OPEN UP BEFORE YOU BREAK

The other day I was having a casual talk with my daughter. She asked me what I want to be when I grow up. That was a legit question I think, probably the deeper meaning which she didn’t realize was – we should never stop dreaming, desiring, aspiring or being ambitious. Or might be just a counter question to the regular question hovered over them by parents – What do you want to be?

Well whatever the idea was I paused a bit and said ” I want to be a writer but not sure if people will like my work or not. I am skeptical.” And the statement she made after my “hmms & huhs” simply blown me away and made me ponder “does she know what impact and sense she makes with her rather seemingly casual statements. Is it really a child’s play to be mature?”. She said “Mom it’s you who need to like whatever you do (she meant whatever I write) at first place. People may sometimes like it and sometimes not, what’s the big deal”.

My perception of those words: It takes a lot of courage to convince one self to break free from the preconceived notion of “what they might think“. The shackles of societal norms, thought of likes and dislikes of everyone else other than ourselves are pretty strong that impedes our growth be it professionally or personally. And as the nature has it every action has equal and opposite reaction, the suppression of every trivial desire, negating own decisions just to fall in line or say just to be safe, an overtly exertion on oneself to be PERFECT for everyone we are only letting resentment build up inside that forces an outburst of ugly nature most often . The constant tug of war between following a set path and what we want or believe is meant for us leaves us torn from within. And suppression on any level – be it within or on a world stage, has always (more or less) left a gory and thorny trail, isn’t it?

So breaking from preconceived notions needs courage. Taking the first step is always the difficult one but the most important one. Change can be within or around but our inner self has to be convinced that it is needed or it is right at first place. That is the prerequisite of happiness.

P.S : And yes if you think you need to warm up to muster courage to bring upon a change, doesn’t matter how miniscule it is, doesn’t matter in which regard it is start with your haircut 😂, yes go for that funky haircut you always wanted to have shedding the preconceived notion of “what they might think”😉. Remember half of the so-called people/ society have their own businesses to take care of and the rest who don’t have doesn’t qualify to be the judges passing judgements on your life as they are like the empty vessels making only noise.

VULNERABILITY GONE WRONG – XII

The discovery of not finding the letter in her bag startled Shaloween. She emptied her bag, checked multiple times every quarter, every inch of the bag but it went futile. Her thoughts ran haphazardly to every nook and corner of the house and office where she possibly could have put or slipped the letter accidentally. Nothing seemed to help her out.

She was very restless lest that letter finds some unwanted notice when things were on the verge of finding a solution. The regret was not about writing it but about unmindful, unintentional omission unfortunately. She decided to go back to office as her phone was also dead by then and without a spare charger that seemed to be a right decision to her. Was it just the charger that forced her to be out in the night in an attire which was a little bit more than that of pyjamas or something else? She brushed those thoughts back as she tied her hair in a ponytail and started the car.

It was around 9:45 PM that she reached her office. As she went to the building after parking another shock awaited her at the entrance. The guard refused to let her go inside for the reason – she forgot her ID at home in a rush to reach office and the night guard wasn’t familiar with her.

She pleaded with him for about fifteen minutes but the guard refused to budge. Heaving a heavy sigh in despair Shaloween was about to leave as she heard some commotion on the stairs. She turned to look in the direction of the sound and was a bit surprised to see Shekhar Chandra there at that hour of the time.

“Sir, you? Here? How? Why?” Shaloween spoke in broken words contemplating well her state of mind – puzzled. “Well that should be my question to you Shalu.. I mean Ms.Shaloween. Here at this hour, searching for something?” Shekhar asked in a rather not casual tone or at least that’s what Shaloween thought.

That questioner was for a moment bowled over by the question! With a small hiccup Shaloween gathered herself and said with a straight face, “I forgot my charger at the office desk and my phone is dead. Couldn’t have waited till morning and in a rush to reach here I forgot my ID at home, just messed up things”. Shaloween stood there feeling awkward at this meeting. Shekhar signalled the guard “aane do” and the guard did allow her inside.

Thanking Shekhar in a polite way she followed him. As silence ensued she chose to break it and asked “What are you doing here Sir?”

