Three Decades With a Cop
Lalitha Sai and her Husband- Just Married
Life was not easy,
Life was also not bad,
Life had everything,
Life did lack something,
Yes, this is the life of a cop’s wife!
Our marriage is close to three decades now. Back in 1990, (June 13) I did not know what I was getting myself into. All I knew was I had to be patient and have a lot of understanding with a grumpy police officer. He too warned me that life would not be a bed of roses.
Lalitha Sai and her family after 25 years of marriage
But was he actually grumpy? Were there thorns? No, his heart was one that would melt with the warmth that glowed from within me. His spells of anger would fizzle when his eyes meets mine, full of fear of having incurred his wrath.
Beneath his hardcore exterior were streams of love in which he still bathes me ceaselessly. I bore him two precious jewels which he cherishes from the bottom of his heart.
But his call of duty was his priority. He was married to his job. There have been many a celebrations (marriages, birthdays and outings) without him. His absence has made us wince with pain, cringe with shame, and cry out loud for want of love. But, his duty had always been his priority.
Still, the man did turn the family livelier.
There were difficult times, best moments, lovable minutes and tearful seconds. But in all we were united as a family. To the best of my effort I tried to steer him clear of any family problems and tried to give him peace. But, he would not move away.
He has held our hands,
…in times of need,
…in times of physical pain,
…in times of mental stress,
…in times of illness,
…in times of delusions,
…in times of joy,
…in times of pleasure!
He molded every one of us to be independent and a leader too. He gave us all the space whenever we needed it. He taught us to focus on the good and not the bad.
Though there were times of regret about marrying a cop, I still think it is the best decision I have ever taken in life. For, he has been a real inspiration to his engineer son, doctor daughter and journalist wife.
In my view, I also think that though he had misdirected his official stress on his loved ones at times, he has always made it up with all of them.
I would be thankful if he can, to all his intimate relationships, give more patience and diligence and make them his priority. I thank God for making us a family and giving him to me.
If not for him I would not have known love, affection, compassion, interactions, build communication skills, leadership qualities and interpersonal skills. May God bless him with good health and mental stamina to take care of all us for many more years to come.
My wish, as always: Whenever Nature thinks it is time, let me be the first to leave so that I can welcome all of them one by one till they reach the feet of the Almighty. For I know not how to live without even one of them.
How has your married life made you feel, after all those years of togetherness?
This is an original post for World Moms Network written by guest poster, Lalitha Sai, in India.
Lalitha Sai, Journalist, India
Lalitha Sai, is a writer based in Chennai, India. She is happily married to a police officer. Her son is an engineer in Europe, and her daughter is a doctor in Chennai. She has 25 years of experience in journalism and has held posts of senior editor in the leading news dailies of India, “The Hindu” and “DT NEXT”. She focused on women empowerment in her articles.
She is now working as the head of operations of content releases in a private company.
2017. My, how time flies! In 2010 in the office of an amazing human being, I read a sign that said: ‘Time flies like arrows; fruit flies like bananas’. I didn’t get it when I read it, but when I did it stuck with me. I was reminded of this when thinking over my interview with Victor Kannan; Director of the Heartfulness Institute. Firstly, I will mention that it was an absolute pleasure listening to Mr. Kannan. His sincerity, love, and humble self-confidence was refreshing and I don’t think any listener could have listened without a smile in his/her heart and face. Secondly, as I re-read his transcript I saw that there were concepts I hadn’t quite looked at in the way I could see them in this new moment. I believe it was important for me, personally, to hear certain things explained in a certain way, and they have stuck with me since!
This is Part I of the interview. I thought of truncating it to make it fit one post, but I do not want to deprive anyone of hearing Mr. Kannan’s voice in the way in which he spoke. I wish for you to hear, even if it is in text, and feel what Victor was speaking about.
S: How long have you practiced heartfulness meditation?
V: I started in ’82. So how many years ago was it?
S: Let’s see: 34
V: Yes, 34 years and 8 months.
S: Were there times during the 30 years when you were more or less consistent, and why do you think that was the case?
V: I have been pretty consistent with it for the most part; of course, I have missed a lot of it. Still, I have tried to be consistent with my practice.
