Day 4: Litany of Loss: Part I

Loss…. what does loss mean to me, wasted opportunities and missed chances. I have had a few brushes with this loss. Before delving into those experiences, i want to focus on one loss that is more of anticipation than an actual loss.

Generally, i feel, words are the weakest medium of expression. But where words are the only way of communicating, traversing time and distance, they become quite the powerful tool.

What scares me is the loss of words. From the very beginning, i have loved to scribble in my diaries. At one point it had become quite toxic. My diary entries were full of self recrimination and loathing. I was unable to prove myself in my own eyes. And that was the biggest problem.

When you keep putting yourself down, everything you believe in, or you are good at, will start gradually lessening.

Well, we were talking about loss of words. This one is one of the most frustrating losses i have to face. I am angry, sad and confused at the same time. I wouldn’t want to go back into the time where i was unable to pen down what i felt.

My writing has been my solace for years. I am ashamed to say i have abused this skill of mine to a great extent. Any quality in a person is like a sapling, if it is not watered and tended to properly, the sapling dies before it becomes a plant. This abuse cost me when words started leaving my side.

There have been times in my life, when i have faced utter darkness. I used to sit with my head in my hands, struggling to formulate a single word. I thank god for getting me over of that phase.

As a person who values her words a lot, i have realised, that i need to be thankful for this quality of mine. It is helping me grow and flourish.  I realised that I was losing my power to think, to formulate ideas, and most of all i was losing my power to express my thoughts, a quality for which I took pride in myself. I wanted to regain it.

Magic happens in an instant, life happens in a moment. Believe when people say that. Like Barney, i decided one morning, i wanted to stop being sad and start being awesome. The moment my belief in me returned, my words did too. Change is an ongoing process. I wouldn’t say that negativity still doesn’t plague me, but it does so in small measures and i am sure this will lessen with time.

Along with the anticipated loss of words, there is another loss i need to talk about. This loss fills me with happiness as it means that there is more place in my life to accommodate things that matter to me.

I have lost my negativity and i feel free. I have been in a situation where i was a prisoner of my own mind..  and now it feel s that everything is within reach.

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Day 6: Girl on the street

We gaze into computers and mobiles the whole day, when do you get the time to see any one, let alone see any one interesting.

I am look back at the past year and think back as to who was it, whom i can term to be positively interesting, one who has left an impact on my mind, even if it was miniscule… okay, i am not sure about the impact part, but interesting, most definitely.

One such instance would be a random meeting.

I had stepped out to visit my friend living at the other end of the city. On my way to subway trains, i took a taxi. It was a hot day and humid day and abrupt rains and scare of a high tide had people scrambling to get back home. Transport was scarce.

It was here when i noticed her. This lady was standing on the edge of the road trying to stop any form of public transport. She was well dressed and looked like she had stepped out of a nearby office. I was looking at her quite intently, and in the same moment she turned her head and we saw each other.

My taxi stopped at the red light and she came running to my taxi and said, “Can you please drop me to the nearest train station or taxi stand. It does not look like i will get a taxi here.”

As a girl growing up in India, i had always been told to be a little cautious of strangers. However, setting my prudence aside, i asked her to step in. She gratefully got in the taxi and closed the door.

She told me that she had been standing for quite some time. Upon asking, she told me she was an interior designer. She had started her own business when she turned 25.

This woman was in her early thirty’s. We were almost the same age. But she look more “put together” even after a random rain and running around than me, who was hassled because of the simple traffic jam.

What struck me was her simple, unarmed smile and a confidence to match. There are some people, who when you meet, exude positivity around them. She was one of those. Her calm gentle demeanour and her equally soft behaviour were an added quality.

We got talking and exchanged names. Not only was she professionally qualified, i found her to be knowledgeable as well. It has been my observation that in the world of internet and instant knowledge, people tend to veer towards pseudo intellectualism. If there is one thing that annoys me to that extent, it is this fake behaviour.

But this lady was genuinely well read. Readers like me would understand how difficult it is to find a likeminded book lover with whom you can have actual conversations on various topics. She was logical and clear in her mind. She was smart, genuine, funny and kind.

