Monday, June 17, 2019

The Wife

Powerful........Layered......Thought Provoking

It's one of those movies that you'll want to watch again as soon as you finish watching it, not for intensity and depth, but for a deeper look at the layers and nuances you've likely missed. 

That tag line is 'secrets lie between the lines';  the movie gives us a sideways view into those between the lines spaces....of a close and loving relationship, paradoxically one of great joy and deep pain..... the conflicts that ensue from that space...between the two, and more so within.

The 'within' as can be seen from title, is the wife's, who after four decades of marriage, seems to now be ready to look at the true nature of their relationship, and confront and deal with some decisions she's made, while continuing to being the loving wife she's always been........ almost wondering why.

Glenn Close is so brilliant in performance that you can almost see the complex series of thoughts running through her head. Amazing performance. 

Definitely watch !!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Choice and Obligation

From Seth

If it’s an obligation, then you don’t have a choice.

Pretending you do is simply a way to create frustration. Free yourself to simply do what you have to do.

On the other hand, if you do have a choice (and you probably do) then it doesn’t make sense to treat it as an obligation. Own the choice.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


The Six Criteria of Well-Being - Prof Carol Ryff

Found this in my archives, a tested and concise model, so here's excerpts:

Carol Ryff’s model of Psychological Well-being joins philosophical questions with scientific empiricism, and is mined from a diverse selection of well-being theories and research from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill, from Abraham Maslow to Carl Jung. 

The six categories of well-being :

1) Self-Acceptance

You possess a positive attitude toward yourself; acknowledge and accept multiple aspects of yourself including both good and bad qualities; and feel positive about your past life.

2) Personal Growth

You have a feeling of continued development; see yourself as growing and expanding; are open to new experiences; interested and enthusiastic about life; willing to develop new attitudes or behaviors; have the sense of realizing your potential;  are changing in ways that reflect more self-knowledge and effectiveness.

3) Purpose in Life

You have goals in life and a sense of directedness; feel there is meaning to your present and past life; hold beliefs that give life purpose; and have aims and objectives for living.

4) Positive Relations With Others

You have warm, satisfying, trusting relationships with others; are capable of strong empathy, affection, and intimacy; are willing to make compromises to sustain important ties with others; and understand the give and take of human relationships.

5) Environmental Mastery

You have a sense of mastery and competence in managing the environment; control complex array of external activities; make effective use of surrounding opportunities; and are able to choose or create contexts suitable to your personal needs and values.

6) Autonomy

You are self-determining and independent; regulate behavior from within; and evaluate yourself by personal standards without conforming to social pressures in thinking and acting in specific ways.

While an untested model is just a daydream, Carol Ryff’s model of Psychological Well-Being has faced continued waves of testing.

Friday, June 14, 2019

3 done....1 to go

Told you my life's been about visas, visas and visas for a while now.

And honestly, each a story. (likely it always is, it's about how we perceive the story I guess :)

Once we dropped off Dhruva at the airport, thoughts shifted to my visa application. I'd been vaguely working on documentation for a while now, but it was like half done and scattered. 

Diksha had already started planning a trip to Bangalore.... she was just waiting for her annas' departure. She's talking B'lore and I'm talking visa....and through those conversations we reached  "are you sure you need me here ma, and that you can't do it on your own?". 

A moment when I had to set ego aside to say "I'm sure. Not that I can't do it alone, but that I don't want to do it alone".

And what was amazing is that, in that moment she took over ownership. And I discovered the magic of reciprocity.

She's like "so what's next step ma, show me your checklist".  

She runs through it and says, "I really want to go to Bangalore tomorrow ma, but my commitment to you.......I'm going to even book my tickets only after your application is done"

Sounded good. In fact I loved how that sounded. 

Any skepticism I'd voice then on would be put down with "sshhhh, remember what you say? think positive, no doubts expressed, keep the faith".

She even took over the decision making...."not tomorrow ma, lets try and get the passport notarization done you know any notary who might be open on a Sunday?". 

