Monday, December 21, 2015

December Grace

Its been a hectic month. After a couple of months of taking it easy with the studio, December is a month I was determined to go full throttle at work. Festive season is here which means that the baking classes pick up. I also had a friend come over and bake with me. She was to donate some goodies to charity and I offered moral and logistical support. Had a fun day baking, was a different experience for me. 

The planning with work and managing the home has helped immensely to take the pressure off me. I have begun to do laundry just twice a week instead of everyday. I even got my recipe guides printed way ahead of time this month and I cannot tell you how much that has helped. 

Sage has started to understand now that he will spend periods of time without me. He keenly and sulkily watches me as I dress to go out or for work. He doesn't like it, and if I have stayed out too long I do get the odd bite on my wrist, but he has settled (touch wood).  I have also begun to tell him he has to sit in the car without panicking when I stop on errands, I leave the window 1 inch open and dash back in less than 10 minutes and he's been fine. It eases a lot of pressure now that he has this down as a practice. Otherwise it was one made run around of dropping him home, settling him down and heading out again for small errands. It's not ideal to leave a dog in a locked car, but this will have to do for situations I cannot help. 

K has been busy as always. On one occasion he had to be part of a conference call with colleagues from the car itself as we were returning from somewhere together, what began at 12 pm went on till 7:30 PM. The guy ate his lunch, took loo breaks and tea breaks all while the call droned on and on. I cannot explain how bad I felt for him. It was draining and utterly boring to say the least. And he tells me this is how it is at least a couple of times a week. As for me, after a few hours, I did feel like I was locked in a room with a TV channel I couldn't change. Mind numbingly boring and to hear voices droning on and on is terrible!

The devastating floods in Chennai was a large part of my month. My Mom and brother's family fortunately were safe and they almost felt guilty. I saw the frenzy and wished I could do more than just RT calls for help and relay information. There were groups of people organising help and relief materials and very spontaneously I asked a group in Hyd how I could help. Due to the presence of a large number of ladies in the relief camps, there was a dire need for sanitary pads and underwear for them. I decided that food and water was coming in plenty and raised money specifically for this. In less than 48 hours, I was able to raise one lakh from friends and donated the material that was needed. I felt so blessed to be able to help in this small way and realised I have a tremendous amount of goodwill. 

Not everything was calm and composed though. After 5 days of not being able to make any contact with K's dad's youngest brother, I sent out an SOS on twitter. The area the 60+ couple live in was one of the worst affected and online updates spoke of 9-10 feet of flooding. I sent out an SOS on twitter and a good Samaritan waded through neck deep water to check on them. The couple had 4 feet of water in their first floor apartment and my uncle fractured his foot after a fall wading through water, but were otherwise OK. Some really tense moments for all of us there. 

With this kind of busy, I am largely focusing on the important. Yet at the end of a long day when I lay my head on the pillow, I am unable to shut out a few thoughts, that are haunting me. I can't seem to make sense of some things that have happened.  For now I have just decided to let things beyond my control just be.

My dearest friend B turned a day older and she flew down from Bangalore to be in town just for dinner (Pretty Woman style). We went out for a suitably celebratory dinner and I even dressed up!

I finally saw Bahubali and actually liked it. We've been going out quite a bit since the last few months.

My friend U decided to turn producer for a short film she's producing, it's going to be online content, and I sent her a token amount because I told her I would like to be a part of everything she does. She sent me kisses!

December has been all about the things most important ~ family and friends who are like family, work and the love of Sage. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Holiday Finally

We'd been talking of taking a break and going on vacation for what seems like forever. Moving milestones with work and endless lists of things to do at home ensured we were in August and I began to feel quite suffocated. In September, I was mentally immobile, unable to get through a full day without feeling angsty. I was not enjoying work too much and that is always a sign to me, because I really love what I do. 

I served K with an ultimatum, that I would put Sage in the car and drive off on a designated date if he didn't take time off from work and come with us. He relented. Arm twisting has always worked well for me!

The places we could go to on a short notice and over 10 days were limited. Because we travel with Sage, we drive to our destination. This means that any distance more than 300 kms needs a night stop. We'd decided to try and go to the hills or at least eliminated a sea shore holiday on K's request. Narrowing it down to destinations reachable from Bangalore (which was our halt) and that I didn't want to go to a place already visited, we picked Wayanad. 

