Wish, Hope, Believe


I don't care what she says, I really wanted my wife, Janaki to write this post. And it took a lot of convincing to get her to write out her "rants and thoughts" as she calls them. But I finally managed to get her to grace my blog. If I did take part in the #100 days of happiness thing, this would undoubtedly be up there on the top. So, without further ado, here goes - Ladies and Gentlemen, my wife Janaki, with her first ever guest post. Do give her a round of applause and leave your comments in the box below.divider Wish, hope , believe - To me, these three words are independent, yet interlinked. To me, they signify the triumph of the human spirit and of a never-say-anything-is-impossible attitude. For if you don’t wish, you can’t hope. And if can’t hope, then you sure as heck, aren’t going to believe that it can be done.

So when Sid asked me if I wanted to do a guest post on the prompt "What are the six impossible things you believe in?”, I was a bit stumped. Whilst I know for a fact that he asked me to write a post, because he was busy working on a “finale” to his short story, I did find the topic quite intriguing. But I didn’t want to write about Fairies and Santa Claus and Unicorn and Magic and the rest. (For the record, I do believe in them ) I decided that I was going to “twist” (Sid’s own words here) the prompt around and write about two things that I wished for, two things that I hoped for and two things that I believed in. And well, this is it.

I wish:

….that somewhere in an alternate universe, I could be a career oriented woman, a home maker and a mom, whilst being able to give my 100% to each of my different persona

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Before I go ahead, I’m going to take a minute to thank Sid. Yes, you heard right. I’m thanking him for all the compliments about me (and every other mother) being a “Superwoman” in one of his recent posts. Yes, I manage being a working woman as well as a mother to rather naughty toddler. Yes, it’s also true that I probably have it a little bit easier because Sid helps me out too, in whatever way he can (though there are days when I wonder if I have two kids). The truth is I manage somehow. But there have been days, where I’ve had to leave an unwell Rishi at home, because I couldn’t afford to miss an important client meeting. There have also been days, when after putting him to sleep, I’ve worked away through the whole night to meet a deadline. Yes, I manage. But I want to do so much more. I want to be able to be there for my son, whilst not compromising on my work either. If only I could come home from work with 100% charge, like a smartphone taken off charge, and pay my undivided attention to my little son. But then again, there is dinner to think about. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for one of those “Time-Turners” that Hermoine had, in the Prisoner of Azkaban. Things would be so much simpler for a working mother.

….that the people in our society would actually be sincere in their thoughts and actions

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It could very well be, that I’m the only pupil from this school of thought, but I’ve always wondered why we need to do things, just to make people happy. No, I’m not talking about phoning an aunt that you haven’t spoken to in ages to wish her for her birthday, just because your mom played one of the many “you-owe-me” cards. Or being a nice to others and generally polite. I’m talking about words like “love”, “thank you”, “sorry”, "please" and plenty more adjectives being thrown around without people actually meaning it sincerely. I mean, if you do care, then make an effort to say so.  People who know me well, will tell you that I don’t do that. I do things only when I strongly believe in them. For eg. I believe in apologising when I'm in the wrong. But I'm not the kind who keeps saying "sorry" over and over again, without actually meaning it. For if I was truly sorry, I wouldn't repeat it. But these days, people think they can get away with everything if they say a "sorry" or "just kidding".The problem with that is that it often makes me come across as a snob. But then again, do I actually care about what others think of me? I’m sure you know the answer to that one by now.

I hope:

………...that it will be possible, once again, for a woman/girl to travel alone at night without being reduced to a nervous wreck

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I hope, because I know it is possible. When I was in London, I’ve travelled alone a number of times. And sometimes during rather un-earthly hours, say post 1am.  The transport network operates perfectly and you can go where you want, when you want. Why, I’ve even taken a cab flagged off the main road, without wondering if I was going to be safe. But now that I’m back in India, I don’t even try doing anything like that. I’ve been reduced to having to take my trusty little can of pepper spray. And I hate that. As much as Sid tries to make sure I have my space, I hate that I’m not able to step outside a 5 km radius, without being inundated with calls from family concerned about my safety. Which eventually makes me treat every man, woman and sometimes a child, with suspicion. While the media, the NGO’s and the politicians have all been playing the blame game, no one has actually benefitted. Yes, I’m an “Aaj Ki Naari” (Modern-day woman) so to speak, but I’ve been reduced to a situation where I have to think twice before I venture out alone at night (or even during daylight sometimes) without a male companion. And I hate it.

