Barely made it!

I am the queen of creating problems for myself that I cannot solve. I don’t know why I walk into these chaotic situation, confuse the heck out of myself, question everything around me, and then regret walking in to the problem in the first place. I am quite tired of creating such ridiculous problems for myself. But such dilemmas attract me like magnet.

I am really lucky that I come out without much damage. But some day that will not happen and I will learn a lesson.

At this point I am just glad that things turned out as they did. And I was spared from making a bad decision. Or for that matter, a decision. I don’t know how to feel about it. But I know that my restlessness for the last two weeks can now go to hell.

Only until I find the next problem to invite 😦

In my defense I don’t pretend to be perfect. I am broken and I accept it. Sometimes more broken that I should be. But so what?

Long weekend done right

It was a delightful long weekend. Here’s all that happened in last 72 hours —— Board games with Tara, Scrabble with Agam, Goat curry dinner with Mo, Parasite, Leap, Tara’s first experience with climbing, Appams, veggie scrambles, first mango of the year, Dimsums, Poke bowls, relaxing spa time, walk to downtown, two Japanese best sellers, new recipes with Chhena-Coconut laddoo and chocolate muffins, millet upma and green curry quinoa, Mickey Mouse pancakes, two bottles of great wine, gorgeous sunny weather, a podcast, random recommendation chat with friends, a play date in Cuesta Park, relaxing afternoon naps, more school discussions, FaceTime with family, and random candle shopping 🙂

But all good things come to an end. And so does this relaxing and recharging weekend.

Sweet Bean Paste

Durian Sukegawa has a deep message to convey in his short and sweet book titled Sweet Bean Paste. Durian and Viktor Frankl should be invited to debate the meaning of life. And I will be the only audience 🙂 perhaps !

Their motions are conflicting. But insightful, nevertheless. Whether we are born to find purpose in serving the society, or to merely observe and experience, one thing is true, there is no such thing as one universal truth. Truth is what we seek for ourselves. How we justify our existence is up to us. But these two authors and their stories are a great way to explore the subtle similarities in their goals and the positivity with which they approach suffering .

Start to finish in 12 hours, with a 8 hour sleep cycle in the middle, Sweet Bean Paste is not Murakami’esque. But delightful in its own way. Happy to lend 🙂

Why don’t we fix things anymore?

It was a rough Friday for me. Mid day a friend told me about his mother’s diagnosis of late stage pancreatic cancer. We were at work and tearing apart. I told him he should see the bright side. He has time to see it through. Spend her last moments with her. He has an opportunity to serve. Some of us are so undeserving that we don’t even get a day’s notice. I shared with him that grief takes its own shape and form. We all find our ways of grieving. There is no one right way. We just need to let the family heal. Each of them will have their own ways of reacting and responding. Don’t judge them. Just be with them. And let them release. That’s all you can do.

Immediately after that conversation I had a few meetings that I completely ruined. I was grieving and I didn’t have a release. I was choking and all I could do was vent out my frustration on whoever would listen. I didn’t pick my audience. I didn’t have the time.

My frustration was with our attitude to replace instead of fix. When a blender breaks down, we replace it. When a human does not function, we cannot replace them. We try to fix them. Not everything is fixable. And cancer is one such thing. But other than that, we give our best to fix .

But time and again I see that not happening. Be it in interpersonal relationships, sometimes marriages and sometimes just systems. I know you need to evaluate the ROI of the time spent on fixing vs replacing. But can we try? I mean it’s not cancer that we are talking about.

This happens a lot to me. I am almost always the solitary reaper in the fixer camp. I work with my flaws and try to fix them. I fix people’s problems. I fix relationships. I fix teams. I am not in for the clutter. But I do not replace until I have given it my best. Perhaps I should. It might save me some time.

I was so upset with my environment due to such a mix of things that I missed Tara’s friendship party at school. I made a resolve to not miss events at her school. And I failed.

So when I reached home in the evening, I didn’t have any strain of joy left in me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I just wanted to sleep and not talk. But that’s not what I did. I fixed my day.

We drove to Los Altos for cupcakes and coffee, at Sweet Diplomacy, and enjoyed a surprisingly delicious meal at Urfa Bistro . The Turkish coffee at the end of the meal made me swallow my bitterness for the world at large. I forgave myself, and all those who don’t fix and slept for 10 hours straight, like a baby, after a long time.

My severe optimism makes me a fixer. It’s not a disease. But when you have learnt to seek optimism from death, you cannot turn your back to mere mortals.

Times they are a-changing!

I’ve been having a lot of career chats lately. None about me of course. It’s been an interesting week in that respect. I have expended over 6 hours in last 7 days helping people make career decisions. I don’t know why they think I can help them, when I haven’t been able to help myself all this while. I mean what is a career after all? I’ve never seen it as climbing a ladder. But I am always watching out for my sphere of influence and whether it is growing or shrinking. Why is that not a universal measure?

