The Birthday Gratitude List :)
I love November. Why? Because am born in November and no harm in being narcissist once in a while. I am doing something new today. It shall be a Gratitude List. For the uninitiated, like me a few months ago, what does it mean. It is a list of things or people or event you appreciate and are thankful for that have happened to you.
So, as I ring in my birthday, I share 10 things am grateful and immensely thankful for. This is like that masterchart with multiple layers and hues.
1. The place I was born at. As a child, Batanagar for me was synonymous with summer holidays, relatives and cousins. But with time, I associate it to a bond that I feel when I go there. I feel happy. The visits are rare. Some relationships have stayed strong and some don't exist, and then some new. But Batanagar will always have some fond memories - the fruit cake my dadubhai bought me during our walks, the mallik bajaar, the chop near Bata theatre, falling off the cycle with my fulda, watching movies with my mashis, dipping my feet in the home ponds and the fish.
2. The parents I was born to. We don't often get around to telling them how much we love them. But love them, we do. The banters, the arguments, the disagreements as we grow are due to multitude of things. But what matters is while we may crib, parents will always be parents. They will be selfish about you and your wellbeing. We don't see it sometimes but there are times when it makes sense. My parents are my mentors, my friends and the devil's advocates. What I am today is thanks to my ma's nagging, which is I guess is a mom's birthright and my baba, being my biggest supporter and my critique at the same time. They taught me to dream and supported my dreams all through.
3. 1.35pm, 6th May 1988 is a moment I will always be grateful for. Joy came into my life (selfish and possessive didi). Over the years, my little brother has always had my back and given me sound advice when I needed it the most. He is my 3am friend and we both are equally senti and hopeless. I can fight and argue with him and know that he understands and always will. Am proud of the young man he has grown up to be, though I don't say it often.
4. The man I met, married and am living my life with. We are opposites in many ways and very similar in few ways. We met while volunteering for an NGO. Prashant has taught me to be resilient, adventurous (still not as mad as him) and accepting. He has taught me how sarcasm works, though I still don't get it. He has been a friend and a participative partner every moment, been my critique and confidante. Today, my heart swells with pride as I see him being a fabulous parent. The last few years, we have taken unconventional decisions and have had the courage to live it together. It is this courage and madness that I will always be grateful for. And ofcourse, the fact that he is a fabulous cook.
5. Friendships happen to us (this needs a whole new blog, I swear). I have friends whom I know for almost 30 years now and some friends, I made in the recent months. My life would be incomplete without them. There is the family friends, school, college and insti friends, the ditchers, the chai partners, the movie friends, the bus stand besties, the karmic sisters, the chrysalis friends, the random discussion friends, the foodie friends, the mommie friends and also the friends, who are family (You all know who you are). Each of them are wonderful and accomplished men and women. I am proud to have them in my life and despite geographical distances with many, time has only brought us closer. Discussing the most bizarre thoughts and aspirations, talking about our fears and hopes, sharing our joys, crying over our pains... Life is colourful and tolerable in the difficult times, thanks to friends.
6. a. Grateful to all my teachers. They have taught me some of the most valuable lessons and most of all to be a kind and loving person. Academic accomplishments are just one chapter in your life. Without humility, hardwork and perseverance, education doesn't have much meaning. I will always be grateful for the institutions I studied in and I strongly believe, we must all as alumni, give back to our educational institutions in whatever capacity we can.
6.b Grateful to all the doctors and other people in my life, who have made my life comfortable. Grateful to the household helps I have had who have helped maintain my sanity. Grateful to the support systems around. Life would not be the same.
7. Grateful for all the interests I pursued. Drawing and sketching, writing poetry and prose , English and Hindi theatre were some of my strong interests growing up. In 10th, I actually wrote a poem dedicated to my classmates, with a line for each and recited it proudly. Doing a project on radio, participating in national fests, organising events at school, college and later at insti. At IISc, I often told my friends, that along with the PhD, I must get a degree in event management. I will always be grateful for the opportunities I got, and ofcourse emceeing all those events during the centenary year attended by the then president and prime minister. The work we did and the people I met at Voices, the IISc Student Newsletter will always hold a special place in this list. My current interest that keeps me sane is blogging ofcourse:)
8. My career has been a motley mix of research based work, teaching, working with newspaper in education, NGO, being a founding partner of a start up and now an independent consultant. I am grateful for each of these experiences because they have made me stronger, taught me skills and taught me to value myself and the worth I bring to the place of work. We are too busy criticising ourselves or gloating in small victories. But while we build our careers, we are also working to build our character. Often the most rewarding experiences are intangible. They have been some happy experiences and some hurtful moments , but am glad that every time, I have learnt, picked up the pieces and I have moved on to newer experiences.
9. The friendships, relationship and bonds; the decisions, the struggles and the choices that didn't work. Yes, am grateful for my failures because they led to the successes. Am grateful for things that didn't work because they keep me grounded and treasure the things that worked. The fact is when we're make a choice or take a decision, we do it because it seems the right thing for that time and place. So, regret and retrospection while can help us learn, should never take up too much mindspace . Am also grateful for all my accidents and falls. They always remind me how precious life is and how we need to love and live it every moment. This suddenly sounds like a Dear Zindagi hangover.
10. The thread has to close with my most life changing moment. Being a parent to Ira Pramadh. I will always be grateful for this. Motherhood has been a rewarding roller coaster ride and I look forward to the years to come because I know that in that smile, those naughty eyes and inquisitive questions; our world will always rejoice.
So, I guess Happy birthday to me!