Dealing with Disappointment

Of all the emotions I experience, for me, dealing with disappointment is the most uncomfortable. You see, disappointment for me is complicated, complex and brings with it a host of other emotions like anger, hurt, sadness, and probably many others too incidental to give a name to. This sub-set of emotions is easy to deal with. With time, happiness wears off and the clouds of fear and sadness lift, but disappointment I find, lingers long and hovers over us until it is dealt with.

Unfortunately, dealing with disappointment is so much more difficult for adults than it is for kids. Children will throw tantrums, cry, kick and scream until they’ve let it all out but adults are expected to ‘suck it up’ and ‘get over it.’

I think however, that it’s so important for adults to vent occasionally. It’s ok to feel hurt. It’s ok to feel upset. It’s ok to be bothered and uncomfortable. I think what makes life so beautiful is that we get to experience this wide gamut of emotions. The high highs and the low lows and everything in between. Taking time to deal with these emotions and venting is absolutely fine. In fact it’s necessary.

Disappointment does have drastic ripple effects but it should never cloud your judgment or shake your core values. People make mistakes all the time – some petty, some serious. What matters is how well each of us know our core-values and how we allow our values to direct how we feel. More often than not, I choose to be in line with my own personal values over the generally accepted response to a situation. I’m not saying this happens all the time but it helps to give me a moment to stand back, breathe and to review the situation with clear perspective. Many people don’t understand this. I’ve had to answer countless questions all my life but the fact remains that you can either choose to be driven by circumstances or be motivated by what you truly believe in.

Every time I am disappointed, I feel overwhelmed by my emotions but each time I am reminded that I will feel these things again, maybe sooner than I expect. Disappointment is a part of life, part of being human and it’s bound to happen over and over.Of course, I am human and this concept of accepting the inevitable is not as easy for me as I make it sound here, but keeping all these things in mind has truly helped my perspective and my responses to situations I’ve found myself in.

I am the kind of person who tries hard to live by the rules and gets frustrated when other people don’t. I guess that is where being open-hearted comes in. We accept each other anyway, we accommodate people’s mistakes and lapses of judgment and give ourselves time to move on and make peace with it. But right now, today, I’m just not quite there, and that too is perfectly okay.

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What now God?

In a little more than a month, I’ll turn 28 and before I know it, I’ll be over and done with my twenties. As of now, I am growing increasingly aware of the generation gap that exists when I’m around the younger students I interact with, and I find myself in more and more conversations that sometimes subtly but most often not-so-subtly inquire why I’m not yet married. Some of these people even graciously offer to ‘find me someone’ because ‘I have to settle down soon’. My waistline too…well, let’s leave that for another blog post.

This past year however, has been unlike any other. There were times when I struggled with a gloomy sense of stagnation, a feeling that only in recent months has begun to lift. There were times when I was disillusioned, without a clear understanding or direction for my immediate future. I’ve even toyed with the idea of uprooting from my present life in Dubai and completely starting over somewhere else, doing something else, something completely different. I even pondered over the thought of taking a two-year sabbatical to study some more and re-evaluate what I want from my life. Strange ideas that left very strange feelings, feelings that left me extremely uncomfortable and unsure of myself. So unlike me.

I wish I could say that this whirlwind of emotions took me by surprise, but strangely I think I’ve felt it coming for some time now. I’m not an overly religious person but I do believe God has a plan for me. I just wonder where he is leading me and what I am supposed to be learning along the way. It seems like every time I think I have it all figured out, just then everything changes and even though this has happened at several points in my life, I’m not used to the way it makes me feel and im forced to throw my hands up and say ‘What now God?’.

Earlier this evening, I read something I had written to myself a year ago and was reminded that at every significant juncture of my life I’ve lived by faith. I guess 28 years of life experience has taught me that everything that happens is part of the journey… my journey.  My idea of faith is not about trusting blindly. I have my moments of doubting, worrying, questioning and still from all of that slowly I’m reminded that I can rest assured and trust that there is a higher power that I cannot comprehend working to guide me, leading me towards my dreams, to what’s meant to be.

The waiting gets difficult sometimes. Sometimes I feel like God is testing me and sometimes I feel like he’s pushing me to test myself. Right now I’m still trying to figure out where I’m headed.  But, like always I’ll just wait patiently for some direction. God always comes through for me in one way or another. Always.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. –Proverbs 3:5

An Old-Fashioned Romance

Everybody has a love story – and if you ask me, some have way too many. My parents however, have a great one. Granted, all love stories are worth sharing, but I have to admit of all the ones I’ve heard from friends and family, it’s my parents’ one that I love most.

I remember back to an afternoon at home. I must have been about fourteen or fifteen years old then, my dad was away abroad on an office assignment and I remember sitting and having a discussion with my mum while my baby brother played with his G.I Joe figurines beside us.  Somewhere in the course of that conversation I happened to ask her ‘Ma, who do you love most?’ and was expecting her answer to be ‘I love you both equally, my boys’ but without a moment’s hesitation she replied ‘ Papa!, I love your father the most.’

You see, of all the things I’m grateful for in my life, the thing I am most grateful for is that my parents are as deeply in love with each other today as they were when they married each other 29 years ago. I have had countless conversations with my folks about their lives, their love, their struggles and their triumphs. But, through it all, I’ve watched my parents allowing their love to evolve and grow. They remember what brought them together, the many struggles they’ve experienced together (and there were many!), but they’ve always turned to each other for strength through it all.

