Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
#NoRegrets…Like really? This author says that it is not possible to live without regrets. But accepting them brings about gratitude for the life you have made for yourself.
“I have regrets…So what? I love my regrets.”
You say #NoRegrets and BOOM, all of it evaporates and life is back to driving at 40mph. I wonder how it happens? I wonder if it ever happens?
You think I should not regret the fact that I dated a married man and almost got him and his wife on the brink of divorce? I am glad he chose his wife over me, his eight-month-old daughter over our eight-month relationship. I knew it was wrong right from the start.
I knew what all it entailed, I knew I was bargaining for pain, debilitating pain for some time of ‘make-belief love’. I knew I was on a rebound and his shoulders provided enough strength to pull me out. Fifteen years later, I regret taking that step. I do not have any idea of his whereabouts – is he with his wife…what happened to his child, is he living or dead?
At night now, enveloped in my husband’s embrace and my twins in their crib, I am filled with regret and shame. To say- “I have no regrets” will be a big, fat lie. But there is a difference – I do not let the regret shred me to pieces and devour me. I accept my condition, my mistake and my choices, not to painfully grieve over them but to understand life, relationship, trust and commitment.
A lot of my gratitude comes from a corner of regret that I have. I can only pray, wish, hope that ‘his’ family is safe and pray for my family’s well-being too. This is the woman I have come to be now.
This post is one of the top selected entries from the blogathon #NoRegrets around Kaveree Bamzai’s inspiring book No Regrets: The Guilt Free Woman’s Guide to a Good Life.
You can also be a part of this blogathon by India’s leading publishing house Harper Collins. Write about the choices that have defined you as a woman. It could be your personal choices or career choices – a decision that you made and accepted with #NoRegrets, whether or not they met with the approval of everyone else. And do tell us what got you to the stage of sticking to it, with #NoRegrets as well!
Are you telling me I should not regret my lost dream of UPSC?
My father trusted me, believed in me, and expected much from me. When I stepped into St. Stephens, he had been laid off from his job… 15 years before his retirement. This broke his life into a million pieces. He is 68 now and his house back in Dhanbad still carries the sign Shri.DK. Talwar, Engineer, BCCL.
The organization abandoned him 25 years ago but he is yet to abandon it. For an IIT engineer, this blow was too hard and it hit right where it hurt the most. He withdrew from everything, did not work again and INR 15,000 was all he could manage to educate his two children in Delhi and ensure survival.
I got through St. Stephens and I started my chase for the coveted IAS. My father’s lost prestige and identity were at stake. He had turned his face away from life and I was his only hope. I also compensated for a not-so-talented, academically weak and careless, unemployed son.
Then what? I met this amazing man during the first year of college and tossed my dreams, like a paper ball and threw it out of the hostel room window, losing myself between the sheets.
I should have restrained myself when I first met him. But matters of the heart are not based on logic or rationale. They are unaffected by the reality of life circumstances and it crushed my father’s dream. I still see the remnants of charred dreams in my father’s eyes and I regret choosing ‘love’ at a time when I needed focus on my dreams.
I deserved to be somewhere, and today, I am nowhere near that.
The distance between ‘somewhere to nowhere’ makes me repent and my heart fills with remorse each time I face my father. But there is a difference – I try not to let my father’s disappointment burden me and my regret gobble up all that ‘I can do’. It has taken much heartburn to travel the distance between
‘I am nobody’
‘I screwed up my life’
‘I can’t do anything now’
‘I am somebody’
“I am fixing things that did not quite go the way I wanted them to’
‘I can do things for my life, so what if not UPSC? I can and I will and I did’
This is the woman I have come to be now. I know plans always do not work and I know if Plan A does not work, we have 25 more alphabets and plans to work with.
You’re serious when you say I should not regret leaving the safe and comfortable, high flying and paying corporate job to take care of my twins?
With four alphabets out of my life aka UPSC, and four more aka ‘LOVE’, married to somebody else, I turned my attention towards securing a career for myself and which I did. Then came motherhood and the safe walls of my life started to crumble.
Parenting can be ugly behind the coos and babbles, and photo shoots of babies with sky blue beanies and rose-pink bows. I lost my financial independence and the identity on which rested my self-esteem, my morale, my pride, my dignity and my very self.
Social media can go gaga on Mother’s Day on the Internet, books can be flooded with beautiful, heartwarming words written on motherhood – but the fact is that all of it is a sham, a half sham if not full. It is not as glorious as it is projected to be; not for sure when a woman has chosen it over her career.
You see, a career is much more to a woman than just a job. It brings to her a kind of self-fulfilment which she has been trying hard to achieve in a patriarchal society like ours. So, I regret sitting at home, cleaning Avent milk bottles, choosing between Sid, the science kid or Chota Bheem, pink and blue night suits with Spiderman and Princess Elsa prints.
It is not easy. Honestly, it is hard, very hard but I am trying not to let my regret spew poison on my children and cause them to burn.
A happy mom raises a happy child – Yes, I am aware but I am not looking for the heavenly blissful happy Mom state to fall on me. I wonder if it ever does.
You see, as someone once said – all moms are working, it is just that some are salaried… and it is this salary that makes things worthwhile.
So, I work, part-time, from home. And while I am not at the top of my career game, I am not at the lowest rung either. I am doing my bit both for myself and as a mom. The twins are important to me and so is my own being too.
The regret has made me come to terms with my own frailties, helped me accept that it is not about ‘getting it all’, ‘balancing it perfectly’ or ‘winning the race’.
My life has many ‘me’s’ and I have to take them all along with me, in an imperfectly perfect way. I am a human mom after all. This is the kind of woman I have come to be now.
It has been quite a solitary journey and as they say, “Until you are broken, you don’t know what you are made of. It gives you the ability to build yourself all over again, but stronger than ever.”
Each regret has brought guilt, embarrassment and suffering. Each regret has also brought understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness to self, and growth. The regrets have helped me become who I am today, and trust me, I am stronger, better and clearer because I have chosen to let them be a part of me. I have given them a place in my heart, where they don’t simmer and steam, rather they help me comprehend better, act wiser, appreciate the present and know for sure. Life happens, let us not judge.
During all this turmoil, I came across this book by Kaveree Bamzai. Intrigued by the title No Regrets : The Guilt Free Woman’s Guide To A Good Life, I am now curious to understand the perspective of Kaveree and all other inspirational women like Smriti Irani and Naina Lal Kidwai, to name a few, on living life with ‘no regrets’ and to see what life looks like through this lens. Is it possible? Is it doable?.. I will find out soon…
Image is a still from the movie Bareilly Ki Barfi
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