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.

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

Prisoners of our mind….

What would you consider as an accomplishment?

Is it when you reach a certain stage in your career, or is it when you get a desired degree, or when you buy certain things you wanted or when you marry the person you love?

I mean what is it really? What should be our driving force? How do we say that this is where I want to be. I am asking this because I always feel that no matter whatever you have accomplished, at the end of the day there’s always that little something that’s not there, something you desperately crave.

There is no end to the wants of a human mind and life; and it’s not wrong too as long as you are not stepping on someone’s toes or ruining their lives to achieve your dream. What is a problem though, is making your own happiness dependant on the fulfilment of those wants.

I have the finest education provided to me that I could ask for. I have a very prestigious professional degree. Something, I am very proud of. I also had a successful start to my career, but somewhere along the line, circumstances changed and now I don’t. Sometimes I miss that hectic life, but when I ask myself very honestly, deep down my heart, maybe I am not too eager to go back to a life, which will be so busy that I will not have the willingness nor the energy to do things that I like or love.

All of us are prisoners of our own mind. We all say that we know exactly what we want from life, but I think none of us really do. It is up to us to break free of the shackles and enjoy the moment that we are living. Life does not work on planning it, it work by living it, day by day, and moment by moment as it is handed over to us. As it has been said very famously “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” as there are no second chances in life, well generally :).

Too corny??!!

Apne apne Ram…. each to his own

One of the most misunderstood characters in our Indian mythology is Ram. Who is Ram? The eldest and the most dutiful son of Dashrath, who was the heir to the throne of Ayodhya. Due to the evil scheming of his step mother, who wanted the throne for her own son, Ram was sent to the jungle for 14 years. For fourteen years, Ram traversed the jungle along with his wife Sita and his younger brother Lakshman. In this time his wife was abducted by the Rakshasa king Ravan and Ram fought a war with him to get his wife back. Ravan was killed in this battle and his kingdom was handed over to his youngest brother Vibhishan. When ram returned to Ayodhya after 14 years with his wife, his subjects started casting aspersions at Sita’s character as she had been abducted and was at the mercy of king Ravan. Thus after a test of her purity and her character Ram was compelled to leave a pregnant Sita in the forest, even though she was proven to be pure!!!

What I have narrated above is a very short and maybe a biased version of the epic Ramayana as I see it. I believe as a person grows in age, his perception towards a lot of things which have been constants in his life, change. He starts to see things differently.

Ram is perceived to be a god in our country. He is one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. In my own mind, I see Ram as a man who is trying to stand right by whatever his beliefs are. He is called the “Maryada Purushottam”, which literally translates to “the best amongst men who knows his boundaries and respects them”. when I was younger I saw him as a very cruel person who left his wife and couldn’t protect her just because somebody had raised questions about her character. What my young mind failed to see at that point was that Ram was supposed to protect his subjects as a king too. It was one of his supreme dharma’s or sacred duties. If the subjects could not trust him with their beliefs and their insecurities, and in case he was unable to take care of their insecurities, the kingdom that he had left for 14 years, would have become weaker than what it was when he inherited it.

Ram surely could not keep Sita with him due to the social pressure, but he made sure that she was safe and under the care of an ascetic whom he trusted. Unlike the king of those times and Indian gods too, Ram chose to remain faithful to his wife. He never married and never entered into any alliance with any other woman. He even performed a sacred ceremony with a gold statue of his wife kept by his side. Such ceremonies are considered inauspicious if performed without a spouse. Such was his devotion to Sita. Ram was also a very dutiful son. Ram’s stepmother had made his father promise that Ram would go to the forest. He could have refused to go the forest as he was not bound by the promise he father had made, but Ram chose to honour the words of his father as was expected from a future king and a duty bound son.

I have no intentions of portraying Ram as infallible. He had his own flaws. What I do believe is that he had a choice between Ram as a husband and Ram as a king, and he chose to be a king rather than a husband. This choice may not have been  a prudent one, but it was what he thought was best at the time. That is what i admire, to make a tough choice and then to stick by it, because it makes sense for greater good.

He might not be one of the most colourful characters of our mythology but he was one of the strongest. He is one of the foremost examples of my belief that the test of true strength is not how much a person can make the other suffer but it lies in enduring and braving the odds to emerge victorious.

From Ram I have learnt that to maintain a position of responsibility one has to sacrifice one’s own wants and attain a level of patience. To inspire the trust of people you want to live with, you have to first repose your trust in them, even if it is to your personal detriment.

Ram teaches us to be multi-dimensional; to develop humility. If only we all could try to adopt even one dimension of his character, the world would be a better place.

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.

The biggest question that I face is, how to channelise my anger. There are many self-help books,many gurus, and many counsellors who suggest different ways to vent the emotion, but nothing really works. When I am done being angry, I become tired. the exhaustion that surrounds me sometimes lasts for days. I have tried a lot of things, but nothing is useful. I have tried mindless TV watching, walking, cursing, writing down choicest of swear words and burning them, nothing works. Sometimes, I have to literally shout at myself to just shut up; to stop talking or shouting.

The point of this article is to find out something that actually helps me blow the anger away. I don’t want to stay angry anymore. I want to be at peace, be happy. I guess the only way is to let go. till that happens it’s very difficult to find peace. One should remember the famous saying that “That’s the best revenge of all: happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good f*****g life.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and several other novels

I guess he is right, no matter what you do unless and until you are happy and content with yourself, you will not be able to throw the anger away.

Man, woman and violence

With the increasing number of sexual crimes being committed in the country, I am both alarmed and disturbed. What has changed that has marked such an increasing rate of violence against women. Violence seems to be the only answer our men have, whether it is the comfort of their own homes or workplace. What I believe is that men in general think that sexual subjugation will give them a semblance of control that they are fast losing in the ever-changing “equal” world that they live in.

Most of the people that we work along with are not sexual predators, they are not even close to being violent people, but why has this streak of violence surfaced in the recent times. I believe as the female population all over the world is busting myths, taking over the so-called male bastions, it is making the other half of our population insecure. places which they considered sanctimonious, jokes which they considered were their birthright are now being questioned. What they fail to understand is how this “physically frail” and the  “intellectually incompetent group” has been able to take a place in society that is rightfully theirs. This anger has to manifest itself somewhere, whether it is at home or outside. Men are born with the perception that they are superior beings and if  a woman is doing something, it is because they allow her to be the person she aspires to be.

It is disturbing to see that the so-called sophisticated and educated population of our cities also follow this kind of the thought process. The behaviour pattern changes with the kind of company they keep. A lot of men keep their sentiments to themselves and others protest vehemently complaining and getting agitated if a woman around them is gaining some control over her life.

Is it so difficult for people to accept that women in general can have aspirations that go beyond the boundaries created by men in their lives and that they as human beings have a right to be free to think and live as they choose?

Disposable Life

I went to the store to buy a fountain pen for myself and the shopkeeper showed me a disposable one. The first thought that came to my mind was why would anyone want to use a Disposable Fountain Pen. Fountain pens are all about permanency, about being there always, ever since you could start thinking of owning a pen forever.

Is that what life is all about in the modern day… keeping things simple, no complications, use and throw? Why has every little thing come to be measured in terms of utility rather than longevity. if you fail to be useful you should be disposed off. even human relations are measured in the same way. One cannot be complacent about the fact that they will accepted just because they are what they are. Life has become a measuring cup and you have to reach up the set levels or standards.

Maybe its delving too deep into an insignificant thing but then what is significant in life are these small experiences..!! isn’t it??!!