Yes, all we’re looking for is love from someone else

It’s Valentine’s day, that we all know. A day to celebrate love, get angry at the concept of love or just let life flow without any thought about the “significance” of the day. I, like many others, have decided to spend this day at home. Randomly musing after many-a-fortnight, I decided to pen my thoughts on love.

Love is a difficult emotion. For the longest time, I thought it was something selfless, a feeling where you can lose your heart (and maybe soul) to one person, who comes to mean the whole world to you. Gradually, I understood it was more my maternal instinct speaking than really “love”. Mothers unconditionally “love” their children. That can be called “love”. But, what is this “other” love that the world just seems to be so obsessed about?

Going through social media feed is a pain, for seeing photos of couples either with engagement rings or marriage certificates with the hashtag #love or #loveyouforever doesn’t make any sense to me. How can a personal emotion be so easily quantifiable? I tried to understand my dilemma through films. Maybe popular culture could quantify love for me in some way.

So, I went to watch La La Land. This year’s most iconic movie, tied with Titanic for the maximum number of oscars (14) and apparently the best musical ever made (contentious). Having seen it the first time with a Marvel-lover engineer friend, the experience didn’t quite leave an impact on me. So this time, I went with my PhD in Sociology friend. Hopefully her deep insights into human society could help.

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Halfway through the movie, I felt nothing. I understood why Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were attracted to each other, but I couldn’t bring the word “love” to my lips. Maybe I am just a noob who needs time to understand – but I really want to – how does one know that they are in love?

Love and relationships seem to be antithetical to each other. Love wants to be selfless, relationships are meant to be selfish. Why would we want to be with someone unless they always make us happy? Selflessness might bring misery, for no one’s perfect. Then, by that logic, the “love” in a relationship isn’t selfless, right?

Society defines love as a gust of wind that blows you off your feet, sends you into a parallel universe where everything is perfect and nothing can harm you. Then why are relationships facing boring questions like who’s paying the rent this time around, and why the hell should I cook for you?

Love has always been a utopia for people, and artists have just taken this insecurity as an opportunity to gain traction for their creativity. Films like La La Land or Titanic get made because we want to believe that there is that someone out there with whom we will have an epic relationship, something that came like a blast and stuck like a glue.

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Romance in the modern day world faces tougher questions than ever before. Now, relationships don’t embody compromise, adjustment. We have big dreams and many-a-times relationships don’t fit into them. I have woken up many mornings when I have wondered whether my ambition will keep me lonely for the rest of my life. For I am ready to move to any place for a good job, but will my love move with me everywhere?

Modern-day relationships are more about finding yourself, rather than finding ourselves. Between 20 to 25, I have seen myself change every year, change my taste every year. My struggles defined me, but they also made me change my mood, my way of thinking. Imagine a movie on this. How will such a girl find “love”? Her dilemmas are enough to drive people away. But that is reality. When critics scream for “realistic” cinema, do they realise that if their demand is fulfilled, a morbid cinema might just make them flinch and change their profession altogether?

On a lighter note, lets not trash love altogether. Lets stop defining it for a change. If you’re in love, love it. But try understanding it first. For you may not realize it, sometimes, all you are looking for is love from someone else, but it first has to come from you.

On a happier note: Happy Valentine’s day folks. Those who took out time to read this story, here’s a gift for you:

Which State Do You Belong To?

Which state do you belong to? – is the most common question faced by me, every time I meet someone new. Till I was 20, I used to answer – Mumbai, the city, not the state, Maharashtra. Somewhere, deep down my heart, I knew I was more a Mumbaikar, less a Maharashtrian. Now, 5 years later, I don’t know what to answer. My constant shuttling between the two cities Delhi and Mumbai and my ancestral lineage from West Bengal have confused me beyond my understanding. I am no longer too Bengali to be called Bengali, no longer too familiar with Mumbai to call myself a Mumbaikar, and definitely don’t know much Marathi or Marathi culture to identify myself as a Maharashtrian.

For the longest time in my youth, I vehemently denied being a Bengali. I hated to associate myself with Communist, monkey-cap wearing, Sreeleathers-loving stereotypical Bengalis, even though I had an upbringing consisting of Gelusil and Boroline, two of the most Bengali things ever. I didn’t want to associate myself with any stereotype, hence I preferred calling myself a Mumbaikar – I could easily identify my Bambaiya-hindi, night-life loving characteristics with the city and inadvertently be identified as someone ‘cool’, someone who came from that city of lights, colour, fame and Bollywood.

