THE HOLLOWING ATTACKS OF THE INVISIBLE INSECURITY

Insecurity is such a powerful sentiment which certainly attacks every living being at one point of time yet it can’t be clichéd since the trap is so obnoxious that the thought process is always backed by our false lies, fear, and anxiety. It is no less than an illness with a well-known cause of over attachment to possessions or beings, to an extent to make one feel sufficiently hollow breaking down the esteem and confidence in oneself. With its symptoms being depicted in every form of relationship, no one can be blamed for its occurrence as it is a self-developed vice. When it comes to facing insecurities, I have struggled with them in many phases of my short existence on this planet. From my first puppy love to competing with the world and paving a way for achievements, insecurity has accompanied me like a best friend, surfacing on the top of my chaotic head, most of the times. The repercussions have taken the form of killing all that has been beautiful or maybe little less pleasant while holding me back in my sphere of ambiguity, bittering the existing relationships and most importantly the one which I share with myself. Whenever insecurity attacks, it weakens my soul giving rise to tendencies that probably do not belong to me while I commit acts out of jealousies, obsessions and fake arrogance.

I remember how during my school days, I used to stay away from the so-called academic achievers of the class, despite being one among them. It was because somewhere or the other I compared myself with them and thus ended up consoling my inner self by pinpointing their flaws. Similar was the case when I was preparing for a competitive exam and the bright answers given by any student used to make me feel low. I would not call it as jealousy since there were no ill regards held for others but it somehow brought my deficiencies to the forefront or made me feel so. Maybe it has been the reason of my efforts to choose the less competitive sector for work until I realized that there are and there will be face-offs everywhere and we are not meant to win or excel every time once we have given our best shot. Competition is actually essential since it is the driving force of excellence in any project or task being undertaken for accomplishment but that doesn’t mean we ought to create the fear of failure. It actually took me two career switches to accept the differences in the level of intelligence and realize the uniqueness of each individual. A lot of courage is required to confess this insecurity but then I am able to share this today because I have overcome it. I realize that it is only when we learn to accept our limitations amid the varying circumstances and seek contentment in our positive traits that we can appreciate others’ beauty of minds. Parenting and upbringing also plays a major role in the cause of this insecurity and hence it is essential to raise the children in a way that they are well aware and satisfied of their own strengths and weaknesses before they are exposed to the worldly charm where there will always be people better than us, be in terms of skill, intelligence or beauty, and other characteristics. Yet it should be engraved in our minds that no one can replicate our personal abilities and talents and perse even if imitation is possible, circumstances and time periods always vary and hence insecurity needn’t take birth. It is rightly said by Steven Furtick:- we cannot compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

Another brutal attack of insecurity was initiated when infatuation struck the chords of my heart. Obsession with that loved one arose to such an extent that the fear of losing him subsided the genuine concern and actual affection for that person, resulting in relationship failure. Well, it cannot be exactly termed as a relationship but yes while we were in the so-called phase of puppy love, not a single day passed without the thought in my mind that what if it doesn’t work out. And hence with my excessively possessive vibes seeking his attention ended the wonderful friendship between us in utter bitterness and resentment with hurt being created on both sides. Moreover, it becomes very difficult to have things going on a smooth run when it’s me on one hand, holding ego that hampers clear expression in front of the other person triggering further anger and toxicity. Further, the stage of separation worsens the situation when the feelings of inadequacy start creeping in, robbing one of the inner peace. The insecurity gets heightened with shattered self-esteem converted into urging outbreaks of dependency and desperation. However, since it is said that time heals everything and varied realizations follow, I too sought relief and inner liberation in the thought that what is truly meant to be ours, will always find its way and would never pass by. Hence there should be no bouts of insecurity compelling us to commit acts for proving our worth or attaining someone for if it takes so many efforts, it is actually not worth it.

Having confessed some of the instances, I find pleasure in the fact of having not turned this write-up into a parable on insecurity. It actually takes a lot of struggle and hardships for these above-mentioned realizations to enlighten us and seep down into our inner-self. Dealing with insecurity is just like abusing our-self allowing the germs of possessiveness, aggression, and over-thinking to spread in our body. Hence sometimes we need to sit with ourselves to meditate upon our thoughts and feelings so that our intentions can be checked and the blocked energies can be released from time to time. The non-prudent expectations arising from the bacteria of insecurity need to be responded with self –love, and care rather than worry, doubt and greed. It is never about suppressing these insecurities but accepting their occurrence, acknowledging them with consciousness and patience while simultaneously allowing them to pass away so that we can rise above them as soon as possible. True liberation creating happiness can be only experienced when we let these insecurities pass away without acting upon them too much such that it which further opens the door for true love and real golden avenues. Each one of us has the permission and deserves to feel worthy and safe enough in one’s own skin.

