ACCEPT YOUR INDIVIDUALITY

I grew up watching my cousins wearing beautiful dresses and spending lavishly. I couldn’t do so as my parents didn’t have enough to allow me to spend beyond the genuine needs. All I could do was look at my cousins and take a sigh. I knew the financial condition of my parents and, therefore, I didn’t ask for more. But I always wanted to have what my cousins and my friends owned. I wanted those pretty sandals, dresses, and what not! 

As an ordinary girl, I too used to get fascinated by the lifestyle of the celebrities. I followed some of them to an extent my pocket could allow. I used to see how those celebrities followed a lifestyle to look elegant and presentable and it did influence me. I used to follow their eating and speaking style so that I too could look elegant. Gradually, I felt like being choked up. The influence of someone’s lifestyle was choking me. Maybe because for me, their lifestyle was hard to accept. For a moment, it did feel like fascinating but eventually, I decided to give up and follow my own lifestyle.

Leave about celebrities, even when I went to my village I saw girls of my age and younger to me wearing salwar-kameez. Honestly, I consider this to be one of the most-beautiful attire a girl can ever have. Influenced by those girls, I decided to quit my trousers and tees. Trust me, I couldn’t take the salwar-kameez for a long time. It was all about a week or two. I guess this happened because I personally never felt the urge to wear salwar-kameez all the time. I started to feel as if I am locked up in a dark room. I guess this happened because I was never used to living like them.

It is not only about clothes. When you follow a lifestyle, many things count in it. The food you eat, your sleeping schedule, your way of speaking, weekend plans, and much more. And it is completely okay if you are having a different lifestyle. Most of my friends go on a trip or go to some pubs on weekends. I, on the other end, love spending time with my books, answering Quora questions, and reading blogs. For me, going to parties and shopping seems way too boring and time-consuming. This amazes my friends and they wonder if I ever enjoy? Trust me, I enjoy a lot because I have my own life and a way of living. And I love it. It is not necessary that everyone will have a similar lifestyle.

Unless our soul is not convinced to follow a lifestyle, not just for the sake of following but because we love it, we can’t go a long way with that lifestyle. Lifestyle is not just a matter of a day or two. It is all about our comfort, upbringing, and the environment we live in. Today, I earn on my own but not as much as my friends do. With the money I get, I can buy whatever clothes I want or eat whatever I want but I can’t. I am more influenced by my lifestyle I have been following so far. But if you think the other person is having a better lifestyle then you must know it is not easy to step into one’s shoes. The best thing is to accept your individuality and live accordingly. 

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A FLASHBACK

When Charlie sent this picture to me, I remembered my childhood days. I mean, what a coincidence! The picture depicts my childhood. 

It has two kids and a real cycle down there. I and my cousin would ride a bicycle with the same expression. It was my childhood dream to own a bicycle. I never had one and this always made me feel inferior. I used to see my friends and cousins riding their new and colorful bicycle. It is not that my parents couldn’t afford one but they had priorities. They thought to pay my school fees and buying me a new school uniform was way too important than buying a bicycle. 

Whenever I sat on the back of my uncle’s bicycle, I felt as if I am on the top of the world. I used to sing whole way and never wished the ride to end. Some days, I used to throw tantrums for not eating food and weeping until my uncle would promise me for a bicycle ride. Such a drama queen I was!

Anyways, I used to ride my cousin’s bicycle. He was around 4 years old and I was around 9. He knew I don’t have one and how fond I am of a bicycle, so he asked me to ride his bicycle. But I didn’t know how to ride. I fell down every time. I would come home with skinned elbows and knees. My aunt would scold me for this. 

(Image Credit: Pixabay.com)

Then one day my cousin told, “Di today I will help you in riding the bicycle. Come sit and I will give you the support.” That evening, my Grandpa came out of the house and saw me trying my best to not to fall from the bicycle. He said, “Sit, I will hold the bicycle from behind and you have to put one foot on the paddle and then after paddling put the second.” I followed his instruction and to my utter surprise, this time I didn’t fall. I rode the bicycle for a complete 2 minutes and this was my biggest achievement till that day. I saw my cousin jumping happily. After that day, both of us would ride together. He used to hold me tightly while sitting behind me on the bicycle.

There were five bicycles in our street. Those who had would come along with their bicycles and then we would ride each of them turn by turn. Life was so easier then and we were so happier those days. I remember we used to celebrate birthdays by giving permission to ride the bicycle for a complete 3 minutes and that person could take the bicycle down the street to the old lamp post. Sunday mornings were dedicated for cleaning the bicycle. We used to participate equally and with full enthusiasm for the cleaning program.

Presently, I still don’t have a bicycle. But now I don’t feel pity or inferior. Because I have those memories where we used to share our belongings with each other.