When I started, I was a bachelor and working at a bank. I was more consistent then. Between the ages of 22 and 25, I was consistent. Then I came to the US, got married and started a family. I wanted to build stability for my family, so I began to focus more on my career. Even though I understood that this practice of meditation would help me even materially, I found it difficult to be disciplined. I would try to incorporate it as much as possible. I was a heartfulness trainer and wanted to make sure I was available to people. But my personal practice suffered a bit. Now my daughter is on her own, and we are in good health, physically and materially, and even though I spend enormous amounts of time volunteering, I am able to spend sufficient time with personal meditation. Now I am very consistent.
S: I don’t want to assume… is the majority of your volunteering involved with heartfulness meditation?
V: All of it.
S: Okay. So have you, or do you practice any other type of meditation? And if not, why have you chosen heartfulness meditation as opposed to any other type?
V: I think I stumbled into it, and so far, it makes me feel that I am continuing to grow. So far I haven’t felt the need to look for anything else. It’s not that I don’t read books or that I am not open to others, but in a nice way, this practice has continued to enrich me and I am satisfied with it.
It’s a very important question, actually. How do you know we are on the best route for us? Somewhere along the line, if you make a habit of searching, you may not appreciate what you have found. So it is a thing of the heart. If you trust your heart, you will know. You will have ‘come home.’ Now make the best of what that offers.
I feel lucky and content. After many years of practice, I know that I am on the fastest and best route for me.
S: I see. Okay, thank you! Switching gears just a little bit, what is your career?
V: I work as a CFO, and have been since the early 90s. I am currently working for a gaming company, which is basically a technology application company.
S: In connection to that, I’d like to ask you: what is your take on the place of material things and spiritual things, and is it okay to have both?
V: I think so. I don’t think you can have one without the other. I think it is the material plane that gives you the possibility of spiritual progress, spiritual growth, spiritual engagement, and also spiritual adventure. If you ask a hungry man which he would prefer, bread or God, he is going to ask for bread. Bread represents the material life that we live; the basic needs of life, including financial needs, have to be taken care of first. One of our teachers of the Heartfulness system, Babuji, used to say: “Don’t let the dogs bark when you meditate”. So what does it mean? When you are consistent with your spiritual endeavor at the core of your existence, that consistency expands the consciousness to feel unconditional love. And at the end of the day, that expanded consciousness is going to give you the freedom to enjoy life the way in which it should be enjoyed. It also gives you access to knowledge, as it is more intuitive, and all of your faculties that are externally oriented will act as a filter. When the consciousness is expanded, the right filters will kick in and so you will obtain the right knowledge, which Babuji calls “Real Knowledge” versus just plain knowledge. Real knowledge is defined as the knowledge of one’s soul, spirit or the universe, whereas knowledge as we commonly understand it is about how to live well.
I also got this revelation that at times knowledge is nothing more than a layer of ignorance. Right? That is one of the reasons why in science sometimes, they keep on disproving what someone thought was the truth before. That is how we advance. But to hang on to something, even if it is scientific, is equally dogmatic.
This material life is necessary because we are made of matter. Matter interacts with energy to produce something else, and in the field of manifestation of life, it produces the base of consciousness. Consciousness is like a big canvas, with your faculties, such as ego, intellect and mind, acting as paint and brush on this big canvas. Your mind and soul, which are the seeds of life, make you creative, and then you paint with those tools on that canvas, creating the life you desire.
In some way, then, that life becomes beautiful, not because others say so, but because you feel it to be real inside yourself.
That’s the tricky part about spirituality. It has to be self-realized. That’s why it’s called self-realization. So material life is necessary, but if we live for the sake of material life, then we are becoming slaves of our lower desires and lower tendencies. For a lack of a better term, I use ‘lower’ because anything that shackles you, to my mind is lower. Anything that frees you is higher.
Again, we have to be careful in terms of temporary fixes people have, to feel free. So, material life is necessary, but what I think we should do somewhere along the line, is spiritualize the material life. How do we do that? Make sure that our material circumstances, occupation, and relationships become more conducive to this overarching purpose of the spiritual pursuit or the spiritual life.
