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.

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I’m not a survivor.

Yes- I have Multiple Sclerosis. Yes- I have a Pituitary Tumour. Yes- I have a tremendous amount of pain every single day… but I’m not a survivor… I’m a WINNER :)!

I learnt a while ago that there are 2 ways to approach anything this serious – 1. Let it control you. 2. Don’t !

I choose to not let fear nor pain nor the fear of pain rule my life. I am incredible and I am all that I am because of the M.S.

How ? You ask?

Well sure.. when we were first told about the disease I was shattered… I didn’t understand it… no one did and it left me fearful. I was left side paralysed and I couldn’t speak… For an actor and especially a person as talkative as me… the not speaking thing was harder than the paralysis…! I could think it …it was just too hard to say so many words…!

And then I tried. I failed. I tried some more. I failed some more. And then I started from scratch. I got to re-learn as an adult how to be Divya and what fun that was!! My Dad and sister would read me the gossip columns of my favourite newspapers…My Mom would watch Oprah with me and Aditya would watch all my favourite rom-coms and comedies with me… and I got to spend all that amazing time with my family who made me realise how cool I was because they were so cool! My Doctor played catch with me and though I pretty much always failed in that…we got some good laughs every evening and I looked forward to the new day with childlike enthusiasm…enthusiasm that I had lost a while before that when work became WORK and family became FAMILY- the 2 things you were committed to but didn’t love the way you should!

And work? Well I decided to focus on MY COMPANY- BALANCING ACT PRODUCTIONS… and when I got up…I put heart and soul in to theatre and the company and it gave me purpose. i was proud to get up every morning because I was the coolest boss to work for! I had no fixed timings…I did short film direction, taught theatre, produced plays, directed videos, directed television shows, wrote television shows, wrote films, created tv properties for clients, ideated, acted,directed, produced and even sang! If I thought it…I did it!

From waiting hours for a shot, and waiting endlessly for the phone to ring I now had no empty minutes…and the phone rang off the hook!And I had to start saying no to work…so I could try something even more new and incredible !

And the travel… Aditya and I traveled every where and we’d pick a country and devour it! Days of research, months of planning and every trip was more exciting, more unforgettable and with more moments than I’d ever imagined possible…

And then last but definitely not least…I married the man of my dreams…someone I’d have only married 2/3 years post 2006 had the illness not happened and all that would have done would have made me miss out on living with my best friend, my partner in crime and my better half (in every way)!

So I didn’t survive… I live, I thrive and I win… and I wouldn’t change my life with all it’s ups and downs because it’s made me me…. and I’m pretty darn awesome!

 

Everybody needs a friend

 

When we’re young friendship is easy….it’s who you share lunch with, who you share a seat with, who gave you a chocolate or their treats… it’s simple! We make friends easily and adapt easily. Our likes and dislikes are still being formed… we’re still learning who we are. And then we become teenagers and we seem to be more cliquish… we have more hates than likes but we still manage to find our own! Lost in a crowd of young adults all filled with angst, passion and hormones…we still manage to find people similar to us.

And then we grow up.

And making friends isn’t that easy anymore. People are hard and judgmental and focused on themselves and all they seem to do is disappoint.

And when you become a couple…that’s when it’s even harder. You must like them but then so must he… and isn’t it better to have couple friends? And what happens to those who were just your friends or just his… what’s the equation now?

What I’ve realised is… just don’t grow up… Keep your friends. Keep his friends and don’t be afraid to go up to someone new and say “Hi… I’m_______” From being a person who had a friend or maybe 2… I’ve learnt that just like a child in a play ground or a lost geek (which I was) in college – every one around is still trying to form relationships and friendships…we’re all looking for a connection. They don’t have to be your best friends overnight or become your closest confidantes but they can be people who you can just hang out with, grab a bite with or go to a movie with! Because just like in school when best friends changed as we grew older, some times the people you think will stay with you all along may drop off on the way and you might find you need to find another friend…so instead of trying to fill that gap when there’d be no one there-cultivate your friendships, let them breathe and grow and maybe you can have a best friend and then a best, best friend ! :)!

A Little Respect!

We’re pushed around. We’re passed over. We change who we are, change what we want to be. And we blame everyone around us for the situations we are in. Bad marriages, bad jobs, bad family lives…

Take a second. Why do we allow ourselves to be bullied? When people disrespect us or our time or our wants, why do we gloss over it? Why do we pretend it doesn’t matter? Why do we make excuses for them? ‘They meant to be here,’ or ‘ You know so and so… he’s always late’… or ‘It doesn’t matter, it’s not a big deal!’

How is respect not a big deal? How is self respect NOT a big deal!

You DON’T NEED to be pushed around. You DON’T NEED to CHANGE if YOU DON’T WANT TO. And you DON’T NEED to be STOOD UP.

Take a stance. People won’t like you less if you tell them that you won’t be pushed around/ won’t wait around for them incessantly / won’t allow to be glossed over for a promotion again- IN FACT they’ll respect you more! And more importantly you’ll respect you more

I’m not saying you shouldn’t change for the person you love or allow yourself to be pushed around by your kids or your friends– but the call should be YOURS and you should NEVER be in ANY RELATIONSHIP where there is NO RESPECT.

Respect is the founding stone for any good, solid and strong relationship. Be with a woman/ man you respect and who respects you back. Don’t be pushed around/ bullied / made to feel inferior. Don’t pretend it doesn’t matter. Don’t be bullied. And don’t make excuses.

And as you walk away from the people who don’t respect you… watch how you automatically attract those that will 🙂

 

Treat her like a lady!