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It’s a weird world out there for people like me, who grow up in a different state from their ancestral one. Most of the time, we learn little of our culture, and unknowingly, try to hold on to it tightly without admitting it. I belonged to the same crowd. I loved Bengali food, Bengali culture, Rabindrasangeet, et al – yet refused to identify myself as a Bengali. Yet, emotions hit home ground the most when a dear friend from Kolkata called me a ‘fraud Bengali’, for not knowing anything about the Bengali culture, according to her.

I tried fitting very hard into every city – thinking every city is the place I can claim to be from. But, eventually, I realized, over time – I made friends not with people who were from a particular culture like me, but because we had a certain intellectual framework that appealed to our sensitivities.  My best friends are Sindhi, Syrian Christian, Malayalee Nair, Bihari and Baniya, all radically different from each other. Till 20 years back, it was unimaginable to befriend so many people from so many varied cultures and religions for my parents. Yet, this happened because I became part of a new cultural revolution – the Indian who is cosmopolitan.

I identify myself as an Indian more than anything else now, because I can’t see myself ‘fitting’ in anywhere, yet ‘fitting’ in everywhere. I don’t hate it when people tell me I remind them of a ‘stereotypical bong’ who says “ish” when she’s disgusted. I love it when people like the different facets of my personality and link it to my very Indian identity.

While stereotyping and being judgemental is part of being human, I also think it’s important for people to move out of their comfort bubble and see the world, because we Indians need to realize that the beauty of cosmopolitanism lies everywhere. Not ‘fitting’ into something conventional isn’t a bad thing. In the US, we have a half-Puerto Rican, half-Ashkenazi Jew entertaining us and he is currently touted as the next Michael Jackson. He’s none other than Bruno Mars. He’s a product of globalization and cosmopolitanism. Booker prize winning writer Arundhati Roy, who wrote The God of Small Things is half-Malayalee and half-Bengali. Yet, her understanding of Kerala’s culture in the novel is unparalleled.

It’s a wrong notion that if one leaves their state or marries outside their culture or identifies as someone else, they lose their culture. I know that deep down in my heart, some things about me will always remain Bengali. I know that even if I marry outside my community, I will never stop identifying myself as a Bengali. I will always celebrate Durga Puja, not Navratra. Because that is MY festival. There are certain traits I have latched onto, vowing to never let them go. Not because I like being Bengali, but because these traits define me.

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Yet, I hold on to my identity as a Delhi-ite and Mumbaikar ferociously too. I know my rich experience of a Mumbai local parallels that of a Mumbaikar, I know the roads of Delhi as the veins in my heart. These two cities are the mothers that taught me how to live life on my own, and I latch onto these identities too, albeit “shamelessly”.

I know there may be many confused folks like me out there. My surname is mistaken to be my identity on many occasions. I know who I am, but I don’t know whether I can fit into any classified identity. I can’t fit into that one bottle, for I am that free-flowing water, that can assimilate into any bottle you put me into. I can sing a Bollywood song with my friend from UP, I can dance equally madly on a Tamil tune with my friend from Hyderabad, appreciate that Bhojpuri song my friend croons, or eat momos with my friend from Manipur, loving to hear her complain how stupid it is when people can correlate things like momos with the North-east without knowing anything else about the region. I want to visit other regions of my beautiful country, assimilate more in other places, distorting my identity to the extent that even I can’t figure out myself where I fit into anymore.

I want to reach that state when I don’t identify myself with any caste, any region, any community anymore. Right now, I am that Bengali who speaks the language, but can be spotted with a Premchand novel in a metro. I am that Maharashtrian who grew up in the state but can’t speak Marathi. I am that Delhi-ite who knows all the party places in the city, but can’t tolerate the city at night. I am that small-town Durgapur/Navi Mumbai chick, who knows her world is just within a small city, where everyone she meets knows her.

It’s time we celebrate the plurality India is. Celebrate that Mallu who speaks Hindi with the heart of a Dilli-waala, that UP girl who loves Mumbai and identifies as a Mumbaikar for the freedom the city gives her, that Sindhi who speaks Punjabi, that Marathi girl who prides herself in knowing Gujarati and Tullu. That Indian who prides himself/herself for belonging everywhere.

Our complexities define us as the modern Indian who can move beyond barriers, accept each other as friends because of the thoughts we harbour, not because we pledge our identity to a certain community.