These days, we are not willing to spare some time for people, forget about the belongings. If anyone parks his/her vehicle under our house, in no time we yell at them. In fact, if somebody asks for a lift or a ride, our calm expression turns into a frowning one. Even when someone asks for our help or assistance to do work, we pay no heed. We feel blaming others for our failure is easier. 

But we must keep in our mind once we welcome people with an open heart all the bitterness that we hold in our heart will vanish like a vapor. 

OPEN UP

Our heart has so many secrets. There is no such human who doesn’t have some secrets hidden in their heart. I too have the same in my heart. Some of them are hidden as I fear of the consequences the secret might bring when disclosed and some are hidden because I don’t want to share.

When I was a teenager, I thought, am I the only one having secrets? All those mockeries, bully and what not? I used to hide them in my heart and didn’t speak anything to anyone. Maybe because I didn’t find anyone so understanding and trustworthy.

Even our parents too, hide so much from us. They hide the financial challenges they go through and the sacrifices they make for us. They do so, only to make us feel happy and keep us away from the difficulties of life. Even today, my father never discloses his sufferings to me and my brother. Maybe because he doesn’t want to see his children worrying about anything.

Whenever we come to know about what he is hiding, we confront him saying, “Papa, you shouldn’t keep this problem to yourself. Please let us be your shoulder now.” But he never does so. However, later he speaks about his problem in a nutshell.

As I live in a city far from my hometown, I give my best to solve my problems on my own. There are so many incidents and things in my life, happening every day. But I never speak about it to my parents or to my friends. For a simple reason, I don’t want to. I know, I should at least let somebody know about my problems. But I fear what if it gets more complicated. I fear, what if my parents don’t understand. However, I speak to my brother and my best friend when needed. This brings peace to my heart.

I guess many of us go through the same in their life. But if the problem is not so big and can be solved by sharing with a sensible person, then why to hide. Open up. Find someone who can help you in your crisis and let that person take you out of it.

After all, sharing your problems with the right person can reduce your stress. So, next time you feel like keeping a secret, think if it is worth keeping it as a secret or if it should be shared.

DON’T LET YOUR PROBLEMS PUSH YOU

Inspiration – a word that awakens a person’s soul and motivates to find a way from apathy to probability. It helps us to transcend our ability and find new possibilities. Ability and effort may lead you to success but without inspiration, we can’t think out of the box. If you look into the life of successful people you will find, they were just ordinary humans before they found inspiration. They struggled and faced so many problems but never gave up. Not only successful people but ordinary people too, go through the same. And so did Deepa.

I was in school when I first met this beautiful and an extraordinary girl, Deepika. She was a class junior to me. We fondly called her Deepa. She is a girl of tremendous courage and will-power. Her dusky skin tone, playful smile, and captivating eyes make her look like an angel. When I first met Deepa, we were going to a youth festival. I didn’t know who she was. Just before reaching the venue, I came to know Deepa had lost her right hand in an accident years ago. The accident took away her hand but never broke her spirit. It was late at night when we reached the venue. I saw she was carrying her bag all by herself.

The next day, I saw her rehearsing for her dance. The way she danced, had so much elegance and beauty in it. She danced her heart out and smiled with every twirl. Her feet never missed a beat. I admired her dance and expressions. While getting ready for her performance, she did her make-up so well. However, Deepa never needed any make-up. Her face always beamed with self-confidence and enthusiasm. While she danced, the whole audience applauded for her splendid performance.

While we were sitting together, I asked her how does she manage everything. She replied, “just like you do.” I was so impressed by her.

It was a three-days event and we stayed together. I witnessed how she managed everything gracefully. Deepa never seemed weak and never expected any sympathy or pity.

The next time when I saw her, it was the annual day function. She looked no less than an epitome of beauty. She hugged me as soon as she spotted me. I asked her whereabouts and asked her if she is performing or not. She said, “I am the lead dancer.”

She never fails to motivate and inspire me.

Today, I see her pictures on Facebook. She looks so gorgeous and full of life. If you look at her, you will surely fall in love with the spirit of this girl. We are not in touch and I don’t know if you are reading this Deepika but yes, you must know one thing, you made me realize it’s our willpower and determination that makes us beautiful. I learned, one should never give up. As long as, I stayed with you at the youth festival, I never saw a lack of energy in you. In fact, you were the most active person.

God bless you, dearie. I don’t know what are your dreams but I do know, you are a true example of women empowerment and will reach untold heights. I wish you all the best.

