Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The best times are often when none of the ducks are in a row and the chips all over the place, so don't plan..just be.

-Was a comment by binary footprints on one of my posts, where I was, as seems to be the recent trend, bemoaning my life and all its vagaries. Very good advice, that. Not always easy to practice, especially if one is wont to worry and wonder and brood like I am. But at some point I realised that it was a lot easier to do it that way.

Things have gotten better in the recent past, in many little undefinable ways. I have learned to be more vocal and outspoken about my feelings rather than let it all simmer and stew and show up in outbursts. And almost every single time I have gotten nothing but acceptance and understanding. B and I have learned to enjoy the little things in life and not allow ourselves to be bogged down by the inconveniences and upsets that come with life, India, dealing with his dad, etc. We have learned to take a lot of things in our stride and that has helped us not give any more importance to the things we cannot control. We have rectified our living situation slightly- we now have two maids and that serves as a bit of back up so that everything does not fall apart if one of them bunks. It is working to an extent, although I do think only a fulltime live in maid will really be the best answer to our situation. Those are not easy to come by.

Recently, we wanted to visit my parents for the weekend. We had not yet fully recovered from the last trip we took with my FIL, where B pretty much ended up looking after and baby-sitting his dad throughout the trip and barely enjoyed himself. I was very insistent that we plan one trip by ourselves, where we do not worry about my FIL. It was to be a weekend trip and we were counting on our maid to come in both days of the weekend and that would ensure my FIL was taken care of. However, our confidence in the maid had dropped considerably due to her irregularities, and after a lot of hand-wringing, where the simplest thing seemed to be to simply take my FIL along, a local organization in Bangalore - Nightingales that deals with dementia patients and provides home nurses and care came to our rescue. It turned out they did have help available for the days we needed to travel. Help came in the form of a young 20 year old puny but very pleasant and cheerful looking girl Geetha. The evening I brought Geetha home with me, my FIL was busy fussing over her, bringing her coffee and chatting her up and ensuring she was comfortable. By the time we acquainted her with the apartment and explained things to her, we left wondering who would be looking after who. Turns out the maid did not bunk, Geetha was good company for my FIL, and all in all the weekend was very uneventful.

B and I had a wonderful getaway, just getting on a plane together without worrying about my FIL felt like such a treat for us! Having B without the added burden of worrying after his dad allowed my family to see such a different side of him, and I enjoyed seeing him mingle comfortably with my relatives. My parents high point was that they were guaranteed a driver everytime their daughter visited with her husband, a real source of joy for a retired couple that doesnt drive and has to depend upon driver services every time they want to use their car.

 In the meantime, my FIL really took a liking to Geetha and I began hoping if we could request the agency to send us the same person whenever we needed. Then I found out that it happened to be Geethas last working day, she was to return to her village after this to take care of a sick mother and had lots of problems going on on her homefront. She had told my FIL that her dream was to become a Chartered Accountant as she liked numbers. (She had studied until her P.U.C.)

I called her and thanked her for all her help and asked her to reach out to us if we could be of any help. I was quite amazed that she was able to smilingly carry on, put up with an old mans ramblings, be so pleasant and so reliable, in the face of her own issues. Indeed puts things in perspective like none else. I hope Geetha is able to realize her dream.

B and I are planning another short getaway soon. Hopefully the same agency is able to find us some help this time. In the meantime we have also begun seriously house-hunting and its a nice feeling, in as much as the process is overwhelming and daunting.

Things are coming together in their own ways, and some of it seems to happen naturally, with little effort on any of our parts. Its looking good.









Sunday, September 23, 2012

Things are only as bad as you make them out to be

Right? 

We went out for dinner last night and as I looked about you could categorize all tables into two or three standard types- families- parents+kids, groups of loud friends, or just couples. Our table stood out - couple+old father in tow.