Which state do I belong to? I don’t know, guess I play for Team India now! 😀

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Finding That Perfect Story…

Growing up in a typical Bengali household two things happen to you:

A. You need to learn English and have an “impeccable” hold on the language and its grammar

B. You have to read Tagore and you get introduced to the classics of English literature even before you can take your first steps as a toddler

As a kid, even without prodding from my parents, I always had a natural affinity for learning languages and moulding words. Whenever I wrote a story or a poem, I felt as if I had finally exercised my ‘creative liberty’. I felt proud of myself for creating something new, similar to what a civil engineer feels when he makes a new bridge, I guess. I have always wanted to find that “right” story as a child, that one concept that will change everyone’s life. Maybe this happened because Harry Potter was a literary phenomenon in my childhood days, or maybe this happened because my brain refused to understand anything except English (and sometimes) Hindi literature and language.

To be honest, I wasn’t really a grammar person. The technicalities of the language never attracted me. The intricate beauty of it did. Reading Amir Khusro, Tagore, Manto or even a Premchand takes you into a different world – a blend of the social with the fiction, and nothing gave me more joy than imagining that some day I will do so too.

But, is it easy to find that right story? Many-a-times, an idea strikes you when you’re in the train (or even in the loo). Can you always pen it down? There have been days when my mind is mentally writing a novel, but when I sit to pen it down, the words don’t flow. All of a sudden, I have lost my story.

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I read the life story of Christopher Paolini when I was in 8th grade (the writer of the fantasy-mythical novel, Eragon). When he was 16, he fled home, went into a forest, and then started writing a novel there, imagining the setting as a mythical-forest oriented set up. And boom, he wrote one of the most engaging pieces of literature ever.

Now, I can’t run into a forest to write a story. There is no forest in the concrete heartland of New Delhi. There are parks in Delhi, but they don’t inspire me to write a story as fantastical as Eragon. This brings me to my dilemma – how and where do I find my perfect story?

Stories are incidental. They aren’t manufactured products for an industry. I am not looking at being a Chetan Bhagat, hell no. I am looking at writing like an Arundhati Roy or a Rowling or a Rushdie, but I don’t have the incidental set up for the same. I have been told by many that money buys you peace that helps you write a novel, as was the case with Tagore. But then, there are people like Rowling who got an idea like a Harry Potter in staunch poverty. So I am pretty sure that money has got nothing to do with finding that perfect story. Some people just find it, and thankfully, pen it down.

It even takes years for people to write another novel, or find another story after they have found the first one. Take for example Harper Lee. Her masterpiece, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ fetched her royalties for a lifetime. And it took her 55 years to pen down her next one, which wasn’t even half as good as the first.

I don’t want to be a mass producing printing machine, writing one novel after the other to satisfy my growing fan population. I want to write that perfect story that will make people cry, will make them emote in wonderous ways and evoke a sense of happiness. Maybe it might make them emote otherwise, even make them angry, but it will still be a classic. But, what if I live this entire lifetime and don’t find my story? That can happen. Has happened for a lot of people. Had the talent, had the time, had the creativity level, but never found their perfect story.

I know writers like me have a hard life. Because we look for that opportune moment when a story strikes us, but that’s rare to come by. For technical people this is tough to understand – I mean, writing is still a job, right? Why can’t we just sit with our pen, write till something strikes us? But it doesn’t work that way. Creativity is like a flowing river. A tsunami in the river is rare, but as and when a rare wave rises, it sweeps everything off the shore away. I am waiting for that wave, and that is tough to explain. Even when I write this blog, I don’t write it every day. There are days when I just feel like I have to express, and that is the day I even blog.

When I meet a non-creative (by that I mean an engineer or a doctor or someone who is not pursuing a writing career) person, I find their methodology of thinking very daunting. If I ask them how they feel, they reply, “I am feeling good.” But when I am asked the same question by them, my brain (or rather, heart), churns out responses like, “is this even a relevant question for it is tough to feel something constantly for a long time” or “emotions are wandering beings, I may feel good at this second, terrible in the other, for time never gives you time to heal, it just makes you go with the flow.” Not a straight-jacketed answer, rather something deep, that seems just too bourgeois for a layman to comprehend. Yet, there are times when I meet uberly creative people who seem to bring a new twist to everything they say (happens a lot in the advertising industry) – you feel that if they can be creative at the drop of a hat, why does my brain get blocked while looking for THAT perfect story?

