Wednesday, 22 January 2014

When I was asked: "Where do you see yourself in ten years?"

If you ever attended those preparatory classes for MBA entrance exams you must have rehearsed your 'unique' answer for this question many a times. The question that goes like: "Where do you see yourself in ten years?". I remember those geeky teachers in my Career Launcher days who psyched us that every college will ask you this dreaded question. The only two instructions we were given for preparing the answer were:

1) Never say the truth
2) Never say- "Sir, in your seat"

My interview to get into MICA (My MBA college) didn't give me the chance to blurt out this answer. I don't remember the questions but clearly remember that I was not asked this! Two years at MICA came and went like tornado. Friends, hostel, mess food, credits, Ahmedabad- these things erased every instruction from my head and here I was at my first ever Campus Placement Interview with a Top most Media Planning Agency.
There were two people on the panel- A man and a woman. Both very senior and known people in the industry. I was shit nervous and damn sure I am not landing this job. An informal pre placement offer at the back of my mind relaxed me a bit and I thought- Lets just see what happens. After a random 'this and that' rant by my interviewers came the question that was/is/will always remain favourite of those who love interviewing. Only difference is- I had completely forgotten the 'right' answer for it now.
The woman interviewer- a successful, ambitious and brilliant professional sat back on her chair and asked: "Parul, where do you see yourself in ten years?"

Ten years meant 2014. Which is now. In the real world where am I after ten years? I am happily married. I have two adorable sons. I have ensured that I personally took care of them in their early years. I was fortunate to pursue my passion for writing and lucky to be a published author. I have tried my best to stay abreast with my professional expertise.
You know what? I gave my answer and I was not selected :). Not saying that they pointed out this reason but certainly this was the last thing they asked before I was instructed to send in the next person. They had put me in a waitlist and confirmed my name exactly ten minutes after the names of 7-8 selected candidates (My husband was one of them). So why is it that they didn't like my answer instantly? Maybe because I sounded too unambitious? Too informal? Too true?
In three days I leave for the same campus. To celebrate with my friends the completion of TEN years out of MICA. It is now that I reflect upon my naivety of saying what I said then and feel happy that I was indeed speaking from my heart and not mind.
My answer: In ten years, hopefully I will be well settled in a marriage, raising a family just the way I want. At the same time I will give in my best to have settled professionally in order to pursue something creative alongside. Anything that is beyond a regular job which keeps me sane and satisfied.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

10 things we do differently as Mother and Sons

Just about to celebrate the 5th birthday of my second son. Yeah that does make me sound very old but hey- I had babies early- OKAY?

V and N: Partners in crime. Partners for life
Yeah so just yesterday I was observing the two extensions of mine having a time of their own in each other's company. They did not need me like they did not need the sofa I was sitting on. Point is, as they are growing up, my existence is limited to being a provider- Of food, toys, books, birthday plans and drives. My silent observations of their total withdrawal from me led me to make some comparisons. I was comparing how the same rituals and things of the past are now totally different. Here are the Top Ten Things in that list:


Before: I cooked. They ate. They vomited. I cleaned. They digested. I was happy.
Now: I cook. They make faces. They demand. I argue. They persist. I cook. They are happy.


Before: All night up. All night crying.
Now: Both are early risers. Jump on my head as early as 7 am even on a Sunday!

3) Games

Before: Toys. Balls. Puzzles. Simplicity
Now: Does anyone have boys who DO NOT play cricket? My sons can play cricket all day, all night, all month, all year, all holidays, all school days, all summers, all monsoon!

Before: I didn't get time for much TV
Now: I don't get time for much TV! Nobita and Chota Bheem should be banned in our country.

5) School

Before: Cried initially. Settled well gradually.
Now: In the words of my older one: "Whoever invented Schools should be sent to a jail and beaten blue!"
6) Clothes

Before: Bath. Clothes. Done
Now: Bath. They don't like the clothes I have chosen for the day. They themselves dig into the almirah. Wear Jeans even at home. They have favourite colours. And lately they have started commenting on what we wear too!

7) Parties somewhere outside
Before: Tried leaving them with Dadi but all we heard was- "Come back early. They are crying a lot"
Now: We want them to come along and they cry as they would rather be home!

8) Parties at our home

Before: Party started. Kids put to sleep
Now: "When will your friends come?", "Will they get kids?", "They get gifts for us?", "When will they go?", "No! We wont sleep early", "What will you do that we cant see?"

9) Papa

Before: Saurabh is a hands on Dad. Updated about everything-big or small.
Now: Saurabh continues to be what he was. They love him more than me!

10) Me

Before: I was there. I will be there. I should be there.
Now: I am there. I may not be there. They are infact happier when I am not at home as then Dadi can spoil them rotten :)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Calendars on 1/1/Every year

Calendars hanging on the walls invoke a lot of nostalgia in me. The ones with birds, mountain peaks or animal faces- I have vivid memories of them. I always used to have one in my room while growing up. And the first thing I did with a new Calendar? Turn to the month of July (I was born in it) and see what picture it has. Invariably I used to find that particular picture the worst in the whole calendar and sulk through the year. Not to mention, sibling rivalry ensured that my brother who is a January born always had the best picture of the lot and thus worsened my agony.
Now for the past 8 years of running my own household, I have never invested in a calendar. In initial years I did get them from Mom in Law as she worked in a bank and often got good looking calendars from her clients but gradually she stopped sharing them with us. Both Saurabh and I saw no need of relying on calendars for dates. For the general aesthetics of how we wanted our house to be, we never hung them. So questions like- "10th ko kya day padega?" or "Wednesday ko kya date hai?" were all answered by our phones or simple mathematics of going on adding 7 to today's date :)
But this calendar culture has some everlasting memories attached. To me every 1st of January was associated with changing calendars around the house. Choosing which calendar should be put in our room (the kids room) and which should go in Ma-Papa's room. They would come rolled so we used to open them, roll them the other side, figure out the small red string on the top, hang them all neatly on the designated nail and of course then turning the pages to see days of all our important events like our birthdays and parents' anniversary. This activity in my memory is synonym to how the first day of every year would be spent.
Just yesterday my sons got their homework notebooks and insisted that I take some sort of a dictation. I wondered the reasons behind kids being proactive about Dictations. But I realised soon that they were both excited to write a new year in the date that they mention on top right. They wrote with excitement- 1 slash 1 slash 14! Maybe this is the excitement I had with those colourful calendars on my walls.
Oh these silly memories and their associations. Years are turning still but no pages are carrying them now :)