Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Balancing Act

If balancing is a law of nature, then we need to work harder towards it. At every step, on this tight rope walk there seems to be a threat of falling. Yet, at every step there lies another chance to balance your act. The steps we will measure in this article, are after you have covered 1/4th of your journey, have put on new shoes and have a new partner in the game. Lets discover the success of your journey as you walk with your partner and your your laces just opened.

'Marriage is an institution that brings along great responsibility' for sure, it redefines the meaning of most of the things in your life and sooner or later you update your dictionary to write a new page and then new chapters. Yet, many people fail to give it its due and do not live up to the most important test of life.

We all have heard stories, where ambition, career and money overtake you in your journey, or spill oil on the rope and you have a bad fall. There are so many cases where men and women, who are working towards their career paths forget that the person walking with them is equally important to balance the rope and even though they take their steps quicker, they don't reach far, because either the string tying them to their better half pulls them back and they tumble over or they stop to cut it off where they waste their time and energy. At one point, filling up their treasure chest, climbing up the corporate ladder blinds us of our responsibility, but is that the right thing to do? Doesn't that mean that we have failed in the most crucial test? how does any other success count after that. Recently at work, our team was having a conversation over lunch about some of the top entrepreneurs in Australia (would refrain from taking names), their bank accounts, success and commitment towards work. For more than our designated eating time, each of us could not stop us from praising their efficiency, business acumen and luck. Suddenly, I popped a question at the group. If these people were spending 18- 20 hours in a day working, they must be doing a good job juggling between family and office. There came a prompt and insensitive reply, as if I had asked one of the silliest questions.' They are divorced'. 3-4 people left their partners as they got into the second year of their business. That left me disappointed. Indeed they would have had their side of the story, but success and lack of time did bind these cases together.

One of my mentors once said, having a companion is the best thing that can happen to you, and there is so much you can do with this relationship. It can be your comfort cushion or your punching bag in times when you need it most. Being together is not just about a social tag, about cooking together, cleaning, lovemaking or having babies. It is an inspiration that brings the best in you and makes you take that next step and achieve whatever you want to.

When parents match horoscopes before 2 people get married, they talk about happiness and being compatible.. but what does compatibility mean? liking the same actor? cuisine? having common friends or sense of humour? its none, its about making the other person feel beautiful feel inspired, happy and lucky to have the other person. Its about inspiring your partner to lose that extra kilo, send one more job application, spend hours writing your business goals and celebrate success together.Together both of you should make the best team to achieve everything you have ever wanted to.

I don't write this as a reference from an article,movie or observation, I say this from experience. I got married last year and my husband and I came together leaving differences such as language, cultures, interests and continents. I come from a marketing background, trying to creatively find beauty in everything and my husband is a hotelier, who loves the grandeur of things, numbers and his financial express. My perception of marriage was very similar to what most people have, but after living it for almost a year now, I can see 2 reinvented people, two people who have had their dreams but did not have a direction and as they came together, they became a team who can take on the world and realise both their personal and professional aspirations. In spite of our differences we found a common ground and enjoy what each of us brings to the table, to complement each other as tea and cookies.

Leaving India and shifting to Melbourne was a challenge, plus dealing with a new lifestyle and the fact that we were married now, it brought new experiences and discoveries. At many times I found it difficult to settle into work and personal life, but as soon as I took one step backward, my husband would go out of his way to bring back my passion and encourage me to do things I love, things that define me. That is why I am back to writing actively and have made it a part of my routine. It was never about , you 'have' to adjust because you are the wife and that's the rule, it has always been about finding each others passion and making it our strength.

The worldly truth is that each of us has dreams and no one but we have to work for them, so why not dream together and achieve more by putting in the energy, personality and commitment of two people? Another truth is also that to realise dreams it is important to quantify them, we need to know the destination and then pave a path to follow. Weekends are the best time to do this. In the beginning of the year, Me and Manav , sit down on a Saturday afternoon, enjoying some beer and cold cuts. We decided to chalk out our 5 and 10 year goals individually and then discuss them. After an hour of thought and getting personal space to introspect, we started to talk. Surprisingly, we not just got to know much more about each other but also saw similarities in out personal aspirations and decided to work together on our professional desires.

A typical notion is, that a wife desires and a man fulfils, which i disagree, we both should equally contribute towards the future and be ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of the other emotionally, financially and otherwise. I know that Manav wants to own a certain car one day, So, I will put in my best to help him get it, that's how we create a balance.

So, its time to let go of stereotype notions, hypocritical mindset and work towards bringing the best out of your partner because when you reach the end of the rope, your success would not be complete with only the money you have or the designation you hold, what would make you truly successful is how well you balance your personal and professional attributes and make a beautiful life and strong team. Because when you celebrate the smallest success with your partner, it would be an overwhelming experience, which is hard to describe and harder to replicate. It is called "love'.


Joe Pinto said...

My dear Shrinkhla,

If you have to make reflections like "The Balancing Act" genuine, you will have to share live examples from your own personal life.

This may mean a certain amount of intrusion into your privacy as a couple, but there is no other way, if you want your readers to take you seriously.

Otherwise, what you write will remain mere platitudes on paper.

Let me give me you an example from my own personal life.

In 1990, while I was assistant editor at Maharashtra Herald, Pune, and had been married for eight years, my wife Kalpana got the Commonwealth Scholarship, which is an open merit scholarship to do her PhD in Britain.

