To Start Living, Rather than Merely Existing

I can’t see the bigger picture, I just can’t. I live in the small things, I am always scared to take the leap, personally, professionally, financially, anything, change terrifies me. My husband always teases me that I am not a risk-taker, I calculate my steps, I am a planner,  I save, I fret about finances, I fret about expenses, I ponder a lot before making any investments. Ahhh, this is me, and trust me I so want to change somethings about myself, I want to feel free, slacken, enjoy life, but it does not come easily to me. And also over time I realized that nothing is enough for me, I always kept praying, “God, just a little more and then I would be content”. But it so never happens.

So I decided after a lot and lot and lot of pondering that there are certain things that I really need to change. I mean I see people around who have much less than what I have and they manage just fine, and I keep wondering how? The trick is to find solace in what I have right now. So here are my set of rules that trust you me I would imbibe them soon into my life (Fingers crossed!!!).

First and foremost, STOP, STOP and I mean like RED LIGHT STOP moaning about things I don’t have and appreciate the things I have, I know it sounds trite and stale but that’s the truth, looking at the world around and envying what they have achieved, does not help in any way, so I think it would be better that I start appreciating and improving what I have right here with me.

The next up on my list is something I absolutely loved doing when I was much younger, I really don’t know why I stopped, and it is to DAYDREAM. OMG don’t we all just daydream, I used to daydream about almost everything when I was much younger and those little precocious dreams of mine eventually used to turn to reality. But then I stopped, I thought it just did not make sense, I came to believe in doing rather than dreaming. Though no doubt the latter is important but so is dreaming, it opens so many doors to go out and achieve. And so I have decided to spend some time in dreaming every day. Oh it will be so much fun!!! J

Alright so up next, you see I am very bold, I argue and challenge things a lot, but I am scared of making fun of myself in public and hence more than often I don’t take risks or don’t try something new. It scares me to bits to think that I would not turn out good at it and this stops me from even giving it a shot. Perfection is very important to me. I really need to stop doing that and start taking risks as there is so much to explore and achieve. I so need to get out of my dreadful zone of doubt and just go out there and do whatever it is.

And yet again, I have to absolutely stop being the control freak that I am, let go and accept certain things, my house can never be clean all day along, especially when I have a toddler. I cannot keep wiping the bathroom floors after every single drop of water that is spilled. I cannot keep arranging my cushions every time I feel that somebody sat on the sofa and pressed my cushions too hard.

I don’t want to be miserable anymore. Stress from job, marriage, home, kid, gets on me most of the time. The pressure to be the best hovers on my head all the time, and in the process I am losing my sanity. Letting go, delegating, taking a break now and then, making time for myself, not being affected by what others a have achieved or what others are doing, especially the social media crap, I mean watching my friend’s post of the latest place she visited swirls my mind, as if I am missing out on so many things, where in reality I am happy where I am. I think I push myself too hard, sometimes so hard that I fear that the thread of my patience would snap. So from here on, I have decided to take a break, give a pat on my back now and then, because I know I am awesome. I still have many years to live (I hope!!), so it is better that I start living it as well.

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Behind the Forbidden Doors

She sat at the window and glared down the road. The sweeper was cleaning the ruins from the last night, she watched as he swept and let many things remain where they were. There was no point telling him that he was being lazy as he would not pay any heed to her, like many did not. She continued watching the day unfold. People walked down the road, shops were starting to open for the day. There were not many who looked up to see her, some young men did now and then, glaring was often followed by whistles. Nothing made her uncomfortable now, she was well adjusted to her surroundings, this the life she had chosen, this is the life she needed to survive.

She got up from the balcony and sighed, and went to the kitchen to make her breakfast, last night was horrible. She realized she did not have the same energy anymore and she was not interested in fulfilling every customer’s whims any longer. Money was all she needed to survive and it was hard getting any these days. People were always interested in the younger girls, and she was aging. She lacked the patience now and had almost forgotten the art of seduction. Survival was her sole motive to stay here. There was nothing much to look forward to for her, already in her late thirties, she had never had kids, neither did she want any. Her own family had disowned her years ago, she herself was left with no urge to meet them.

