The wonderful MIL…not

My husband turned 40 just a week before his grandma passed on. I had a surprise birthday party planned for him. Due to the unexpected passing of his grandma, I thought why not have the surprise element in another event which is slated for the coming month. Especially when the invitees are pretty much the same group of people.

The event was my SIL’s wedding reception among close relatives and friends. I whatsapped my SIL and shared with her my thoughts. She was cool with the idea and told me to proceed. Just to double confirm, I told her she is under no obligation to agree and that we could always have another celebration. She dismissed me and asked me to proceed.

I went about looking for a baker and got into ordering the cake. The D-day came. Giving some lame excuses and ensuring my husband doesn’t find out about the cake and the celebration in tow, off I went to collect the cake and to pass it to my in laws as the reception/cake cutting was to be held there.

I passed the cake to my MIL and told her that this is my husband’s cake. And do not disclose to him as we are having a surprise cake cutting later during the reception. I left their house feeling proud that I managed to pull it off and it is going to be such a huge surprise for my husband as he would not have seen it coming.

Within 10 minutes of reaching my house, my MIL calls me. Apparently, this reception is about my SIL and it would not be nice to cut a birthday cake. Furthermore, it is a small cake and would not be enough for everyone.

A 3 kg will not be enough. And everyone needs to have a slice of it, apparently. I told her that this was discussed much earlier with her daughter and I proceeded with this whole plan only after her consent.

In less than 5 minutes, my SIL sends me a whatsapp, almost parroting the mother and says we could cut the cake towards the end with only close family members.

Me being me, said no thanks to the ‘offer’.

We had a mini celebration at home with just the four us the next day.

All ended well. Not a piece of the 3 kg cake was sent to my MIL.

 

 

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Never say never

So, I was talking to my colleagues on how it is almost impossible for me to work from home. That I needed a proper office set up to work productively and for the work mood to set in.

And then, my boss puts a bomb on my head that he needs me to support the EMEA team by supporting the Middle East region. Which means my work time would follow the EMEA team working hours. Which means I would be working remotely from home.

The temporary 3 months lasted for 9 long months.

Yeah, laugh at me. Thanks, Murphy and you too Karma.

Though I was grumbling very often and was least happy, it actually did some good to me. I had lots of time to reflect on me and my life.

After the morning rush, I was actually all alone at home. At one point, I was even jogging at  a park near my house. Where I lost my car keys after it fell off my back pocket. And for a cute guy to hand it over to me. Maybe, I should write a post on that later.

Left to my own device to do my thing before it was time to log in to work, I used this time to get groceries or buy lunch for me. Even prep for dinner which I cooked like a headless chicken during my break time. The TV was usually on while I work except when there are conference calls.

The drawback was, I was a full time house and a working mother simultaneously. There was no segregation of time between these two roles. It took me awhile to eventually find my footing. And I hated to be working and not spending idle time with my family when they were back from school or work. That sucked big time for me.

It also meant my evenings are occupied with work. I just can’t make any major plans like going for a leisurely dinners or even to the movies on a Friday night.

That part of life sucked really.

 

 

Below shoulder length hair

After years of having really short & coloured hair, I have taken a 180 degrees turn and grew my hair for the whole of last year. It is now way below my shoulders and is pitch black.

I did have the itchy fingers syndrome where the urge to cut my hair real short sometime just after the new year.

However the compliments and requests to keep it long made me change my mind.

Who could say no to compliments? 😉

 

My Grandma’s Death

So my grandma died. It was unexpected. We were estranged.

A miniscule issue was blown out of proportion.

The MIL-DIL duo who were like mother & daughter were not in talking terms. The rest of the family (dad’s siblings) instead of helping the grand old lady let go of the seeming ‘disobedience’ (yes, you read that correctly) of the DIL of 32 years, started pouring more fuel to the already angry and ego bruised grandma of mine. My dad did not react the way my grandma wanted him too. He (a 59 year old) told his mom not to exaggerate. An ungrateful son who blindly supports his wife. My grandma was a like a loose cannon.

