Tag Archive | friendship

A Little Bit Of Sunshine

‘You are scared of driving here? Surprising. You didn’t seem to be a person who would be scared.’ A senior classmate commented when I told her how I was totally scared of driving here.

This comment seriously surprised me. How could someone perceive me as fearless when I don’t have any confidence in myself? I have to be the meekest, most unsure and subdued person around.

First there was the no-friends-no-independence-no-money thing. Then, can’t-sew-to-save-my-life thing. Then, this-traffic-scares-the-sh*t-out-of-me thing. And then, my-weight-refuses-to-reduce thing. A companion who practically belongs to US didn’t help much. A combination of all this made me feel worse about myself every single day.

It was like having to start life all over again. It was like leaving the safe, comfortable cocoon of your home for a foreign territory and struggling to get your feet firmly planted there.

I wouldn’t dress up well because I thought others had better clothes than me. My enthusiasm at college slowed down because I felt I could not learn this new field; there were so many others already so far ahead. I stopped attempting to drive because changing lanes on the freeway was so damn intimidating. I was tired of compelling myself to stop being ‘new’ and become ‘one of them’ quickly.

The cold weather depressed me further. I have always been a summer girl. I like the heat, the sun. I spent so many months huddling up, shivering, and fighting the cold. There were no friends to pull me out of isolation, to break my silence and bring out those deepest, suppressed feelings.

Sunshine came eventually. It made me smile and everyone else cringe. ‘Ouch. It is so damn hot outside’ – my classmates would complain every day.

But I was happy. And a bit hopeful.

With summer, came Adi, one of my favourite people, to spend a week with me. She brought more sunshine to my life. She brought with her familiarity, a sense of belongingness and love. An air of security.

I was myself again. I was confident again. I would radiantly walk into my class and smile. My soul friend in class noticed the change.

I even attempted driving again.

Adi and I roamed around using public transport (something I have badly wanted to do here). We ate out, we shopped. It was like those days when I wandered around on my own or with friends carelessly, not bothering about time, worries or money. It reminded me of those days when I was surrounded by friends, by people.

And when she left, she took away sunshine with her. Things became cold and lifeless again. I was left yet again with solitude and struggle.

If she hadn’t come, I would never have tasted that freedom, that happiness again. And I would have happily lived with what I was used to – solitude.

Maybe summer will arrive again. And arise a little flame within me with a tiny spark.

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Taking One More Tough Step

This is not an easy step; it aggrieves me, and yet this is essential for my life.

No. Too dramatic.

I also thank my colleagues who have been so supportive and helpful and hence made my stay here so memorable.

No. Sounds like a vacation-ending mail.

Never knew typing my resignation letter would be so difficult. Difficult for a person who has seen hundreds of resignation letters being passed around carelessly. Some months and years back, I was waiting for this day – the day when I would type out my own letter and hand over to my boss jubilantly (or throw it on his face with a big smirk on my face). This was the ultimate feeling of liberation I had wished to achieve.

And yet, when the moment came (after I had already delayed it for a month), I felt heavy. I wanted to slap myself hard for even trying to write a resignation letter. This office has been like home – where I had friends who took care of me and I felt comfortable. This is where I learnt to be responsible (and powerful and bossy) and won accolades for it in return. Three years, two promotions, numerous runs to the printer to collect confidential letters, several hours of bitching about seniors and cursing company policies, it is time for me to end it all with a lot of remorse.

After months of shouting myself hoarse about hating Corporate, I am actually cherishing my last few days here. You never know the value of something till it is snatched away from you. I still dislike Corporate but I love the people the work with right now. They are not just colleagues, they are my confidants. They know about little things of my life – maid problem, room-mate problem, family problem, health problem, fears of mind, apprehensions of future, travel plans, shopping plans – they know it all and never hesitate to offer help, advice or protection. With such a team around, I never had to worry about anything; I never had to feel lonely.

I realized that a majority of my closest friends are people I met at work. And they will remain the closest to my heart.

When I joined this organization 3 years back, I had just escaped from a horrible organization. This company was like re-birth for me. Good people, good work culture, good location. I have seen people gaping in admiration when I would reveal my company name. This company made me feel proud about myself. The first year, I just drifted. It was only in the second year that I took on my new role with rigour and dedication. I struggled, fell but never gave up. Incidentally, I had agreed to take up this new role only because I did not want to say No (everyone else had said No). I did curse my luck many times during the next 2 years but I do admit that I turned into a confident lady only because of the excess responsibility I handled. My boss gave me enough authority to go with the responsibility and this made me not just responsible and confident but also powerful and in some way, arrogant.

