Thursday, March 4, 2010

One year, one life

Same day, last year:

This exact day a year ago my life took a turn- an unexpected, undesirable turn. This exact day a year ago I was “let go” from a job I had been doing marvellously for the last 4 years and loved with a passion.

“Let go”- isn’t it a strange choice of words? Like you are being set free to explore the world. Sure beats “made redundant” that just does not have the same positive spin to it. Reasons accorded were the usual- ‘recession’, ‘current economic climate’, ‘loss of business’- take your pick.

Once you are “let go”, you follow the 3-stage process before you can even begin to put your life back together:

Stage 1: Denial- “This is not happening. Simply not happening. It’s a bad dream. I will wake up soon”.

Stage 2: Self-Pity- “Why me? I mean why me??!! Of all the people why me??! I am reasonably good person. I am nice and do good deeds every once in awhile. So why did God pick me for this to happen?

Stage 3: Now what- “My life, as I knew it, is over. What in the F%^ing hell will I do now?!”
Its stage 3 that gets you thinking that you simply can’t sit around and mope about Stage 1 and 2. You have to get your act together!

Luckily for me, Ms. Pragmatic that I am, I reached Stage 3 within 24 hours. Credit here must be attributed to my amazing friends (for complete credit list see end of this post) who helped me beyond words. I did visit Stage 1 and 2 many times after and sometimes still do. It never really completely leaves you.

And there was more to they say, when it rains, it pours! And boy did it pour!
So a month from this traumatic experience, my divorce also came through formally. For the very first time in life I needed to work not simply because I liked to, but because I had to. I needed a job to keep a roof over Sanil and my head, to buy food, to pay school fees and PUB bills- the usual humdrum stuff that you don’t really think too much about.

Even though the job search was on in full swing, it was so damn scary! I would like to pause here thank my family and friends who as always came through for me. I cannot believe the amount of help and support I was offered without me even asking for it. Words are too small to express my gratitude.

During this time I also had to get used to something else. Which by far was the toughest. During Sanil’s March school holidays he was meant to stay with his dad. Living without Sanil for 10 days were one the worst ones in my life. I used to sleep, cry, sleep, cry some more, watch TV, eat, cry, watch TV, sleep and did I mention cry? And continue looking for a new job with the warranted enthusiasm and energy.

All this lasted a mere 3 weeks
A minor blip in the grand scheme of things, no? Of course at that time it felt more like 300 years. Within 3 weeks- again thanks to an old friend, he knows who he is- I found a new job. Not bad! Keeping in mind the economic scenario of Q1 2009, I didn’t do too badly.

I had to take a pay cut and position cut, but hey, I had a job! One month- that’s all it took for me to land back on feet. Of course, I still felt bitter and cheated, but thought best to look ahead in a positive fashion.

Positive yes, but I am a ‘zero expectation’ person. When the going is tough, set your expectations at level zero, sub-zero if you can help it. So here were my expectations from the new job:

1) I will HATE it.

2) I will not make any friends.

3) No one will like talk to me.

4) And I will reciprocate by not talking to anyone (except for work of course).

5) Everyone will be stupid.

6) I will hate it (again!).

7) I shall be miserable.

8) Its a job. It pays. I need money to run my house. That’s all that counts.

9) Office is in CBD. First time in 10 years of living in Singapore, my office would be in CBD. Ok, here is something to look forward to- cheaper lunches than Orchard road.

10) I can take the shuttle bus and save $$$$ on taxis. Okie, one more decent thing. (See bus-fuss post for my love for shuttle busses:

As you can see no. 9 and 10 were the only positive things on the list. So thus I started my new job from ground zero. Only onwards and upwards from here on! (Or is it upwards and onwards? In any case, it’s some lame management mantra).

I started work with a single thought- I shall do my best, be nice (or at least try) and aim to learn something new. Ok, that’s not really a single thought, but never mind!

And I got that and so much more!

