Saturday, June 19, 2010

Love is relative

Philosophical topics are not my favourite for blogging. Somehow I don’t like reading or writing heavy stuff on blogosphere. But a part of being true to your blog also means writing what one is thinking and feeling.

My parents are on their way back to India as I write this, after being in Sweden for a month, and I surprise myself by feeling a bit empty. I always thought that I am kinda beyond that, I left home when I was 17, and have lived in residential schools/colleges or alone while working since then, which is not very common amongst Indian families. But in spite of this, my parents and I have always shared a very deep bond. This is one of those things which I have had a very tough time explaining to anyone. Of course, most people I know also feel that they have a strong bond to their parents and family. But love, as with most other emotions is relative, it varies in intensity, nature and the way you express it. Most Indians understand this because of the similarity of the general close knit Indian family culture across most regions in India, but I have some difficulty explaining the extent of my bonding to my non-Indian friends, perhaps because the culture in India and in Europe is vastly different in certain respects. Don’t get me wrong, most European cultures also have very deep family bonds, contrary to popular Indian belief that “westerners” are not as family oriented as Indians. I anyway think that the generalization of “westerners” is a bit ridiculous; the differences between Americans vs Germans vs Swedes are so different that I think any generalization grouping them together is a crazy idea. However, most European cultures have very strong family orientation. But it is very different from what we have back in India. Perhaps due to the conditions that we grow up in, perhaps due to our economic system, perhaps due to our social structure. I do not know the reasons, I just know that it is very different, and very difficult to explain to someone who has not been in the same culture and system. I am sure other cultures will have some difficulty explaining their emotional ties of their family to me.

But it is strange how everything seems relative. What I feel for them now, vs what I felt for them back in childhood, vs what some of my friends feel for their parents. It is all so relative. Strange that I feel so much awe when I see my parents, they have been so selfless when it comes down to bringing up my sister and me. I doubt I can be so selfless and sacrifice so much for my children. And to me that is what love is all about. Expressing love without a motive or intent of getting back anything in return. To be able to get pleasure in sacrificing a part of ones life just because of the love one feels for a person. I do not know if I can give my children the same amount of love, the same amount of fierce protection against the evils of the world. If I can make the same amount of sacrifices, go through the same amount of troubles. Do so much to ensure that they have a safe and comfortable childhood, and never have any issues with education and life in general. Somehow when it was all happening, when I was having the amazing childhood when millions in the same country were having a terrible one, I was perhaps too immature to realize it and appreciate it. But now, standing in a place where I can look back and see it all, it seems crystal clear, and I am in awe!

Its amazing how even the term “amazing childhood” is also relative. Perhaps to a person in a developed nation the term means something totally different as compared to a person in a developing nation like India. Maybe in an underdeveloped nation, it again means something different. But I look back at the people who grew up with me, I look around when I go back to India, and I know everyone didn’t have the same opportunities, everyone didn’t have the same chances, everyone didn’t get the same education, the same amount of love, the same amount of guidance to do the right things, follow the right path. Everyone didn’t have 3 meals a day, and a roof on their head. Everyone didn’t have the choice of going to any school/college they wanted without bothering about the fees. And I feel that I got all this because of the love that my parents had for me and the way they brought me up. Made sure I never had to go hungry, never had to think about poverty, or education, or safety. There are some things people take for granted in the world that I live in right now, some things people forget to say a thank-you for. I don’t forget, because I know of people who don’t have it

For a couple who have lived a majority of their life in a small steel city in eastern India, it is amazing and amusing as to how quickly they have completely adapted and adjusted to the European life. I feel a warm glowing feeling when I see them trying out Italian ice-cream, or buying Grekisk Feta cheese. It is amusing how my mom looks at the skimpily clad girls dancing on the curise ship to Latvia and doesn’t give disapproving looks. I like introducing them to the trivialities of the life in Europe, like cider and Kyckling pytt. For them, I don’t think I can ever do a fraction of all that they have done for me, but I feel happy to be able to have them physically present with me, even for a short period of time. I am happy that they can share my European life which is so different from the small town India life that I grew up to. Just like they showed me so many new things in life, I feel kinda nice showing them the very few new things that I know of, though it is nothing compared to the huge amount of things I have learnt from them. And it amazes me that although they are as far removed from my fast paced corporate life as they could (they are both professors and in the education line) they can still say the perfect things when I talk to them about my work dilemmas. Some people are such that you can go to them for advice about any topic under the sun and you know you will never be disappointed.

Love is relative. What it means for me, it might not mean for other people. The way I define it might not be the way you define it. The way I express it might not be the way you express it. I believe that 99% of what I am today is because of my parents, because of their love, because of all that they have done to bring me up in the right way, to provide me with moral and emotional support and all the things that contribute to me not being messed up in life. No they were not perfect, but they were as close to it as humanly possible. And what I admire the most is that they did not expect anything back, absolutely nothing. They never asked me to come back to India, to live in the same city, or even to visit them. In Sweden, there are a lot of things in my life which do not conform to their slightly conservative views, but they never chide me for it, or even mention it. Even today they are selfless in their love for me, much more than I am for them.

Love is relative. For some it knows no bounds. It will always be difficult for me to define love, but what my parents have for me is the most perfect definition I have.

Ok ok.. stop the moaning, I shall stop the mushy tirade. But I might have to seriously consider returning back to India :)!!

I am keeping my promise of being around on blogosphere! Yay!