We found a pet friendly resort in the middle of a forest and took off one early wednesday morning. 

This trip was going to be new in two ways - first we were going in our own car, usually we hire a taxi, secondly, K was going to drive, we did take our driver along for the first leg to Bangalore, thereafter, K was going to drive (sans license of course). 

On the 12th of oct, we slept at 2 AM, finishing work that always has a sense of urgency when you are on the cusp of a holiday, packing and generally trying to calm the excitement. We set off at 5:30 am with a very excited Sage who knew something was cooking! We reached Bangalore city by 1:30 PM and then the ordeal with traffic to get to my friends Shailesh and Shree's house took three hours and melted my brains. Stayed there that night and packed the driver back to Hyderabad. 

The morning we set off to Wayanad, I have not been so excited in a long long time. The absolute bliss to be just three of us was unmatched. Even the potholed roads in patches didn't bother us. We used Google Maps on the entire trip and realised that it is easy to get re routed if you take one small wrong turn or don't pay attention. K had a surprise in store, he drove through the Bandipur forest reserve. For some reason, the forest officials didn't seem to mind that we had a big fluffy dog hanging his head outside the window. 

Herds upon herds of spotted deer, lots of monkeys, some peacocks and lots of other birds. We also spotted tonnes (literally) of fresh elephant dung, but not one elephant. Which was disappointing, but the lushness of the forest and the cool climes more than made up. We realised we were in Kerala as soon as the roads turned narrow and winding. This stretch from Bangalore to Wayanad was beautiful except the last 50 kms to the resort we chose which was a nightmare. 

We reached our resort by 2:30, hungry and very irritated with the last patch of road. I'll write more about the resort in another post. I have bitter sweet experiences of it. Unhappy with our accommodation, K breathed fire and brimstone while Sage and I decided to take a nap. We were soon shifted into another more spacious place and there we spent the next four days - doing nothing.

We had a two room suite, one a largely unused living area and the second a very romantic if dimly lit bedroom (which was a nightmare to do routine things like read without an extra light after dark), a nice red floored porch and a small patch of grass in front. The end of the grass patch was the beginning of a thick natural fence of overgrown bamboo. Beyond that was a small lake, more like our backyard filled with rain water while I was growing up. No really, it was brown water in which a pair of ducks would aimlessly swim all day.

The next four days passed in a haze of food. Each day began and ended with endless food and there was chai and wine for in between. Fresh, well made (mostly), lots of vegetables and fruit and served so nicely on the porch for us because of Sage. Wayanad has a huge Muslim population who for religious reasons do not want to be in close proximity of dogs. We had a choice to go to the restaurants at a time that was not too busy or eat in our cottage and we chose the latter. So every meal of every day was served to us on a little table. Depending on the mood of the hour, I would ask for the table to be set outdoors or indoors and it would promptly be done.

It was such a relief to be in a time and space like that. I picked up a couple of ramshackle books from the hotel library and read them non stop, some travel magazines with not so great stories of places I want to see someday were read from cover to cover. Not having cell phone coverage was a blessing and a curse. It was sketchy at best and I had no internet access. So I kept getting beeps that there were 500+ messages on whatsapp for me, but I couldn't see them. I did nothing about it. I will admit that the first two days I felt antsy, after that I felt no urge to be in touch with anyone or update anything.

For me, this was a lesson. I've always known that I can turn on and off the buttons which get me hyperconnected to people and things. Yet increasingly I felt fatigued by the information I was consuming online. Primarily because most of the information has no where to be used once processed. So this was a good break from everything.

The vacation was not as idyllic as I thought it would be. The resort we chose was built to resemble an eco friendly place, which meant minimal landscaping and the cottages were built on little slopes,  the pathways were real narrow and this posed a problem with walking Sage. The place allowed pets, but for a dog as large as sage, who likes to roam and explore on his own, it was a bit constricted. He would refuse to step more than 5 feet away from where I was standing and since it got dark by 5.45, evening walks caused us a little anxiety.

