Unemployed -Yet I will Win- No one can defeat me

Everyone has a dream to be something in life. For me, there was no concrete dream. In my school days only two disciplines drew my interest. One was medicine and the other was the armed forces. And in both spheres, service to people and our country is what attracted me the most. Yes, I will not deny that the glamour of the uniform too played its part.  

However as time passed, I did not pursue either line and took the path of statistical analysis, calculations and conclusions. I still did keep my interest on, in the field of human biology and did read up on all army valour stories and others whenever I got the chance.  I finished my education and did a stint with a firm too for a year before my interests caught up with me but in a different form. I married an Infantry Officer and I quit my job to roam the countryside and take care of my family. So, yes I am UNEMPLOYED.

But am I really unemployed? No, I am not. It’s just that I am not being paid for my services. For taking care of the family comes under things we do selflessly when it is your family. And once you are married to a person in the forces, you automatically become someone who selflessly serves the nation alongside her counterpart.

This military life of mine was a complete new journey into the unknown because both of us had no family background in this field. And what a wonderful journey it has been. I became aware of new protocols, various etiquettes to be followed etc. Not that, one is not civilized but there are some protocols which are followed in military which makes it, a wee bit different than other professions.

Being married to the uniform, I learnt a lot, which would have been difficult, had I made a career elsewhere. In my initial days, I was taught etiquettes of how to behave with seniors, tackle the difficult ones with grace. I learnt how to carry myself elegantly, how only clothes do not make a man, how one needs to be careful in ones dealings and that, sometimes if things are not handled well it can create chaos in one’s life. One also learns to grow up in some areas as the world has changed rather progressed. And we also learn to gauge how much mental peace matters and accordingly meander ones way in a non confronting manner where required.

Dining etiquettes were fun till the time I did not have to pick a fork to eat non veg food. And then all my confidence flew out the window. But thanks for the hearty bunch of people that we had surrounding us who made it easy for me to adapt. They were all very good catchers, always ready for some entertainment and if it involved chicken, then wow.

Being brought up in a nuclear family, it was scary to cook for an entire gang of bachelors but their easy attitude and the camaraderie one developed with them helped us bond over. Everyone contributed in the kitchen and I too learnt how to make food at the drop of a hat for them. Yes, for a formal party of sorts I still had my struggles but when the youngsters come to help you out clandestinely, you realize everything is beautiful and possible.

One day out of the blue, I had a youngster coming over and asking me for coffee. He seemed a little down so I asked him if anything was troubling him. And I came to know that my better half was the source of his disappointment. And at the same time, it dawned on me how beautifully the official things did not perforate our inner sanctum. That cup of coffee still serves as a reminder of all that is good in life. We did have an adhoc party that night and well the next day the official things took its own course but I knew in my heart that we were on the right track to make friendships even in this senior-junior setting. And also, not to forget the charm, the multicolored bottles have, to smooth things over.

Observing, I learnt that when at the top, how necessary it is to give people, the benefit of doubt and be magnanimous. How it is extremely necessary to be good in ones work to help create a niche for oneself and not let be taken for granted. How, being responsible sometimes means ticking off people. Till the time it is done for their welfare, it is good. No one, these days wants to be the bad person but for small happiness in life we are wrecking the lives of people, we call our own. After all, not everyone who messes with you is your enemy and not everyone who saves you from it, is your friend. And when in a real mess, one should know whom to trust before opening one’s trap. This was an important learning of life for me.

This ongoing journey of mine has taught me how to handle my personal life gracefully and with calm. Being part of functions and organizing them while handling a small kid in six yards is no mean feat for our generation. But I swear, I did learn to manage it, to cook fast (though at times ‘khichdi’ still remains my blessed meal) and most importantly learnt time management. It is one of my biggest achievements and all this with my OCD for neatness and cleanliness.

As an introvert person, I learnt to do small talk. Fear of facing the crowd was again completely crushed thanks to my seniors and in part thanks to all the events which kept us busy in our station. Like we do with children at school, one is nurtured to do different things whether one knew or not and guided. This in fact actually helped us rack our brains and come up with innovative ideas. We learnt tough love.

