Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm on my way ( I don't know where I'm going)...*

Disclaimer: Wordy post ahead........

Lately I seem to be reading a lot of "why do you blog" posts over the interwebz (I think it's only because I see what I want to see? I do see a whole host of other lovely posts, but these stick on in my mind because they resonate with some inner disquiet I guess.). It's no secret to regular readers that I have been facing a degree of ennui over this blog, it's lived out its course as an inspiration journal of pretty images. Yes, I still find them pretty and inspiring and they brighten my day, but I've been possessed with a need to open up more, let the sunlight in, expose my flaws (a perfect home is all so pretty in pictures, but it doesn't have the depth that lived-in clutter has, does it?), get to know you better, cement some friendships that have come my way...Engage, you know? and I have struggled with just how much of myself to put out there. The truth is, despite living this parallel life on the internet, I am, by nature, a kinda-reserved person (I make lasting friendships in real life, but I'm very selective with them. I can count the people closest to me on one hand.) So the dilemma always is: how much to open up? How much is enough and how much is too much? (I realize I've written something similar in a few posts earlier.... If you think I'm beginning to sound like a stuck record, I apologize!) So anyway, I've been working on a blog overhaul and I was designing an updated "about me" page and I kept getting writer's block because I had so much to say, but couldn't fit it into a chirpy, pithy "stick-around-for-a-while" type paragraph.  (some of you have to have been there! right?) It's hard to condense even one tiny facet of your personality into a tag line, you know? Tag lines just don't cut it sometimes, there has to be a story behind it, each one of us has them, why we read what we read, why we write what we write.......The most fascinating part of this blogging journey for me has been the people I have come in contact with. I've had the privilege to have known some of you through the stories you have chosen to share with me, and then there are those who remain a mystery... I love to imagine some of the stories by what you choose to say and what you choose to leave out......

So I'm here today to share one such story about myself, my effort to reach out...I'm going to leave out specifics, because they don't really matter. What matters is the essence, the journey, and the lessons it holds (if any). Ever since my trip to India, my mind has been dwelling on stories of my childhood, trying to reconnect with the girl I was before I became a teenager, a woman. This trip, I had the opportunity to sift through tangible evidence of those memories (see photograph). I was an avid journal writer and a bit of a  pack rat. I held on to old ticket stubs and coins and stamps. (oh, and my collection of Binaca animals (anyone else remember them? )Well, I discovered a lot of  my junk stuff on this trip, and strangely enough, the memories it held were just as vivid as if they happened moments ago.

Junk treasures that I hauled back. Picture, courtesy my scanner! *Title inspired by.

This is my story (aka what won't really be going down on my "about me" page ;) -->

The Gagan you have come to know through this blog is not me in entirety, it is a facet of who I am. This Gagan is a product of her upbringing, daughter to and sister of the women who occupied my peripheral vision during childhood. Growing up, My World  was focused on watching lizard tails fall off, following lines of ants around the garden, digging pools for kittens to play in in  the backyard, discovering how sweet and milky an ear of wheat could taste and walking around with the shell of an old camera (inherited from my grandfather, the lens was long-lost and it was just a rusty box, a skeleton of it's former Agfa glory) pretending to capture the clouds. And while I injected my dollies (and on occasion my mom's cactii) with healing serums(!!), they (my mom and sister) would be involved in the frentic pursuit of the next artistic venture, painting, embroidery, knitting, paper flowers, baking, cooking, stitching, batik, tie and dye, screen printing, collages, dancing, music, ikebana, crochet: there was nothing they left unexplored. And I absorbed it all, if only by osmosis. I learnt an appreciation for crafts from them and it shaped one facet of my personality. However, it all remained in my peripheral vision. 