Shekhar cleared his throat, “Had some files to look at to ensure timely wrap up from here” and opened the door for Shaloween leading into the office. She took a paced stride towards her cabin and collected her charger as Shekhar fixed his gaze on her.

Shaloween checked her drawers thoroughly but couldn’t trace the letter. She stood at her desk running her fingers through her hair in utter desperation, thinking where it could have gone.

Shekar was watching her. And their gazes met quite dramatically. Shaloween felt uncomfortable and decided to leave the premise thinking I shall see it later.

“Did you find … the charger?”, there was an awkward pause in his words. “Yes and thanks” Shaloween answered in a decidedly less hassled tone.

What transpired at office remained with Shaloween all the way back to her home. It was almost thirty minutes past 11. She decided to hit the sack but the disturbed vibe came to haunt her again.

Next day as soon as she reached office she was summoned to Mr. Sikdar’s room. Her apprehensions were oscillating quite high.

“May I come in Sir?” she took the permission and entered and the first thing that caught her attention and blew her mind was the letter in her writing lying on the table.

“Shalu I need to talk to you about this”, Sikdar pointed towards the letter but before he could say anything Shaloween confronted, “how did you get this Sir?” She was an amalgamation of anger and anxiety at this moment.

Sikdar usually a composed and sorted person seemed to have dropped his fine judgement when he said, “this shouldn’t have been the way to deal. You simply can’t blame anyone and especially meddling with powerful people isn’t good for you. You are like my own daughter. Why…” And he was interrupted by Shaloween abruptly who by this moment had lost all her patience.

“Just one question – how did it land here?”

PERFECTION + UNPREDICTABILITY = MAYHEM

** Names are hidden for confidentiality purpose.

As I am writing this my mind is clouded by many doubts and questions to which my heart is seeking an answer. Can self deemed perfection and unpredictability of a person’s nature restrain another person and force to go into a shell?

Its a story of a couple whom I know closely, husband and wife to be precise. Let’s name them X (husband) and Y (wife). X deemed himself to be too perfect. He plans his day meticulously. His life follows a set pattern like that of a flow chart in his office presentations. On the other hand Y was messy and easy going. Going with the flow was her mantra. She tripped, doing mistakes here and there but she never hesitated to reveal herself before him. She tried day in and day out to have a faultless day but never tried to hide her mistakes – trivial or otherwise but unintended ones nevertheless. And everytime she opened up herself he would go haywire, hurled abuses in the fit of rage, sometimes apologized yet some remain unaddressed. “It was a mistake, I will set it right, it’s not as serious as you made it out to be” none of those words would pacify his angst in those moments of swirling emotions leaving her tensed and questioning herself “should I stop confessing anything to him”

If this self proclaimed perfection isn’t enough to spoil the atmosphere the unpredictability of his nature that induced more shocks than surprises for her now started to scare her. One day he would surprise her with a beautiful dress and the other day all hell will break loose as she bought a ketchup bottle that she forgot to include in the weekly grocery list and that costed few cents extra than the regular one. And here goes again a big lecture on how he is toiling day and night to accumulate enough for the family and she will be in her mind “dude how much fortune you will make with 50p?”. Sometimes he would get along well and sometimes he would barely apply any common sense to assess the simplest words said and riding high on his egos would unnecessarily complicate the entire episode to sulk for an entire weekend.

She dared to confront him about his unusual behaviour and flaring rage. In his defence he said ” my only flaw is an uncontrollable anger and my idea of love is to provide a secured life to you”. She as it is imbedded in her nature took the defense in a positive stride but is being practical means being insensitive ? Does providing only suffice for a healthy relationship? And don’t the urge of being accepted the way one is necessarily give rise to the duty of doing the same? These questions always hover around in her mind.

She was always proud of herself that she seldom lied but years of taunts and unexpected bouts of extreme reactions over silly things like food served late by five minutes made her either remain silent or say a convenient lie just to scoot away the tense situation at home. And slowly she grew indifferent to his affection and raised walls of secrecy around her. Her feelings rarely finding an outlet – happiness and especially sorrow. She made sure he is aloof from what’s going on in her mind and heart. Be it a physical pain or emotional turmoil, she was slowly drawing herself in a castle which guarded her vulnerabilities from him.