We, humans, tend to lose hope so easily. We cry over the spilled milk. Why can’t we focus on negating our problems and working on our gray areas? Unless we don’t accept our flaws and embrace our problems, life is never going to be beautiful. One should always look forth with confidence and determination. People who can look ahead will always find a ray of hope even in the darkest of time. One should never get pushed by problems, instead, be led by your dreams.

AS IF, IT WAS YESTERDAY!

August 2007

Almost every year Bihar gets affected by the flood. The reason is when Nepal receives heavy rainfall, the water flows into Koshi and Bagmati rivers. The water level rises which may break the Koshi dam and Koshi embankment barrage, resulting in severe damage to Bihar and Nepal. Therefore, the gates of the Koshi dam are opened and water enters North Bihar.

I remember it was raining for days. The power was cut down in villages and so we couldn’t watch the news on TV. Radio was the only option. Many parts of Bihar were under high alert. Our was Madhubani district and luckily, it was not as much affected as neighbouring districts. We were in school, an announcement was made the dam in our city (Jhanjharpur) is on the verge of breaking. This would lead to a severe flood in Jhanjharpur.

In no time, we students sat in our respective school buses and those who had their own means of transport went straight home. It took 2 hours to reach home and when we reached, we heard the dam broke! It was raining cats and dogs and water started to flow in the villages of Jhanjharpur. That night, we couldn’t sleep as we were praying for the rain to stop but it didn’t. It rained and rained.

In the morning, we saw, the low farmlands in our villages were submerged. We couldn’t see a sign of our crops and people were crying. The water level was rising and water started to flow on roads and the thatched houses fell down.

Luckily, the water didn’t enter our house but the way it rained we feared water might enter our house. However, there was water in the compound of our house. We heard on the radio several people were forced out of their homes. Farmers lost their families, crops, cattle, and houses.

This flood is considered to be the worst ever flood in Bihar and caused thousands of death. 2008 flood is also considered to be the worst, as it flooded the areas remaining untouched by flood for years. The Koshi river picked up a different channel and this resulted in the flood.

25th April 2015

It was a cloudy day. In fact, for Bihar’s climate (during April last) it was a pleasant day. I remember it was our last viva exam of 1st year B.tech.

We gathered around the viva room and were memorizing topics. All of us were busy in memorizing as much as we could till our turn comes. The place where we were standing was more like pavement having an asbestos roof.

Suddenly, I heard a loud cry and within a blink of an eye it turned out to be so much chaos. “Run, it’s an earthquake!” Everyone was running here and there. I was pushed by my classmates, I fell down and got my knee skinned badly. Somehow, I managed to hold one of my friend’s hand and make my way towards the open area. I stood in the lawn and then what I felt was horrible. I could feel the land beneath my feet was in motion.  A very fast motion! It felt as if there was a wave under my feet.

The height of the wall of the lawn was merely 2ft and we could see it was shaking badly. It felt as if in no time the wall will fall. I must say, the tremors were quite strong and the trees in front of the lawn were shaking. The electric wires fell and there were cracks in the walls.  

This was Darbhanga, a district in North Bihar. North Bihar is very close to Nepal. On that day, a severe earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Nepal and many parts of North Bihar were affected by the earthquake. In fact, Bangladesh and some parts of China were also on the list. However, Nepal had heart-drenching damage. Thousands of people went missing and so many went homeless.

I called my parents because the place where I belong to (Madhubani) is closer to Nepal as compared to Darbhanga. After 3 hours, I could connect to my parents, he said it was really scary and the whole house was shaking. One of the walls in our house had cracks. My brother was in school and so my parents were very worried.

That night, we couldn’t sleep. As the area was on high alert and rain didn’t stop. Somehow we managed to sleep for a few hours. The next day was followed by aftershocks of 6.7magnitude. It was for a week but the memory still remains fresh. In fact, on 12th May another aftershock of 7.5 hits.

Those who saw the pictures of Nepal were either in grief or in shock. It took months to restore things but the mental damage remained in everybody’s mind.

Till now, when I think about the earthquake and the floods I have witnessed, I get goosebumps. I know we can’t stop natural calamities but we can take some preventive measures. This way we can save the lives of humans and innocent animals. But still, I have faith in God and I believe he is the one who will protect us from every disaster.

THE STORY BEHIND MY NAME

According to my parents and other family members, I was born on Sunday morning. In Hindu Mythology, Sunday is dedicated to Sun, whom we (Hindu) popularly call as ‘Aditya’. But I am a girl and, therefore; I could not be named as Aditya. I was named ‘Aditi’. For my father, this name has a great value and he only gave this name.

Years after when my parents took me for admission in school, Papa wrote ‘Parineeta’ as my name. The story behind ‘Parineeta’ is, I am a Virgo and according to the zodiac sign, my name should have started from letter P or T. And therefore, officially my name was Parineeta.

