Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Who holds the custody of your remote control?

When I was a little girl, I never bothered about exams.

My parents would tell me, "Tum achhe se padhai karo, achhe marks apne aap aa jayenge!" ("Study hard; good grades will find you on their own.") I remember listening to them, I remember nodding, but I do not quite remember doing the "achhe se padhai" bit. I guess I was too busy running my gang, and bashing up boys of the neighbourhood and playing gully cricket. But the second bit was true -- somehow I managed to get good grades. "Just chill and you'll be fine" was my motto. But I knew. That as long as I brought back good grades, Mom and Dad would let me have the illusion that I decided things about my life. That I was in charge. And I have no regrets. I needed that 'safety net'.

As I grew up, there were more decisions to be taken. And there was always someone to do it for me, or help me with it. After each of Dad's transfers, Mom and Dad would decide which school I should attend. In the 12th standard, when we had to pick a subject between Maths and Biology, my Maths teacher had decided that I would be dropping Bio. "You're gonna phodo (blast) the Maths exam! Drop Bio!" My Bio teacher sad, "Drop Bio? Are you crazy? You're gonna phodo the Bio exam! Drop Maths!" They even 'advised' my parents on what I should take up. In the end, the four of them left it to me, "Ok, you decide what you want to do." I gave up and took up both Maths and Bio because they seemed to have made the decisions for me anyway. Another false impression that "I made my decisions." But again, I didn't mind 'cos I liked both subjects. And because it made all of them so happy.

In 1998, when I got notification that I had been selected for the SIA-NOL scholarship, Mom and Dad told me that I was free to make the preliminary decision. If I wanted to take it up, then they would start thinking about it and tell me their opinion. So all of a sudden, at the age of 18, I was to make not only the first proper decision of my life, but also the biggest. It was daunting. I made the preliminary decision and they supported it. But I guess it wasn't really 'my decision'. If they had said no, I'd be in India now, and still have no regrets about rejecting the scholarship. I'd still be happy with my life.

This wasn't over. I came to Singapore, joined NTU, and the Ministry of Education had already decided my course for me. And so I studied something as incredibly boring as Electrical and Electronic Engineering. NTU had decided which hostel I was to stay in, who my room-mate was to be. And yet, I never regretted not having full control over my life. I was enjoying the experience of seeing where life was taking me.

So basically, all this while, I'd been using others' suggestions and advice as my safety net for making decisions.

And now, I feel like I am finally out of the warmth and safety of my cocoon. I am ready to take full control of my life. To make some decisions by myself. To take on the world. To hold the remote control, press the buttons with steady hands, and not regret it later. To not have to justify. To not be questioned.

To wake up suddenly, feel like doing something, and actually do it. By myself.

People often ask me, "So why are you doing a Master's course?" I tell them, "Well, I woke up one fine day and suddenly felt like it." I get surprised looks, but it's true. Frankly speaking, I don't think I have fully figured out what exactly to do with a post-grad degree, but at least I do know that I want it. So there. I asked no one, consulted no one, no one made any decisions for me this time around. It was a bit scary, yes, 'cos this time, there was no safety net, it was purely my decision to juggle my stressful job with the part-time course. I realised that there would be a change in my lifestyle, and I'd have to give up certain things, and that it would eat up all my savings. But I believed in it. I knew it was something I chose for my life. And that realisation helped my fear to subside. The remote was really in my hands. It wasn't easy, but who said it would be?

And that’s when I realised that these exams are different from school exams and the "marks apne aap aa jaayenge" is not gonna happen if I don’t "acche se padhai karo". Sheesh. But true.
So suddenly, I found myself studying for exams. Actually studying for exams. Seriously. And not to forget the lucky charms. I believe that wearing/carrying gifts given to us by people who love us, fills us with positive vibes. So I had on me as many gifts from people as I could -- a silver pendant, silver earstuds, perfume by Guess, a white top, an anklet, an Egyptian bracelet with my name engraved on it in heiroglyphics, the works... before I marched into the exam hall.

