What Life Teaches Me Everyday

Category: Emotions (Page 1 of 2)

How does a writer grieve? For someone who led her to the world of books

how should a writer grieve

How does a writer grieve? By writing, what else. But it was not clear to me initially.

My babuji, my father’s eldest brother, passed away last night. I came to know early morning today and I have cried so much since then. But the lump in my chest fails to diminish even an iota. And then I realised that tears were not the way to grieve for a man who introduced me to the dreamland called books. And not just me but my whole generation, and then the next one too.

Babuji was a Hindi language teacher in the village school. He was a great scholar who knew the Ramcharitmanas and Bhagvad Gita by heart. He had read the Puranas and the Upnishads, which he quoted at the drop of the hat. He was equally fascinated by the scriptures, fiction novels in both English and Hindi, Bollywood movie stories, and God only knows what else. And he was as prolific a writer as he was a voracious reader. He wrote analysis of many scriptures, translations of English books and parody of Bollywood with equal élan. Everyone wanted him to publish but he always scoffed at the idea. May be because he relished being the truly eccentric creative, who created at his own will. No one could dictate (!!) him what to write and when.

Everyone in the family, including our own parents, always said that he was a talent gone waste. He could have achieved so much. I used to agree with them, but today when I think about it I am not so sure. He has left behind his legacy in his children, who owe their love for books and literature to him, his rich library and his freedom to explore. How many of us can claim this?

His library, rather his room itself, was a sanctum sanctorum that not everyone could access. However, I was among the lucky few who could borrow whatever book I liked.

Besides days spent without any adult supervision, the main attraction of our annual summer trip to our native village was those books. I read my first Kalyan there, gorging on all the mythological stories. I read Chandrakanta Santati and lost myself in the world of ayyari. I also read Vardi Wala Gunda, the cheap action thriller that was a rage with the Hindi belt at that point of time.

I remember these so explicitly because I never read them anywhere else. His room urged you to gorge on whatever you could lay your hands on. And he had a vast collection of renowned Hindi writers like Premchand, Dinkar, Gupt, Nirala and Pant too.

Even though I borrowed the books mostly in his absence, he always knew the ones I had read. Whenever I read a book I was not supposed to, because I was too young, he would give me a thump on the back and say, “growing up, eh?” And I wouldn’t know how to respond.

Every time I create something, I feel that he would have been proud of it. But scold me as well that I have chosen English as my medium of expression. He often complained to my father that he should have motivated me to pursue Hindi or

I do not know whether he knew that I have turned a writer. I am sure he would have been proud of me.

A couple of years into my marriage, he gifted me a huge book of Gita saar. It is a tome, which is litearally too heavy to carry. I asked him in disbelief, “you expect me to read this?” To which he replied, “you just keep it in your home, that’s enough.”

That was Babuji, expressing even his love and concern through books.

2017: A Year in Review

This time next week I shall be on my way to family vacation to Shimla to enjoy the snowfall. My elder daughter had been pestering us for a couple of years to vacation in Shimla during the winters so she could see snow. Since we had honeymooned there, and she has been fascinated by the photographs, she wants to make up for the lost opportunity!! And go one step better by hoping for a snowfall, not just snow. We decided not to let 2017 go by without fulfilling this wish of hers.

I keep telling her that we cannot predict snowfall, so she should not have high hopes and then feel disappointed. But she remains optimistic. Which reminds me of another thing we lose as we grow up – looking at the brighter side of life.

2017 is coming to an end, but I have been putting off my yearly review because I know it’s going to look very bad. I refuse to acknowledge that I had willingly taken up work that would not pay immediately, I refuse to accept that I lost more than a month to acute chicken pox and I definitely refuse to come to terms with the fact that even if my dream project came to a naught life has not come to a stop.

Magical May – How I Bagged a Lifetime Opportunity through LinkedIn

2017 started on a very high note for me. May be that’s the reason I feel so depressed that it has ended on such a low note.