It was a short taxi ride and seemed to be even shorter as we were having a stimulating conversation. If we would have met in some familiar settings like a college, workplace etc, we would have been friends.

Day 5: Satya ki Khoj (Search for Truth)

Walking aimlessly on the long road, with no particular destination in mind, Satya, abruptly came to a stop. The view was breathtaking. Standing on the ledge of an unexplored ridge, he looked across the vast expanse of big blue sky and the big green lands. An uninterrupted view of the sky, in the middle of a bustling city, he mused. After standing mesmerised for a few minutes, he moved ahead, towards the nearest tree. He sat down in the welcome shade near the shrubs and looked around……. something caught his eye disrupting his reverie. He moved towards it and bent down to pick up the offending clutter. It looked like a torn piece of paper. Yellowed with age, frayed at the edges and well worn. As if it had been read and re read and folded over may times lovingly. But it was definitely torn away by someone. The edges to the piece of paper were quite fresh. His interest piqued and he tried reading the washed out blue ink. The handwriting was beautiful but the letters seemed to disappear on the paper with age. It looked like the middle of a letter…… a letter from a mother to a child.

“…………… i am sure you are looking for answers, and you are blaming everyone around you including yourself. Don’t. You have to understand how much i loved you and how much i appreciate the chance god gave me to tell you that i love you. I might not be there to see you grow up, but i am there with you in your heart. Today i want to tell you that even if you are angry at me and the world in general, that is ok, but you should not be angry at yourself. You have to live life on your own terms. You have to become your own strength. Do not keep on looking for outside support for taking a stand. If you believe in something, don’t be afraid to express it. Do not be afraid to find yourself and revel in your uniqueness……….”

The letter was unfinished. Satya frantically started searching for other parts of the letter. By then he was intrigued. He had lost his parents at a very young age and the letter struck a chord, he wordlessly turned around, walking in the wilderness looking for the owner of this letter and tell them how lucky they were to find strength from  one who was protecting her child from the world beyond…………..

Day 3: Harmonious Notes

Honestly, today’s topic had me flummoxed.

The topic does not ask you to write about the three songs that you like most, what it does instead, is ask you the 3 most important songs of your life and their meaning. How do you decide which song is important and which is not. Let me try.

The first song that flashed through my mind was Let your heart hold fast, for this too shall pass by Fort Atlantic. A beautiful song, with even more beautiful message. (to listen to the song click here.) not only is this song my favourite, it is also very important.

It has been my belief, that nothing is permanent in this world. Change is the only constant in life. Every time i have been bogged down or felt as if my life has almost its lowest point, this phrase has given me strength like no other. It has helped me go through a lot of difficult phases. Like King Solomon[i] , i too go through life with the words “This too will pass” etched on my mind. I believe in the impermanence of everything, life, body, soul, actions, thoughts and most of all materialistic pleasures.

The second song that i think is the most important song is by: Humne Dekhi hai un aankhon ki mehakti khushboo, hath se choooke ise rishtey ka ilzam na do…. sirf pyaar hai ye rooh se mahsoos karo, pyar ko pyar hi rehne do koi naam na do……

(movie Khamoshi, Composed by Hemant Kumar, Penned by Gulzar and renedition by Lata Mangeshkar. You can listen to it here)

The song means that love is just love and cannot be expressed any other way. When we try and define it, or we try or we try to name it, we are limiting it and constricting it. Love is not a set of words but instead it is silence which hears and then speaks in its own language…..

I first heard this song when i was very young, hardly 10-11. On the threshold of my teenage years, and it left a great impact. I do not believe in romantic love. It happens, its beautiful, but its not just that. For me, still, love is all encompassing. It cannot be compartmentalised or defined. Everyone has their own way of understanding and expressing love. This post is not intended for this discussion, but i will soon write a separate entry discussing why i feel that love has been objectified in today’s world.

The third most important song i guess would be Happy by Pharrell Williams. Why? Because it makes me happy, instantly. J I guess, that is a good enough reason than any other!!

There so many other songs i want to list out, the list is endless. But i guess, i will have to limit myself for now….