Oh and the leeches! I was totally unprepared for this, until the second morning, after my walk, sitting on the porch having coffee, K noticed my toe was bleeding. I wiped it and wondered where or how I got cut. The bleeding continued for the next 20 minutes and that's when it struck me that it could be a leech! I freaked out when we finally found it, round and fat and fallen not far from where my slippers lay. After a clean up, I checked Sage and found a couple on his feet. This would continue to freak me out for the next two days until I started dousing his paws with diluted dettol and water and wearing my shoes for each walk. This annoyed me after a while, taking the joy out of our walks.

The good part was that we spent time in complete privacy, we had great food and overall liked the place we stayed in. The bad part was that it was not as comfortable for Sage since he couldn't run around making him edgy and bored. And since we travel with him, Sage's comfort is a big part of our experience.

I've also realized that with K, vacations are about doing nothing. There is no frantic pace of wanting to see places or anything like that. We spend money and time to hire a place and sleep, read, eat and watch TV. Not that there was much to see here. There was the mandatory visits to waterfalls, dams, tea plantations and such like. Some we did and some like the tea plantation we skipped because we have seen enough of those for a lifetime!

After 4 days here, since this was a "do nothing" vacation we moved to another resort. I'm thinking that should be part II of this story... should I write that?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Of re-training and enjoying it

I haven't posted much here. Not because I have nothing to say (that is NEVER the case with me) but only because I haven't enough time to say it. For those of you that follow the Escapades page on facebook, you will know that the studio takes up most of my time. What is left, gets rationed out between the resident dog and K, not particularly in that order.
I've fallen into a good routine and slowly but surely, I've become a regular working woman again. I never stopped working, but operating part time and from the comfort of your house sort of skews the picture for oneself and others. It is the sort of situation where you appear to be working/employed but aren't really 'going' anywhere, and so to the whole world and sometimes yourself, it appears that you aren't actually doing anything. This is a truly terrible state to be in. One, your work becomes the lowest hanging fruit and is usually dropped or abandoned when other tasks or issues come up. Hospital visits, guests, emergencies at home, shopping trips and such like. I say this because I know this happened with me a lot. Each time Sage's health is on shaky ground, parents need something or K is travelling, I rescheduled and work around the situation. This is exactly the kind of flexibility one looks forward to in the independent worker / part timer / own boss situation. And while it works well most of the time, it is frustrating to be constantly juggling and letting go of work if there are other situations that need your attention and time.  
When I was exclusively working from home, I often found myself doing work 'only' in the pockets of time that were free anyway. Free from chores, familial responsibilities and dog care. This in turn made me very frustrated and not to mention angry and crabby at times because I was spinning around in circles. I was not giving my work the kind of space and respect it deserved, and feeling very inept at handling my situation. 
This is not true for everyone. I know a lot of families and people who work from home have a better grip on their situation. 
Last year when I moved my classes from home into a studio, I had teething issues that I didn't account for. When I had a scheduled class, I realized, I would have to be at the studio at-least an hour in advance if I wanted to be ready when my students walk in. This in turn meant I had to get done with whatever I wanted to do, get dressed and show up at the studio. The luxury of prepping for class in the middle of cooking lunch or breakfast, getting dressed as I arranged my work table, and worst of all opening my kitchen pantry and pulling out an ingredient I needed did not exist anymore. I had to be well prepared for a class. Do my shopping ahead of time, plan and finish my chores, ensure I had all the stuff needed for a class at the studio AND be there an hour ahead. 
I will admit it has been a steep learning curve. I am a creature of habit. To change that habit and create a new one has been cruel. I've had a few terrifying days. Nothing that has killed me, but at that time I imagined it would. The mind shift has been the most difficult. To acknowledge that this is no longer a kitchen garden set up. 
For the last 6 months tho, the shift is very visible. Not just for me, but K and Sage as well. The biggest hurdle was Sage. With his epilepsy, it is a delicate state. I nursed him for 14 months without stepping out of the house unless there was someone else with him. He needed medication every 4 hours, he was clingy (medicine induced) and jumpy all the time and we were terrified of something happening to him if I so much as stepped out of his sight. I didn't have the confidence to lock him in the house for the time that I needed to be out and working. So everything got sacrificed. Couple time, movies, dinners with friends, gym, everything. If I had to step out, K had to be at home. With a demanding job that involves travelling, K being available to watch Sage wasn't happening too much and we regressed back into a time when he was a puppy and needed 24/7 attention. 
We began retraining Sage to be on his own for small intervals of time. I would lock him in, take a walk around my building and come back in 10 minutes. Supermarket visits followed and then I started running regular errands, going out for coffee or lunch with friends and K and I began accepting dinner invites and appeared to be lesser snobs!
The training has worked for the most part. The home and family have fallen into a routine and this is a good thing. I have my class schedule done at the beginning of the month so everyone knows what to expect. The maid too comes in and does her work without asking for much supervision. On days that I work, I leave home around 9:30 and am back by late afternoon, sometimes as late as 3, but I still get to give Sage his medication, have lunch at home and catch a snooze on lucky days. 
Mornings are super organised and efficient with the washing machine loaded and running even before I've had my coffee! And I must admit I like this more than anything else because it just sets the pace for the day. And when I come home completely drained after my class, I don't have to worry about what to cook or house chores to finish. 
The entire household now is oriented towards having me leave as per my schedule for the day. Including family who desist from calling me for a casual chat on work mornings. I am at ease and I work better without the niggling stress. I also come back home with a stronger feeling of control over my day and as a result of it my life!
So from a stay at home person, I am now a 4 times a week working person. On the days that I don't have scheduled classes, but need to work on orders or develop a recipe, I take Sage with me to the studio. He is ecstatic and loves me extra on those days. He sits around, naps and sometimes just walks into my neighbour's flat to be pampered and spoilt silly. 
I didn't realise it till a few weeks ago, that now I am working on a schedule and regimen akin to when I was fully employed. The only difference being I work through the weekend and usually try and take an off on Monday's. This hasn't worked out so well. I still end up doing some writing or baking for orders or other sundry work, but hey, every working person does this. None of us can claim to be fully cut off from work on off days. But yes, mentally  I am getting my one day a week off. 
I don't know if it is true for all women, but I know a large chunk of us get buried under our own guilt if we have to prioritise work over family life. I think its just the way we are conditioned. We are expected to sacrifice. If we don't, we are bitches, if we do we are push overs. Having said all of this, its completely upto us alone to figure out some working model. Each of us has one as unique as ourselves. What works for me will not for another. 
So far, this is a functional model for me and my household. I hope this good run continues!
What has been keeping you busy and occupied? Tell me, I'd love to hear your story. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Extended family and other beings

