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Nazia Erum
29 Jan 2015 . 3 min read

Lessons From Myra: Holding it together


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“I was completely in awe of you and the lil one, who never displayed their fatigue in public,” said a friend after observing me trot around babyjaan all day in her stroller at the Jaipur Literature festival. I was surprised at this comment as I thought exhaustion was all over my face. Even more than exhaustion, I was embarrassed beyond grief at having the lil one messing up tables and getting into a crying fit in middle of lectures. Along with exhaustion, embarrassment there was the triple whammy of irritation. With baby in tow it was impossible to completely attend any session, there were limitations to my movements and conversations and ofcourse I was almost certainly in perpetually messed up clothes. But surprises of surprise, to everyone around me, I seemed to be holding it together. But was I? 

I must admit, it wasn’t easy to be single handedly taking care of a baby while travelling. A week in unfamiliar surroundings can be intimidating for anyone. Putting on a brave face everyday takes all our strength. Not to discount the physical strength needed to push, pick and pedal around. But I discovered there are can be many advantages to wheeling a baby around. Did I say advantages? Yes! For starters there existed no queues for me. I was exempt from them at the airports, shuttles, ticketing, brunches, etc. I was given ‘priority access’ everywhere. People made way for me, were sweeter to me in general and not to forget the shutterbugs. Only after coming back, I realize that it was the advantages that made for the memories. Rest was inevitable that I accepted and learnt to tackle on the way. I ended up baby training all volunteers and staff. Baby talk proved to be a great starting point for very many conversations and meeting fabulous people. And not to mention the admiration and awe I elicited.

Maybe I would have networked better without a baby weighing me down. Maybe I would have heard more laureates and picked up more visiting cards. But the important point is that I still made it there. Still heard a few and met a few more. Throughout I might have felt exhausted, irritated and embarrassed, but those were only fabrications of my mind. It’s difficult to be above these emotions. They are universal. They may seem right at the moment and make us feel we are fighting a losing battle. But put on a brave face. Coz when it’s over, you will realize that you still made most of it anyway and a compliment might just be around the corner!

 Lessons from Myra #4: When your most confident of deductions are proved wrong. Have heart. You will live to be right another day.  

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Nazia Erum
A victim of the varied muted conversations in my mind.. and the ramifications of it's ruminations. Author of 'Closer to ground' for the United Nations among many other publications. Over five years of experience as a communications specialist with the development sector. Reader. Learner. Communicator. A Hands-on Mother. Shout outs on twitter @e_rumification are welcome.

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