I'm gonna do all I can to do really well in this course. Because the decision was mine and mine alone, and I am going to stand by it. Even though I know that no matter what I decide for myself, or how I carry it through, or how many mistakes I make, I will never regret it.

'Cos
I have finally signed up for full custody of my remote control, and there's no turning back.



47 comments:

Raam Pyari said...

i cant believe this!!!!
i am first!!!!
wow

i'm throwing a party!!!!

Naveen said...

Sayesha, you write so well...

On a similar themed conversation in my school yahoo group, I commented

"It's so very refreshing to see people coming out and saying why they do what they do. In retrospect, if you can justify what you are doing, it is an indicator of your character. I mean this should be a case in point for everybody."

eh! said...

very nicely written!

wat`s the take on .."bashing up boys of the neighbourhood" :P
ur teachers` advisory indicates u were a gud student :D
whew! I wud have crumpled under such load of gifts! btw, pretty positive conviction!
absolutely on spot ..its time to stand by ur decision ..and prove urself right :)

gud luck

Anonymous said...

One reason why I have an affinity for your blog is because I admire the choice that you've made. I see people around me who are apprehensive about taking control, and are happy to let the choices choose themselves. But like you've said, actions gain greater weightage when they follow up on a choice that one's made on his/her own.

Then again, is it the weight of the decision that drives you or is it the love for what you've chosen to do?

-- Another blogger trying to regain custody of the remote control

Sayesha said...

#Rinku,
Hahaha! Hey, do I get invited? :P

#Naveen,
Thanks! :) I believe that our decisions are governed by our choices, and we do not have to justify it to anyone, sometimes not even to ourselves. What's important is to stand by what you chose 'cos you chose it. And of course, the courage to admit that you made a mistake if you did. And again, to stand by your mistakes too. After all, aren't we all experimenting with our lives?

#Last Czar,
Welcome to Sayeshaz! Thanks for dropping by! :)

//wat`s the take on .."bashing up boys of the neighbourhood"

Yeah, it used to be one of my favourite past-times :P

//I wud have crumpled under such load of gifts!

Read the list again, dude. It's all girly stuff, you dun want gifts like that! Or do you? ;)

//its time to stand by ur decision ..and prove urself right

Now that's questionable... you may be proved wrong, and you gotta stand by it too, hai na? :)

#Anonymous,
Thanks! I guess it's the unknown that scares people from experimenting. I too did not breeze into this. I was scared as hell, cos no one (including me) knew what I was doing with my life. But now at least I can proudly lift my head up and say "I made my choice, and I'll stand by it."

//is it the weight of the decision that drives you or is it the love for what you've chosen to do?

If the decision becomes a weight, I say change it. After all, who says a decision is for life?

To answer your question about what drives me -- I guess it's the way of living I have created for myself over the years that gives me a lot of fulfilment and happiness. All my decisions revolve around that. :)

ps: Hope you regain custody of your remote control, buddy!

Humjoli said...

incredible sash, my story is bit similar to you. i also got out of my small town at the age of 18 for higher studies and eventually took the remote control of my life in my own hand.

took decisions of my life on my own since then. this is a different thing that few decisions have gone terribly wrong but so what, at the end of the day i am happy to have taken those decisions. today, the way i see world and face life would have not been possible if i would have been 'lakeer ka fakeer'.

Aethyr said...

ALl the best with ur exams and with ur decisions..

i have already taken control of my life.
21, living alone, working, studying, and doing the media course against my parents wish. some people say i dont care for my parents and all kinda crap like going to marry some guy(LOL),

im doing something which they were totally against but something i always wanted to do..so i m doing. i know i am not doing anything wrong and now after 6 months i see change in my parents attitude.
and now when they say 'we r proud of u. '
i cant tell u the feeling..

and i wish u very best of luck with all ur decisions :).