2015 is really the year of the super bumper lottery where family is concerned. I am cocooned most of the time in my little hole, surrounded with just the people I want to be around. I love my family and friends, but most of the time, unless it is of utmost importance, I cannot see myself driving half around town to meet anyone, neither do I travel much to attend social occasions out of town. In that sense, I have become like K, a bit of a loner. 
So I don't see my niece and nephew for ages, I didn't see my god son for almost four years and such like. That's the only time I feel guilty. I have almost no guilt skipping weddings and funerals and myriad birthday parties and anniversary thanksgivings. Folks have stopped inviting me too unless the occasion is really important, I really don't mind, because it unburdens me of whatever little guilt I may carry. 

It is just the beginning of April and we have had both sides of the family visit us for extended periods of time. In february, K's uncle and aunt who have moved from gujarat to a town in AP and come quite often to hyd to stay with my MIL and FIL came home for lunch. As is customary, the conversations are loud and happen at many levels, everyone is yelling and talking too fast and too much. All this excites Sage too much and with that K begins to lose his marbles. That one lunch, tho the food was great and everyone appreciated the effort, was so harrowing, because it was like a drunk party I had no control over, I had to take a pill and lie in a dark room for an hour to start breathing normally. 

Amma was here with me from Jan to the end of March. And as a pleasant surprise, my brother, SIL with the two kids in tow decided to come visit me for a week. I'll admit I panicked. I am not used to being in close quarters with the sibling, and boisterous kids around the house, no matter how much I love them were not what the doctor ordered for Sage. Anyway, I set my reservations aside because I felt like a super bitch and embraced the situation. So once the groceries were bought to take care of 5 adults and 2 kids of  varying needs, logistics of who sleeps where was sorted, I was able to actually enjoy the company of my family. It was after ages that we were all under one roof and I regret not taking a picture of us all. Two days in a row, the brother and family went to stay with my SIL's cousin, so that gave me a breather. At the end of their stay, when it was time for them to leave, I got teary eyed. I missed braiding my not so little niece's silky hair, holding her hands on walks and having her look at me with adoration. When Amma left with them, the silence was almost unbearable for a couple of days. 