Today I am not writing to offer any advice. Rather I have a questions that needs an answers:

  • They say communicate to solve the issues but what if speaking only getting difficult where every word is misunderstood?
  • Is pursuit of perfection a flaw in itself as it makes the person in question rigid?
  • How to ascertain the flow of tide when the person is unpredictable?
  • Is the other person wrong in suppressing his or her vulnerabilities in such a entangled scenario?
  • If yes then what’s the way out?

Please do care to answer, someone needs a solution to their ongoing agony.

I WON’T JUDGE YOU – IT’S A PROMISE

He was a colleague of mine and now a friend, thanks to the messenger services we are still in touch with each other after 12 years of acquaintance. We share common interest for writing. I share my blogs with him and vice versa and so is the case with mutual appreciation and encouragement.

One day during such casual chat about our lives, common hobby, national politics to office politics, weather and current affairs he opened up his heart to me. He was going through a lean patch in his marriage. And the issue that he mentioned was something I never imagined any of my male friend would ever discuss so clearly with me. Even now when I am writing here I am in two minds whether I shall discuss or not but the only thing that prompted me to go ahead with this story is “we all are mature adults”.

In his words – I don’t know whom shall I confide into and I don’t know if I am doing right or wrong by bringing up this topic with you. But since you are woman, you might understand well another woman. I can’t discuss with my male friends because knowing them well I know they will make fun of my dilemmas. The thing is I love my wife very much but unable to understand her sexual fantasies. It seems it is on her mind all the time. It is too overwhelming for me. I always believed marriage isn’t about just sex. Even if I want to just have a good time talking and knowing about her she simply have a different definition of lone time. I try to be a good partner in every sense she wants me to be but things are becoming overbearing. If things continue like this I am afraid I have to part ways and lose her which I don’t want. Do you think I shall go for counseling?

I had to be patient. One thing was quite clear from his situation and hesitation – we as a society still has many taboo subjects that we don’t want to or can’t talk about without a smirk on face or being judgmental. That was the exact reason my friend had been feeling insecure and going through a phase of mental pressure.

What I offered as an advice: I appreciate your idea of marriage and also the fact that you chose to open up yourself. See a woman also have sexual preferences and fantasies as much as a man have. But everything must have a limit. Just as she is vocal about what she wants you have the same right to be eloquent about how you feel about your relationship. Counseling is definitely an option but it’s more about both of you being open to the very idea of working it out. Patience is the key here. No marriage is perfect as people are not flawless but at the end of the day it is all about their willingness to age together. Don’t worry first talk to her, I am sure she will understand. Give it a try.

He thanked me and promised me to take the initiative of making his marriage work. Few days later when we were chatting I asked how things were at his end l. He responded “relatively better, we are taking things slow. Thanks for being understanding and not judging me. You are really a god sent friend to me”. I was overwhelmed and really happy that things were slowly moving in a better direction for them.

I strongly believe in one thing – as a friend the least I could do to help anyone is to listen to them as being heard out takes off a lot from the sufferers, isn’t it?

THOUGHTLESSNESS > FULL OF THOUGHTS > THOUGHTFULNESS

Two days back at the time of dropping my daughter at school I had a brief conversation with her. She demanded extra biscuits and Yakult in her bag. When I asked the reason she said that her friends take all the snacks she takes to the school. She gets to eat from little to none. I told her though sharing is caring but she also must have her lunch. To this, she naively replied “Mom I know that but my friend Shalbi cries a lot and quite loud too. If I don’t give her Yakult she will continue crying and the teacher will punish her and I don’t want anyone to get punished, that’s why I make her drink my portion and anyways I have water with me”. On the same night as I was preparing my kids for sleep, I cuddled a bit with my son and went to my daughter. She asked if I was “Siddharth’s (my son) love of life”. To this I said yes and not only his but hers’s and their father’s too. She asked me “and what about yours, aren’t you love of your life? Everyone is the love of their own life”. I was amazed and amused at the fact how she is stating the more or less Crux of human life at such a tender age. What might have actually got into her thoughts and does she actually understand the deep meaning hidden in her innocent talks. She inspired me to think hard and given a perspective to work with.

Though the above situations and the statements seem to be convoluted and opposing each other per se – self-love and sacrifice are parallels and don’t coincide. But that’s simply because our prism of looking and understanding things is quite micro where our definition of self-love is somehow confined to the concepts of comfort, luxury and hollow happiness. But isn’t the ultimate motive of self-love is attaining happiness and peace of mind? Unfortunately, we forgot about the ultimate while chasing the illusions.

