Indian Woman's Musings · Life

You’re Never With The ‘Right’ Person. You Just Become Right For Each Other

Some questions I frequently see my friends ask, are – Am I with the right person? Is he perfect for me? Are we made for each other?

Honestly, while the questions may be perfect, the answers never are. I am no pro at relationships, but from what I have understood about life is – you are never in a “perfect” situation. You just have to think you are. Eventually, you become ‘perfect’ for each other.

We are all on our respective journey of self-discovery, and it takes time to learn things and become sensible. If you have followed my blog previously, you will see that I have gone from depressed to angry, to disillusioned to meditative. That’s part and parcel of being human. And that’s partly the answer to this question about who’s perfect for you – honestly, no one is. No one can insert a square peg into a round hole. Especially when you’re changing as a person every single day.

Relationships
Image source: Huffington Post

As I said before, I am no pro at relationships. But there are some fundamental things I have learnt which I would like to share, so that you can stop asking yourself questions and start living the answers 🙂

  1. Understand your partner

We all are rational and we do every thing with a thought attached to it. No one does anything ‘stupid’, there’s always a reason to it. If your partner ever leaves you, it’s not because he wants to leave you. It’s because he has a reason for it. Try and understand your partner. He/She will eventually understand you. There’s no perfect law for a balanced relationship, but a calm mind which understands before taking action always wins.

Don’t hate your partner, in fact, try and see small signs of love which will calm your mind. Slowly, but steadily, you will learn to appreciate your partner for all their good qualities, understand them better, and in turn, help them understand you.

If you are ever angry at your partner, try and understand their action. Until and unless they are harming you, it’s never a bad idea to understand and let go, isn’t it? Take time off, breathe, think. You will understand your partner better and appreciate them for who they are, instead of chiding them for not being who you want them to be.

2. Let opinions thrive

It’s always a good thing if your partner has opinions. It’s even better when they stand by them. That way, you know you’re dating someone sensible, and not a rock. Have discussions with your partner on their opinions, but don’t fight. Always remember that it’s good that your partner has a thought process. Try to imagine dating someone without one. How would you feel if that partner always said ‘Yes Sir’ or ‘Yes Ma’am’ to everything? Not that exciting, right?

3. Learn to let go

We all make mistakes in a relationship. Multiple mistakes make us feel that the person is not ‘right’ for us. The easiest thing is to let go. It’s also the toughest thing, especially if you feel that your partner has wronged you. But, always retrospect and think – if my partner is that bad, why am I with them? If the answer isn’t something concrete, then let go of the mistakes.

Another mistake we generally tend to make is letting other people and their opinions create dark clouds in the relationship. Learn to completely trust your partner and let go of what others say. This way, the only people in the relationship will be you two, and your habit of letting go will just make the relationship simpler for you.

4. You can face problems if you are together

A common mistake we make in relationships is to think that our partner won’t stand up for us, or won’t take care of us. Don’t place the onus of your happiness completely on someone. Remember, problems will arise but you can only fight them if things between you two are on good terms. Fight with your partner, and you will just fight even more when problems arise – and it will make fighting against problems harder!

5. Always be open to things

While it is necessary to be particular about your choices, always be open to possibilities. If your partner has an idea for something, don’t shut it down because it doesn’t fit with your mindset. Let those ideas and thoughts thrive. You need to always remember that those who genuinely love their partners would always want to see them happy. Then why fight over a small idea? The future is not written – we write it. And you can only write your future with your partner if he/she is happy in your company.

This doesn’t mean the onus to make a relationship work is completely on you. Your partner too needs to realise your worth to make your relationship work. However, if implemented, these thought processes will benefit you, not harm you or make you any weaker. Every one of us out there is looking for a loved one, and it’s nice to make some room for them without standing all by yourself, isn’t it?

P.S – These are not gold standards. These are just things I have learnt from my experience. If you have any other thoughts, please do share. It’s always lovely to have others add to the beauty we have in life and share their learnings! 🙂

Life

Why Love, And Only Love Is The Solution For Endless Happiness

Around a month ago, I was distraught. I didn’t know what to do with my life. I was confused in both my professional and personal life. Giving life mixed signals really didn’t help. Somehow, the love I exuded from myself had disappeared and only a void and anger remained.

So, I decided to retrospect. Where did I go wrong? How did I get here? Can I fix this?

Life is simple and beautiful. But we complicate life with the thought that it is hard. True, there are many social and emotional problems out there, but do we need to think hard about them before they even happen to us? Not really.

A good friend of mine suggested I turn to self-help books. To be honest, I thought they were bullshit for the longest time. But what I have understood from embracing them is that if implemented, you can truly look at life differently.

For example, does it often happen to you that you feel extreme anger towards someone? Have you ever tried giving that person love instead of reciprocating with anger?

