When home finally feels like home

I wrote this a couple of months back and am still counting my blessings. Now that I might leave home again… the sadness that I feel at the thought of leaving them seems quite ironical but in a good way. 

July 2018

It’s been another bad week at work. With the increasing level of stress and unhappiness at work, I am pleasantly surprised and probably just realizing the progress we’ve made at home, as a family.

A quick backstory to understanding why it’s so important to me – when my parents moved back, tensions at home used to be quite alarming. It was a situation where three individuals who had spent the better part of their lives alone (mom in Chennai, dad in the Middle East and me here) were made to live under the same roof. Each one of us had to let go of a bit of ourselves in order to accommodate and cohabit with the rest. That, compounded with all the financial stress, sort of ensured that there wasn’t any easy way to create a new bond between my dad and myself. Since we moved out of Saudi, he’d never really been a part of my life. Apart from the occasional phone calls, updates and seeing each other for 2 weeks a year, there wasn’t really a lot underneath the relationship. All he knew of me was the small kid he had seen and lived with back in the 90s. So, when we moved back in, I think there was a fair amount of shock and getting used to – 1) I was not a kid anymore 2) I had begun to actively question his decisions. It was only a matter of time before our fights escalated and exploded… almost beyond repair. At some point, he completely shunned me out. We lived in the same house, but pretended and lived like we were strangers. He wouldn’t address me directly, anything that needed to be said would be through my mother or via emails. (Thinking back now, I think that’s the only way he knew how to communicate. That’s exactly the relationship he has with his brothers). Often, he would refer to me as “that girl who lives in this house”.

Moving from the small cramped up space in Telok Blangah to the spacious one at CCK had a huge impact. We weren’t on each others’ necks anymore. We each got our personal space whilst also sharing some common ones. Over the last two years, and with my brother moving in, we’ve begun to behave more like a family. Until I was in NUS (almost a year back), I would spend most of my time in my own room. I’d only spend some time in the hall if I needed to stay up/work late. If things heat up, I’d head right back into my room. My room was where I lived. The house was where my family lived. Recently though, I’ve barely spent any real time in my own room. I always sit with them in the hall even if I’m working. Staying back in my own room feels so alien today.

What hit me yesterday was following my own chain of thought – after the disastrous day at work, I got super emotional and decided I’d be better off staying in and reading or something… but I come home and saw all of them sitting together, chatting & eating, I freshened up and went straight to the hall to join them. In a few moments, I had forgotten all about the events of my day. These days, my dad waits for me and my brother to come back to eat with us. He doesn’t eat by his computer much. He addresses me directly. He even makes fun of me and tries to enact scenes from Big Boss imagining my reaction to whatever drama was going on that day. This week, he even proactively initiated to play trivia games on google home mini with just me… not my brother, not as a family, but just me and him. A really long way to have come.. for ‘a girl who just lived in this house’ to… well whatever this new bond is.

After so many years, I finally feel more at home and less like a stranger… at my own home. Back in 2015, I wouldn’t have thought this was a possible future for me or my family. I’m just incredibly grateful for these moments that we do share today.

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Defining progress

Revisiting an old post I had written for the HappyDays blog. Served as a timely reminder when I’d been ruminating over the failed relationship this weekend! Here’s the post from late 2016.

I’ve been feeling a lot of existential confusion lately. Today’s theme has been progress.

In life, it appears, whatever we run after, our goals, our achievements… it really comes down to the self-satisfaction we have for that progress. And we won’t know how satisfied we are going to be until after it’s been done and dusted. So, how exactly do you go about setting said goals for yourself in an attempt to gain the approval of your future self? How does one define progress for themselves?

All our lives, we’ve been told over and over that hard work and dedication will lead to success. Kaam karte karte jaao, phal ki chinta na karo. Keep at it, and it will come, etc..etc.. Sadly, this sends  a subliminal message that you can control everything in your life by working hard, dedicating yourself and never giving up. But, in truth, we can never control what happens. We can only plan and prepare for most likely events. There’s a clear distinction between the two. Sometimes, we have to learn to let go and move on to better suited things. It doesn’t mean we suck, or we have failed. It just means we are course-correcting towards something else. And we ought to be taught this too from a young age. We ought to be told that, it’s ok to not know where you are going. It’s ok to course-correct. and it is OKAY to give up.