My friends used to call me ‘Pari’ and they would say you have such a unique name.

I was unaware of what my name means until one of my teachers asked me. That day, I went straight home, called my father and asked, “Papa what does my name means?” My father explained the meaning and then I knew ‘Parineeta’ means ‘a married woman’. Next day, I went proudly to her and said what my name meant. She says, “Dear, you must change your name because it is not nice according to your age.” Eventually, all my classmates came to know my name’s meaning and they started teasing me just because they heard my teacher laughing over my name.

At that time, I was in class 4 and so I didn’t understand these things doesn’t matter. As a result, I continuously asked my parents to change my name. Everyone at home tried their best to convince me for not changing my name but I had made my mind.

Finally, everyone acceded. It was decided when I will pass class 4, I’ll be renamed. Then went a series of discussion on what should be my name according to the zodiac sign. I chose ‘Prerna’ as my name out of all the proposed name. When my father was filling the name in the admission form of class 5th, he wrote ‘Prerna’. It was then I noticed, he was a bit sad as I was changing the name given by him. So, in the column of the last name, I asked him to write ‘Aditi’. He asked why and I said, “I will never lose ‘Aditi’ the way I lost ‘Parineeta’.”

Hence, I was named Prerna Aditi. Most of my friends call me with my last name ‘Aditi’. At home also, I am known as ‘Aditi’. In fact, at my workplace too, people call me Aditi more often. Now, I think I should have never paid heed to what others said about ‘Parineta’. Papa gave this name after he read the famous novel ‘Parineeta’ by ‘Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’. Years after, when I got the chance to read the book, I realized how beautiful the name was. That day, I regretted a lot. But it makes me happy when someone calls me by ‘Aditi’. It feels as if they are respecting my father.

I have seen so many people making fun of other’s name. But they never think of the emotion and love behind the name. Your name is your identity and if you want people to take your name with respect then you will have to ignore what people talk about your name. It is not about if someone’s name is old-fashioned or modern but it is about the love of our elders behind the name they had given and how we retain its meaning. 

Now, it is your duty to decide, which name you are going to choose, to address me… 😛

EVERY NOSE IS BEAUTIFUL

God made us so beautifully. He has given us enough to survive in this world and feel its beauty. He has gifted us with different body parts and has assigned a specific work for all of them. Even if one is completely different from other body parts, it is equally important.

Out of all the sense organ, the nose is the only one that is capable of smelling and performing the process of breathing. Doesn’t matter if the smell is pleasant or not, the nose never fails to perform its duty (except for the time when you have nose congestion). Even if, out of frustration you say, I don’t want to live, your nose won’t stop breathing. Such a dutiful organ nose is.

In schools, we were taught idioms and phrases based on the nose. For example: “don’t poke your nose”, “keep your nose clean”, “keep your nose out” and many more. Have you ever wondered why?

In my perception, the whole idea of using nose in idioms is to highlight and compare a person’s behaviour. Also, according to me, these idioms were made to remind people of how an ideal person should behave. For example: what’s the need for interfering in other’s matter unnecessarily? This is similar to not being satisfied with the amount of air we are breathing in and out and trying to inhale every single molecule left in the air.

Now, let us move to an incident of my life that is closely related to my nose.

I am a person with small and a little fat nose. Though it looks good on me (I am proud of it), I have gone through so many bizarre comments. Even today, I go through the same.

When I was a kid, one of my relatives would consistently say, “Oh what a pity, such a lovely face but ugly nose”. She would repeat this comment twice a day (this continues till now). Other people considered it as platonic. My aunts did the same and this would upset my mom and my grandmother. These two ladies would massage my nose to and forth every day, in the upward direction, just to make sure my nose looks good to people. Thank God! my nose remained the same.

Since I was a kid, my mind developed a mindset that my nose is ugly and people with the long, straight and thin nose are the only pretty beings. I had this mindset until I was in class 11th. Shocking, isn’t it? I guess I am not alone in this world to hear such things.

One day, one of my teachers said, “hey girl, you have such a pretty and cute little nose. I have never seen such a cute nose”. I couldn’t believe my ears. A quick question went through my mind, “was he saying the truth?  But my nose is not at all pretty. How come on the earth he found it cute?” That one compliment changed my mindset and since then, I consider every nose as a beautiful and unique one. Moreover, I have people in my life who admire my little nose. I love those people.

Big, small, crooked, fat, thin or flat, all noses perform the same job. Owning a straight nose won’t supply more oxygen to your lungs as compared to the person having a crooked or small nose. So, it is better and advisable to accept the fact that every nose is beautiful and functions similarly.

And those who get to hear this type of blabbering should say to others, “keep your nose out of it!!”