After a long breakfast, she cleaned up her room, she had always been tidy, even though the world called her a ‘dirty woman’, she liked her surroundings clean. She had cried after her first customer inconsolably, she could hardly remember how she had reached here, years of work had made her memory bleak. The business was good when she was young, she had entertained all sorts of men in her prime years. Some were sweet, some cruel, yet some abusive and some were lover boys. She remembers falling for one and almost running away with him far away from this world before the lover boy got cold feet. After this she understood the world like she never had before, she never trust anyone, just did her business and went on.

As years passed by, she had several ups aand downs but she was always happy that no matter how, she was able to take care of her needs on her own. This little world of hers had made her strong and she knew come what may she could very well take care of herself. Sure if a chance came she decided many times to leave everything and lead a normal life, but over the years she also understood that once here you could never be anywhere else. Even if she tried and forget, the world always remembered.

As the day drew close to an end, her day was just beginning, as the shops closed downstairs, quirky lights lit up her area. She readied herself for the night ahead, a deep plunging neckline, with a bright lipstick, topped with a flashy face and clinking bangles, and a lot of talcum powder, she was ready for the night. She stood near a pole and started gesturing at men passing by, calling out men to come and take her with them. Some came near but she was not happy with the money they were offering, many preferred going to the much younger girls around. The night ended with no customers for her. It was worrying as she still had to pay the rent. She climbed up the stairs to reach her room and took a blanket over her, it was a cold night. As she slept she dreamt of her village when she was a little girl, she was running to the river with her friends to take a bath, the wind was cool and she was happy playing with her friends, she could not wait to go back home to her mother who she knew had prepared her favorite rice and dal. After a heavy meal, she remembered falling asleep in her mother’s lap as her mother told her stories of a prince charming who would come soon to take her along. She could only smile as she went into the dreamland.

Time for Yourself: Its Essential

I recently read an article which emphasized on the fact that Indian women are not trained or prepared to live alone. Solitude is something that they cannot imagine to exist, it’s a word that ceases to exist in their day to day dictionary. And come to think of it it’s true. And here I am not talking about women who decide to stay alone, the ones who decide not to marry or are divorced or simply because they want to. Our society in general does not think too high of these women, there has to be a reason for a woman to decide to live alone and trust me no reason is good enough ever. Hence, mostly under no circumstances can a woman who decides to live alone, can do so peacefully.

But I am focusing on women who have families and they decide to sneak a few days, hours or even minutes in solitude. This concept is alien to many. They are raised to believe that their time is not theirs, it is for the family, it is to make sure the family lives comfortably, it is to make sure that food is on the table, clothes are kept ironed in the cupboard, the domestic help gets paid on time, and yes amidst all this to make sure that everyone is happy. They become so accustomed to all the chaos around them all the time that snatching time alone for themselves in between all this feels absurd, they feel lost and deceived in the absence of others.

And why does it sound bizarre to me while I have seen the women in my family and even my MIL to a certain extent lead the same life I mentioned above. But nonetheless it is bizarre not outrageously but enough for me to take a stand against it (Come to think of it I am in a habit to take a stand against many things). Few years into my marriage I concluded that I needed this ‘Me’ time to remain sane and keep everyone around me sane. I could not mold myself to the thought that my life could not be mine anymore it was for others, I was OK to share it but to give it up completely was something I was not comfortable with. And I followed my heart, I decided that no matter what, I would take out some ‘Alone time’ as and when I could.

