Home..

I have returned home.

After a major anxiety attack, hormonal imbalance and resultant depression, I have returned home.

I am better now.

And ready to get back to blogging. Phuussshhhhh!!

Nasty Habit…

The first thing towards change is self-realisation.

And I have had realisation this week that I have developed a morbid habit of self-indulgence, self-pity, self-doubt and negative thinking.

What a potent cocktail it is. If someone tells me they have it, I would advise them perfectly how to go about it.

But in myself, I hadn’t realised it myself.

It has put the burden of being HAPPY squarely on me.

It has also given me a power to make myself HAPPY.

This power needs to be utilised to change my habit.

And I know it is not easy. The way it slipped in my otherwise upbeat personality was un-noticed. I started blaming everything around me for things which I was convinced had turned out to be below my expectations. I withdrew from the world and started thinking about how world was mean and cruel. I took comfort in creating my small world and hid away in it. Not physically, but metaphorically.

Because I have a rock star of a husband, he let it go after cautioning me against it gently. When he was met with ‘THIS IS WHO I AM AND IT IS MY NATURE’ from me, he let it go. Even now, his first instinct is to tell me to do anything I want.

And I want to be happy. Plain and simple. I know it is not easy. The spiral of thoughts and the habit of looking at surroundings judgementally and with worry is not easy to let go.

I was reading many positivity blogs and tips. They all tell the same things.

Don’t be perfectionist cut yourself some slack

Don’t overthink- especially about past and future.

Love yourself above all.

I know to large extent, these feelings are triggered by homesickness, loneliness, chaos at workplace, looming launch of the two projects, shifting houses alone, a city which is not exactly my idea of a home. And these are legitimate reasons to be worried and sad, especially in a foreign country.

But I have a choice to either slip in self-pity mode or happy with whatever I have got mode.

And there are such kind gestures, comfortable living, relatively less pressure at work, a definite deadline for me to go back home and good money.

It is in my power to look at them, feel happy, enjoy small things, feel things in perspective.

It is a lesson not only for my year abroad, but for life.

And I am determined to exercise that power to genuinely look after myself and love myself.

I love you..

Yesterday, a new line joined my chant of I AM HAPPY I WANT TO BE HAPPY

It was I LOVE YOU

As I woke up yesterday, I realised that it was I who had to look after me, care for me, love me, accept me.

And I caressed my cheek and however corny it sounds, told myself, I LOVE YOU DON’T WORRY I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU..

Every now and then I have had a tendency to overthink, overanalyses and let vague worries eclipse my otherwise peaceful life. Often I resist the choices I have made on my own and end up wallowing in self-pity and self-indulgence.

Few days ago I painfully became aware of this bad habit I have gotten myself into. Because the sadness wouldn’t go and it reminded me of those horrible few months I had dragged myself through 3 years ago, totally immersed in sadness of my own making.

When at home, the family cushions many of these habits. Husband and dog provided me with the emotional core and stability. This is a brand new realisation, btw.

But when you are on your own, these nasty habits can come and bite you in the ass.

So when this line came to me ( I am sounding like a nutcase on one of those religious channels na?), I suddenly realised how horrible I tend to be to myself. Like being cruel to an animal or kids.

I have decided above all, that I have to be nice to myself. I am not going to blame/ criticise/ analyse/ pressurize self ever again.

I am sure I will slip into self-blame on and off, since ‘introspection’ was something I was terribly proud of all my life.

But I am trying to work hard not to. I am imagining myself as the dog from now on. And treat myself exactly how I behave with him.

Happy…

I woke up at 4 am today with a jumble of thoughts in my head. Couldn’t go to sleep despite of focusing on breathing and trying to clear my head.

So woke up and sat in the balcony smoking.

And there was a chant going at the back of my mind. I want to be happy. I am happy. I want to be happy. I am happy.

More than anything else in the world, this morning I truly feel like jumping up the next step in my life. No rational and mature understanding this. Just plain simple realisation that I am over self-pity, sadness and worries.

And although I hope it sustains for long-term and doesn’t fizzle out within a few days that I am prone to, I don’t remember myself so upbeat and gung-ho in a long long time.

So hurrah!!

Salmania..

I outright want to say that this is a highly irrational and contradictory post dedicated to the irrational guilty pleasure of loving Salman Khan.

I watched KICK last week and oh boy, does Bhai look boiling hot in the goatee and tight spandex.