PS.u took me to a place where i dont visit often ..:) . Nice post.

rimjhim said...

#Rinku,
Hahaha! Hey, do I get invited? :P

Saeysha...RUN
Ruchi is goin to beat u up...it was her..who wrote first comment.,NOT ME:) party me we both will go..ok?

I didnt know..aapko her jagah mera naam dikhta hai...Wish U were a boy yaar..thoda flirt hee maar letee :()

and yet another time..gud post Sayesha..
//there's no turning back.
Hey dont turn if..if its dirty ..hehehe pj tha

Jay said...

Even though certain things were 'decided' it was U who made the final decision to abide by what was decided aint it? The control was always with U then,it just that now U are aware of it.

Sayesha said...

#Humjoli,
//this is a different thing that few decisions have gone terribly wrong but so what, at the end of the day i am happy to have taken those decisions.

Couldn't agree more! :)

#Aethyr,
It's true. If you believe in it strongly enough, others will too. :)

ps: Thanks! :)

#Rinku,
Gosh! Aaj Sayesha pitegi! Ok baba, now that you have kinda invited yourself, you can come too! What say, Ruchi? R-U-C-H-I!! ;)

#Ruchi,
SORRYYYYYYYYYY!!! :(

#Jay,
Actually I didn't feel the kinda control that I do now, so maybe it was just control on a different level, where you're just one small contributor in the decision-making process.

Leon said...

I think I can safely say I don't have full custody of my remote control.. After all I'm doing a course as 'incredibly boring' as computer science.. :p.

Maybe next year.. I will.. :-)

Shuuro said...

Until now i was thinking that you are studying seriously for your exams because of that cute guy in your class :-P. Nice to have control over ones life, specially when these decisions influence future events in our life. By the way, in which subject you are doing your masters?, just curious about your interest, if you don't mind?. I wish you good luck for the rest of your exams.

When it comes to my studies, i'm too confident about myself and very lazy. Every time, just before the exams realization dawns upon me. Its more like one day batting and later repenting!.

Sahil said...

Its great that you finally are in total control of your life. You make the decisions, and you don't have to answer to anyone about why you chose to do what you did. And you know what? The more decisions you make the better you will get at it. You will make wrong decisions along the way no doubt. But the key is to actually MAKE the decision. So many of us go through our lives not making any decisions. We just say how we wish things were:

"I wish I had a better job"

"I wish I earned more money"

"I wish I was happy"

"I wish I could lose those pounds"

But these are just preferences that we state - but its not until you actually act upon it that you make that decision.

Kudos to you, for taking charge and making the decisions you want for your life. We only have one life, so it's better not to waste it looking around for the remote control.

ps - I love the analogies you make in your posts. They make so much sense, and makes it all the more interesting.

pps - Thanks for the reference to my post yesterday. Didn't it freak you out how we wrote about the same thing on the same day? Or has it happened to often already? :)

priya said...

hey ppl..priya's back to blogging with priyaunwound.blogspot.com..
hey sayesha.. sorry for using ur blog as a marketing platform...but cudnt find a better place :D

..p..

Raam Pyari said...

hmmmmm...so now i am rinku???????
hahahahha!! wow!! i mean i dont understand it..like ruchi does not even resemble rinku..so like how come u got confused???
* advances towards Surabhi with daggers in her eyes, in fact with anuder dagger in her hand, BHAAAG SURABHI...BHAAG!!!!*

*bursts out laffing*

viv said...

Wow! Another gem... Keep it up! :)

Do I have my remote? I suppose so, but sometimes, I wonder if I forget that I do have it with me.

There's something more to think about... that sometimes, the TV is being shared. Maybe at times, it is more important to know why you are watching a channel than whether that was what you wanted to watch... Ideally, both are true.

Do I make any sense? I'm tired :P

Vikram said...

Way to go! Bravo! *applause*

Pradyot said...

