All we need

All we need

Is a little wisdom

That the dark dreary nights

Will have a dawn

 

All we need

Is the faith

To be able to

Start from scratch

Be reborn

 

All we yearn

Is a little love

And approval

To mend

Our hearts

When they are torn

 

All we have

Is moments

And memories

When people are gone

 

All we’ve got

Is the choice

To dust our knees

When we fall

And move on

Life’s Whirlwind Dance

Twirling through the days

Whirling through time

We run through life

As if there’s no looking back

Mindlessly chasing ephemeral goals

Asininely running through streets

Cobbled with dreams and desires

We run and fly

Sans a pause or sigh

Seldom stopping by to listen

To the song of our hearts

Never pausing to appreciate

Nature or art

We think we’ll win the race

Only to evaporate

In the masses sans a trace

In the cocoon of words

Between the dredges of freedom

And the chains of security

Between life’s stagnant ways

And rapidly changing days

Between transience

And permanence

In the folds of cynicism

And the circle of hope

In the euphoric peaks

And the abysmal troughs

Floating amidst dreams

And dragging through reality

In the companionable silences of faith

And disconcerting conspiratorial

Whispers of doubt

Floating in joy

And soaking in sadness

Amidst the gossamers of togetherness

And the tatters of loneliness

It was words that kept my sanity

It was only words that set me free

On Awkward Expressions

Emotions and I had very awkward beginnings. When I think back to my childhood, I used to be that shrinking self-conscious violet who would cringe while being hugged by her mom at the bus stop waiting for the school bus to come. Any kind of public display of affection had me running miles away. I was way too self-conscious and almost impassive. Be it love or grief I chose to cover it under a veneer of stoicism. I don’t know why but I grew up with the misconception that any display of emotions leaves you weak and vulnerable. That is rather strange for my gender, since most women are wired to feel and express more compared to men. I thought I had it all sorted one could walk through life masking what one really felt. But time and experiences ensured such fuzzy notions flew right of the window. I realized true strength lay in being your authentic self. In expressing what you felt: grief, sadness, anger, joy or love.

Emotions aren’t pickles that you bottle them and preserve them in an arid corner of your heart. You were meant to flow with them. To let grief wash your heart. To let the waves of joy splash all over your soul. To soak in the seas of sadness and float on the boat of hope is a part and parcel of our existence. That is the essence of life. To feel, express and move on. We do no one but ourselves a lot of harm by suppressing how we really feel. The emotions brew within like a vortex and then erupt like a volcano. We think we can go on living like the pigeon who thinks by closing its eyes the approaching cat won’t eat it. But not only does that make you miserable within but holds you back from relating authentically with the people who matter to you. I don’t know what prompted me to rant about feelings and expression. But I am only glad that life taught me otherwise. That I finally learnt to express and to let go and the realization that strength never lay in silent endurance instead it lies in learning to be vulnerable. To bare our ugly souls to the world and yet live in the security we will be loved in spite of how we feel. I might not be quite there but still learning to tap the resilience that comes with letting your defenses down.

Our lopsided Indian ways

Our society has its own share of eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. Every once in a while I can’t help but observe them and ponder over them. Life is trodding along smoothly yet some instances always surface now and then forcing one to think whether we’ve actually progressed or are still trapped in a time bubble refusing to budge from how we view the world, digging in our heels while insisting how we view the world is how it ought to be.  Being reared to question instead of conforming and thinking instead of toeing the trodden line can be quite an aberration in our country. It only makes matters worse. For the life of me I am unable to fathom why most of our country is still trapped in a time warp. We refuse to let go of how things should be a certain way. Any fluctuations from the designated path are seen as abnormal.  We weave a framework for ourselves and the people around us. Anyone outside that frame is an outcast. We’re eager to shun anything that threatens our patterned mundane way of thinking.  We love to glorify miseries,  sing paeans of  sacrifice and then expect our progeny to do the same for us.  To seek pleasure is to walk the path of decadence, so is to follow one’s heart. Our  duty is to obey and please people who are senior to us in age and stature.  We have this ambiguous sense of what morality entails. And “being good” and morally upright comes with its own baggage. The baggage of pomposity and self-glorification and righteousness. The view that how we’ve lived life is how others ought to. Self-denial is seen as the supreme goal of our lives. We are so willing to demolish dreams at the altar of duty and then expect our future generations to do the same. We still let gender decide an individual’s destiny and course of life. Not sure if we pass on values and ethics from one generation to another but we certainly hand over our prejudices, our rigidity and our biases only too gladly. If you refuse to lap up these gracefully be ready to get an earful. We’re so ingrained in our stick in the mud attitude that change is shunned as  an outsider. How long will we stay wedded to status-quo let other people decide the course of our lives and stay ingrained in passivity ?  Perhaps forever. We’re so eager to label  and anything radical, different or new as ‘evil’, dangerous or threatening. Our refusal to budge from our stances is seen as being sure of what we want while it is merely sheer pig headedness.  What makes me so sad is to see people of our generation to fall prey to such fallacies and archaic notions. We seldom gather the courage to voice what we feel since it is easier to conform and get validation for doing so. But who ever said that what is easy is the best for us?

