The Book

Where was I? I was entangled in things that mattered to me. But yet it was not suffocating. I didn’t feel like I was bound. I felt free. I realised I have time to sit back keeping all my works aside and simply watch the evening turn golden. I could relax and chat with friends unbothered about the ticking in my watch. May be I found peace in my chaos.

Earlier I used be bothered alot about consequences of my actions. It was like walking on eggshells. I became too good at not breaking them I forgot how to walk normally. When one becomes too detached from self, mind will start deteriorating. Anything you put inside will get consumed by worms.

I was struggling to find my way back and I had begun to succeed somehow. Then I found this book. This beautiful book that looked at peace in the book shelf in Mumbai Airport. I picked it up instantly – “A Book of New Beginnings; Some Words for Living, Edited and with an Introduction by Jerry Pinto”. I am still not sure whether its the book cover or the book title which is most beautiful. This happened a few months after I started my own lawyer office.

I have always found it difficult to read books which tries to teach the reader as to how to live. No-one can teach anyone as to how to live. That is something someone will have to find out on their own. But people can always share and take you with them to experience their journey. That is what the book did to me. Each time I became confused or thoughts get convoluted I could find someone else resonating my mind through their words. Sometime in an excerpt, sometimes in a poem written in an unknown language and translated beautifully, sometimes in a letter written by a retired Head Mistress to her children, some times in a photograph and sometimes in a story. But to realise that others have stood where I am now and wondered where they were going gives a strange yet warm feeling of companion ship. It taught me that it doesn’t matter whether I am misunderstood as long as I understood myself. It helped me realise that the past, how disturbing, traumatic or exploitative it may be was not terrible. All the bad and good things that had happened to me together made me who I am right now. It helped me to laugh at hypocrisy, cope up with trauma, ignore the narcissists and realise my shortcomings.

The book is like a Bible to me. Not because it taught me how to love God but because it shared my journey towards loving myself. There is not even a single sentence in the book which I don’t connect with. It is impossible for me to pick a favourite line.Today my mind was humming “Happiness! It is useless to seek it elsewhere than in the warmth of human relations.”*

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*Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand & Stars (translated by Lewis Galantière)

Factory that is marriage?!

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As a woman who has joined the “30 club”, I am now used to hearing “when are you guys going to have kids?” “don’t you want an heir?”, “why don’t you two go and see a good gynaecologist?” and “who has issues?” . Most of these persons are not concerned with ‘flimsy’ issues like, whether a couple want kids?, whether they are mature enough to be parents?, do they have time for parenting?, and is it mandatory to have children just because two people are married?. Because most of them are not at all interested in, or believe in concepts like reproductive rights, right to choice or right to privacy.  

Our country is a winner when it comes to population. There are already crores of starving mouths in the country. We are decades behind many countries when it comes to proper sanitation, health facilities, education, gender equality and many other aspects which are necessary to lead a life with dignity. Nevertheless, as soon as two persons get married, they are expected to give the news about “expecting”. It is time for third persons including parents, to stop expecting this from a married couple. But somehow, this is the most difficult thing to make them understand. Fortunately, my parents never asked me these questions because they know I am fully immersed in my career and in building a peaceful life. 

But I have heard stories about numerous couples spending lakhs, just to give an offspring to the family. Tragic fact is, many of them are unable to conceive a child due to the stress of ‘not quickly conceiving a child’. They are silently burning in the agony “well-wishers” created for them.

Child churning factory:

Marriage is not a factory established to churn out kids; and children are not commodities manufactured to satisfy the ego or dreams of someone. A child is an individual with emotional and physical needs, who is incapable of conveying them unambiguously; at least in the early years. Therefore, unless and until people are not ready to have children, do not force them to be parents. Unwanted parenthood may not only ruin the lives of the parents, but also, may adversely affect the mental and physical development of the child. 

Postpartum blues does not exist?

When a woman becomes pregnant she has to face so many physical and emotional challenges. Some mothers may also have to deal with postpartum blues. It is real. When a mother faces Postpartum Depression, another mother may face Postpartum Psychosis. People suffering from postpartum blues require proper care and attention. I have literally heard old ladies of the household criticizing a newbie mom for having “mood swings” saying this is just “nautanki” of modern women; and that there were no such things in their prime. First of all, their ‘prime time people’ did not have a clue about many things. Therefore, don’t compel “modern women” to bear a child when she does not want to. What is wrong with a woman deciding not to go through all these? And what is wrong with her husband respecting that decision?

Torture like treatment:

There are couples who find it difficult to conceive a child due to fertility issues. For them, Assisted Reproductive Technology is a great solace. But there are couples who just want to accept their infertility and don’t want to undergo any treatment. This may be because of the huge amount of money needed for the treatment or because they don’t want to go through the difficulties associated with the treatment or because they are interested in adopting a child or because of any other reason. Pushing them to spend huge amounts of money, making them undergo treatment and discouraging them from adopting a child etc. are nothing less than torture. All this in the name of “own blood”; simply to see the cycle of parenting being repeated! 

