Monday, 29 January 2018

much love

Today I entirely crashed, and I missed my folks in the grounding kind of way that keeps me going. I read something that I really enjoyed, "Caring too much about what people think is useless, most people don't even know what think of themselves", I think it can be easily be extended to "most people don't even know what they think themselves." But, irrespective, I am sure it is one of the things I needed to hear. I am kind of crashed today, somehow somewhere I had this insane amount of doubt if I would ever get where I want to be. Does anyone get where they want to be? How does it feel to be there? Does it feel that good?

I don't know and today I felt like I really really did not want to get out of bed. There is so much going on in our minds, there is food, there is sleep, there are people, there are vision boards, there are goals, there are hormones, there is family, there is Chicory, there is daylight, there is exercise, there are the books we read, there are the shows we watch! Boy, who is to know why I am in such a funk and how am i to get out of it. Did I catch it? from the friend who called me because she is getting separated?

I don't want to go to work, I don't want to meet people there, I don't want to prove anything to anyone, and I just want a fucking promotion with a bit more money - I am tired of taking initiative... anyho, I am sure as weather changes so will this...

much love 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Ending 2017 intentionally.

1. What makes this year unforgettable?

The special thing about 2017 was all the time I spent with my parents this year.

When 2016 was ending, work was stressful and my manager was super critical (I did not know then and I still don't know why, but this manager, this man, is rather unhappy on Friday evenings and last days before long holidays.) Anyho, things got particularly bad by mid-year and instead of going away for a road-trip around my birthday, I decided to spend time with Mum and Papa. I only spent two weeks with them, one of these was just them and me. The next week my brother and his family dropped by too.

I came back from this holiday to join work again, and one of the first thing I did was see a psychologist - I had come to the conclusion that this amount of stress at work is not usual. Then, I gradually shifted into another role.

Mum and Pa came to visit me around this time and for the next three months that they were with me, we smashed it out of the water! we were that good!
  • we organised my home (by installing wardrobes, getting a guest sofa bed, getting a TV and a TV table, installing a dishwasher, fixing the laundry cupboard, the side tables, fixing random pieces of broken furniture including at least one chair and one table, framed art, installed art)
  • we smashed it in terms of blood iron-levels (thank you for feeding me well, Ma!)
  • we smashed it in terms of personal goals: best work review in years and years, raised funds for the Black Dog Institute (thank you Bluethumb for sponsoring our raffle), presented at a conference, paddled 100kms of the Murray, applied and got accepted at the ANU School of Arts Bach of Visual Arts program. And I learnt to knit. And I recorded three interviews for my podcast. Learnt to do my best swimming this year (in those 3 months that Ma and Papa were here).
2. What did you enjoy doing this year?

My vision board has a line on it: "It is my party and I'll fly if I want to" I have put it there 3 times. I enjoyed discovering my wings this year, they felt weak and strong at the same time. They felt tested and I was surprised by their strength.

3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?
My parents! My dog!! My folks at work, esp, Ingrid. My folks at home, esp, my brother, my cousins, my friends - and everyone who cheers me on.

My Bua and my cousins who went thru such pressure and came out like a diamond at the other end.

4. What’s your biggest win this year?

The biggest wins, for me, are those things that you do everyday because genius is a habit. My biggest win was rocking up to work on time, and eating all three meals in a day.

5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?

A poster that said:

1.01 ^365 = 37.8
0.99 ^365 = 0.03

It doesn't take much, it only takes a teeny tiny bit to make a huge difference.

6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?

I worried about work, and falling short. I worried about Bua after her accident. I worried about Fufaji being sick and I worried about not talking to Didi enough. I worried about how one day I might be living in a world with all the irreplaceable people gone.

I heard of someone having a good death, and I pray for a good life and a good death, especially for all the people I love most.

7. What was your biggest regret and why?

Not being nicer to people, not giving them the benefit of doubt. Being less generous with my kindness and understanding. Because I like people who are lion hearted and I don't like meanness in me. (I also loved it when Bhai came down to Delhi for a few weeks.)

I also went thru a very difficult time because I was internalising criticism I was getting at work. I am still not sure what I could have done differently - asked for more help from other people - focus more on the task and less on the person - be wary of stuff, and sort them before they get this bad! Use the next tip more:
And I would have liked to implement the rules that Olivia Fox Cobane mentions in her book more. I loved that book, and I'd like to use it more.