I am busy putting together my thought-ship. I am busy stealing the beautiful language used by other people. Or maybe I am yet to find my writing style. That style that will be the essence of my lovely/lonely story. There are days when I am so desperate to start writing my novel that I feel like penning down an auto-biography, with the feeling – I am sure my struggles will resonate with a lot of people and will be a terrific book! But, writing doesn’t and shouldn’t function that way. I don’t want to steal from my life. I want to find that one character who will be my buddy, whose life I can create. I sometimes do feel like being a Ruskin Bond – disappearing into my own little void and rising up only when pestering publishers want me to show my face to promote my book.

A writer is a weird personality. He/she is moody, unpredictable and insecure. Moody because they let all emotions get to them, for when you feel all the emotions within you is when you mature as a writer. Unpredictable because they can be hospitable at one moment, unwelcoming in the next. They may want company desperately at times, they might want to be alone in the next. Insecure because it’s tough to find their perfect story. Yes, we sound like whimsical creatures who just like things to be our way, but it’s not actually that. Imagine stopping Shakespeare when he wanted to pen down Antony-Cleopatra in his own personal space. Imagine forcing a Paolini to socialize while he was writing the climax of Eragon. We writers don’t see the world when we see our pen/paper. All we see is that character, that set-up and our perfect story. Writers are hard to come by, but easy to “manufacture”. You can always find a journalist in your friend’s circle, but it is hard to find a writer writing for a living in it. For it is very tough to find that perfect story and be that writer you always wanted to be.

I know writing and literature is present in my blood. Because it all came to me naturally when I decided to pick up a Shakespeare play over a Math CD (much to my mother’s chagrin). Writing comes to me naturally too. But that perfect story is still alluding me. Will I find it on a holiday or when I am sitting at my desk doing my daily job? Will I find it when my mind is clear of all clutter? Will I find it if I read a little more?

I know I am Bengali and it’s typical of us to get into the creative field. My community is dominated by people who are artists, painters, dancers, singers and writers. And that has happened because for generations my community valued intellectual pursuit over manual/technological work. Which is fine. But I don’t want to be stereotyped as another “bong who decided to be a writer”. I want to see myself as a person who is looking for that perfect story. A writer who will be remembered by people by her work, not her name. I want to resonate with a character who will flow in my veins, take her/his form when I am sitting down to pen the novel. I want to be free, I want to be in my own Narnia some day.

But when that will happen is a mystery and might continue to be in the years to come. But, as soon as I have struck gold, I will let you know. After all, why wouldn’t I want to introduce the hero of my life to those who loyally read me before he/she came along?

To summarise, this is what finding my ‘right’ story really means for me.

“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast”

(If there is paradise on earth, then it is this, it is this)

What Is ‘Peace Of Mind’?

I know, I know. Confusing title. Either you give people a ‘piece of your mind’ or you can achieve a ‘peace of mind’. Both are extreme things in their own way, and I am definitely, cent percent sure that one would prefer the latter over the former. Right?

For the past one year, the only thing I have been trying to achieve is my peace of mind. Be it finding the perfect job or my soulmate, happiness is what the soul has been seeking, and I believe has been denied for the last 12 months. I kept thinking that all this is primarily because of my circumstances or the people around me. I hated my job, thought the people around me hated me, assumed everyone was out to get me and definitely did go through a huge phase of depression.

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I won’t say I am out of all that, and I know depression is scary. You don’t know to what extent you can go to harm yourself, you always think people around you are out to ruin your life, and make their best out of your misery. Of course, it’s natural to be untrusting and scared. We have seen what happens if we trust too easily, if we make easy assumptions about life being easy. You know what happens. It never ends on a good note.

I had literally degenerated into a hate boombox. I hated everything – my life, my house, my society, my country, my lover, my office, my pen, my clothes, my face.. not much was left to hate. And I don’t think what happened to me was abnormal, what I was doing was a result of a circumstance that had arisen out of my mental state.

There’s an identity I was running away from, a city I was scared to call my own, a life I knew I liked, but refused to acknowledge as my own. All of us want to be something or someone else, we aspire to be ‘better’, and not be someone we should be, or rather can be. Let me give you my example. When I first came to Delhi 6 years ago, I took an instantaneous dislike to the city. Why? Because I was ‘told’ that the men of the city stare at you when you walk, when I did face a couple of uncomfortable instances in the metro and on the road, and when my college life ended with the tragic Nirbhaya rape incident. All my assumptions and solitary experiences made me judge the city and its people.

