Four Decades of Work in Progress

Baby Srijata Bhatnagar
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There is a lot of excitement in my mind these days, and why not. I am turning 40, yes, completing four decades of existence on this beautiful planet earth on the 18th of December. 

If you are thinking what kind of a woman she is, publicly writing about her birthday and showing her excitement at the age of 40, then let me tell you, I am not excited about the celebrations or gifts. Neither am I excited about the attention that I might receive. 

I am more excited because it’s time again to look back at the journey and see where it all started and where I have reached in this journey so far. Sure, the journey is far from complete, yet the progress does matter. 

The First Decade: An oblivious pampered child enjoying the bliss of life

Being the first child of my parents and first grandchild of my grandparents, I grew up with loads of love, care, and pampering. Mom wasn’t allowed to scold me, neither was she allowed to beat me up. My grandparents believed kids should never be reprimanded; they only need love and care. 

I believed in the rosy picture of life, happy in my comfort zone, royally cushioned by the family. 

This made me a stubborn child who would get her ways through pretty much anything that she wished—barring my demands for new shiny objects every other day. My dad had a weird theory for buying me anything that I wanted. He believed I needed to earn it. Therefore, every time I asked for that new toy, he would give me some substantial task. Only when I completed those tasks to his satisfaction will I get my demands fulfilled. 

His theory taught me to appreciate my new toys and care for them. All my toys were used and maintained carefully until my sister arrived 11 years later. 

The Second Decade: An awkward teenager learning the nuances of her body

Probably one of the most challenging times of my childhood. I was slowly learning about my body—the need to protect my body and myself. No one told me why I should be protecting myself? I always thought I lived among loving and caring people, then who would harm me? 

No one was there to answer this to my satisfaction. My tender body was grabbing the attention of perverts living around me in the disguise of human beings. Suddenly, I had to protect myself from the people who were so affectionate to me as a child. They had become potential predators.

Unknowingly I got caught in many unwanted incidents, including eve-teasing, following, groping, sexual harassment by people whom I was supposed to trust.  

On the other hand, I was seeing my friends who were boys had much lesser rules to bind them. They had the freedom to enjoy outdoors at any odd hours, whereas I didn’t. I started noticing the differential treatment for the boys of my age, which indeed felt terrible. I started questioning the ways of the society and faced severe resistance from people who didn’t know the answers or didn’t want to answer. That’s when the rebel in me was born.

Experiencing tender infatuation was another highlight of this decade. Very interestingly, even in such cases, it was mostly about fiddling with my body.

I concluded it was my body that was the culprit of everything; hence I started protecting it and stopped taking care of it. 

The Third Decade: A young woman coming in terms with the idea of self

The bad experiences of my teenage years had already shaped my mind by now, and I was becoming more and more rebellious and strong headed. It was time for me to leave my nest and fly away to fulfil my ambitions. 

On one side, I was becoming protective of myself; another side I was learning to understand my emotions and body better. I was becoming more focused on my career, my ambitions etc. At the same time, I was also experiencing genuine feelings of love. But, before I could realize what real love was all about, I had two terrible heartbreaks. These betrayals filled heartbreaks made me even more bitter and aggressive. 

I did discover true love soon enough. Finally, after many bad experiences since my teenage years, I found a boy who reached for my soul, instead of my body. I understood what companionship was all about. How the right partner could make or break a relationship and make or break your career. Today, he happens to be my life partner.

I was snowballing in my career, and life, enjoying the newfound companionship. I loved my space, my home, my career, and life. Even before I could realize, a prelude of the next decade started showing inside my body. I was pregnant.

The Fourth Decade: Motherhood, which helped in finding the fierce, confident, happy me

Motherhood changed me for good. It also took me through a massive change in my professional and personal life. Initially, I was resisting, upset over these changes. My inability to control my profession or life was making me frustrated. 

Eventually, it became more evident that I was put through the grind only to transform the Srijata version 4.0. It did take a few years, but it was worth it.

 

I started actively participating in my own life without leaving the reins of it on others’ hands. I also started taking care of my body and mind both. It sure showed excellent results.

The clarity that’s there today wasn’t there earlier. I am secure in life; I know my capabilities. Today I know when to say Yes, and most importantly when to say No. No one can take me for granted because I don’t allow anyone to do that anymore. Earlier I was aggressive from outside and messed up from inside; today, I am fierce from inside and calm outside. 

Because I changed my relationship with self, all other relationships improved too. Simply because I have stopped taking myself for granted others have also! 

Have I become perfect in these years? Honestly, far from it. Perfection is a myth. There are only perfect imperfections! The scope of improvement is always there. I have so many things to learn, see, do, people to impact. Indeed, miles to go, before I retire. Until then, I will remain a Work in Progress, and a beautiful, presentable mess!

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One Response

  1. A well written article. Here’s wishing you a Happy Birthday on 18th. I am sure in the course of the next 6 decades of your life make you the greatest thought leader, number one global celebrity speaker, great grand mother, and whatever else you wish to become. May all your dreams and wishes come true.

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