Monday, 27 April 2015

a small lesson in life...

Thursday- Strangely I needed to make a call to Adi (my husband)... strange because I hardly call him these days... We talk mostly through 'whatsapp'. And as I started scrolling through my recent call list I realised I hadn't made a call to him the last 1 week! Wow! 

I still distinctly recollect I got my 1st phone when I started working around 1998/1999. It was one of those 'then' cool 'Sony Ericsson' (blue) colored phones. Not to mention it was passed down to me by my sister! Yet it was the highlight of my life. Sending a message to someone was the coolest thing to do then. And today, life moves only on messages. No one has the time to talk. My 'cool' (almost teenage) nephew refuses to go shopping with me and suggests that I 'whatsapp' him whatever I choose for him, and he shall let me know if he likes it! I think this is a good training ground for me before my girls grow up and I face a similar situation!

Saturday: I have been making rounds of the Singapore Squash and Tennis centre every Saturday evening. My nephew (visiting us from India) gets trained there for squash. Being a bit far from home, I have to spend my 2 hours there. At this location is this quaint cafe (and the only place I can sit peacefully and write this blog). Seeing me a 2nd weekend, the cafe owner got chatty. More than him, I was curious to know how did he get to open a cafe here, is this what he did all his life? My brief 15 minute chats with him was an eye opener for me.

An IT consultant who decided to take a sabbatical, go to France for a month and get trained to bake breads, pies, croissants (undoubtedly the most yummy ones I have tasted). Came back to Singapore, found this highly unattractive location and starts to live his dream. Why do I say unattractive location? Well this location is not in a commercial/ market area, its not around where expats live, there are no other shops around that area. But yet this guy took that bold step and started this cafe. And mind you he is half Japanese and half Brazilian who speaks fluent French and he sells to a large local population.

I learnt a big lesson when I chatted with him. If you have a dream, you can live it by taking baby steps. Its not important that every dream has to be big and there is no 'one' way to do it. He got this location at a good cost (that he could afford), he worked hard on his clientele, and what he bakes is excellent.

Every dream comes with a fear.. A fear that you will fail. But a small start makes that fear less daunting. Atleast you are living your dream every day!Strangely this bakery doesn't have a french name- it's called Bread King and its written in Chinese style- he says that's my main clientele and why should I have a name that no one can pronounce!!! He knows most of his customers by name and they all call him 'Pedro'- his first name!! 

When I walked into his cafe that evening I had asked for a croissant but he hadn't baked it then. As I was ready to leave after two hours, he made sure I had a freshly baked croissant on hand! True marketer and an equally good baker!! That's probably why people drop by to buy even just a loaf of bread from him!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

is it really simpler now??

Friday: Our house was suddenly brimming with action! Family arrived from India and there was noise everywhere. It's a rare sight. We live such regimented lives, I could spend my entire day without talking to anyone (if I don't make that effort to step out of the house). 'Chaos' was the word to describe the scenario. Time spent at the meal table is suddenly more fun with kids arguing, teasing each other, playing table games (even the 3-year old insisting to be a participant). I am happy for a change no one asks me 'what's for dinner tonight'. They rather ask me 'so what's the plan this evening'. Simple pleasures of life. I can suddenly see the '3' kids (including an almost there teenager), doing things for each other. Be it playing lego or game of UNO together, dancing to 'Uptown Funk' or playing cricket with the 3-year old. Guess each of these will be memories as they grow. 

I know none of this will last forever but am certain it surely will lay a foundation to their future relationships. For the grandparents these are golden moments. They get all the kids together and can nurture them and shower them with all their love. Of course deciding on what to do becomes the biggest challenge (you have to appease the 3-year old and the 13-year old). I probably understand the 'thrill' of bringing up 3 kids now! You are a unit in yourself- you really don't need company!

 Monday: My 7-year old and her 2 friends have been practicing very hard the last few weeks. For the first time, she has moved beyond her comfort zone and is getting onto her school stage for a performance. Anyone who knows her, will know this is a big deal (for her). So we have been spending a lot of time chauffeuring her around. Of course the (hyper) mother in me was trying to close all the loopholes for the registration for the performance etc. I suddenly get a mail from the school that the registration date has expired and I missed it in the school e-newsletter! And my reaction was 'Jesus, this can't be true'. Probably the school had some sympathies towards us (mums), and they made an exception and enrolled the kids in.

And then it got me thinking. These days we better be on top of all the communication channels- e-mails, letters, whatsapp, messages, viber, facebook, snapchat! Not a day goes when all the above are not checked. Life was simpler when we were kids. We only had to hand-over that circular to our folks and it said it all! What will happen if I decide not to check my facebook/whatsapp/messages for a day!! And despite being on top of it, I missed it! Good or bad- again no one right answer!

Thought with technology life should be simpler but is it really getting simpler?? I still have a bit of the old school in me- like to read my newspaper every morning, still liking writing the birthday cards, can't get myself to read an e-book (can read only short articles on my phone). I hope I don't reach a stage where I have an empty mailbox one day!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

some of my fears....

When was the last time you overcame a fear you've had for my case since childhood. Darkness and the water (swimming, pool, ocean). I always feared playing 'dark room' with my cousins and friends. I would run out of the room if it was dark. I never set foot into a pool when I was a kid and if ever on a boat etc, I always feared it toppling and my face under the water.

Of course as you grow older, your fears start to fade away. In my case, darkness was something I had to overcome (without a choice) when I started living alone. I had to battle out those dark moments caused by power cuts, walks back home after a late night at work, entering a dark house. But I would still console myself by leaving some lights on while sleeping, run into the house the moment I am out of the lift. 

My running route at 5:45am!
Recently (just over a year ago) when I got into my running routine, I had a few questions on my mind- when should I go for my runs? Would the mornings or evenings be better. If mornings, I didn't want to disturb the routine of the kids and be away while they woke up. So the only 'fitting' time was the wee hours of the morning- ie 5:30/5:45am! So I thought it was all sorted and felt a happy mother- I would be back to wake the kids up!

When I stepped out for my 1st early morning run, I looked in all the directions (that I could possibly go). Some were well-lit and some had patches that were eerie and dark. Yes the fear of the dark did get to me, but strangely I was ready to leave it behind and just run. Was it my yearning for my new found pastime to run or was it me just a bit older and wiser now? Of course I never make the mistake to turn back and see how dark it is behind! I fear I may not be able to run further...Today I fearlessly run in any direction with the only fear that a cyclist may knock me down!

My second weakness- the water! A few months back, I had a chat with a friend. We both expressed our desire to do a short-kayaking course (why did I say yes, I am still not too sure). We told ourselves that we will try and do it in 2015. Which meant I had to overcome my 2nd fear and I needed to step into the water/pool. 

The pool view from my home
I coaxed a close friend (whose a good swimmer) to teach me to swim. While doing my 1st class, I asked her "why did I shy away from this all these years?" Was I conscious of people watching me? Or did I really fear the water? I am not sure what the right answer is. I was happy (that atleast at 39 years), I pushed myself to get over my 2nd fear in life! I may have a long way to go, but I feel the moment you take that baby step, there is no looking back. My 1st class at swimming felt like the day I ran my 1st 1km! Today I derive pleasure when I go for my runs, hopefully it will feel the same when I swim one day!

Like my husband put it across well, "You are living the lifestyle of the poor and famous these days- yoga, gym, run, I really can't complain!" That's true. Most of the items on this list were on my bucket list (when I was working). Probably 10 years back if someone told me this is what I would be doing or enjoy doing, I would have laughed it off. But I think it's my irony that each of these today give me a 'high', and they manage to fit into my day (somehow)!