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 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”

If I were 22…………….

It does no good to a woman to own up her age 🙂 but lets say i am not 22 and a decade has passed since i was….. then what have i learnt in these 10 years. What would i do right if i were 22 once again…

1. I would learn to not live in the past: Past is a mirage, the images and dreams associated with your past do you no good. Be nostalgic but don’t make nostalgia a habit. All of us would like to go back to high school… it was a time of hope and dreams… but high school has gone by, the shit happening to you today is life. Live it.

2.I would learn from my mistakes but will not keep on blaming myself for it: Everyone makes mistakes. they are the bedrock of our existence. A learning. Take them as learning and not as your failures. For every mistake you have made, make yourself a promise, never again…. but then, forgive yourself. It happens…. and it is called life

3. I will learn to love myself first: Its not selfish, it is the most basic survival technique. people will never be happy with you, you be happy with yourself and let others be damned!!! This learning has come at a great cost. If I berate myself, I give an opportunity to others to do the same to me…. So I learned to love myself, with all my shortcomings and my faults I think I am unique, and I rejoice in my uniqueness….

4. I will learn not to regret: Life is too short to keep on dreaming about “If” scenarios: Let’s admit it, we all keep on thinking, if i would have paid more attention to myself when I wouldn’t be like this today…. if so and so thing happened i would have all the happiness in world…. the “IF” didn’t happen. “THIS” is what you have. make the most of it… Life is unpredictable, the next moment might be our last…

5. Be consistent in your work commitments: I did not think before leaving perfectly good jobs for no reason, this pains me to no extent till date. It has led me to despair. Remain consistent with the first of your commitments and it generally pays off… It will never be easy as there are always adverse situations, bad boss, mad colleagues, shitty job profile, life is never perfect but you need to pull through the dirt to harvest good returns. The first job is generally the most difficult one…..Have patience and give it time, it will get better.

these are a few of my ideas, let me know what you think about it….

Perceptions

I love surprises. small ones, big ones. they just make my day.

When I was younger I used  create these surprises for myself. I would never ask my mother what she had packed for lunch in school. the moment when I opened my lunch box was my own, filled with anticipation and excitement. My own daily dosage of surprise. The sheer joy that such a small action could give is unparalleled to many big things in my life. Those were some pure unadulterated moments of being happy. I still do it…. I save the best for last and am feel happy to “open”or “reveal” my surprises at the end.

I have noticed as children we used to simplify things, if the opportunities were not there we would create them, not whine about them. if surprise were not possible everyday, make your own surprise. We were not dependent on anyone for our happiness…………. As we grow up we forget to create such opportunities of happiness for ourselves,we forget that it is better to simplify things and be happy about them rather than being in your own complex mind web and depending on others to remain happy.

We spend our whole life in the fear of perceptions. We are busy in trying to project ourselves as someone we think we are. Most of our life is spent proving the same to ourselves and others around us. Sometimes I feel that I am not the person I think I am or the people around me see as “me”. Now at this juncture, when I am not too old and not too young, not too naive and yet not too wise, I would first like to stop for a minute and try to figure out who really I am.  Is the person I think I am, only in my head? I guess, parts of me only exists in my head. And this is true for most of us.

Also, perception of an individual also varies from person to person. for some I may be a very sincere, honest and trustworthy person; and someone else may find me the biggest snob around them. It all really is in our head.

Have we forget who we are and what we really want from our life.