……. that old age homes don't become the norm of the society

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Having had the chance to stay abroad for a number of years, I’ve had the opportunity to observe a lot of people. Especially a lot of familial relationships. Both the parents and the kids are relatively independent. The kids are often biding their time, till they can “move out” of home. And the reality is that in a lot of families, as soon as kids hit their teens, they do just that. Yes, they probably return for their Christmas or Easter breaks, but apart from that, they are busy for the parents. Yes, I understand the need to be an independent person. I'm one too. But I can’t even start to imagine leaving my parents in an old age home, not just abroad, but even in India too. Of course, I am not painting every one with the same brush. But the amount of “retirement homes” popping up (which by the way, is just a fancy term for an old-age home) frankly scares me. Yes, it took me time to understand what my parents have sacrificed to take care of the three of us. Often, I hear my parents and in-laws talk about arrangements that they would like to make, if the inevitable happens to one of them. And, I end up getting offended. Because the mere thought that someone could be reluctant to take care of their own parents is, well, let’s say almost blasphemy.  But then again, I guess when their “friends” are being offered similar solutions by their off-springs, they can’t help but think that we may behave the same way too.

And finally, I believe:

….. that it is possible to share joyous moments socially without it being promoted via social media

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Even though I’m an engineer, I have my share of issues with technology. The more Sid and I discuss this topic, the more we agree to disagree. Of course he’s a social media addict. And frankly, I’ll be surprised if he even decides to publish this point. Here’s the thing. According to me, technology is something that is supposed to aid communication, and not become a substitute to communication. There is a very thin line between the two. I sincerely can’t remember the last time someone said, “I’ve got some happy news that I need to share. Let me call them!”. Now, we just tweet about it, or Facebook it. Recently I received a marriage invitation from a close friend. It wasn’t a phone call as I would have expected. It wasn’t even a personal email. And this is someone I’ve known for over a quarter of a century. Someone who even calls my mother, Amma. I got a rather impersonal Facebook group invite. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to react. Of course I complained. And in turn, I was told “Oh, you’re too old fashioned”. Today you receive most information such as child birth, marriage, promotion, and sometimes even death, through social media. But then honestly, hasn’t it been a while since technology started replacing communication. Forget communication, think about this. How many times have you stopped in between having a really good time with a friend, or your family and said “Here, let’s take a picture. I need to put it on Facebook.” I do my bit of sharing on Facebook too. After all, it is probably one of the best ways to share. But the lack of "social etiquette" and "opening out your entire world, from what you had for breakfast to what you're going to do next?", sometimes is a bit too much. Just my opinion. This also goes for all the people who keep at their keypads (oh sorry, touch screens) whilst at social gatherings, birthdays or dinners.  Sadly, my husband is one of them too.

…. that  at some point in my life, I will go travelling the world. 

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Risk - now, that’s a term that I'm not too familiar with. I am planner, a pretty meticulous one at that. I carefully plan and have always taken well informed decisions. I’ve often been told that I tackle most of my situations like the character of Ross, in FRIENDS - with a pros and cons list. The fact that Sid is the one deciding to explore his career options at this stage, is a testament to that. I don’t think I’d have ever done that. I’d still be making a list :) But the other thing is that I love my job and sincerely cannot see myself doing anything else, at least not for a while. So, as a planner, I’m not the kind to drop everything in one go and take the next flight out to a destination that I don’t know. I really wish I could. Why, I might even get till the airport. But before I hand over that card (or cash) at the counter, I will stop re-think. But I live in the belief that at some point in my life, I will be able to do that. Last weekend, I happened to watch the movie “Queen”. The protagonist and I couldn’t have been more apart in some of our thoughts. But the one thing, I did say to Sid after watching the movie was “Someday, I want to travel the world. And I definitely don’t want to be sitting with one leg into the grave, when I do that ! I want to live life on my own terms, some day.”

I guess Sid’s “writing” has influenced me a bit more than I gave him credit for. I have no other explanation as to how I weaved my way through completely random topics from “Time-turners” to “retirement home” to “social media”. And with that, I shall take your leave. Thank you for taking the time to read some of my thoughts (and rants) on some really random topics, which remain close to my heart.

- Janaki

Oh, and if you do spot some typos or grammatical inconsistencies, blame Sid. He was in charge of editing :P

[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – the White Queen, Alice in Wonderland. What are the six impossible things you believe in? (If you can only manage one or two, that’s also okay.)”]

Wishes and Hopes

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Ever so often, we’ve all wished for things, irrespective of whether you are a believer in the power from above or not.  Sometimes it is for material objects such a new car, a new gadget, new clothing, new jewellery …. pretty much anything. Sometimes it is for intangible and non-material items such as a happy and stress-free life (apparently they exist!), your kids and parents being hail and healthy and so on. The remarkable thing about wishes is that as we progress through each stage of our lives, these wishes change quite dramatically. Now  while that rule may not hold good for every person, I’d bet my bottom dollar that most of us would probably fall into that category.