An individual is entitled to decide, to not have children for any reason or for no reason at all. So please stop asking married couples about your “expectations”. Wish them good luck, and then “shush”.

No more guilty

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There are moments in life, when we feel guilty to take sometime for ourselves.Like it is a crime to have some fun. When piled up work is a constant in our lives, even sparing some time for a weekend trip makes you feel guilty. Somehow, this feeling is instilled in you as a virtue or value, that, we start to take pride in being a workaholic. Having a good work ethic and being a responsible professional is a good thing. But it is equally important to be a happy person, to find time for your loved ones, to have enough space to deal with personal problems in our lives and to have good mental health.

If we don’t give ourselves time to breathe, we will end up gasping for air at night, due to all the anxieties building up in our head. If we lock ourselves in a box, then there is no point in waiting for others to free us. It is our decision to stand up for ourselves. It is one of the hardest decisions to take. But once we take it, we will find it easy to implement. For many, it takes reaching the brim of a breaking point to gather the courage to take that decision.

We should show the strength to tell others, to stop expecting more than what we can deliver. We should start telling ourselves also to stop all the painful efforts to deliver more than we should.

We need to take control of our lives. Once in a while, we will have to sit and evaluate things that matter the most to us. We will have to find time to live. Because life does not start with retirement. Life is what we have in our hands now. And we should never feel guilty for enjoying our lives. We don’t owe anyone that much to sacrifice our basic personal right to be happy.

we after her

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We can’t belive that she left us.
She was the sweetest among us with the most beautiful smile. It hurts. It hurts like hell. But we are happy that she is not in pain anymore. We are happy that she found peace. We know somewhere up there she is happy. May be little sad for leaving us. This realisation that, she is not a phone call away hurts. She took a piece of our heart away when she left. There is a hole there now and we will never be whole. We are trying to fill that void with her memories. The happiest memories now coated in pain. She was one of the best among us. She was the best. Little stubborn sometimes. But we loved her stubborness too. We miss her.

fantasy addiction

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Each page contains volumes of emotions. Each sentence carries the key to someone else’s mind. Each chapter is a turning point. Each book is a new world. There is something so fascinating about fantasy fiction books. It enable us to travel in the multiverse. When we start reading a book we converse with the characters as a stranger. But somewhere during the journey, our self get merged with one of theirs’. When we finally close the book, we find ourselves overwhelmed with the emotions, responsibilities, dreams, burdens and memories of our character self, which may not have any resemblance with real life; Thus leaving us alone in a mental mayhem to solve yet another identity crisis.

Farseer trilogy may leave us feeling like a Witted – Skilled man in isolation; but in peace with the Farseer responsibilities. At the same time we may be quite unable to fathom the fact that, FitzChivalry is finally in peace when we are not. Or is he? Harry Potter series make you crave for Hogwarts days and then we argue with ourselves about the House, Sorting Hat might have chosen for us. Finishing Hunger Games series may result in a conflict; because we were always in love with Gale, not Peeta.

It is this crazy outcomes and unbelievable paths we travel, the unknown and new terrains, which excite, scare, and make us spellbound, that makes fantasy fictions so great and addictive. We find friends, family, dreams and clarity along the way. Sometimes, we find ourselves staring back at us. The fantasy world and the real world finds a connection that grow stronger day by day. We travel back and forth. We sleep in the real world but wake up with the characters. Sometimes secretly we start despising our real world. 

In a nutshell, there is no better way to escape reality than going to the nearby bookstore and choosing for ourselves a fantasy fiction and allowing it to imbibe us .

Driving through a sewer

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After a day’s work, everyone drive back home, with busy minds and tired eyes. On our four sides – for miles, people flow like a river. Someone will take a deviation; someone will get momentarily stuck with us; someone will chase us; someone will block us; someone will push themselves to the left extreme trying to escape from the crowd.  All driving towards different destinations, but eager to beat one another in reaching there.  We honk horns and scare the people with unsure eyes on the pedestrian cross. We step on the accelerator when yellow light tells us to slow down. Even the self proclaimed civilised persons behave like barbarians, when they are supposed to give way for an ambulance. Many will drive like a mad person and then they will shout at others, as if, others created all problems in their lives.  Driving through the city is not fun. Sometimes it is nothing lesser than torture.

The traffic behaves like the city itself. Driving brings out the real us inside. Thus the traffic we create act like the society we live in. We all rush together, obstruct each other instead of helping each other and waiting for our turns.  In the end we all get stuck in a block. River turn in to an open sewer. We could have set sails to new shores-instead, we rot, slowly…..