This is the list as of today…… who knows, soon this too may pass… 😛

[i] http://www.theemotionmachine.com/this-too-shall-pass-a-lesson-in-impermanence

Day 2: A Journey to Nowhere……….

Have you ever wondered why is it that our memories are sepia toned? I don’t know about others but whenever i look back to the foundation years of my life, everything seems to be in the form of faded black and white. Like old photographs, torn at the edges, crumpled by time and associated with a lot of fond memories.

I have been an avid reader since i can remember. Reading soothes me, calms me and helps me relax. It helps me be a better version of myself also. At least i think it does. I am sure i share this sentiment with millions like me who think books are the greatest inventions of mankind. It is from this reading habit of mine, that i have found a place to run away to…

Ever since i can remember, i have wanted to visit England. Not the new swanky Britain, but the old world Victorian England. An era so politically and culturally rich, that its impact can still be seen on the society. I would like to be a contemporary of Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens and many other notable poets and writers. The intellectual stimulation itself is a temptation. Like all my other old and fond memories, this wishful thinking of mine is also sepia toned, warm hued and very realistic.

The social structure at that point of time is also a point of interest. Defined gender roles and expected social behaviour have always intrigued me. I have never been able to comprehend the need of compartmentalising our potential and our aspirations on the basis of our sex. Even today, as a female, i find myself fighting so many types of set mentalities, but still being a lady in the 21st century, life is much easier.  I sometimes feel very blessed, that i do not need to fight for my existence, my rights and if i do, there is an amount of social acceptance towards that cause. I would like to go back to that space and want o understand, how women did it. How they gently but persistently fought for equality and acceptance and how the society graciously, or maybe not so graciously, paved its way for equal rights.

What also attracts me to this era and this particular country is the description of its natural beauty in all the literature that i have read about it. The beautiful mountains, the deep blue sea and the gardens and fields where one could take endless walks. BBC has romanticised old world England with such beautiful locales and mansions. Nature has its own attractions, and now since such natural beauty and bounties are difficult to see, it is all the more alluring.

I guess nostalgia makes things look better than they already are. Maybe from afar all of this looks romantic, but the hardships and social realities are quite different. The truth is that we have become used to so many facilities and amenities in the modern world that waiting for things to happen. But it would be an experience to go back in those days when life was simpler.

Day 1: Freedom, Choice and Life

A lot of people have told me that life is full of choices. Is it really, or is it a combination of a lot of other things, luck, fate, spouse, children, parents, responsibilities, liabilities, duties and innate desire. Is anyone free, really?

I don’t think there is an easy answer to this question. We all perceive things as per our experiences. We all have baggage and our vision gets coloured while viewing any situation by those very baggage. If we look closely we will find we generally make repetitive choices. Man is a creature of habit and choices also become a matter of habit. To break out of that mould is a challenge.

Freedom is more of a mental state i guess. If you are bound by your own thought process your own prejudices, and your own limitations you will never be free. One cannot imprison a free mind for very long, sooner or later it will break out of the shackles that are outwardly imposed. The challenge is with the boundaries created by one’s own self. Where we try and limit ourselves we will never be free to make choices, we will never be really free to speak our mind.

It is when we are at crossroads in our life, where the choice we make becomes so important. It has been my personal experience that it is better to just go with the flow. Because however much you fight, and try and impose your choices on life, life will fight back and impose its will on you. So again freedom is just a state of mind and it’s better to feel free and live life, than be cowed down by the pressure of making huge decisions for ourselves.

Sounds like a mad woman rambling, but then this exercise is also a challenge, a challenge to not be afraid of expressing who i am

The long walk….. from anger to happiness

Anger is a futile emotion. It does nothing for you, just burns your heart and makes you cry for revenge. All those endless hours of plotting and saying the right things that should have been said. All the pent-up emotion an a seething rage which is more often than not impotent. Impotent  because nothing can be done be about it, if anything could have, you wouldn’t be angry in the first place. Anger is a result of events that have culminated with an end which make no sense to you. It may have brought satisfactory end to someone else but not the one who is angry. Continue reading “The long walk….. from anger to happiness”