I was like "okkk babes, let's go search town". We found one, a real nice guy, who patiently worked on it. The moment we said all sheets, he said "australia jaare ho aap?" It was each sheet of the new and old passport....xeroxed, notarized and uploaded". 4 hours later and Rs 1850 down, we were done.

Got back home only at 10 pm, and Monday morning we started on it early.

Started with the cover letter and gave it all we had ( Diksha's consultant had mentioned that there's high chance diksha got her visa grant on the strength of her SOP..... as the Australian consulate gives it high weightage. Diksha's was a powerful and compelling one...a 5000 word essay she'd written on her own. A beautiful piece of work, if she'd give permission, I'd put it here :). 

Through the day we're in and out of the house....the printer .... home....the bank.....home.... the xerox shop...home....the studio....home. Focused combined effort the whole day long. In fact at one, I left for work, but she kept at it. At that point she'd hit a server error. But even bugs in the system didn't stop her, she got on the forum, got on chat support...........and even with me gone, by 5 in the evening she messaged "all set ma, come soon as you can and we'll file"

I was like "If you're certain you've got it all covered, go ahead and make the payment and file".

She: "what??? are you sure? you don't even want to check?"

Me: "na, go ahead, I've seen how thorough you can be, and it's what's called faith sweetheart.... I'm sending you the money, go ahead". followed by "and sending you money for your B'lore ticket too, book off "

In ten minutes I got "yayyyy ma....done, submitted" 

And if that wasn't fulfilling enough, what was absolute surprise was, Monday evening we'd filed, and Wednesday morning I had the visa !! 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

An evening(s) of painting with deech

Last Sunday was a day when both of us were home all day.....a rare rare occurrence. 

A lazy chilled out day, each doing our own thing, likely we met only for lunch. Late evening I found myself drawling out "deech, I'm officially bored". While I thought I was chumma venting, she took it on with "oh wow....that's rare...okay, give me half hour and then pick between rummy and painting .....or maybe even both"

And while plan was both, we started with painting at around 7 ........and at 11 we were both still half done, and hadn't even had dinner :)

It's such a lovely and fulfilling together activity, especially as she seems by default to take the lead when it comes to painting.

I'm like "ayyo, these strokes are so tricky" and she was like "improvise ma, it's your painting"

I'm like "oh god, my cycle tyre looks wobbly" and she looks beyond my cycle tyre to say "woah, when did you get better than me"(I haven't, but just to hear it in that moment when you feel like giving up, well.....)

I'm like "oh oh, i don't have lush green" and she was like "ma, a little sap green, lots of yellow and some white", and I mixed them and was like "wow, just the right kind of're like a did you even know?"

With that kind of engagement and encouragement, however the painting, the process is massive fun.

In pics:

Part way through. Her's is the pretty window and mine the slowly appearing cycle.

Few days later, I come up from a session to find she's started on another one. That's all it took to make me sit down to complete mine.

That's her new one.....such a deep profound feel it has

This one's my wobbly, and pretty cycle. 

Every experience teaches, true. When Diksha asked what I wanted to paint, I said 'flowers', and then chose this one. End of it, I realized I'd spent like under two hours on the flowers and a full five hours on the cycle. Crazy.

Yet another especially cherished evening captured for posterity.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Thaaat part of town.....

Second week into 'going to work', and I'm yet navigating with full dependence on GPS. Added is the fact that I have four different offices in four different locations spread across 'thaaaat part of town ' :)

It's like being in a whole new city, not just in terms of roads and buildings, but just the whole landscape and even culture.  In fact 'that part of town' sounds's pretty much like being on another planet.

The third building is my office, or atleast one of my offices :)

Everything's brand new ....the roads, the buildings, the trees, the landscaping. It's all swanky.....and green and squeaky clean. To look through my eyes.....I've driven through mountains in the area less than twenty years ago, I'd love doing those long drives on a whim, and those were drives on kuccha you get what I mean by 'new and different'.

It's about whether we want to focus on the loss of mountains or on what's been created.

You know the feel you get when you walk into cantonment, anything defense related..... the place, the people, the's all so different in feel.