>>Mom and Dad would let me have the illusion that I decided things about my life
so very true. :)

It's a scary situation to take control completely on yourself. Wouldn't it be nice to have a contingency plan or an exit plan?

Rays Of Sun said...

Hey Sash!

As usual lovely story and shades of my life.."acche se padhai karo" and "gully cricket" though I have "not beaten" up guys..

I just went down the memory lane..

Ashish Gupta said...

so very true!
and glad that you are working, earning and living ur life upto ur mark :)

almost everyone does that! I dont see an exception nearby (i mean around here in blogosphere!)

Harshi said...

I totally identify with the feeling Sayesha. It feels good to be 'in control' of one's life, shaping our lives the way we want, learning from our own missteps. It's really nerve wracking too, initially, but maybe we outgrow that feeling. Yes, our family and friends and other well-wishers are always there for support and help, but in a way, I am sure it makes our parents feel very very proud (even though, perhaps, with a pang of the pain of separation?) that we are standing on our own two feet.

Harshi said...

>>I see people around me who are apprehensive about taking control, and are happy to let the choices choose themselves.

Liked the comment made by 'Anonymous'. It's so true. Sometimes, we can feel so 'frozen' with our fear of making a choice, and that state is even more terrible than the one if we made a wrong decision, through a wrong choice.

Although, not making a decision is also a decision, but that's a very painful load to carry I think.

Rays Of Sun said...

#hershey,

Sorry for using up your blog space, but I hope you dont mind.

@Although, not making a decision is also a decision, but that's a very painful load to carry I think.

See, X "decides" to marry Y, but later finds out that he is a loser. She "decides"on not marrying him.

Isn't that a decision too??
And to think of it, something that would have saved her a lot of pain in life:)

I think, this was on my blog y'day:)

Liked the comment made by Anon:)

Harshi said...

ROS! Hey, no sorries :-)
Yup, that's a decision - Of "not" marrying Y. But by "indecision" (and yes, I remembered that from your blog) I meant the position of deliberating between "marrying" or "not marrying" Y. It's like standing at the crossroads, not knowing which way to take, or "afraid" of taking One way, in fear that it might be the wrong way. That's a painful position.

Rays Of Sun said...

Hershey!

yeah thats a difficult crossroad to be in..I agree...but I did not mean indecision is a decision, see what am saying..now these people are gonna oust us from here:D

Harshi said...

Yeah I see what u mean ROS.

Hahaa..haan, Sayesha hume dafaa na kar de...lol

Sayesha said...

#Leon,
All in good time :)

#Shuuro,
I'm doing a course in Mass Communication. And I've better reasons to study than cute French exchange student! ;)
ps: Thanks for your wishes! :)

#Sahil,
I'm probably not in TOTAL control of my life, because there are too many factors that affect our lives, but at least, I know I have the remote control to change the things that I CAN change.
ps: Thanks :)
pps: Doesn't freak me out anymore :)

#Priya,
I remember Viv doing that some time, he posted "a letter to Virdi" on one of my posts, and it had nothing to do with my post! I'm gonna have to charge you guys for stuff like this! :P

#Ruchi,
SORRRYYYYYYYYY... maaf kar de yaar... I know it's almost unforgivable a mistake to call a person by someone else's name, but maaf kar de na... yeh soch ke ki Sayesha ka exam hai... bechari ka dimaag na jaane kahan rehta hai and all that... chalega? :)

#Viv,
The TV is always shared, but there's only one 'ruler of the remote' and that should be you. Yeah, sometimes, we just end up liking the channel someone has already chosen, and we don't change it, but we CAN, you see. Cos we have the remote. We just choose not to. So in a way, we're still deciding the channel.

Do I make any sense? It's 6:45 am. :P

#Viks,
Nothing to be 'bravo-ed' for, but thanks! :)

#Pradyot,
All my life, I've had the safety net of advice, suggestions, or just someone else making the decision. But one day, we all have to wake up and make decisions without any safety net. And that comes with the responsibility of admitting a mistake if one was made, and making the most out of it.

