Memoirs

So Long, 2019!

Here’s to the ones that we got 

Cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not 

Toast to the ones here today

Toast to the ones that we lost on the way 

‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories 

And the memories bring back, memories bring back you. 

(Memories by Maroon 5)

I remember bringing in 2019 sitting around the bonfire with my mother and two of my dear friends on the balcony of my family’s house in Jaipur. I can’t say that I have ever adhered to the social/anti-social dichotomy. Being one of those Cancerians who could just as well be the life of the party or a withdrawn marionette, I am highly selective about who I’d commit my time and presence to. I definitely prefer intimate gatherings over impersonal bashes, but don’t let this conviction of mine beguile you into dismissing the idea of me shaking a leg on the bar table of a town party if I am caught in my element. A friend of mine once teased me by calling me a grandmother stuck in a millennial’s body and I didn’t respond with a laugh because I was partially awe-struck by the accuracy of her assessment. I wouldn’t go as far as knitting a ball of yarn while situating myself atop a hot water bottle and alongside a scented candle. Well, you could replace the first with a whiskey-bonfire or a thoroughly browsed out Netflix list, and the sequence to my recipe for celebratory bliss stands unlocked. As I glide through the latter half of my twenties, I have grown more steadfast vis-a-vis this celebration mode that conserves body heat as well as energy while causing my inner enthusiasm to levitate higher than a kite. 

You get the point, don’t you? 

Okay, so this was the state of mind with which I welcomed 2019, urging it to be kinder and more leniently-paced than 2018, which had cost me a good chunk of my sanity owing to the various emotional and health-related hurdles that it intensely posed to me. Washing down a succulent junglee maas preparation with a glass of Scotch, I listened to one of my friends jamming at his guitar while my mother and other friend stared intently into the fire. You know, those gatherings that are unfettered by the formal compulsion to strike conversations and small talk? Those are my favourite kinds of gatherings. The clock struck twelve, we all wished one another, enjoyed a few more tipsy glasses before drifting off into deep sleep. And on that unhurried note, 2019 had begun. 

On its very last day, I look back in hindsight to assess the year that has been. Doing justice to its numerological order, 2019 served me as the most well behaved of all the teen years that have gone by, mature enough to take on its 20’s with a wisdom-tempered optimism. Slightly more sedate and yet not devoid of its conflicts, 2019 was definitely a year when things came around in a full circle. It wound up to assist numerous closures- internal as well as external. In enabling me to follow my dreams and passions, I also believe that 2019 helped me reverse age to a considerable extent. Personally, I know myself to thrive best in the gusty winds of freedom. Independence, agency and self determination use up more ink in our school text books for a reason- because in real life, they do not come for free. Well, nothing really does, but speaking of freedom and its components, they all cost us more dearly than our naïve assumptions are able to fathom. 2019 was the year when I mostly found that I had paid several instalments for my freedom that I would honourably cherish and duly savour. It taught me that work can seem purposeless if one does not know how to enjoy recess. That growth tends to be more nuanced when one commits to accepting their flaws and failures with a pinch of salt. That in the depths of despair lies a speck of humour that can be combusted into frivolity, and that oftentimes, this underplayed frivolity makes life more endurable. 

After executing a successful summer season with my team at our resort in Manali, I set off on a much-needed road trip to Spiti with my sister and two dear friends. I call this trip my pilgrimage for the solace and groundedness that it attributes to my soul. Immersing ourselves in the magical valley for an entire week left us contending with a withdrawal that lasted several weeks altogether. Returning back to normal life felt like a splash of dampened earth on freshly bathed (and talcum and moisturised) skin. Invigorated as I felt, I knew that the Spiti sheen requires an annual buff up and as long as I was fortunate enough to receive decent returns on the work front, I could relish the good fortune of Spiti year after year, for as long as it is destined to be. And with this optimism of the heart, I plunged into the monsoon season of trap shooting while also commencing my much awaited diploma course in photography. For the remaining part of the year, I knew that I would have to maintain the finest art of balance that I could muster. 

My favourite part of the Spiti trip- writing postcards from the world’s highest post office.

Just when I was gathering the energy and wherewithal to relentlessly chase my sporting and creative passions, I found that my autoimmunity was just as enthusiastic as I was and had caused a kidney involvement in the process. What this meant was that I would be spending the remaining half of 2019 undergoing in intensive corticosteroid and immunosuppressive therapy. 

Day one of my corticosteroid therapy.

Like Redbull, the corticosteroids definitely gave me wings. 

The unprecedented energy and zest to conduct my proactive schedule could only be maintained thanks to the much-needed push accorded by my medical protocol. Within the few months, I had successfully launched the sixth edition of my magazine publication- Rajputana Collective.

I had maintained an affirmative presence at photoschool, improved my shooting game, and had made trips to Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pushkar, Ranthambore, as well as one festive trip each to Manali (Dussehra) and Khimsar (Diwali) and several trips to visit my family in Jaipur. Whew! Yes, that was a lot of travelling but that which left my heart feeling full, because each one was centred around a cause (or causes) that I deeply believed in. Be it surprising a loved one to bring a smile on their face, or to present my entrepreneurship ventures to a larger audience, or to just scout the streets of a culturally-saturated town/city (or wilderness trails) with my DSLR. 

A still from my Kolkata trip.

While my road continued to gently rise, so did the side-effects of steroids. A gradually accumulated moon face revealed its proportions all too suddenly to me in the mirror and I became increasingly conscious of my facial appearance. So far, I hadn’t minded being the toilet seat sanitising, mask wearing autoimmune warrior, but the moon face warranted the purchase of oversized golden glasses that would help me contour my face to my benefit (a subtle trick that I learned from my bespeckled brother). And ta da! A giant pair of golden aviators from the wholesale market of Ballimaran, Delhi 6 came to my rescue and there was no looking back. 

Well, for a while atleast, until it was time for me to be weaned off the steroids. 

Having been on the highest dose of this medication for over ten weeks, it wasn’t easy for my system to cope with the gradual tapering off of the medication. Each time the taper-off takes place, the system is burdened to compensate for the erstwhile synthetic production of corticosteroids. Weakness, fatigue, body aches and brain fogs would ensue, until they settled down. But then, it was time to taper off the dose a little more. From 60 milligrams per day, I am down to 5 and will soon be down to 2.5 before being off the tablet entirely, for which I can barely wait. But while I do, I have contended the deepest abyss of existential dread that I have known, possibly owing to the re-wiring of physiological chemistry as it struggles to return to normalcy. 

