Things I am grateful for: Reason #1

It happened somewhere last year. The shift in my personality, the change in the pattern of my thoughts and the ensuing peace of mind. I stopped struggling with my thoughts and I tried to see things in a new positive light. Whatever-happens-happens-for-good kind of way. There were times in life, not too long ago from now, when I was at the lowest pit, angry with myself more than anyone else for poor choices I made, the consequences that followed, for things that didn’t go as I planned and for general directionless. Not anymore.

So what changed? Nothing really, but I consciously decided to change the way I think. If you have read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, you will know what I mean. It is an outstanding book, not your run-of-the-mill kind of self help book. It’s a must read. Because it doesn’t say anything out of ordinary or undoable. It gives a simple yet powerful message that our thoughts become our reality. So in order to change our life, we need to change our thoughts. For example, if we keep thinking that life is miserable, guess what, life will be miserable.  It says that if we are grateful about things that we have, the person we are, the life we live, the things we enjoy then those wonderful things will multiply. And if not anything else, being grateful makes you happy and content deep within. This has worked for me. I am sure it will work for you also.

If we ever sit back and think how many things we take for granted, we will realize there are indeed thousands of things we could be grateful for. I have started doing that. And this has changed me as a person. I am now more grateful for little things that life brings forward. I crib less; I am trying to be happy in every new situation. I am happy living alone for 10 hours every day in a new country, in a new big home, in a home that is on the hill, away from the city, where there is absolute silence and no one to talk to until the husband comes home. Oddly, I am at peace. If I was in this situation 2 years ago, I would have most certainly been crying or cribbing or complaining. But this new me is happy and content.

With this, I am starting a new column on my blog, “Things I am grateful for”. As often as possible, I will come here and list things that I am absolutely grateful for.

Reason #1:

I am so grateful for this new day. Thank God for this new beautiful day. A bright, promising day. I am grateful that I got to live another splendid day. That means you have a big plan. That means there is a purpose why I am here. That means that I am meant to do something good and contribute in some way. That means my questions will be answered soon, my fears will be cast away soon and my doubts will be cleared some day. That also means I will get a chance to make new mistakes, and learn from them.  May be today I am not in a position to understand why some things are happening the way they are, but eventually everything will fall in place, and when I will look back in retrospect I will realize everything happened for a bigger reason.  I might meet someone new today, make a new friend, learn something new, do something silly. And all this is possible only because you gifted me this new day. Thank you so much.

Here’s a short video on gratitude from “The Secret”

From The Secret Daily Teachings

When a big change occurs in your life it forces you to change direction. Sometimes the new path may not be easy, but you can be absolutely certain that there is magnificence for you on the new path. You can be absolutely certain that the new path contains things that you could not have experienced otherwise.

When we look back at a negative event that occurred in the past, we often see how in fact it transformed our life. We see how that event directed us toward a life that we would not change for anything.

 May the joy be with you,

Rhonda Byrne
The Secret… bringing joy to billions

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A very new beginning…

Ambivalence. This is one word that perfectly describes my state of mind right now. Two completely conflicting set of emotions have parked themselves in my mind. On one hand is extreme happiness for starting a very new and radically different life with The Cool Guy (TCG) that the husband is, and juxtaposed are the feelings of sadness and nostalgia for leaving the old and “comforting” behind.

But who said dealing with change is easy? And bigger the change, more difficult it gets to adapt. Because that means coming out of your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries to adapt better to the change. But change is the best thing that can happen to anyone, right? And we always emerge better and stonger. Flowing water is never stagnant.

Like you know, I am born and brought up in Mumbai. Mumbai is the world I know and Mumbai is where the schooling, the college, the job, the friends and the life happened. And sadly, I haven’t travelled internationally at all yet. But The Cool Guy (TCG) that I am married to lives away. Very, very far away from Mumbai. Over 6000 Miles away. About a day away. In New Zealand. Yes, that far. And I am set to join him there very soon. The Visa is in my hands.

