What Life is Teaching me Everyday

It’s really annoying but Facebook has blocked my site shilalekh.com, so please click on this link to go there:

http://www.shilalekh.com/how-self-talk-is-making-me-forgetful-and-absent-minded/

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Adultery by Paulo Coelho: Story of How to Find True Happiness

Hello Friends,

After much deliberation, I have decided to move my blog from wordpress.com to self hosting. But I don’t want to lose touch with you all because of this move.

I request you all to visit my new site shilalekh.com and subscribe there to continue our long and cherished association.

You can also visit my facebook page.

Thanks for your patience.

 

10 ultimate truths girls should know

10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know by Kari Kampakis is a book written for the teens and tweens as well as their mothers. The book claims to be a Christian way of bringing up daughters but is for anyone who is interested in bringing up her daughter the correct way.

The seeds of the book were sown when Kari wrote a speech when she was invited by a counselor friend of hers to speak to a group of girls. The talk struck a chord with the girls and she was invited again the next year. Sometime later, she wrote a blog 10 Truths Young Girls Should Know that has been shared on Facebook over 75,000 times and pinned on Pinterest over 28,000 times. The popularity led Thomas Nelson to come out with the book titled 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know.

The book expands her basic 10 guidelines for young girls from the blog post in form of 10 commandments like

  • Kindness is more important than popularity
  • You were born to fly
  • Trust God’s plan for you

I especially liked the chapters on confidence and perseverance because I could instantly connect with the ideas. The chapters tend to get preachy and longish at times but after finishing a chapter it’s just the messages that remain with you. I also liked the discussion questions at the end of each chapter and the small quizzes interspersing the content. These can be good starting points for initiating discussions with your own daughters.

If you are a teenaged girl getting confused by your own as well as your peers’ behavior, this book is for you. If you are a young girl who wants to chart out the correct future path for yourself, this book is for you.

If you are a mother who wants to bring up good, caring and loving daughters, this book is for you. If you are a mother who feels your daughter has a problem but you don’t know how to broach the subject with her, this book is for you.

I call this book a great resource and handbook for every mother who has to raise daughters.

#BrunchBookChallenge

The first Sunday of 2015 was a special one for me. My maid decided to take an unannounced leave. Our plan of a sumptuous lunch of fish curry and rice went down the drain. As I washed the utensils, I tried to think of something simpler to cook for lunch, which would not be too much of a letdown for my daughter. Suddenly my husband came rushing to the kitchen, waving the newspaper excitedly in his hand. He insisted I wipe my hands and read it immediately. Though reluctantly, I did so. It was the #BrunchBookChallenge Part 2 announcement. I read the ad through and resumed my work, my brain already working at a feverish pace.

30 books to be read in a year, 2and ½ books per month, as they put it. Could I manage it? Will I have the time? How many books had I read in the past year? Five, ten or fifteen? I couldn’t be sure. Moreover, most of the books I read were repeats, books like Prizes, Doctors or As the Crow Flies that I read often because they are my favourites and I pick them up when I am feeling especially happy or sad. I hardly read five or six new books last year. So buying and reading 30 books would be a daunting task.

Then I realized that it was a voluntary challenge for me to accept. It was an opportunity for me to resume my avid reading habit. If I could not complete the challenge, there was no penalty for it. Moreover, I was already reading a book I had started two days ago. So may be that was the good omen. So I decided to take up the challenge and plunge in it head on. Till now I have already completed three books and here is a lowdown on all of them.

Revolution 2020

2nd January was the first working day of the year. After a late lunch I felt like reading a book. A book that I had not read till now. On souring my bookshelves I came across Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat. I had tried reading it way back in 2011 when my husband had bought it but could not go beyond 10 pages. Anyway, for lack of anything better, I started reading it and managed to complete it. The writing style was simple to the point of being not called any style at all. It seemed to be written for being developed into a film. It was more of a plot outline rather than a complete book. The only thing that kept me going was I wanted to know what happened in the end. And not by straight away reading the last 2 pages!!

Half Girlfriend has also found its way into my bookshelf. Let’s see when I will be able to complete it.

The Omen

The Omen by David Seltzer was the second book I have read this year. You might be surprised that I haven’t read this thriller masterpiece till now. Well, I knew the book by reputation but as I was prone to bad dreams till my college days, I chose not to read it. However, as they say, all is well that ends well. I finally read the book, in one sitting, so engrossed I was in it. Robert Thorn’s search for Bugenhagen was especially gripping.

Be Careful What You Wish For

This Part 4 of Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer was true Archer from cover to cover. I had not read it till now thinking that I would read parts 4 & 5 together, but that was not to be. When I went to order books from Flipkart to start on my 30-books odyssey, this was the first book I ordered. And now I can’t wait for the next one, which is claimed to be the final book of the series.

The book had me in its grips from page one, when I started by hoping that Sebastian was not killed. And the last page has left me craving for more. Kudos to Lord Archer for not letting his fans down ever!!

 I will keep you posted on the books that I read. Meanwhile, you can let me know the book you are reading now. Or better still, why not join the HT BrunchBookChallenge Part2.

I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.

― Oscar Wilde

If you ask Google to define emotion, you are told that emotion is a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. So we can safely say that our emotions are stirred as a response to someone else’s behavior or comment. It is our reaction to others’ action. Mood is just the state of mind we are in, and it is also affected by the circumstances or relationships that we are in.

I am a very emotional person myself. I get excited easily, get elated at trivial of things and get offended at even more trivial of things. This past year I have tried to understand myself and why I react the way I do. And then I have also tried to reason with myself how I should react to any situation. Sounds clinical? Believe me, it is not. You come across very few situations on a daily basis when you are “expected” to react immediately. Rest of the situations gives you ample time to think and react rationally. In other words, show controlled emotions. It is these set of situations that I have been and still am working on.

Nothing is Worth Losing Yourself For

The first step to being emotionally independent is understanding that nothing is worth losing yourself for. When your actions are being dictated by others you can hardly claim to be in control of your life. Bond that you share with your partner is almost always your most cherished relationship. But we often see couples in relationships getting emotional at the drop of a hat. It is very important to realize that being emotionally independent is necessary for any relationship to thrive. You have to take a call on whether the relationship is more important or preserving your identity.

Romantics will cry blasphemy at my suggestion. But let me explain what I mean. A relationship is formed by two or more people involved. The identity of a relationship is defined by the uniqueness of each person involved. If you lose your identity, become someone else, the definition of the relationship itself changes. And if you have done so for the sake of the relationship, your act actually has ended countermanding your first act of love.

Whatever the pundits might say, think 10 times before you decide to lose yourself in your relationship. This is especially true of relationships formed by couples who are in love or married. The flavor of such relationships is unique because of the individuality that two people bring to it. The moment one of the partners tries to lose one’s uniqueness, all is lost. Making adjustments is different and becoming a completely different person is different.

Identify your emotional triggers

The next important step to being emotionally independent is identifying your emotional triggers – both positive and negative. You need to keep even your positive emotions in check because if you get too high on any positive emotion, you are bound to fall that much deeper.

Emotions that you need to Control

Different Emotions Shown by Humans

While the world out there argues whether human have six emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust) or four (happiness, sadness, fear/anger and surprise/disgust), you must be relieved to know that you have only these basic types of emotions to control. So to identify your emotional triggers you need to ask yourself what makes me happy or sad or angry. What circumstances arouse a deep feeling of disgust in you? If you can identify your emotional triggers, half the battle is won. If you keep your cool, you can predict when you are going to get emotional. And once you can predict, you can take steps to control it.

Let Others Know you Are Getting Emotional

Your getting emotional is an outcome of other people’s behavior. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to let them know that their behavior is making you emotional. Believe me, no one wants to see you getting worked up. I have tried this very effectively with my daughter. The moment I feel anger rising within me, I tell her that I am getting angry and it would be better if she stopped arguing. And she does. In recent times nothing else has managed to stop her more effectively. Of course, I see to it that I use this as a last resort, when all else fails. I don’t see why it should not work even with grown-ups.

Count to 10 Before You React

This is an age-old and oft-repeated advice. But in the heat of the moment how many times do we actually remember. So next time you realize that you are getting emotional, take a deep breath, close your eyes and start counting on your fingers. The added action of counting on your fingers will give you something to “do” and take your focus away from the disturbing situation. In this time you can compose yourself and react in a more rational way.

Emotions are everywhere. And what are we if don’t show our emotions. So never shy away from showing emotions. What you have to work towards is displaying controlled emotions or reactions. I will be following up this post with some simple things to do in an emotionally challenging situation. So keep tuned and in the interim tell me, in the comments below, what you do to be emotionally independent of situations around you.

respect others teachers women

The other day I met a close relative who has just fixed his son’s marriage. He has chosen a homemaker over a career-minded girl. He went on to explain (though he never needed to explain anything, in my opinion) that they wanted a homemaker to take care of the family. His son claimed that if the need be,

I can get her a teaching job anytime I wish.

The statement threw up so many issues simultaneously that I just had to write about it. I wondered about quite a few things as I mulled over this statement.

  • Was the girl being ridiculed?
  • Was teaching as a profession being ridiculed?
  • How easy is it to become a teacher?

Respect for Women

In my previous post on gender neutral parenting, I had talked about how we don’t even realize that we behave in a gender biased way. We drop statements reeking of gender bias at the drop of a hat. And it’s more evident in a marital setup when the talk is about the daughter-in-law. One doesn’t care about her wishes, dreams and plans. It is taken for granted that she will go along what her new but real (I personally call it adopted) family has planned for her. She may try to defy that at her own peril.

Respect for Teachers

The groom I am talking of is an engineer by profession and working in a private firm. I wonder how he can manage to get his wife appointed as a teacher in a school. I know there is a dearth of teachers in the country. Former HRD minister Kapil Sibal told the Rajya Sabha in 2010 that India is short of 12 lakh teachers and 5.23 lakh posts are lying vacant. In the four years that have passed since, the figures have increased incrementally. But does that mean anyone can really become a teacher as and when one wishes to. And why only teaching? Why not, say, an office job in a private firm? Office job is a very vague thing and encompasses many roles. Anyone with good communication skills, good educational background has a fair chance of getting entry-level office job and excelling in it.
Teaching is a very focused profession where you must have thorough knowledge of your subject, know how to handle students and need to work not only out of need but passion. We are what we are because of our teachers. If not for the teachers, who toiled day and night to instill knowledge and manners in us, where would we be today? But still we have developed contempt for teachers and the teaching profession as a whole. Very sad and very unfortunate.

I have brought up two very disparate things up here but these are two issues close to my heart, may be because I am both. I would love to hear your comments on prevailing conditions on respect for women and teachers.

Weekend is one time that everyone looks forward to. If you are a working professional, you look forward to relaxing and unwinding. If you are a student, you want some uninterrupted time at your favourite game/book/hobby. If you are a retired person, you enjoy having your family around you. The one thing that should be on everyone’s mind is getting refreshed enough to be ready for the next week. Here are ways in which I do that.

Lazing Around in the Morning Sun

Yes, I actually get up almost at the same time (5 am) as I do on the weekend. The difference is that I sit in the balcony with a warm cup of drink and do nothing. I hear the birds chirping, see the flowers of my garden opening up and all worries seem to vanish in thin air. It’s fun observing people out for their walks, especially if you happen to catch some phrases of their animated conversation.

Playing with the Kids on Sunday Evening

Why do I point out Sunday evening? Because that’s the time the next week starts making its comeback and you actually don’t want to spoil your weekend. I play with my kids; rather join them in their game. I do what they want me to and often end up doing silly things that let me become a child again – devoid of all worldly problems.

Reading a Book or Two

I make it a point to read some book or short story. If I don’t have anything new, I make do with the old ones. Classics like Prodigal Daughter and Prizes are books I have read uncountable times. My husband can’t understand if I am up till late to “finish” them as I have already finished them so many times!!!

I can’t say that I am able to do all these on all my weekends, but try to squeeze in as much as possible. This reminds me that this Sunday evening is to be spent in preparing my daughter for her assessment next week!! But then may be next Sunday whole day could be a long-drawn game with whole family playing their parts. More on that in some other post!!

 

 

 

THE WOMAN

Once,
So long ago,
She played with her dolls,
with her mama,
with her papa.
Oblivious to the outside world –
no pains,
no sorrows,
her world was joy,
her life a happiness.

But soon,
She became a girl –
her thoughts her playmates,
her feelings her companions.
Protected from the external world,
no worries,
no problems.
The tears soon forgotten,
The laughter on the lips eternal.

And before she knew,
She was a young lady –
so many friends,
so many companions.
But cocooned in her own self,
in a world of her own.
With her own joys,
her own sorrows.
Feeling the pains,
Getting the reality of the world.

And then she met someone.
Someone –
who made her a woman.
A woman with tender feelings,
deep emotions.
Someone –
who shared her joys,
and her sorrows,
understood her,
loved her,
was her own.
Someone in whom,
she found,
what she couldn’t find
in her dolls,
in her mama, her papa
from her playmates
or her companions
and not even her friends.

Now,
she is not just a girl, a lady, a woman,
she is a complete human being.

25/10/1999

THE RAILWAY CARRIAGE

Today I kept remembering,

the first time I saw you.

Those dancing eyes,

the half-smile on your lips,

and the urgency of your voice.

Nor once did you cast

your eyes upon me;

me, who was sitting in front of you,

looking at you,

and just you.

A book in my hands,

half-reclining on the berth,

pretending to read,

forcing back the tears.

Yes, I was crying,

for, I was going away from my home,

leaving back the safe cocoon,

venturing into an unknown, unfriendly world.

And yet, your sight brought a joy to the heart.

I forgot the tears,

and a happiness lit up my world.

Oh! How I wanted those moments to be eternal.

But alas! That was not to be so.

The time took its course,

and so did you.

I couldn’t stop the time,

I couldn’t hold you.

You went away,

leaving back your memories.

The memories I hold dear to me,

close to my heart.

The memories that keep reminding me of the time

when I first saw you.

02/02/2000

Shilalekh

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