Gifts 2018 Brought To Me

Relaxed and grateful — that is a good state of mind to be in, at any time and at the end of the year. This year brought in several gifts for me.

Gifts in the Kaavyaalaya Package

To be more specific, Kaavyaalaya Kutumb. To be even more specific, the Anaamee Utsav at Kaavyaalaya Kutumb in April this year – I am grateful for it. I have struggled with Kaavyaalaya Kutumb for the past several years. Why? That requires a separate article. But this year I was able to receive it with an open heart and organize the Anaamee Utsav with friend and fellow Kutumb member Jaya Prasad. The important thing here is, I did not do it for myself. I did it only for Dr. Tewary and the friends at Kaavyaalaya Kutumb. That was so rewarding. My first substantial experience of how rewarding it is to do something only for the “other”.

Then another friend Pradeep Shukla agreed to walk a few steps with me in the administration of Kaavyaalaya Kutumb. That was, (still is), a gift of 2018. Despite increasing responsibilities at work not only has he contributed to the administration of the forum, he also introduced a beautiful new initiative – Bhaashaa Utsav. Expectedly, this initiative has started on a mellow tone, but it can only ripen and become juicier over time. It essentially encapsulates what Dr. Tewary and I had hoped for in establishing the forum in the first place.

And on Kaavyaalaya this year, we published its first annual report of sorts. That was fulfilling, and I hope we continue doing that in the coming years as long as Kaavyaalaya exists.

A Challenge: When Someone Dear Is Unwell

Speaking of Kaavyaalaya, I might as well talk of Kaavyaalaya’s biggest gift to me — my friend and co-editor at Kaavyaalaya, Dr. Vinod Tewary. He has been dealing with physical challenges. It’s been around for some time now but this year it intensified further. Yes, it feels horrid when someone dear to us is in pain and discomfort. That was a substantial emotional challenge of 2018.

But then, as my grandmother used to say for her son’s physical challenges, “कोई कुछ कर तो सकै कोनि, जी भलेइ घोटाल्यो।” I learnt this year, yes it does hurt when someone we care for is unwell, but that emotional pain is in no way a positive contribution to that person’s challenge. It is a perfectly valid thing to do – to love someone and not get upset by the challenges they are facing.

Our body after all, is like a smartphone. That is a substantial thing I learnt this year. The body is a communication device (A Course in Miracles taught me). I find that it is indeed so. The Geeta uses the analogy of clothes – that the body is like a set of clothes we are wearing. I find the smartphone analogy more effective. We are not trapped in our body, for our mind is free — as free as we want it to be. And our body, it is a communication device that we have — and a pretty cool communication device, with super awesome technology. But its ok if the smartphone gets damaged. We can use it with its cracked screen or low-volume speakers or limited processing or limited storage, and we can get another one.

As for Dr. Tewary… he is timeless. We all are.

Professional Work – Once Again After a Substantial Gap

Another huge gift that 2018 brought to me – professional work via Anup Mahansaria. I am so grateful for this, specially the manner in which Anup has engaged me. When he put the proposal in front of me, I wanted to take it on but I was apprehensive of being able to deliver professional (software consulting) service satisfactorily – what with illness and n. number of stuff constantly happening at home. He said, “Even if you are able to generate a bill for only 2 hours in the first month, let’s give this a try.”

Wow. That is some level of faith! Two hours in a month only?

So I have been working for Anup since February, and it feels so good to be engaged in the professional world again. I am authorised to generate a bill of upto 15hrs per week, but so far I have not been able to hit 10hrs per week consistently yet. That is in large measure due to my other engagements which are also extremely important to me — Kaavyaalaya being the biggest.

In my 20+ years of work in the software world, I have worked with n. number of clients and bosses. The nature of this engagement is out of this world. The reason being, Anup understands my strengths and my challenges (we worked together in Bangalore and spent a lot of time together in Bangalore and USA talking about hazaar things), and this engagement has been tailored around strengths and challenges. As I did not feel confident about meeting short-term deliverables, I am engaged in the “important, not urgent” quadrant of his work. He is trying to introduce a different approach to sales in his employing organization, which involves data gathering and analysis. Over the past 10 months, consistency is now setting in. I am beginning to tune into the domain (Health Insurance) and introduce efficiencies in the data gathering process.

And it is good to earn money after a substantial gap. My relationship with money and what I have learnt over the past 20+ years would make for another mighty interesting article.

Office Space

Another big gift that 2018 brought me – an office space. I was finding it very challenging to work from home, especially in our 10-member joint family setting. I now work from a co-working space (Easy Daftar). It is good to get out of home and connect with the city and another segment of the world. It is good to be able to focus and do a concrete bit of work for the day. Coming back from office, I am able to connect with the family better too. A million thank yous to my friend Seeta for suggesting this arrangement to me.

Two Vacations Rolled Into One

I also got to spend some extended time with Seeta in Delhi this year. She is one heck of a woman and the time spent with her, our long free conversations have been a Godsend. It enabled me to learn things in a manner that I just wasn’t able to learn from other life experiences so far – primarily about being a single woman and a complete human being in myself, but also about, once again, learning to take responsibility for my life, irrespective of the past and the present.

From Delhi I went to Rishikesh – another gift of 2018, delivered by another Kaavyaalaya friend, Maneesh Kothari. Spending time with Maneesh ji and his family, the conversations we had, were all so rewarding. It is totally my honor and privilege that he invited me and that I got to spend time with them. I also asked Maneesh ji to suggest a place in Rishikesh where I could be by myself, and he took me to “Divine Resort”. The place is swanky, and it is good to treat ourselves to luxury once in a while, but the most important thing is that I got to sit peacefully beside the Ganga for extended periods of time. Those moments, totally planned by friend philosopher guide (aka God), are best left wordless now too, as it was then.

Wrapping Up

Now we come closer home. Health is much better. This year presented retakes of a challenge that I and all my family members have been dealing with since years. The good thing is I learnt a tad-bit better how to process that challenge differently and not have it dissipate my energy. In this, a long conversation with my brother really helped. Defining in writing, my personal mission statement, my various roles and responsibilities in life – personal and professional (as suggested in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey), has also given significantly greater self-confidence and clarity of thought.

This is my 2018 story that The Force and I authored together. 2019 is yet another story that we all get to author for ourselves and our world, along with The Force (or whatever we may wish to call It). I close by sharing this snap, a moment from when I was sitting at the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh –

May your Inner Guide always shine bright. May you always flow easy.

Happy New Year!


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