Around May, I winded up a series of three video tutorials successfully and bagged a long term contract for text tutorials from the same client. I began looking around for more clients. I decided to give LinkedIn a shot, because even though I have had a LI profile for long, I was not much active till then.

A week into being active on LinkedIn, I saw a post from a prominent publisher looking for Computer Science freelance writers. I sent a connection request to the person sharing the requirement, who happened to be the CEO as well. The request was accepted quickly and before I could think of messaging, I received a message – Would you write a book for us.

My heart gave a whoop of joy.

After much discussions and negotiations, he contracted me to write a series of Computer books for classes 1 to 8, to be launched in the coming session of 2018-19. As time was less, I threw myself completely into it. Thankfully the tutorials project that I was working on was a lighter one that could be easily done simultaneously.

Agitating August – An Attack of Chicken Pox

I was quite on schedule doing the books when I contracted chicken pox in first week of August. It was pretty severe – kids were packed off to my parents’ place and my husband was almost quarantined as a caregiver for a week. My temperature in that one week was never below 105.

I got so weak that it took me more than a month to be able to sit on a chair for 30 minutes at a stretch. I started working but I had to take a break of at least 45 minutes after every 30 min. So much so for Pomodoro technique!!

My other projects got delayed; thankfully the editors were understanding and gave me time. And I concentrated on my book project.

Nerve-wracking November

As November began, I started getting negative vibes about my book project; there had been innumerable delays in review process and the publisher seemed unwilling to take my manuscripts. Finally, my gut feeling proved right when around 15th November he told me that they were shelving the project for the time being due to lack of time and preparation.

Around the same time my other regular project was put on hold as well; the company had shifted its gears. As I was not in regular touch with them, only delivering the articles on due dates, I did not see this coming.

Now I stared at a stark reality – no regular clients and my dream project gone for a toss. It plunged me into a bout of acute depression. I hardly wrote anything, though I had time. I started the day enthusiastically, looking for clients, but would soon find myself sitting in front of the idiot box, surfing channels aimlessly and munching any junk food I could lay my hands on.

Looking Ahead

Slowly, by talking to myself continuously, I have been able to pull myself out of my mental state. I have even got a few short-term jobs that will at least keep the ball rolling. I have joined my regular client on their new project. The pay is substantially less, but the content goes under my name, which I consider a big plus. Also, they pay regularly like clockwork, which will help pay the bills.

So things are looking up. I even did a financial review for 2017 and realized that I earned 80% of my total income this year in the first 6 months!! I was meeting the monthly targets too till I started working on the Computer books.

As I write, I realize there were so many learnings for me from the book project. I must write a post on that some other time.

For now, I am on a path to both mental and financial recovery. And after my vacation I hope to be rejuvenated enough to be able to go ahead full throttle.

This is the first time I have talked about my depression on my blog, though I have been struggling with it for more than a decade. It already feels liberating to be able to share my innermost thoughts with you all.

Happy Holidays!!

What has been your struggle with mental health? How have you coped when a dream project failed not because of your own fault?

Share your views in comments below.

And Happy Holidays!!


Lady in emotional trauma

At times Rohini wishes her husband would hit her. Because the emotional torture becomes too much to bear. You can show someone the physical scars, not the emotional ones, which deepens them further.

Rohini and Amit have been married 15 long years, have two lovely kids, own a house in the most upmarket part of the city, party at least two days a week and lead a happy life. On the face of it. And as far as the whole world and Amit are concerned.

If one was to ask Rohini, she has a slightly different version. Yes, she has been married 15 years and has two lovely kids. But she owns a house she can never bring herself to call her home, attends high society parties where everyone bitches about everyone else behind their backs after consuming trendiest of the cocktails, and she spends her days planning how to avoid her husband’s bad temper.

It’s all about perspective. The way you choose to look at things.

Can we undo our past?