Being good hosts, learning to imaginatively decorate our houses, craftily hiding faults, painting and putting up own canvases in stations, learning to use our hobbies and developing new ones to adapt to places where not much available were our gains. These were small achievements, but worthy ones nonetheless which we could garner.

And all of this, while handling our better half’s erratic schedule, tantrums of our children and their ever increasing load of studies.

I have also had the privilege to meet families of the soldiers, my husband commanded (be it as youngster or as a boss) and talk with them too. These soldier families helped change my vision and perception towards life. To respect them and take care of them became my responsibility for their husbands are the ones who would be the backbones of mine, there in field. And to create a bond with them was an eye opener of sorts. From them, I learnt about the concept of ‘courage under fire’.

Learning how to handle a group of different people and make them into a cohesive group for some joint effort was also a work in progress for me. How little joys illuminate their lives. Working with them, I tried my best to make their experience in the new station beautiful and worth remembering. In the process, I learnt how people react to your proposals. How one can motivate them, how to ignore the ones who can derail things and still work for the overall benefit of those who need it, and more so on how to keep oneself motivated in the face of opposition. To till the earth, you have to get your hands dirty. It was a beautiful experience of sorts to understand how life works. It helped broaden my horizons and hope, as well as theirs to work towards a better and fulfilling life. A life, where in we feel pride to do a job for our country and put it on the map, be it in whichever field, we aspire.

As an army wife, I have had the opportunity to interact with kids of families too. It is nice to know about their life, their aims. Everyone wants to make their lives better than what it is at present. Talking to them, knowing their troubles, helping them add finesse to what they already have, though small is an achievement in itself, for one never knows the moment which can help make a change in their lives. After all “boond boond se sagar banta hain”. They are our future generation and their capability must never be underestimated.

As life progressed, I understood that we all are born genuine but slowly, we learn the various tricks and traits of human life. To observe is not a crime but how to use something one has learnt is a judgment call. Army is all about following orders. And this reminds me of the famous line from the movie “A few good Men” – ‘We follow orders or people die. It is that simple.’ For us, the better halves sometimes we may find it difficult to understand the reasons behind a particular order but now with time I have learnt to have faith in the organization as things are always done for the larger good. And we need to adapt or adjust to such situations with dignity and equanimity.

Also, I believe having an ego is not bad. For sometimes, it comes from a sense of belongingness too.  Yes, but where, when and how to use it is an art. Anyone can lead a life just for self, for that is the easiest thing one can do. But living it for others makes us happy and our life more beautiful.

Maybe that is the reason, they say, you put an army wife anywhere, and she will bloom. She is a ‘sampoorna naari’ and a “Jhansi ki Rani” all rolled into one. And, am proud to be one. It is not that things come easy but we learn as we go.

In my journey, I have learnt empathy. Before I assume, I ask. Before I begin with anything, I try to know more about the person. Knowing things and actually putting it to practice are again two different things. I also learnt not to discourage anyone but tacitly guide them.  It is a journey where we start at the bottom rung, rise and then come to a plateau, for all cannot be at the top. With time, we have learnt to fight for our own, defend our own and stand together when required for our own. Through these little journeys, we have learnt to fend for ourselves as well as to give back to our society.

So you see I may be unemployed in monetary terms now but am still very much busy. And a day would definitely come when all my efforts will not go in vain but I will gear up and be of service to my nation and also earn for myself. How, when and where are some questions which I have no answer to for now. All I know is I have a long road ahead, first to help build my family and when that job is reasonably done to spread my own wings and soar. 