A male colleague of mine was recently complaining that his wife keeps grumbling about the amount of time he spends at home, she feels that he is out most of the time with his friends rather than being at home with her and their 2 year old son. I asked him if she does take time alone for herself, and my colleague gave me a revolted look and asked me what that was supposed to mean, she was alone with the kid all day. So you see what I mean. I am not sure if she wants to spend time alone but I also know that she has not tried it ever. I had read a short story once where the husband of a middle aged woman had to be away for 5 years for work. When he went away the family was worried of how she would manage alone, she had the same apprehension. But at night when she was all alone it was the first time that it struck her that she was alone and it was feeling good. She could finally do things that she wanted to do without fretting about home. And lest to say she fared well.

I am not saying that all women should decide to live alone, we need families, and friends they all are good people. I am just saying that in between all this hustle bustle once in a while it is OK to breathe in the elixir of solitude. I have days when I sit alone in cafes, or go to movies alone, or sometimes even go on my historical expeditions that I absolutely love on my own (The mere thought of this can give sleepless disgruntled nights in my family, I know). And when I come back not only do I realize what my family means to me but also feel rebooted. Taking time alone for me is a necessity it might not be the same case with everyone but we should not be anxious of it. It takes a lot of effort and lot of sacrifices to give yourself up for others and women are the only creatures capable of it but the balance I think would help many get out of the dilemma that they don’t even know exists.

When someone goes away!!

Just recently my friend’s mother left for the heavenly abode, it was untimely but she was not keeping well for a long time now and in a way it was believed that death set her free of all the pain. How is it that if you fall terribly sick you become a burden on your loved ones, they want you to get well but if you are not getting well they want you to leave, its best for all, for the caretakers who have a life of their own and also the one in pain who wants to get rid of everything. It is complicated.

So as I was attending the last rites of one of my favorite aunt, swarm of memories engulfed me and with these memories came the afterthought. Life took a halt suddenly, in the silence of the prayers ceremony I sat down thinking of how life is passing by, as to how we think that neither us or the ones close to us are ever going to die, we think we are immortals but during that moment time is slipping and we are approaching the end every minute.

I am not those philosophical types, come on I am not even 30 yet! But suddenly it crossed my mind I will turn 30 soon. Three decades of my life would be over, they are not coming back ever again. I am looking forward to getting old, I want to get old, that’s when I think my life would be relaxed, I would have earned enough, would have a small cottage in the mountains and would spend my life reading and writing and yes cooking also. But this recent death of my aunt has jolted my plans a bit, I have come to believe in the theory of ‘Man proposes, God disposes’. You never know what shall happen tomorrow so the best bet is to live in today.

I don’t believe in afterlife, Hinduism puts a lot of emphasis on afterlife, I follow Hinduism because that’s my religion I am told, but more than religion I believe in faith. I have faith that someone up above or down below or anywhere in the universe is taking care of me. And that’s what rocks my boat. I feel that my deeds count the most. I don’t care if I am taking re-birth or not, all that matters is that in my life I should be doing right without hurting anyone. Karma counts but in the present itself, if I do wrong, I would learn my lessons in this life only, and if I am doing right I would be rewarded in my present life only. Let’s just face it, let’s do good stuff now and not because we want a better after life but because we want to do good to others! Right?

Death of someone close to you does make you think for a bit, after a few days of course one forgets and gets back to the monotonous chores of life but there is no getting away from it right, it’s like lurking on you head. We really don’t know how much time we have or our close ones have, so let’s celebrate life the way it is. Because no matter how slowly we think but time is slipping. We live once and let’s make the most of it, let all live the way they want to, let gays be gay and happy, let happily unmarried people be unmarried if this is what they want, let children do what they wish to do. In other words just simply let everyone cultivate their passions because you never when your life is cut short!!

Before that let’s make the most of it.

In the end it is not years in your life that count but the life in your years – Abraham Lincoln

Count your Blessings : Good to Hear, Hard to Follow

“Oh we are going to Basel next month”, I hear one of my relatives tell me, and with a smile on my face I mutter, “That’s great”. But my mind is speaking something else, “What did she just say, omg, bang me against the wall somebody please”. And I calm myself prepare another cup of tea for this suddenly turned annoying relative as she blabbers something about her preparation for the trip, places she would visit, blah blah blah is all I hear.