We Cannot Undo Our Past

Today is Children’s Day – the birth anniversary of independent India’s first prime minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Just over 50 years after his death we seem to be forgetting our first prime minister. The buzz around this day has drastically diminished over the last couple of years. Why? Just because those ruling the corridors of power do not agree with his ideologies?

Read More

4 Ways to Keep Your Emotions in Check

I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.

― Oscar Wilde

If you ask Google to define emotion, you are told that emotion is a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. So we can safely say that our emotions are stirred as a response to someone else’s behavior or comment. It is our reaction to others’ action. Mood is just the state of mind we are in, and it is also affected by the circumstances or relationships that we are in.

I am a very emotional person myself. I get excited easily, get elated at trivial of things and get offended at even more trivial of things. This past year I have tried to understand myself and why I react the way I do. And then I have also tried to reason with myself how I should react to any situation. Sounds clinical? Believe me, it is not. You come across very few situations on a daily basis when you are “expected” to react immediately. Rest of the situations gives you ample time to think and react rationally. In other words, show controlled emotions. It is these set of situations that I have been and still am working on.

Nothing is Worth Losing Yourself For

The first step to being emotionally independent is understanding that nothing is worth losing yourself for. When your actions are being dictated by others you can hardly claim to be in control of your life. Bond that you share with your partner is almost always your most cherished relationship. But we often see couples in relationships getting emotional at the drop of a hat. It is very important to realize that being emotionally independent is necessary for any relationship to thrive. You have to take a call on whether the relationship is more important or preserving your identity.

Romantics will cry blasphemy at my suggestion. But let me explain what I mean. A relationship is formed by two or more people involved. The identity of a relationship is defined by the uniqueness of each person involved. If you lose your identity, become someone else, the definition of the relationship itself changes. And if you have done so for the sake of the relationship, your act actually has ended countermanding your first act of love.

Whatever the pundits might say, think 10 times before you decide to lose yourself in your relationship. This is especially true of relationships formed by couples who are in love or married. The flavor of such relationships is unique because of the individuality that two people bring to it. The moment one of the partners tries to lose one’s uniqueness, all is lost. Making adjustments is different and becoming a completely different person is different.

Identify your emotional triggers

The next important step to being emotionally independent is identifying your emotional triggers – both positive and negative. You need to keep even your positive emotions in check because if you get too high on any positive emotion, you are bound to fall that much deeper.

Emotions that you need to Control

Different Emotions Shown by Humans

While the world out there argues whether human have six emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust) or four (happiness, sadness, fear/anger and surprise/disgust), you must be relieved to know that you have only these basic types of emotions to control. So to identify your emotional triggers you need to ask yourself what makes me happy or sad or angry. What circumstances arouse a deep feeling of disgust in you? If you can identify your emotional triggers, half the battle is won. If you keep your cool, you can predict when you are going to get emotional. And once you can predict, you can take steps to control it.

Let Others Know you Are Getting Emotional

Your getting emotional is an outcome of other people’s behavior. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to let them know that their behavior is making you emotional. Believe me, no one wants to see you getting worked up. I have tried this very effectively with my daughter. The moment I feel anger rising within me, I tell her that I am getting angry and it would be better if she stopped arguing. And she does. In recent times nothing else has managed to stop her more effectively. Of course, I see to it that I use this as a last resort, when all else fails. I don’t see why it should not work even with grown-ups.

Count to 10 Before You React

This is an age-old and oft-repeated advice. But in the heat of the moment how many times do we actually remember. So next time you realize that you are getting emotional, take a deep breath, close your eyes and start counting on your fingers. The added action of counting on your fingers will give you something to “do” and take your focus away from the disturbing situation. In this time you can compose yourself and react in a more rational way.

Emotions are everywhere. And what are we if don’t show our emotions. So never shy away from showing emotions. What you have to work towards is displaying controlled emotions or reactions. I will be following up this post with some simple things to do in an emotionally challenging situation. So keep tuned and in the interim tell me, in the comments below, what you do to be emotionally independent of situations around you.

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