Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Music Flashback

Driving back late evening after an invigorating dance class, wanting to listen to the radio to relax. The FM channel declares "Flashback Hour". I smile - a B&W visual of Madhubala and Kishore Kumar on a boat as I ready myself to listen to "haal kaisa hai janab ka".....

Instead what pops up on radio is a song from Dil toh pagal hai (the title track) followed by a passionate rendering of Aye ajnabi tu bhi kabhi avaaz de kahi se (Dil Se). When did these become flashback?!!! I mean these are movies I've watched in theaters with friends back in college. These are from the motley of songs I would hum all day thinking of my crushes.....

As the third song pops up - Anna mere pyar ko na tum (Kabhi haa Kabhi na), I'm like - oh so flashback hour is a Shahrukh special.....when did Shahrukh become so old. WAIT A MINUTE - when did i grow so old 😲 . And if the 1990s are the flashback - whatever happens to all those Bhoole Bisre Geet numbers are grew up listening to.....

There was only one way to deal with this existential crisis - turn the radio off and on the top of my voice sing this for the rest of the ride home!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The grass on either side.........

Was facilitating a workshop on Narrative leadership the other day. When it came to me sharing my own experiences as examples of my own leadership, all stories seemed to be from the time that I was at Magic Puddles. Professionally while there was a lot of joy in being in the role of co-founder, it was extremely challenging. Working with really young kids, being responsible for their safety, building a team, supporting them through their high and lows while I grappled with my own - all a recipe for huge personal turmoils. However, given the level of challenges, it was an immersive experience. I could never really switch off from that - no matter what time of the day or even if we were on a so-called summer break. The immersion helped me hone my leadership by challenging me in very new and different ways on several occasions. Also regular monthly income was something that really helped!

In comparison, the last three years of being solo, of collaborating with peers and not really building an organization or team, has been a lot more easy personally. As a professional, there has been a call to stop playing small, with no one to hide behind. I  experience a lot of freedom - specially to what i can say yes or no to. And yes, its a lot easier to walk away from something I don't enjoy, its equally tough to walk into something I really wish for myself. There is a lot less control over how projects go with multiple stakeholders coming into the picture. I have more scope to experiment, idea to something tangible is a shorter journey. But with each idea wanting to be birthed, often I find myself really alone in taking it through as I grappled with unpredictable work load and income.

Will I continue to play solo or move towards building an organization - at this point, I really don't know. All I know is, having been on either sides of the fence, there is no such thing as "greener grass"! Its just which landscape seems more inviting. And even as I enjoy being on one specific side for now, i do trust that if there is a need to be on the other, the universe will show up something!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

and that's how we get it moving!

Nia all of 12 is back from school. She has a ritual - 45 mins of reading with her evening snack to wind down - then get on with chores for the evening - her dance practice, bath, a little bit of homework and getting ready for the next day.

I try not to schedule meetings around the time she comes. I love hanging out with her - getting snippets about how her 2 days at school have been, how mine have been (and an occasional lecture about something she missed doing before she left for school).

Nia, of course, has no intention of engaging. She zealously guards her me-time (something I am hoping she'll remember to do all her life). So today, as i am continuing to play mamma - she fervently appeals to me, "Mamma please fix my snacks so that I can start my quiet time. I have grand plans for the evening - i need to do this and that and this and that," and in the same breath she adds, "And you right now are my weakest link!" 

Even as I burst out laughing at this absolute bang-on focus to get things moving for herself, this was enough to get me moving!

A sacred space

Working from home has its many benefits. Specially when I am blessed with a house and green community as beautiful as ours. The pain point does seem to be how blurred the boundaries become - between work and family, between my time and work time, between what to focus on vs everything else that seems unfinished around the house.

It took me a while to figure this out for myself - the shift i needed to make is to accept this reality and then create clearer boundaries (first in my head and then for the rest of the family). Step 1: creating a clear physical boundary - to have a room only for work. Sure it meant taking over the guest room - and then having to give away our room when friends and family came visiting. But it has been truly worth the trade off!

