt horse riding

    I’m glad I did not

    • Attend full-time college
    • Stay too close to family (or in-laws)
    • Stay on at KF till I lost my sanity (though it was a near thing…)

      I wish had (or I would still like to)

      • Continued learning music
      • Had kids. And dogs. (And horses. And a farmhouse outside the city. Ok, ok, getting carried away…)
      • Written a book that got published (and became a best seller in it class)
      • Learnt to sing
      • Learnt to play tennis at a younger age (I first tried when I was in my early teens – so many years wasted!)

        I wish I had not

        • Crashed the car I was driving. Twice. (Still haven’t fully recovered from those)
        • Given up the idea of studying Archaeology (just because everyone else thought it was a bad idea)
        • Been so thoroughly mal-adjusted in the US.

          The idea was to list the top 5 in each category. I’m happy to say that in two categories I could not find 5. (Ok, this has been censored a bit… that’s allowed.) This was an interesting exercise. Anyone else inclined to take a shot at it?

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