Hurting words were thrown and curses were freely hurled at my family. We were asked to leave the family house. We were the outcasts now. The house we called our own for 30 odd years. The one we lived as a family with our grandparents. The one my parents took care off. The one where the whole family gathers for New Year, Deepavali, birthdays and the likes.

My dad was soon to retire in  a couple of months. My wedding was just around the corner. After dad’s retirement and my wedding, it was just in time that the renovation of my father’s investment property completed. My family moved.

Another sibling of my dad, gladly moved in to our house the family home. To be with my grandma. Within a few months, my grandma, under the pretext of visiting her youngest daughter, started staying for months altogether over there. She barely came back to the family home, unless it was absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, Facebook was ripe with pictures and posts showing Mother’s day celebration pictures with my grandma and other siblings of my dad. Glowing tributes and the love they had for my grandma was explicitly mentioned. Relatives of us were tagged so that the message would come to us. By now, my mom & dad were the ungrateful children of the family and deserved no kind and love from the rest of the family. We were no longer part of the family.

A lot of other things transpired between the siblings. Making the already widened gap even bigger.  By now, my dad didn’t want to have anything to do with them either. Slowly but surely, my grandma was loosing money. She was ‘giving’ money to her children ‘in need’. Then, her house was put on sale. Again, to help her ‘needy’ children. These needy children in their fifties who are professionals/businessmen with grown up children of their own.

10 years happened by then. It was now March 2017. Dad received a call saying grandma was serious. She cried seeing my dad & mom. Her eyes are speaking with them. So much of love. So much of regret. Two days later she passed on.

 

 

 

From no resolutions to a long list of resolutions

For the longest time, I did not have any resolutions for the new year.

I had a lot of time for self reflection last year as I was working from home. The plus point of working from home is that you are physically away from the dramas and unnecessary office politics. This gyan of course comes as an after thought. The daily travels and the time spent on secondary activities needed to be done before actually heading to work in fact takes much time collectively.

As I no longer need to spend the n amount of time in the mornings, I pretty much had loads of time in my hand. And in the beginning, I was lost. I didn’t know how to occupy the leftover time after completing the household chores. Also a tad lazy.  The TV & my hand phone were my companions.

I started making mental notes. To improve my well being. Change the negatives in me to positives. To make the already perfect me super duper perfect. And the list started growing. Longer and longer. And there came the slap on my face. A wake up call.

I could have done all these things and yet I did not. Why? Short of kicking myself, I started applying the notes to my daily live. I was determined to make these into habits.

And habits these became.

Come the new year, my schedule changed back to normal working hours and I will be heading to the office instead of working from home. This meant the earlier cultivated habits needs to be undone.

So afresh I started.

That’s how I know have a long list of ‘resolutions’ for myself this year.

 

Minimalism

I have embraced minimalism. Without me being aware, I was kind of into this way of life in some aspect (read: tiny) of my own life. I got excited knowing that a lot of the activities that were highlighted actually made sense and resonated to me personally.

I started declutterring with a vengeance.  It felt liberating to remove the unwanted stuff. The ones I thought I needed. The ones I held on to for later use. I started with my office & traditional clothing. For a person who doesn’t own much clothes and doesn’t fancy shopping for clothes, I gave away 5 L sized bags of clothing. And I have more to give away.

Gradually, the declutterring moved on to my family’s clothes, accessories, household items like the tiered food steamer, second brand new rice cooker, plates, second blender, gifts, mementos, CDs, toys, shoes, accessories. Trimmed my Facebook friends, deleted files and emails in the laptop, deleted the other blog and merged another two. Memberships were cancelled and unwanted membership cards were removed from my wallet. No more additional umbrella in the car. Books, I tried. So far, I gave away about 6 books only. For a bookworm, that’s a great start.

I started working from the office again. I cleared my desk and locker of many things. This despite having the one of the clearest and cleanest desk and locker in the office much to the envy of my other colleagues.

The best, I guess, is me logging out of Facebook.

I feel I have more time in my hands, lesser things to worry about. Lesser burden. Lesser things in my hand and mind to worry about. And definitely more physical space around me.