8. What’s one thing that changed about yourself?
I hopefully got off the decline path and go on to a growth path again.

9. What surprised you the most this year?
The small kindnesses of strangers always surprise me. The fact that my Buas and everyone seems to be getting sick was scary.

10. If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?
The first 8 months at work were incredibly hard, and while part of me believes that I couldn't have done much about it.. that part better shut-up and listen-up because if after living thru that year, I am faced with the same problem and I would do the same thing all over again - well, it would be a wasted experience.
So, I was working hard. There was a huge lack of information and I had a micro-manager who prided at making life hard for his staff when he was annoyed. The first things I would do differently is
  •  get to work on time, looking incredibly smart.
  •  self-care: meditate, eat well, exercise well, hydrate (and if possible, sleep well)
  •  ask around to get more help and information from the people who knew. they were thin on the ground, but they were there and I needed to ask them. I could have asked DW of how he understood what changes meant - how he measured the implications of code changes.
So, in a nutshell, I would work even harder, and take more responsibility.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Recent favourite books

The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum
Running like a girl by Alexandra Haminsley
The lump of coal: written by Lemony Snicker and read by Neil Patrick Harris
The will power instinct by Kelly McGonigal
The graveyard book by Neil Gaiman


Monday, 24 October 2016

But the point is that the second I begin comparing my pace to his, my life to his, I'm vacating my own experience of that spring day and ejecting myself into a sort of limbo of life that is neither mine nor his.

Maria Papova

Thursday, 17 March 2016


Hope is looking at the moon and when the dark shadows on its surface leap to the eye, it is noticing the cool white brilliance; it is noticing the twinkling stars when the sun has set and appreciating that night has a beauty so original that the day cannot claim it – hope is revelling in that beauty even when darkness is scary. Hope is putting failure and defeat and despair and longing in perspective when it threatens to take over our entire being. Hope is finding something more significant than ourselves – so that our individual failure and defeat and despair and longing fade into insignificance. 
Hope is humility to accept, hope is defiance and courage to be alive! 
Hope is when Marie Curie says, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” 
Hope makes us generous with our strengths and towards our and everyone else’s weakness, but more than anything it makes us own up to our humanity – its frailty and its strength. And I think humans are not strong like a mountain, we have strength like water, should we choose to use it we might tire, we might rest but we will not despair.

Monday, 8 February 2016


I have generalised anxiety, it is not really at the stage of a disorder – but I know what it feels like when your breath seems to hang at the back of your throat and your jaw is clenched and your mouth feels dry – and you generally feel like it would be wonderful if you could dig a hole in the ground and hide there.

Recently, however, I have been observing an interesting relationship between feeling anxious and drinking coffee. Drinking coffee revs your body up and then, as a consequence, your mind, reading your body, starts to rev up as well – but as there is nothing to rev up about, you get a bout of generalised anxiety.
I'm sure other factors contribute. For instance, I was trying to figure out what I was so worried about, and I realised that I am not excelling in ANYTHING – and that is my problem. So, being a list-o-holic, this is really what I am trying so hard to excel at:
0) My Career - **
a) Music – I really want to play music, on my violin, really absolutely want to play music on my violin
b) Fitness – I want to move my body and do things with it, like flip on a sling, or climb up a rock, or swim, or ride; I want it to continue doing things when I am about to have a baby, when I have a baby and when I am old.  
c) Journalism – I really absolutely want to do my course – and then I want to talk to people and write.
d) Flirt – I want to flirt, I want to take people’s opinions less seriously, I want to take myself less seriously, I want to take life less seriously – strange as this sounds, but in lot of ways, I want to live like my dog does – he doesn’t love everyone (no, that is far less demonstrative and that is reserved for me :-) but he is an incorrigible flirt. He’ll jump, kiss and generally make a huge hoo-ha about anyone he likes, but if they pass on he’ll usually not care too much either. By default he will assume people really enjoy having him around, but sometimes they don’t and he doesn’t try to reason why, he is too occupied to be enjoying the world for that! Note: In lots of ways I am being a human, but in lots of ways I really wouldn’t mind being my dog.  
I realise for all of this I need to self-care (somehow that sounds better than care for myself), so I need to
a) Eat properly
b) Sleep properly
c) Focus
d) Exercise.   
f) Clean beautiful home

** I was listening to a podcast where Patrick Rothfuss speak with one of designers of Cards against Humanity, I think it was Max Temkin. And much as I have enjoyed PR's books - I would not recommend listening to these pod-casts - they are too long and not that very amazing. I would recommend Writing Excuses or maybe even Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast series Big Magic but ONLY if you promise to skip every second episode and only listen when she speaks with other experts. They seem to convey good sense, in spite of her.