I do have a dream now and it is a wish that my heart has made. Am sure, all the knowledge that I have gained in my journey till now will come to fruit one day. I will win. I may not be perfect but the road to perfection is always open. My learning days will never end but yes my days to experiment with life in real earnest will begin. I will win, I will survive, I will reach my pinnacle.……No one can defeat me in my spirit to rise and shine for I am geared to fly…

–          Deedhiti Jai Mudliar

 

The Blue Rakhi of my Childhood

Pic Courtesy: Lavanyaec.com

Rakhi Day is underground day. Confusing isn’t it? It’s the boys who should be worried about searching for underground bunkers to hide.😜 And lo! here I was trying to find one.

The reason was very simple. I absolutely did not want to see other’s happiness, exchanging love and gifts and here I was trying to untangle my hair while handling my naughty little sister 😠.

I realized very late that I yearned for an elder brother. But by then God Almighty had already earmarked me to be the eldest. And there lay my grievance. Now, who would irritate me, bully me, play pranks with me ( not that a sister cannot do such things)but the most important -who would ‘manao’ me when I got angry with him. Here sisters are useless. Ghar ki murgi(girl-girl you see….we all know each other’s female wiles) after all is daal barabar 👀 😉. 

Left with no real elder brothers, the focus fell on my first cousin about a decade older than me……😇. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but who would like a sis tagging along when you want to look cool for your girl friends🤪. Focus areas different, terrain different (difference in customs)and no synchronization,  what more do you need for your plan to fail.

With nothing left to do, the ‘Bada bhai Mubarak ho’ search was dropped and an underground bunker sought out for the D day 😥😢 .

Growing up in a govt campus, we had a whole bunch of bhaiyas and didis and children our age and younger……We all used to huddle together and play hide n seek. During winters, we would exchange our sweaters and misguide the person searching for us, hiding in the staircases of buildings etc…Playing lagori with aunties or cricket with uncles etc was routine part of our fun. We had days when the elder didis and bhaiyas used to tell us several ghost stories or otherwise thereby entertaining us.

We never realized how we had started caring for one another without a visible decorative thread to tie us in a bond. However, the stickler for things that I am…..my bunker days were still there.

However,  on one rakhi day, my friend, Monu and me were watching TV rather watching Ramayan at his place. (Those were the early days of our idiot boxes). After the serial got over, I don’t remember why, when and how he ended up typing a rakhi on my hand. It was a blue, soft silky thread rakhi with a cream colour background.  I still remember that first rakhi of mine with fondness. I remember going back home and telling my mother and showing off the rakhi with pride. Someone thought me important to tie a rakhi on my hand. Yes it may have not been in a typical fashion but nonetheless for me it was special.

Yes, we have drifted apart and not in touch anymore but the childhood time that we had, will always be cherished.  With time I have left my bunker and have started to acknowledge the bonds beyond the threads of Rakhi. Friends who become family, who will trouble me no end, pull my leg but dare allow anyone else to do the same. Some quietly care for your well-being, help out in easing our work, help cover for us if things don’t go as expected….and so much more…..Care, friendship, sisterhood, brotherhood ….whatever you call it, all have their own worth….

Sometimes even a rakhi is not enough to express that deep an emotion.

So to all my friends, associates,philosophers and guides, I pledge to take care of you as you have of me in different arenas.
My this blue rakhi of my childhood 💙 has made life and the bonds that come have come along, special.

Though a tad late, nonetheless Happy Rakshabandhan to all of you!! Stay blessed!!

– Deedhiti Mudliar

Dt. 24.08.21

The Little Things…

The butterfly flitters about….
One plant to the other…
While the dew drops on the leaf
Makes a rainbow with the sun
The flowers entice the bee
With its pot full of nectar
And I love to see this joy
From my view, yonder.

I wish to hold the butterfly
And watch its colours, beautiful.
Make dew drop earings for myself
To shine its sparkle plentiful.
Make a bouquet of flowers n greens
And bring it to my mom..
Watch the smile light up her face
And happiness flowing along.

These little things of nature
Lights up my days
While I sit with my mother
And shush the blues away.

– Deedhiti

Dt. 21.07.21

A coffee morning

I wait for the blue skies….
With their clouds breezing by..
Playing with the trees and flowers
As birds n bees, go about their tasks.