But believe me, it works in some situations – for example, for the work I do. It is required.

And I enjoyed the power. I would never have been able to handle so many situations and people with poise and self assurance had it not been for the past 2 years. This job has prepared me for life.

They say, only if you let go of something good do you allow something better to come in. Hard to believe right now that there can be anything more comforting and joyful than the safe enclosure of my workplace.

Sometimes Friendless

Has it ever happened with you before that you are surrounded by friends, have many friends who are always there to listen to you useless banter and yet, you are unable to pour your heart out? Not because it is secret. And not because they aren’t interested in listening to you. But because they probably will never understand you even if they try to.

There are things that I’d like to spill out to my friends in a dash of impulsive emotion – about my work load, about a job that I dislike and so many other small issues in life. And I have done so, too, blurted out without thinking just because he/she is a friend and is expected to hear me out.

Sometime back, I came across this pic:

And realized what I had been unknowingly doing. I never wanted to hurt my healthier friends (which basically means everyone because I am slim and everyone else weighs more than me) when I kept pouring out my weight gain miseries to them. Because, for them, I am slim. I am thin. Only I know that I am not exactly slim. And whatever I may be, I am supposed to exercise regularly. But I would cry in front of them that some of my older clothes don’t fit me, etc.

I know what they would have felt. Rather, I can imagine what response would have gone through their minds. I only shared my fears with them because they are my best friends. Now I am conscious of this fact all the time and not talk about my invisible excess fat.

Being in a Human Resources field doesn’t help my stance much either. It does put me in a difficult spot several times. Being in HR, I know the inside story. Mostly. I know how and why things happen. For me, all employees are not people with hearts. They are code numbers and activities. I recently completed our Annual Increment exercise. For me, it was a pain finalizing increments for 800 people and getting their letters made and distributed. Later, when queries and concerns came up, when comparison started and people wanted to know why they had got less reward or why they had not been promoted, I did not feel any concern for anyone even then. It was a big, tedious activity I had completed with as much accuracy that I thought was correct and new issues / cases were not welcome. I did not realize that I had everyone’s career in my hands. One miss or one mistake could cause someone a loss of a year, loss of a promotion, loss of money. I wouldn’t cause anyone any loss myself. But I do not feelanyone’s loss, either. It is work. In large volumes of (manual) work, misses happen. And they can always be corrected. This is what I think.

Many employees come whining to me expressing their unhappiness and I just find them a pain. Horrifyingly true. I feel nothing. No concern. No botheration. I work for an organization. They work for the same organization. My money isn’t involved. I gain or lose nothing by their loss or gain. I have just been doing my work. So when my friends were upset about their reward not meeting their expectations, I still manage to feel bad for them. Because, I would feel for them in any case. But I realized that I must refrain from expressing my disgust towards other employees voicing their unhappiness. How much ever I want to, I should not.

We are supposed to be empathetic towards everyone; wear others’ shoes and see things before acting / assuming. But is it possible all the time? Won’t that make us friendless? And what do you do if you become friendless?

When I Lost My Sweetheart

Yes, we are dependent on our mobile phones today. We need them to remember birthdays, to wake up on time, stay in touch with friends & relatives, check mails, share photos and make our lives more exciting and simple using innovative applications. And not some ordinary mobile phone. But a smart phone.

Talking about dependency, I went a way ahead and was addicted to my Blackberry. I was constantly glued to it – chatting with friends simultaneously on BBM, Gtalk & Watsapp, sharing jokes and pictures, checking out Facebook, mails, etc. I used it all the time irrespective of what I was going and where I was – in the mall shopping, at somebody’s house socializing, at a restaurant with friends, while driving – ALL the time. I could navigate around it blindfolded.

And now I’ve lost it. I have lost my most prized, close-to-heart possession. I have been heavily relying on it since the last 2 years. I lost it because of a silly, careless move of mine. When I came to know it was gone, I knew it would never be back.

I have lost all numbers (why have I discontinued my habit of writing down numbers in my tiny phone book! Yes, I do carry a PHONE BOOK but it doesn’t contain much), did not know how to contact my colleagues and friends and did not know how I was going to get up on time the next day.

I luckily had my old Nokia 6300 instrument and could start using it immediately (on getting a new sim card). I will have to learn to live without Gtalk, FB, BBM and Watsapp. No instant exchange of mails. No instant sharing of photos and dirty jokes either.