#ROS,
There's plenty of guys on this blog to beat up, girl! You can start with Ashish Gupta, go on to Virdi, and finish with Vikram. And oh, don't spare Parth! ;)

#Ashish,
Before the MACs raise their swords (after all, Thursdays are MAC nights at Sayeshaz), I gotta clarify that this is not a self-glorifying "ooh look I am in control" post. This is merely a question, asked in the title of the post, and my answer to it.

So yes, I agree, Ashish, everyone does that. They just do it at different stages in life.

#Harshi,
Yeah, I agree with every word. It's scary as hell at first, but then you get used to it, and then you start liking it. :)

#ROS,
Yeah, some people are fortunate enough to be able to "decide" against their "decision" before they take it. But others have to "undecide" after the decision. There's no right or wrong to it. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

#Harshi, ROS,
Ok gals, bahut ho gaya! Outta here, you two!
ps: Kidding kidding! :P

Harshi said...

hahaa

Sayesha, tumhari gal-bashing bhi bahaut first class hai :-) lol

Maza aaya :-))

thoughts said...

wow.. envy u... after all these yrs i am yet to fig out what i want to .. how i want to do.. and the finally take the plunge :)

Sayesha said...

#Harshi ki bachi (ki ma),
Baby I'm going rather easy on you two.. I'm specialised in beating up guys yaar, ladkiyan toh rone lagti hain.. :P

#Thoughts,
Hey, welcome to Sayeshaz! :)
Haha! I'm the LAST person to have figured out what I wanna do with my life... I have decided stuff, but not figured anything out yet... am utterly clueless! And loving it! :P

Sahil said...

One of these days you need to tell us about some more of ur 'dada antics' and how u used to beat up guys.

Still find it hard to believe u were a bhai. What with all those delicate hands and all :P

Parth Anand said...

Wonderful post..
if you feel you have taken over the decision making role..it only proves the maturity level. I mean, when we are young, you can't make your own decisions, your parents lead you, then at certain stages you follow the trend of your peers...but then later you discover yourself, you realize what way you want to lead your life..you evolve...taking things in your hands...and now you have your parents and friends to back you up and feel proud of you...

on a lighter note...yeah yeah you should post about your "dadigiri"..how you terrorize poor little kids and guys...

//You can start with Ashish Gupta, go on to Virdi, and finish with Vikram. And oh, don't spare Parth! ;)
And now she is tutoring other "seedhi saadhi" girls for guy bashing as well :)

viv said...

// I remember Viv doing that some time, he posted "a letter to Virdi" on one of my posts, and it had nothing to do with my post!

Hey, come on yaar! I did that because Virdi had locked me (all Other and Anonymous users) out of his blog! No choice lah.

Bhole said...

That's how it has always been...most of the decisions have been driven by the situation. I have no regrets whatsoever with what life has given me so far. But for once i want to call the shots.

LOL @ You're gonna phodo....

Are you from bombay by any chance?

Ravi said...

Acha baba samjha.

The sense of being fully responsible brings the best out of us. I am still not fully responsible for my life. It is going to take some time I guess.

//"Well, I woke up one fine day and suddenly felt like it."
//So there. I asked no one, consulted no one, no one made any decisions for me this time around.
Try as much as I can but I can't figure out how could you have made the decision just like that. You see, even though you might not have consulted anyone, the decision would still have been based on something you know about the masters. Maybe the course, maybe the proffs - you would have had that information & decided that yes you would like doing that stuff. But without any info it is not possible to make a decision. Now even this info would have come out of some sources. So in a way don't you think those sources would have influenced your decision? This happens to me all the time. If I have to make a decision I collect information. The information is subjective & will definitely influence what I decide. So our decisions are influenced by the environment & the experiences we are exposed to.

Sayesha said...

#Sahil,
//Still find it hard to believe u were a bhai. What with all those delicate hands and all

Don't let appearances deceive you, my friend. You will know. When we have that fist fight that has been pending for ages.