Let’s dive a bit deeper: Human by nature have three inbuilt characteristic traits (Guna) and in the due course of life depending upon evolution, choices made, assimilation of knowledge – spiritually and otherwise these three traits can be arranged like a pyramid ascending which leads to the ultimate destination – self-awareness uniting the soul with the supreme power. Those three traits are –

  • Tamo Guna – Tamas means darkness. This trait in a human being is marked by laziness, lethargy and inactivity. If a person is inactive by the virtue of being a lazy person or by the fear of the result of activity there’s no way he can escape the darkness surrounding him and within him. It’s like sitting in a dark room and too afraid to move a finger lest it would get hurt in the darkness yet waiting for someone to switch on the light. Isn’t it foolishness? It can also be the different vices a man lets breed in him blinding him of his purpose in life both materialistic and spiritual. This is the lowest pedestal – thoughtlessness.
  • Rajo Guna – This represents the active nature of a man as in where he Acts. We are in a race, to secure a good life for our loved ones, for ourselves, to ensure the safety of family, to prosper, to succeed (definition varies for everyone), precisely we want nothing less than the world to ourselves. It isn’t bad because this drive is keeping the nations going. What else is an economy then if not billions of zealous people working to fulfil their dreams. This is a higher pedestal than the above-mentioned trait. This delivers results for there’s an action. But the problem isn’t with the action but the emotion driving it. When our actions are a result of insatiable hunger for power, money, fame, love (emotional bondage) often fueled by our egos, false pride, greed etc. our mind is a restless churning wheel of thoughts. Most of us are standing at this juncture reeking of agony, dissatisfaction, pain – Full of Thoughts
  • Satva Guna – This is the zenith of the pyramid of human nature. Satva means good and pure. As the name itself suggests a person having this trait is in a frame of mind where the realisation actually dawns upon – our concoction has been done in his light – righteous, happy and peaceful. That’s the ultimate destination to be reached on this earth. It is earmarked by virtues like being able to part without clinging on to it, be one’s own company yet maintain the serenity of mind, unaffected by the praise or abuse (not getting carried away, levelheadedness), keeping the mind free of clusters of unnecessary thoughts – both good and bad (in his constant company). Reaching that pinnacle is the true meaning of Self Love, a peaceful being, isn’t it? This is being thoughtful.

When a human is born these three traits are interwoven. As his journey begins the traits acquire the shape of a pyramid and the inspiration should be to reach the pinnacle !!

MILES AND MORE

Surrounded by melancholy as I sat under the rock of my insecurities I was stuck hard by the lightening of chaos. And I was forced…

As I was forced to leave behind my shattered self and trend a new direction my hands held together the broken pieces of a painful heart and haunting memories.

As I commenced my stroll with moist eyes and parched lips, with every mile I left behind the pain in my heart turned into bodily exhaustion yet prevailed a sense of solace.

As I continued my stride forward the strings of expectations entangled with my flimsy fingers broke apart getting my shoulders ready for new hopes and responsibilities.

As I picked up pace the heat that earlier filtered through my skin burning my very soul now seemed to have transformed into rays envisaging a path of possibilities.

As I fought my way through barriers I faltered and devoured by the depths unknown, an attempt to put a halt to the fall lifted my gaze opening up for me the skies.

As I crossed miles and more the soaring distances that rested behind me relieved me of my ambiguity, as my body could no longer feel the prick of thrones nurtured around me I am in a state of tranquility.

As I walked and walked and walked looking at a new horizon in offing I paused to pay homage to my journey so far and wondering what could have led to this agility which wasn’t me.

A realisation dawned upon me, I ran out of choices. Fear of losing has already battered me to death that my existence has already been charred to ashes. Had I not walked away I would have been trampled upon in the name of normalcy & formalities.

Its my fear of losing myself that instigated to retaliate with resilience, make a move, cover miles and more for I am Phoenix and not Icarus.