Last week, the brothers of my FIL with their wives visited from chennai. Although they were here for a very short time, this was their first visit to our home post our wedding and I have been married to K for a decade! We had them over for lunch and it was all good. They left yesterday and I was hoping my MIL had a quiet day to rest and recover. We managed to take a nice family picture and everyone was so happy for it. 

What strikes me is how much we are loved even when we don't bother to keep in touch. That most of the affection we see is genuine and really well intended. They do cramp our style, but to adjust and give in for a few days every couple of years to keep them happy isn't so much of a sacrifice. K's uncle for instance, he misses him, genuinely. He is the son they don't have and that he chooses not to be in touch pains them. But they respect his need to be distant and don't say anything. So yesterday when he spent some time with them, their teary eyes really tugged at K's heart strings. He resolved to spend more time with them and keep in touch more. 

I spoke to the mother of my best friend a few days ago. Recently widowed, she is a person who genuinely cares for me. I had been meaning to send her our old car to use, it had been repaired and ready since jan, something or the other came up and honestly I have been so lazy about it. I kept putting it off. Telling myself that I would personally go and give it to her in some grand gesture. I finally snapped on saturday and asked the driver to deliver it. Ashamed at how long it had taken me to do it when actually it was a few hours of work. Aunty called and over tears thanked and then blessed me. I felt so small that I hung up hurriedly, unable to acknowledge whatever I was feeling. 

I am at the point where I am overwhelmed by the love and guilty of it being undeserving at times.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Updates and happenings

Its been a month since my last post. Time flies and I have not come here with a post in my head several times a week. Infact for a brief while I forgot about this blog completely. 

Life has a way of taking over when you feel you can't even move. The momentum of things in general will push you forward and compel you to go through the motions. I went through a few weeks of utter immobility. And gradually, without even my noticing, tasks piled up and I just had to come back to my reality. Dog had to be walked, fed and taken care of, meals had to be cooked, baths had to be taken, classes had to be taught and bills had to be paid. 

A couple of things happened that shook me hard and real! Forced me out of my stupor. A messed up order, which I had planned for, but on the wrong date. Lounging one morning after a particularly hectic weekend of classes, I pondered over doing half the work for the order which was due the next day. Telling myself that I deserved the slow lane for a bit more, I lounged some more. A casual call at lunch time to the client and a bomb was dropped on me. She wanted the order of 400 cupcakes on monday and not tuesday that was mentioned earlier. We had somehow, mixed the "days" up! And what was more, the order was needed at 4 pm, it was 1 pm when I called her. I initially told her to cancel, that there was no way I could finish baking, frosting and packing 400 cupcakes and reach them to the venue by 4 pm. The client told me she had no other back up plans and I had to wing what I could. 

After 15 minutes of cold sweat and panic, I rushed into action mode. Bungled my sleeping dog into the car, I instructed Amma to finish her lunch and come to the studio to help. Made an SOS to a baker friend, and called for our driver from K's office. Together, with me baking, amma assembling the packing boxes, my friend S frosting and the driver generally doing what was asked of him, with the timer sounding like a death knell, we managed to bake, frost and pack 400 cupcakes by 4. We got them delivered by 4.30 and then finally I breathed easy.

Why am I recording this story? I am firstly not proud of what I did. I need to have a more effective system of tracking my work. What I am proud of is working my way through this problem. Finding a solution and not shutting my brains down was the plus for me. A few years ago, a crisis, however big or small would make me shut down completely and not needing to be rescued.

That reinforcement was the biggest gain for me. That i can face a problem head on, even if it is self created, work through it and try and find a solution.

At the end of the day, I did two things, began updating my work immediately as it came in on the phone reminder, and painted one of the walls in my home kitchen with black board paint to write down assignments.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


This week in a shocking turn of events, a friend of mine passed away. He was 39. A year younger than my brother. They were classmates. Our families knew each other for two generations and he was an integral part of my teenage years. 

At a time when one is still discovering oneself and navigating those confusing teenage years S came into my life and became a very close friend. For a couple of years we were inseparable. Every evening he would come home and we would hang out. Talking sometimes. Sometimes just sitting in silence. I was a bridesmaid  at his sisters wedding. When he finally left to the USA, which was a long cherished dream of the family, I wept at the airport like I was going to die. It is embarrassing to say the least now as I reflect upon the past. Everyone including his mother and sisters were more concerned about me rather than their own emotions that day. 