Friends and family have been cajoling me into buying a new Blackberry. Oh, prices have reduced for sure. But no, I insist on using this tiny simple phone. I really miss my old phone and want it back but I ain’t buying another one. It’s almost like heartbreak. Thought I miss my own Blackberry a lot I cannot think of buying another one because I want the same thing back. No other can replace it. I’d rather be without a phone. Friends say ‘Oh, you’ll get over it soon. Maybe you can buy another one once you are done with the grieving’.

But look at the good. I no longer go through the anxiety of checking for notifications on my phone all the time – notifications that did not demand instant attention but I used to leave everything to check on the blinking red light. I can again attempt writing. Like, really writing with a pen. You won’t believe it, I cannot write. My fingers pain and you cannot read what I’ve written. Friends will find a way to stay in touch.

This incident has taught me, rather, confirmed 2 of my beliefs.

The importance of friends. My friends have been connected to me through more than one means. So if one is lost, I still have other means of reaching them. And not just a few selected ones, but ANYONE – from school, from work, from neighbourhood, from family. I could have contacted anyone for any help – like for blocking of my old sim, finding contact numbers, contacting colleagues. I realized how important it is to be good to everyone and maintain good relations – at work, in the neighbourhood. You never know who you need one day.

On a lighter note:

The benefit of technology. Today, we are constantly reminded of our addiction to technology and its perils. We are losing ‘human touch’, apparently. I don’t see how. I think, technology has only brought me closer to my friends and family members, who are scattered all over the globe. Had it not been for technology, I would never have sent wishes to my friends’ kids on their birthdays! I would not even know! So, what could be a better human touch than wishing your friends not just on their birthdays but sharing their little every day joys with them. Had it not been for technology, how could I find so many other means of contacting my friends, had one mean got cut off! We are busier today than what we were many years ago. It is not an era of writing letters and making phone calls. In today’s fast life, keeping in touch through tiny messages and gestures is good. It shows that you remember them. You remember small things about their lives despite you being so busy in trying to reach the front of the rat race. And wishing people’s kids on their birthdays is a LOT.

Aditi

I fought with her when she was 3. She wanted to see the things I had which she had never seen and touched before – lipsticks, pens, earrings. I shooed her away.

We went for long walks when she was 4. Her little fingers gripped my long fingers while she struggled to keep up with me. She looked wide eyed at all aunties and big kids who pulled her chubby cheeks and shied away when I asked her to say Hello to them.

I told her stories when she turned 5. Stories about my shopping trips, about college and things I saw during my daily travel home. She listened attentively with all the curiosity a child of her age can get. Her huge eyes sometimes glowed, sometimes danced as the stories excited her. She often presented me with a ‘card’ of sorts with her childish drawing and whatever she could write. I’ve treasured each of her cards till today.

I was always there to greet her when she was back from school after she turned 6. She ate from my hands while I told her Enid Blyton stories (The Treasure Hunters being her favourite). I put her to sleep and waited eagerly for her to wake up, after which I would get her ready, eat something and send her to the park to play with other kids.

We watched movies like Jumanji, Dunsten Checks In and Baby’s Day Out together when she turned 7. I teased her about the cartoons she watched like Pokemon and preferred watching Tom and Jerry with her. I still fed her with my own hands. The dreamy girl that she was, she roamed around the whole house getting lost in drawing on a cabinet or exploring a toy and I went around her wherever she went and kept putting food in her mouth.

She refused to do anything without me by the time she turned 8. She would go to the park only with me and sit with me. I went on the swings with her, took long walks and told her stories and bullied her while she laughed and got hiccups in the process. I became the only one who could make her eat or get ready or wash her face; she listened to no one else.

I felt like I was leaving behind a piece of my heart when I moved out of Bombay after her 8th birthday. I feared that she would forget me. She was a child after all; she had so many other things to entertain her and so many people who loved her. I visited her many times during the year, with a gift every time and her love for me only increased. On my visits, she didn’t like me going out to meet my friends. She hated them, in that way! She hated me giving time to my friends and parents / sister.

I took DIY projects when I went to meet her which we could do together. Quite an artist she was even at the age of 9. We tried spray painting and wax painting and spilled more paint on the floor than putting it to the right use. She still wanted to hear the Treasure Hunters story.

We were clearly obsessed with each other when she turned 10. She wouldn’t let anyone come near me and wanted my whole attention. She forgot the world and got lost in me. She was nearly as tall as me now and I could take her out on my shopping trips. Now that was fun. She behaved like an obedient girl and was fun too.