WHEN THE CHAOS IN ME FOUND BALANCE

When we say that words have the power to heal, it is not merely another cliched statement. I am thoroughly convinced of this realization. I have always enjoyed reading more than writing until lately when writing has turned my source of catharsis. During my childhood, writing even an essay caused a frown on my face for I always lacked expression and my words failed to gather any attention. I did write at times but they were meant for a diary. It was used to vent out my frustration whenever I secured low marks or the homely anguish troubled me. Other than that, writing didn’t come naturally to me. However, it is an irony that today I find both pleasure and solace in writing.

Just like many others, I resorted to writing when depression struck me and I felt no one could understand me better. It was like there was an earnest need to get things out of me as I felt that I was growing hollow day by day. Blogging has actually been the best decision of my life since the support I got from the writing world has been amazing. I don’t mean assistance in literal terms of flowering comments and appreciation but their consistent presence that asserted I am not alone helped me to recover soon.

Pouring my heart out clears the toxins out of my chaotic mind and lightens my soul. The best part is that writing gives full liberty to create an illusionary world where I can not only dream anything fancy but can also fly. Earlier it was difficult for me to think positive and maybe even today my poems end on a sad note most of the times. However, I can say my sufferings have reduced substantially for writing actually works as a therapy. It has even enabled me to see the beauty in things which made no sense a few years back. When the ink bleeds, it actually breaks the walls that we build around us to avoid further hurt from penetrating. For writing brings along the gift of acceptance melting the heart to even perceive others’ sorrows.

Initially, I wrote about my pain, my miseries, and my preferences. However, when nature around started affecting me positively, my words gradually drifted towards the colours beyond white and black, reflecting joy. My writings are evolving day by day as now I have developed linking the observations beyond my personal experiences thereby empathising with others’ circumstances. Every element of nature be it living or non-living has now meaning for me as if it all symbolizes something ethereal. It is certainly a fact that our words can create an impact only when they are poignant enough to affect us deeply and we are fully convinced.

Whether we write about the demons scaring us or the fairies in heaven, it reflects the exquisite mental state and our position of the heart. Whenever we articulate the stories or poems depicting verity wrapped in ornamental words, it becomes more appealing. Just like the words have the power to rescue us from the chaotic world, they also have the potential to strike the reality hard on the face. Writing has always driven me forward while helping me to reminisce the bad times like a good memory. No sooner than our words start leaving footprints than we realize that this talent needs to be utilized for healing than reminding people of their scars. With this, I conclude by saying that writing actually helps our own selves before acting as a support system for others. Thus, we need not be mindful of what we write for it is actually necessary to vent it out before we fill rivers with our tears!

THE SUGARY AVERSION THAT ALTERED MY TASTE BUDS

It is rightly said: “Sometimes cultural variations do describe a wholly different mode of understanding what makes feel good.’’

There was a month of fieldwork internship assigned to me from an organization wherein I got an opportunity to travel in some parts of Gujarat. From Baroda to Saurashtra region, my stay other than the living quarters and hotels lasted at two Gujarati families. Since I belong to a different culture and so settling into other cultures take time but yes being an Indian, our value system has great strength when it comes to adapting different colors peacefully. So it was a good quality time spent in acquainting with people and understanding a language that I wasn’t used to. It took a little longer with loads of patience but I am glad I made it. I lived with them, ate what they had and by the end of it even started talking like them. I saw a change in myself. The conversations which earlier flew above my head and annoyed me, started attracting my attention whereby I actually made efforts to decipher their words which sounded foreign to me.
But here comes the struggle, and it was the Gujarati food. I intend to make no offense while saying this but it used to get on my nerves when I found a tinge of sugar in probably every dish. Though I pretended to be diplomatic in front of the people honoring me with so much respect and courtesy but inwardly, my rants never ended. It really used to surprise me when I was served sweet dal and all the recipes with not so of course sugar in them. However since I was tired and hungry after a day’s hard work, I gulped in whatever was offered to me at the house.

With this becoming a habit, I realized that it actually started satisfying my taste buds. By adding lime juice and coupling the dishes with their homemade sweet-sour pickle, I gradually started enjoying my food. This actually seemed better to me than the bland or spicy food that I usually preferred. The sweet-salty food was actually a neutral taste that perfectly amalgamated spices and sugar. Though the quantity of sugar added in the meals lowered when I moved to Saurashtra region but yes the little less sweet flavor still persisted. I often used to tease the aunts out there when I became familiar with them that their jar of sugar is closer to them in the kitchen than the tastemaker which is salt. Addition of sugar to the food is like a daily ritual for them.

Sugar, which only deserved to be in the category of desserts for me was being consumed by me in every form through lunch, snacks, and dinner. I discovered the actual reason of adding sugar in the food was to nullify the effect of salty water in Gujarat (being a coastal region). The other reason that I was told was that the salty sugar food helps one stay hydrated in the dry hot climate of Gujarat. Anyway, the best of the sweet dishes served to me were the Aam ras and the Shrikhand.
Aam Ras
is the pulp of a ripe mango which is extracted from hand or blended mechanically. As my usual habit, I initially kept it for the end of the meal to be taken as a dessert when I was served with lunch. However soon, I found it such a delectable dish that I actually used it as a dip with puris and rotlis. On the other hand, Shrikhand is sweet strained curd which is flavored with nuts, saffron, and cardamom. Both of them are such delicacies that are completely irresistible.

I realized that when my taste buds became comfortable with the sweetness and started remaining happy, I could connect with people more and also found their etiquettes very homecoming. I somehow felt that the food with added sugar reflected their sweetness in character and nature. It was like a trademark of their warmness with which they served me.

Having described my experience which actually turned my aversion towards sweet food to likeliness and wanting more of it, my taste buds have actually changed. I no longer mind having sweet dal with rice or chapati with Aamras. Shrikhand has become my so favorite that even now at the campus, I purchase it often from the nearby Amul parlor. I cannot still forget how I made a fuss when I earlier used to see my Gujarati friends adding sugar to everything here served at the campus. It was like I always wondered how can they ingest so much sweetness in normal meals until now when I have started savoring the sugary flavor. Now before passing comment on someone’s food habits, I understand how different flavors are an expression of a unique cultural identity. More than the arousal of my taste buds, the ingredient sugar has certainly fostered the spirit of understanding in me. It has positively pushed me to give away my habit of being judgmental on someone’s eating habits. The questions that what is actually delicious and what is not might tap powerful emotional differences and taboos but we need to delve into it sometimes because it is actually worth it! Just like the way the addition of sugar in every meal in Gujarat has stimulated my thinking to go beyond tolerance and enjoy the differences, similarly, I would suggest everyone try the food which seems bizarre to us at least more than once in the lifetime. For we don’t know how we end up discovering something really savoring for our taste buds!

IF ONLY WE COULD HOLD A CONVERSATION…

Image result for shopkeeper and customer anime

How often do we actually take out time to exchange just a few words with the people who don’t hold much importance in our life? Rarely or maybe sometimes. Recalling one of such acquaintances, I cannot forget my childhood memory associated with the purchase of junkies from a nearby colony provision store. No sooner was I able to collect a few coins than I used to rush to the shop to purchase either a pack of chips or my favorite cola! However, the owner of the shop had such disposition that all my excitement always cooled down on seeing his grumpy face. Since it was the only shop in my area, it seemed more of the kind of a monopoly store. His irritation level would rise to heights if I would ask him to display his collection of candies or if even I just had to add one extra item in the billing list. A smile was the last thing one could expect from this shopkeeper. Whenever I returned home after my purchase, I always complained to my mom about the rude and ignorant behavior of this man. But then again, I had no option than to go again to this merchant for purchases as it was the only store that existed in my colony at that time. Moreover, if anything went wrong or if I ever had to return an expired item, he took it back with so much of sternness as if he was doing a favor on me. His nags and my complaints went on endlessly until a piece of shocking news broke out one day.

I had risen from my morning sleep when I saw my parents leaving home early that day. When I asked my maid about it, she told me that they were going to attend the funeral of Mr. Jaiswal. It was as if the ground below my feet had shaken for how could a man who seemed so fit could pass away. I couldn’t help remembering how often I used to engage in a fight with this man at his shop even for his fuzzy attitude. All of a sudden, I just felt as if I had so many unsettled accounts with this person, left to finish. When my mom returned, she told me that this shop owner was suffering from mouth cancer and he committed suicide.

For a moment, I couldn’t believe if it was really true and when this reality seeped in me, I could somehow relate to the reactions of this shopkeeper in the past. Mr. Jaiswal was not bad, it was his circumstances that had turned him sour and bitter. Now it clicked to me that why he didn’t respond to my anger as uttering a word from the rotten mouth was so difficult for him. Moreover, the pain of those blisters in his mouth was the reason for the constant frown on his face. I really felt sorry for a dead soul that day and more than that I was agitated by my own self that how I could hold so many grudges against a diseased person for petty issues. It really struck me that why I didn’t even try for once to gauge the depth of his situation. I really wondered if I had just even tried getting into his shoes, I would have never held any complaints against him. I cursed myself endlessly for not making any efforts to discover the reason for his sternness. Why for God’s sake, I didn’t even hold a conversation with him? Sympathy filled my heart when I came to know from the neighbours in my colony that how lonely he felt as he had no one to look after him. It was not only the disease but solitude as well that was killing him. He certainly might have felt very low which led him to commit suicide and there might be no one around to even console him. Connecting the dots seemed very easy at that moment for one could then sense that his frustration was definitely the outcome of his sufferings. I couldn’t help questioning myself that how I could frame so strong and wrong perceptions about this person just because his behaviour was bad with me.

Mother Teresa has rightly said:- “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.’’ These words were somewhere resonating in my ears for I had turned so nasty in judging the shopkeeper that I had no time to empathize with his problems that were probably greatest than all of our rants. I felt very sorry for him and at the same time, I really felt that I just could not forgive myself for passing angry comments on him. I learned a lesson that day to not judge a person without knowing his struggle story. Moreover, it does not take much time to know the sorrows of a person only if we understand the real meaning of tolerance and patience. Even if it takes time, isn’t it worth it, if it can save someone’s life and make him feel worthy enough to live on this planet; making someone feel a little less lonely?

This incident really questioned my indifferent conscience that day and struck such chords in me striving me to live a life of awareness and kindness with empathy and compassion filled in the heart.

ENLIGHTENING STRANGERSHIP

Blogging has always been a source of joy for me. It has not only helped me in sharing my thoughts with unknown people but has also opened the folds of my brain to a new world of ideas and emotions. Through blogging, I have had a few great online acquaintances but this one deserves a special mention.

Probably, a year back when I was active on WordPress, any article of the spiritual genre always caught my attention. Also, I have had a habit of reflecting back on any piece of work that touch my heart and so there was this article from a wise Indian blogger which drew my attention. We had an argument basing on my comment under his article and this argument went on for a couple of days until I accepted his point of view. Well I need to say that I was swayed by his level of knowledge and awareness.

In no time we started exchanging mails through which I tried to seek as much knowledge from him as I could. What I really learned from him that each time I came up with a problem, he never provided me with a solution. However, he strengthened my belief in God that I was able to move ahead with a bit of clarity and faith.

After probably exchanging a century of mails, I requested his number which he resisted for a long time in sharing. But one fine day, he somehow agreed for an early morning call. I was really excited and nervous at the same time just to talk to a man whom I did not even know completely. We talked for a long time over the phone and as expected I could feel his simplicity and elevated thought process. 

As time passed, the frequency of our conversations decreased for we got busy in our own schedules but  yes we had a fair idea of where we were heading. Surprisingly, once after a long time I called him to update him of my results and before I uttered a word, I could sense discomfort in his words. He was going through a bad phase in his life. Moreover being reserved, he resisted telling me his complete state however I got it all. It was then, that my good results didn’t seem important to me and my momentary joy vanished. Somehow I could relate to his pain, his ambiguous state and his dilemma.

For a moment it seemed to me as if everything has crashed but if I showed my deep down broken emotions, then how could I give hope! Well after hearing his few more words, I decided to act strong and used the same words to console him which he often used to say to give me strength when I felt weak. Well never before have I felt so concerned for a man whom I had never even met. It was a strange kind of connection I felt maybe because I could count the number of similarities between us. Since then I made a point to connect with him daily to ensure he doesn’t sink in depression.

As he wanted to interact less at that time, so eventually we lost touch for a while but anyway I made it a point to drop a mail as frequent as possible while praying daily for his wellness. This was the kind of bond that developed invisibly unknowingly wherein I was sending peaceful vibrations to a stranger!

It took him some time to get over that negative state of mind but I am glad he made it. Today he is back in the race again striving for something good. Whenever we talk I get to learn something from him. It is because of him that I realize the importance of praying and make an effort to connect with God religiously. I explored many theological concepts after our interactions that have somewhere sown the seeds of spirituality in me. I am always amazed by his marvel character when he says he doesn’t  work to do something big but everything that is good.