I absolutely hate goatees. And gelled hair. And buffy muscles. And tight t-shirts. and crotch-hugging jeans. But on Salman it all looks like.. mmmmm…magic.

As expected, he sleepwalks through yet another ridiculous film, struts around like a lost bull and every now and then, oozes the easygoing sweet vulnerable charm which is his trademark.

My ongoing lusty affair with Salman Khan is filled with guilt and contradictions. But I have been thinking about it this week and I think there are a few reasons why he remains the most consistent beefcake in my life, despite of being the ultimate feminist nightmare.

1. Looks. I am extremely partial to men who continue to look this good. And there are very very few THIS good.
2. The disarming boyish charm and vulnerability, which makes me look beyond the macho chest thumping and ridiculous muscles and sexism in virtually all his movies.
3. The eyes. Simply the best eyes ever to grace Hindi cinema and ones who manage to convey several emotions at once. Yes, I do believe he is a fine actor when he chooses to, and every film of his has these priceless moments of baring the soul, which have never ever been recognised. There I said it.
4. Andaz Apna Apna- my all time favourite Hindi film.
5. Nostalgia.

I suspect the last one is the biggest reason. Nostalgia.

Salman Khan was the reigning star of my pre-pubescent hormones. I still remember watching Maine Pyar Kiya and the sultry vision of Salman in white ganjee playing saxophone and riding his bi-cycle down the stairs.

I had never seen something like this. Ever. How could I not fall for this strange-sweet-cute-sexy-gorgeous- clumsy boy?

And don’t forget. The small-town, non-glam girls like me and my friends were reassured, that if the doe-eyed sexpot like Salman could fall for someone ‘simply Suman’ and not the suave big city counterparts- then we had hope. Provided that we were sweet and innocent, which we believed we were. Since there was no other option really!!

As I grew into puberty and realised that being a Bollywood version of sweet and innocent woman meant sacrificing virtually every enjoyable thing- I sacrificed my ultimate dreamboat instead. I grew out of imagining Salman as the star of all my romantic fantasies!!

But, and it is a very important but- there was no harm in lusting after him, I was smart enough to realise. The perfect body. The melting eyes. The charm. The weird sense of humour. The floppy hair. The looks. The way clothes hug his body- as if they were invented for him. And the special way in which he bared it all with a child like simplicity.

Basically it has always been LUST.

But then over the years, there was also the surprising lovability and sincerity in performance which is lacking in virtually every major actor.

And above all- The absolutely stunning screen presence. Something inexplicable, only feel-able and totally adorable.

Over a period of time everything which I hated in a person came to be associated with him. Male Chauvinist- check. Sexist- check. Animal rights destroyer- check. Stalker- check. Criminal- check.

But human beings are filled with contradictions. Aren’t they? Despite of the overtly macho and sexist and conservative and criminal and outright dumb nature of most his films and his image- maybe it was my memories of sexual awakening, which still drew me in as a consistent fan.

I decided, perhaps hypocritically so, that enjoying a hunky man can be done by dissociating from his troubling image. I would always ignore the movies and news, and instead focused on select screen presence. Which was easy because the films he acted in were so obviously non-story-oriented.

I prefer watching selected clips. And songs. I have some silly favourites which make me feel absolutely charmed and refreshed.

And for a humongously judgemental person like me, it is a very very big thing!!

I seriously think that there has been something in him, which despite of his machoness, transcends the celluloid, and appeals to your very basic nature as a human being. You hope for him and chuckle when he bashes your hopes film after film. Most of the things he does on-off screen are highly offensive and downright criminal. But you want to forgive him. And you forgive him some more. And you hope that maybe he will see the right way and improve.

My friends call this ‘double-standards combined with delusion’ and I agree. Maybe I am a dupe of the magic of image and am willingly ignoring the very important reality. Maybe I am still as starstruck as I was as a 10 year old girl watching my first on-screen crush. Maybe I am a hypocrite to turn a blind eye to the obvious transgressions of this guy.

I know it and I have rationally tried to totally banish him as a non-fan. But then he comes wearing spandex and smiling that smile and blushing that blush and opening those doe eyes and phoooosshhh… all my resolutions to be politically correct with my fandom disappear and I am tempted to ogle at him some more.

And that is not all. You will laugh at this, but I hope he cleans his act so that I can be a fan without this guilt.