The saying is that ‘you are judged by the company you keep.’ Now forget the judgment part. You are going to be helped by the company you keep. So we should carefully choose the people and circumstances around us (as best as possible, knowing we cannot control everything). Simultaneously we should accept responsibility for the past. When I say the past, I mean that we cannot change the minute that just passed. But we can embrace it, spiritualize it, not fight it, and accept it and ‘make lemonade’ out of it. And not all these moments are lemons, as so many of these past events are good and we are grateful for them.
Today, we are more composed. Today, we have tools that will help us realize the core of our own existence. When our center is disturbed, when we lose our equilibrium, we have tools to achieve that equilibrium. These are spiritual tools like meditation. Meditate with a teacher, or with a trainer, or read a book that is conducive to reestablishing the equilibrium. Call a friend that will help you reestablish the equilibrium. And strengthen yourself. Go within yourself. Self-help is the best help. Or, when we are not able to help ourselves, we seek outside ourselves.
So we accept the past with gratitude, for the past brought us to the present, to where and what we are. And we use everything we have in the present to propel ourselves to a beautiful future. We don’t have to continue the same trajectory from the past to go to the future. We can choose things that are conducive and complimentary to our spiritual endeavor. And we can change the trajectory of our past.
Life, unfortunately, is what it is. We find ourselves in the middle of our lives when we are awake in awareness. And the responsible thing to do is to say: ‘Okay if I have taken 20, 30, 40 years to come here, I can easily change it in the next 5 years to go where I want to go’. Sometimes we want things instantaneously. But if we change that perspective, it will be helpful.
S: Okay, thank you. Now, what is your view on detachment? Is it more your thought as Victor, or has heartfulness meditation helped you form your idea of what detachment means?
V: I don’t know. I try to understand these words in a manner that make sense to me. So as far as detachment, as a word, goes, it has to be understood properly. What do you want to be detached from? You want to be detached from everything that is not conducive to your goal. So suppose you set a goal of having a spiritually expanding consciousness, and to me that means that I want to have unconditional love for myself and others, I want to accept my weaknesses in a manner that I can let go instead of fighting them, and I want to have real knowledge of what is important in life and what the goals in life should be. Also, I recognize that I am on a planet, in an environment, in a situation, which I want to embrace and make the best out of. So where is detachment coming in? The detachment comes in to reinforce the attachment. You cannot say that I am attached to everything, or that I am detached from everything. We are attached to life because we are living. When we become detached from life, we do stupid things. We do irresponsible things. Right?
So detachment or attachment, they go back to the same idea: What is the goal in life, what are my responsibilities, and how do I fulfill my responsibilities that help me achieve my goal? So you know, I think that it requires a proper understanding of the word ‘detachment’. Attaching ourselves to things that are unnecessary is a process, right? Detachment is also a process. Giving freedom to the things you are attached to, for the purposes of those things to flourish, can also be called a detachment. Giving freedom to your children to grow, while giving them love, is detachment, but when we expect them to be a doctor or a musician, or a billionaire, that is attachment. So how can you be detached from the duties that you’re in the middle of, and how can you do your duty without love?
So these concepts of attachment and detachment, renunciation, and annihilation, negation, I think all of them have to be understood in the proper context. They have a purpose, of course. They are going to define a situation. But the wrong understanding of any of it will not be productive. Especially in the heartfulness system of meditation: it says that detachment is basically the sense of discernment. In Sanskrit, it is called viveka. It is a sense of discernment, progressive knowledge of what is right and wrong, what should be done, and what should be ignored, how much to do, and how much not.
End of Part I
If you would like to know view more of Victor Kannan’s virtual written works, please Click Here
Please stay tuned for Part II, in which Mr. Kannan speaks of the state of children in this age of readily accessible technology, among other topics.
This is a post for World Moms Network by Sophia of ThinkSayBe. Photo used with the permission of Victor Kannan.
Many women nowadays have to split their time between a full time job and their kids (and their husband, and taking care of their home, and and and…). Another group of women is able to work from home, at least part of the time, or to work some at home and some in the office. If you, like me, are in this second group, some days it might seem like there are two women chatting in your head, the Professional working mom and the Homemaker. For me, a typical work day outside of the home goes more or less like this…
Professional – Oh my gosh it is so great to be able to get some work done in peace! I love to work!
