Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mom and Daughter

I chanced upon an email I had written to mom in Sept 2012, sharing my reasons and doubts about moving back to India. Worth documenting it here. Her response is a riot! It is at once serious and funny. 

My Email
Hi mom

Sometimes I find myself stopping and doubting my decision to move back. Anything that is out of the ordinary, anything that breaks the norm, is bound to create doubts. So what am I doing that is out of the usual?

1. I am leaving a professional career at 47 years of age. In a way I am retiring. Most people don't retire until they are in their sixties at least. Having been super independent for all my life, letting go of the "breadwinner" title is scary.

2. I am moving back from the posh city Singapore to a small town/village in India.

3. My kids are still young. I am giving up making money to do different type of work. 

Why am I doing this?

1. I had a near death experience 2 months ago. I am aware of death and the possibility of it happening anytime. I want to maximize every minute of my life. That makes me question every unhappy day I spend.

2. I have no sense of achievement in my job. I have been around the circle of job finding to know that what I want is just not there. For me, a job for the sake of a job will never be enough. I have to feel connected and absorbed in order to feel fulfilled. That is not easy and not likely to happen.

3. I want to spend my time with mom. This is the time when she needs me as much as I need her. I want to learn from her and give her back some of what she has given me. If I don't make the effort now, it will be too late.

4. I want to sink my roots. I have floated too long. Where do I belong? I don't belong here where I spent 12 years, I don't belong there where I spent 34 years. The only place I feel a sense of belonging in is Dharamshala, though I am not sure why. If I don't make the effort now, it will be too late.

5. Though I am not clear about it, I feel I have something to offer to the community there. I can do something with the kids. Unless I actually allow myself the time, it will remain a dream.

6. The only thing that gives me happiness nowadays is writing. I want to write a book. Making a drastic change in my lifestyle will give me the impetus, and substance, to write, I think.

7. Atreya has grown up. Although he needs me and I need him, it is time to let go of him and to have him explore the world on his own. As long as I am with him, he will be protected and sheltered, and stagnant.

8. Aloka is still young. If I don't come now, it will be harder to come later as she will have a very tough time adjusting to a new life when she is older. 

Why am I scared? I keep asking myself. I have always been brave and handled great change with courage. Maybe because change was always thrust on me. This time, I am making the change and that is why it is scary. What if I am unhappy...what if I regret...what if I am lonely...these questions bother me. But the truth is I am not happy now. It's just that this unhappiness is still familiar, so it is less scary. I am sure that if I continue to live like this, I will only get unhappier. Life is not a bed of roses, never has been, but I have always managed to extract happiness and meaning from it. Why do I worry I will not be able to do it in future? 

Just sharing these with you. Please share your thoughts too. 

Mom's response
Dear Puja,

I can understand your feelings at this stage. It is a drastic decision that you are taking. At the same time you are a very good person to think of helping your cousin monetarily when you yourself are going to be jobless pretty soon. I love you for what you are. 

Now that you have taken your decision do not feel bad about it. It will take quite sometime for you to adjust so be prepared for it.  As you have yourself said that you want to give me company so that is one great reason. Mind you please do not put me above the needs of your children. I am a spent force while they are still budding and need your support more than me. 

Yes Singapore could never be home. So that is another great reason to come home and Dharamshala is for you home because of your health and more so because of me. I love you and we are going to have great time fighting with each other. So keep that too in mind. 

You will have to do many things on your own which you may not be used to as there will not be Mallika. Food habit too will have to be changed as you have to do with more vegetarianism like me. 

Atreya has to study a lot still and that he will have to do without you and one feels bad about it. But if he is moving abroad then you have to accept parting from him. But he is such an affectionate boy that he will never leave you alone. 

You will find something to in the community once you are here. Just sit back and chant to your hearts content whenever you feel low. I find Gayatri mantra is a great one to tide over.Do you know it? Best is to do pranayam.

I also get into these depressive phases, but I don't let them overpower me. I am to be my own master. You too are strong so get up and take Metaslim powder every night in lukewarm water and in 3 months you will find yourself active fit and energetic.

Early morning we will watch the star rise. It is amazing how they emerge from behind the mountains winking at you and almost smiling without lips, just with their brightness.. 

So come and feel happy.


  1. words of wisdom from a mom- the only people who can give you unconditional love, support and encouragement are your parents. and even in their critism lies their anxiety for you to suceed. now i'm going to try Metaslim- what is it?

    1. Don't know Tanu. She believes in anything she sees on TV or Internet. I won't dare try such things!

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  3. This brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart. Both of you are blessed women. Hope to see Chandrama Mam one of these days.