Coming back to the purpose of this partially thrilling and partially harrowing steroid adventure, my reports returned to their optimal ranges and I can feel my kidneys smiling again! 

So thank you for being merciful as far as the health aspect is concerned, 2019! 

Contrary to my erstwhile do or die attitude, the medical circumstances (as well as several personal interactions) of 2019 inspired me to cultivate an appreciation for a slower pace of life when my body and mind demanded it. I learned (and am continuing to learn) the grace in unhurried and conscious movement. I am also gradually learning the distinction between pain and suffering- that while we might not be able to avoid the former, the latter was almost always a state of being that we could choose not to bring upon ourselves, all it took was to separate pain from a pitying thereof. The temporariness of a state, no matter how high or low, made me appreciate the endearing moment in its varying intensity with lesser attachments or entitlements. 

I have also begun to appreciate a life that is sanctified with the privacy that we owe it- to limit my interaction on social media within healthy limits. To conduct my personal life on a one on one basis sans any external validation from the world, because that story was mine alone to live as it unfurled. And sometimes, the most beautiful stories get to be ours alone to treasure. The understated charm of privacy has served to be a revelation in itself. 

In similar reference, I have derived a great deal of satisfaction from a simple exercises of downsizing. 2019 comprised of a lot of giving away, very little shopping, and extended periods of frugal eating to simply discipline my epicurean urges. Instead of impulsive binging, I chose to immerse myself in baking sessions to create healthier variants of what I craved while experiencing steroid-induced blood glucose dips. In the bargain, I discovered some decadent vegan desserts and low sugar alternatives to brownies and cookies. 

Pardon me for sounding preachy if you may, but wisdom (or pseudo wisdom) is a virtue that one inadvertently earns in the company of books. Speaking of which, 2019 was filled with several productive hours of reading. I have made peace with two facts- one, that Netflix (and Amazon Prime, Hotstar, et. al are overrated); and two, that my reading bucket list will always exceed what I can possibly read in a lifetime, but that doesn’t deter me from adding more authors, titles and series to my reading list. Amongst the several books that I read in 2019 (and which I carry on to 2020), here are some of my favourites : – 

  1. All The Lives We Never Lived (Anuradha Roy) 
  2. This House of Clay and Water (Faiqa Mansab) 
  3. Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami) 
  4. The Foutainhead (Ayn Rand) 
  5. Delhi Darshan (Giles Tillotson) 
  6. The Existentialist Cafe (Sarah Bakewell) 
  7. Infinite Variety (Madhavi Menon)
  8. Everything is F****d (Mark Manson) 
A morning read alongside oats pancakes and coffee.

The philosophical indents of these diverse reads intersected in the very manners that I happened to seek. Is that because as readers, we look for ourselves in the books that we read; and as humans, we look for ourselves in the people that we meet? The profound musings and open-ended questions that my intellectual pursuits caused me to make infused my creative confines with a liberating sense of imagination. The existentialist tugs by Bakewell and Manson could be granted with the due credit of inspiring me to conduct a self portraiture project as a part of one of my photography assignments. I was able to produce 10 black and white diptychs of myself from within the four walls of my bedroom sans any additional prop or light simulation. The Self is undoubtedly challenging to work with for the nature of its varying complexities, and also because a photographer doesn’t necessarily count as the ideal subject. 

A diptych from the self-portraiture series.

Intensive hours of reflection also entailed some semi-painful realisations vis-a-vis the lapses of the sensibility- be it in terms of loyalty, patience or discretion- that come what may, a lot of our people will disappoint us or let us down when we least expect them to. That no matter how indispensable they might have seemed, some will leave when we need them the most, but also that despite all that we lose in the fire, and the bridges that will burn, there’ll be those select few who will surprise us in their capacity, or rather resilient choice to stay. Over time, our self preserving instinct will learn to make them count while being wistfully attached to the ones that we were unable to convince or keep or both. And that in the end, we’re all just meandering on our respective cosmic paths that are ours alone to take. That in the larger schemes of meaninglessness, it is our personal quest to find meaning that makes this journey a little less random. 

My pre-2019 self could have unfolded a very different narrative to recall the past one year in its precise or concise glory, but my few strands of glistening grey wisdom compel me to claim an unwavering sincerity and responsibility in telling my story, or rather fragments of it, in a recollection that best resonates with the truest version of myself that I strive to achieve. According to Lorri Gotlieb, how we tell our stories narrows or widens or distorts our perspective. If I am to chart out a narrative which grants me growth and a closer proximity to the most authentic version of myself, I am also burdened with the prerogative of recollecting my past in a way that would lend to the future rather than thwart it. Instead of shaming or belittling pas versions of ourselves that we have outgrown or overcome, prudence lies in honouring it as a stepping stone in its limited glory even, in our personal metamorphosis. 

So despite its highs and lows, challenges and conflicts, would I prefer to have experienced 2019 any differently? 

I wouldn’t argue over altering the occurrences of 2019 to have panned out any differently, but yes, I definitely could have used some more patience and gratitude. It is this constant wish to strive to be a better version of ourselves that imparts more meaning to our growth. And what’s more, we get to turn over to a new year every 12 months, and despite the past chapters that might have been, we uncap our hearts to live and our pens yet again to write our story in a newer chapter or book or volume. We get to be the heroes, authors as well as the audience to our stories! 

Here’s to cruising into 2020 with an optimism of the will and purity of the heart! 

Happy New Year 🙂 

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Memoirs

Tiger’s Nest

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken away from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” 
– Buddha

26.04.2016, Paro

While studying at Mayo College Girls’ School, I remember our sports coach Sir Sajjan and his team arranging Sunday morning hikes for us within the vicinity of Pushkar. Sogani buses would line up at a gathering point (usually the Meera house junction) while a hundred sleepy girls would gather in their games kits and keds, carrying water bottles and a couple of caps.

While the less enthusiastic lot lamented the loss of their precious Sunday morning sleeping hours, the sportier kids would hurriedly take their seats, being careful so as not to crush their glucose biscuits that they had pocketed before setting out. This energy reserve was essential in helping them lead the hiking pack, or so they would have liked to believe. At daybreak, the bus engines would rev up and as they passed the Aravali countryside, the sleepy lot would gradually let go of their cynicism, taking the sporty morning with a pinch of salt.

Fortunately for me, I belonged to the glucose biscuit eaters’ club or BisCo. as we liked to call it. The BisCo. club was eager to climb any mountain that the PT coach unleashed them towards. The sheer anticipation before the climb, the persistence through my racing pulse as I ascended the mountain and the sheer exhilaration that my euphoric heart felt upon having climbed the peak was an experience that my heart wouldn’t trade for the most precious heirlooms. The leisurely breakfast that followed these hikes felt like a victory treat that each hiker was entitled to that day, something that they had rightfully earned through their trivial sweat droplets and pounding hearts. The victory cheers atop the summits contain so many nostalgic memories.