He lived in Chicago. On a temporary visa that made him ineligible for a regular high paying job. And like most illegal immigrants he worked multiple low paying jobs to get by. His multiple page letters were my companions through college. And I received indulgent gifts each year even tho he would have struggled to buy me those things almost two decades ago, some of which were about 100$. I still have the clothes and curling iron he sent me. 

Slowly life took over and we lost touch. He was a part of my fond memories and I kept getting news through his sisters. Life had not been kind to him or he was an emotional fool. One bad relationship later. He had a paper marriage to gain citizenship. Yes S was the guy who would do all that it takes to find a solution. Once that was taken care of, he married for love. Only it wasn't meant to be and apparently the breakdown of his marriage left him hurt, broken and heavily drinking. 

All through this, we didn't meet or speak. The last I saw him was four years ago. We met for coffee. It was an awkward meeting where we were politely trying to fill the gaps and tell each other the socially acceptable pieces of our lives. 

I knew he was somewhere in Chicago. Wheeling and dealing and making things good for himself. His sisters were settled. One having gone through a bitter divorce, his parents so old and ailing with multiple irreparable illnesses that I wept that say and thanked God for the health of my mother who is the same age as his mom.

I spoke to his sister a few months ago. She told me he had remarried. That he was very lonely and she literally had to force him into marriage. She was hoping that this was the beginning of a good turn of events in his life. I didn't meet or speak to him because I just didn't know where to pick up the threads. I was sure that what we shared was in the past and now it would just continue as someone I knew well. I always wish well for people in my life. Past and present. Hoping that everyone is doing what comforts and pleases their heart and are at peace wherever they are. 

S came to India to spend time with his new wife and take care of his ailing parents. Not even a week since he came to Hyderabad, he suffered a massive heart attack and was gone. 

I'm replaying my time with him. The laughter. The generosity. The courage and the fun. No one did it like him. I can't forgive myself for having lost touch. His funeral is tomorrow. I didn't think this was how I would see him next. I want to still think he is living his happy life somewhere and we have just lost touch. 

RIP my dear dear friend. I'm sorry I have to see you like this. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 7 ~ Technology

I am grateful for technology - mostly the internet and all that it brings. I am grateful that it forces us to practice moderation.

I am grateful for all the tools of convenience in the kitchen, to aid in housework and to communicate. That I am just a text or a call away from my friends and family. That I can be in touch with friends and share what I ate for dinner or what clothes I am trying on or just tell them I am pissed off at something with the click of a button.

For being able to know whats happening around the world in real time, for improving my world view, for the inspiration via the internet. For the thousands of food related blogs, websites, photo albums etc that help me in my work, allow me to fantasize and live vicariously.

Grateful that I get to work and advertise my work without having to move my behind out of my chair. For movies and TV programming and cameras and all the other gizmos that keep me entertained.

For technology that helps monitor health conditions, repair and recover I am truly truly grateful. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 6 ~ Sage

Since this gratefulness exercise is not in order of preference, Sage makes an appearance only now. 

The joy of owning a pet is like nothing I can describe. They make you happy, sad, excited, anxious and crazy in a span of a few minutes. Sage to me is more than a pet. He has occupied a deep emotional space I didn't know I had. He has made me maternal, an instinct I didn't think I possessed. He is my constant companion at all times of night and day. He has loved me like no human being ever can and expects the world of me, but is satisfied with whatever I choose to give him. 

With his epilepsy, he has made me accept that no matter how good looking and perfect things look, there is always an unexpected and almost fragile part to everyone. He has made me patient, compassionate beyond what I thought possible and happy to just enjoy the moment. 

The gusto with which he eats, plays and simply sleeps has made me realise that I can slow down and enjoy these things. That one need not feel guilty if one wants an extra serving of food or love or sleep. 

Sage has made me let go of a lot of my territorial madness simply by sharing my living space, not sparing any cushion or pillow from his drool and messing up a perfectly made bed. He has also taught me not to take myself too seriously. 

