I AM WHAT I AM!

I am amazed to know what people think about me. Lot of times, many people tell me that till the time they didn’t know me well, they thought I was a complete snob, held too much attitude and I appeared as someone who won’t talk much! While some tell me that since the first meeting they just felt so comfortable with me and love my way of communicating and they appreciate how easily I can get along with an infant to oldies effortlessly. So contradictory right? Talkative or not, snobbish or humble, I am what I am!

Let’s talk about my physical appearance. I am fat. Lot of people say that on my face. I am body shamed every single day by someone or the other. But hey, I am what I am! I could be fat, but I have a beautiful heart and decently intelligent mind.

Let’s talk about my dressing. I am more comfortable wearing kurtas. So I am often considered to be a “behenji” but hey, who said simple is not beautiful? Behenji or not, I am what I am!

You know I am the types who prefers to laze on a couch with a book in my hand or may be watch some TV. I do not enjoy pubs and parties. That makes my social status as “boring”. Not many friends like to hangout with me but I have a few who stand by me in my most difficult times. Boring or no, I am what I am!

While we were trying to conceive, I remember hearing a typical advice from family and strangers alike. I was suggested to give up my (very fulfilling and lucrative) job just to focus on getting pregnant. According to them I was not giving enough time to do what it takes to get pregnant. I had medical complications, but which treatment would be applicable outside the fertile window of a women and why would I give up my job only for that one week every month! That made me over ambitious and also someone who did not want to bear the responsibility of raising children. Over ambitious, irresponsible or whatever, I am what I am.

I am someone who doesn’t take people’s unsolicited advice too seriously. Also, i do not worry too much as to what others will say. Because “Kuch to log kahenge, logon ka kaam hain kehna!”

A sculpture takes immense hammering from the sulcuptor before it becomes a beautiful piece. Countless dents are given to the rock to make an expressive sculpture. I consider these “log” as the sculptor and their remarks and opinions and advice as the dents. In short, I take all this in my stride.

Never get bogged down by what people have to say. They will always have something to say and more often than not it will be about how something could have been better or how you fail at something always. You will get to hear very few words of appreciation. So be it. Do not measure yourself with the yardstick of what people have to say. Measure yourself against your own expectations. Try to beat your own expectations from self rather than wasting energy on trying to please people. Try to be a better version of yourself. And never get a complex because of the way people shame you. You are what you are! Focus on your strengths rather than people’s opinions!

Be good, do good. And call yourself good because you wont get to hear it too often from others!

BULLYING IN THE NAME OF AUTHORITY

Are you a lesbian?“, my teacher asked my buddy.

A day ago, we celebrated Teacher’s Day – the day when we shower gifts, cakes, and cards on our teachers, no matter how much we love or hate them. Nowadays it actually doesn’t matter if we even respect them. Once there were teachers who were respect-worthy and knew how to shape a child into responsible teenagers. Alas, while I grew up, I came across some very narrow-minded teachers who thought every student was gay. It’s been a very long time ago when I was just a 12-year-old kid when I was introduced to the term “lesbian” by my own school teachers. I think at times that they never thought how would this particular word affect the mind of a teenager.

During that phase, at school, everyone was so conscious about how they looked, the way they talked and behaved with their friends and the way they dressed so that they won’t be judged and talked about being someone they were not. (P.S. I come from a girls’ school. Being gay was a social shame during that time, in our society. Now though things have changed.) Being best friends at school meant we were in some kind of a dirty relationship. We were forced to worry about, “what will everyone think?” about us if we behaved like a best friend to our friends. Being tomboyish was out of the question. If some friends held hands while walking or playing, they were called to the teachers’ common room and scolded. If someone accidentally stared at a girl, then they were said to have some kind of secret dirty feelings for her. Well, no one elaborated it or explained to us or told us why and what these ‘dirty feeling or relationship‘ were, ever.

In those days, our school had become a place of scorn, a place where you are ridiculed and judged. Our school wasn’t anymore the place where you go to get educated, but the place where you are judged senselessly and are forced to think “what will all think about me?“. The school’s environment was very toxic and unhealthy for a good foundation for all the students. The day our Principal came to know about these acts of our beloved teachers, she herself stood against those teachers and made them change their attitude towards all the students.

Being there and having been through such situations, I often feel that, maybe our teachers were fed with wrong information or maybe some crime series aired during those times, which affected their thought processes adversely. Well, even such situations didn’t stop me from judging them or blaming them. Not only blaming such teachers but the entire society, who every now and then have set rules and regulations for some very basic things in life and have made situations worse for the whole society. So worse that the people would be forced to think about if/will/how/why would others judge them. Many times, things backfire and individuals go on to do what their hearts desire. Even then they are judged and pulled back by society, many still overcome such situations and go on to be the successful ones. They learn to live a happy and satisfying life but for others, things go bad and they fall prey to depression which is a result of the constant adjustments with the society.