Looking back at these smaller victories makes me realise their importance in the cultivation of self esteem, motivation and what it means to make life less mundane and more worthwhile. Isn’t this what the spirit of adventure is all about? No matter how microcosmically, isn’t this the kind of kick that develops into the mature hearts of Norgay and his comrades? Methinks too.

Around ten years hence, the idea of climbing mountain peaks still makes my heart race with excitement. It is for the same reason that when my Bhutanese guide suggested a hike upto Paro Takhtsang, I had a rare glint in my eyes. Paro Takhtsang (Tiger’s Lair in Bhutanese) or Tiger’s Nest (in the language of us laymen), is a seventeenth century Buddhist monastery dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, known more popularly amongst the Bhutanese as Guru Rinpoche. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived at this spot from the Bhumtang region on the back of a tigress and thereafter meditated in one of the caves. Thereafter, he emerged in his eight manifestations, each of which is displayed in the temple chambers. In present times, the Paro Takhtsang is frequented by several devotees, tourists, monks and meditators alike. Apart from being one of the most famed monasteries for its unique placement and legend, it is also one of the most iconic sites of Bhutan.

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Nestled atop a cliff, the Tiger’s Nest beckoned me from a distance in all its mysteriousness and wonder. I had promised myself to visit it while my body was still agile and lungs, reasonably strong. The night before the climb, I set about five alarms and lay my hiking gear out. Usually an avid listener of music while jogging, driving, bathing (and practically everything else apart from sleeping), I ditch my earphones during hikes like these. Reason? The inability to hear your racing pulse, the rustling of the blue pines and the whistling thrush in the midst of the Himalayas is one of the most pitiful states of existence that I know of. I am sure your wise discretion makes you nod to that one.

The morning of the trek had me blinking my eyes way before the alarm went off. That panic of having missed alarms in our sleep never gets old, does it? After getting dressed and putting on a reasonable amount of sunscreen, I rushed to the hotel porch. A strange nervousness in my stomach made me skip most of my breakfast- a carelessly nibbled toast and a few almonds in my pocket is all that I had carried, apart from a water bottle as a dumbbell and a down jacket that weighed roughly half of myself.

Upon reaching the base camp, I hurriedly walked past the trail of mules, trying to avoid the dust and predictable sprays of mule stuff. A retired trekker, my husband decided to join the mule party and meet me halfway to the Tiger’s Nest at the café, where he would patiently wait for me while I followed my trekking pursuit. Mr. Sonam- our guide as well as my fellow-hiker for the day led me to an alternate path that was less crowded. He explained to me that the trek was to be completed in three stages per way. First, was the stretch from the base camp (where we commenced our trek) until the café. The next stage comprised of the trekking path that threaded the café to the view point. Beyond the viewpoint there lay around six hundred steps to the Tiger’s Nest, which counted as the third and final stretch of the hike.

Upon beginning our ascend, I found the first stretch to be steep in a prolonged sort of way. Unlike many amateur trekking paths in Himachal Pradesh that agree to meander flatly for a while, their Bhutanese counterpart was unrelenting in its inclination, providing the amateur hiker little breathing time. The sun gradually gained dominance in the skies as the air thinned. I found it harder to keep up with Mr. Sonam, who strolled up the path while casually texting on his phone. He generously accompanied me everytime I stopped for a breather and advised me to rest as and when required.
My dizziness could be blamed on relatively poor meals preceding this trek. Mr. Sonam promised me that the café wasn’t far and that a sweet cup of black tea would help me recover. The very idea of sipping black tea in an authentic Bhutanese swag made me forget all about my fatigue. As I doubled up my pace, I walked past exhausted trekkers along the way, who were possibly in need of similar motivation. I shared an old Himachali tip of trekking using smaller steps, with the spine slightly bend forward to align with the ground at a certain degree while breathing rhythmically. With parched throats and stiffening lefs, we all seemed more eager to reach the café than the Tiger’s Nest at that point!

My husband had already reached and was clicking photographs of the surrounding landscape. I headed into the café and poured myself a cup of black tea with two big sugar cubes. And boy! That sweet tea accompanied by dipped crackers (best eaten soggy) was, by far the most satisfying meal that I’ve eaten during a trek. Restraining myself from overeating and developing stomach stitches, I got up to perform a couple of stretches before bidding by husband farewell and continuing towards the much-anticipated second stretch.

From the café, the Tiger’s Nest appeared to be placed at such a short distance (as a crow flies) but one that required a lot of labour and mental resoluteness to aptly pursue. Taking a deep breath, I told Mr. Sonam that I was all set to meet Guru Rinpoche and his tigress. We walked on.

The second stretch seemed to be more familiar in its intensity and I thanked my stars of that. It was more compassionate to the thigh muscles and unlike its relentless predecessor, this stretch occasionally lent us gradual inclines. The hike began to feel rather pleasant by now, with the mountainous breeze blowing through my hair and cooling my tee. In no time, we were at the viewpoint, which buzzed with several photo-enthusiasts taking the icons shot of the monastery along with selfies. The sun’s inclination at that time had caused the rocks’ shadows to overcast the Takshtsang, making is less favourable for photography. Anticipating it to glide further westwards by the time we were heading back, I decided to take my photo shots on my way back. But the inner YOLO spirit in me made me take a quick round of snaps nevertheless.
I couldn’t believe how close I was to the Tiger’s Nest and firmly decided that there was no turning back now. I could barely wait to reach the magnificent wonder and discover what lay within. There was no time to waste.

We jauntily began stepping on the last stretch upwards, with six hundred steps that cascaded between a waterfall, prayer flags, watermills and spinning prayer wheels as the Takhtsang dominated our approach from above. The six hundred steps seemed less challenging simply because I could see my destination impatiently waiting on the cliff above. As I took my last step and entered the monastic premises, I was surprised not to find myself at my usual enthusiastic state. I was awestruck for sure, but in a surprisingly peaceful and sedate state. As Mr. Sonam guided me through the four difference sections, I was mindblown by magnanimity of the Takhtsang.
Guru Rinpoche in his many forms lay venerated by visitors from all across the subcontinent and several distant lands. Each visitor had come down the same ascending path, a climb that recognised no special passes, VIP tickets, fast track slips short cuts or diplomatic concessions. Each one had succeeded in conquering the upward climb through their stamina, agility strength, and above all, their mental resoluteness to go on. It was the realisation of a kind of individual as well as collective penance that made this climb so special for me.

