Birthday stresses (and no it’s not about just getting old!)

So the birthday rolled around and this one was unlike any other! I’m the quintessential Gemini about birthdays even though I’m a Taurus-Gemini cusp! I plan for the next birthday the evening of the previous one- so I’m that kinda psycho birthday maniac,

But this birthday I was a bit more introspective and stressed out- had this year counted for anything? Had anything changed ? Did my life thus far mean anything to anyone? Yup I was being a bit more fatalistic than usual. What had I acheived?

And so this time I stressed out before the birthday! And started (like the OCD maniac I am) listing down any positive learnings I have had or impacts I had made. Here’s what I found!

  1. I have become closer to family now than I ever was and that’s a win!
  2. I have more friends now and they accept me -flaws and all! I’ve reconnected with a few who knew me and they seem prouder of who I am today -so there must be growth and that’s awesome!
  3. More importantly I accept me- flaws and all and now can be honest with who I am , especially to me!
  4. I have taught people and they remember that fondly and I continue to teach the people who work with me and that’s amazing.
  5. I have started learning all over again! Online learning allows me to find knowledge in areas that I’ve always wanted to discover and that’s hugely positive for me.
  6. I’ve traveled and I’ve seen and learned more about cultures and places and put into perspective how magnificent the world is and how much more we can do and then gone ahead and tried to imbibe all that I have seen into making a positive impact.
  7. I have cared for animals and loved and looked after so many and got so much love in return.
  8. I have become kinder, more compassionate and learned to love more! I have become more grateful to the God, the Universe and to people.
  9. I have learned that the more positive you are , the more positivity comes your way!

And the list went on and I realised that not only had the years rolled on, the learnings had added up to and just the fact that I had so many blessings in my life, was definitely worth candles on the cake – even if there were more candles now, than cake !

P.s. (Palat says)-: Whenever you are down, look around you and make a list- when you see how much you have and how many love you; you’ll realise that the stress just disappears! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

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What I’ve learnt so far…(love, relationships,women and men!)

So I was listening to the Sunscreen Song…a fave of mine whenever I’m down! And before you ask why….I am overtired and overworked and sometimes an instant pep up is in order…! The song got me thinking….I love relationships, love and dispensing advice ;-)…so maybe i should list out some of the things I’ve learnt so far…

  1. Love has got to make you smile…if there are more tears than cheers…you are in the wrong relationship!
  2. Women cry when they get hurt…men may not…that doesn’t mean what you say doesn’t hurt them!
  3. Dates are important…never let the woo-ing period ever end….even when the honeymoon does!
  4. Life is hard- cut yourself a break sometimes!
  5. Smile- even if you have nothing to smile about…just smile…it’s better than a caffeine pick up (and with my love for coffee if I’m saying that-it must be!)
  6. Whenever you’re going thru a bad day…there’s probably someone who’s going thru worse…so still count ur blessings!
  7. We’re all equally scared and doing things for the first time- women and men- it’s not that either sex is less scared; it’s just that certain people hide their worries a little better!
  8. Travel. See the world. Learn how amazing it is. The magnificence and largeness of the world makes you understand how you are just a small part of something incredible.
  9. You don’t know what someone else is going through… so give them a break if they seem unreasonable sometimes. You probably seem unreasonable to some people too!
  10.  Celebrate everything- the wins, the losses and everything in between.
  11. Care for at least one person more than you care for yourself. And don’t expect that back. Just care – cos you do!
  12. It’s never too late to start over.It’s never too late to change career path, life, relationships, anything. Follow your heart.
  13. Believe. Even when it seems impossible- believe.
  14. You are younger today, than you will ever be- enjoy it.
  15. Find friends. Make friends. Be a friend.
  16. Say ‘I love you’ to those you love for absolutely no reason at all. It makes you both feel good.
  17. Any conversation you have could be the last you have with that person… so be careful with your words.
  18. Write your angry emails and then save them to drafts. Go back to them later, read them to somebody- and only then send them.
  19. Show up or don’t be there…. Don’t just turn up. Give something your full focus else don’t be there…
  20. You are much more beautiful / handsome than you think you are!

P.s. (Palat says)-: I am trying to focus on a few of these this week… will let you know how it goes. And yuppp I did tone down the angry email before I sent it !