I too judge people around me, and needless to say, it isn’t a good thing that I do. Neither am I very proud of it. But I have always realized that how I think and act are solely how I see and deal with situations. Others have their perspective and their own ways of handling that particular situation. Judging others or demeaning them, has never ever solved problems, instead, have increased the trouble. So, if we let people be as they are and just accept how things in this world work by not create unnecessary rules, we might pave the path in building a beautiful future where we do not have to think, “log kya kahenge!” (What would people say).

IN THE AMBIGUITY OF “WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY”.

Being born and brought up in a middle-class Indian family, the warning sign I always received from my parents – “WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY?” (In Hindi, Log Kya Kahenge?). The moment I hear this question, my mind starts singing the Old Bollywood song – “Kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehena. Chodo bekar ki batton mein kahin biitna jaye reyna” (People usually talk behind others, that’s there very habit of doing so. But it is better to leave such meaningless matters before the night fall). Whenever anyone poses this question before me, my defense is – “By birth, every individual is Free to Think and Free to Talk. When God and our Constitution cannot put a barrier to people’s mind and mouth. Then who am I to do that!”

Since childhood, both my parents used to bracket down my thoughts and choices with this question – WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY. Even today, my mom often quotes me the same anthem whereas Dad has gone one step ahead. He squares me saying – “Now, you’re grown up. You can make the right choice. What you sow, so shall you and your family will reap. Now, it’s up to you!” Mostly, this line slows my pace of decision-making and filters me through a set of questionnaires. One among those thought-provoking questions – WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY?

Well, Is that so important to think about what others might think!

What’s wrong if I choose what seems me right!

If I listen to people, I might have to drop my choice. Will that be a good idea?

What has people to do with my life?

We all strive to attain good things for our life. Isn’t it? Hence, God has gifted us with the freedom of choice and to navigate this freedom He has empowered us with Knowledge and Wisdom. He had made us little lower than the heavenly angels. Alongside this strength there is a weakness – each individual is finite to his set of ideas and his strength for the execution of his ideas are also limited. In this finite state, as we are confined within our mind-box in the course of time our choices and ideas become irrelevant to our life at large. Probably, that is where we seek help from outside and look for ideas beyond our desk. But, alas. By then, the clock ticks, it’s too late!

In my professional life and at times in my personal affairs also I used to ask my trusted-ones to review my proposals and ideas. I do that because somewhere down the line I saw – “WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY” was standing on my way. Every time I ask for the screening of my proposals and ideas, I have been beneficial. Does that mean, I am listening to people? Well, let me put my defense in this way – the Bible says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” In other words, when I allow someone to interfere in my toiling of ideas, I will have a good return!

Everything in our life comes in mixed bags. I always had to choose for myself from the mixed bag. Optimistically, in the ambiguity of WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY thought, our life is filtered from flaws and shaped to set an example. Alongside, it is people whose efforts give existence to Culture and Society. Culture and Society are something that give us an identity and distinguish us into a special category. Culture and Society are moreover a virtue for us.

My American friend Kristin always becomes an Indian in our midst. Just like our Indian moms and daughters in a family, she first serves us the food and then joins the dining. Even after our food, she collects our used plates to the washbasin. It is so blissful to find a foreigner respecting our Indian Culture and instead of complaining as a Westerner, she  tunes in as an Easterner. What made her to do that – the fear WHAT THEY WILL SAY when I am in their place and complaining about their culture.

To save myself from victimizing by the pessimistic side of WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY, I prefer to stop at the juncture of my mind and do a quick checklist:

  • Is he a God-fearing man that I will trust his voice?
  • Are his words based on the Absoluteness of TRUTH claims?
  • What is the reference point of his ideas – his own or God’s Word?
  • What is his story – Does he have a similar experience like my situation?
  • Is there a logical flow of his ideas or just random ideas unfit and no link?
  • Picture the Consequence – In the long run, Where I will be if I listen to WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY and Where if I follow my mind?

In the ambiguity of WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY, our life is always altered and becomes exemplary.

“In conclusion, dear friend, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things”.  – THE BIBLE.

ARE WE HUMANS OR RATING MACHINES?

Why this thought?

God created us, the humans as social beings. We are codependent as we coexist in this big large world. Whatever we do in this world whether in our personal life or as a family, it affects the society at large. Sometimes these effects are noticed and identified. Sometimes they are negligible and ignored by others. And some effects, people notice, yet they show a ‘don’t care’ attitude of indifference. Whatever it maybe, we were created to enjoy the gift of life, subdue the earth as we enjoy everything in it and fulfill the purpose for which we were created, that is to worship the Creator in whatever we do.

