A Mongrel’s Tale

Have you heard of the Liger? Its the unnatural hybrid of a Lion & a Tigress. The offspring of such a union have agonizing moments of self-doubt & identity crisis. For you see, Tigers are solitary creatures. They are territorial & come together only for mating & raising the young. But, Lions live together, in a Pride. Lionesses within a Pride celebrate Sisterhood, by helping each other rear their young. And a Ligress is torn between its need to be aloof & its desire for gregariousness.

My sympathies are with the Liger, I sort of understand what it goes through. My father is reserved & laid-back, with unbridled curiosity & a scientific temper. He’s a curious admixture of serenity &  irascibility. His flashes of insight are all the more stunning because, he appears stupendously unreactive – a pensive man lost in his thoughts. My mother on the other hand, is a hard-nosed administrator & a chess champion. She has scant need for philosophy, she yawns when a stunning insight is cracked open & presented to her. She has ice in her veins & never flips. Not even when the house is on fire.

I pretty much got both their traits. I’m very peaceful when I write a well-researched post, fiction or book. I’m in my element but, I’m not happy. Peace, Aye. Happiness, Nay. Because simultaneously, I’m conflicted that I’m not “running” something. There are so many things that need to be done, I tell myself. How can I explore or research? So I write a book – Big deal! Isn’t fixing something – anything, however trivial – a worthwhile contribution? Hence, a better use of my time?

And the struggle goes on. One would think I’ll be in Hog Heaven when I’m managing a venture. I’m terribly giddy when I control not just the outcome, but the approach. But, am I peaceful? Outcome orientation is stressful, it takes a lot from you.

A good friend once told me that an ideal profession is one that recharges you. See, in whatever we do, there’s Give & Take. If you perennially give a bit of yourself to your profession & it seldom energizes you – doesn’t make you jump out of bed everyday in anticipation of meeting that day’s challenges – you’ll simply burn out. If on the other hand, your job taps into your pleasure circuit, but  if you don’t offer enough to the world – you may feel like a petty thief, caught with your hand in the till.

Unfortunately, most professions don’t balance Give & Take. For what energizes each of us & when we feel productive are highly subjective & open to debate. I think when there’s a happy medium, a job becomes addictive.

Pardon the preamble, I had to meander through that to explain why I haven’t written often enough in this delightful BLOG. I started a business – a social venture & a start-up – a few months back & that’s keeping me beyond busy. I was ecstatic when I wrote about Sri Lanka, but all the while, I had a gnawing feeling that I wasn’t doing my bit for the society. And invariably, “doing my bit” means – you guessed it – being my own boss & running a business.

You could say that’s because I couldn’t leave well enough alone. But I know that my inner Liger shook its mangy, flea-ridden mane. I’m trying to strike a balance, to find mental energy for both my passions. Its difficult, makes me want to gnash my teeth ferociously, but it sure makes life lively. So, please bear with my erratic writing habits while I lasso the beasts.

“You know what your problem is?” asked a relative, during a family event. Oh, dear Sainted Baptist, Here it Comes, I thought. Such questions put me on my guard, I raise my armor. “Surely, you won’t be angry, Eh? Can I take some liberty with you?”. You may not, I thought. I unsheathed my Light Saber, ready to lash out if needed. After some more circumlocution, the woman blurted out – “You think too much, that’s your problem. You know, just do it!”. She looked up expectantly, like a Jack Russell Terrier might, after performing a nifty trick. I almost patted her head.

I never thought bungling one’s way through life, blind as a bat, oblivious of obstacles, would bring one any great joy. Ignorance maybe Bliss, but that’s not what I would call a tempting option. Sure, there are confused people, who buckle down, thanks to Analysis Paralysis. Confusion & Conflict – Ain’t the same.

Observing our mental dynamics non-judgmentally will not necessarily hobble our functioning. Even in Quantum Mechanics, the Observer Effect doesn’t stall progress, it merely alters the state or position of the particle. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion.

