A fresh change


  Change is often inevitable and surprising. It can gently knock you off-balance and demand that you cope with it. Or it can lift you completely out of your comfort zone and put you in situations where you have to make decisions that can potentially alter your life as you know it. But sometimes, change can also be the best thing to happen to you. And I say that with all the authority of someone, who fought change and eventually gave into it, only to discover a new me.


The year was 2012, 

I had everything that a person in their late-twenties could want - a loving wife and partner, a baby on the way,  good-paying job, decent career prospects and well-settled abroad. A change from all of this was perhaps the last thing on my mind. But life has its share of curve balls that it often throws at you, to keep you on your toes. And so it did.


Fast forward to a year later,

Nothing could have prepared me for what the following year would bring. We ended up relocating to India. One reason was to be closer to family and for our son to grow up amidst his grand parents, relatives and cousins. The other was because my wife was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to head her department in India. Yes, we were well-settled in London, but a part of me had started to feel the monotony of the corporate world.  So we opted for the change.

If you had asked me back then, I would have told you that I was optimistic about the whole move. It was pretty much a win-win situation for us. But I'd be lying, if I said that there weren't a few nagging feelings, gnawing at the back of my mind - of self-doubt; of lack of confidence; of whether I would be able to fit in; of whether I would find a role that I loved doing. Such thoughts sped through my brain like an express train with no halts in sight.

But somewhere deep down, I found the optimism to look up. And keep going on.


Seven months later,

My wife was now the primary breadwinner of our little family. She was extremely happy with her career prospects. Our son had coped much better than we'd anticipated and was as mischievous and naughty as 20-month old kids generally are.

As for me, I was career-less, a stay-at-home dad and somewhat a stigma to society. For, in our largely patriarchal society,  not only was my wife the sole wage-earner of the family -  a fact that was perhaps akin to blasphemy -, but I was a stay-at-home father. That was something practically unheard of in the community. Needless to say, I was considered a rebel by many, and a social outcast.

Over the next few months, I faced plenty of intrusive questions. Most of them went along the lines of "So, what do you do all day at home? or Don't you feel wrong to be babysitting all day?". Of course, a few were far more personal; some even questioning my very existence as a man. Yes, society can be rather cruel when it wants to be. Eventually, I started to shy away from any kind of public gathering.

Just to be clear - my so-called 'joblessness' was not entirely by choice. Circumstances paved the way, and I found myself losing hope and looking elsewhere. But I trudged ahead, with whatever little optimism  I had left, expectant that I would find something that I was good at, that would give me time to spend with my family and of course pay the bills to an extend. And that's when I started to write.

Writing and Blogging opened up a world of opportunities for me. What originally started as a diary to jot down my musings about fatherhood, parenting and tales about my daily interaction with my son, soon blossomed into an almost full-time role. I started to write short stories and longer pieces of fiction, articles for magazines, ghost writing for websites and even some freelance designing.

Where society had failed me, I found support not just from my immediate family, but a virtual family of fellow writers and freelance bloggers. And the best part of it all, was that I had quality time to spend with my son. To watch him grow. To learn valuable lessons with him. To be there for his major and minor milestones. To be there for my wife. To be a complete family man.

No, I won't lie and tell you that everything was easy or that it was smooth sailing. I'm still a heretic, when it comes to the way our society thinks. Of course, it helps somewhat that I'm no longer termed as a 'stay-at-home' dad but rather a 'work-from-home' one. And it helps that I've been published on a few sites, have won a few writing competitions, earn somewhat enough money occasionally to be able to pitch in and pay the bills and do my bit for society.


And today, as I continue working on the manuscript of my first full length novel, while still finding plenty of time to spend with my wife and play the silliest of games with my little one, I can only say - Change is a good thing. It gives you the chance to alter your life, start anew, be a better person, take risks and most of all, gives you a shot at doing what you want.


Of course, the next thing on the cards is a house of our own. One where I have a dedicated writing room with a small library, my faithful laptop and a window from which I can see the world go by. And that's perhaps where Housing.com will help me look up and change my life further. So see, change is a good thing.




And for everyone who is reading this, all I can say is :

Make a change, take a risk - however small that might be. And #StartANewLife.


Image courtesy : Self. Created on Photoshop

A little optimism


I watched him pick up his toys and lazily amble towards the center of sand filled playground. It had not even been five minutes since he had been thrown out by the elder kids, because he was too small to help them build mud castles. But heart filled with optimism, he made his way once again. I spotted one of the elder kids, perhaps about nine or ten, point towards him and laugh along with his friends. For a moment, I wondered if I should step in. After all, he was my son. And I was a duty-bound father, who swore to protect him at any cost. But something stopped me. Perhaps it was instinct. Perhaps it was just the curiosity to see how far he would go. Whatever it was, I continued to sit down and watch my almost-three year old toddler march towards the battalion of elder kids, armed only with his sand pail and a plastic spoon.  

With bated breath, I watched him enter the circle that the elder kids had made and calmly put his pail and spoon down. The biggest one of the lot, perhaps just shy of his pre-teen years, took giant steps towards my son, who was less than half his height. For some reason that I could not fathom, my son turned back and looked at me. And then he did the strangest thing - He smiled. Rather, it was a grin. A full toothy one, no less. Behind him, the other kid stopped a few meters from him. I tried  to gauge the thoughts of the bigger kid by observing his facial expressions. But like an expert witness, he remained impassive. 'This was it!' I thought, 'I'm going to have to go and get my son out of there. Or else, it's going to be a rematch of David v/s Goliath. And this David was not going to stand a chance in hell!'


As I stood up from the bench I was sitting on, the bigger boy moved closer towards my son. Before I could rush towards them, my son suddenly hugged the elder kid. I stopped in my tracks, confused by my son's unexpected reaction. And as I watched, partially amused by the scene that was playing out in front of me, the elder boy knelt in front of my son and hugged him back. Within minutes, my son had disappeared into the midst of his new-found friends. It took me a few minutes to understand the impact of what my son had done. Instead of being deterred by the attitudes of the bigger and elder children, my son had decided to focus on the end goal of getting into their gang. He had embraced his earlier failures, learnt from them and adopted a new approach. And he had broken through their defense with merely a smile and a hug.


I sat back on the bench, happy and relieved. As parents, we had inculcated the right attitude and beliefs in our son. That come what may, be optimistic and you can find a way to succeed in whatever you do.


This post was written for the 'Look up Stories'  by IndiBlogger Happy Hours

Image courtesy : www.HDWallpapers.com