1) I actually liked people I worked with (majority of them anyway)

2) And then liked me (little surprise there, that was kinda expected ;)

3) I did not mind the work too much

4) I actually enjoyed not being the sole person responsible for everything

5) I made friends and started having fun! Looking forward to office even

6) The lunches, coffees, chats, gossips, drinks, jokes, pranks- loved it all! In fact it sometimes reminded me of “Ambience” days (see Ad Mad world post for details- Where I started my advertising career in Bombay and made friends for life. (You ladies know who you are :)

Besides work
Things were going well too. Sanil was blooming, as usual. We had great times including my brother’s wedding where the whole family got together to celebrate.

I started my new life dividing my time between being Sanil’s mum and career minded single woman. Enjoying both roles tremendously.

And I managed to achieve many firsts:

1) First time I held (and used) a hammer

2) First time I filed my own tax returns

3) First time I took charge of my finances

4) First time I bought insurance (I know I know, it’s silly but things like “buy insurance” never really made it to my to-do list until then)

5) First time I took a vacation alone (see first 3 posts in the blog. That’s where I started this blog- on my holiday in Langkawi).

While I liked my job (and LOVED my friends), the working hours (and few other issues) were simply not making it worth the effort. So I started looking for new opportunities and a remarkable one came by rather quickly.

And then I decided to take the real estate plunge. After a year of researching, viewing, home loan comparing, I purchased an apartment for Sanil and myself. It was all bloody nerve-wracking. But I did it!

So in one year:

• I lost a job

• Found a new one

• Found a better one

• Resigned from the existing one

• Bought a house

• Travelled

• Made new and fabulous friends

• Watched Sanil grow and thrive

It felt like I have lived a whole lifetime in this last one year! And a big thank you to you all who made it possible.

In no order of priority I would like to thank:

Archana: The first person I called upon reaching home from losing my job. You were preparing Arusha for her Hindi exam. But as soon as you heard my voice on the home, you came rushing. And did not leave my side till I had finished crying.

Cherylene: Who has been my sounding board for everything “work related” and beyond work too. And who made me see that no matter how bad things are, look at the positive and the frivolous side.

Rachel: The only person I know who can insult me to my face and still make me laugh- every time!

Riva: Who has been a pillar of strength and always been there when I needed her.

Kaylin: Who is sweeter than chocolates we both love. You exude a calmness that’s simply radiant.

Aarti: Who is one of the most warm and loving people I have met (and it helps that you are the same size as me and have excellent taste in dresses)

My Tanjong Ria friends: You are just the best! I know that circumstances had put you in an awful position but you all chose to not take sides and simply be there for me. I shall never forget that!

My Park Shore friends: You opened your hearts and homes to Sanil and me. And never once let me feel alone. And thanks for including us in the funnest trip ever! We have to do another one this year :)

Eton House mummies: For your unconditional love and support. And the lovely coffee chats.

Kishore and Pam: Even though you are far, you were there whenever I needed you. Miss you guys! Come back!

My brothers: For checking on me, for making me smile, for looking out for me, for being the best possible brothers a sister can ever hope for!

My sisters: For letting me rant, for tolerating my snappy behaviour, for listening, for making me see the lighter side of life again- movies, shopping, desserts- nothing is the same without you!

Unnati: Without you I would not be me. You know everything about me, and still love me. That’s something!

Mom and dad: For never questioning. Your love and support gets me by.

Rose: For nourishing my body and soul. For looking after me like no one else can.

Andrew: The first person I turned to this day last year. And who was there for me that day. And every day since then.

Neel: For holding me when I was falling. For helping me pack and most importantly for getting my red chair back 

ICLP/TLG friends: You guys are my oldest friends in Singapore. And am so happy that you are still in my life!

White boy: I could not have done any of this without you. Your unfaltering support and unwavering faith kept me going. You once told me “Whatever you choose, choose happiness”. I never knew you were the one for profound words , but those words influenced a lot my decisions. Thank you. For everything.

Sanil: And finally, the reason for my existence. The source of my happiness. The joy of my life. As I always say, thank you Sanil. Thank you for choosing me as your mum! I love you more than my life.

If I have missed anyone else, I blame my age. And please accept my heartfelt gratitude for being a part of my life and being there for me whenever I have needed it.

1 comment:

  1. Read it once…read it twice.As a friend I felt a surge of emotions coming over me, broke the state and read it once again, but this time as a stranger and found it truly inspirational!!!Keep smiling....