There was no way she could accept this offer, if I did not agree to go with her to the UK. Our daughter Pallavi was three years old then. Can you imagine, my dear Shrinkhla, the two of us in Pune and my wife doing her PhD in UK for three years?

No way!!!

So, I decided to take three years leave without pay and accompany her and my daughter.

Even today, I do NOT (NOT) view this as a "sacrifice". Crores of women, including my own mother, have gone along where-ever the jobs of their husbands took them.

This is taken for granted. So why should husbands not accompany where the jobs of their wives take them?

Remember, I hated the cold & wet weather of England and when we returned in 1993, I described myself as a "survivor". (I am writing up those horrid experiences on my blog. I shiver at the thought of those dreadful years, even as I write these words.)

What did I get in return for the adjustment or compromise I willingly made? I earned the permanent love and respect of my wife.

But more than that, I was able to build such a durable bond with my daughter that it will endure no matter where she goes.

Today, she is in the US for further studies and our "Sweetu-Baba" bond keeps us together, across the seas.

I know there must be examples, big and small, in the first year of your married life, my dear Shrinkhla, which have inspired you to write this piece.

I exhort you to share them on your blog, if what you write has to mean something to us. Agreed, it will make you and your partner vulnerable. But that is a small price to pay, if we can learn with you.

Peace and love,
- Joe.

Rimee said...

Hi Shrinkhla

I love and agree with the balance we need to make between profession and personal life. Really important for a health life. No way can survive with all your attention towards work.
However there is other side to this coin too. There might be some who are too engrossed with there love lives. Is that correct would a relationship survive if its more tilted towards it? Can love survive or I should say how long will it survive if one or both of the partners not working to have the basics of life working?

Shrinkhla N. Khera said...

Hi Sir,

Thank you for your valuable feedback and it indeed makes sense.

To begin with, I couldnt agree more when you talk about husbands encouraging their wives and doing things that motivate them. Your contribution towards your relationship is way beyond monetary benifits.

As far is citing examples from my personal life are concerned,when I started writing this article, I knew exactly why I was writing it and wanted my readers to have an open mind and think about instances from their lives which put them in a similar spot without ristricting their thought by leading them to a comparison with my life. But, after I wrote the article, I felt there were so many more things I wanted to write about and this thought was running in my thoughts even hours after I shut the computer.

But, yes, I do agree with you now that I should cite examples to make the reading more engaging and realistic and I will surely edit the article or rather elaborate it soon.

Always look forward to your feedback.


Shrinkhla N. Khera said...

Hi Rimee,

Thank you for your feedback.

Yes, there are some people who bend the extreme way and fail to give due to one aspect of their lives. There is no way a human being can survive without working and earning his daily bread, leave alone a relationship.

That is exactly what I am talking about- The balance, It is of utmost importance to maintain that and what I am emphasising on is the partners to keep motivating each other and be supportive so that they achieve all the wealth and success in the world together, through a common effort.

That is what me and my partner work towards. To build a multi million dollar empire, we have to keep each other positive, inspired and loved and that is when we succeed as true partners.

Hope I answer your question.

Keep writing in.


Drashti said...

Bravo Shrink! Loved this one almost echo my thoughts! :) Look forward to newer posts!

Anonymous said...

Reading the past posts and comparing with this one makes the reader wonder - from creativity to a road of make-believe realities - what happened to this author midway...
Joe very intelligently picked up on the truthfulness of the 'truth' stated here. He is trying to clarify for the sake of the reader and for you as to what is the real passion that you seem to be searching and working your way around for? To the reader , it’s clear as mud as to where you are headed individually even though to your own self you probably have answers chalked out which you are not ready to reveal out loud.
Marriage is as beautiful as you make it out to be, however no amount of beauty that 'surrounds' can replace the beauty that ' resides’. The past monologues with yourself are very crisp and vivid and must say – especially spiritual - while this one is a merely a bubble of clashing thoughts you seem to be floating in a superficial world of western madness.
An institution where you do not have a choice, and the so-called passions ‘have to be’ ignited more often by another than yourself, is a sign of what is and what is to become. Regardless of the umpteen occasions you are down and out, and the fact that you are resurrected back in a 'functional condition' by say- husband or children or joe-blogg or xyz, the fibre of individualistic progression seems amiss in your prose. The fact that you are working to achieve a car or a house or a solitaire or anything your soul seems to hunger for- as a dream should never get in the way of you assuming your peace with yourself. Life offers opportunities to a better consequence than sacrificing your inner resonance under the garb of a successful relationship. Not saying, leave the relationship alone and ride your own cart, labour hard as long and as much as possible, however imagination and realisation of that imagination are two different processes.
Relationships work two ways as Joe says (very impressive example coming from an Indian man changing locations for his wife’s career and support- not sure how many have the guts and ego to do that..Kiran Bedi’s husband is a fine example of male ego and societal norms creating a sad sham of a marriage), and for the next post the reader to believe you more, would like to know how is your better-half contributing in realistic terms to gather an understanding of where your passion and heart lies, where you wish to be in the life you share with him and where your goal and soul both merge in oneness with his support. Marriage is the way you define it to be, and if the T & Cs are all spelled out in the most apt format which seems to work for you, then you shall have to be the happiest person on this planet!