I Am Flawed

Sitting on bed with hair down and back resting on a big cushion calling it a day and watching my favorite drama on Netflix – Never I Have Ever, story of an Indian teen growing up in America. Yes I am a teen drama person, really want to keep it light for there’s always much drama unfolding in reality. Towards the end of the series which is one hell of an emotional roller coaster Devi, the lead protagonist of the series bursts out at her overtly strict mother and says “I wish you were the one who died that day” and shuts on her. But soon there was a reconciliation as those words were an emotional, frustrated break out and were not laced with the intention.

Well, whatever we see onscreen for our entertainment are not completely alien situations. The very much inspiration of such sequences is from us and our lives. I can instantly relate to particular scene and I have been in both the shoes – a kid and a parent.

I have been mad at my father once for trusting someone blindly and offering his signature as a guarantor putting our future in dock. It was not the crises that hit us enraged me but the thoughtlessness. Though the anger was momentary but the regret and guilt of hurting him emotionally when all he needed was a bit of solace will haunt me forever. We shared a beautiful relationship, he never held any grudges against me (a beautiful soul + in the shoes of a father) but blemishes are highlighted on a clean surface, isn’t it? My moment of agony made me blurt out words that were unintentional and living this life to regret it forever.

As a parent, for that matter in any position of responsibility be it in relationships or organizations our frustrations, vulnerabilities, agonies, helplessness, emotional pent up inside make us mouth words that serves the only purpose of emptying our negative emotions corroding us from inside as acid. As parents having an agenda of setting a decorum and system we often say words like “you are finished if this work is not done on time”, “if you are not ready to mend your ways get ready to leave the house”, “I will break your bones if I see you again misbehave” and likewise. Do we really mean them? Can we really be so violent and indifferent? No as the intention is to give a direction to the proceedings and not to convert our words into actions. And I have been a very much participant in this parenting style (sometimes a little coercion is necessary with kids till they reach a certain age). As a mother such words never made me introspect myself but what I say or said to my 9 years old son many a times disturb me to no end. He is a non verbal autistic. Everyday I see him explode – cry, shout, aggressive with himself and if I try to control/pacify him he gets aggressive with me as well. I am used to this routine as such spells of nervousness and pure agony of being unable to explain what he is going through lasts for 15-30 minutes everyday. Though I try to keep my cool because whatever he is doing isn’t intentional there are moments of my own meltdown where I literally said “I wish you were not in our lives, we would have been so much better off”. When there is silence all around during the night few thoughts pinch me real hard – what if he understood whatever I said? What if these in reality unintentional words are getting sedimentated in his heart? What if he starts distancing himself from me as well? I don’t have a great social life (not complaining either) except for that of on social media which is also now quite a curbed one (for own mental peace). When such circumstances are coupled with other pressures can make one succumb especially when your child keeps wailing for no apparent (for us) reason. I can be really nasty sometimes in those brief moments and I go to bed with a regret. The regrets are heightened when your child wiping his/her tears wants to see you and engulf you in the warmest embrace and the fact that they didn’t understand a single word (venmous arrows) you shot at them. My son is exactly in the space. He doesn’t understand the reason for my agitation directed towards him as I don’t understand his. Despite of my love and worry for him – about how he will adjust in this ruthless world, how people will treat and accept him my own unintentional burns hurled at him are enough to Show mirror to me – I am a flawed character!!

I am trying to fight my own demon: Being emotionally overwhelmed can never be an excuse to the misdeed I have committed. Misdeed when intentional is a sin and when unintentional is a folly and a reason for misunderstandings, regrets and often irreconcilable distances. No matter how much I try to explain myself to others, at the end of the day I have to sleep with my conscience,

  • When you are explaining to strangers you are worried about your image more than anything else. I do have an image of being goody two shoes and I am not sure intentional or otherwise. As a person living in society, I admit I care for that.
  • When you are explaining yourself to your loved ones you want to retain them in your life, it’s as simple as that.

Everytime a thunderbolt bolt of anger hits me it awakens the snakes asleep on the bed of my tongue and I am on a biting spree. Little did that snake know there isn’t any antidote to the venom it spews. My only deliverance is a deep breathe and chanting. If nothing seems to help I try to move out of the entire scenario. I am not preaching any Gyan here of how to deal with your intentional and unintentional follies, the reason why I chose to write is to admit that I am Flawed and if that’s courageous, I might muster even more courage to set it right some day.