At 11, she became quite a loving, interesting and pretty girl. I loved each minute with her. We went away from home and shopped, ate and took photos. I totally pampered her with candies and books. I could see her become detached. She was a big girl and didn’t quite need me. This was disappointing and hurt me.

I was away at Surat to attend an interview a day before her 12th birthday. I remember her father (my uncle) calling my father and asking me to come for her birthday party. When my father asked if it was okay that I don’t attend, as my grandparents also wanted to meet me that time, Uncle said I was the most important guest and the party cannot happen without me. I’ve not missed a single birthday of hers since her 3rd birthday.

I shifted to Surat (ya, I got that job) and made friends here. My visits to Bombay reduced because I had so many things to do here and I was really happy. She wasn’t happy about this and demanded answers from me every time Aunt called me. She was 13 now and operating a mail id of her own (big girl!). I shared with her my new house pictures, etc. She understood every thing I spoke – about fashion, office, friends, home, boss – every thing. She had become a friend.

She turned 14 this year. She’s at least 2 inches taller than me. Has a bigger built. Clothes that don’t fit her are handed to me (ganji tees and short skirts and jackets). She is extremely generous and wants me to take all the good stuff she has. Our shopping expeditions continue; movies have got added. We laugh, do our nonsense gimmicks, buy and do things that make us happy and pamper ourselves . I tease her till she gets hiccups. Oh yes, and we do photo-shoots now. When I go to meet her, as my Nana says, she’ll forget the whole of Bombay!

She’s a big girl now. Somewhere, I still treat her like a 4 year old. I remember each and every moment with her. I remember the things she used to say, the way she used to laugh and her cute goof ups. I don’t know how much she adores me but I adore her like crazy. She’s probably the most important person in my life today and one of the best friends I have.

PS: She’s Aditi. My cousin 🙂

 

Random Thoughts

Work is really boring these days. There are some good phases (for reasons other than work) and horrible phases, too. Today, I am smiling a lot. Because I have got a start! My first ever article to get published on a public portal, that too under my own name. It’s a feeling of pride. I feel motivated and confident. And I have work to do now. My journey has begun.

Fighting the cold at work is quite a task. I am guessing the current temperature at my work place is 21 degree Celsius. The cold actually gets in your head. I have been getting a headache since the last 4-5 days. Not to mention the goose bumps. The AC room guy has stopped entertaining our request (read: orders) for increasing the temperature and has now begun to threaten us using the Factory Head’s name. It seems the sun is overly generous towards his cabin and these are his orders. To keep the temperature low, that is. Gosh. They want to kill us.

People around me can’t stop cribbing. I see everyone complaining around me. Someone has a problem in their pay slip. Someone can’t login on the employee portal. Someone wants some data from me. I really am not interested in any body’s problems. I really don’t feel any concern for them. What with the cold and my attention getting diverted towards reading and writing again and again, I find these complaining employees pests. Ok, their problems are genuine. Ok, I am the only one who can help them. Not the only one, the cursed one, rather. And sadly, it is my job to solve their problems. WHY IS IT MY JOB? WHY?

I registered on goodreads.com today with the name NS. Not because these are my initials, but because I am known as NS in my friend circle. I’ve always fancied having a nick name but never had one. How will I unless someone gives it me? Lovingly, maybe. Or just for fun, if not anything. Young girls often have an ‘outside name’ and a ‘home name’. Home names friendship_day_graphics_06are usually like Guddi or Sonu or Gattu ( I would have died if I had such a name). Or, short forms of their birth names like Ashu for Ashutosh. Some people go all the way to have 2 separate names as outside and home names. Maybe they had too many options of names and didn’t know which one to use. So they use one for home and one for outside. Alas, I had just one name which was too short to be modified into a nickname. And no one gave me a nick name – jokingly or lovingly. I feel happy now to have a nick name.

Guess who the latest popular pop star is – Justin Beiber. And not just among teenagers. Among workers, autowalahs and working class people too. A friend commented on FB that her auto guy was playing Justin Beiber. I see every other person’s ringtone being a Justin Beiber song. Well, good that Indians are going global but it really isn’t necessary to ape blindly.

I am back to the good old habit of reading. Had been unsuccessfully daring myself to begin Jeffrey Archer’s Only Time Will Tell since a month. I took the plunge on Sunday while coming back from home. I was determined not to touch the iPod and immersed myself in the book. Well, I developed interest in it. And read quite a bit of it yesterday (not without turning the pages randomly and reading the story ahead. Luckily, it wasn’t a spoiler; I can still read). It is still going to take some will power to continue with this habit and not give up (and not turn the pages out of impatience). Reading is a habit that one should never give up.