Love is the strongest emotion living beings have. Love is the reason we are alive, love is the reason most people live in peace and tandem with each other. But, love is misconstrued by many for being a weak emotion. In fact, if you love something or someone, it doesn’t make you weak – it makes you stronger. However, you need to learn to channelise this love. I am sharing some thoughts with you on channelling your positivity, and I hope this can help you the same way it helped me!

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  1. Occupy your mind

Our mind is a tricky thing. Left alone, it always stirs up some thought or the other. For those whose mind wanders more than it should, negative thoughts are always a constant presence. This doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. Your experiences have just made you more hostile and apprehensive and these appear in your thoughts. You tend to take almost everything around you really seriously, even something as simple as a joke. You tend to think a LOT, even when you’re trying hard to work on something. Don’t worry, this is easily solvable.

Occupy your mind. Fill it with love, for everything and everyone. It sounds impossible, but it isn’t, actually. Make a list of the things you love, the things you are thankful for. Look at that list daily, occupy your mind with those thoughts whenever it wanders. Do only those things which make you happy, even if it’s something as “mundane” as eating your favourite food. If the mind is happy, the body will automatically show the result.

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       2. Figure out what you want

Life flows, and so do we. We mostly don’t take out time for ourselves in the journey of life and when we do, it’s not to think about ourselves, it’s to occupy ourselves so that we don’t get bored. But it’s necessary to figure out what you want, so that you set your priorities straight.

By this exercise, I don’t mean you should figure out your entire life and its existence. You should rather figure out which emotions you constantly want by your side.

If your answer is happiness – then the simplest solution to that is to take each day as it passes. Don’t think about the future or the consequences of your actions, just live in the present and let the future shape up for you. Wake up every morning and tell yourself that you will have a great life. Look at the people around you and give them only love. If someone is harsh towards you, or says things you don’t like to hear, don’t give them the same treatment back. You will simply attract more negativity to yourself. Rather, practice compassion and let the person who was harsh to you feel your positivity and lead a better life too. Slowly, you will see your anger evaporating too.

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       3. Stop expecting

Ever shouted at your parents for forgetting to bring something for you from the market? Ever made your partner feel guilty for not doing something for you? Trust me, I have been there and it’s completely normal. We tend to expect certain things from the people close to us, be it friends or family, and it’s absolutely frustrating when they “disappoint” us.

Do a task – take a look at the people around you who are leading an “amazing” life. What are they doing correctly that you aren’t? You will see that they love themselves. They are not selfish – they just expect happiness from themselves, not anyone else.

Your mind is yours – only you can decide whether it can be happy or sad. Expect only the best for your mind and treat all events around you as of little consequence to you. Even if your brother doesn’t show up for your birthday, all is well – you got a cake and your friends wished you. What more can one possibly want?

Be thankful for what you have, rather than what you don’t. If you see someone travelling, don’t expect the same from your life. Instead, learn to appreciate the one who is travelling and wish them love. You never know, your head might calm down and plan a trip for you soon!

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       4. Learn to love your own company

Most of us fail to love ourselves in this journey to love others. It’s quite common – we are taught to love and respect our parents and siblings, but no one ever tells us that we should love ourselves too. People with low-confidence are usually the worst-hit – they undermine themselves and always tend to think something is wrong with them.

I know weekends are dreadful especially if your friends are busy. Loneliness is scary for it exposes you to your biggest reality – the fact that you just CAN’T live alone. But, have you ever decided to give yourself some time and see how that pans out? Ever woken up early on a weekend and told yourself – that today is going to be a great day? Ever tried to dabble at a new thing or tried to hone some skills you probably never would have done had you been busy?

Your own company is your biggest treasure. If you read, then you can read motivational books or stuff on meditation. If you don’t like reading, you can always meditate. Try and focus your mind on one thing – see if you can just concentrate on that for an hour. It’s a great exercise – makes time fly. Try and tell yourself before you sit to do something – my concentration won’t waver when I do this. And it doesn’t! I am saying this with confidence because I did this before I wrote this piece!

Once you have done all this – do this again. Take some time off to heal and become a more positive person. A little positivity did no one harm. Once your mind is calm and your soul is positive, no pain or suffering can make you go back on that road of negativity. Always remember to be thankful for what you have, rather than what you don’t – and you will start to see that your life is actually really amazing! If negative thoughts hit you – always suppress them with good thoughts. Take out that list you made of the things you love and are grateful for. Look at it again and again.

P.S – try and avoid words like bad, annoying, upsetting for some time. Improve your vocabulary to include words like awesome and amazing. For example, “How was your day?” It was absolutely amazing! 🙂

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Indian Woman's Musings · Life

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:

Life · Life in India · Opinionated

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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Life

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)

Life

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.

things-to-do-in-delhi

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.

how-i-became-the-happy-person-that-i-am-today_image_3

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).

Life

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.