Its not like B and I do not go out just by ourselves, we do that about as often as we go out with his dad. I wish it was a bit more tilted in our favour. Instead, we have already begun planning separate vacations as we realise we both need a break and taking it together and trying to arrange for my FIL is such a pain and essentially not an option. I am tired of being in this set up, of having to think of the FIL every time we need to plan anything. Almost immediately, I feel guilty, but I think I am entitled to some degree of feeling fed up of it. I really wish I knew more people dealing with this kind of stuff and how they dealt with it. I am also afraid of getting tired of it so soon, when we have a long long way to go with this.

With my FIL, its like having a child to care for, with all the associated headache but none of the associated gratification. We are debating the idea of having our own kid given that our hands are already full caretaking for his dad, and it is only going to get more complicated. If we end up deciding against a kid, it would be a very practical decision but one that I know will leave me feeling sorry for myself, bitter and even resentful. But then again I am not sure if all these pangs I get for having a kid are completely real, or they are a result of conditioning, hormones and endless facebook pictures of my entire peer group having babies left right and center as biological clocks tick.

My latest mantra is Things are only as bad as you make them out to be. I can make a choice and learn to come to terms with our unique arrangement, give in to occasional ranting and cribbing or spend most of my time cribbing and be generally morose.

And then there is the blasted paper from my post-doc I need to submit. I know that is causing a large chunk of my unhappiness. I am reminded of similar miserable times in Philly, when I was dragging my feet on my Ph.D. paper. Then I lived alone and had little else to do other than dwell in endless cycles of procrastination and self-flogging. Here I have B ensuring I am plied with coffee, food, words of encouragement, nagging reminders, freedom from chores, all so I can focus and get the damn paper out. But yet here I am, still struggling with it. Once I get this draft out, it will free up so much of my time to do more guilt-free fun stuff. So I better get back to it.

Sigh.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Year of R2I


What prompted me to step back and take stock (and blog) was the realization that I have added little value to my life in the past one year. I feel like this has been the hardest year in some ways, so I was justified in not taking bigger strides to get some tangible achievements- I was just busy living and figuring stuff out along the way. 

 Stuff like- 

 1. R2I. Made it through the initial wave of reverse culture shock.
 2. Got a decent job within a month of landing- proud of that. 
 3. Job allows me to exert my research skills about 40 to 50% of the time. The rest is people-management, presentation making etc. So honed that part too. 
 4. Job also got me authorship (Even if 1 of a dozen authors) in a decent paper. Feels good to see my publication track not stagnate. 
 5. Learned how to live with a husband AND cognition-impaired F-I-L in tow. This has been the hardest part, and is still Work in Progress. 
 6. Traveled a decent bit. 
 7. Learned to deal with a bunch of disappointments and adjustments wrt to how I thought married life together would be versus how it actually is. This is also Work in Progress. 
 8. Enjoyed the perks of R2I- visit my parents once in a few months, have a maid and never have to worry about dishes and cooking. Have a driver and have not yet started driving. 
 9. Enjoyed the feeling of double-income. 
 10. Explored the city, and I must say I like it. 

 Stuff that fell along the wayside- 

 1. Have not yet completed my post-doc paper. It is now in crisis stage, with my P.I threatening to demote my authorship if I dont turn it around. I am woefully stuck here and back in the same misery-hole I was when I was struggling with my Ph.D. paper after leaving grad school. I want to fix this right away because it will lead to me being a happier person and put an end to us allocating all my free time (the little of it that is) to the bloody paper and allow us to do more fun stuff that i want to do. 

 2. Effectively addressing the disappointments in my married life. Not sure how much of it is natural, that everyone goes through? The first year of living together after marriage I had imagined would be more filled with freshness, happiness, excitement and what not. Especially after two years of the US-India LDR. It was not so. We got consumed with routine, daily challenges, unhappiness in adjustments and of course moving in with the F-I-L and learning how to deal with him and his illness. I think we now realise the need to focus on ourselves as much, but I am wary of feeling bitter and shortchanged on the past year. I am guilty of not verbalizing enough. I want to change that now. 