Internal monologues

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Internal monologues are like living organism, they grow, they shrink, they evolve, but they never die. These monologues that accompany us even in our sleep; the shape shifting, extremely moody monologues, that never let our brain relax are our enemies and the only friend who knows our inside out. Some mornings they are like a cup of coffee; warm, friendly and welcoming. But at night they may eat us alive asking unwanted, irrelevant and extremely disturbing questions. We need them to console us. But it might be them that made us cry in the first place. They are like some politicians, changing allegiance like weather. They sometimes abandon us. Sometimes, they train us to rise from the ashes and fight with the whole world. The question is can we trust them?. No we can’t. But the truth is that, they are the only ones who are available for trusting.

These contradicting realities and dimensions they create inside our minds make our brains so cooked up that, it becomes even more difficult to tune your thoughts to the correct station. That’s when we need to realise that our internal memory is full of the unwanted informations, emotions, images, vedios, memes and jokes we had downloaded for no reason. We were getting worried and trying to run faster than our thoughts for no reason. It is an alarm to slow down, refresh and clean up.

It is important to ignore internal monologues sometimes. They are just different projections of us. One of the several options we have. Don’t get caught up in their web.

Migraine Phobia

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I am sitting unsure of what to do
Waking up to the unfinished chores
Sleeping on the unwashed plates
Unable to create a routine for myself
I am sitting unsure of what to do.

People with migraine on their side –
know of the times they wanted to bang their heads.
How many times have I wished for
Picking up a hammer and smashing my head?
Or drilling a hole right through my temple?

Nobody knows why life is complicated
With responsibilities stacked all around.
One after another it gets added on to-
the things that I am yet to finish.

It is hard to explain what it feels like.
So I clutch my head and roll on the floor.
My life starts to spin around;
blocking my dreams from being born.

The days I smell of Vicks;
I fail to recognise myself.
It is always like a dragon inside
Waiting to open fire on the slightest glitch.

I press my head down on the pillow
Holding my breath to kill my brain.
But reality pulls me back again and again;
to the wheel of life -full of pain.

Finding our own meditation

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We are strange creatures. We can’t just live on food, air and shelter. We need a place for our mind to do its deeds. A space , which each of us create somewhere inside our head, and expand as we grow. This imaginary spaces of each individual are somehow interconnected that those transcended generations as information. Now we have reached a stage of looking at us, as an object made of a tangible physique and an invisible mind.

Our animal instinct had taught us how to keep the tangible component healthy but the answers to taming our mind is non existent. Yes, there are successful stories of people who did. But I am afraid to say, it works for them but not for others. They may have mastered their mind. But they don’t know a single thing about others. Each mind has its own path unseen by anyone else – how can someone else tell us how to tame her?

We glance towards our zen garden and it gives us a momentary calmness. But, it is an illusion our minds want us to believe. But it will burst like a bubble, within seconds. Because, our mind currents are too strong to be handled by a stranger’s wisdom.

Everyone can’t be Buddha. Because, no one can be someone else. It is our duty to find our own philosophy that can create the symphony to sooth our minds. Each book we read, each look we receive, each word we hear and every silence that passes through us is a lesson. But we will be cheating ourselves, if we believe in the words of the wise as the ultimate truth. It may be true for them. But not for others.

We often end up copying others in search for our peace. We simply adopt their methods, their inspirations. We wake up in the morning and create a schedule just like them. We can pretend with ourselves and others that, it is working. But it never will. Because, our mind is not shaped to fit into other’s design. Every answers to all possible questions we have is within us. We were born with an empty mind, which was floating in the emptiness. It is our senses, which filled that void with everything we came in contact with. Therefore, only we can break the code to our mind; we just forgot how. It is up to us to find our own meditation…

Finding Roots

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I closed my eyes in search of my roots. It was pitch dark. I wished I had a candle. I started digging all around my trunk. I had to find the tip of my roots. Now I wished I had taken some tools with me. The soil was hard. My nails got torn off first. Fingers started to bleed. For the first time in decades the soil became wet. But the colour of my blood dripped down away into the unknown. That unknown is where I need to go. Suddenly the earth cracked asking me to climb down. There was no time to spare. I ran down in to the womb of the earth and I crashed into something. It was made of glass. My mind lit up and now I could see. And someone was looking back at me. It was a mirror. “I need to find my roots, please move away”. Mirror gave a sarcastic smile. “Your quest is fake. Look at me. I am the core you are in search of. You need only accept it. You need only open your eyes”.

That’s when I woke up in a room flooded with light. I was blinded by my eyes. I had closed my lids and pulled the cover of darkness over everything around me, whenever I had a chance to find me. I let the society define me, muting my own voice. I was afraid of being an outcast.I let others tell me right from wrong. I allowed them to squeeze my pride. I forgot the basic rule; in order to find my roots I had to be me first.