Lost and Found

Blogger momsGrowing up, we were taught that when confronted with grief or trouble, ‘lose’ yourself – in work, in prayers, in your kids. This philosophy was served with dal and roti from moms and aunties, told and retold in stories and text books and approved by the media.  There was the TV matriarch, who having lost her husband, devotes herself to prayers, the Bollywood mom who after losing her lover devotes herself to her illegitimate son, the dad who having lost his son devotes himself to his work….

I grew up convinced that the way to overcome anything was to forget it, and move on, and ‘overcome’ it by losing myself in things that move me forward or merely distract me.

But coming to the US offered a different lens. Here the emphasis is on ‘finding oneself’. Indeed if you happen to feel you need a shrink, you will be asked to find yourself through several exercises – what drives you, what your parents did wrong, what minor semi-forgotten incident from your childhood is the reason why you lost your job or your nerve. What you did as a child defined you forever, and parental mistakes are the convenient reason why you are where you are today. You weep and vent all that frustration, bring out the villains in your life, and through this catharsis emerge as the poor unblemished soul who was driven by tainted parents and role models to where you have reached. Oh the injustice of it all. Are you spending recklessly? Its your mom – she did not teach you to save or alternately, she saved too much and you are spending to compensate. Dont dare to forget anything, just ‘confront’ it and then move on, laden with shrink wrapped drugs and receipts.

So what works? Losing yourself or finding yourself? I have never tried the shrink route, but for me, losing myself works. I am sure finding myself may work too, only seems to be more expensive, with a lot more blame to dispense. When I have a bad day, a bad week or a really bad month, and I look into the eyes of my innocent, sweet boys – I do lose myself – and in the end it feels OK.

What do you think?

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3 Comments

  1. indrani

    Dear Khushi, Your post really made me think. I try to dissolve myself into my son after I’ve had a bad day, a bad fight with a neighbor, a nasty argument with hubby and yes, it works. Everything seems to dissolve into a meaningless realm of ego and pride.
    But when I lost my Dad last September, even after trying to lose myself in my son, mom, family and work, the grief was too much to handle. Thus I began the journey of finding myself, my dad and I and our father daughter relationship. I read in a book, ‘Transcending Loss’ that death does not mean the end of a relationship. It is the start of an existing relationship onto a different level where you can’t see, touch or feel the person but let the love that you share grow and never to let it die. I have been trying to find myself ever since, doing things I know he would have loved me to do, to uphold his values and principles and gather strength from them every time I am at a cross road.

  2. Khushi

    Such a beautiful thing you have written Indrani – on transcending loss – I was not talking of the essential self discovery or reinvention that makes life fulfilling and interesting. I was more talking about the ‘blame game’ that pseudo psychologists make us play — blame your husband, mom, etc, etc. I am glad that you are doing things that connecct you to him and moving forward. I also like the distinction you make based on the magnitude of grief.

  3. indrani

    Contrary to pseudo psychologists say, every time I start to blame someone else for a circumstance or situation, I try to remember (at times though I forget and after all we all are human) the lines from a poem that often used to be recited in our assembly “When I point a finger at my neighbor, there are three more fingers pointing back at me”. Do you remember it?

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