My own ideas of love and relationships have been greatly influenced by the love my parents share. In a day and age like ours where bottled milk lasts longer than some marriages, my parents continue to defy every obstacle that comes their way. They still hold hands, exchange kisses, (mum’s going to kill me for this blog post) they go out and share meals together, and do all sorts of things that demonstrate their love and affection for each other. They have a bond they didn’t have when they married and If they’d experienced a lull and given up, they would have never achieved those bond that have developed over the years.

Growing up and now whenever I go back home to India one of the things I love watching is how every evening when my dad returns home after a long day at the office, he walks to my mum and plants a kiss on her cheeks. I love the fact that they still sit down each evening and talk about work, about extended family, they laugh, ( my mum loves to dramatize the events of her day) they fight over the crossword and who gets to use the laptop. All this reminds me that they love each other and that their marriage comes first. And I love it.

29 years ago, they did not have a fancy wedding, no photographers, fanfare and no revelry late into the night. But I’ve been to fancy weddings and then some, but plenty of those couples still don’t have the kind of marriage and the kind of relationship my folks do. And that’s just putting things mildly.

My parents’ is the greatest love story I’ve ever known and I’m so proud to call them mine. Happy 29th Anniversary Ma and Pa! Here’s to your old-fashioned romance, may you both have a long and happy life filled with everything you have ever hoped and dreamed of. I love you both. So much.

Reblogging an old post this morning….

Frankly Speaking - Sydney Atkins

Note: your friends do not have to be exceptionally good looking as the picture above suggests.

808 Facebook friends,150 Twitter followers, 81 BBM contacts and over 250 names in my phonebook. Why then, does it still feel like some of the most important friendships of my life no longer exist? Have you ever wondered what happened to those good friends you had ten years ago? The ones who knew everything about you? Every single thing! One day, you’re basking in the comfort and security of your friendship and then suddenly you find yourself looking back at those times, wondering, where have they all gone?

Despite the romanticized notion of the BFF that was propagated all over the world by none other than Paris Hilton, the ugly truth is that most friendships do not last. A simple Google search will show that more than half of our friendships begin to fade over…

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Try a little Shakespeare…

A friend recently presented me with a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare which is a collection I’ve been meaning to buy for myself for the longest time now. I’m glad I procrastinated – as usual; but see how well things work out sometimes?

Anyway, seeing the book lying on my bedside table has had me thinking.  What is it about the bard’s work that has had me mesmerized for so long now? Why is it that even untalented Bollywood actors whose careers are almost over, bounce back with awe-inspiring performances the minute they are given a script that is even loosely based on a Shakespearean classic? What is it about Shakespeare’s characters and plots that move us and make us feel, whatever it is that we feel?

Perhaps a good place to start is the incomparable range of characters Shakespeare so masterfully creates. Another aspect that compels me is the variety of interpretations that one can draw from his work. And of course there’s his lavish use of symbolism, allusions and imagery that add so much depth, richness and complexity to his works.

But where do 21st century learners fit in to all of this? Why should children today continue to labor over complex old English sentences and intricate webs of plots and sub plots? How can I confidently stand in  a class full of brainy teenagers and teach from an old-English text while they’d much rather be reading about gadgets, gizmos and the wide array of modern-day marvels they have to choose from?

It is my belief that what is lacking in Shakespeare is the voice of a child. But maybe Shakespeare didn’t intend for his plays to be seen by children. Maybe they were meant for teenagers, young adults and the rest. So that’s where I start. I use that as my trigger and try to unravel and uncover issues and ideas that my teenage students can understand and relate to. Thankfully, the bards work is so broad-based and wide that finding contemporary comparisons and relevance in modern times is not difficult at all. That’s what makes him durable. That’s what made him tick and that’s what keeps his work relevant.

Even today, I still find Shakespeare’s works appeal so intruding. Not only did he have a frighteningly accurate understanding of the human psyche but he was also able to capture its essence and express it in words, and how! Even today he is able to engage a reader’s mind and heart at the same time, a feat not many writers are able to master.

But Shakespeare isn’t great because he wrote about universal issues. Most writers did the same. Shakespeare is great because he wrote after having delved into those issues more deeply, exploring more nuanced characters, scripting more eloquently and by writing more movingly than any other playwright at that time or after.

As I see it, the works of William Shakespeare were and are not a bore. They are as vital and fresh today as they were when they were first written. I remember cribbing each time my English teacher told us to turn to page so and so of The Merchant of Venice and perhaps, he taught it without the kind of emotional investment it deserved, but what great satisfaction I get when I think back and can relate to what I read way back then and find it relevant even today, so many years later.

If you are weary of the outdated TV shows your network has on right now or if you’re unwilling to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a day at the movies, but still want a new adventure, find that Shakespearean text you hated as a kid and read it with a more open mind.

As for all the boys in 9C who I know will read this, I know you grumble sometimes, don’t stop… that’s part of the fun…but don’t all those ‘aha!’ moments make up for all the hours of arguing and over-analyzing? So, try a little Shakespeare once in a while, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Shakespeare was not of an age, but for all time. – Ben Jonson

Frankly Speaking - Sydney Atkins

As we navigated our way through the crowded expanses of Dubai Mall, one of my friends who was visiting from Calcutta turned to me and casually asked: ‘So where are all the Arabs?’  Looking around I realized the number of sparkling white Kandora’s and the flowing black Abaya’s were miniscule in comparison to the number of international brands on display .As is so typical with women, the afternoon then became about brand spotting and the mall turned into a free for all fashion extravaganza. Everywhere we looked we were able to spot the most famous brands: Levi’s, Ed Hardy, Louis Vuitton and what have you, all in an ocean of blue jeans.

A little later, as we settled into the plush leather sofas and ordered our café lattes, I began to wonder. Fashion in Dubai has evolved in the past decade, having gone from more traditional clothing styles to incorporating…

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