I had other interests and I followed the logical course into my career.... One summer afternoon in eighth grade, in the last class before dismissal, and 20 minutes into Mrs Khurana's lecture, I discovered my calling. *Click*. It all fell into place. Over the next decade and a half (or more--I'm not going to date myself here! LOL!), I followed my dream with relentless dedication. And it took a lot of dedication to stay true because it was the difficult path. But, somewhere along the way, I was changing. Life happened and the dream lost it's luster. A highly politicized environment might have been to blame. It might have been the birth of my child and the accompanying physiological changes. It may have been a culmination of a lot of things, but somewhere along the way I fell out of love with what had once driven my every waking thought. It wasn't easy owning up to this though (especially to myself)--it took me years to reconcile with the fact. Because I had built my identity around it, Who I was was inextricably linked to What I did. (it wasn't easy, the break-up wasn't pretty and my husband was witness to the worst I had to offer. He stuck by me through it all and I love him all the more for it, now). I "took a break" and devoted myself to raising my child. Fast forward a couple of years and as my toddler went off to his first day of preschool, I approached my old demons...did I really want to go back to a career that I had spent years building, but had lost the passion for? The answer was no. I did however still love certain basic aspects of it and I wanted to continue to "study" it without getting my hands dirty again. So I chose to work on the fringes, working on delivering the content rather than generating it. It was oddly satisfying and I was content. Then came another upheaval followed by a few other major and minor tremors. I was back to the drawing board, directionless, curtailed by physical and administrative constraints. And I needed to reinvent myself yet again. That's when I found this blog. What started out as a diversion to keep myself from going stir-crazy as I waited for those restrictions to lift, slowly reconnected me with my childhood self, the girl who would willingly apprentice with her sister or mother as they followed their passions.

I guess I did absorb some of it after all.


Moral of the story: (because there has to be one! (or not! LOL!) ). It's never too late to be who you want to be(or to go back to being who you want to be). And you may not want to be who you thought you wanted to be. And it's okay to change your mind (several times over if need be). It's okay to be comfortable with who you are at the moment, even if you're just waiting for the flood to ebb.  If you want to stay that way forever, excellent. If you you want to change, excellent. If you want to revert back, excellent. It's all good. (It took me a long time to realize this.) Just do what you're doing today with your heart in it, so that you don't look back on this day as a wasted opportunity, with regret. 

Let's face it, we each have only this one life to live. Might as well enjoy it, no? What do you think--did anything up there make sense???? I'd love to hear more of your stories....


  1. It all made sense. Thank You for sharing. Send love your way, Gagan.

  2. Lady G, the more I hear, the more I feel we may have known each other. I am going to back to graduate school at 38 and I have realized it is never too late to do what you want to do. For the longest time, I also was trying to be what I thought I should be. But no more :). Remember its a journey. I also struggle with how much of myself to put out there because I am insane about privacy- I almost put up a picture of myself in the About section and changed my mind at the last minute. Every word you have written made sense.

  3. That might be the wordiest comment I have ever written :)

  4. A lot of sense... Gagan...thanks for putting yourself out there.
    Many of us so through similar feelings and circumstances, when we are trying to discover our true selves. Oftentimes, we do things that we should be doing...and we lose track of what we really want to do.

    So rightly said: "Just do what you're doing today with your heart in it, so that you don't look back on this day as a wasted opportunity, with regret."

  5. Gagan, I can relate to so much of what you have written. I have always been drawn to art, yet growing up no one really encouraged me. So, I ended up in the technology industry, did really well in it. But this dream of being an artist lived deep inside. When I was 45, at the peak of my career (as COO of a technology consulting firm), I decided it was time to make my dream come true. So, I quit, to lots of well-meaning friends and family thinking I was crazy to walk away from it all. I began my journey as an artist, my true self. It has been dream journey so far. And last year, another upheaval of sorts, the launching of my non-profit since now it appears my calling is to be of service:):) Who knows, what else awaits, but it is all good!

  6. Totally made sense!!! I was the same kid as you growing up! Well almost!!! :)

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  7. I have a long response to that, but am off to my mom's place for the day. So it will have to wait till I get back......! But till then remember I went to design school when I was 33 years old!!!! And never regretted it! Life is too short to compromise on what you love to do! More later......