To the extent that whenever I lived in Delhi, I craved to go back to Mumbai, make it my home. But, when you spend a considerable amount of time getting to know a city, you unconsciously make it your own. I had become a Delhi-ite in 6 years, without even realizing it. I knew more about where one can get the best sweets in Delhi, rather than in Mumbai or my long-lost hometown Kolkata. I liked heading off to Safdarjung or Humayun’s tomb whenever I got some time off for myself, to just stare at the marvel of those monuments and meditate. I liked the culture of Delhi, where people woke up in the morning to take a walk in Lodhi garden, or just read the newspaper and be so close and aware of the political atmosphere of the city.

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When I finally came back to Mumbai this year in April, I thought that this was going to be it. That I will make this coastal city that I grew up in my home, that I will someday, if not near the sea, but close the sea, will have my home.

I never realized that Mumbai embodied a spirit very alien to me. My politically active mind suddenly didn’t fit into this city that was more into a private sector-financially sustainable life. I didn’t want to be bound into a same desk job, partying hard at the end of the week. No, that’s not me. I am different, I am the girl who heads to an exhibition on her birthday, instead of partying at a disc. I am the girl who reads a novel on a lazy Sunday afternoon or watches a critically acclaimed film on Friday night, instead of heading out with colleagues for drinks.

I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with this discovery, but it made me take tough calls. I still remember picking up the phone and informing my mom that I left my job, leaving her livid and worried about my future.

But, what I have realized in this short span of 24 years is that one thing in life is something you should never let go of – and that is comfort. If you love your flatmate, don’t leave her unless you have to. Don’t leave your job unless you have to. Don’t take major decisions unless you have to. Life is better off on a comfortable note, because at the end of the day, all of us want to be happy, don’t we?

I am happy today, getting up in the morning, heading for yoga, resting my mind and using it for studying and reading up on things that are informative and make me feel wiser. I am happy heading to a space where I am happy and comfortable. I like living in Delhi, which, with its bad weather is still the city I connect with in every possible way.

I don’t know if I am over my depression, as I have heard that it never leaves you. But I feel that all of us who have gone through a rough phase have met depression on this road of life, but we have learnt to deal with it and make the best out of everything we have.

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I am learning, growing, maturing. Every experience I am getting is something I will be cherishing for life. For now I understand that without considerable struggle, no one moulds their character, and how much ever your parents try and protect you, you need to fall to learn to stand up again. You need to take responsibility for your actions, you need to learn to live on your own and most importantly, figure out your priorities and the person you are.

If you don’t like cooking, don’t do it. If you like music, pursue it. If losing weight makes you feel confident about yourself, do it. If being off social media makes you feel more secure about your personal life, do it. Do anything and everything that makes you happy. Because life was created with the intention of living happily, so don’t let that go and don’t let anyone make you believe that letting go of what makes you happy is better for the society or anybody else. Because you have to live this long life, not them.

Adios for now. Maybe I will retrospect more and share with you some more experiences of my life. You may or may not connect with them, but if you do- I want you to know that I am exactly like you, and we are not alone in this world. We will live, survive and live to be great, exactly the way you dreamt of it. Just duck all the bouncers, life will soon send across a straight ball on which you can hit a six 🙂 (cricket innuendo for those who don’t know about the game).

Respect Your Woman. Because If She Loves You, She Will Die For You, But If You Treat Her Like Sh*t, She Will Kill You

An angry title. Yes, angry me is back. But this time, not for an intellectual cause to further my political thoughts. This time, I am back to make a very important point.

A couple of months ago, I met a friend who had gotten out of a very messy relationship. I asked her what went wrong. She said, and I quote her exact words, “films and popular culture teach us to completely give into our desires and make our entire life and its existence revolve around our partner. I realized that wasn’t the case, and this was a lie, so we broke up.”

Back then, I was in la-la land. New job, new people, new city, close to a guy I loved. My friend made sense,  but unfortunately those golden words weren’t passed on as common sense.

I was told by a guy very curtly, roughly 6 months back, that he doesn’t respect me. As a woman in India, you grow up with two things – patriarchy and male egos. You are made to believe that family comes first for a woman, career comes second. Male egos need to be satisfied, right from that instance when your father doesn’t let you wear a particular outfit to when your boyfriend expects you to move for him. In my case, the importance of the word ‘respect’ arose once I lost it.

Women are emotional creatures. A lot of us nowadays suppress our emotions, because once it got the better of us. It happened with me too. Women are not taught this, but it is something that is part and parcel of being a woman. You love unconditionally. Yes there are fights, arguments, ego clashes, but the woman is still willing to lay her life for you. You aren’t related to her by blood, nor the father of her children, yet she unconditionally loves you, as long as she is with you.