Upon my various darshans of Guru Rinpoche, I made small prayers and offerings- initially in cash and later in the form of the almonds that I had brought in my pockets. Upon reaching the room filled with butter lamps, I remembered what my spiritual twin had told me earlier that morning.
It happened to be her birthday on the same date and I called her to wish her in advance, as I would be hiking while it the Canadian clock reached midnight. She was excited to hear of my hiking plans and told me the meaningfulness in wishing upon a successful mountain climb- that we had triumphed upon our will and deserved to make a wish. Following that, she told me to make a wish for us. That might be because, in making a wish for Rumi, you make one for Shams. And in making one for Shams, you make one for Rumi.  Hence, among the several lamps that I lit- for my parents, my husband, my friends and my family, I lit one for the birthday girl. I told Rinpoche to accompany Allah in listening to her from now on and never stopping.

The peaceful aura at Paro Takhtsang made is hard for me to depart but thinking of my husband waiting for me at the café made me head back, filled with wonder, stories and a couple of photographs that would help me share this magical experience with him. That said, I feel like the larger part of my experience belongs to a realm where words don’t suffice. A realm of inner peace, contentment, understanding and nirvana.

A seemingly distant monastery, nestled on a rocky cliff had the power to attract the penance of thousands. It was in this mountainous haven that a famed Buddhist Guru and his tiger arrived against all odds and geographical logistics. Hundreds of years ago, at a height of 3000 metres above sea level, on a cliff in the Paro valley, an entourage of the Guru’s devotees built an entire monastic institution around his landing spot.
In a world like ours where miracles are a depleting resource, the Tiger’s Nest served as my personal reminder of the supernatural possibilities that lie in faith driven human minds. The fact that hundreds of devotees and curious hikers ascend thousands of feet to frequent a celebratory monument of peace, compassion and faith is something that contributes in reassuring my faith in humanity.

I am certain that each visitor took back their stories from this rare wonder. Similarly, I departed feeling more peaceful than I had ever been, having found a piece of myself among the flowing prayers, while at the same time having left a tiny piece of my heart to be nourished in the cave below Guru Rinpoche.

I then descended the 600 steps with a euphoric spirit, a new zest and one of my favourite trekking stories and mythological legends that I will live to tell.

Guru Rinpoche- you’re nodding, right? I feel like your tigress definitely is.

 

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Kindling, Memoirs, Scribble

Know Thyself

For the tougher ones amongst us- let’s put our shells aside for a few minutes, and momentarily accept that we could do with some love. That we are all vulnerable in our little and big ways, and that there are times when we don’t have our act together, and that deep down inside, the child within our adult bodies screams to come out. Basically, let’s drop the swords of defence. Slightly difficult in the beginning, but it does get better in a while.

Right.

So there are days when we simply don’t want to ‘adult’. We don’t want to wake up to the daily morning rouser, do the same job, eat the same afternoon meal and conform to stifling norms. We don’t want to paste a smile, put on lipstick or make polite small talk. We don’t want to battle the raging traffic or the raging boss. We don’t want to compare stats or run a rat race. On these days, we just want to BE. Be for a change, and not chase some goal for the sake of it. More cautious people would call these instances ‘weak moments’, or ‘deviations’, which are temporarily permitted on days that we call ‘weekends’, or ‘vacations’, or for many, maybe not even then. Anyways. What exactly does it mean to have a ‘weak moment’ or a ‘breakdown’? It’s not simply ‘that time of the month’.

Sexist jokes are so 1900. Blah.

When observed closely, a ‘weak moment’ such as the ones cited above is an honest manifestation of our fatigue towards the multiplying stress that we constantly ignore. In other words, there are tiny and large molecules of stress that accumulate in our minds on a day-to-day basis— most of which we might not even acknowledge.We are the brewing pots for this stress until a day when we can no longer contain the whirlwind that this collective stress has brewed up. And BOOM! There goes a volcanic release- in the form of words, actions, self-harm, or further bottling up, which leads to more catastrophic releases. After having resisted (consciously or unconsciously), we have crashed under an enormous amount of stress- generated pressure, and experience fatigue.

When approached reasonably- why would we let these stresses build up and then conquer over the best of us? Why is it that we do not acknowledge our stress until it takes a toll on us? Why do we practice or allow this refined form of self-harm? The problem isn’t that we hate ourselves. Quite the contrary for most of us. Most of us actually love ourselves, but the problem is that we do so very selectively. Meaning, we tend to love parts of ourselves that we aspire to be- our stronger selves, the titanium in us, our beautiful selves, our fit selves, our capable selves, our desirable selves. The other aspects of ourselves- that do not fit into these optimal boxes are neglected, ignored, or resented. Our weaknesses, vulnerabilities, scars, uncertainties, errors are disowned by us as if they don’t exist- simply because we wish they didn’t. And to make it not exist in our realities, we do what we think works best- pretend it isn’t there, or resent it if the former isn’t possible. What we end up doing in the bargain is that we start holding fragmented senses of selves and seek fulfilment in those fragments. The truth of the matter is that we are powerful wholes of all that constitutes us- the parts that we love, as well as the parts that we wish we didn’t have. The more we resent the unwanted parts, the more it wears us out. It is like trying to rid ourselves of our own shadows. The shadow, on the other hand, is a sure-sought assurance that light is falling on us! So in being whole, I am as powerful as I am vulnerable, I am as sufficient as I am doubtful, I am as independent as I am rooted. It is just what is dominant at a particular time and what isn’t. Not only is understanding of the Self more humane and real, but it also reflects the infinite power within each one of us- that our traits- perfect and imperfect are limitless, and that while excesses in either ways are dangerous, balance is key. Hence, to accept the balance of being- the better side and the worse, is the basic way of coming into closer connection with oneself. ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself’ is an elementary way of communicating this entire paragraph. If only I were more Yankee in my writing 😉

Moving on.

It is only when we accept ourselves for the best and worst in us that we are at a greater comfort to listen to the voices within us that we would otherwise ignore. To understand that I am vulnerable and that it is okay to be vulnerable at times- is a crucial starting point to what my vulnerability is saying right now. If I don’t, it doesn’t quieten my vulnerabilities, but only piles these voices up inside me until I can no longer contain them. When one remarks that they slept like a baby, they say so because the baby sleeps with no worries in their mind- a baby’s primal instincts: sleep, hunger and poop are all that concern him/her at that age. If only life were as simple! However,  I am perfectly aware that it would be rather naïve and unrealistic to wish for stressless sleep- everyone has stresses in life, and no one’s life is perfect. There’s so much going on in our lives on a day-to-day basis, and that’s the truth. But, if life complicates itself, why do we further complicate our relationship with ourselves? It is not as if we’d do a better job at ‘being adults’ by further disconnecting ourselves. Quite the contrary. Our bodies are constantly speaking to us, as are our minds. We just need to listen.

