About the inevitable

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

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Paul Kalanithi’s ‘When Breath Becomes Air’; A heartbreakingly painful yet wonderful book. I am thankful to him – for telling us his story; telling us one can be vulnerable, gracious and brave at the same time; for his determination to leave behind his never dying words and for allowing us to have a sneak peak to his beautiful mind . I lost one of my best and sweetest friends to cancer. So I could not stop thinking about her while reading the book. I had often wondered what my friend had felt when she first heard about her illness, what made her decide not to disclose it to us. I don’t have the full answer. But, sometimes, in Paul’s vulnerable moments, I could somewhat imagine what she might have gone through.

Death is weird. It comes uninvited and lingers. It doesn’t care, who, when or where. The unannounced way it arrives is what makes death terrifying. I will never understand who losses the most in the battle against death; the deceased or the survivors they leave behind. We don’t know what happens to their mind or soul. But we are left with their memories, smile, laughter, kindness, cuteness, love, anger, dreams, worries and everything they expressed to us but them. Where shall we place this enormous weight. The longer we hold on to it the longer it take us to move on. But we can’t leave those behind right?

I am told , that death is a blessing to some. It puts an end to their pain. May be. But I think, death takes their pain and passes it on to us. What else could be the reason for the excruciating pain in our hearts. It was not there till they left.

Paul made me think about death. And Lucy, his wife made me think of life on earth after death. His beautiful friends and family, showed me what matters in this whole world. I will be grateful to them forever for that.

Hollow relations

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I don’t understand why people lie when the truth is convincing enough. I also don’t understand why people find “convincing” is more important than the truth. This year I have had many occasion to think specifically about this issue. It all started when I started hearing very elaborate stories and explanations which were full of contradictions. Makes one wonder how much time one would have spent for perfecting that lie and it was still so evidently nothing but a lie. Nobody is a saint. We all lie to others and ourselves sometimes. But creating a web of lies is totally different. Lying with the intent to manipulate people who are close is the most problematic. Often, I have felt that, people who make elaborate lies unnecessarily, believe that, others are not intelligent like them. But the problem with a lie is, the more you talk the more evident it becomes. Each time one person lies like this, it takes something away from the relationship, eventually turning it into a hollow shell. I don’t really know what to do with that shell of a relationship. So I keep it aside and evade contact with it. By the time it turned into a shell I would have become so distant and cold any attempt to rekindle it will only brake it. By that time I won’t even feel like giving a decent funeral for the relationship. This is what lies do. so I wonder again, why people risk ruining good relationship with unnecessary lies?

Hollow relations are nothing but stress. You can’t be yourself in a hollow relationship. You will have to be on a high alert all the time. Process all the words you hear and about to come out of your mouth. It is too much stress. Life is too short and precious to waste time worrying about such relations. If you have identified those hollow relations keep them aside and move on. Make some space for genuine people.

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.”*


*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.