Many may disagree, and they are free to, after all it’s a democratic space. But I am speaking about the emotions I harbored in my personal space and I would like to believe that many women out there are like me, so that this helps me.

My story was one of pain. I fell in love with a guy I thought was ‘awesome’, because he saw the potential in me that even my parents had missed. He made me feel special. But, somewhere down the line, the respect evaporated into control, and it became a scenario of right vs. wrong. My perspective became the wrong, his the right. Because, he was awesome. I wasn’t. I was still ‘struggling’ professionally, he was running a race to the finish line. And I didn’t figure there, in fact anywhere except the margin, where I was marginalized for a reason even I didn’t understand.

I remember him mentioning other men/women as ‘awesome’, ‘amazing’, ‘capable’, ‘talented’, ‘rare’. I didn’t figure in these descriptions even once. Yes, once or twice he mentioned that he loved me and my work was good, but apart from solitary mentions, it was always about how I should improve, how I should change, for my own betterment. Once or twice, when I got angry, he would say things to please me. It never felt like it came from the heart, and that scared me.

I am a very outspoken person, who likes voicing my opinions. Yes, it leads to disagreement with others, but that is my personal issue with them. Living with him became a constant fear of how he will always take me to a corner and chide me for saying something in an authoritative tone, because he was worried about what others will say to me. So, I should change. Because it’s better I do. I started ingraining these thoughts, as I thought he would leave me, if I didn’t. Never for once did it strike me, that if he does, the break up won’t affect him one bit.

There were days when I retaliated. But I didn’t stop loving him. My heart still wept when I saw him ill, when I saw him upset for a code he couldn’t write. However, my tears made no difference to him. It was always about how I couldn’t get my shit together, and how I needed to change.

I saw dreams with him, you know. Dreams that we will build a family together, lead a life as equals. For me, equality never meant within the professional space. It meant being given equal treatment when we were together. It meant telling me, ‘you’re special’, ‘you’re precious’ and ‘you’re beautiful’.

This may sound like vanity, but isn’t this what we dream of? A person who makes us feel special every single day for who and what we are. If I was willing to put in that effort, why was he being heartless? Was I with the wrong guy?

My heart kept telling me he will turn a new leaf. He will one day see my guileless love, hug me, and say, “I can’t imagine my life without you.” But, no. The only place he seemed interested in was getting physical, and for me, love meant a connection.

It’s easy to prioritize other people over your family. Because parents are such people who never can leave you, because you are theirs, and theirs completely. But what about your partners? You can choose your partners, right? Isn’t it necessary to prioritize that partner on her special day, instead of putting 10 other people ahead of her?

On my birthday, he faced a problem in his office, so he chose to ruin my dinner. When I reprimanded him, it became a case of how I am insensitive towards his problems. When he dumped me because he didn’t respect me, I had to keep quiet about it. When he came back into my life, he was willing to say certain things to keep me happy for some time, but I didn’t have the right to shout at him when I got upset at his wrong-doing.

Women love unconditionally, and then they get abused for it. Men choose to ignore the women they love, but these women refuse to forget them.

You refuse to understand my love, that a woman’s broken heart are pieces of her past she is picking up for her survival. Don’t trample on them too, believing you have the right to do so.

I want to heal, but is it a crime if I am asking to be loved and cared for at a trying time, when I am mending my broken heart, that is yet to stop weeping? Is it a crime if I ask him to give me that importance he refused to show me for so long? And is it a crime if I ask him to love me and understand me, instead of getting angry?

He won’t and he can’t change. And I can’t imagine living my life like this. I can’t live without him, yet I can’t live with him. For two days, he apologizes when I cry about the past, then on the third day, he feels I am the one who locked myself up in the room, so I am the one who needs to get over that.

I can’t write anymore, this man has blocked my system. I choke, I feel under-confident. I want to love myself, and respect my work, but he destroyed it all, walked away in the fire and then came back thinking everything will work, exactly the way he wanted it.

No, my love. This time I won’t burn alone. I will kill what is left of both of us, and till you don’t die from inside the way I did, I won’t rest in peace.

The Anomaly Of The Workspace, “The Bad Worker”

It has been 4 months since I left a bad workplace. But the experience still rests in my mind, not because I like to remember it, but because that experience taught me to be miserable, and unhappy. A lot of people don’t understand you, when you may say, “I have a bad job”, or “I have a bad boss”. A good job is like that perfect arranged Indian marriage – where you strike gold. That’s why many people don’t leave their good jobs, even when they know that they can get a better pay elsewhere.

