SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If I knew...

I read the article by Stephen Fry, posted on a favourite blogspot of mine. It is a letter written to his teenage self...I skimmed through it. I have one word to say...Mind blowingly Honest!!
It's so true that adult hood is too much hype. Many of us wish, we could remain in our adolescent misery! Atleast back then, age was an excuse for lack of maturity, mistakes commited and general scapegoat for most actions.
Adulthood rips the cocoon apart! You only have yourself to look upto. Marriage and children furthur isolates you, as you become wholly responsible...
hey, hey..whoa...let me not get carried away on those serious lines...

What would I really tell my teen self...here goes...

What I know now if I knew back then...

# No matter how old you are, Parents will continue to treat you as if you are a teenager, irrational and impulsive...the only difference is that they will take your spouse's support to endorse it as well! So don't care; be yourself..it doesnt make a difference to any one...anyways!!

# Your elder sis will clear out the cupboard when she leaves home (post wedding), leaving you with one pair of jeans and couple of tops...forever leaving a void in your clothes department as you realise that your skill in buying acoutrements is next to nill!

# Wanting to have babies is not a good enough reason to get married!! Your naive rose tinted perspective is going to land you in a load of trouble...it's a case of act first and regret in leisure!!

# The Ideal man exists, but he is not neccessarily your husband...he is probably some one else's!!

# You will actually be a published writer!...and your words will be read!!!Unthinkable, if you remember that the 7th grade English teacher accused you of plagarism and made you cry in front of the entire class. This is your chance to stick your tongue out at her...So there!!

# Your Brother will grow up! Even go as far as giving you advice on some assorted issues. The amazing thing is, you will take his advice...grudgingly...knowing that inspite of throwing the TV remote at him and trying to crack his skull, he is not cracked...yet...

# You will start to listen to your father, and not try to run away every time he starts his "good old days" speech!! Even go as far as looking to him for advice...yes that's there in your future!!

# You will actually give up reading Romance Novels, much to Mother's happiness and relief. To such an extent that you have developed a healthy dislike for them. I know I state the improbable...but that's reality!

# Face book and Internet will become your life line to friends who you thought are lost forever. Bringing some sanity to this chaotic world that one lives in. Burnt bridges can be rebuilt...what a revelation...like the Life-Line option in Crorepati!! You will actually be Tech savvy...savvy that!

# You will find your direction, albeit with great difficulty and the usual back-and-forthing! But...you will find it. Trust me I know you!!

So let me tell you one thing here:
If you thought Teenage is tough, Adulthood is tougher! But the saving grace is that maturity will help you forgive yourself a little better and hopefully faster!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Current status: In Transition

I have no place to call my home.

Why...I have no place to even call my house!!

That's because we are moving lock, stock and barrel, shifting to a new city. Posted out, being the technical term...and...I tell you it's not a very pleasant phase to be in.

I find myself desperately reading up articles on how to cope with change, and how to handle stress. Brisk walk and breathing techniques have already recieved adequate attention from me. My partner reassures me, that moving cities and displacement is the third most stressful event in our lives, which follows spouse death and divorce...

(I know I sound morbid...bear with me...but read on...my insights might be valuable if you share my predicament too!)

For a short time, I remain now, in my parents house, nee..Home, and I am transported back to my childhood and teenage days.

I hold no connection to the city I have left. While this city that I was raised in, and this home that I lived in through my growing years, is my shelter. I call it my transition home, my haven. Far from the madding crowd, far from the demanding ever changing adult world.

My transition home gives me a brief respite, to catch my breathe, before I have to leave to create my own home in a new and unknown place.

Having spent the first 23 years of my life in one place and calling it my home. Knowing that it is as permanent and infallible as Mount Everest, I now yearn to create my own such space,( as I spent the next 10 years wandering like a gypsy!).

You may look askance at my immaturity, frown down at my childish rantings, exasperate at my harpings. After all, having wedded an air force officer, you may say permanence is an improbability (atleast for the time being). I may also be accused of having irrational desires, knowing the nature of his work.(I accept and agree with your point of view, but that doesn't stop me from having these thoughts and feelings!!)

(I had romantic notions on travel and experiencing new places, which now appears to be, a tad too divorced from reality!!...I correct myself... I still love to travel and experience new places. I still believe, that is the fun part.)

But, the part I dislike most of all, is the uncertainty...I dislike the prelude to the change..I dislike the half-in and half-out feeling...I dislike the packing, shifting and wondering...

Uncertainty looms large, as we have no assured accommodation, and we need to live in transit rooms till 'quarters" are allotted. Uncertainty looms large as we plan to look at new schooling options for our children. Uncertainty looms large as I wonder how my different profession as an (English language) Storyteller may be received in the Hindi belt of my country!

Uncertainty looms...but the only reassuring fact is that my husband has a job he loves and enjoys, and he is looking forward to joining duty...(let me atleast thank God for small mercies!!)

The prelude to the change is all the packing that needs to get done. You guessed it right, we don't just call the packers-and-movers. We do it all on our own...from scratch to finish...military style, thank you!!

There is an important period that precedes packing, and that is the sorting.

What I think I want and what I don't want. The maybes and the must haves. The I don't know, and perhaps I can still use them . The In box expands, but, as I take a second look at the discarded pile, I tend to grab and hold on to some more of the sentiments and nostalgia I had and have no use for...except to relive and reminisce over...

The packing happens in stages, and you tend to put in things that is required the very next day, so it gets taken out. To top that if your partner is still going to work, unable to take leave and help with the packing, you find in your eagerness to put things inside, you have packed some important files and have not exactly marked the box which may contain it. So all the cartons and trunks get a thorough searching, once again. Which is a whole lot of un-packing and re-packing!

I have to mention here, that there are certain accessories which become part and parcel of such an itinerant life. They are, the metal trunks and wooden boxes that one has to possess in order to facilitate easy transport of all the sentiments and nostalgia that we accumulate over the years.(This also includes redundant memories from pre-wedding and post-wedding periods!!)

How I dislike these multi-tasking aluminum monstrosities...

These multi-tasking trunks function as side tables, dining tables, ironing boards, divans (for the uneducated, they are the ubiquitous recliners of yore), children's toy rack, book rack, writing desk and general dump area!! (If I have left out some crucial role that it deigns to play, please pardon me...)

For around 2 weeks (minimum) the entire family is weaving it's way around half packed trunks and card board cartons. If you have kids and a hubby like mine (accident prone!), this means innumerable cuts and bruises, as they can never navigate a space without bumping into any and every object occupying it! That means a lot of cussing and blame being thrown around, which adds to the atmosphere already prevalent within the house.

Everybody is getting on every body's nerves...

As the sorting and packing happens, wondering and worrying take a stroll through one's gyra and sulci!!

Wondering, whether things will reach their destination safely. Wondering, whether the new house will be comfortable and not as decrepit as the usual accommodations go. Wondering, whether kids will settle into the new school and new home...Wondering whether the change in weather will suit us all...

...Is there any point in this wondering and worrying. Nyet! No!!

As I try and steer my thoughts from such panic ridden tidal waves, and struggle to cope with all the anticipated change, I gain my clarity in this transition phase. To find one's calm waters we have to ride the wave, that is inevitable, but here are some words for those who sail a similar ship. Some words to make their voyage smoother...(It's for myself as much as it is for the reader):

# Let's not focus on the larger picture...

# Let's look at the smaller in-consequentialities, the little interesting things that fills our every day living...

# Let's focus on things that are unchanging; like kids and husband's mood..and one's own temper!!

# Let's enjoy the things that remain with us: favorite pillow, stuffed toy, hand bag, bedspread...(so now you know what I carry with me while in transition!)

# Let's binge on home cooked food as long as it is available, and you don't have to make it. (Eating out is going to be the norm till the kitchen is set up at the new accommodation, in the new city..)

# Let's revel in the fact that no house means: no cleaning, no dusting, no need to scramble-to-get-the-house-in shape-before-the-guests arrive. We are the guests, so enjoy that status!!

# Let's fully make use of the fact that grandparents are available on call, to babysit. Which leaves us with enough time and space to do what we want, atleast for the time being...temporarily, till the end of transition!

# Let's keep our sanity and wits together by making time to chat with friends and dear ones who can keep us rooted...courtesy: cell phones, facebook, twitter, and any other electronic gadget that keeps us connected..

# Let's get it all out, blog it, write it down, tell it. Share your angst with the nearest empathetic ear ( please confirm if it is a willing ear, otherwise things may get a bit sticky!). I assure you this is cathartic, to say the least...!!

Eventually, I only have this to say to my fellow persons' in transition...
"Land Ahoy! My land Lubbers, this phase too shall pass, and your terra firma lies just around the bend. So hang on and lets ride this wave together...!!"