It is difficult to write what I feel about this mad badly behaved pooch. But on the days when I am lonely, or sad or tired or have to sleep alone because K is travelling, I am grateful for this four legged creature that shares my life. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 5 ~ Work

Grateful for the work experiences I have had. The ones in my corporate career and all its phases. 

The first job at 16, earning a pittance, but what taught me the value of money. 

The first job post my MBA which made me think I am fancy and then brought me crashing down to realise I was the only woman, there were no toilets and people really viewed me as a nuisance more than anything. It made me swallow my ego, really learn my job so that I could speak with authority and knowledge and remember how much more there was for me to learn. 

The period of unemployment very early in life. Which made me desperate for opportunities, respectful of my skills and taught me to value myself and the opportunities I was given.

My phase of customer service, where I had no idea why everyone was unhappy with me although I was doing everything correctly. I realised that I needed to develop and fine tune my skills AKA practice voice modulation. My boss RS who inspired me with his integrity and taught me that sometimes one makes huge sacrifices for standing your ground.

Moving to Corporate Training which made me humble, swallow my ego and embrace the fact that I didn't have all the answers. It made me realise I have boundless energy and I am like an energiser bunny when I am inspired enough. The thrill when people I have trained remember and connect with me 7-8 years after they've attended a session. The success I enjoyed as a trainer was the most in all my professional roles. 

The confidence to let go of a regular job to do stuff on my own - writing, blogging and other things like selling garments in a pop up bazaar, all of which paid the bills even when I didn't have a regular job.  

Discovering what 'Dignity of Labour' meant to me in a very personal way, when I began making chocolates to sell. That I value every pie I earn because it comes from the labour of my two hands has been an empowering and humbling experience. The freedom to choose cooking classes. The very twisted satisfaction I get every time someone looks at me with pity when I say that I teach cooking (because I am weird like that, and hello, internally I am smiling). 

The balls err OK, spine to open a full fledged cooking studio. I didn't realise what a huge leap of faith it was till people started complimenting the move.  

Work that gives me money, satisfaction, freedom and the fire in my belly to do more. Work that has taught me to value my skills and my abilities, work that has made me overcome so many fears. I am grateful for this journey, because I know not many have the opportunity to experiment like I do. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 4 ~ Life

Yes, for the most obvious thing on earth ~ Life

I am grateful to experience this thing called life, its chances, its people, my fellow journeymen. The lessons it has taught me, the ones I remmeber and cling to, the ones I have forgotten.

For the brilliant chances and successes. For the utter failures - the ones I saw coming and the ones that gobsmacked me by surprise. For waking up every morning and having something of beauty to experience, a walk, a sunrise, a package, a hot steaming cup of coffee in absolute silence, an email from a reader, a phonecall from a classmate long forgotten.

For failures and the ability and opportunity to try again. For the resilience I have developed, for the joy and success. For everything this life has to offer and for the fact that I am consciously experiencing it, I am grateful.

For the love, laughter and fun times. The joys and successes, the friendships, the madness. The unending possibilities and the skies that I look at and smile. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 3 ~ Friends

Where would I be without them? At every stage in my life, I have had at least one intense relationship with a friend. An all consuming one. 

Friends, from school, neighborhood, college, work and some I met off the internet. 

The ones from school, who taught me to be competitive, the ones who called me names and then reconciled, the ones who held my hand while I threaded my eyebrows for the first time, the ones I saw many a movies with, the ones who taught me telugu, insisting I speak it right, the ones I shopped with and didn't judge my sparse knowledge of fashion, the ones who grew up with me and helped me navigate rocky roads.

Friends of my late teenage years and early twenties, the ones I still am tied to. The ones who grew to be my soul mates, the ones I can talk to.

Friends from college, studying away from home, in a hostel for the first time, the ones I lived with.The ones who were my accomplices as we did stuff we don't want to acknowledge today :P

Friends from work, especially those who taught me how to use tact and be more subtle. The ones who are firmly entwined in my life even today. The ones I discussed work with, trends in our line of business and office politics. 

Friends from blogging, who seemlessly integrated into my life, the ones I speak to on an almost daily basis. For those of whom, even if I stop blogging, will always remain in my life. 

I've named a lot of them over the years in the posts I've written, but again here today, as I type this out their faces flash through my head. 