Homemaker – The kids are growing up so fast… soon they will be teens and won’t even want to look at you!
Professional – The kids need to see their mother working and doing something she likes.
Homemaker – Come on, don’t be cynical, you don’t even like your job that much! It’s just a way to escape the kids a bit!
Professional (ignoring the Homemaker) – If only I could work outside of home for more days I could get sooooo much done!! My career would skyrocket! Maybe I should put the three-year old in play school next semester. Imagine, working in peace five mornings a week!?
Homemaker – Oh yeah? And where would you find the extra money? What about the car pool? You can barely find rides for two to come home from school, three would be worse! And he is so little…
Professional – Oh no! I can’t believe it’s time to go home already!! I didn’t do ten percent of what I needed to!! Ahhhhh! Another sleepless night awaits me!! I am so tired! I need chocolate… Sob…
On other days, a typical day at home goes like this…
Homemaker (at the park) – Oh, look at them. They are so cute and cuddly. I love being a mom. I can’t believe the youngest is already three. I will miss having little kids around. Should I have another baby?
Professional – Are you out of your mind?????
Homemaker (ignoring the Professional working mom) – If only I could afford to stay at home all the time… And then, when they started to grow older, I could work in what I really like. I would also have time to take better care of the house and to exercise and get in shape again.
Professional – My job is stable. I can’t earn enough money to raise kids doing only what you like. That’s so naïve.
Homemaker – It’s so peaceful here with them. If only I could stay at home in peace and not need to hear you worry about work and deadlines and…
Professional – Oh no! That deadline! You need to drop them off at grandma’s now!!
Homemaker – You know they only stay at grandma’s once a week max. Otherwise they get stressed out. You can work tonight.
Professional – I need to sleep!! I already worked last night! You know I can’t work all night two days in a row! I am not twenty anymore!
Homemaker – On that we agree! We get so crabby when we don’t sleep enough. It’s not good for the kids. Maybe you should stop working nights and work only during the weekend when they can stay with their father.
Professional – No!!!!! I have so much to do!!!!! Weekends are not enough.
And so it goes….
And you… Do you work from home, from an office or both? How do you find balance? Please share your story below.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ecoziva in Brazil. Photo credit to the author.
When I was a teenager/young adult I wanted to change the world (as it happens with so many youngsters). And changing the world usually meant Doing Big Things.
Now, three kids and more than twenty years later, my saving the world efforts seem so distant. I grapple with alternating days when I stay home with the kids, sorting socks and washing dishes, and days teaching classes at the university, advising students’ research, and trying to do some research of my own.
At one point of my life I thought my career would be in the non-profit sector; i.e., I would be a professional environmentalist, forever. By then my volunteering efforts had evolved into parallel paying jobs related to social-environmental issues, and this kind of lifestyle went on for 12+ years.
I continued on to graduate school not because I wanted to become an academic, but because I thought it would be a great addition to what I already did. I found it exciting to go from project to project, often working on more than one at once. I felt almost repulsed by the thought of staying in the same job for the rest of my life, always doing the same thing. I even got a certain thrill from not knowing where my salary would come from after the current project ended.
My husband (who worked for the same NGO) was not as thrilled and dreamed of the day at least one of us would have a more stable job. Since I was already on the academic path in one way or the other, that person became me.
When I first became a professor I wasn’t overjoyed. Although I love to do research, teaching is a different story and it was very hard in the beginning. At this point I already had three children and the “saving the world” type of projects were in the past. Another dream that I tried to pursue (to become a professional writer) had also been buried. I sadly realized I wasn’t really passionate about anything anymore – except, of course, my kids.
By this time my husband had gotten a relatively stable government job, although he didn’t really love it. We were finally okay financially and we were living a comfortable life. Nevertheless, we began to question ourselves about our choices.
Were we still living according to the same principles we followed when we first met (especially in relation to the environment)? Were we fleeing our responsibility of making a difference in the world? Had we left our ideals aside for modern, middle class comforts? Were we still being true to our dreams?