I had always considered myself a ‘good worker’, someone who fulfilled her tasks on time, who listened to her seniors, paid attention, learnt fast. I made mistakes, but not anything major that could cost me my job.

When I entered the bad workplace last year, I was under the impression that I could learn and grow there. I pushed myself to my limit, but got little or no appreciation. I tried learning my work, but my boss made my anxiety levels shoot up the roof with her unreasonable demands. Coming to office on time was more important than completing the task at hand, suddenly. I was in military school, but without the tag of one.

My bad experience made me bitter, unreceptive to criticism, arrogant, impatient and above all, angry. A vent up frustration started building up within me. I was frustrated with my life, frustrated that I was working hard and building something for someone who didn’t deserve it.

When I started the job, it wasn’t that bad. The initial month was the time to learn. A fellow co-worker, whom I then considered a bad worker, primarily because she didn’t perform well, left within a month after I joined. Suddenly the vortex of torture moved from her to me.

It’s not that my boss was angry at me every single day. She spoke sweetly to me. But she made me panic, made me feel overburdened, made me hate my job. You may think I have massive hatred for her. But I have only pity. Pity because I know that her behavior may get her through there, but will land her nowhere in the future (at least that’s what I can hope for and be happy).

I was told by many colleagues in my first job that I should struggle and then join a corporate. I needed to understand the value of my corporate job and learning on the field would make me resourceful. I did go to the field – but I began hating myself and my decisions. I don’t think I learnt much from this bad job– all I learnt was how to become a bad boss.

My personal life too took a turn for the worse. All my frustrations from my job life fell on my boyfriend’s shoulders. Maybe I was to blame – I didn’t know what to do, so I took it out on him. And I regret that.

I still remember taking up that job. I was on the verge of completing my Masters degree and highly stressed. I had dreamt of a high-paying job when I went abroad, and unfortunately, the field of work I had chosen didn’t have any well-paying job. My experience was little, hopes a little too high. I took the first job in my field that I could find.

Life had taught me many things, but not patience. Alas, I learnt that the hard way.

Four months at that bad workplace broke my confidence, made me feel like I am a bad worker. I used to come back home, all tired, but still opened my laptop to finish my work, because there was just no sympathy given to those people working more than 9 hours a day.

I still remember waking up and not wanting to go to office, but had no option. Every morning was a horror – I just didn’t want to go back to that horrible place. I had loved my first job, where I was so enthusiastic to go to office that even my parents used to be super happy seeing my enthusiasm.

But all that place did for me was to make me more miserable. There was a weird friendship-cum-power structure in that office. So, I could make no friend who could understand my calamity. Those who are in similar situations like you are the best people to confide in. But I had no one to talk to. I slowly withdrew into a shell and eventually became a victim of depression.

I had many hopes, I wanted to do big things. But a bad boss does what even an enemy can’t – make you doubt yourself.

We humans are inherently selfish creatures, and being bad workers is mostly not in our nature. All of us want to grow big in a job, get a promotion. But none of us want to wake up in the morning thinking about the week ahead and the realization that you have no weekends off, no holidays, but just work, work and work.

My manager used to walk into office at 11 every day. I wouldn’t have cared about this much normally, but I did. Because she used to harass me for walking in at 10, when she herself didn’t have the decency to walk in at a time when I could respect her for her position. I know she might be angry reading this, but she needs to know what effect she has had on people.

I know I sound angry, resentful, hurtful. Did I deserve to go through this? Deserve may be a bad word… but how else can one define phases that are rough and harassment which is unjustified?

I found sexual harassment easier to deal with as compared to mental harassment in office. Maybe that’s because since my childhood, I, like every other woman, has been taught to let go of sexual advances, molestation and harassment, because thinking about these things does no good.

But why wasn’t I ever taught on how to deal with office harassment? The fact that when I want to feel useful and productive, I would constantly be pushed to feel inferior every single day?

Why didn’t I leave sooner? I wonder. Well, the answer is simple. I had no other place to go. Maybe that’s what happens to women in bad marriages who have no qualifications to maintain that standard of life that cannot be maintained once they leave their husbands. No, bad example. What I went through has no parallel. What those women go through have different reasons. But right now, I am looking for anything and everything to justify my situation and my calamity.

I wish I could think straight, I could forget that bad experience and love my job again, love going to office again. But I have fear in me. A fear that I will  become ‘useless’ again.