Friends teach you many things. They are the most accepting of who you are and don't judge you for what you become eventually either by choice or fate. They inspire and help and kick your ass if needed. They will keep your secrets and make fun of your hardest choices just to keep it light and real. I've had inspiration and energy from my friends, I have at various times drawn from their lives, their experiences and their convictions. I am always grateful for finding them. 

I spent today at a spa with two of my closest friends. It is an apt theme for gratitude today. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 2 ~ Family

I'm grateful for my family. My parents taught me the value of education more than anything and perseverance. I think more than anything else, Amma has been someone who has showed by example. She's not one of the wisest people around, but her spirit is undefeated. She's taught me what steely nerves and grit are made of, and that they can be encased in the softest hands and the most genuine of smiles. 

I have imaginary conversations with my father, what he would be like if he was alive, what we would have talked about, and how proud he would have been if he saw me today. I regret not spending more time with him. 

Peddi who taught us table manners, soft spoken-ness, correct grammar and would whoop my ass if I was being an asshole. I am more like her than Amma, I even look like her and have her voice. 

My brother A, the mad sibling, the guy who is the male version of me. Emotional, irrational at times and a temper that matches mine. In a lot of ways, even tho I sometimes don't agree with what he does, in a strange way, I understand his point totally. We've had a see saw type of relationship... stuck at the hip and then ready to gouge each other's eyes out. Yet, if I had one person to pick to bail me out of anything, it would be him. And I know its the same for him too. We just need to speak more often. 

While the memories of my teenage and childhood are fading and I remember vividly just the major milestones, the biggest influence on me these past few years is my MIL. A woman who is atleast 50 years ahead of our times, she has taught me patience and resilience. She stands for being reasonable and is a source of quiet strength.

Cousins, extended family and everyone else. Fun childhood despite the very humble means, we made memories with whatever we had. Some of my cousins I retain a bond with, some I have vague memories of. They've all contributed to the bank of things I pull out and use from time to time. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 1 ~ K

I am starting this year with a seven days of gratefulness exercise.

2014 ended with a bang! Quite literally I mean. We went to my friends B & J's for a party. The terrace was done up with fairy lights and candles, like a wonderland. There was great food, booze, no music and just a few people enough to have proper conversations with. Oh yeah Sage ran amok for a while and had to be seriously reprimanded.

After the party and dinner, on our way out, I was sort of fast trotting because Sage had a loo call and before I realised what happened, excruciating pain and immobility told me I was down on the ground, in a heap, in a rather ungraceful pose, because I fell with all my might and twisted my ankle. I was sure I had a fracture, I shuddered which doctor would be available at 3.45 AM on a new years day.

So what am I grateful for? K

He's my partner of almost 19 years, my best friend, lover and the keeper of my spirit. I usually forget how fortunate I am to have him to journey this life with, because I am so used to having him around. I am grateful I fell in love with him, his intelligence and his courage. I am grateful I married him because I almost didn't.

It is easy to see the warts and pick on him, like I wrote here. But on days like today, when I am laid up in bed, wincing in pain and wondering how the house and schedule of which I am the 100% custodian will manage, he steps in. Goofy face and troubled voice cannot hide his concern.

He helps me out of my clothes, into my night clothes, inspects my foot, puts on some pain relieving ointment, gives me some tabs, props my foot up on a pillow, tucks me in and asks me to sleep and it will be all better tomorrow he says. I want to scream, in pain, in embarrassment at my clumsiness, in anger and in sheer helplessness. He insists it is not a fracture that I am convinced of. And I want to scream back with "what would you know? It hurts so bad" but exhaustion takes over and I sleep.

When I wake up, he has walked the dog, fed and medicated him, made himself some awful coffee, ordered breakfast and asked our friends if they can bring over some lunch, with extras to last a few days because he cannot cook. through the day, he keeps the house spic and span, even cleans the kitchen and I wonder if this is the same slothful guy I've lived with all these years. He stays at my side, icing my foot, massaging it, putting on my sprain bandage and asking me to will myself to be better.

I take pictures and send them to all my friends on whatsapp. Poking fun at him, but inside, I am overwhelmed with the tenderness and love that he is showering over me. I am grateful for his care. I am grateful for his encouragement, for the way he talks sense even when enraged. Most of all I am grateful he chose me to be with.

The next time I am mad about a wet towel on the freshly made bed, I will come back and read this post. :)