At first I had a good excuse to avoid these issues because two of our kids were very small and I had to deal with all of the related motherhood issues. In parallel, I tried to make the most of my job focusing on the good things: stability, flexible hours, and the possibility of quantity time with my children even if that meant doing a lot of work at night and during the weekend. I told myself (and I still do), that there are many means to make a difference, even if in “small” ways.
After all, in practice, there are no real big things. Big things take place in small steps and often need more than one person involved. Also, what seems like small, local things, often involve a lot of work and may have a greater impact on the world than expected. No wonder one of the most popular environmentalist mottos is, “Think global, act local”.
Today, in my attempts to continue to be of service to the world, I try (for example) to be a good listener to my students because sometimes I sense they are more in need of a friendly ear than anything else. A great number of students suffer from depression and other related disorders, for instance. And it’s not that I serve as a psychologist or anything, but I frequently feel that just treating them kindly and making an effort to advise them extra well regarding academic issues makes a significant difference.
Yet the fact is, regardless of how we do in our present jobs, the sort of questions I listed before has been haunting us for the past few years. Now that our youngest is past three, these questions have resurfaced. The biggest issue that remains is how to be true to our dreams and ideals while at the same time guaranteeing enough food on the table (and healthcare, and a good education etc., etc.)?
This post will be continued in Part 2.
Please share your story below on how you have managed (or not) to follow your dreams, personally and professionally.
This post was inspired by two other posts: “Surviving the turmoil” and “My frame world”.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ecoziva in Brazil.
Photo credit to Claremont Colleges Digital Library. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.
The Author with her son.
It’s seldom admitted but true. Lots of working, married urban women fear the effect that a new child will have on their ability for juggling spreadsheets and power point presentations at the office. Or, look upon the baby as a desirable added dimension to their lives but want to keep other areas at status quo. Depending upon the duration of maternity leave, available support systems and the new mother’s ability to cope with sleepless nights, the infant is soon handed over to the care of the grandmother, resident care-giver or the friendly neighbourhood crèche.
Hence when I announced to the world at large my plans for quitting my job for Full Time Parenting (FTP), I was prepared for goggle-eyed reactions. What I didn’t expect was the constant need to justify this decision to friends, relatives and the third cousin of the neighbour’s aunt-in-law! Objections ranged from the mundane (“You will be thoroughly bored after a while) to doom’s-day prophecies (“This will be a professional suicide.). Interspersed were a few whacko ones (“It’s irresponsible to waste yourself”) and a few, exasperated, “let’s put some sense into her head” type of reactions.
What was everybody dreading on my behalf? The loss of the status of a “working woman”? The giving up of that tiny perch on the huge mountain of the corporate world, that announced to the world “This is who I am”?
No, it was about “liberation”, the kind that is often equated with a job, any job, at long as it pays. To female friends and colleagues, I was suddenly the betrayer of a system, a traitor to the cause of emancipation. Instead of becoming a new member in the circle of working moms, alternating between the adrenaline of economic independence and the niggling anxieties of part-time parenting, here I was, stubbornly choosing to go the whole hog with parenting.
Sour grapes? Nein…
Was the job no good? Au contraire, it was a dream job, won by sheer dint of hard work after a gruelling two-year MBA. Then why did I quit? Because, once having decided to bring in a little soul into the world, I wanted to be a 24/7 mother for a good, long while, living the roller-coaster ride of joys, hopes, worries and triumphs. Because for me, “a meaningful life” had always meant a basket of activities, pursuits and callings. Because what works for another may not suit me at all.
Because true liberation is about making those choices that bring happiness. Not about living up to other’s expectations of what a female, well-educated, working mother ought to be. And about respecting that inner voice that refuses to be shushed and is not afraid to walk off the beaten track.
Idealism can be practical too:
Because, like a child in a candy store, my wants know no limits – I want to be a woman, wife, mother, writer and professor, all at the same time. Because I want to shape my life exactly the way I like not in a de facto, “patchwork quilt” manner dictated by an increasingly demanding corporate world. Because my curiosity and naïve optimism make me plunge thoroughly and completely into whatever I decide to do; there’s no holding back, no half-hearted measures. Because I am a foolish, idealistic woman in the era of plastic, recyclable ‘values’. Because I like to live out that hoary old adage: ”If anything is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well”
Office versus home:
At work, I revelled in the thrill of new challenges and the fancy designation. But this certainly wasn’t what I wanted to continue doing for the rest of my life. Then why use it as the ostensible reason for not changing priorities? I’d rather use my training of my corporate stint to reach and influence people differently, as I do now. The idea of doling out measured minutes of “quality time” to my child, after I reached home bone-tired from work every evening, never fully satisfied me. To my mind, quantity is also important. And I prefer family values to those of the paid-by-the-hour surrogates.