#Parth,
Thanks! :)
//And now she is tutoring other "seedhi saadhi" girls for guy bashing as well

Oye! There's no seedhi saadhi girl on this blog! Hum sab ek number ki gundis hain! ;)

#Viv,
//Virdi had locked me (all Other and Anonymous users) out of his blog!

And even then you didn't get the hint, huh? :D

#Bhole,
True, the no regrets bit is most important, cos otherwise it wastes a lot of time which could be otherwise well-spent.

//Are you from bombay by any chance?
Nope. :)
But I heard they have amazing pani puri there? That's more than enough reason for me to visit it the next time I go to India! Yum! :P ~

Sayesha said...

#Ravi,
Missed your comment cos we posted at the same time.

I'm talking about my decision to do a master's, not where to do it. All the research about the course and the uni and the profs came later, after I'd woken up with a decisive "I wanna do a master's in Mass Comm."

Ravi said...

Again it would have been based on info on mass comm wouldn't it? Chahe hum kuch bhi chahe, wo chahat kissi jaankaari ki buniyaad pe tiki hoti hai.

Sayesha said...

//Again it would have been based on info on mass comm wouldn't it?

Obviously, Ravi. Gosh, I wouldn't wake up and suddenly decide that I wanna do a phd in jamming mitigation, when I don't even know what the hell jamming mitigation is! Hai na? :)

This post is not about jaankaari, it's about faisla.

virdi said...

sayesha>> carry your pretty hands with you, you will pass with flying grades... ;-)

Raj said...

Well, till you are a teenager, sometimes you actually feel good about having others to make decisions but being able to make your decisions yourself feels great. Its a li'l scary cos there's nobody to blame but the high you get when you know you made the right decision is worth it.

MeAwinner said...

Bewdi !
Tera kuchch nahi ho sakta.. your exams are till 16th,,, :D i though u wud really try to away from Blogging.. i know. u love to blog cant b away thst nice.
Post is really COOL! I believe in this.. take a decison and stand by it.. its not eazy who said so :)(re-iterating this) This takes guts and Courage which really not everybody decides to have.. (again a decision and stand by it )

Even I have taken Control of my life.. I might have mistaken at some point of time..(But I am proud of that I Did so & learnt something from that) Just to move ahead...

Keep it Up !
Best Wishes.. Take Full Control of Life
Maneesha !

Sayesha said...

#Virdi,
Oh man! Thanks so much! I almost forgot to take them to the exam hall! Tere bina mera kya hoga re?

#Raj,
//Its a li'l scary cos there's nobody to blame but the high you get when you know you made the right decision is worth it.
So true! :)

#Maneesha,
Yaar yeh orange juice cheez hi aisi hai, peete hi chad jaati hai... ab bewdi kya karegi? :P

MeAwinner said...

Hey Sayesha ! I really feel to call you Bewdi !(if u dont mind...)Bewdi.. of life.. bewdi..of Blogging..Bewdi of 'doing different' Bewdi of 'thiking different' Tere liye kuchch drinks available hain mere Bar me.. welcome.. toing check out !Specially on the occassion of my B'day come and enjoy !

Cheers !
Maneesha

Anil said...

I love what you have written. Sometimes we just have to decide the course of our lives ourselves. Do something because *we* want to do it, not because doing it will make dad/mom/neighbors happy. Who cares if we mess up that way - at least we'll be happy that we tried to do something we liked. Shabaash mere puttar!

Sayesha said...

#Maneesha,
Hi, I'm Sayesha. You can call me Bewdi. Naam toh suna hi hoga? ;)
ps: Thanks for the invite, I've been to your bar before, will pop by again soon :)

#Weird Hair Anil!
Thanks! :)

//Who cares if we mess up that way - at least we'll be happy that we tried to do something we liked.

Couldn't agree more!

MeAwinner said...

Thanks Bewdi :P

Maneesha