In a world where putting up a brave façade is trending only more every day, a greater number of people fear confrontations. Confronting the other is virtually impossible if we cannot confront ourselves. Pretty basic, isn’t it? If only we listened to and addressed internal conflicts, externalising the practice wouldn’t be as cumbersome as it seems. The idea of confronting internal conflicts and voices might be fresh for many, but that shouldn’t intimidate oneself. It is as simple or complicated as you make it for yourself. With most things in life being complicated and complicated beyond our control, simplifying your own relationship with yourself is a basic gesture that we owe to ourselves. The simplification is, well, simple. It just requires us to take out some time to reflect. Reflection is far simpler when frequented daily. It basically entails reflecting upon how your day went, your actions, your deeds, your energy, your sense of Self on that day, or even in that moment- what is it saying to you? The more you practice this, the more receptive or meditational your mind shall become. This is not the same as overthinking, as it might lead many to fear. Reflection and overthinking are systematically different such that the former is an initiative that consists of acceptance and observance of oneself; not a deliberate, conclusive drive that one forcefully thrusts themselves through. Reflection of this sort is the simplest way of getting to know oneself, and staying connected to one’s being. In reflecting, you begin to understand and accept- not so importantly what you think and want, but how you feel. Being connected to how you feel is mediated by the sheer sense of honesty and acceptance. This connectedness generates a sense of self-actualisation- of inner peace and fulfilment- of being one with yourself.

Lastly.

In gaining more closure vis-à-vis yourself, your perception towards the world becomes clearer too. Some great minds have argued that our viewpoint of the world is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. So if we simplify and persevere our connection with our inner being, our perception of the world moves towards being less complicated too. It’s all inter connected. And finally, as we accept our being without being too judgemental, imposing and harsh, we do the same of the world. This immense self-sufficiency leads us to conceive a very powerful act- that is, while we might not be able to ‘save the world’ and change everything that the 9-year old in us hoped to, we can remain tranquil despite a lot of its evils, and not let it get the better of us. We can preserve the magical capacity to BE despite, and not according to what we hoped to control. In short, we can continue to remain hopeful and grateful for whatever good there is, and whatever better we are seeking to make of it.

Simple, isn’t it? Or maybe just less complicated.

Either ways, thank you for letting your guard down. You can put it back on, but beware- for it’s going to seem a lot heavier this time- Gosh! How much baggage were we carrying!?

Beats me.

🙂

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Memoirs

Himalayan Living

Having spent much of the summer nestled in the Himalayas to look after my debuting property in Shanag, this summer has unfolded an essence and distinctiveness of its own. I have always believed that the Himalayas have a magical power about them, and that if you returned from a visit to the Himalayas as your usual self, you probably weren’t paying enough attention to the Himalayan vibe that deserves all the hype.

The idea of my Retreat was born a little over a year ago and after embarking on this journey, there’s been no looking back! And now, here I am, calling Manali my home and actually hosting all those who come to marvel its breathtaking views, scenic drives, rejuvenating treks and its laid-back vibe. This is home now, a cocoon, a haven.

Working here during the peak season to host guests from all over the country has been a profound learning experience for me. I find it very satisfying to deliver hospitality that gratifies guests at my Retreat. Being quite a victim of wanderlust, it feels great to meet people who are on journeys of their own, to hear about their experiences and share my own. Moreover, the Retreat is my baby who never goes off to sleep and hence, working here is an ongoing, everlasting journey, where each day adds to one’s experience and learning. Around the daily running of the Retreat, I have weaved a lifestyle of my own, which I term ‘Himalayan living’.

Himalayan living is so starkly different to any urban style of living. Different to any style of living outside the Himalayas, actually. Life here moves at a pace that one sets, in an unpretentious manner. People have time to visit each other and casually drop in for tea. Strangers are friends that one is yet to make. The trekking trails that one takes over pretty streams and dried pine needles echo with sounds of the Himalayan Whistling Thrush. The Himalayan Devbhumi is deservedly the Valley of the Gods!

Every morning that I wake up to makes me want to marvel what I had so far taken for granted. The clear blue skies that turn into a blanket of stars at night, the wandering clouds that form patterns that I can stare at for hours, forming shapes under an apple tree. The sound of gushing water, its intriguing flow that can have me staring at it for hours, just like the flames at the evening bonfires. The mellow buzz of Malana Cream and the smell of toasted marshmallows. Slow mornings, where I have the liberty of cooking my own breakfast- flipping omelettes, blending smoothies, making waffles and devouring them while listening to Jack Johnson and feeding my fellow- foodies. The alpine air has healing properties that the human civilisation is yet to fully value and preserve. Waking up one morning to trek to the neighbouring waterfalls and just absorbing the velocity of gravitational water. The adrenaline rush that it triggers is just something else. A casual stroll through the streets of Old Manali and its bohemian layout. Playing a game of soccer int he neighbouring ground on a lazy Sunday afternoon and sippSpeeding up a Royal Enfield up the breathtakingly scenic Rohtang Pass route to sprawl on the meadows in Gulaba and chase the Himalayan panorama. And coming back at dusk to savour a home-cooked meal and sip some toddy besides the fire.

The simple pleasures! Life’s good.

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Memoirs

Between the caffeine and the spell checks

There, a final touch to my puff. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my hair, atleast when I am styling it. What the wind and the water does to it later, is another story. But most of the time, I walk out of my house feeling great, never without a splash of body mist. I try to keep my feet in the square tiles when I walk, except for when I’m running late for class. On other days, I like to stare at the sky and make shapes out of clouds. I love to fly kites and make paper boats that stay afloat on muddy water. I’m the girl with a chocolate stain on her sweatshirt. I explain most parts of my life through lyrics of songs and when I don’t understand some complicated parts of my life, I plug in my music anyway. I don’t get angry too often, but when I do, I like to play squash and empty my entire head while hitting that ball, while my anger gets lost in the echoes resonating in the court. Nothing bribes me half as much as a chocolate brownie at the Garrick on a monday morning. While that’s a daily thing almost, red velvet is what I save for occasions. When the assignment deadlines aren’t a few days away, I’m a gym rat. I love to run. I love that pulse. I’m in my trainers most of the time, but there’ll be that one day when I dress to impress. I have my clumsy days. My sense of humour suffers its occasional set backs. I commit elementary- level spelling errors. There are days when I feel I learned the secret of the universe and am a philosopher that you never knew of. Then there are days when I say, screw this, I am a kid trapped in an adult’s body. I might not have the most glasses to down in “never have I ever”, but there are some daring and crazy adventures that I have had in my life but which don’t add to my vanity. I’m not the best person to discuss what brand of lipsticks to buy but I can go on about classic Hindi movie dialogues that never grew old. I wasn’t the prom queen in high school and didn’t date the hottest guy but who knew those were things we had to take seriously anyway? While in my teens, I had crushes on some of the weirdest guys and had occasional heart breaks but here I am today. Living life on the edge, reading feminism, engaging with great minds and getting inspired to be a better person every day. I might not be the one who does it all right or knows what exactly to say when. But you’ll know when you take my breath away. Eyes never lie. Unless you weren’t looking. I doubt I’m longing for a miracle to happen in my life that will turn me around. Because I more than just like my twisted, chocolate-stained, Bollywood- inspired drama narrative. As long as I keep my sanity and appreciate the smallest things in life, while dreaming big, being opinionated, motivated and independent, I am living my miracle, right here, right now. So talking about the heart aches, and the things that make you sad, ask me for a warm, fuzzy hug. I’m pretty good at it. Let’s celebrate our twisted faith, we’re the broken ones. But who wants to be a porcelain doll anyway, when one can be the other’s adhesive? Eat a marshmallow from me, spit it out if you don’t like it, and stick your tongue out. Smile, because you’re awesome.. Or smile, because I am smiling because you’re awesome. Either ways, just smile 😀

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Memoirs

One of those Awesome sauce Days

We all go through those absolutely crappy days when nothing seems to be going right and we feel like the world has its secret agenda of playing sadist and making us its victim for that one whole day. Let’s not even get to how bad they can be. We all have bad days, worse than bad days, okay days, not okay days, and then, one fine day, there’s an awesome sauce day, which is what this post is about. So even if you haven’t had one of these days off late, I hope it comes soon enough for you to keep you sane in this twisted story called life (yes, I am being dramatic).

Without further a due, I am going to tell you about my awesome sauce day. In case I haven’t already, I don’t mean to overstate my day, and its not as if I saw Eric Dane or something… But today was one of those days when multiple awesome sauce things happened, or maybe I was just too kicked about the little things, but that’s life really right? The little things.

So I woke up this morning for class and forgot about the weather forecast, and walked to class in the rain. I hate the rain when I can’t stand in it or play soccer, and today morning, I wasn’t even remotely close to doing either of them. I was running to class. I doubt I missed much, especially since the rain in London is just damp and gets gloomy skies. Anyway, here’s where the awesome sauce day started. The rain cleared up and the sun came out in no time, which is much appreciated by any Londoner in the middle of January. I went to Wasabi to pick up my lunch box and ate the yummiest chilly rice that I have eaten. How innovative can one be with chilly and rice? Wasabi can, for sure.

Before heading to the library to print notes, I dropped into Garrick (our college cafe) to cater to my sweet tooth, and I saw red velvet 😀 I OBVIOUSLY looked no where else and got a slice of that. Who said I can’t be bribed into going to the library?

Okay, getting out of nerdy mode, I headed to the gym and was so enthusiastic with my post-red velvet sugar rush, that I broke my all time record of running on the treadmill (right up till this point of my life) and felt amazing. I can’t even explain the amazingness in the post-running feeling. And I had just discovered today that my hi-tech college gym treadmills are connected to the wi-fi. So I ran watching cheesy KJo bollywood songs- from Disco Diwane to Desi Girl to Balam Pichkari to what not (indirect bribery on the treadmill now, methinks). No. Sheer motivation. And more bollywood. BOOM. 700 calories in an hour an a half.

On heading back home, I checked the mail, and guess what? My photograph that I had submitted for the LSE diversity contest won and it got featured in the diversity calendar! What’s more, I even won a 25 quid voucher for Amazon (who knew my photos would earn some pounds)? And, that my photo would get featured in a hi fi calendar with my name on it? It’s a kick of its own. Trust me.

Speaking of photos, I had started a small online photo-blog to put down some of the stuff that I click in this one year as a student in London, and on seeing it, one of my uncles recommended me to his friend who runs a boutique in central London and is looking for a part time worker. I had a word with her and called me to intern with her. I have an appointment with her tomorrow. So I almost have a part-time job that I always wanted. Fingers crossed.

Now for how my day ended? A couple of my friends and I had planned to go for a Moroccan feast to this restaurant near by. We went there tonight (with a TasteCard) and ate and ate and ate. With the amount of lamb and couscous that I ate, I topped it up with more than just one baklava and now have a small potbelly. So much for the cardio work out 😛 But tomorrow is another day, and cardio’s come and go. No one gets to say no to unlimited baklava. No one.

So, that’s pretty much what happened, things big and small, and the sheer delight 😀 To be happy and gay 😛

I didn’t write this account to many you envy my day, but in the hope that by just reading it, would make you a wee bit happier than you already are (or I hope so) at the moment.

Here’s wishing you many days like the one I had today, and even better ones than this one. For it is in the sheer hope of tomorrow that we live today in utter fearlessness and insanity. (okay that’s enough wanna be poetry for now) Goodnight 🙂

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Memoirs

The First of My British Memoirs

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DSC02012On October 30th, it’ll be exactly a month since I became a student here at LSE.
I was also one of the lucky post graduates to get a small box-like but cozy space at Grosvenor House, the LSE hall that’s literally a five minute stroll away from college and situated in the heart of London’s theatreland- Drury lane (yes, I share my street with the “muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man who lives on Drury Lane” haha).
It’s been two weeks and I’m already so spoilt when it comes to distance. But I am grateful at the same time.
I don’t want to say this too soon but I only have classes on Monday and Tuesday, and I am expected to complete my reading list during the rest of the week. I know things will pace up before I can say “chocolate” but this feels quite good and relaxed (as long as I’m not looking at the reading list). Moreover, the topics that we discuss in class need at least a week for them to seep down into our sensibilities in a comfortable fashion.
During the other days I generally cruise by, exploring London, meeting friends, cleaning my room, doing the laundry, cooking, and many domestic things 😛 I am responsible for whatever goes into my mouth and that has made me start cooking and cooking much more than I ever expected out of myself. And as my updates on Instagram and Facebook would tell you, I am rather proud of myself so far.
Apart from that, I am almost done settling in completely, and will get “grooving” soon.
It feels great to be standing at the starting point of a very, very defining and special chapter of my life, which, I know will be over before it even starts. I have already come across people ranging across such diverse locations and interests, and the exposure I get here is unexplainable- something that will stay with me for life.
There’s so much to do in such little time- so much to see, so much to discover, so much to witness, so much to encounter, but because of the time constraint, I am bound to make choices, but maybe its in those choices that this special essence of my experience will lie. So will this mystification- of things and experiences that I have left for a next time, and giving my consent to the belief that there will be a next time.
There always is a next time, or that’s what we like to say to ourselves.

So London, here’s to a new beginning, new discoveries, new friendships, new achievements and new possibilities!

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Memoirs

Flux

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

-Oscar Wilde

It’s been a week since I wrote my last paper for my undergraduate degree at LSR (well, hopefully). I thought walking out of that examination room on that sultry wednesday morning would give me this sense of victory and satisfaction, of having finished, or rather survived the last one month, which required a whole lot of slogging to say the least. Partially so because most masters programmes require a first div and the list only begins there.

Anyhow. Now that the exams are over (momentarily over), the battles begin. Of packing your entire college life into 30, closely placed cardboard cartons and 3 giant suitcases. Of knowing you will live out of those cartons till you start packing to go out for masters. Which will also be in glorified cartons. And then, unpacking in a resident hall that I am badly hoping I get at Grosvernor House in downtown London (sounds pretty cool, no?).
Well, the preparations for it are as uncool. Our lives are literally in boxes right now, taped from the top only to be snipped open. It’s just a matter of time.
The exams at DU are over, but there are more tests awaiting. Despite the fact that my post-college destination might differ marginally or to a great extent as compared to yours, the fact that we are in this weird-ish phase of flux, waiting to take off, leaves much to converge over.

This stage of flux is marked by this sense of excitement as well as nervousness, of waiting to fly away, and yet this funny fixation with time. Most of us are yet to convince our parents, saying it’ll be okay, I will be okay cooking, cleaning and doing my own laundry in a place far away from home. No, I won’t catch a cold and I’ll always carry my umbrella (courtesy- Brit weather). Saying “I’ll be alright, promise”, when that’s a challenge in itself, which we haven’t been faced with yet, but yet, have a hell of a lot of convincing to do before we face it ourselves.

While many of us have taken our future choices that are pretty mainstream and take a word to briefly explain, for example- medicine, law, engineering, civil services, there’s some of us, who plan on going offbeat. Many conceptions of which, aren’t understood in the sense in which we wish to describe and put across. Yet, we follow them anyway, after a lot of self reflecting and a psychotic amount of thinking through. Again and again. By the end of it it gets tedious. Yet, despite the endless hours of contemplation, there comes this brief spell where something whispers to you- this is what you want to do. This is what dreams are made of. This is gonna be awesome. And till it gets awesome, even if its socially not so pretty, endorse it.

Even if you have to explain perplexed relatives that doing an undergrad in Political Science doesn’t necessarily mean that you aspire to become a politician, and that doing a masters in Gender, Media and Culture followed by one in Film Making does not make you a bollywood director shooting commercial films. It means you have plans, which might be unheard of till now, but that’s the reason they’re offbeat, they’re indie. And maybe the Indian education system does produce kids who want to re-difine the conventional as well as the unconventional job options. The market might be put in an uncomfortable position with bursting recruits rather than the other way round (for a change).

This is the time when young India has a different generation, who aspires for the sky, the stars and the moon, and doesn’t accept getting bogged down by the ever-increasing anxiety characterised due to the ‘marriage factor’.

We want to go out there. Discover. Create. Become. Within our national confines or outside.

While this stage of flux can get pretty overwhelming, especially because these years are marked with anxiety, confusion, and a whole paraphernalia of questions that run in concentric circles, this goes out to each one of you who’s sealed in similar cartons. Do what you love doing. Don’t be overwhelmed by market values and expectations. In the end, your race is with yourself. It’s alright to be idealist at times. It’s alright to be offbeat. And if you are mainstream, don’t feel conventional in the bad way. Because you aren’t. Those who define conventional are conventional. Those who re define conventional are not. Stretch your boundaries. Think new. No one said doing all of this would be easy. If it weren’t so difficult, what would be so new about it?

Go out there. Set your own standards that you wish to complete, because tomorrow when you chase those standards, you’ll know that you’re the master of your own destiny. And most importantly, if, at some stage, you feel this wasn’t the place you wished to be in, turn around. It’s never too late. Who defines late for you? You yourself. And since you’ve let others do that for you too often, it’s time to change that.

So the next time you’re at a wedding and someone asks you- “Ikkees ki ho gayi ho aur shaadi nahi karni?”, say something like “haan ji, kya karein? ladke toh bahut pasand aaye (even if that’s untrue), bas, sabko dowry chahiye thee, woh bhi gaadi ke saath!” and enjoy the expressions that follow. Because we don’t always have to match the graveness that the situations demand. It’s a stage of flux. Everyone seems to be more anxious about our next few years than we ourselves are, but in the end, it’ll just be us answering our own questions. So make the choice, and make it wisely.

PS: When you come up with those smart-arsed replies at weddings, just imagine a hundred other kids of your age doing the same, to provoke a hundred more puzzled expressions 😛

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Memoirs

The Starlight before Dawn

When I got my acceptance letter from the University of Edinburgh for a B.A. in International Relations, I was sure, for that split second, that I was the happiest person on the planet. I could just picture what all was heading my way. An international degree, masters after that, a job in the U.N., corporate suits and superman capes. Making a difference.

But like every father, mine too, was worried about sending me off to an unknown country, with unknown people. He was worried about the transit I was about to make. From a boarding school, back in Rajasthan, where one is so secure and sheltered, to the open, wild, wild world. He made me re consider my choice. Which I thought, back then, was an impossible thing. But, I did. Mumbai colleges’ application deadlines had passed. It was Delhi University, then, that was a good option.

St. Stephens’, I thought. Dad’s ex-college. The legacy. The buildings, the lawns. North Campus. Delhi winters. But the application procedure wasn’t as refreshing. I experienced the brunt of a system, which wasn’t quite transparent as it should be. Backdoor entries. My dream DU college. Wait-listed.

There was another college, the only college, I had applied to, besides St. Stephens’. Only because my father insisted. The Best College when it came to Liberal Arts’ according to the Time Magazine Survey, 2010- Lady Shri Ram College for Women. And before I knew it, there I was, while I waited to get past being wait-listed on the Stephens’ notice boards.

And so, life went on. LSR. With its unkempt wilderness of the bamboo groves, the ever-crowded Cafe’, the morning bustle of the corridors- Political Science Honours it was. I steadily waited for my phone to ring, and to be told that I have made it to Stephens’ for History Honours. As the monsoons intensified, I grew more patient, and began to accept LSR. I began to think that maybe, this is where I was eventually meant to be. I began to feel strangely empowered, about learning to accept my destiny. Then, one fine day, the call came. I had been accepted at Stephens’. I was asked when I was coming to pay my fees. To my surprise, I said- “Thankyou.. but I don’t want it.” Besides me, a LOT of people were surprised. All those people, especially those, who knew as to HOW much I wanted to go. Till date, I don’t know whether it was right of me to have done this, or not. I preferred getting through and then declining the offer, rather than trying and being declined. That’s the case with most of us when it comes to self-respect and self-confidence issues. So, that was with me too.

I went on with this conception. My father thought I stayed on just as well, as Stephens’, according to him, was no longer “what it used to be”. That consoled me to quite an extent. The opinions of my non-LSR friends was quite the contrary. “You’re insane to have let it go”.

Well, anyways. The point is, while I sit down to think about all of it now, not much has changed. But what has, is that I am SURE I was right in letting Stephens’ go. I don’t know what life would’ve been without Political Science at LSR. Without being made to feel uncomfortable about the way things function EVERYDAY. Becoming more sensitive towards the world, questioning it and not stopping when told that there were no answers. But what is an endeavour without the people who accompany you on it?

During my time as a Fresher in LSR, when the humidity (which I can’t stand) was at its peak and the dreary afternoons of the slow-rotating fans got too much to endure, I was getting acquainted with seven- most amazing people I have met in my life. Aishwarya- the kick ass Bong dancer from Lucknow, Vandana- a Jain from Agra who loves to sing with two karaoke mikes (not one), Sugandha- Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter he never had, my BRUV, Gauri- my multi-talented- confused friend, who is yet to discover her awesomeness, Khursheed- a Bawa who has a Bawa sense of humour and LOVES to watch Disney movies, Tanvi- who has finally shed her inhibitions and is the most sorted-in-the-head out of all of us and Gurbani ofcourse- the singer-artist-brisk-walker who is CLASSIC. While all their descriptions are very spontaneous and cliche, they are spontaneous, but never cliche. The irony is, I became friends with them while speaking of my whole admission process at Stephens’ and how I was wait-listed due to there being backdoor entries. Before I knew, we were all inseparable.

From failed plans to the not- so failed movie outings, to the last minute Sagar Ratna plans (where we’d inquire as to how much each dish costed with the VAT and service charge included- just to make sure that we could cover it with our humble pool-in), to the free-period gossip, to the shared lunch-boxes, to hanging out after hectic times, to writing the same assignments and scoring differently, to sitting and saying nothing at all. It was the simplicity which bound us together, which made it so special. The eight of us are like any other college students of our age. Every one has their own special story to tell. I’m happy just knowing they are there. And that they will be for all the times to come. It is the simplicity and the light- headedness of the relationships, which make them so promising. This is one of the main things I have learnt. With two years already behind and the final year passing, I am hit with this expected nostalgia already. It feels like time’s passed too soon while we’ve been under the star-lit skies, which will fade away as soon as the dawn breaks. But it is this point before twilight, that I feel the intensity at its zenith.

Having grown as individuals and as a group, equipping ourselves for our future, with tough decisions coming our way, frankly, no one knows where they will be in one year’s time. Its the anxiety, the nostalgia, the restlessness that each person has within their graduation suits. But nevertheless, the confusion is another binding factor. Just kicking each other’s stress by arranging indulgences at the Big Chill Cafe’ and movie marathons, I wonder what life would have been without all of you. I wonder what I would have been. You’ve kept me going, without even knowing you have. So while I might not be the one to say it always, I want to give you the warmest hug, and not say anything, because saying it would remind me how I can never put it across too well. How can you tell someone how much you’ll miss them? On top of that, crying makes it harder. And when I cry, I feel pretty stupid for doing so 😛

Instead of that, I’d rather you enjoy the moment while it lasts, than telling you it’s getting over.

So, let’s just drift beneath the star-light and enjoy the sparkle while it lasts, because dawn will break too soon, too soon for us to know or follow what comes after, and what takes us.

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Memoirs, Proses

Co- incidence

Co- incidence. An event, notable for its occurring in conjunction with other conditions. To be honest, we tag every second thing that happens to us as co- incidence. But here’s a thought. Is everything that happens to us, as simple a co- incidence, as sharing birthdays? It’s not. We console ourselves with the word. It is the answer we choose for our questions, it is the pillow we comfort our curiosity with when it doesn’t let us sleep.

Never before today, or atleast as far as I can remember, had I thought of stepping out of my cocoon to experience the reality of it. Or atleast, what it appears to be. If you agree with me on the existence of spirits, angels, demons, unicorns and powers- hidden and visible, it might be easier for you to relate to what I infer. And that is- that “nothing is co-incidence”. There is this power that the entire Universe holds. And that power, is stirring, in different directions every minute, second, and millisecond, conspiring, churning, swaying and drifting through our lives, to make things happen. There is a reason for everything we encounter, and everything that we don’t. There is a reason we missed something, and a bigger reason why we didn’t. A reason why we are where we end up. A reason why we don’t end up where we’re not. And eventually, what many of us term as a “co incidence”, is actually what the power of the Universe conspires to deliver to us. These could be things that make us laugh, cry, wonder in amusement, or just throw our hands up in the air. In the end, they’re still not just “co-incidences”.

For those of you who beg to differ, start reading Paulo Coelho. I cant guarantee that you’d agree with straight away, but somewhere down the line, this will make you think. To accept, or re invent the thought, itself, is a start, the first step. The first step, like in most other situations, seems to be  and IS the hardest.  A lot of things then, will look a lot clearer than they did before. There is no hard and fast rule or qualification for something to be called a reason. It just is. The power lies within us, whether to make sense out of it, or to flush it down. The more we believe in reasons, and the power of the Universe, the closer we are, to discovering ourselves, to figuring out the life that we are entitled to living- once.

Why not figure out the things that our lives revolve around? Or atleast think of them? When we perish, we’d be leaving a life behind, but taking everything we chose to grip on to. I don’t know about you, but  having had a chance, I’d grip on to what is precious to me, by my own power to govern my choices, and regret them later if I should, rather than blaming it or paying homage to co- incidence. Everything else, after that runs the way it did, while we lie in ashes to be born again- in a full circle.

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