I’m never gonna be who I thought I would

All through our lives we’ve been taught to make a difference, do more, be more!

And then it gets to a point- and here may be it’s the impending Birthday Me talking, where you worry- have I actually achieved what I was supposed to have… or was it all just castles in the sky created by my indulgent, loving parents (who btw are throwing a birthday dinner for me tonight- so yay!)… so I decided to take stock!

Well I started out right, topped school, went to Stanford and then I left Stanford prematurely to start acting. Interesting choice!

I started doing films, and started a Production house. One film became seven; the production house put on some truly memorable plays. Each play made me learn to give back to society and be really grateful as to where I was.

I got sick, got Multiple Sclerosis, was told I wouldn’t move but Docs ain’t got nothin on my stubbornness! So up I was and back at work!

I wrote and here I shall boast a bit (allow me, it’s my blog) a truly exceptional play where we toured the world, won numerous World Awards and gave lots of money to a cause I truly supported.

I found a tumour in the pituitary in my brain- didn’t waste a second ,started another company and an Not for profit charity, moved offices.

I have directed TV, commercials, digital, short films and anything that has a story- I have learnt to tell.

I have loved one dog with all my soul and another takes up my heart.

I see my family regularly and it’s still not enough; spend every waking moment I can stalking my husband, who annoys me , infuriates me, challenges me, engages me and loves me.

I’ve not done anything I planned to do when I was a child- but I’ve done so much more than I dreamed of. I’ve lived a life that I couldn’t have imagined because you can’t write lives like mine…

I may not be who I was but I am so excited to see who I will become…so as I countdown the days to my birthday…I’m going to celebrate who I have become with all those who’ve made me who I am on this crazy journey we call life.

P.s. (Palat says)-: You may not be where you think you want to be; but you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now!

You don’t define me

How do we stop others from defining who we are? In a large part, what we think of ourselves comes from what others think of us. This starts when we’re much younger. “Oh you’re so clever,” a teacher might say. Or “she’s so pretty,” a mother might say. And these adjectives then become in a large part who we think we are. It’s like these opinions are our mirror and we see ourselves through other people’s eyes.

What happens then when a boss says “he/ she is more driven than you” Or a friend says “you’re not built to do xyz.” There are 2 ways to deal- 1. Roll over and let whoever that is , with their limited vision define you. Or, 2. Go ahead and do whatever you believe you can achieve. Sure, 2 sounds amazing in theory- but it’s hard and there will be millions of moments where you’ll let yourself down, where you’ll start believing the nay-sayers, where you will doubt all that you believe in… but if you push through you can break their distorted mirror of you and make a cleaner more perfect one for yourself.

No one knows this more than I do. I went into hospital on Friday 2005,May something or the other. Between Friday and Monday- I remember nothing. I do believe I had a few MRI’s and I do remember people trying to keep me awake and then there is just darkness.

When I awoke on Monday, I was on a bed in Breach Candy hospital with a strange man looking over me. “I am sorry,” he said ,”you came in too late. Your brain has been compromised and you are left side paralysed and will not be able to move again. There’s nothing more we can do.” When I stared at this man disbelievingly, he challenged me – “Don’t believe me- try and make a fist with your left hand… go on now… try!” And as he goaded me I tried to earnestly to make a fist, to prove him wrong. He was right. I couldn’t and so my right hand held my left hand and closed it into a fist. He nodded as if to say I told you so. And then he left.

We can let others decide who we will be or we can get up and live the life we think we deserve to live. It won’t be easy and it may take years to get to where some people take minutes to go. But who is to define our lives except for us? We get one life. Why should we allow other to get their own lives and ours? Shouldn’t we take ownership of that ourself?

P.s. (Palat says)-: Our personal mirrors may not be rose tinted or even clean, but we can create our being in the way we’d like to see ourselves. Let’s stop blaming others for defining us and let’s define ourself.

Happy Hallmark Holiday

I am not the bra burning feminist type and I personally love most fake ‘holidays’ like Valentines day, Fathers Day, Mothers Day et all. But Women’s Day, especially in India, to me is a bit of a joke!

It’s Women’s Day when Women don’t need to demand equal pay- they get it.

It’s Women’s Day when it’s not lucky that you can move around Mumbai as a city at night , despite being a woman- it’s when it’s always safe for everyone- man or woman in any city on any night. Safety should be a right- not a privilege!