I once read that a child gets its father’s gums & its mother’s teeth – or it could be the other way round, I’m not sure. You could say that’s a fair division of genes between your progenitors. But that sure makes life complicated: When life hands us our genes, we need to figure out how to make the disparate, dissimilar parts work – not at cross purposes, chewing each other off – but synchronously, so that we are not constantly bickering with ourselves. I’m working on finding that elusive balance. But in the meantime, I have to sign off. The inner Lion is about to chomp the inner Tiger’s tail, for taking the Sunday off, for – writing.


  1. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said June 21, 2009, 10:31 pm:

    Nice post Priya. You have explained your dilemma/state of mind very well, in your typical style.

    Now, get moving fast and don’t lose that tail 🙂

  2. Quote

    Sukumar – Thanks for your comment.

    The Lion’s totally pissed, I have to be up & early tomorrow & get some real work done to escape its wrath. But, the Tiger’s sure glad a post got written.

  3. Quote

    Good one Priya! There are too many stuck being a Ligeress :))

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    Ila – Thanks for your comment. Glad to know you’re a fellow Liger!

  5. Quote


    Its interesting to know about the LIGER. Your post also extends the constant comparison that is made between the behaviour of Lions and Tigers.

    One term in your first line caught my attention “unnatural hybrid.” Increasingly the generations to come even among our exalted human race live life like that : one of hybridity. One calls these hyphenated identities. May ligers thrive. 🙂

  6. Quote

    Abdul – Thanks for your comment.

    Interesting point about hyphenated identities, never thought about it that way. But you’re right, Ligers will become the norm, as time progresses. I also think that I’ve merely given voice to the conflicts already faced by many, many people. By no means is this experience unique.

  7. Quote

    Interesting post. Esp liked the intro sections and the analogies.

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    Vijay – Thanks for your comment & kind words.

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    I started reading this post thinking Suku had adopted a mongrel….little did I realize that this was a tale of a beast within! 🙂

    Absolutely insightful – I guess this “admixture” is perhaps what makes life so unpredictable and interesting! And thanks to your post, I am probably realizing what my little Golden Palayams pups must be feeling like (Rajapalayam + Golden Retriever)…one an absolutely majestic and fierce guard dog…the other a playful, gambolling, all-too-friendly creature!

    And as for your dilemma…may the best woman win!

  10. Quote
    Annapoorani said June 23, 2009, 3:26 pm:

    Priya you always rock with your post…
    failed to read your internal blogs…Will catch up in this space.

  11. Quote

    Raghu – Thanks for your comment & kind words.

    Suku didn’t adopt a mongrel, he married one – me 😉

    Your Golden Palayams – Wow, they must look awesome. Would love to see some pics, if possible.

    May the best beast win, you must have said 😀

  12. Quote

    Annapoorani – Thanks for your comment & kind words.

    I used to post very regularly in this BLOG, but there’s been a disruption in the past few months. I certainly plan to write more often. Look FW to your comments.

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    Count me in too as a chap who got hooked to your writings in ch1 long after you left. And well, one looks with some anticipation for your posts. Hoping you pop in a post here more often from now on 🙂

  14. Quote

    Seetharaman (Goofy) – Thanks for your comment & kind words.

    Yes, I plan to write more often 🙂 I think it is simply a question of managing my expectations, not one of managing my time. I never stop with simply doing my thing – I obsess about it, eat, breathe & sleep it, till people around me start gagging in disgust.

    I need to strike a balance & rein in my expectations. Perhaps then I’ll have more time for writing.

  15. Quote

    Brilliant post, Priya! Looking forward to reading more posts 🙂

    Good luck with your new ventures!

  16. Quote

    Balaji – Thanks for your comment & your kind wishes.

  17. Quote

    Great post…

    //And a Ligress is torn between its need to be aloof & its desire for gregariousness.

    I am a Ligress too 🙂

    //I think when there’s a happy medium, a job becomes addictive. – Agree totally to it…

    Beautiful style of presentation, Priya..

  18. Quote

    So. what is the start-up you running? Any URL where I could get more info..?

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