 3. Health and weight gain - I just need to see photos of myself in skirts to realise the terrible amount of weight I have put on. I want to change this. Starting today. 

 4. Socializing- We have not made the effort to go and hang out with anyone. I am not sure why- partly being consumed in our own routines, and to some extent in our own unhappiness. The blog has presented the opportunity of several friendships that could be made and nurtured but I have not made the effort or even reciprocated when others did. I want to change this. We desperately need a social life and I desperately need good friends to hang with.

5. Learn driving and fire the driver who I cannot stand.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hello World!

How you doing? Blogger has gone and changed on me too! Yeh sab kya ho raha hai? This interface to compose posts looks like a command line text editor. Terrible. Other than that, I have been good. Thanks for asking. I want to come back to blogging because I am losing track of stuff. Life is just going by and I am doing little to make any concrete steps towards anything. That bothers me. How are you, if you are reading this? I will be back.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W O M M

I miss blogging. I miss reading blogs, engaging in meaningless and meaningful debates. I miss friends I can call up to just kill time and chat. I miss having friends.

I dont feel intellectually engaged at my workplace. I keep very busy, and I do a good job at what I do. But its largely people management, fire fighting, disaster averting, and such. I miss journal club and scientific dissection of papers. I plan to start Jclub at my workplace, but I am afraid I do not foresee the kind of scientific discourse I was used to. I am beginning to feel overqualified at this job. The petty politics is also getting to me. I agree that politics will be there everywhere, but I would rather be dealing with it with people of my caliber, qualifications and such.

Thats the update on my work life. It is still fulfilling in its way, and there is plenty I derive joy from, but its not enough. Not enough to justify the 2 hour commute and investment of my energies and qualification. I am also afraid that my research capabilities will start rusting if I stick around here for too long.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

W O M M

I need to admit that I suffer from pangs of baby-envy every now and then. When I see little babies, when I hear of friends having a baby...etc. Luckily for us, we do not have too many nosy relatives asking us when we plan on having one- because we dont know the answer to that.

Settling down for us seems like its going to be a long process. 2.5 years in the country and my husband hates it. Me- not as much. I do get tired/frustrated and miss the lot easier and streamlined American way of life but am a lot more tolerant to India than he is. And I dont necessarily hold it against him. Different experiences, different thresholds, different people. But the unhappiness eventually wears you down and it is hard for me to remain positive and derive joys from where I can when I see him as unhappy. Where is the room for a kid in all of this?

Ofcourse, convoluted with this is the situation with my FILs dementia. My husband deals with him much more than I do on a daily basis. He comes home for lunch everyday, and is home an hour or two earlier than me in the evenings. He is completely worn out just from that. I dont blame him there either. I remember how it was the first month when I got back and was job hunting and staying at home all day. Dealing with my FILs repeatedly asking you the same question and reacting to it each time as if its the first time he was hearing that- is enough to drive you insane. So far, thats pretty much it. It is only going to get worse. Currently we cannot even go away for an extended period of time because he is dependent upon us for some really basic functions- like opening the door in the morning and taking the milk inside. We have very little space (mental) or time to ourselves while living with him. So where is the space for a kid in all of this?

I dont know. I dont know if I want one that badly either. Its just that I feel bad for myself, for not being able to think of it more freely than I can, given all these complications. If I had none of these issues would I have gone right ahead and had a baby? I dont know. May be.

Anyhow- after taking my FIL with us on 3 out-of-town trips, B and I finally could take a short trip together, - just the two of us- a couple weeks ago. We went away for one night for a friends wedding. It was such a relief to travel together, without the stress of dealing with my FIL, of minding his step for him, making sure he doesnt wander off, step into a hole or stumble over stone because his field of vision just stays straight ahead while walking etc. etc. It was a wonderful break. Our maid stepped up really well to the plate, and took good care of my FIL for the two days. I hope we can do this more often now.

Oh well, where would I go if I didnt have the blog to vent to? Feels better already.