But I am a bundle of nerves. It’s a different world. DIFFERENT in capitals. If it was the US or some swanky city in Europe I was shifting to, I would probably have been less nervous. After all, they couldn’t have been very different from Mumbai. A metro is a metro after all. Speedy, crazy, thrilling, offering demanding and satisfying jobs and a stressful lifestyle as a byproduct. Not very different from the life I am used to in Mumbai. I am used to the speed, the craze, the stress, the long serpentine queues, the pollution, the dust, the heat and everything Mumbai. In NZ, life is comparatively slow. There is no rush to get anywhere. People actually “live”, rather than just exist from one day to another.  TCG says that people smile at each other for no reason. (Try smiling at a stranger here in Mumabi.  If you know what I mean.) There is no pollution. Its silent, its serene, its beautiful, its calm, its relaxing. And it is postcard picture perfect. TCG sends me such scenic pictures everyday. Unreal they seem, but real they are. Also, people leave offices by 5. They have a perfect work-life balance. (Try leaving your office at 5 in Mumbai!) What could be possibly wrong with such a life, you’d ask? Nothing I say. Only that I am not used to this slowness, this freshness, this natural beauty, this serenity, this silence or even this balanced work-life for that matter. I am used to the din, the restlessness, the craze, the speed, the hop-skip-jump lifestyle and the accompanying stress that my very metro life in Mumbai offers.

Hence, NZ makes me a little nervous. What if I unable to cope? What if I don’t adjust to the very cold climate? What if I don’t make new friends? What if I don’t get a good job? What if I want to suddenly eat chaat, that we eat off the streets here in Mumbai? I live in a big family here. What if I get too lonely there? That NZ is very very far away doesn’t help either. On a whim, I can hardly come back to Mumbai, just to surprise my family or check on them. I don’t even want to think how many of my friends’ weddings I will be missing.  Sigh!

But, at the same time, I am very excited. To start my life afresh with TCG. He has assured me over and over that everything will be fine and he will try to make this transition as smooth as possible. That he will even cook for me, and clean and do all those erstwhile ‘female’ jobs. I am excited about our new house and about doing it they way we want, the new city, the new country, the new friends (whenever that happens), the road trips, the nature, the beauty, about wearing beautiful winter clothes which I never got a chance to wear hear in Mumbai, and about simply enjoying the marital bliss.

So, I have my fingers crossed. I am really hoping that I won’t cry too much and won’t miss Mumbai a lot.  I am sure I am going to miss my family, food and friends (in that order) terribly and there can’t be a replacement. But I am hoping TCG will fill that void. I will also try and be nice and adjusting and not irritate the hell out of my husband.

Side note: I will have more time to blog and read now. Something I haven’t been able to do as much as I’d like. Yay! May be I will do a whole new category on the new life. Maybe not. Let’s see how it goes. But you can wish me luck.

Some Food for Thought

Few days ago, I had a chance to travel by our Mumbai local after quite a long time. It was crammed and noisy as usual and after a couple of minutes of wriggling and fighting to breathe, I finally did manage to get a place to sit. I had my music plugged into my ears, but the din outside was way too loud to hear the music without risking loss of my hearing. I turned it off and did the best thing that you can do in a train; stare randomly and kill time. Everyone was jostling for space and everyone was pushing everyone, and I sat between two tightly pressed bodies on either side. I couldn’t help overhear what the ladies, apparently two fellow commuters, were talking.

Lady with the yellow dupatta (hereafter referred as L1), ‘It’s really sad, how low one can stoop to make money.’

Restless lady with an irritatingly noisy polythene bag (hereafter referred as L2), ‘Yes indeed. These women have no morals, no dignity and absolutely no self-respect.’

L1: Exactly, how can you sleep with someone for money? It’s unimaginable to me.

L2: How can anyone choose prostitution as an option for making a living? There are hundred odd jobs these women could do to earn a respectable living.