      Anyway, the point of all these podcasts is about authors or creative people doing what they enjoy doing. In Unattended Consequences, Max says something like, "I am an expert at taking something I love and turning into a chore." The reason this sentiment was like a shot in the arm for me is because I grew up believing it and IT IS A LIE! To be fair, these guys were probably joking about it - but anyway, it is a lie - things you love don't turn into a chore, they add sparkle to the dullest of things, as long as you continue to match your goals with your purpose.

      EG is not doing a great job being a mentor, I'm sure you need to get off that horse sometimes. She does have some very amazing friends, and I really enjoyed listening to them speak.

      Writing excuses is by far the best - these people have been doing this for a long time and seem quite comfortable in their skin. Even if you are not planning on writing a book, it is interesting to listen to them. They only speak for about 15-20 minutes claiming, "fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart." I particularly enjoyed the episode on Newton's Law of Writing.

Thursday, 4 February 2016


I was looking at C, my 6 month old chocolate Labrador, who i already call an old soul, and wondering about all the knowledge he is born with.
He has an ease of spirit when he accepts love and a stoicism with which he accepts that humans lose their mind and do irrational stuff - like making a HUGE big deal about where a dog pees or poos. He'll playfully mouth me if knows I am teasing but sit patiently if he knows he is going to get a smack or a scolding. He understands play but doesn’t understand why you'd keep throwing away a ball we were happily playing with. "Surely" he thinks to himself, "if you are going to be a fuss pot about not wanting a ball, i can learn to play with others." 
He knows how to sing - and I really stuffed up with his head, when i recorded him singing and re-played it. He jumped up - incredulous, amazed, unbelieving and yet believing, yet blissful beyond words, yet anxious to not even wait a second - to meet his soul mate. to meet someone who could sing his song back to him. for a moment he looked at the phone, then as if dismissing it, he looked at me, as if i were a dog wearing a human skin (how he knew that all along!) and he was about to pull it away from me like removing a blanket from the top of a toy, when looking into my eyes he dismissed that idea too. he noticed that the singing had stopped, realised that i had probably done some trick. and i, realising that if i continue doing these kinds of things he will lose confidence in his instincts, and thinking about what i had led him to believe, felt terrible.
for a moment, C thought this world contained someone who would sing his song back to him. but it doesn’t. it broke my heart in a way that only living with C everyday does - when you see innocent confidence in this world turning doubtful, and grandest hopes that come crashing down being dealt with nothing more than a shrug.
i often sing to C, gradually learning what engages him and what doesn't, and he is learning to understand what my songs mean. it is sometimes very difficult to believe that this is only the first summer he has known (tho i try to tell him it has been much wetter than usual and there was a drought not very long ago) and all these experiences that he is experiencing with me are completely brand new in a way I forget to appreciate, even if there is hope that i could.
yesterday he saw his first kangaroo and then whimpered when i told him he had to sit and not chase them; a few weeks ago he swam in a lake for the first time. he goes digging his nose in bushes to find crickets that are hiding there after the rain. he hurt himself, the other day and loved the dry turmeric powder that i gave him as an antiseptic, even tho it is terribly bitter - and again, he is attracted to native animal poo in a way that is (obviously) inexplicable to me! 
he is still trying to figure out what to do when i come interrupting his blissful sleep in the middle of the night - should he come and sleepily sit at attention (something he has been doing till recently) or should he simply keep lying? i don’t seem to mind his lying, and frankly, getting up 200 million times a night is a bit crazy. Should he roll over and ask for a belly rub?
my little wise soul, he'll figure out the best ways. and i am grateful beyond words to share that journey with him.