I am an upper caste, ‘privileged’, urban woman, you may say. I got all I wanted in life, so I shouldn’t complain.

But I have also never used wrong means, never harassed anyone, never lived without a guilty conscience when I hurt someone knowingly or unknowingly. I have always wanted people to be happy around me, and be happy myself, but why does happiness elude me? I want to be happy, is asking for happiness a crime?

When people tell you, “you have everything, be happy”, I find that statement funny. What is the metric of happiness? Is wealth, class and education the only definition of happiness?

Every day since my childhood, I have looked for constant happiness, which I have failed to get. Maybe I am broken, I am weak, but I am not useless, not unimportant. I am beautiful, I am who I am, and I should remain happy. I should get what I want, not because I am ‘privileged’, but because I have worked for it. Because I want it, because that makes me happy. Happiness makes me happy.

My blog is called fortunate musings, and I am fortunate enough to be musing and writing about my woes right now.

But I want you to understand that you are not alone. You may be dark, brown, have curly hair, be deaf or blind, but you deserve to be happy. You don’t deserve to be told constantly that you’re useless.

Many out there will do that to you, but don’t lose hope. I have felt suicidal many times, I have felt helpless, alone. But I found you. I hope you find me. Together we can give each other hope.

If your boss ill-treats you, still believe in yourself. If today is a bad day, tomorrow is a new beginning. And, you deserve to be happy. You really do.

 

Why I believe I am my own enemy.

Apologies for being away for so long. Its been a long time since I took up the pen to pen down my thoughts. Primarily because I was suffering from the writer’s block. But this writer’s block isn’t something that came up because of my inability to pen down my thoughts, hell no. This was a self-imposed exile out of which it took me nearly two months to realise that a self-imposed hibernation would be better rather than an exile, because an exile isn’t a choice – hibernation is.

For many months, I have been struggling to grasp the true meaning of life. As a liberated woman (at least I tend to think of myself that way), I always grasped life as something I can lead on ‘my terms’. But over the course of some months, I realised that life is the worst thing mankind has to live through. Its got too many rules, too many struggles, too many hardships – you name it. Doesn’t it anger you when you feel helpless, or useless, or unsuccessful, especially when you know you don’t deserve it? Doesn’t it hurt to see someone else deriving so much happiness out of their little life, by being stable, strong and calm?

Why can’t I be like that? Why isn’t my life like that? Isn’t life what we make of it? Aren’t we taught since we were children that hard work reaps success?

Angered by these thoughts, I sought recourse in killing the only thing that I loved the most – writing. Or typing, since I maintain an online blog.

I have been hurt by many things over the past couple of months. First by my ego, two by my foolishness. Ego because it made me disrespectful, angry, made me overexpectant, irrational, hateful, depressed. My foolishness because I let myself believe that others are responsible for my actions. Those who loved me, stopped staying by my side, because even they got tired for being blamed for my actions, when they could clearly see I was in the wrong.

Was I?

The problem with getting an education abroad is that you tend to expect too much from yourself. A fancy, expensive education prepares you for a lifetime of struggle/happiness in the maddening corporate world. The girl in me wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a writer, the woman in me realised that writing would only happen if I had money.

So, that made me angry. Expectant. Foolish. And hungry for the wrong things.

I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. But I do know this – I want to document each and every emotion that passes through me on this blog, because it is the document of my existential crisis. Many of you or maybe some of you might be facing these conflicting emotions on a daily basis, and I want you to know that there is someone out there who is exactly like you.

Complicated beings like us are tough to comprehend, understand. I know I will be slogging away at a corporate house in a couple of months maybe, but stability may bring me happiness. But, for how long? I have created a barrier in my head that butts out happiness – but is that who I am? Is this all a part of growing up? If it is, why is it so painful?

Should I release it all by choosing the easier path of life? But what is the easier path of life?

My writing skills go unnoticed at the hands of those willing to monetise on my skills. But what are my skills? My face looks into the mirror and doesn’t recognize itself. What am I good at? I don’t know. Maybe I do, but my mind is blocked. I thought I could follow my passion, but low pay and bad behaviour made me quit. I think I can survive in a bad, mad corporate world, but I may change my mind in the future too. Does that make me defocused and shallow? Can I respect myself?

All these thoughts run through my head – not because I like wasting time, but because I need answers. I sometimes do feel at peace with myself at times – I feel calm, I feel like nothing can harm me. Then, am I my own enemy? I don’t know.

If I do figure it out, I will let you know. And if I don’t, I still will.