L1: And because of these women, there is so much filth and dirt around us, the dark secrets of the city, the hidden alleys which are frequented by men who don’t think twice before cheating on their wives, for few minutes of their filthy pleasure.

L2: I would rather die than resort to those means, if it ever came to that.

L1: And I wouldn’t want to associate myself with any of these women, in anyway possible. It’s way too below my dignity.

L1: Anyway, to each his own. Did you see that movie Rowdy Rathore?

They continued their conversation but my mind had wandered off by then. These women seemed educated and respected, yet I was appalled to hear how shallow their views were. With all due respect to L1 and L2, who were nice respectful women and who had opportunities to choose a respectable life, they still didn’t have a right to talk about some other women without getting all their facts cleared. I didn’t like the tone of their conversation, or even their attitude, for that matter. Who were they to give character certificates, and who were they to decide who should die and who should struggle to survive. And had they ever bothered to get the other side of the story?

We live in a dynamic society and the societal labyrinth is as complex as complex can be. Just like in a food chain, everyone is playing their part here. Think of it as a movie, where everyone is assigned a role, however small. But until everyone plays their part to perfection, the movie is not quite complete.

Before we ridicule prostitutes and write them off as a mere speck of dirt mark on society, take a moment ladies, and realise that they might actually be doing a favour on us and to the society. If not for them, the other respectable women in the city might probably be living in the constant fear of being raped. If not for these women, the labourers and the drivers who are rarely home and always travelling and who are notorious for frequenting brothels and prostitutes would be roaming around freely looking at every woman as just a sex object. If not for these women, thousands of horny men who have no other option to satiate their hunger would be objectifyng every woman that crosses their path. Imagine what would happen if no body was playing that part. The balance would be disturbed and the repercussions would definitely show in some other part of the society.

So L1, you have an option of not sleeping for money, be glad, count your blessings and don’t sleep.

And L2, you would rather die than offer yourself for money; that is easier said than done. Be grateful that you never had to choose that. And if these women are valuing this wonderful gift of life above everything else, and are surviving by whatever means that they deem best, it’s their bloody right to choose LIFE above everything else.

By saying this, I am not advocating prostitution. I am not saying that we should honour these women with medals or that we should all befriend them. All I am saying is, at least let’s be tolerant of them. At least let’s not talk about them as if they have no more dignity than an insect. These women would have been at some sort of crossroads in their life when they decided to take up this profession (which by the way is very legal in many nations and rightly so). They would all have a story, they would all have been utterly helpless or out of all options to choose this. Many might have been forced into this by lecherous men and pimps. Many would want to go back to their old lives but they are unable to see any way out. Agreed, some women would do that out of choice, for money or for other reasons. So just as L1 rightly says, to each his own. Their life, their worry. Why should we also take away that little benefit of doubt as well? There might be reasons: lack of education, no opportunities, no guidance, they might be shouldering family responsibilities and feeding hungry mouths. In fact, we should salute their spirit to live and their desire to make best out of whatever life offered.

Not all human beings are good, just like how not all prostitutes are bad. We are a judgemental lot. No really, many of us are. We, Indians, love to jump to conclusions. We have always loved to compartmentalize and classify things/people into the boxes we have created in our mind over the years. These boxes have been created so that we can conform to the societal norms and common practices. So that we can all live together in a civilized, regulated society. And that is how it should be ideally, no arguing that. As long as these boxes or norms are aiding the progress of the society. All is well till we are able to do so. But hell breaks loose when we are not able to put those things/situations/people in to one of those boxes. When something doesn’t adhere to the normal, acceptable standards, it’s funny to see how we react.

My only urge, through this blog is, never rush to judge someone. Because we don’t know what life that someone is living or what situations that someone is facing. We hardly ever know the other side of the story. Thinking good, healthy and positive thoughts about others conveys nothing but your own positive disposition towards life.

Some food for thought, isn’t it?