But sadly, we failed it big time.

We are more sensitive to the wrongs that others are doing rather being sensitive about our own mistakes or wrongs that we do in the darkness. We have seen in the past, that the more we have looked into the mistakes of others we have failed to do the right thing. But the moment we have tried to rectify our own mistakes we have been successful to create a beautiful atmosphere around us. And this hypocritical behavior or attitude of us, humans have instilled this fear in all of us as, “What would people say?”

We fear being judged to the same extent that we are judgmental towards others.

Fear
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Let me explain what I mean to say…

If we closely observe people or our own self, we will understand that we always feel safe about doing something that we ourselves don’t judge when people do it. For example, if I don’t judge others for coming home late in the night, then I won’t have the fear of being judged when I, myself come late in the night, keeping family members out of it. In the same way, if I always shun people for being too active on Social Networking sites then I will always have that fear of being judged or ‘think what would people think of me’ when I get online even for an hour on Facebook. So, I keep myself in Invisible Mode. 😛

So, in my opinion, the psychology behind the thought, “what would people say” pops out because of our judgmental attitude.

So, instead of thinking how or what people would think about us, it would be better if we think, what God would feel about what I am doing.  I always worry about this Bible verse which says,

Whatsoever you do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord you shall receive the recompense of the inheritance.”

How does this thought affect us?

Let me take you into a few role-play exercises to understand this segment of my article.

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(Image Credit: Wikihow.com)

A husband and a wife are walking on the street. The husband lovingly holds his wife’s hand while walking. She pushes his hand away saying, “What a disgusting man you are… what would people think of us?”

The husband feels bad but smiles and replies jokingly, “They will think that we are husband and wife…Isn’t it, my love?”

He was right here in this scenario though we definitely can’t be inconsiderate to the wife’s conservative mindset as we all have actually been brought up that way (especially true in conservative cultures). Yet, if they don’t talk it out about this matter openly between themselves then this thought of “what would people say” might create a serious problem between them later.

Moving on to my next scenario, I want to bring all of our attentions to a family where the parents are in a heated debate worrying about “what would people say” if their daughter doesn’t score well in her exams in a very posh school.

Let’s not put too much pressure on our daughter and let her give her exam without worrying about how much she scores.” The mother placed her argument.

But the father says, “Can you even imagine how humiliating it will be for all of us if she doesn’t do well in her exams? What would the other parents think of us?

How pathetic is the mindset of that father who thinks about his prestige but not about his daughter’s psyche!

I remember, in the movie ‘3 Idiots’, in one of the scenes where Farhan (Actor, R Madhavan) tries to convince his father (Actor, Parikshit Sahani) about his passion for being a wild life photographer than being an engineer. When his father says, “What would people think or say”, Farhan replies, “Why should I bother about Mr. X or Y or Z who never did anything for me… Rather it would matter to me what you think about me and my career choice as my father, who has sacrificed so much during my student life.” Finally, his father agrees with him and allows him to pursue his passion.

You’d have to actually meet people to know how many dreams have been crushed and ambitions squashed just with the mentality of What Will People Think!?

The above statement was made by Savio, who pointed out so correctly in his article on the same subject, published yesterday.

In conclusion, I would like to recollect the instance Aastha mentioned about in her Mega Article. It was quite a tricky scenario. But it tells us that it is always better to consider the present status of a person, instead of checking in, to his/her past or judge about their future, if we really care about their benefits. Moreover, we all need a heart to be empathetic about people rather being judgmental. We all need to be human, as created by God, that is in His own image with beautiful attributes instilled in them rather than just silly judgmental freaking beings or silly rating machines.

Keep reading, keep giving your valuable feedback.

Stay Blessed!

I AM DISAPPEARING

Cynthia: Hey, why are you staring at me? 

Lucy: You look beautiful.

Cynthia: Thank you! 

Lucy: You seem so happy. 

Cynthia: Aren’t you happy? 

Lucy:  I don’t look beautiful as you. 

Cynthia: What has beauty to do with happiness?

Lucy: No? See, so many people come to visit you. They are amazed by your beauty. They take lots of pictures of you 😦

Cynthia: You would have seen many who admire my external appearance. Have you encountered anyone who cares for me? 

Lucy: Oh! But why?

Cynthia: Yes, people are interested in their recreation but never think of what can be done to preserve us. 

Lucy: No? 

Cynthia: Well, no.  They aren’t even bothered if I am going to be extinct. Many of my fellow species have already become extinct. 

Lucy: Then I am the one who is better off here. At least some people are interested in giving food and accepting me as their family. 

Cynthia: Yes, you are lucky. 

Lucy: Most of our habitats are being occupied, I hope they stop doing this. 