To be honest, I am confused. I don’t think my sphere of influence has increased in last 6months. But it has become deeper. In terms of my professional relationships. I am not very excited about how things are with my own career today. And it’s better that I acknowledge it. I don’t see a need to act yet. But I am watching out for how the tides will change. Because times they are a-changing, said Dylan

I love having career chats with people. It gives me a sense of fulfillment and focus that cooking does. I enjoy those moments of honest admittance and brutal confessions. They are good for us. As humans we help each other cleanse. But I get disappointed when someone tries to converse with me superficially. It sucks the joy away. It demotivates me. I wonder why people can just not be honest with each other and themselves. I wish humans were more trusting.

Anyhooo – all these career chats make me nostalgic. I want to also share my aspirations and goals with someone who’d listen. But I don’t have many people around me who’d do that anymore. I lost two last year, and with some org changes and exits, I am feeling a little lost. Perhaps time to find some new coaches and renew my vows with the older ones. The year is just starting after all.

In a disruptive conversation yesterday, I asked Agam if we should plan to move out of Bay Area in a few years. He was not surprised. But he asked me a lot of questions to help me identify what I am running from. I know he wanted to make me realize that I can change the State, but I might also need to change who I am.

Regardless, it was a delightful debate. He is right, the changes I seek are in my control. But again, I want this for all of us. And mostly Tara. The pressure we face will be hers to deal with too, in a few months when school starts. We don’t think we are ready or even planning to pull any trigger. But I am certain to research and learn about creating a life away from this noise. I don’t want to run in this race. And I don’t want Tara to learn that life is just about running. Because that’s exactly what my upbringing did to me. And my father invested in me to learn to do better than that.

Dear Delhi, It’s over!

What is home? Is it a memory? Is it a feeling? Is it people? Or is it just the four walls that encapsulated your childhood? Where is my home? Why do we all seek a home? Why this need for belonging? Why do we like to go home? Why do we love to come home? Why do we wait to be home? Why do we hate to leave home?

Such questions haunted me on this last trip to India. On this trip, I visited my family. But I did not go home. My home is here, in California. I left home to go meet my family, and then I came back home.

Finally the feeling has settled. I am finally at peace with this dilemma. I have settled my scores and I am home.

It’s good to be home. I’ve been back for only 3 weeks. But it took no time to settle back into my home. On the other hand I never felt settled despite spending 3 weeks in the place I grew up in, my erstwhile home.

I finally cut the umbilical chord with the city where I grew up – Delhi. It refuses to evolve. It refuses to improve. It is stubborn and resilient. It wanted me to be the same. But I am a lot weaker now. Living in this sunny California has made me a lot weaker. A lot softer. A lot – vulnerable.

When I was in Delhi, I felt like I was walking on pieces of broken glass. Some of the pieces reflected my past back at me. And some were like mirrors showing me the realities that define the city today. It is so hard to be detached from the issues that plague Delhi. But it is equally hard to embrace them and ignore the gaseous clouds that engulf the city day and night.

I’ve never experienced a break up in life. And thus this break up with Delhi is especially hard for me. I want to stay naive and love it for what it can be. But it does not serve me well. I’ve been hurt. And I don’t wish to be in this relationship any longer.

Dear Delhi, I am sorry. But it’s over!

Sweet moments @ Sweet Diplomacy

We’ve had quite a week already. So although it was just Tuesday we headed to Sweet Diplomacy after work today.

Well I burnt my arm and a big black patch of pain has been printed on it since Sunday evening. I’ve been working from home, and that makes me really mad. And Tara had a doctor’s appointment that ended in a blood draw. That was all just enough to tip us over to the whimsical side. God bless Agam! For he deals with two not one whimsies. Good news for him – we are not whinies or wimpies. We know how to milk our whims and fancies, especially when it comes to medical trauma.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about kindness that exists in this world. The world that I always envision and how it sometimes delivers to my expectations. (Yep, I am still whimsical. I kid you not. It was easier to deliver Tara after 35 hours of labor. Than to bear the pain this burn caused me. I will be whimsical all week.)

So we entered Sweet Diplomacy and Tara asked for cupcakes. There was a woman ahead of us with a box of 12 cupcakes in her hands, paying at the counter. She heard Tara’s voice, looked around and said, “awww!” The baker and she exchanged sorry glances since they didn’t want to tell Tara that the lady ahead of us had just bought all the cupcakes. I felt sad and started to show the Madeleine to Tara. Hoping to distract her.

But then the lady with the box of cupcakes turned around and bent over to offer Tara a cupcake of her choice from her box of 12. I was shocked and immediately teared up. I mean who on earth does something so sweet. Tara was shameless she went for the chocolate cupcake despite Agam and my audible concerns. The kind lady looked at us sternly and said, “NO. she gets to have a cake today.”

We thanked her profusely and offered to pay but she wouldn’t let us. The baker and I flushed with emotions looked at each other and smiled. I told her, “look at you baking these delicious gluten free treats and making the world a better place. You deserve the credit for building a place where such moments can happen.” She smiled and thanked and made us some delicious lavender hot chocolate and cafe noisette. I am so in love with everything made at that store.

Tara was one lucky lady tonight. And the kind lady ahead of us at Sweet Diplomacy reaffirmed my faith in the kindness that exists in this world. You just need to look for it. Or you can have shameless (read cute) kids like Tara! Choice is yours 😉

Anyhow – our Tuesday turned into a Friday. But we still have 3 more days before we can call it the weekend 😦 God save those who have to deal with us. This ship will only turn around next week.