Monday, June 14, 2010

People person? (Barca pics)

I am always disappointed in people. Never with what they do, or what they represent. Never with the roles they play, never with the responsibilities that they are supposed to fulfil, never with the positions they hold. I am never disappointed that the Project Manager didn’t manage the project, always that Mr. X could have managed the project better. I believe in people, not in how senior or junior they are. I trust in human beings, not human resources. And I have tried to change.. for three years and somehow I just cannot. I don’t know if this makes me more successful in what I do, or stops me from being more successful than I am. But I have realized I am a “people” person. Everything I do is driven by the people around me. Like when my friends discuss motivations, and someone says money, someone says type of job, someone says the company one works for and I always say the people whom I work with.... I strongly believe that when you enjoy doing what you do, with the people you like, success and money and the other things follow. In any given day, I do get a lot of joy from accomplishing a target, from meeting my goals, of a job well done, but I get the real “kick” out of life when the people I work with make my day. There’s nothing more fulfilling than to have learnt something from someone, from having taught something invaluable to someone, to have accomplished something together, or to have convinced the client to have brought something that makes both the client and me happy. To me its all about people.

And hence it is always a disappointment when people don’t measure up to expectations. You might say its not professional to be personal, but believe me in the consulting line, its all about personal relationships. Skill is a given, personal relationships differentiate the excellent consultant from the good consultant.

I am sorry for this weird tirade. Its just that I am tired and well.. yes.. you guessed it, disappointed and let down. By people at work. It is always a horrible feeling to put in your 100% and then be let down by others. I had an “ok” trip to Latvia, “ok” because the weather was not on our side, it was windy and rainy, with a choppy sea on the way to Latvia. I had planned to work from home today, but thanks to my overzealousness, a phone call made me just rush home straight from the cruise ship, have an express shower, change into formals and rush to office. And that is what perhaps always leads to my undoing. My overzealousness. I should keep it in control.

I suck at this. I shouldn’t blog when I am low I guess :P.
More when I am up and shining! I of course have to share my Riga trip pics, as planned. Till then, here are some Barcelona pics to drool over :) !!
(In real life I am so self obsessive about my pics, that it’s a shame that I cant put up pics of myself up here, but well.. that’s the cost I pay to keep this anonymous ;) )

Top pic reference:
(You can actually buy the mug!) :P

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Riga ahoy!

Have you had an occasion that you do not look forward to ... its an eventuality which you have not thought about? And then as the occasion draws near, you realize that its actually a good thing for you?

I planned a cruise trip to Riga, Latvia for my parents some time back. I have been to Latvia before, hence it was not something that was making me very excited. However now that I leave to board the cruise ship one hour, I am kinda looking forward to it, I think the trip will do me good. Any trip where I have no access to my work and laptop is always good!

The pic above is from my previous trip. If I can capture some nice ones this time, you will get to see them! Ciao... Riga ahoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blogging Sabbatical

I don’t know what else to call the break from blogging. Well I know its not good, its like stopping your jogging and gym schedule when you are healthy and aren’t gaining weight. Blogging therapy should continue, even through the good times :).

Loads happening in Merlins world! This is one of those times when life seems to go ‘whoosh’ past you and you are kinda trying to catch your breath. It is strange really, because some time back I was actually cribbing about a lack of excitement and speed in my life... well, there seems to be loads now. I guess you are already bored of the “life is busy, work is hectic, I don’t have time for anything” lines so I wont repeat it. Give you the juicy gossip in an executive summary, the type you’d give to the Sr. Directors and Exec VPs on an elevator pitch. So here goes: Promotion at work, Corporate Recognition Award, a much awaited salary increment, an AWESOME Spanish vacation at Barcelona, and getting mah parents to Stockholm to escape the crazy Indian summer. Howz that? All the good news in a nutshell!

Yes, summer is here, the happiness meter in Stockholm is soaring. Its kinda tough to wake up in the morning, look at the fantabulous weather outside and say “I’m sad”. Its just not possible. When nature seems to color the surroundings with the greens reds and every bright shade you can think of, it is kinda tough to not have a colourful mood to match it. So here I am, all refreshed and bright and shiny.. joining the Swedes in their weather mood swing to the more positive side. Yes, the recognition award, the promotion and the awesome vacation have also played a very major part in my positive outlook :P!

Travel always rejuvenates me. I have been spending time pondering on certain things that I have never pondered upon. I have always kinda lived my life a day at a time, and now for a change, I might have to be actually planning out stuff. It scares me because I know I am not good at it, I am usually only good at taking things as they come.

I am still in Sweden and I don’t know for how long. My parents have stopped asking till when; most people I know have also stopped asking me till when. Recently one of my mentors forwarded me a job role (within my company) based out of Geneva, and after some thought on the matter, I declined. If I am staying out of India, I might as well be in Sweden :P. Damn, I think I have fallen in love with the country, in spite of the minus 20 degrees temperature, spirit dampening darkness and the not-so-warm people. I guess it’s the Stockholm syndrome :P! Or maybe its just the summer talking!

After all the crazy escalations last year, things at work seemed to have calmed down. It feels good that the management appreciates and notices the work of the “youngest” manager of the team at handling what is sometimes referred to as the most challenging area in the account that I work for. As I said, awards and promotions are always good to have, they do good stuff for the motivation, contrary to the video I have been putting up on my LinkedIN and FB ;). I promised myself at the beginning of the year that I will do things that interest me and not let work control my life, being a workaholic is good only for so long. So I did jump into the designing and conducting of a Global Delivery course for Stockholm University which is an initiative from my company. I love the geek stuff :) Am I contradicting myself from the earlier post on Geek Inside? But I guess the bike stunts phase, the Casanova swings, the student politics phase is over and the geek phase is here to stay *shrug*- We’ll see.

No, I wont be promising that I will be regular with the posts this time on, coz I don’t want to build a reputation of not keeping my promises. But I will try. Its always refreshing to be back to blogosphere, you guys will be seeing more of me at least in your blogs. Ciao

Image source: