The mind wanders….

Sometimes life just doesn’t give you what you want.. is it because life is giving you what you need or is it just the way it is?

The answers to these questions are often a reflection of the attitude a person has or chooses to possess. The answer to these questions often decides a happy person from a gloomy one, a satisfied person from a yearning one and a go getter from a laid back one.. If we truly become what we think and believe in then it can be believed that we are living in our heads and for many of us in our hearts… The world I imagine becomes the world I am in.. the people I believe in become the people they are and how the world perceives me is often my own reflection…

If that is truly the case.. then is ignorance bliss? Is blatant and self over confidence the mantra and rose tinted glasses the formula to survival? I often wonder.. we are all finding and living different ways to be happy.. through our jobs, our careers, our families, our dreams and the ambitions.. these are all journeys to the destination called joy.. then why are some paths so smooth while others rocky? Is there really a simple way out of this?

I come to work everyday to a job that doesn’t bring me joy but it gives me a career and a financial freedom.. isn’t that happiness? I have love in my life.. shouldn’t that be enough? the truth is it should.. but we are programmed for more.. are we intrinsically so? I don’t know.. but isn’t it true… the culture of “what next?” is the cause of many a heartache and a downfall..

I found love.. now I want romance… I found a home.. now I want a house.. I found a job now I want  a career.. I found a family but I want  a more loving one… I found friends but now I want ones in the same city that I live in.. is there ever an end? I guess not.. and that is possibly the want versus the need battle we fight and sometimes lose to life…

I do not wish for a care in the world but I do wish a world where there is care because respect above love and kindness over friendship has never ever been wrong! there the need versus the want battle has been won

Having it all!

Today I got to thinking about passions, interests, jobs, careers and homes. Its true that we need all of these to feel complete and satisfied but its also true that in reality we rarely infact we never have all of them all together at the same time. We are always searching or I could say questing for one of them. Is there a reason you think that we can never have it all? What would you say if you met someone who had it all? Would he/she stop living? Would they have no motivation to get up in the mornings and look forward to the day? or would they simply be happy and enjoy the all of life? Is there someone like that out there? are you secretly there watching over all of the rest of us and feeling content for not having any quests to take care of?

As a woman its so much more difficult this quest cause there is so much more at stake. Our passions and our interests rarely direct us to our homes and when we give it all at home its not possible to pursue a career. Yes we can do jobs but its rare to be a part of our passion, it is usually more of an interest and that is luke warm sentiment. Many men would say that they too have the balance to find between their jobs and passions and sometimes to take care of the home they compromise just as we women do and that is true in many cases but yes in my sex and in my world I would like to believe that we women have many more hoops to jump through to reach our goals than men.

This circus is not new neither is it culturally or restricted to any geography or even any particular era. From the victorian periods to the current day women have been struggling to having to choose between their heart and their soul. Women entrepreneus of that time were forced to sell their ideas through their male counterparts for the idea to be accepted, writers wrote under male psedonyms and painters painted under the title unknown. Today yes we stand proud with our identities and our sex next to our talents but the question asked is always how is the home front dealing with the work front. Women then had to chose between a career and family and hence many remained without a companion or many married but remained without passion. Today such decisions are easier to make however the delicacies and the questions and the concerns are still very much there.

Today feminism is standing on her own and is speaking strong and it is a voice that should not be drowned or meeked and definitely not silenced. In the era before the world war women shed their blood for voting rights and the fight has long been forgotten. This fight should not be forgotten. We should never say that we cannot have it all. We should continue to want it all because we need it all to live and yes we are all done just surviving!

 

 

Addictions and Mind prisons

One of the first memoirs that I read was a memoir of addiction by Kate Holden. In the same week I read another memoir by Laura Bates. This one was about a prisoner in a state maxim prison, in solitary confinement for his crimes for over 10 years and how studying Shakspeare saved him and helped him find himself. Both very unique stories and very real narratives and both taught me something about myself specifically and us as humans generally.

In her memoir Kate talks about addiction, how she was enslaved by it, her toxic journey with it and how she as set free one day just as unceremoniously as the day she got introduced to it. Kate spoke about her addiction to heroin but her story triggered a thought in me- we were all addicts! addicted to something.. whether it is winning, making money, love, that one thought which doesn’t leave us, a person in our life, alcohol, food, anger, stress, punctuality, values and the list can go on… addiction to me is something one doesn’t use in moderation and something that controls everything that person does. Heroin controlled Kate, her every decisions, her relationships, her choice of profession, her need to earn, her expenditures.. everything! Aren’t we addicted to something like that in our lives? A thought,  feeling, a notion that governs almost everything we do.. for some its a positive addiction while for others its negative in the sense it does them harm.

Thinking of addictions, I started reading about prisons… it was in this story that the cellmate questions the concept of prisons! He asks a simple question- What kind of prisons do we have in our minds and how is that impacting us? I couldn’t help but pause at this question. To reword his question he was talking about limiting beliefs that we have and its true they are like mind prisons. I then realised that we do live in our heads! Our thoughts drive us, stop us, walk with us and walk against us. I realised I had quite a strong mind prison that I needed to break free out of. What was this prison like? It was a red traffic light in my mind when the road ahead actually had an all green signal. It was stopping me from moving ahead and doing everything that I wanted to do but moreover it was confusing me and sometimes making me take wrong decisions.

I thought- was I addicted to my mind prison? How many of us are? what are we losing out on by staying in there? Although I don’t have all the answers now its something to think about and maybe breaking free really means breaking out of these prisons and living without any negative addictions!

My granpas

Today is not a death anniversary neither is it a special occasion but I remember you so strongly that I couldn’t contain the urge to write about you. This is not the first time that I have thought of you neither is this the strongest I have missed you but every other time whenever I had thought of writing about you it wasn’t easy and I couldn’t get through with it.. but today is different..

I lost both my grandfathers in 2010. They both passed away in a span of 6 months from each other. They both had lived long healthy and full lives with their share of trials and successes. This is not about how much I miss them cos I do and I do a lot but this is about what I remember of them as they were such an important part of my childhood. This is just my narrative about them.. they were so much more to so many people.. they were fathers, husbands, brothers, fathers in law, sons and grandfathers to other siblings of mine but this is how I remember them and I feel its important that i send this out into the universe so that it stays somewhere, someplace…
Dada… this is how I called my paternal grandfather. My paternal grandparents lived with us all our lives and they formed such an important part of my growing up. I remembered him today while eating an omlet.. now the joke is that he reffered to an omelet as “mamlet” claiming it to be a very bengali way of calling it and we always teased him about it.. Dada today while eating an mamlet I remembered you. He is mostly remembered for his temper my Dada for he had a mean one and he often flew into a fit…but over and above that he was a brilliant civil engineer who knew his job very well, a highly punctual man someone who ate, slept and even went to the loo by the clock. He loved his family and especially my dad and boy they had a lot of disagreements but they had something special too…. He was a great tennis player and had tutored many people in table tennis and lawn tennis. He loved reading the newspaper and absolutely loved watching movies.. Bollywood films were his favourite and he seemed to like literally all of them.. he loved music and was always listening to the radio… my fondest memory of him is him taking my sister and me to the swings.. he loved playing with us and despite his traditional thinking he never did differentiate a granddaughter from a grandson…. Dada I want to tell you that you are missed and I love you for all that you were.. I wish you had seen my wedding and met your grandson in law. But more than anything I wish you are at peace wherever you are and loved wherever you are.. and I want to say that we will never forget you!
Dadu.. my maternal grandfather.. when I think of him the image that comes to my mind is of him sitting at the front steps of his house in Behala in a white undershirt, pyjamas and slippers with a rusty noisy old table fan behind him just looking out into the streets. I remember your big ambassador car that you took us out in and the blue fan up on th dashboard we were not allowed to touch! My Dadu was not much of a talker.. intact I don’t remember him saying much at all.. it was my dida who was full of stories and tales.. Dadu was the quiet man behind the scenes bringing us the gifts and getting hot samosas and jalebis.. I remember Dadu that you made breakfast for us when we were small.. I can still see the bright orange bread knife that you used to cut the loaf with.. Over the years after moving away from Kolkata I couldn’t spend much time with you.. but I remember you duiring all the birthdays and pujos.. I remember your white kurta and the brown sweater you wore so often and I remember Dida complaining about how much you snored! Dadu I remember all the tram rides you took me on and I remember mom telling me about how you walked me up and down the hospital aisle trying to get me to sleep as soon as I was born.. Ofcourse I don’t remember that but its a nice picture to have.. Dadu I want to tell you That I love you and that I miss you.. I feel bad you left me on my birthday and that I dint get to say bye.. I also wish you peace and love wherever you are and I want to tell you that we will never forget you!

Mirror Mirror

There is this image that ve been coming across a lot lately.. in magazines, in a blog and also at a writers festival. Its not an unusual one or a rare one- intact Im quite sure that many of you would have come across this image somewhere sometime. This image is of a cat looking into the a mirror and what does he see? Yes his own reflection but the reflection is not that of a cat but of a lion.. big and strong and domineering peering right back at this fluffy little twitchy cat..

The message of this image is very simple.. it talks about self image and how we see ourselves.. someone who is confident and sure of themselves will see a confident and a out of proportion image whilst others who are unsure or low in self esteem either see themselves downgraded or merely many a times don’t see themselves at all… what they tend to see are their flaws and shortcomings. The message is very powerful and definitely one that sticks. It has been used time and again in motivational talks and seminars and workshops to build self confidence and self esteem. The challenge however lies in the journey of creating this self image because its not an easy one and definitely not one that is similar for people..

Moving a tad bit away from the image.. I started wondering about the mirror. The concept of a mirror and its many forms have been used in stories through generations… The classic one is the Mirror in the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where the Queen looks into the mirror and asks..”Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” and the mirror replies Snow white! and thats when all the drama begins.. The thought behind this is quite simply that a reflection is not always enough till its proclaimed and acknowledged here by the mirror and in life by others…

The other story that involved a mirror was in Harry Potter.. this was the Mirror of Erised which showed the person his or her deepest desire. If you remember the story you would remember that Ron saw that he was Head Boy and Quidditch Captain finally getting all the attention and respect he missed in reality and Harry saw his parents, the only thing he only ever wanted.. Dumbledore take this mirror away as he felt that “it does not do to dwell on dreams Harry!” Interesting “Erised” is “Desire” spelt backwards! I found this rather interesting and thought provoking because we have always been told to dream.. from the time we were children we are told to have dreams and wishes and through life some of them come true and others never do.. Also we are told that we must work for our dreams.. they don’t just happen! and I think thats the truth of it all.. when we look into the mirror of desire it tells us the destination  but not the journey.. its upto us to travel the path..

Another story which involved a mirror was in the tale of Beauty and the Beast.. here the Beast was given a magic mirror which was his window ti the outside world and showed him whatever and whomever he wanted to see.. this mirror was given to him by the enchantress who put a curse on him and his palace. This mirror although not as powerful was simply a mirror to reminisce with.. When we really like something or want something we love looking at it over and over again.. Sometimes we may not even want to possess it, its just about the pleasure of seeing it whenever possible.. In the story this mirror helped Beauty get back to the Beast and they lived happily ever after!

Finally the last mirror that I comes to my mind is the mirror we all have.. its basically not magical but yes it has bits of all the other magical mirrors there was.. It shows us our desires, it tells us what we love seeing again and again and finally it does answer”Who’s the fairest of them all” but the answer is not always what we like to hear.

For me personally, Ive had a love hate relationship with my mirror. There are days when I want to shatter it and days when I want to befriend it.. The puzzle is why the reflection keeps changing? The mirror in life shows us our sense of self and identity and esteem. Things that I feel are truly very very important to go through the journey. There is nothing worse than going through life and not liking yourself.. so whatever it takes and however long it takes its important that we find the magic in our mirrors to see ourselves the way we want to.

Lost or not!

Lost

There is no glamour or great philosophy in being lost..

There is no poetry or heart touching song in feeling lost..
Being lost is that state of mind when the eyes that stare back doesnt recongnize its owner
I knocked on all doors to find my way back..
People gave me directions that I couldn’t comprehend
The world seemed like an allien land where even the familiar dint seem so anymore
It was dark.. it was misleading and it hurt both physically and mentally
The fine line between sanity and its foe hadn’t seemed so thin before
Fear latched on to me like a leech in a muddy stream
I hadnt lost my path but my destination had vanished somehow..
i kept reaching out for a helping hand but I couldnt trust the ones extended
I dint know what to do, where to go or whom to believe.. trust had eluded me.. faith had left
The only thing to do was to sit by that one solid rock.. the rock of uncertainity and wait for the fog to lift
How strange is life.. so easy to find someone to share a laugh but noone around to share the tremblings..
That is when a voice whispered weak but yet strong..
hold on to yourself and hold on to your own.. god has given you things in twos to hold to each other.. this too shall pass..
and if it doesnt whispered my trembling heart?
Then wait some more… whispered the voice weak yet strong
If nothing or noone stays forever, why should fear or uncertainity?
If good things always end then thers no surety of the bad as well..
If every silver lining is on a dark cloud, then the dark cloud is wanted as well..
Just hold to yourself.. give yourself love and laughter and patience and kindness.. believe in what you have always believed… trust what you have always trusted and love who u have always loved…
I could feel the tremblings come down…
I looked over the fog and the gleaming castle wall and shiny golden piers seemed aglow..
it was just over the fog of my fear.. it was always there.. waiting for me to see it..
I, princess of the land who had waited for eternity to be saved had finally found my knight in shining armour.. my knight stared at me through the clear waters.. my knight extended that one hand of freedom and the other hand took it…
I walked free and brave.. walked towards the castle walls.. as I was a Princess and I was lost no more…