We often forget to acknowledge that those who work extremely hard, and passionately at it, are also extremely happy in the present, working as hard as they are. People who are happy in the now, and know how to feel content in the present, are the truly blessed!

Even though it seems obvious enough, I’m just beginning to see and learn this lesson. Planning and keeping to my detailed plans for the future, has kept me very very unhappy. Not because, planning is bad or having a plan is bad, but simply because I haven’t been living in the present. I was either looking at the future and panicking, or looking at the past and brooding over my perceived failure.

Really hoping to fully embrace

living in the present for the present

for a happier rest of the year 🙂

 

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Something about rain

I’m a rain person… I love everything about it .. sound, smell, wind, ..everything!! One thing I really miss about the rains in India – petrichor!

Granted, rain makes everything inconvenient – commutes, frizzy hair, room temperatures in Singapore etc, etc.. But, despite all this, listening to rain, never fails to bring peace to my mind and a smile on my face!

Happy to bid adieu to the scorching heat and welcome heavy rains here in Singapore! 😀

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Food for thought

Rape is not always about sex – a 3 minute video on the inadvertent ways we contribute to the very same gender issues we stand against.

Gender issues run a lot deeper than just demanding equal rights or promoting self-appreciation/acceptance or encouraging feminist ideas or fighting for injustice against women. It’s not enough if you want and fight to be treated equally in all walks of life. We’ve got to redefine what being a woman/girl means and also question the tags, expectations and labels that come along with being one. 

The society and the world I grew up in has trained me to subconsciously associate a lot of tags and social expectations/rules with my gender. Not all of them get along with what I believe in and stand for. And yet, I have been grossly unaware of how deeply embedded they are in my head. It’s time to take a step back and question every such association no matter how small and rectify them.

LikeAGirl – a campaign that went viral a few weeks ago with a message along the same lines. 

 

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Bare necessities

I’ve been testing my product with multiple data sets today, including stuff I captured at Vietnam! But, one particular data set that I was working with reminded me of the monkey song in jungle book! I spent the rest of the day listening to my fav song from the movie – bare necessities! Ah! The good old days of mowgli and baloo!

Happy day reminiscing childhood days while working 😛

The Song:

The monkey data set 😀

Capture

 

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Of strangers and kindness

A kind lady sitting next to me at the parlour offered to help me out by lending me a dollar when she overheard me explaining to a friend about how I was short of one dollar and needed her to come rescue me immediately. Later that same week, another kind bus driver let me ride the bus for free one morning when I had zero cash on me and insufficient balance in my ez link card!

That’s two close shaves on potentially embarrassing situations in the same week!

They remind me of the nice lady who helped me get to the hospital during rush hour a few months ago. I never got to thank her or see her again, but I am ever so grateful to her for what she did.

We rarely come across complete strangers who are really nice to you for no reason. Why would someone ever go out of their way to be nice to you when they very well know that they will never see you again? I guess genuinely nice people do exist in plenty and I have been lucky to have run into a few of them in my life. Time to pass the kindness around 😀

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Zoom in, Zoom Out

This year started with a very rude awakening for me. It was pointed out to me (rightly so) that I am constantly zoomed into my own little world…zoomed in at max, if you will. I was too wrapped up in my own head to notice the world around me. Although it is necessary to zoom in and get a close look at select details in order to the root of a situation, zooming in too much can lead you astray. More often than not, zooming out is also very essential if you want to get the big picture and put things in perspective. 

And so, I’ve been practicing to zoom out all the way to the pale blue dot. Once there, it helps to remind yourself that, we’re all just insignificant dots on another insignificant pale blue dot. Everyone we have ever known lived on this pale blue dot. And when you zoom back in, you’ll be able to put things in perspective, identify the elephants in your life, and most importantly – you’ll realize that whatever is troubling you today, is just a fraction of the life you have ahead of you! After a lot of practice, I think I am finally getting the hang of it.

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