The tech world is like that. Abuzz with a whole different energy....very stylized, focused, confident........even the security guys have a gay air about them, just seem more confident and cocky. And that confidence and sense of assurance that everyone carries just feels deep down nice.

It's about whether you want to tune in, it takes a little getting used to. to bring in that sense of belonging, and once you do, it's like entering new portals in life.

The netherlands is the parking. Actually only metaphorically, as in real terms I can't even call it netherlands..... it can be on any floor of the building......B1, B2, P1, P2, 0, 1 , 2, 3, mind boggling. Until you know it (and I still don't) it's an absolute nightmare. Not just finding parking, as much as finding your car after. There was one evening when I spent half an hour just searching for my car (made worse by the fact that my car remote doesn't work). And the fact that it's a building in which your car gets parked one level and then gets lifted to another so you don't even know where to look. There was one security guy who recognized me and more likely the lost look in my eye.....if it weren't for him I might have still been there :)

That said, it's all super exciting. I'm yet so enthralled and enamored by the experience, the newness of the place, the different feel, the driving to and back......even the traffic doesn't seem to bother me at all...and psssst..... at this point, even the counselling seems like the sideline of the experience :)

Some pictures: mostly courtesy Google, as when I'm there I'm too preoccupied to even think pictures.

DLF stands opposite JNIDB, and I think it's one of the first glass structures to come up in the area, and I recall watching it built from scratch. You can just about imagine the size of the parking lot, and you're fully on your own. One security guy when you enter who says "madam, first time hai? gaadi teek se lagaana ma'am, please"

I came back in twenty minutes to ask "bhaiyya, teek chodo, parking nahi milaa", and he's like 'Ma'am, I have some more tokens, there must be atleast five six parking slots left".

I'd entered the gates at 1.45, and I reached my room at 3.05. That tells the story best.

I took a picture of the pillar number where I parked as there was no way I was going to remember this, and trust me, even finding the pillar needed help.

Phonenix Avance felt like a city, it has so many buildings and so many parking spaces that even my gps went nuts.

No, not Cognizant.  But it's so inspiring when I pass it each day......such a beauty, that I just had to add it in.

A feel of the streets....picture courtesy Vishal Fernandes

This ones a view from my room

Well, with a view like that and a coffee machine in the foyer, you know what I'm doing when I'm not counselling :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The 'Photo Finish' Story

When we were just three days from Dhruva's travel date, and the visa wait was in nail biting space, I was like "well, you already have a solid track record of photo finishes with visas.....  fingers crossed, it works again"

And he's like "what's a photo finish? I've never heard that phrase"

I was like "well, you're one guy who needs to know"

Brother and Sister went off for quality time together the night before

Cause not just his visa, even the boarding of his flight was a 'photo finish'.

We're headed to the airport, and as always we are in a 'just on time' frame. A just on time is a misleading phrase, because it comes true only in retrospect. 

Why? because when we're getting there, there's the zero flexibility.....and the uncertainty. Anything goes awry and you're done for. Guess it takes the enthusiasm and faith of youth to trust that it won't. Amazing how many fast drives I've done with him to the airport.

Almost each time I'm doing it, the thought in my head would be "maybe if he misses his flight once, he'll learn" but the funny thing is he's done a lot of travel, and that's yet to happen, and forget learning, he's only getting more practiced at it . Sigh.

Anyways, as story goes this time round the mess was with the terminals. Hyderabad airport now has two terminals, one for local and one for international. He was flying local till Mumbai. And there's been enough and more heard of Air India being from International and people missing their flights and so all the way to the airport everyone was on the phone trying to find out which terminal his flight was from (again last minute :). All sources of information said international.

Well, it wasn't. I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of him running out of that terminal all the way to the car, when we could see and sense his stress in entirety.

Drive to local terminal. Drop off.

He calls in half hour to say "the security guys had me take out all wiring from my back pack, (and that must have been crazy as he had so much filming equipment, including lights and recorders) and when I got to the gate they were announcing my name...... and also trying to reach me on the really was photo finish amma".