Cynthia: Yes, sorry, Lucy. I cannot do anything for you. 

Lucy: Yes, you can. Please be happy

Are you wondering who Cynthia and Lucy are? This is their picture together. 

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(Image Credit – Pixabay.com)

From the moment I saw the picture, there was only one question on my mind. When was the last time I saw a butterfly in Bangalore? Except for parks, I have never seen them otherwise. I remember during childhood, so many caterpillars and butterflies were taking rounds in our garden. Now, we don’t have them. It is sad, the first thing I thought of is the butterfly extinction when I saw this picture. 

Butterflies do not need much from us. They have their own enemies in the form of birds and insects. All we need to do is not dwell on their habitats. Another reason why butterflies are dying is the use of pesticides. Fruits, vegetables, and nectar are the main staples for butterflies. The use of pesticides is causing genetic changes in the produce, that butterflies could not survive on them. During summer, when the temperature crosses 40 degrees Celcius, butterflies cannot fly. They lose their capacity to fly. If you see a butterfly in your balcony or garden, during such time, provide water and some corn for them to eat. They cannot survive otherwise. Butterflies are very beautiful, and future generations would have to only read about them in books if we do not become responsible. Hope to see lots of colorful butterflies coming season.

THE ROAD AHEAD

This is a very intriguing picture and I like to call it “The Road Ahead…”. One look at it and I felt this depicts life. Our journey through life and our future – the journey into the unknown…

 “The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

(Image Credit – Pixabay.com)

There are two ways to look at this picture. One could be the gloomy lookout. I sit in my room overwhelmed with all the problems I am facing, feeling depressed and thinking about my future. When I look at this picture I feel this aptly depicts my future. The sky is overcast with dark and ominous looking clouds. I can barely see the path I am treading yet I am zooming ahead full speed. Scared of what is in store for me. Wondering if the clouds will ever dissipate and allow sunshine into my life.

And the second outlook would be again looking at my future. But this time I am full of enthusiasm. This time I see these clouds as full of promise. The promise that the first clouds of monsoon bring to us. The promise of rains – the rains that bring us prosperity and abundance and hope that makes us zoom towards that future.

My mood changes my interpretation but one thing is for sure. I think there is a reason why God allows us to see only a little bit ahead of us and keeps the future hidden. This keeps our hopes alive and makes us strive for a better future.

As I wrote in an earlier article also. Hope makes the world go round…

LOVING WISDOM OF THE MOTHER HEN

Elusive, these days, are the sights of hens with their brood of chicks tagging behind them. But, if you go to the countryside, you’ll be greeted with such endearing scenes near farmsteads and in the fields. It is truly entertaining to watch the chicks following the mother hen wherever she goes. The mother hen, on her part, is wise in her ways to exhibit behaviours that her little ones would follow to learn.

A psychologist by the name of Konrad Lorenz was intrigued by these sights. He keenly observed the phenomenon of some species of animals forming an attachment to the first large moving object that they meet (it may be any object, not necessarily a parent animal). After conducting intensive research, Lorenz came to the conclusion that this phenomenon is innate and programmed genetically. He named this process ‘imprinting’. Most animals acquire their locomotor skills by imprinting.

Imprinting is not proven in humans, though babies are seen to imitate their caregivers in various respects. Be it in animals or in humans, caregivers are known to train their young ones as they go about their day-to-day activities.

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(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

A mother hen ensures that her chicks follow her to the right places to pick on the right type of fodder. The chicks observe their mother picking on certain worms and insects and leaving out certain others. These, they understand are poisonous. Also, the chicks learn from their mother’s behaviours how to identify the predators and ways to escape from their clutches. Sensing danger and inclement weather conditions, the hen calls out to her little ones in her special language and the chicks hurry to the safety of their mother’s wings.

The role of the mother hen is to train, guide, protect and make her chicks capable enough to survive and fend for themselves in the world.

But, not all chicks are sensitive and obedient to their mother’s voice and behavior. There are those who prefer to go their own way. They are the ones who learn their life lessons the hard way. At times, they don’t live to learn the lesson!

Looking at this picture and penning these lines, I am reminded of God’s ways of training and nurturing human beings. He shows the footprints that need to be followed and calls out to each of us in languages that we can well understand. He points out where enemies lurk around to pounce on us. Those who are sensitive and obedient to His voice walk confident of their ways – may be in rugged terrains, but sure of the grip of every step they take.

However, there are those who choose not to be sensitive to His call and care. They opt to go their own ways. Still, God spreads out His love as a mother hen spreads out her wings to protect her chicks from harm.

Indeed, God is gracious and merciful in His ways – teaching us amidst myriad life events, the ways to live and emerge victorious. Are we willing to learn under His loving care?