Reminisces

Meandering

Between creases

Between boundaries

Between spaces

Between emptiness

Gushing

Between love

Between anguish

Swinging

Between hope

Between Sorrow

There is time

That flows

Sometimes like a silent river

Passing beneath

Bridges we build

Washing away

Walls we erect

Sometimes rolling like

A reckless stream

Sometimes

Roaring like impassioned waves

We do all we can to

Slow it down

Outstretching our hands

Tightening our fists

Around the sands of time

Thinking it’ll stay still

Yet it slips away

Sliding away from

Beneath   our  feet

Leaving stamped   memories

Weaving lasting moments

Leaving the creases

And crumples

Of age on our hearts

And faces

We do all

We can to defy its traces

The fallacies of freedom

We think we walk free

Yet we walk chained

And tied

To our perceptions

Enslaved by our prejudices

Confined by the limitations

Of our narrow minds

We think we are free

Yet we are caged

By our desires

A captive of our

Material possessions

Imprisoned in the

Glory of the past

Or trapped in

Nursing wounds

Of an embittered past

We think we live free

Yet we remain

Locked in an ennui

Feet firmly ensconced

in the arms of security

We trade our dreams

For money

Tuck away our

Streaks of madness

For the mask of

Social acceptability

And we all run together

Trying to ace an ephemeral race

On movement

As long as we’re moving we’re experiencing life. Whether it is moving places, moving jobs or moving on from things that no longer nourish or teach you anything, we feel alive as long as we’re moving. Staying rooted is for plants and trees not for human beings. In fact we need to move away from our roots to grow and mature. Leave the comfort of the familiar cocoon to experience life in totality. If we choose to stagnate and stay rooted we’re just growing old but choosing not expanding the horizons of our minds and souls. The realm of our experiences is limited and nothing ever grew between limitations and boundaries. We just end up reinforcing our preconceived notions and prejudices in familiar milieu and refuse to learn anything new. To nurture ourselves we need to step out of our bubbles, open up to unacquainted experiences, unfamiliar people. Change is the law of life and those of us, who choose to defy it, are choosing not to open ourselves up to experiences. Saying no to movements is saying no to life and all that life has to offer to us. This also holds true for those of us who cling on to past memories or glory. Our refusal to move on and accept our not so glorious present is living a sham. Living in denial can’t be a permanent address. It can be a phase for sure. We’ve got to learn to let go of the past, memories and experiences to make room for the new. Life is a process of constant self renewal and reinvention. Life opens up opportunities for those of us willing to anticipate and entertain them. For the rest of us it is a matter of staying stuck in the rut.

Dealing with Disillusionment

A philosophical viewpoint has always been my shelter and shade from life’s lows and unexpected turns. It has given me the space to ruminate and reflect rather than react spontaneously and has often been my anchor in the worst of times. Perhaps that’s what forces me to take stock when life doesn’t pan out as I hope it would. Often looking back I realize, sometimes being disillusioned and disappointed does you a world of good. Yes you heard me right. I’m not propagating self-flagellation or wallowing in the oceans of self-pity and cynicism. But somehow the twists and turns on the turf of life have taught me that every once in a while being disappointed with what life brings you, can alter your perspective. It forces you to take stock of what you’ve been doing and how you can do things better. It only inspires you on to approach life’s quandaries more creatively. Often we fall into the trap of being a tad too complacent, often only a disappointment can shake you out of your stupor and prevents you from being too self-assured and smug. We all need the blows to temper us down, bring us back to reality. Not to say we shouldn’t let them bring us down but they can certainly keep us grounded. So after all, there is an upside to everything that happens. We see it only when we want to see it.

The Mirage…..

Dreams that gather the

Dust of reality on a forgotten shelf

Ideals that reek of indifference

And cynicism

Running and pacing

To keep up with the mundane

While hopes and desires

Just wilt away in vain

Until we figure

We’re chasing a mirage

We don’t know what

We want

And we seldom

Know where we’ll get

Yet we’re dashing

In pursuit of that

Ephemeral security

which was sold

To us in a glossy packet

Until we can no

Longer run anymore

And we figure

All this one big

Hoax, a societal racket

To ensure we blend

With the crowd

And don’t dare

To stand out

So that we’re lost

In the milieu

And never raise a cry

Or hue

But often by the time

Does this dawn

Our dreams are too stale

long-buried

And gone

A note to my younger impulsive self

As I touched the third decade last week, there was this incessant need to take stock, look back and reflect on all the foolish notions I held so dearly. I can’t help and laugh at how impressionable and wide-eyed I was.

If there is one thing I would want to tell my younger impetuous self it would be not to invest time in equations and relationships that are a one-way street. You can’t keep giving. Most relationships need to be mutual to last long enough. You can’t keep giving without expecting anything in return. We’re all human at the end of the day let us not try to be ascetics when we’re not.

I would also like to tell myself to be more discerning of people and situations. Don’t look after you’ve leap. It is better to take your steps slowly and steadily.

Go with the flow. Irrespective how well you treat others, you can’t accept the same in return. Know where to draw the line for yourself and for others.

Idealism is good, it might fade with the touch of time, but never let enthusiasm and zeal to try anything new fade with it.

Most of our limitations, all that holds us back looms large in our head. Half the battles we fight are the ones we fight with ourselves. We can be our own best allies and worst enemies. It all boils down to how we perceive ourselves and our circumstances.

Don’t waste your time being self-conscious and worrying about what other people will think of you. Immaterial and irrespective of how hard you try they will like you or detest you based on their own perceptions and prejudices. Don’t try too hard to win other people’s approval. Try instead to do what you love, be what you want. You can’t live a path someone else has charted out for you. It is a sure shot way to fall flat on one’s face.

Being sensitive doesn’t mean being thin-skinned for ourselves. It is being sensitive to other people’s needs to. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Speak to others as you would like to be spoken to.

I can rant on endlessly, for the sake of time I’ll pause for now and perhaps come back later to rant some more :)

 

 

 

 

In the arms of melancholy

It beckons

You in its folds

Enveloping you

In its outstretched arms

Seeking the

Vulnerable corners

Of your being

Encircling your tender heart

In concentric circles

It gazes at you longingly

With hazel eyes

Hounds you till you yield

Probes you till you bend

To its elfin charms

Haunts you

Till it engulfs you

Melancholy is

An enticing mistress

It chases you till

You succumb

Life’s Whirlwind Dance

Twirling through the days

Whirling through time

We run through life

As if there’s no looking back

Mindlessly chasing ephemeral goals

Asininely running through streets

Cobbled with dreams and desires

We run and fly

Sans a pause or sigh

Seldom stopping by to listen

To the song of our hearts

Never pausing to appreciate

Nature or art

We think we’ll win the race

Only to evaporate

In the masses sans a trace

In the cocoon of words

Between the dredges of freedom

And the chains of security

Between life’s stagnant ways

And rapidly changing days

Between transience

And permanence

In the folds of cynicism

And the circle of hope

In the euphoric peaks

And the abysmal troughs

Floating amidst dreams

And dragging through reality

In the companionable silences of faith

And disconcerting conspiratorial

Whispers of doubt

Floating in joy

And soaking in sadness

Amidst the gossamers of togetherness

And the tatters of loneliness

It was words that kept my sanity

It was only words that set me free

On Awkward Expressions

Emotions and I had very awkward beginnings. When I think back to my childhood, I used to be that shrinking self-conscious violet who would cringe while being hugged by her mom at the bus stop waiting for the school bus to come. Any kind of public display of affection had me running miles away. I was way too self-conscious and almost impassive. Be it love or grief I chose to cover it under a veneer of stoicism. I don’t know why but I grew up with the misconception that any display of emotions leaves you weak and vulnerable. That is rather strange for my gender, since most women are wired to feel and express more compared to men. I thought I had it all sorted one could walk through life masking what one really felt. But time and experiences ensured such fuzzy notions flew right of the window. I realized true strength lay in being your authentic self. In expressing what you felt: grief, sadness, anger, joy or love.

Emotions aren’t pickles that you bottle them and preserve them in an arid corner of your heart. You were meant to flow with them. To let grief wash your heart. To let the waves of joy splash all over your soul. To soak in the seas of sadness and float on the boat of hope is a part and parcel of our existence. That is the essence of life. To feel, express and move on. We do no one but ourselves a lot of harm by suppressing how we really feel. The emotions brew within like a vortex and then erupt like a volcano. We think we can go on living like the pigeon who thinks by closing its eyes the approaching cat won’t eat it. But not only does that make you miserable within but holds you back from relating authentically with the people who matter to you. I don’t know what prompted me to rant about feelings and expression. But I am only glad that life taught me otherwise. That I finally learnt to express and to let go and the realization that strength never lay in silent endurance instead it lies in learning to be vulnerable. To bare our ugly souls to the world and yet live in the security we will be loved in spite of how we feel. I might not be quite there but still learning to tap the resilience that comes with letting your defenses down.

Evanescence

 

Chasing a mirage called security

Seeking the stamp of approval

And permanence from society

We tie ourselves in knots

Chaining people with expectations

Worrying about what will be

Watching the present slip by

Into oblivion’s sea

We soak in the glory of

A fading past

Our effort is to drag

On to ensure we

Walk the trodden path

Till the very last

We delude ourselves

Into chasing stability

Knowing little life

is in fits and starts

It dances alive in the

Ephemeral and momentary

Ephemerality of Life

It is strange how we learn to value people only when we know we are going to lose them. Only when life begins to ebb out of the people we love do we realize how much they matter and how little we can do to alleviate their pain. We look on helplessly and watch them endure pain and suffering. This is when the past comes back and brings back the moments and memories we shared with them. It is as if the floodgate of memories open and everything from the past gushes out washing over our arid minds. We hope against hope praying a miracle will see them through. Yet little do we realize that sometimes we hold on to people out of our own selfish neediness. All of life and death are nothing but learning the act of accepting our helplessness and learning the art of letting go. Perhaps learning to let go is the hardest act of all, it makes us aware of how weak and helpless we really are. It tells us all our meticulous planning and designs of how we would like life to be are just a mirage; an illusion that makes us feel as if we are in control of our lives. Life has its own plans and designs that unfold with time. Perhaps all we need to do is relinquish control and flow with where life takes us. Yet we hold on with all our might to familiar situations, people and places. Because familiarity breeds security, we find solace and strength in familiarity.

The realization that life is so fragile and uncertain dawns on us in our weakest moments yet we keep running without acknowledging this fact. We think we can control everything and yet death and birth are something we have little control over. We lead vulnerable uncertain existences yet we demand security and surety for everything. It is our fallacies that tell us we can control everything! But life and death teach us it is yielding and molding ourselves with time that sees us through the peaks and troughs of life.

Our lopsided Indian ways

Our society has its own share of eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. Every once in a while I can’t help but observe them and ponder over them. Life is trodding along smoothly yet some instances always surface now and then forcing one to think whether we’ve actually progressed or are still trapped in a time bubble refusing to budge from how we view the world, digging in our heels while insisting how we view the world is how it ought to be.  Being reared to question instead of conforming and thinking instead of toeing the trodden line can be quite an aberration in our country. It only makes matters worse. For the life of me I am unable to fathom why most of our country is still trapped in a time warp. We refuse to let go of how things should be a certain way. Any fluctuations from the designated path are seen as abnormal.  We weave a framework for ourselves and the people around us. Anyone outside that frame is an outcast. We’re eager to shun anything that threatens our patterned mundane way of thinking.  We love to glorify miseries,  sing paeans of  sacrifice and then expect our progeny to do the same for us.  To seek pleasure is to walk the path of decadence, so is to follow one’s heart. Our  duty is to obey and please people who are senior to us in age and stature.  We have this ambiguous sense of what morality entails. And “being good” and morally upright comes with its own baggage. The baggage of pomposity and self-glorification and righteousness. The view that how we’ve lived life is how others ought to. Self-denial is seen as the supreme goal of our lives. We are so willing to demolish dreams at the altar of duty and then expect our future generations to do the same. We still let gender decide an individual’s destiny and course of life. Not sure if we pass on values and ethics from one generation to another but we certainly hand over our prejudices, our rigidity and our biases only too gladly. If you refuse to lap up these gracefully be ready to get an earful. We’re so ingrained in our stick in the mud attitude that change is shunned as  an outsider. How long will we stay wedded to status-quo let other people decide the course of our lives and stay ingrained in passivity ?  Perhaps forever. We’re so eager to label  and anything radical, different or new as ‘evil’, dangerous or threatening. Our refusal to budge from our stances is seen as being sure of what we want while it is merely sheer pig headedness.  What makes me so sad is to see people of our generation to fall prey to such fallacies and archaic notions. We seldom gather the courage to voice what we feel since it is easier to conform and get validation for doing so. But who ever said that what is easy is the best for us?

 

On pausing and finding time to reflect….

 

It is strange how most of life shall only make sense in retrospect. After life has happened to us the whys and how suddenly begin to make sense. We find answers to all questions that haunted our minds.

But all of this seldom makes sense in the realm of action. When we are in the middle of chaos, in the whirlwinds of change we just get pulled in to dance with the winds. Without having time to breathe let alone finding time to pause and make sense of where life is headed. Yet when storms have passed and the dust begins to settle. Leaving us partly broken, partly wiser it all begins to fall into place. The missing pieces fit snugly in harmony. But by then we’ve written off, given up on what we want till we discover this glimmer of hope to hang on to. And we hang on to it with all our might.

Only to realize that all life asks of us is to learn to let go. To let go of how we think life ought to be, of our fixed ideas, our prejudices and notions. To let go of it all and flow like water. Become supple and nimble souls that go with the flow of life without letting it break us, yet enriching everything we touch. All these realizations dawn only in the surreptitious and quiet moments of introspection.

Such moments are far and few because we prefer to succumb to the maddening and frenetic pace of action. To lose ourselves in our work, drown ourselves in frivolous worries and speculate mindlessly. We chose not to think and feel and rather act and react. It takes courage to think, to reflect, look at ourselves sans blinders as well as look at the people we love objectively. It asks of us to look at ourselves and our existence in the mirror and have our vulnerabilities and weaknesses stare right back at us. It takes strength to be vulnerable. But our social conditioning ingrained it in us that true strength lies in denial, in masking what we really feel and want. So we run mindlessly, chase ephemeral dreams and desires yet nothing quells the restlessness within. Instead of chasing a path the world charted for us if only we could find courage to succumb to our impulses, chase silly dreams and just be our true authentic selves sans the fear of censure and non-acceptance. If only….

An Ode to the turbulent twenties-1

With less than 3 months to go as I edge towards the dreaded yet much anticipated third decade of my life. I can’t help but look back at the turbulent and tumultuous twenties. I left the comfort and warmth of home, moved cities, got a job,made mistakes, faltered, realized what an emotional fool I am, changed two jobs, fell in love, got married, traveled, learned to take a stand for myself. This list could probably run into pages. Too much happened in this time, it makes me even breathless to recall it all !

It is strange how we change intrinsically with time without realizing it at all. If I meander back to my early twenties I was a die-hard optimist peeking at the world with my rose-tinted glasses. Time and experiences tempered this optimism with a lot of realism.  Time taught me to have realistic expectations of people, life and the world at large. As I now edge towards the big 30 I’m none the worse for it. Realism has left me in a happier and less restless space. Yet that strange restless urge nestles in a corner somewhere and takes charge of me every now and then. I miss the heady feeling that told me I could change the world. Now I just  make peace by changing how I respond to the world. Much to my chagrin.

Earlier  I would be befuddled and wide-eyed by perpetually everything. But time has taught to do all of the rolling of the eyes and raising eyebrows in my head while maintaining a calm exterior. Time has also mellowed down my spirit. I no longer react strongly  to people’s idiosyncrasies and quirks ( although the voices in my head still react but I manage to quiet them self deprecatingly). My impatience might not have been tamed but time has almost taught me to conceal it.

Sometimes I miss the whip-lashing feminist I was. Mouthing women’s rights in college while carrying around a copy of Germaine Greer’s  Beauty Myth .The present day me has settled for egalitarianism ( that too is a distant dream in a country like ours that is caught in a time warp) We still have different rules for different genders.

Earlier I couldn’t quite fathom why people are a certain way. Let’s say experiences brought home the fact that it is none of my business. If the twenties taught me anything it would be to live and let live and let  peace prevail.

I could keep looking back at life and  ambling on endlessly but for now let me just get back to work and end my rant here.

 

 

Spilling over

 

Every statue can crumble

Every wall has cracks

That we try so hard to conceal

Every eye has unshed tears

That well up and flood the heart

Each smile has sadness

Outlining its edges

That we try so hard to rein

Boiling rage beneath

A calm veneer that

We struggle to contain

Yet the cup of forbearance

will flow over some day

When you’ve borne

Life with stoicism

For too long

You’re cries

will echo on

Notes to my impetuous self

This blog is  officially dying and needs resuscitation now! Its been languishing in neglect. I haven’t written in ages. Either words and thoughts simply evaporate or I get so caught up in life’s madness that it just slips into oblivion. It isn’t really by choice that I don’t pause to pen down what’s on my mind. In fact to write and express myself is an overpowering need. I’m a spectator and watch life from my quiet corner, drawing my own inferences, jotting them down on paper or on my blog. This space is sacrosanct for me for here I can say all that I won’t muster guts to say in real life. Yet I seem to have pushed it into a corner allowing myself to become procrastinator.

As the year starts I have only one resolve that is to write more often and to write stuff that makes sense. Resolutions otherwise are passe for me, for they fly right out of the window in the very first fortnight of the year. However there are things I know but don’t practice so I’d rather write them down here to constantly remind myself of these all year-long. Let me start 1) Good things and all that counts always takes time, so be patient and stop jumping the gun when it comes to conversations and ideas. Don’t anticipate too much. Life is fair, but only if we give it time to unfold.

2) Don’t put your foot into your mouth.  Keep silent if you have nothing sensible to say.

3) Abandon your sweet tooth and penchant for emotional eating. It’s going to be a source of much misery and unwanted inches around the waist  as you inch closer towards the thirties this year.

4) Let go of all that you no longer need : redundant emotions, dead relationships, putting too much onus on how people assess you and zany airy ideas about the world at large

5) Learn to confront your demons, your darkness and learn to confront people when you disagree with them. You can’t live life in the avoidance mode.

6) Being restless for change is good, but don’t let the present moment turn into a saga of longing for the future. Live in the moment.

7) Quit allowing people to prick you .Stop being  ready to burst into tears at the silliest of excuses. It’s often not what they say but how you interpret it.

8)  Stop thinking in retrospect of all the witty retorts you could have made in an argument. Give back as good as you get at the right time.

9) Being content is good, until it starts to tilt towards complacency.

10) Trust your intuition but don’t allow it to colour your judgement of people and situations.

11) Spontaneity is good, but it isn’t the same as being mindlessly impulsive.

12) Every once in a while step out of the mindless rut and routine to look at your life objectively from a distance. Make time to reflect, ruminate and re-assess.

I can rant endlessly about all that I need to learn and remember but for sake of sanity I’ll stop right here and come back in a few days to write something more structured perhaps.

Another year…

Another year ambles on

Punctuated with somber silence

Splashed with varied shades

Flooded with memories

And moments that shall melt into oblivion

 

Another year flows through

The river of time

Rushing back once

In a while in  nooks

And crannies of dismembered thoughts

Another year brimming

With love

Aching with longing

Another year asking

Of us to flow

With the waves of time

Wounded Silence

Words fester

In recesses of

Restlessness

Aching to find an outlet

Meandering along

to find their way out

Only to retract

Retrace their steps and

Curl back in the womb

They amble their way home

To rest in crevices of our hearts

Nestling in the warmth

Of the comfort of not

Having stirred a storm

 

 

Drifting with time

Sometimes when the winds of time

tug at your souls

urging you to fly with them

Just drift away

Don’t stall their pace

Don’t resist their pull

They’ll churn your life

and swirl your soul

but take you to a better place

Canvas of life

The traces of pain

smidgens of passion

inked on the canvas

of our lives

Blend with the colours of love

and the shades of

longing

They twirl together

aching to spill over

from the brim of

our hearts

Yet we mask it all

in the garb of pragmatism

and  greys of reality

Marring the masterpiece

we could paint with our hearts.

Sands of Time

The flowing river of time

Stops for none

Waits for none

A gushing stream

It meanders beneath willowy bridges

And flows between the walls we build

Cavorting us to its capricious rhythm

Spinning us to its whimsical tune

We amble on and watch in a blur

How dazed days

Blend into inky sepulchral nights

And the soft dawn melts into mellifluous mornings

Before we know we’re at death knell

Sans an inkling  of how life passed us by in a flash

Love doesn’t die

Love doesn’t die

It hides in nooks and

Corners like an errant

Insolent child

Waiting to be humored

And indulged again

Love doesn’t fade in a flash

It languishes silently

Flickers quietly like an ephemeral flame

Waiting to be resurrected

Love doesn’t walk

Out of the window

It is jostled and pushed

Beneath the carpet

Of guilt and unspoken feelings

Beneath the comfortable

Couch of conjecture and assumptions

Love doesn’t break down

It fumbles and stumbles

Waiting for us to reclaim it with

A firm hand and a steady glance

Walk it back to where it belongs

Dancing Demons

We seek refuge

In togetherness

Drown ourselves i the noise

And din of daily existence

Thinking it’ll quell

Our loneliness

Thinking it’ll drive away

The shadows that consume us

Intimacy and attachment

Are but mirrors

Where we see our ugliest

Demons come alive

And stamp at our weary

Weathered souls

They whisper into

Our impressionable minds

Feast on our supple thoughts

Until we no longer pay them heed

And watch with detached longing

As into the distance they

Begin to recede.

Find a home

Find a home

for your feelings

Give them a cushion

to rest on

A corner to set roots in

Let them meander through

the corridors of your mind

Hold them close

till they seep through

your weary bones

Inhale them in

Till they fill

depths of your soul

Open windows

of your heart to air

feelings that gather dust

and let them fly

Dealing With Uncertainty

We’re forever fighting these battles in our mangled minds where we walk the tightrope walk between knowing and uncertainty. The divide between wanting to know what the future holds or waiting for each day to unfold and taking it head on .I often wonder how would it have been had we known what the future held? If we could see through the tricks and antics that time had up its sleeve? Or if we could unravel the surreptitious glances that the future throws our way ? Would life be any better? I don’t know about  better, but it sure would have been writ large with monotony and have us trapped in the rut of predictability. There would be nothing to wish or hope for and no sense of anticipation for the future to unfold. We’d be weary beings treading through a stagnant existence. That brings us back to how life is now uncertain, ever-changing and ridden with complexities, challenges that unfold each day. Perhaps that really is the essence of life and we’re meant to take the bull by the horns not knowing what direction it’ll take tomorrow. Perhaps life is all about dealing with uncertainty and insecurities and overcoming these determines how we grow and mature as individuals. Because comfort and predictability are but a trap that can ensnare our hopes and dreams and keep us rooted in stagnation. While uncertainty asks of us to bend, twist and change with circumstances which is what keeps us moving with life and staying flexible. Taking on and relishing each new experience, experimenting with things we’d never fathomed we were capable of enjoying and basically stretching the limits of our minds and perception.

Shared Silence

Words that fester

In recesses of

Restlessness

Aching to find an outlet

Meandering along

to find their way out

Only to retract

Retrace their steps and

Curl back in the womb

Amble their way home

To rest in crevices of our hearts

Nestling in the warmth

Of the comfort

That they didn’t stir

A storm and

Violate sanctity of shared silence

Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever wondered?

Where do words

Choked in our throats go?

Where do

Unshed tears find a home?

Where do the feelings

That touch tip of our tongue

But don’t find a voice

Nestle and snuggle?

Where do the thoughts

We push to deepest crevices

And unknown corners of

Our lonely hearts disappear

They slip into darkness

They fade into shadows

They dance beneath

Placid surfaces and veneers

They hide between

Dark walls and dense

Fences that hold

Niggling doubts

And cavernous fears

Idiosyncracies of the Indian way of life

We live in a bubble. Firmly ensconced in an ideal world. In our educated and emancipated existence we rarely come in touch with ground reality. We know little that unlike our progressive families and friends, most of our fellow Indians live an alternate reality. One where there is space for only literal minds, where there is little room for change. If you’re born in India and were raised to question rather than accept or be submissive, you will have trouble like me digesting a lot of what we encounter in daily life. While I was an adolescent I thought we were a country where both men and women are on equal footing. So wrong I was! As I met and interacted with people across cities, the fact dawned home. It is only a minority which has made progress the rest of us are either trapped in a time warp or are constantly regressing. Over the years I couldn’t help making mental notes of the quirks, idiosyncrasies, paradoxes and irrationalities that come with being quintessentially Indian. There are several things that come with being Indian that I find hard to fathom and swallow. And when I think of them I feel so alien and can’t seem to relate with these ideologies.

- Our business is everyone’s business- Apparently we’re so awkward at social conversations that the only way we relate with people is by asking questions such as how much they earn, when will they marry, if married when will they have children? This is our notion of relating with extended family and friends. In my mind this shall tantamount to being downright nosy and intrusive.

- Another ones that comes close it apparently the concept of space is non-existent in the Indian scenario. If you give space to a loved one perhaps you’re not loving enough or don’t care. Or even worse they think you’re being negligent and apathetic. You can only show love by being omnipresent and by hand-holding people you care for. The bottom-line is we are scared of letting our loved ones gain autonomy because we feel that will translate into them being distanced from us.

- Since space is an unknown term so is individualism. The rise of the individual is seen as a threat to the community and great Indian family. And it is fashionable to hate people who are not from your religion or community. We don’t know what to make of those who look different, eat differently and think differently. Such people threaten us so as a defense mechanism we label them and keep safe. The good ones are those from our community, family background, and socioeconomic strata. Because they don’t threaten our perception and we end up reinforcing either others’ warped ideologies or insecure rigid belief systems.

-You’re not supposed to live for yourself or your dreams. If you dare to do so you’re labeled selfish and egocentric, it is all about following the path our ‘well-wishers’ have for us. No wonder we balk at people who’re different and encourage our children to follow a beaten track, burdening them with the weight of our expectations and dreams. And unfortunately the vicious cycle extends from generation to generation.

- We glorify pain and suffering in silence. This comes with a rider, only when it comes to women does silence is seen as a virtue. Women who grin and bear it in silence are the idealized while the one who are more human are looked down upon. On the other hand we raise our men with a sense of entitlement. As if they own the world and women were born to serve them. They’re also dehumanized. If a man doesn’t conform to the stereotypical notion he is made fun of. If he’s sensitive, likes art or cooks he’s a dandy and not ‘man enough’.  The only emotion men are reinforced to display is aggression. If they express love and care they are mocked at. What make it worse is the rigid roles and stereotypes that our society defines for both men and women. If you don’t fit the stereotype, all hell breaks loose. Men too bear the brunt of social conditioning. A happily married daughter is a trophy to flaunt to the world, but a happily married son is a threat. Because our society thinks if he’s too involved in his marriage and in making his wife happy, he will neglect duties and responsibilities of a good Indian boy. The male child is supposed to be a caretaker, an investment for one’s old age. He is manipulated, twisted and asked to give up his dreams since he was rendered preferential treatment while being raised. The dichotomy doesn’t end here, the kind of life we wish for our daughters is the exact opposite of what we wish for from a daughter-in-law.

- The only kind of love our society is capable of accepting is maternal. If you’re a woman and your heart doesn’t overflow with the fountain of maternal love, something is wrong with you. Go figure. The concept of a couple even a married one in love is not acceptable. A couple marries to fulfill duty and produce progeny not for love, companionship and all such ‘western ideals’. That is how moralistic we are. All other kinds love is relegated to the status of being immoral, not to be discussed publicly or downright shameful and dishonorable. I still see people cluck in disapproval at “Love Marriages” (Another indianism why would anyone marry for anything but love?) They veil them under some pretext and talk of it in hushed tones.

- Since we balk at and fear individualism, everything linked to it is nonexistent for us: individual freedom, creativity, following our dreams. These are the biggest threats looming large to our good old Indian culture and tradition and are conveniently shoved under the carpet. You live your life for the happiness of others and not your own. That is the message which is conveyed in a very subversive manner from generation to generation.

- We can only preserve the Indian culture by fostering dependence and propagating fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the outcomes of not following the path of becoming a good Indian girl or good Indian boy. Yes religion is also used to make people more fearful .So we’re good not cause we want or choose to be but because we fear the consequences that come with being bad or in other words following your heart

- We’re obsessed with fair skin of women. Our advertising, our matrimonial ads, media is bombarded with images of tall fair slim women who seem to be the paragons of virtue and beauty. We fear dark skin because it is mysterious, alluring and we don’t know what to make of such beauty.

- Another recurring Indian fixation is a man’s pay packet. It is his ticket to a trophy wife. . Such a man is a prize catch for your daughter. He earns the respect of everyone and is looked at with respect. No one cares to think or ask whether he’s happy doing what he is. That is immaterial and beside the point. You are known by your material worth and possessions. What you think or feel doesn’t count

- The only acceptable way of expressing affection and love we know is by force feeding the people we care for and stuffing them with food. We eat when we feast, we eat when we fast. Yes such is our relationship with food.

- With food comes the great Indian wedding preoccupation. That is why you were born, to get married. And you don’t get married till you throw a lavish wedding feast for people you’re never likely to meet again in your life. And not to forget you have to load your daughters with at least a car else you’re stingy especially if you’re North Indian. And no the fact that you educated her and made her capable to earn a living doesn’t count. The man who marries her isn’t expected to have half a spine or self-respect to say he doesn’t want anything. He’s more than willing to accept such gifts. And mind you this is an expression of parental love!

- Terms like privacy and intimacy are alien to our ilk. We thrive on crowds, groups and congregations. Where men interact with men and women with women.. Quiet people, shy people have no space in our society. They are labeled as ‘not so social’ or arrogant, if you please. Have no secrets and share everything with everyone. That is the typical Indian way of life. Thanks to Facebook you don’t need to meet extended family in person they can keep themselves updated about your lives on the internet, irrespective of whether you’d like to share it or not.

- We don’t live; we merely exist passively without making half an attempt to change all that we feel is wrong with our lives. After all it is Karma which led us where we are. We wait on till Karma comes and bites us back.

- We are such a crowd-centered lot that we let majority of aberrations pass since this is what the majority of our people endure it. No one questions, everyone is just expected to conform to norms. This is most dangerous because patriarchy, women’s inequality and violence against women are something most people accept as a given. Just because it happens with the majority of people we know, doesn’t mean it is acceptable and right.

This is by no means a social discourse just a few observations I have made over the years. How we as a society just aren’t willing to let go off the prejudiced lenses we see the world is. What is worse is we want to pass on the legacy of these prejudices to our children. We want them to conform and obey as we did. We want their lives to be a replica of ours. But this vicious cycle needs to stop somewhere. Someone needs to question, not conform, think not obey. And that someone has to be us, our generation. Yes the onus to change all that’s wrong with our society rests with us. The buck stops nowhere but here, with all of us.

Falling Apart

We spend

Our days ironing

Out creases from

From our frayed existences

Smoothing jagged

Edges of our rough-smooth lives

Polishing surfaces

To contain

Tumult and turmoil

That blends within

Churning our weary souls

Burning our core

We gloss over words

Push feelings under a carpet

So that the world

Doesn’t see the

Skeletons crumble

Out of our creaky closets

We walk a tightrope

Do an uneasy tango

With our emotions

Masking them beneath

A stony stoic veneer

Beneath which lays

Simmering rage

And teary eyed fear

We amble on

Rubbing our hands

In glee

Thinking we can

Fool them all

And walk away

Free

Till abandoned

Emotions and

Buried feelings

Knock at our innards

Wrestle with our minds

And snowball

Into fierce fiends

And menacing monsters

We no longer can contain

Unleashing onto

Unsuspecting people

Our smouldering wrath

And festering pain

Ephemeral Reflections

What is so disconcerting and unsettling about life ? The fact that nothing is permanent, feelings don’t come with a guarantee, people change and move on, situations are ever evolving. But when the skies of our life are overcast and grey and when a day turns not so right and you want the moments to melt into sheer nothingness. Push the discomfort out of our consciousness, we pin our hopes on this impermanence. We seek comfort in this transient ephemeral nature of our lives. The fact that no two days will ever be alike. What was once unsettling suddenly becomes the source of reassurance and hope. The transient nature of life remains the same, only our perspective towards it takes a paradigm shift. If it is a happy moment we keep on clinging to it forever and if it is darkness and despair we’re so eager to push it to the recesses of forgotten memories. What if we were to treat both joy and despair with an equal sense of detachment ? Knowing that neither of them are forever, won’t that make life more liveable? I don’t have the answers yet, but that surely won’t keep me from seeking them.

The Gremlin in our mind

We amble

On endlessly

We run with all

We’ve got

We hide

In darker corners

We drown ourselves

In noise

We’ll do anything

It takes to escape

The gremlins

The monsters of our making

The niggling voices

Those swallow us like a vortex

And engulf our shaky beings

Until we

Gather all our might

Bracing up to

Put up a fight

With all it ever takes

And suddenly

The gnarling gremlins

And menacing monsters

Seem to fade into oblivion

Dancing away into darkness

Musings on Life

“See life with eyes of an idealist.
Experience it with the heart of a romantic.
Think it through with the mind of a realist.”

Life is so full of paradoxes and absurdities. Isn’t it? Just when we think we have it all figured out, we have a plan in place. It all falls apart and leaves us speechless. Life gives us a knowing smile, throws all our plans out of gear and throws something we never expected our way. Challenging us to respond in a way we never thought we could. Such are the vagaries of life.  The inconsistencies don’t end here, they’ve just about started.  As we grow our capacity to experience unabashed, undiluted childlike joy and wonder goes down the hill. That is because our adult minds force us to block out all unpalatable and unpleasant experiences. As we block out the sadness, bone-crushing, soulful melancholy, we also reduce our capacity to feel happy and experience joy.  With this blocking out we feel the knots of bitterness tying our spirit, making us conceal our hearts beneath layers of reason, dogma and rigidity.

As we get mowed down by the business of living and get trapped in a whirlwind of existing and meeting the demands of a mundane routine, the paradoxes come home to roost more often. If you’ve ever noticed all that we’ve said no to with a vengeance and shunned like plague is sure to come our way. Another of life’s sweet revenges, they say.  Let us be careful of what we shun and escape and what we ask for.  Then there is life’s way of putting us in situations that challenge our beliefs, shatter existing perceptions and ask of us to move on and change, mold ourselves in ways we didn’t think it would be possible.  Yes such are the vagaries of this bittersweet journey called life. And yes there are no guidelines and instructions to live life, we just need to reflect and listen to the voice of our heart and follow it.

Dealing with change

The lure of a living life as we know it is a trap. A bittersweet one at that. Our feet are so firmly ensconced in familiarity, that we retreat into a mental shell even at the inkling of a slight change or anything out of the ordinary. Anything that forces us to change the rhythm of the mundane and ordinary and shakes out of our stupor is downright uncomfortable. We push it into the  dark recesses of our mind or try our best not to take notice of it at all.

We’re fooling ourselves if we think we can live that way. Cause change is just too stubborn it will chase you, hound you and force you to crawl out of the closet and stare you in the face. Look at you with deep penetrating eyes till you succumb to it.  We can fool ourselves by denying it, escaping change or resisting it. But so strong is its pull that we have no choice but to succumb to its forces. And when we do finally embrace it we can look back and reflect on how it was probably for the best that we changed.

Our ingrained stubbornness, a stick in the mud attitude or the need to put on blinkers when we look at change will not do us any favour. We have to grab the bull by the horns and just let life take its own course.

More than an inspirational piece I wrote this post to make myself less resistant to change. I have forever been slow to adapt and have even retreated into a shell at the sight of a personal or professional influx. But gradually I am trying, albeit trying hard to break down the walls in my head. The walls which hold voices that tell me change is risky, and familiarity is a secure, warm home. I have figured that when you say no to change, you’re saying no to the very essence in life. I have a hard time accepting how people change and evolve too. How easily they move on with life and the business of living. And life has its own way of teaching me that this too is an inherent principle of the business of living. The sooner you accept it, the serener life will be.

The Kiss of Life

Resuscitate dreams

Those turn insipid

And colourless

With touches of time

Restore hope

Buried beneath

Debris of despair

Recreate love

That loses its sheen

With ravages of age

Recreate the sense of wonder

It abandons

Us in humdrum

Of existence

Reclaim parts

Of the soul

You masked to face the world

Unearth the vulnerabilities

You concealed in

The confines of mental walls

Awaken the nomad within

Whose soul got chained to

Dredges of security

Break the chains

you tie your wary soul into

 

Reflected Patterns

Snippets

And fragments

That don’t fit together

Jarring notes

Aching to find a symphony

Lingering moments

Melting into bittersweet memories

Inexplicable agony

That slips into

Unknown dark alleys

Threads that weave

Into patches not patterns

Yet we amble on

Ascribing meaning

To ambiguity

Till the pieces

Begin to fall in place

And fleeting emotions

Find a resting space

And when look back

At the patterns

Of agony and delight

The reasons, the rhyme

Starts to come alive

In hindsight

The waves of time shall turn

( image courtesy :Google) Image

Drowning

In an abyss

Of our thoughts

Floating in a swamp

Of fear

Walking on

The trapeze of trepidation

We seem to forget

That the pieces

Don’t always fit together

It isn’t always going

To be fair weather

The storms will pass

The darkness will

Mellow into light

Just hold on to

The last strand of hope

Ride on the swiveling

Wheels of faith

The waves of time

Will wash you to

A safer shore

Rocky Road Ahead

The road you chose

Is a lonely one

The Twists and turns are sharp

There are bends and

Boulders lined on the way

You might encounter fellow travellers

Who walk with you a distance

And diverge to make their paths

The road will get rockier

There will be storms to conquer

Don’t look back in nostalgia

Don’t pause in fear

Don’t slow down to withdraw

Just keep walking

Walk till you see the beacon

Walk till you learn to live in the moment

Walk till you know the transience of life

Walk till your darkness melts into light

Our worlds are different

We inhabit different worlds

You and I

Our realities run

Parallel

Like the tracks of a train

Our ideologies

Collide and clash

But seldom meet

We run like

The banks

Of a river

Our minds

On different tangents

Our perceptions

In dissonant notes

We walk side

By side

Yet our eyes

View the world

So differently

The world

Will never

Let us meet

If we ever do

We will weave

A new world

Where differences

Will find respect

And change

Will be embraced

Rekindling Life

She cried

Silently into the night

Where no one could hear

They had blown

Away her castles

In the air

With whispers of conspiracy

They had burnt down

Her dreams

On the pyre

Of convention

They had stepped

On her hopes

With a stampede

Of disapproval

Her dreams

Her hopes

Her world

Lay scattered

Like shrapnel

The fragments

Lay broken

With jagged edges

That could only pierce

Her soul

Yet her irrepressible

Spirit

Found a reason

To soar again

Mend her broken wings

With care

With fragility

She gathered

Her fragmented

Hopes

She gathered

The ashes of her dreams

And the remains

Of her world

She looked at

Morning sky with

A renewed gleam

Of hope

Because tomorrow

Held in its

Womb

The promise

Of a new dawn

Patterned with

Hopes of building

The life of her dreams yet again

Life’s Lessons, Longings and Impressions

Life’s unpredictable, unfair and yet a beautiful journey If you have an appetite life has a lot to offer. You just need to open your arms to feel it, experience it in entirety , all joys and sorrows, all hopes all dreams . As I inch towards 30, I have this incessant urge to reflect on all the lessons life’s brought my way, to gather those nuggets and capture them somewhere. Most of my growing up happened in the last decade. Before which I was comfortably sheltered in a cocooned existence. But the past few years shook me out of complacence and forced me to get my hands dirty and learn more about life, about letting go of what I was to become what I could be. To shed my perceptions, biases, to look at life up and close. To learn some more and reflect less. Here’s what I thought I could share in a long self indulgent monologue. You can read it at the risk of falling asleep with such hackneyed, done to death lessons.

  • Travel, stir the wanderlust within. Roam the world, see all you can. Experience all you can. Traveling is the shortest route to discovering what your soul needs and it is what helps you unwind and break monotony like nothing. Travel to rejuvenate yourself and travel to resurrect your relationships with those who matter. Travel with a partner; a companion. Travel alone, travel to quench the thirst for knowledge, to find meaning in life.
  • Read: Books will be your only constant companion in life’s journey. Read when you’re happy. Read when you’re low. Read to know the world and yourself. Read till words dance like images in your mind, read to nourish your mind.
  • Love till it hurts. Love to give unasked, with your entire being. Love yourself, love those who matter. Love your weaknesses, love the darkness in those you love. Love teaches you acceptance and compassion. Don’t stay trapped in hurt, forgive those who hurt you and move on. You can really love another once you’ve accepted yourself, warts and all. Don’t close your heart and mind to possibilities.Keep them open to find love.
  • In the race to make a career, buy a house and acquire all material possessions. Don’t forget the people who matter. Don’t lose yourself to the madness of a rat race. Life boils down to being more than having. Make time for yourself and for others.
  • Don’t stress and sweat over the small stuff. It is best ignored. Think about the bigger picture. There’s no point gathering excess baggage with guilt, resentment, anger. Life’s much more so shed them before it’s too late
  • Make time for your parents. Call them often. They need you more as they age, spend more time talking to them, connecting with them.
  • Take time off from the virtual world. Switch off the phone, that tablet, the laptop. Take a deep breath and have a real conversation with yourself, with a friend, co-worker. Anyone. The virtual world can never replace the physical one.
  • Measure your words; use them with care. You never know when you’d be forced to take them back. Use them to reach out, express, share, but rarely to lash out, hurt. Life is an echo.
  • Retain that child-like curiosity, the eagerness to know and learn something new. Its the best anti-aging solution.
  • Every now and then do some housekeeping of your physical as well mental space. Let go of things you don’t need and have no use of. Let go of relationships that are meaningless and don’t make you happy or teach you anything. The older you get; your world will shrink and will be restricted to the people who really matter.
  • Don’t bend backwards to please people. Or to be someone you aren’t . Sooner or later they’ll see through it. Just be yourself, unabashedly sans apologies. There will be people you meet who may not like you for no real reason; you can’t do a thing to change that. Don’t try and change their perception, they are entitled to it, as you are entitled to your own.
  • Let work give meaning to your life.Put your heart and soul into it. Find a calling that intersects with your passion and work will be fun. But don’t make work a synonym for life.
  • Don’t ever give up on your dreams, your hopes. They define you. Go all out to make them real. Chase them. If they break, find new ones. But never give up on hope. Have your feet firmly rooted in reality, yet give wings to all that you want from life.
  • Never be a naysayer. Be open to change. It can be fearful and intimidating, yet change turns out for the best. Almost. Always.
  • Create something. Learn to draw, write, paint, create a life. It gives you the kind of joy nothing can.
  • Find home. Quell your inner restlessness. Home isn’t necessary a place. It’s a state of being.  A place within which nourishes you, feeds you, give you comfort and strength to face life’s blows. Every now and then look within, retreat to the place you call home and find strength to walk again.
  • Take both praise and criticism with a pinch of salt. Yet learn from them. I used to be an oversensitive person who could cry at the drop of a hat or when I saw people point out mistakes. I am still learning to deal with criticism. Take the lesson but don’t carry  the hurt.
  • Learn to see the people you love as they are and not with rose tinted glasses. Accept their weaknesses and strengths. Learn to see your parents objectively so that your life isn’t a shadow of theirs. Carry the best they taught you; but try and sift out the worst.It comes with growing up.
  • Everything takes time. Dreams will realize, the life you want will come your way. But give it time; don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere.
  • Speak up when it is needed. Speak up when you want to be heard. Silence isn’t always the best alternative. And don’t flinch within while saying no say it politely yet firmly. Most  of us women find it hard to do so.
  • Live in the moment. It is easier said than done. I am prone to fret over the past or keep nursing dreams for the future. It ultimately serves no purpose. So give into the moment and soak in the experience. Don’t focus on making the moment a memory with a photograph or Facebook update. You immortalize it by living it wholly.

I could go on and on and this virtually started to sound like my own wish-list or bucket list of things to do and learn. But for the sake of time and at the risk of sounding like an overzealous preacher, I must stop here. What is that you draw from life ? Do share it.

An eternal wait

Broken dreams

Abandoned hopes

Lay strewn about

Fledgling passion

Half baked idealism

lie buried

in the recesses

of a memory lane

we no longer walk down

Languishing

under the dredges

of reality

Tempered with

the bittersweet

burden of existence

they lay there

waiting in earnest

to be resurrected

Longing for

the walls

of resistance

to weather down

They wait

for waves

of hope

to bring

them back to life

 

 

Celebrating Womanhood

Don’t see my
courage in it
It’s a conspiracy
of silence

My endurance
is no virtue
Its a defense
against years
of conditioning
and violence

Don’t worship
me while
you bruise
me in
spirit and womb

Don’t walk
all over my being
and
put me on
a pedestal
or engrave my name
in a temple or tomb

Don’t see my
patience as my strength
its a veneer
a sheer facade

Inside I’m as
real as you are
I’m human
and all flawed

Don’t attribute to me
the glory in being
worshiped as
a goddess

I too crumble
under pressure
and duress

Don’t
think my
love is
unconditional and
so is forgiveness

I too need
love and care
when life’s a mess

Don’t give me the labels of
an emblem of perfection
or a multitasking wonder

I am entitled to succumbing to
impulses and committing
a blunder

Don’t give

me a day to express

myself

And then an year

on a dusty shelf

Don’t burden
me with medallions
and tags
these were
never true

Just love me
accept me
and walk
with me

I’m as good
as bad;as real as you

This is for http://www.womensweb.in/articles/celebrating-girls-celebrating-women/

A Place I can call home

Where masks aren’t needed
to veil vulnerability and tears
Where there’s room
for hope
a space to
assuage your fears
Where the cup
of love keeps
brimming over
and windows
open up to
the dawn of change
Where the heart
can follow
its voice sans intrepidity

Where peace and love
nestle to give birth to serendipity
Where the walls
echo with resounding
laughter
and the corridors
radiate warmth

Where hope
and faith
can light up every
nook and corner

Where trust
and faith matter
more than pride
or honour

A place I
can call my own
It’s a place I
want to come home to

 

 

Of Letting Dreams Die….

“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.”

Ever so often I have noticed people give up dreams, longings and wishes because the significant others in their lives usually parents and spouse don’t approve of them or don’t take them seriously. And we human beings especially women  are ever willing to be martyrs to keep peace in the relationships that matter. We choose to  just give up the wishes and use others as the convenient excuse for doing so.. It is so convenient to pass on the buck. I wonder why would we do that ? Perhaps in the first place the wishes we harboured or the dreams we nurtured didn’t count enough or didn’t matter as much for us to pursue them till they saw the light of day. Or could it be the fact that we lacked sheer courage and perseverance to see them come to reality . Dreams are not for the cowardly, they need some spunk and a lot of spine. And the  courage of our convictions to see them right through despite dissent and opposition. When we give up a dream or passion in the name of pleasing others, a part of us dies within. Gradually as we keep giving up our spirit becomes dull and lifeless sans any passion, sans any purpose. We get stuck in a rut and conveniently blaming others in our life for not letting us do what we really wanted to. The trouble begins to brew when we start expecting others to give up their passions and dreams since we did too.While in the first place if we gave up something supposedly of our own volition why would we coerce another person into doing something similar? Such illogical expectations are the root cause of a storm in most relationships.

Life was never supposed to be easy, and relationships can be anything but simple. With their myriad hues, layers and subtexts. But the bottom line is you can never share or give happiness if you’re not a fulfilled person yourself. So there’s no point letting go of what you want for the happiness of others. Because when you feel thwarted and miserable that is all you would have to offer.

This rant is for all the women including me. It was high time we stopped being martyrs and started reaching out for all that we want, instead of seeking parental approval or approval from a partner. Carpe diem ladies!

Holding Hope

When the contours

of a dream melt

in realms of reality

When darkness

outlive light

and seems

to last an eternity

When the heart

gets trapped

in shadows of despair

When

things go wrong

and life

looks beyond repair

Open your

eyes to see

people who still care

Outstretch your palms

and let hope

hold your hand

Dust the crevices

of your mind

to see possibilities galore

Open your heart

to find a new life

knocking at your door

 

Tell me….

Tell me

of the darkness

that envelops

our souls

Tell me

of the dreams

and desires

that we buried

in the backyard

of reality

Tell me

of the emptiness

that swallows our core

The helpless ire

that clips our wings

Talk to me

of that

simmering rage

that scathe

our beings like a

forest on fire

Tell me

all that can bring

to the surface

the storms

that brew beneath

the tranquil seas

of our mundane existence

 

 

 

 

Longing for Joy

In fits and starts

In scattered parts

In fragments

In figments

In moments

In fleeting longings

In deep desire

In raging fire

In silence of the soul

In transience

In permanence

they visit us

fleetingly

Joy, hope

and happiness

We owe them

some space

We owe it to

ourselves

A quiet corner
A room

in our hearts

to spread their wings

and settle down