And it is no different when we start out on our journey into parenthood. From the very beginning, we continue to hope and wish. We hope that the little one who is no bigger than the nail on your little pinky finger blooms his/her way into a beautiful and healthy human baby. When they eventually get here, after the pre-requisite 9 months, we believe that nothing on this planet could make us wish for anything else, materialistic or otherwise. Haha - you wish!

Fast-forward to a few months later. Dogged by sleepless nights, three-hourly feeds and shrieking cries at unearthly hours, you find yourself wishing and hoping again. For the little one to grow up a little bit. For him or her to sleep through the night. For him or her to consume more milk in one sitting, so that they don’t get up in between. For them to start getting into a pattern, which is a little less stressful on us.

Once again, let’s forward this “Parenthood” movie ahead a few more months. Your little one now sleeps through the night. You’ve been fortunate enough to catch a fair amount of shut-eye through the night, though your partner (mostly the father of the afore mentioned child) is often snoring away to glory. You’ve probably  even started introducing solid foods to the apple-of-your-eye. What more could we wish for, isn’t it? Let’s move on.

Your infant is now completely en-route to being called a toddler. He/She has started strutting some really fancy looking walking styles and is starting to develop their own quaint and unique personalities. They’ve started developing some dangerous looking teeth, which they aren’t afraid to use under any circumstance - sometimes for their defence, other times just to demonstrate their power to hold us ransom to their unspoken demands. They’re now choosy about their food, and very often repetition of any food item becomes a sin. Often kids also develop the miraculous ability to turn perfectly good and healthy baby food into a projectile weapon of sorts, which sometimes even makes us parents resort to hiding behind a cushion or towel. And somewhere along this phase, you cannot help but wish. For the times when milk alone provided all the nourishment that they needed. For the time to come, when your toddler can possibly feed themselves, without too much of interference from us (the parents). For the time when the kids start to speak properly rather than the mumbles that make no sense at all, so that they can tell us what they want. Since the most brilliant of scientists are yet to discover the power of time-travel, we rest our hopes on the future when the kids will start feed themselves and we can make sense of their mumblings. Surely that’s the perfect life isn’t it ? 

You’re probably not entirely wrong in making that assumption at this stage. Once your little ones start tending to their own cycles of feeding, pooping and telling us their likes and dislikes, needs and wants, apart from the occasional wishing that things were a lot simpler when they were just babies, the phase from the late childhood to early teenage / pre-teenage years go through without a lot of wishing and hoping from the parents.

Cometh the teenage years, and the urgency and frequency of your wishes increase manifold. Suddenly you’d wish that your once little non-stop babbling angel would continue talking a lot more to you. You can’t help but wish that they’d involve you more in their lives and their little decisions. You hope that you’ve done enough as a parent to stop them from making those questionable choices. You hope they graduate with flying colours and wish that they succeed in every examination that the school of life throws at them - academically and otherwise. You spend every waking minute, hoping that they waltz through any troubles that they might find themselves in. This period is when your wishes free flow like water, and you find it hard to keep track of each and every one of them.

Your off-spring’s journey into adulthood has commenced, and with that your wishes take an additional form - concern. You hope that he/she finds their heart’s calling, and are able to make incredible strides in their career. When they embark on a successful career, you find yourself hoping that they will find a suitable partner who’ll be their pillar of support going forward, and hope it is someone you can pass on your batons of “love” and “care”. You find yourself wishing for them to complete the full circle and present you with darling grand-kids on whom you can continue to shower your love.

As the years go by, and you move on to your second child-hood, your list of wishes start to dwindle, but never cease. Even though your little one’s are no longer “little”, you continue wishing for their good health and success in life. Though you refrain from giving them advice on how to bring up their kids, you once again hope that you have been able to impart good parenting knowledge to your successor(s). In spite of finding some of their parenting choices “too Gen-Z” for your liking, you hope that your grand children will go on respecting their elders and making those right choices.

The transition to old age is not without its share of illnesses and complications. As your body struggles to adjust to practically everything, and even day-to-day activities become a struggle, you can’t help but keep on hoping. But the hope at this stage has now turned into a silent plea, a prayer if you will. It becomes a desire to leave your earthly being without much pain. It becomes a longing that you are able to quietly drift away into paradise without giving too much trouble to your loved ones.

You wish for the inevitable end to be smooth and swift. And as you cross over into the light, you wish one last time. You wish and hope that your loved ones do not shed too many tears over you. You hope that they continue to go on with their lives as usual. And you hope…..that you’ve done enough for them to remember you by.

“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”  ― Stephen King


 I’d like to put a disclaimer to reiterate, that not all kids are alike, and the “wishing “ and “hoping” will vary depending on the kid and the style of parenting. Also, since my little one is still a toddler, the remaining parts of this post are purely based on observations of other kids, their parents and some my own personal experiences.