Tag Archives: Family

Becoming a ‘Stay at home Dada’

I would have liked to believe that today was like any other day. Except it wasn’t. Life changing decisions had been made in the past few months and today was the of reckoning. My wife, on a sabbatical for over 2 years in which she gifted me a beautiful daughter and devoted herself to taking care of her most demanding years, was now ready to go back to work.

I could be partly held responsible for the decision. The anxiety had become unbearable in the past few months. Every morning, I would wake up at 4 in the morning with an overwhelming sense of dread on what the day held for me. My vitals seemed to be in a race to outdo each other while the exterior presented a calm stupor which belied the mess within.

I seemed to be sinking into a deep and dark abyss from where the light seemed to shrink farther and farther way.
I was desperate to find a way out . I always believed that work was meant to live a life. However, here I was, expending my mental faculties for up to 18 hours daily for work. I was irritable, moody, staring lost into space and seldom participating in any conversation. The best years of my daughter were passing by and I had no time for her nor her mother.

So, when my wife told me about this offer she had received from her previous company in Mumbai, it didn’t take us too much time to arrive at a decision. We were ready to move out as it seemed to be God’s answer to our prayers. My wife was eager to climb the corporate ladder again and I was eager to step away from it.

Leaving behind Delhi was an easy decision; we never grew too fond of the city anyway. Our previous stint in Mumbai of 5 years had convinced us that we were more Mumbaikers than Dilliwale. We loved the vada pavs, the local trains and the rains. We loved the city for its people. Behind all that garb of professionalism, we always found Mumbai to be more human.

Leaving behind our family and the relationships that we had forged in the past 3.5 years was, however, tough. Their love and affection for us is what sustained us through the tumultuous times in Delhi. I will miss my evening ‘chai with folks’, my weekly fellowships with my cousin and friends and our monthly meetings with this growing family in Church that we call the diaspora; essentially people who have been born and brought up outside Kerala. These relationships anchored us strongly to life and to the simplicity of it.

Taking up a new job wasn’t the only decision that needed to be made. We were absolutely sure that our daughter, all of 1.5 years, would not be left alone at the mercy of a nanny or a play school. One parent, as the case had been up till now, had to stay at home.  That one parent was from now on, me.

Honestly, I wasn’t intimidated at the prospect of changing diapers or singing lullabies. If a mom could spend so many hours of her day dedicated to the baby, why couldn’t a dad spend a few hours? I was more concerned about how she would react to not seeing ‘amma’  the entire day. Turns out my apprehension was baseless. Though slightly disoriented in the morning, she soon had her ‘dada’s heart melting’ smile on coupled with attempts to lay hold of my pen or mobile phone with varying degrees of success through the day.

I am now officially a ‘Stay and Work at Home dad’ or ‘dada’ as I got my baby to call me affectionately. I have help, the quintessential Mumbai nanny who seems to be around with every other kid I see in Mumbai. However, I consider myself fortunate to be able to now see her through the day; her antics clearly pointing at our genes. I am fortunate to have a wife who understood the need of the hour and did what the family needed. Much love to her. Beyond all, I am thankful to God who has taken us places and always points us towards the smaller and simpler things of life that give us more joy and happiness than all the luxuries that our money can afford.

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Life as it chugs along

Its been a while since I’ve posted anything. The usual suspects: Time, work and lethargy but a sense of guilt kept telling me to feed my starved blog.

Its been more than 7 months now in the “city of dreams”: Mumbai. The city has been kind to me and I havent fallen ill or badly homesick in these months. Friends have remained faithful and work manageable.

7 months ago I came to Mumbai after having the worst imaginable exit from my past company in Delhi. I have a case filed against me under the “Negotiable Instruments Act” which alleges that I stopped payment on a cheque with dubious intentions and that I need to pay a specified amount.

The amount is trivial but I am fighting for a cause I believe in: that an employer cannot take his employees for granted, that he cannot flout all known laws and ethics of employee treatment. It could be a long battle but all I am hoping for is that I am able to stand steadfast in the midst of all this.The support of my parents,my sibling, relatives and friends has been a source of constant strength.

Work here in Mumbai has been good so far. There is much to be achieved and so little time. I am slowly learning all the aspects of an agency’s business. From operations to technology, from business development to client servicing, from proposing to implementation, it has been all round development. We have been growing steadily and it feels great to be part of the core team.

We do, however have our share of hiccups. There is a lot of streamlining to do in terms of work being done Interacting with your colleagues and other divisions and making them understand your point of view can be a real headache. In my observation, most people just do a ‘job’ and are unwilling to think beyond their ‘assumed realm’ of responsibilities. This can be a real headache as these people will try to ensure that nothing that you wish them to do falls in the purview of the “assumed realm” of responsibilities. Getting these people to work and coordinating with them ensures,quite a few times, that you prefer doing the work on your own.

I have also realized that it is man’s lack of focus that constantly drives him to achieve a focus. I still don’t know what I am cut out for but because I don’t know, it helps me try every domain to its fullest potential.As a result, I am always seeking to answer “what next?”. I hope this drive takes me along a fulfilling career road.

On the personal front, life has had its shares of ups and downs.I am now an engaged man and will be tying the knot a few months down the line. Its a different phase I am getting into but I am not intimidated as many assume me to be. Life has had its share of joys and sorrows before marriage and it will have its share of joys and sorrows after marriage. I have also found new friends and still finding more.Social interactions,the kind I like:playing outdoor/indoor games and going to worthwhile events, has also been on the rise.

Life has moved on and it has given me its share of experience and wisdom…it will continue to do so in the future.
This is a snapshot of my life: As it chugs along

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