Embrace the Change

Our lives go through many changes from time to time, sometimes pleasant and sometimes not-so-great, nonetheless, this is something completely unavoidable. Rather, the more we want to move away from these changes the more we find ourselves closer to them.

Moving from a small city of Dehradun, which happens to be my hometown also, to a super-fast metro city of Mumbai was a 360 degree change for me. Not that I hadn’t lived outside my hometown ever, in fact I had earlier stayed and worked in Delhi for about 7 years, but staying in your hometown really spoils you. There are so many things that you have to let-go off like, reaching your office in about 10-15 mins. of drive, catching-up with your old-buddies on weekends or visiting old food joints that you have grown up with; there are so many things about your hometown that really really spoils you. One has all the more reasons to get spoilt when the hometown is Dehradun, which has a beautiful weather as it is just about an hour’s drive from Mussoorie, “The queen of hills”. 

Whenever we move to a new location, we all have our fears and anxieties and I was no different. I had lots of apprehensions in terms of the language, the environment, the culture, etc. I had heard a lot of things about Mumbaikars (locals of Mumbai) not liking the people coming from the northern part of the country. These perceptions were not because any of my friends or relatives had shared their own bad experience or something, rather due to what I had heard from people, read in newspapers or read over internet. I had heard that the language divide is a big divide and I may not be able to survive beyond a few months since I don’t speak their language. 

Any kind of a change brings forth both the things, “anxiety as well as excitement” and this was quite a big change as it was going to not only impact “my life” but my family’s life also. It was not only me who had to adjust to the fast life of Mumbai, but my elderly mother, my adorable 4-year-old daughter and my ever-supporting wife. 

I had to make a choice between all the “advices” that I was getting and the “exposure” that I could foresee, which will surely help me become a better professional. Situation becomes difficult to handle when you have multiple things going on in your head. Nonetheless, I have always believed that depending on which thought you give importance to, it grows up to take a larger shape. Therefore, without paying any heed to all these, I finalised to move to Mumbai and take on life as it comes. 

After landing in Mumbai and stepping out of the airport, the first thing that I experienced was the whiff of humid air hitting my face and all the positivity that I had built to convince myself became shaky and I asked myself, “Amit, have you taken the right decision?”. But now it was too late to think of anything but a U-turn. 

Now it’s been more than 4 years that I am living here in Mumbai (Navi Mumbai to be precise) and fortunately I have never experienced any kind of trouble in terms of language or culture. Any location for that matter is different from the other one and for our country as they say, it is a land of varied cultures and diverse languages. Mumbai, despite being such a densely populated city, accommodates everyone with love and affection. Contrary to the general perception, that lots of people attempted to make me also trust, people here are pretty supportive and quite helpful. 

There are a lot of learnings from this experience of mine, however, I am sharing two of the most important of them. 

Firstly, “don’t believe in perceptions, go for the facts”. Ironically, the people who were advising me not to move, had no personal experience of living here, neither any of their family members had ever stayed in Mumbai. 

The second learning that I could gather is, if you face any change, “accept and embrace the change fully”.  It puts your mind at ease, which in turn makes you feel comfortable and things around you start appearing beautiful. Science also supports the same, as Newton’s third law of motion states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, in other words the more we resist the more we find ourselves in trouble”. As a natural human reaction, we resist the change and I believe that resistance is the root of all those worries and concerns that we all go through. In order to be accepted, one must accept the change first of all. It is like a mirror “If you look at the mirror with a smile on your face, the mirror is bound to smile back at you.” 


Just be “YOU”

We all, at least the people born in 80s, like me, have grown up hearing this question, 

What you want to be when you grow-up?

and every time I faced this question, I used to feel very puzzled and I had different answers to it every time ranging from Doctor to Fighter pilot to a mountaineer. Now since I had my next generation in front of me, I thought it becomes my chance to throw this question. So, one fine day I asked this question to my loving daughter and the response that I got, gave me a food for thought.

Sunday afternoons are usually slow and that is when I get a chance to grab some siesta and relax a bit from my demanding schedule. However, that is when my affectionate daughter also gets a chance to catch up with me. So, I always have to make a choice whether to take a nap or spend some “alone time” with her, as my wife has a ritual of afternoon nap, which nobody dares to come in between. Since I had come back last evening only from my week-long travel to Coimbatore, I decided to get some rest. But as the fate would have it, she comes to me and inaudibly says something, mindful of the fact that her mother doesn’t like to be disturbed while she’s asleep. I, half-asleep tried to decipher what she wanted, asked her to repeat, now this time carefully watching her hand and lip movements, understood her. She wanted to ask me if she can watch TV for some time. We want our children to be honest and obedient, but who knows it comes at a cost of your priceless afternoon nap. Nonetheless, I immediately gave my OK for TV, making sure my slumber is intact. She immediately went out and switched-on TV. 

I lay in bed, trying to sleep again, but I always had this problem, once woken up from sleep it is really difficult get back. After about 10-15 minutes of tossing here and there, I came out to see she’s completely glued to TV and enjoying her favorite show, “Peppa Pig”. I really loved the smile on her face, after a while she realized that I have come out and not sleeping anymore. She jumped and came to hug me, which she keeps doing, umpteen times a day and I love it every single time.

I sat beside her enjoying the look on her face and suddenly started day-dreaming about what happens when she grows up, etc. I don’t know what came to my mind when I asked her, 

what do you want to be when you grow up?

 I had never expected to hear this kind of an answer. She very gullibly and almost immediately answered, 

can I not be just me, even when I grow-up?”.

I was not at all prepared for this answer, I was expecting to hear a similar kind of an answer like a doctor or an engineer or something of the sort that I have grown up with.

What came as an innocent answer, started a chain of thoughts in my mind. 

should I prepare her for the real world?

is she too naïve to face the harsh realities of this world?

have we not been making her aware of truths?

is she living in a fantasy world?

We all keep hearing the phrase, “there’s a lot to learn from children” and my 7-year old (now almost 9 years old) is no exception to it. That day she taught me to “be real” for real. It’s in fact important to always be yourself and love what you are. I guess, in this rat race we have apparently forgotten “what we are?” and “who we are?”. I really thank her for bringing me back to basics.