I wish he confesses to his crimes and does the rightful time in jail and comes out cleansed of his sins. Like a 1970s BW Blockbuster. I know.

I wish he lets go of his sexism- on and off screen .

I wish he chooses at least a few decent movies to prove that he indeed can act. ( And he can).

I wish he still retains his charm and sex appeal, but temper it with less drama in life.

There. I said it.

Now if that doesn’t sound like a true deluded Bhaitard, I don’t know what does!!

Work – Family Balance

If you are a woman, it doesn’t matter what you do for a living. You could be a commissioner of police or a CEO of a Billion Dollar corporate a la Indra Nooyi. There is only one question the humanity has for you.

How do you manage your family with high pressure job?

Needless to say, a man in power is never asked the same question, because it is assumed, and correctly so, that there would be a supportive woman who would take care of his family. Sorry, ‘her’ family. Because while the family might carry a man’s name, it is the responsibility of a woman to look after it and take a step back when it comes to her career/ individual growth.

What is surprising is that many people would like to believe that in todays ‘post-feminist’ world, (a.k.a where equality is totally achieved and we don’t need feminism ya all), it is a ‘choice’ that women make.

Right.

It is hardly a choice when opted for by overwhelming majority of one gender. It is hardly a choice when that same gender has been conditioned for centuries to focus on her role as a mother/ wife/ nurturer. And when the same conditioning continues even today in mainstream cultural dialogue.

Choice requires multiple options. Economic, structural, social, cultural, medical.. the list goes on. And in our society, majority of women just don’t have them.

Even women who have some structural advantages, find it difficult to act on them due to cultural pressure to be the primary nurturer and Gajar Ka Halwa maker of the family.

If you state this fairly obvious fact, you would be bombarded with angry responses, even from women. About how ‘it is her choice’ to stay home and look after her kids. Or that they happen to ‘ like’ to be there when their kids grow. Or that they are against the crass materialism and inhuman work-pressure. Or that their husbands just happen to earn more than they do and it makes sense for them to quit the job rather than their husbands. And how dare you challenge their legitimate ‘choice’?

Majority of these responses refuse to take into account the overwhelming cultural conditioning, economic factors and inherent sexism in our notions of parenting.

While feminism is about wide range of choices for women, no individual choice can exist in vacuum.

The decision to stay at home with kids or reject the pressure to be ‘powerful’ would be actually be a true choice when a significant number of men also ‘have’ to take that option, thus rendering it gender-neutral. It would be a true choice when women and men have similar options and similar parenting roles. It would be a true choice when there are no ‘mommy-tracks’ or gender wage gap. It would be a true choice when women choosing not to have kids are not looked down upon as aliens. It would be a true choice when rather than phony lip-service, mothers are actually compensated for the tremendous work they do by birthing the child.

Until then, whether we like to admit it or not, it is hardly a ‘choice’ women make in a ‘blissful post-patriachal vacuum.’

So this comes as a fresh breath when a powerful man decides to make the ‘choice’ to stay home to spend more quality time with his kids and blogs about the unfair expectation of women to worry about ‘family-work’ balance, while men never get asked about the same. Powerful men making this choice and recognising that this choice doesn’t exist in ideological vacuum, gives it legitimacy in our world full of dated notions of masculine identity and power.

It also reemphasises that kids have ‘parents’ and not just ‘mothers’.

It acknowledges that fathers also care about their kids and can sacrifice their careers for their kids.

Millions of women have to take this option every day. We definitely need more dads making this choice and being aware of the gendering of this concept. It would not only ease the pressure on women but also bring a healthier and balanced notions of parenting in our society.

Definitely not Zen..

All my Zen-ness has disappeared today.

Same old enemies. Perfectionism. Worrying about worst possible scenarios. Stressing about things rather than getting to do them.

In general a weighty feeling of thorough dissatisfaction coursing through my body. Heaviness in heart. Irritability. Breaths held in and exhaled loudly. A desire to just go and smash something.

Anyway. Maybe it is PMS- if it is, great. Or maybe it is delayed homesickness. Or maybe it is the old habit of stressing for perfect finish to the project, rearing its ugly head. Maybe it is the thorough unprofessionalism rampant here.

Whatever it is, it has to go by tomorrow morning. Because it is just not worth it. And I don’t want to spend even 2 days sucked into same old shitty anxiety.