 

On pausing and finding time to reflect….

 

It is strange how most of life shall only make sense in retrospect. After life has happened to us the whys and how suddenly begin to make sense. We find answers to all questions that haunted our minds.

But all of this seldom makes sense in the realm of action. When we are in the middle of chaos, in the whirlwinds of change we just get pulled in to dance with the winds. Without having time to breathe let alone finding time to pause and make sense of where life is headed. Yet when storms have passed and the dust begins to settle. Leaving us partly broken, partly wiser it all begins to fall into place. The missing pieces fit snugly in harmony. But by then we’ve written off, given up on what we want till we discover this glimmer of hope to hang on to. And we hang on to it with all our might.

Only to realize that all life asks of us is to learn to let go. To let go of how we think life ought to be, of our fixed ideas, our prejudices and notions. To let go of it all and flow like water. Become supple and nimble souls that go with the flow of life without letting it break us, yet enriching everything we touch. All these realizations dawn only in the surreptitious and quiet moments of introspection.

Such moments are far and few because we prefer to succumb to the maddening and frenetic pace of action. To lose ourselves in our work, drown ourselves in frivolous worries and speculate mindlessly. We chose not to think and feel and rather act and react. It takes courage to think, to reflect, look at ourselves sans blinders as well as look at the people we love objectively. It asks of us to look at ourselves and our existence in the mirror and have our vulnerabilities and weaknesses stare right back at us. It takes strength to be vulnerable. But our social conditioning ingrained it in us that true strength lies in denial, in masking what we really feel and want. So we run mindlessly, chase ephemeral dreams and desires yet nothing quells the restlessness within. Instead of chasing a path the world charted for us if only we could find courage to succumb to our impulses, chase silly dreams and just be our true authentic selves sans the fear of censure and non-acceptance. If only….

An Ode to the turbulent twenties-1

With less than 3 months to go as I edge towards the dreaded yet much anticipated third decade of my life. I can’t help but look back at the turbulent and tumultuous twenties. I left the comfort and warmth of home, moved cities, got a job,made mistakes, faltered, realized what an emotional fool I am, changed two jobs, fell in love, got married, traveled, learned to take a stand for myself. This list could probably run into pages. Too much happened in this time, it makes me even breathless to recall it all !

It is strange how we change intrinsically with time without realizing it at all. If I meander back to my early twenties I was a die-hard optimist peeking at the world with my rose-tinted glasses. Time and experiences tempered this optimism with a lot of realism.  Time taught me to have realistic expectations of people, life and the world at large. As I now edge towards the big 30 I’m none the worse for it. Realism has left me in a happier and less restless space. Yet that strange restless urge nestles in a corner somewhere and takes charge of me every now and then. I miss the heady feeling that told me I could change the world. Now I just  make peace by changing how I respond to the world. Much to my chagrin.

Earlier  I would be befuddled and wide-eyed by perpetually everything. But time has taught to do all of the rolling of the eyes and raising eyebrows in my head while maintaining a calm exterior. Time has also mellowed down my spirit. I no longer react strongly  to people’s idiosyncrasies and quirks ( although the voices in my head still react but I manage to quiet them self deprecatingly). My impatience might not have been tamed but time has almost taught me to conceal it.

Sometimes I miss the whip-lashing feminist I was. Mouthing women’s rights in college while carrying around a copy of Germaine Greer’s  Beauty Myth .The present day me has settled for egalitarianism ( that too is a distant dream in a country like ours that is caught in a time warp) We still have different rules for different genders.

Earlier I couldn’t quite fathom why people are a certain way. Let’s say experiences brought home the fact that it is none of my business. If the twenties taught me anything it would be to live and let live and let  peace prevail.

I could keep looking back at life and  ambling on endlessly but for now let me just get back to work and end my rant here.