Stop wishing me ‘Happy Women’s Day!’ Don’t fill your offices with balloons or give me a free cookie with a cup of coffee! Don’t give me chocolates or roses. Don’t smile at me unnecessarily or create lunches to felicitate me!

Instead treat me as an equal. Treat me with respect. Pay me the same as you would a man for the same job. Do not doubt my commitment to work because I have a family and do not doubt my commitment to my family because I work. Don’t comment on me as if I were an object. You don’t own me . You never will. I own me. Listen to me. Talk to me. Hear me. Believe in me. Fight for me. Love me.

Don’t lust for me. Don’t abuse me. Don’t hurt me. Don’t demean me. Don’t laugh at my dreams. Don’t mock my ambition. Don’t think of me as weaker. Don’t lie to me.

I may not be your sister, your wife, your mother or related to you. But I still am a woman. I am the glue in a family. I am the strength in a home. I can bear your children and raise them with love and care. I create. I nurture. I give love. I give life. I give strength.

So don’t wish me ‘Happy Women’s Day-‘ treat me the way a woman should be treated- with care and love; with respect and awe. Treat me special every day, all the time because I give you the respect of being a man… give me the respect of being a lady!

 

Raping me.

I am your sister, your wife, your mother, your friend. I am your conscience, your feelings, your creativity, your inner most thoughts. I am your blood, your hair, your eyes, your soul. I am all that you have and all that you need. I am you.

You exist because of me. You live because I give you life. You dream because I dream with you. When you are lost , I help you find your way. You need me. You need my love. You need my care. You need me.

And then I am raped and beaten and left to die. Left on a street – naked and uncovered, I am left to choke on my own blood and tears and you pass me by. You are stronger than me but don’t bother to pick me up. You are louder than me , but don’t bother to shout. You can run faster than me but don’t run to get help. Instead you walk over me like you would a speed bump, avoid me like you would garbage and pretend not to notice me like I’m invisible.

And this happens every day, every where, all the time and we get so used to it… we stop wondering if the headlines are ever going to change. We wander around like deer in a city full of predators, except than unlike in the jungle where the predator will just kill you for food- his necessity for life… here the predators- Man will rape you, humiliate and demean you and then leave you for dead. This is not a need. He doesn’t need to rape you to survive. He just does it for sport!

Rape is not a sport. It shouldn’t be a video game. It shouldn’t be. And yet it is.

And when we protest, once again you beat us. we stand unarmed- begging for justice for one of our own and you lathi charge us and wear us down with water canons.

Are we that dangerous? Did our words hurt, humiliate or demean you? Did it, God forbid, rape you?!

No. That was us. We were raped. And then we were not allowed to complain.

To all my women friends… the men don’t care. They are not going to change or help in any way.Let’s look after ourselves and be safe. Let’s move in groups and be unafraid to yell, scream and run if we have the slightest feeling of danger…Pepper spray, karate, self defense- let’s stop looking at men to protect us. Let’s protect ourselves.

Men if you think you can protect us. Start. Start by castrating those bastards!

 

The DREADED MONDAY MORNING (after a break!)

It’s that Monday post the incredible vacation! Schools are open, work is on schedule and traffic is a b!@%h! You wish you were back in bed/on the beach/shopping! You wish you were anywhere but back because back seems even more awful now especially after than incredible break!

That’s the thing with breaks….once you taste freedom and the enormous possibilities that the world holds in store NOTHING is ever the same again!

And so how do you deal with THAT MONDAY MORNING!

  1. Ease in to it… now that the breakfast buffets aren’t happening and the single egg and dry toast don’t look as appetizing as the holiday ‘uber-indulgent breakfast’ did, ease in to the day slowly.
  2. Get a good night of sleep ending with a great book, favourite tv show, or warm tea! Make sure you are SMILING on Sunday night…it’ll make monday a heck of a lot easier!
  3. Lie in bed just a bit longer on Monday, it’ll help with the ‘work-lag!’
  4. Dress up! You look good, you feel good!
  5. Load your favourite songs on your iPod! That way despite the awful, crawling traffic and the annoying RJ who talks too much; you have some great music that can make the morning infinitely more in tune!
  6. Take the 11 am break! Grab a cuppa, a quick chocolate, a walk outside, a facebook sneak peak! Take the BREAK!
  7. Remember you don’t have to finish everything TODAY! If the one thing the vacation taught you , it was how important it is to make time for yourself and your family….so before all the amazing life lessons we learn while on break run dry- REMEMBER IT and CELEBRATE IT!
  8. Call the people you have to, have to call today! The rest…well, you have a whole week left!
  9. Take an hour for lunch- the full hour! Even if you have no lunch and far too much work- Monday’s are overwhelming as it is and the Monday after a break is super tough! Acknowledge that and breathe! It’ll make you more productive!
  10. Get a 3 p.m. break and catch up on birthdays and gossip, coffee and conversations! You’ve almost made it thru the toughest day post vacation!
  11. Get off work on time! You won’t finish everything today. You don’t have to. You have a whole week left and you got thru a whole day! YAY!
  12. Get home. Have a warm dinner, catch up with friends, relax and pamper yourself! EASE INTO WORK AND THE WEEK ELSE you’ll just feel angry , frustrated and cheated! an expensive break and the joy you felt with it would have been washed away by a couple of hours back at the office and you definitely don’t want that!
Don’t be guilted by people for taking your break. You work hard. You deserve it! Enjoy the new tan and the glowing skin and remember the trick to the happiness we feel on vacation is that on vacation we make ourselves a priority! Make yourself a priority EVEN ON THAT MONDAY MORNING!!!!;)