No harm in day dreaming
If it gives one pleasure
But what to do…
If the sun refuses to measure

The weather plays truant
But there’s nothing to be done…
So why wait for an ocassion …
To have some fun.

These thoughts just drift in…
And am about to turn the kettle on
When news of this visit, comes along…
Brightening our monotonous routine up.

The thought of coffee …..
Brought us this cheer…
So you can imagine the wonders
Our get together can conjure.

A window to new thoughts n ideas..
And of discussions and camaraderie nice…
Its over this brewing hot cup of coffee
That we welcome you in our paradise.

– Deedhiti

The Esoteric Call 🤨

A courtesy call it was…
To ask how one was….
A formal hi and bye
Transformed into a stir fry 😓😨

The slip of tongue so fast
Couldn’t sugar coat the whiplash.
The sarcasm for concern,
Betrayed in the cards.

Silence on deck
Reversal , the test….
But the deed once done
Can’t be undone.

The crack in the egg, now visible…
To mend it, next to impossible 😢
But there’s always a silver lining in the cloud
And a scrambled egg, is all I can think about. 😂

  • Deedhiti
  • Dated :6th July 2016

The Enigma Called Life

Somewhere life is beginning
Somewhere it draws to a close

We live life thinking there’s no tomorrow
The present too, not sure about its impending sorrow

Life is but a gamble ….
To do or not to do – the million dollar question

Same situation, varied reactions
Their effect too, different.

Being mysterious is God’s way
Faith , its ultimate price to pay

Belief in eternal goodness of life
Is the absolute thrill in life.

Time is always on the run
Explore your life in the sun.

Friends and foe alike
Make the journey alive

For a straight line is said to be dead
But a curved one can change fate.

Deedhiti

Dt. 30.6.16

My tribute to my Granny

She and I had a different bond. Had the opportunity of spending a lot of my time with her. She was not educated in English but i remember she sitting with me and making me do my maths homework when I was in std 2 and my ma was in hospital.

She taught me responsibility and that one should have intention.

Early morning she used to go to the market to do the ‘bajar’ for the family. All the vendors knew her including the maach(fish) walas. They loved their mashi. Never did she receive spoilt vegetables or fish. When she could no longer go to the market, the Maach wals delivered the fish at home. When her helper used to take her bag to get vegetables for her, they recognized her bag n gave the boy whatever she had asked for.

She taught me how to be nice to all people.

After the death of my grandfather, when there was no one to come n stay with her for a few days after we left, she refused to come with us to Nagpur. I remember she telling my dad, :Dilip Aajge chole gele aar fire esche thakte parbo na.’ (meaning if i go away today, i would never be able to come back to live in this house.) She stayed in that house alone for almost 10 years before she left us.

She taught me you have to fight your own battles. People will be there to help but still the journey is yours.

With lots of time in her hand, she made ‘godris’ for the arrival of my daughter, ‘asans’ by hand and also baby clothes. She used her free time for her garden too. She knew how to keep herself busy.

She taught me to keep myself busy always.

When her health started deteriorating and she was restricted to the house still she was so strong to handle herself. Requests to ask her to come and stay with us permanently failed with her telling us that she would do so when the time came and she knew dat she couldn’t handle things anymore.

She taught me self respect and self reliance.

Now she is no more but i miss her so. Kolkata to me was my grandmother. She was my teacher for a lot of things. My recipes were very good and expensive too coz they always involved a phone call to her which never lasted less than an hour. 😛

She may have been my grandmother but she was also a mother to me in a lot of ways. So thank you Dida for being such a big part of my life. Wish u had waited for 10 odd days so that i could atleast have seen u alive.

But thank you nonetheless for all those precious moments you have given me. Keep blessing us from above.

Happy Mothers’ Day to you too!!

– Deedhiti Mudliar

Written way back on 10th May 2015.