It’s Women’s Day when we don’t have to watch what we wear or how we wear it, because your mind doesn’t automatically assume the worst if we wear sleeveless shirts or shorts.

It’s Women’s Day when we can rise as fast in a company as men and not be told it’s because we are women but because we deserve it.

It’s Women’s Day when it is not automatically assumed that home-work is just the women’s domain and that the work space is not automatically a male domain.

It’s Women’s Day when men see us as equals, as partners and as movers and decision makers.

Till then keep the flowers, cards and sappy messages coming- I’ll collect them all but know that it’s not Women’s Day till you make a change in how you see me.

P.s. Palat Says-: Gender roles have changed so much over the years…. I am now proud to say that when we hire a person , we’ve never cared whether the person has been a man or woman- it’s just been about how good they are. We try and affect the same policy when meeting people too!

Don’t just Turn Up!

The last week was a medley of emotions for me… At first I had the Low- MS Lows are a little tough for me not because of Multiple sclerosis but because I find it difficult to get out of the funk. Add to that the miserable diet and crazy exercise routine continued. But what really got me is the fact that in life- most people just turned up for life and let it happen. They didn’t actually SHOW UP!

Now here’s the difference- turning up is what we do. We turn up to school, turn up to our job, turn up to parties or social engagements- but showing up- that’s totally different! Showing up is recognising you are there and going on and making a difference! It’s about making sure the day is better than when you came in… It’s about challenging yourself to do more, be more and really and truly enjoying and being present in the moment!

Sure, we can get through most of life on autopilot by just turning up. But who wants to go through moments, years and decades not having actually been or tried to have been the best version of themselves.

My chat at work was all about that- I have a team that I hope I can inspire, lead and learn from that I hope will all be able to look back at each day and feel that they made a difference or that they achieved something- anything. I hope that they enjoy each day for the uniqueness it brings and remember that every day brings opportunity and is a gift that they cannot get back—ever.

Once I started spring cleaning those who just were turning up as opposed to showing up- my mood changed cos you can’t allow the drifters to dictate your mood; you have to allow those that are present to. They deserve that and you deserve that too! The husband thinks that sometimes I expect too much from those in my life- but I believe that it’s my life and surely I can work to make it the best version of my life it can be! And so I will be there and present for this who are there and present for me.

We can’t ‘Groundhog Day’ our life. And to truly enjoy the every moment – surround yourself with people who also choose to be present- not just there but to be active and present in your life!

P.s. (Palat says)-:Don’t let people speed date your life- they must be present in your life and you in theirs. Don’t look at a day as something that must end- look at it as something you must be present for.

Demystifying the Drama

And the first month ended… it took its own sweet time, but it ended. It had all the makings of a semi successful potboiler, with lows and highs, new meetings and friendships all perfectly tied up with even a song and dance thrown in for good measure!

The diet held, the exercise continued strong and inspite of a few bouts of ill health; all seemed bearable.

My insight this month was all about human behaviour. I started spending more time with people, learning to laugh more and observe more and that helped my writing and characterisations so much! I wrote more than I ever have in a long time.

I also demystified people and Clients. May be I’m just getting old but I realised much of what happens even in meetings has nothing to do directly with you. We come to work with our own baggage- a sick relative, bad night of no sleep or a fight with the taxi driver or spouse and well sometimes meetings and people (including you) are just collateral damage! I’ve probably done this numerous times myself at work where a bad morning has defined the magnitude of my annoyance at work with a co-worker and now I’ve decided to call it out. So as much as possible, I warn people in the morning if I’ve had a trying day or if my mood is off so that they learn that I may need space and that much of what I say may not be as harsh as it seems.

I , also learnt to trust people a bit more. No I’m not at that stage where I am giving you my life story and deepest fears just yet ; but maybe and this is still a maybe; not every one is out to get me and may be I might make a friend or two!

Onwards to Valentines month my favourite date , except for my birthday where all my mush seems acceptable and all my excessive love of love seems to be ok… see you next Friday… Have a great weekend

P.s. (Palat says)-: In my pursuit of my studying of human behaviour, I have a party this weekend… I’ll let you know more about my poor unsuspecting guinea pigs next week