After the physical space was carved out, what helped me create an energetic boundary has been this special altar in one corner of the room. Each morning begins with attending to the altar, lighting the dhoop stick and taking in all the symbols and meanings of what I have placed there. The altar anchors me in my work world. In times of stress and confusion, it helps me anchor in myself. And it serves as a constant reminder to send out gratitude for the many blessings in life (including this very house!)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Lessons from my little Buddha

I am in Delhi over the last weekend - a rather unusual work commitment. Nia is excited about coming and picking me at the airport. The practical, sensible me of course thinks its an awful idea.

Here's how the conversation unfolds:

Nia: we are coming to pick you up

Me: of course not - i'll see you at home

Nia: but whyyyyyyyyy??

Me: Coz it just doesn't make sense. Its Sunday evening, you'll be tired after your dance class. Its a really long ride for Pappa. You need to pack and have your bath and figure out dinner. I'd rather have you finish all that by the time i get home so that I don't have to nag you - and then i just get relaxed time with you

Nia: Look it doesn't make sense because you club it all together. Let's deconstruct it - one problem at a time.
And over the next two minutes - she breaks it down - one issue at a time - giving very doable solutions for each:

tired after dance class - i'll take it easy
long ride - we'll leave early
you don't want to have to nag me - i take complete responsibility
dinner - pack a subway for me, i'll eat it on the way back
(you get the gist)

Me: Look can i just talk to pappa?

Nia: It'll be unfair to bring him into this discussion without giving him a background. Can you hold for a couple of minutes? (some quick whispering and mumbling) OK here you can now talk to him.

I think I am hiring this child to be my COO!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Celebrating 40 years of a great life!

Wow 40 years on this planet! Seems like a lot. Has been no joy ride for sure. Yet despite the lows and the painful moments, and huge doses of beating-myself-up, it hit me last week about how immensely grateful I feel. For the life I have had. For the relationships I have had and continue to have – solid at my back. For the ways of the universe in supporting my whims and dreams. For my ability to see and speak my truth tough as it may be.

And will this immense gratitude – there was a need therefore to celebrate the day by reaching out in some way to the many many people who have made my life so meaningful and special. One of these reaching out and talking to my dear friend Priya, led to a decision to mark the start of the next year on earth with 40 of something.

So as usual, ambitious plans that I also happily shared with anyone who cared to listen. And based on reactions, I decided what I would say and how much. Yes I got a range of reactions – the rare ones in the range of “that’s inspiring” but mostly falling in varying degrees of banter. But it did feel great to speak it out loud even as the idea was forming in my head. And today, just a day after my birthday, I see myself as curious and excited about how the 40 BD resolution and the year ahead will pan out.

Given that this is my space – where I can say the idea fully – here’s what it is – “A year of 40s”. What that means so far is:

-          40 road trips

-          40 new songs on the keyboard

-          40 traditional recipes (hopefully learnt from a person and not a book)

-          40 day practices – rituals along self-care, healing and connections

Hope to document this journey over the next one year. One reason – to bring in focus, and discipline. And the other motivation - that my baby reads this when I am not there to talk about it and remembers what it meant to have a mom like me!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Today I wish...

Having a smart phone has many advantages but a big bummer past few months has been zero writing. Thanks to FB links and forwards, I now end up reading such well written pieces that my own musings and articulation seems to pale in comparison. Recently I ended up lecturing a friend about feeling free to express without judging and a little voice inside nudged, "how about practising what you preach?!"

So here's a re- reentry! I thought of posting some of my poetry. In the past few months, attempts at writing poetry have been a healing, creative process. I find myself stuck in a situation, a mood and attempting to express that through poetry helps me work my way through it. It's clarifying as much as it is cathartic and I love these moments I give myself. Somehow limited exposure to poetry has somehow created a mindset in me that I need to rhyme. Only once have I written a piece when there was no such compulsion and here it is:

Today  I wish ...

Today  I wish to bind myself to the  earth,
Though I see the unending free skies stretching overhead.
Today I wish my hair strikes roots in the ground,
Though the winds strain to caress it.
Today I wish my feet get swallowed by the wet mud,
Though the dew kissed grass offers soft solidness.  
And though the thoughts scamper like restless squirrels on the branches,
Today I wish to be like a tree, 
grounded, and quietly swaying to the rhythms of the seasons. 

P. S. my little girl, nia also seems to enjoy writing poetry and has been planning to blog herself. Can't wait to see her foray into the world of writing and blogging!