All it takes is one story

It had been a fun night so far. Firstly because it was a Saturday night and four friends from four different parts of the world had gotten together to enjoy another crisp Melbourne winter’s evening. We were all university students and had just spent the evening in the city centre watching a light display to celebrate the first day of winter. It was too cold to be outdoors for long so after about an hour we decided to go and have a hot dinner around the heaters. It was a pasta dinner and the conversations and the laughs didn’t stop. We debated about cuisine, science, research, made travel plans and discussed how unfair it was that anything good costed money! All in all a fun evening and four happy young adults walked upto the train station to begin the long haul home.

We had to wait for about 15 min to get our train and we got into a semi crowded compartment and chose a seat to ensure that we all got to sit together. The train was going to stop all stations and we couldnt help but groan about it because that was gonna make the journey a longer one. Anyway it wasnt a crowded train but there was a comfortable buzz of people talking which one mostly doesnt realise untill it has stopped. It was at one such station that the train stopped and a group of 5-6 youngsters got into the train. As soon as they got in, there was a change in the feel around the train. The buzz quientened down and was replaced by loud talking, the thump of a basket ball being bounced and a lot loud laughter. I looked up to see what has caused this stir and thats when I saw this group of people.

In the interest of this blog, I will describe the group that entered the train for I feel that if I reveal what they are commonly called the whole purpose of this writing will be lost. Like I had mentioned, this was a group of five or six young boys and one girl. They must have been between the ages of 15 and 20, not heavy built but tall. They had leather jackets on and boots. The girl has braided and coloured her hair pink and shaved one side of it. One of the guys had a basketball which he insisted on bouncing throughout the ride while the other had music blaring from his igadget. They had tiny curly dense hair. Throughout the journey they talked loudly about a certain video on YouTube made by a black. They used the word black several times in their conversation.

They got off the same stop as we did and walked across the road to the same busstop as we did to catch the bus. About six or seven more of what appeared to be their friends were waiting for them at the bus stop. This group was also dressed in the same fashion but had what I can guess native Australians as well. They got into the bus and made their way towards the back seat. Throughout the ride they were loud and shouting, often saying and doing things that made the passengers turn back.

When my friends and I got off the bus and started walking towards our accomodation, one of my friends said “I wish I could party like that”. I said that, that dint look like partying to me, just out of control behavior. She said they are kids, proabably celebrating that exams are done and that its saturday night!. The other two friends of ours lived in a different accomadation so they said good night and walked their separate direction.

Now that I was alone with my friend and since I new her for a while I felt comfortable discussing with her what I was thinking about. I asked her just one question, what stories have you heard about the people we saw on the train and the bus while you were growing up? She looked at me and said well Ive heard stories about their suffering during the wars and how Nelson Mandela fought for their rights and how they were treated unequally and as slaves. “What stories did you hear?”, she asked me. I said well I have heard the same stories like you but Ive also heard stories about how they can be violent and aggressive as well and that scares me a bit. She said oh! I’m sorry you’ve heard such stories because they make you fear them. Its really unfortunate that even in a multicultural society like ours we hear such stories that make us fear others. I said I agreed with her and it is indeed unfortunate that my story for them is one of fear.

As I walked to my room that night, I couldnt help but wonder why a story of one person who may have behaved a certain way sometime becomes the story of all of his kind and the story of a society. I wondered what stories people had heard of my heritage and whether everytime that they saw me on a train or a bus that was how they would look at me and percieved me? This one story from my friend changed my one story about the people I travelled with that night and if I hadnt heard my friends story, I may have joined the guilty by repeating my own story to many others!