Mother’s Day Wisdom

‘Happy Mother’s Day, mom’ chirped my girl as she sat down at the breakfast table. I quietly said ‘ Thank you’ and went about my work when her next question popped up. ‘ Did you wish granny?’, she asked and I informed her that I had messaged her on Whatsapp, to which she indignantly ordered me to call and wish her at the least. I nodded in affirmative and went off to the kitchen. 

Seeing everyone’s happy faces with cards and cakes on their whatsapp statuses, the idea of me getting exchanged at birth or having being slapped elsewhere but my bum,  at birth ran through my mind. However,my confusion did not last long as the bulb in my brain lit up and I realised that my genes were the one to blame.

Belonging to a family of introverts and being inordinately shy seemed to be the source of my plight. The essence of tremendous happiness searing my being but only a smile on the outside to show for, was our standard operating procedure. My earlier attempts to make changes led to my expectations and reality jinxing my stars and there I stood looking like a fool of sorts.

Wanting to avoid my daughter’s questioning further, I did call up my ma but ended up talking about all things under the sun but for wishing her. Now it’s my firm belief that if I traverse off the beaten path and go all mushy mushy, it would ring alarm bells in their minds and lead to a rush of 911 calls to my better half to check for delirium, with the next flight leading to his adm inspection.

However, my close friends and people I care for, other than my blood relations would surely beg to differ for they know, I can go bonkers with my emotions with them. And that people, is a beautiful part of my personality and please mistake it not, for dissociative identity disorder.

And now, before I go the Robert Frost way towards the yellow woods, I come back to my string of thoughts on Mother’s Day……or for that matter Father’s Day or Siblings Day……I do not have a way with words when it comes to them, right now……..like I could not do it for my ‘dida/granny’ till the time she was with us……so there are going to be awkward expression of feelings……Changes and subtelities, I have observed, like the hug, my father now gives when he says goodbyes……and I know about the hug we (mom & me) want to give each other but we can’t and instead my daughter gets this big bear hug compensating for both.

My sis and fighting partner, with you, it always will remain a mock fight of sorts…..no overtly senti business at all, else we both will be giving each other company in some asylum.

So, you see….my morning darbar with my daughter that day resulted in this cascading flow of thoughts and led me down my wacky world, full of my quirkiness.

And now before I feel out of box again, let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a ‘Happy International Family Day!!’ In advance.

– Deedhiti Mudliar
Dt. 11.05.21

Pulwama Attack: Black Day

पुलवामा वार: ब्लैक डे

बड़ी बेहरमी से चोट पहुचाई आपने
न करेंगे माफ और ना ही भूलेंगे हम, इसे
मुह तोड़ जवाब इसका, तो देंगे हम उन्हें।

फर्क रहेगा, पर तरीके का दोस्त
शर्मिंदा करेंगे, जड़ से उखाड़ेंगे…
नामो निशान मिटायेंगे, पर प्यार से हम।

दुनिया देखेगी और तारीफ भी करेगी
हमारे तरीको की नुमाइश भी होगी
तबाह अब हम करेंगे और चू तक न होगी।

– दिधिति मुदलियार
14.02.2021

Happy Birthday Dida!!

There from above, I feel your presence
Hovering over and blessing me
Little by little, I slowly realise
How beautifully you have guided me.

The guava and papaya trees ….
And blooming gardenias wait to welcome me.
The silhouette of you standing in the balcony
Is all that kolkata represents to me.

The old house no more
But kolkata still beckons me ashore….
Your heart and soul lies there…..
And it seems, its embedded in me too somewhere.

Be kind and have courage
Not only Cinderella’s mom taught her to be
But through your actions and words
It is what you too taught me to be.

To stand tall amid stormy seas
Have patience where one needs
Life is beautiful with its little things
Respect them all, for its the way to live.

Thank you for being there
Thank you for loving me…
Thank you for being so strong and independent
That I have no choice but to emulate you.

Happy Independence Day, Dida n a very happy birthday to you!! 💝💝💝💝♥️♥️♥️♥️

  • Deedhiti
    Dt. 15.8.20