As he always tag interactions between us as strangership, I often teasingly ask him with a grumpy face that don’t I hold any value in his life! To this he always replies which brings a smile on my face and that is :- “Every star has its own position in the galaxy with which it is incomplete and so do you.”

Well I need to mention that he is invincible when it comes to analyzing and exploring depths of any concept! And I feel really thankful to God for connecting me to such a rare kind of talented man. I hope the so called strangership lasts forever and one fine day I am able to meet him!

“BREATHING THE AIR OF CHOICE HAS NEVER BEEN AN OPTION!” – A TEEN’S VOICE

It aptly goes well with the Indian society that as long as there are curtains over the actions, everything is acceptable. However a mammoth cloud of problems burst when the veil is lifted. While we tag Love as a ‘societal taboo’, it somehow becomes overrated! Even the natural liking for someone dies when the society’s frame of perception steps in. Very few relationships have the power to go against the prescribed will and create their own beautiful love stories. Well I really admire those!

Anyways unfortunately due to this taboo issue, once I was caught in the dilemma of expression of love. Since childhood, my mom always projected such a picture of the opposite gender that every acquaintance with a male seemed a self invited distraction to my well going nerdy lifestyle. Thus I was always very careful and conscious enough not to give wrong signals to anyone, I interacted with.

But as it is said that love sees no time or person, it just happens naturally and so I got swayed impetuously in someone’s awe just after I finished my schooling. Well I have to mention the phrase ‘after schooling’ for then there were less of restrictions and ties that give me a little freedom to indulge in an affair.

Almost a year of my great friendship with that guy had passed when I felt the need to express my feelings for him. However my inner turmoil never allowed me to do so. While being brought up according to the society’s saying that what we like might not be always what is right, I started doubting my own feelings for that guy. Moreover, also I didn’t allow him to take a step forward which made things worse and complicated in our case. Just because of the wrong fear created by the society in me that relationships at a very young age are a kind of sin and symbolic of immaturity, my behavior towards that guy became awkward leading to endless misunderstandings. Finally and sadly all of this led to an unwanted break up!

So this is what happens when society creates a hype over young relationships and looks at it with a wrong perception. The unsaid words and unexpressed feelings always remain buried deep in the heart and continue to create pain if one is not strong enough to ignore the conventional thinking of the society and break such a stereotype frame!

Thus the lesson that I realize now in my life is that love can never be a taboo! Each one of us have a right to live life and understand its ways in our own style and fashion and so therefore if in this process we end up falling on love, then what’s wrong in it?

ARE WE ACTUALLY READY?

As we all know and so it is actually true that any great accolade demands immense strenuous preparation. What is to be reflected is the fact that preparation is not just about physical toil and labor but complete whole hearted mental indulgence in the task is equally important. Hence, it is very well said that we need to commit to the battle before it begins!

Even the smallest of the task to be accomplished requires some amount of speculation. Thus we need to have the clarity of our purpose and a reason for its accomplishment otherwise all our hard efforts will be haphazardly directionless that will bear no fruits in the end.

Each one of us wants to achieve great heights and so some of the questions need to pondered and they are :-

i) Are we ready to put in the required level of hard work and give our best?

ii) Are we ready to make the needed sacrifices that includes giving up all the pleasures for a while?

iii) Do we promise ourselves to be patient in this journey that we undertake and not give up irrespective of how much time it takes ?

iv) Are we prepared to face or suffer the little step downs or failures along the journey ?
Well all the questions above are not only for any great target to be achieved but also for any little achievement , they need to be pondered. Only the level and degree of hard work and sacrifices vary according to the goals.

All great people may not reveal their success mantra but one thing is common and that is that they all have a well defined plan of action and they stick to it!

I feel physical preparation is completely dependent on our mental preparation. The mind needs to be energized and strengthened with power before commencing any physical task. For example, it can be seen that during the times, our mind is in turbulence, our efficiency also reduces and we are not able to give in the planned input. Hence all I want to emphasize is that we need to be mentally strong and determined as we undertake any Hercules task.

Building an equanimous state of working mind and focusing all our mental energies towards the goal which is unaffected by the setbacks is called mental preparation. It is not easy to do so but also not impossible. Powerful positive affirmations , daily visualization of the goal and falling in love with the journey are some of the ways to be learnt that makes mental preparation smooth! It is also true that “The possession of anything great begins in the mind.”

So I would suggest each one of us to start preparing our mind first for any upcoming war to make the struggle easy. As it is very well said  “The more we sweat in training , the less we bleed in battle.’’