  8. Gagan!!! so wonderful getting to know you more. Most of us would have gone through these critical points in life. I left doing MBBS in the 3rd year and imagine that was not easy in the time and society I came from, then finding a niche to your expressions , building up yourself again. I recently read somewhere - Happiness is not a destination and it is a way of life - how true and what matters is how happy and contented we are. Very true age is not a limit, imagination has no limits and when and why and what we do should be totally our choice (ofcourse we are a responsible part of the family and keeping that intact). I agree with you totally that - do the best you can do at the time, place and situation you are in and enjoy everybit of what you are doiing. You are very young Gagan and follow your dreams and that's what matters :-).
    PS: I always enjoy reading your posts - always reflective and those magical play of words - I understand you are a journal writer WOW!!!

  9. Gagan great post. Now I know you better.

  10. Hi Gagan,
    I recently visited ur blog & liked each n every post, now I've become regular visitor & started following as well. This post is like story of we all women(especially on blogoshere) who traded their career , dreams, wishes for husband & then kids. We all have something special in us and now as we all are on blogger with same interest & same story behind...lets start a gang of we all creative ladies and name it "Talent Gang" and lets rock the world.
    Best Wishes

  11. Gagan, I could have a really long chat with you after this...maybe we should meet :-) Seriously very profound words and its nice to know you better. I like to believe that blogging for me is very much "me"....and yet only a very small part of who I am. Not sure if you know what I mean. I am very social and yet very very private. I think the real "me" is reserved for close family and friends! As for careers, choices in life...etc I could go on endlessly, so lets plan that meeting shall we :-)

    It sounds strange but its true, some of the virtual friends I interact with could really end up being real friends, we just have to come up with an innovative way to make it happen:-)

  12. Thats a beautiful post Gagan, and I can just copy and paste it as my own. I can totally relate to it. the Sayantani the bog world knows is a another part of me which in reality a very handful of people has known. I have gone to NIFT after working in the export industry fr very long time. and to do that I had to pass many hardles ad thats a real long story...maybe a new post. but a heartfelt thanks to you for bringing this matter and fr such prfound words that nothing is wasted if we put our eart and soul to what we do. though we all know this but we need to be reminded it from time to sayantani

  13. Mm....where do I start...I can SO relate to what you have penned down...I went to B school and worked for a couple of years and then decided to give it all up for something that was close to my heart...but let me add here..I enjoyed the B school & the corporate world as much as I am enjoying the design world now:) Since I get to do a little bit of both its never too are never too go what your heart is asking you to, lots & lots of luck n love, P

    p.s. its a pleasure to read every word you really is

  14. Dear Gagan,

    Looking at the picture of your childhood memorabilia, it felt like I was staring at my own collection. I used to collect little things that mattered to me...all the way till I left home for work. During this India trip, I spent some similar "quality time" with the girl I used to be. Haven't been able to share it with anyone...bcoz I thought it was too private and nobody would understand anyway.
    But I think you will.
    Loved the way you have penned down your thoughts and opened yourself up. Great to know the "real" side of Gagan.
    Be happy in whatever you do....that's my wish for you.


  15. Glad you asked me to read the post G. I need to have a conversation with you on this post, but I'm reserving it for a few years ;) And looking by the deluge of comments, you've managed to touch a lot of chords!

  16. This makes a lot of sense. It seems many external and internal changes can change our passions, our careers, what we do with our days. I've also been through changes and surely haven't seen the last of them yet. Feeling the beginnings of another future change starting now. I've been through this enough times now to know it's a cycle to expect. And also yes it is hard to live publicly online for some. I don't know how so many people do it. I'd have a hard time blogging under my real name!

  17. G :) I can totally resonate with what you went through. Could it be everyone's rite of passage, I wonder, another phase where we get wiser?

    Also read some of the posts that I have missed while away from blogland. It's always a pleasure to be here :).

  18. Just saw your blog..happy that I came across it, being in the process of reinventing myself, mid-life. I liked the succinct sum-up of girlhood, reverting back. Will visit again.


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