Yes, the pay cheques were initially slimme. But the grey cells are ticking, the mind and heart are raring to go, and it’s delightful being one’s own boss. On a particularly bad day, when my toddler drives me up the wall, I do get nostalgic about the super-charged office that I once inhabited. But then, it’s exhilarating to do one’s own thing. And the balance between work, creativity and family is oh so delightful! All things considered, I should probably thank the little tyke – he was the right reason at the right time.
“Ma, the candy floss got over too quickly!”
All about priorities:
Each mother has her own world view, her own list of priorities. And while every mother loves her child with all her heart, the manifestation of that love would be unique for each woman. Hence there can be no “one size fits all” kind of rule. What works for one might not do, for another. As long as we can remember to say, “To each, her own”, the world will be a teensier bit better!
What worked best for you as a mother?
This is an original post written by Piya Mukherjee for World Moms Blog.
A Chinese publisher is hiring me to write a biography for a well-known Chinese American doctor and politician. They wanted 300,000 words by the end of this year. I made it clear that it’s not possible. Considering the long-term contracts I already have, my family situation and my daily schedule, the earliest time I can finish the big book will be next May.
They offered me a $3,000 bonus if I could finish the writing the book on their timeline. Wow, $3,000!
I told them, “I’ll think about it.”
That night for some reason my little one was unusually fussy and insisted to sleep with his mommy. I squeezed myself into his toddler bed and accompanied him. After two bed time stories he fell asleep peacefully. I lay there, staring at the ceiling.
Once again I strongly felt how children can slow a mother down on her career progress. If it was three years ago, before we had a kid, producing 300,000 words within ten months would not be a problem for me at all. I am not boasting it, but hey, they didn’t call me “kuài shǒu” (the fast writer) for nothing!
But now, with a little child, if I want to finish 300,000 words in a year, either I’ll be drained or my child will be ignored.
Women certainly have a different work-life balance than men. Several years ago there was a white paper on the Position of Women in Science in Spain that concluded a man with children is four times more likely to become a full professor than a woman with children is.
The white paper emphasized that women who have children are discriminated against simply because they are mothers and not because their job performance is actually different.
Based on my own experience, I believe that is true. I was harassed by my supervisor for pumping at work. Still, there is a lot we can do to fight back when facing discrimination. We can advocate for equal working rights, we can urge our law makers to pass bills that end discrimination against working mothers, we can file law suits against our discriminating employers. I, for one example, took my previous company to court and was happy about the result.
But we cannot fight nature. The nature rule is that women have to spend more time on their children. Mothers have greater childcare responsibilities than fathers. It’s the mother, not the father, that carries the baby for months, is in labor for hours and breastfeeds for months, or even years. And while some may hope for a different division of labor some day, these work-life realities do contribute to the reason why women who are mothers are on slower career tracks than men.
In this case, if I can’t earn that $3,000 bonus, that’s simply because I need to spend time on my child, not at all because I am discriminated against.
I tossed and turned all night long. It’s not that I want the $3,000, but I really want to speed up my career progression, which has been slow ever since I had my child. But do I want to be drained? More than that, do I want to ignore my child for one whole year? Weighing these things in the balance, that $3,000 didn’t seem so important.
In the morning my little one opened his eyes and saw his mommy was still laying by his side. He giggled and touched my face. I made up my mind.
Working mothers probably will never have the perfect answer to work-life balance. It’s our paradox of choice. I just want to try to live more and regret less.
Have you struggled with juggling your career path and your role as a mother? How do you find a balance between work and home life?
This has been an exclusive post for World Moms Blog by To-wen Tseng. She can be found writing at her blog “I’d rather be breastfeeding” and on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credit to the author.