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So this is me, I get so affected and influenced with what people are doing that the irritability alarm in my system is switched on, in times like these trust me, maintaining a feet distance from me is most advisable. Acceptance comes really hard to me; I mean just that if I see someone living the life I wanted to live it shatters me to bits for atleast two days. And invariably I regret after two days for wasting my time, fretting over something so inconsequential and not living and enjoying the moment that is now. Huh !!

It is not that I don’t have a life, I have a wonderful one, a comfortable one, not the luxurious one, not now, but someday yes surely even luxury would fall on my platter. But when somebody else gets that perfect job, perfect house, perfect lifestyle, like perfect everything, I am torn. So you understand I am not that “Seeing everyone happy makes me happy types”. Somebody does something extraordinary I am automatically turned to “Competitive mode”. I work by the simple funda “Why him not me”. And I slog and slog and slog till I have achieved it, and at that very moment after a two minute triumph, I feel deflated, pondering “Was it worth it”. I don’t think through completely. And my husband, where do I even start, he is the most laid back person, my total opposite; he for one would never understand my competitive and obsessive streak.
I want to appreciate things, as much as I have, right now and not fret about more, want to be like the serene ascetic monk who gives away all, appreciate life the way it is, make today count. I don’t want to look at other people’s life and go “Awwwww” but be happy in my simple life. But trust me it is not me. Take out the competitive streak out of me and I am a dull, boring, vapid, insipid creation of god. I cannot live like that and am I wrong?

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So I want to believe that this is not an illness just a stupid flu bug that comes and goes, but trust me when it does come, it creeps through my body and keeps pinching me every second. I have tried a lot to mellow this absolutely useless, merciless, covetous, not malicious, but irritating and at times nauseating trait of mine. I am not completely proud of it but yes it gives my character, the fuel to go on and never stop, it keeps in the game always. I want to believe it is natural, that many feel this way, that I am not a B***H here all together. So please if anyone feels this way share it with me so I can feel less guilty ;). (Though secretly I am proud of it).

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Redirecting My Life For Good

“You Cannot Redirect the Wind but You Sure can Readjust your Sail”

I came across this beautiful line somewhere and it just stuck a chord, so simply put but they mean so much, invokes so much hope, optimism, it has a good zing to it. And so I pondered, where do these lines stand in my life, and I concluded that a better part of my life can be sorted if only I accept these lines as part of my Living Mantra.
I am stubborn by nature and also a firm believer of my thought process, I start living a life in my thoughts, thoughts which include the way I picture my life and this movie keeps playing and replaying in my mind until I have achieved what I was thinking. And somehow this also works for me, it is like a bolly movie dialogue (Did I forget to tell you that I am a big Movie Buff), “When you dream of something and want it with all your heart, the whole universe starts preparing to bring that SOMETHING to you”. But there are times when BOOM my dreams break, when there are just too many dreams entangled in one (Like Inception, dream in a dream in a dream 😉 ), And these are the times when I feel rueful, things just don’t seem to be working according to my plan. I know this is the truth of life, “Man proposes, GOD disposes”, But it is hard for me to accept it, The Scorpion trait in me Arggghhh.
The simple thing is I don’t accept change, I just do not. There is never a PLAN B for me. It is always plan A and has to be A. And why can’t it be A, I am doing everything and everything right to achieve it. I do not deter, am not scared, don’t feel intimidated by my goals; don’t think they are unreachable, then WHY???? Earlier a lot of my time was spent fretting on the things that were not happening in my life, and in this process I failed to relish and acknowledge the good things that were happening. Expecting came easier to me than accepting. There were strings of gloomy days at times, full of pessimism, irritability, dilemma, hopelessness, fear. And trust me these were not good days. I wanted to work against time, against nature, against God too, at times. But nothing changed still, nothing worked. So I forgot about my dreams, which seemed to be the most plausible thing to do. Acceptance became better than Expectance, and do you think life became easier, well NO. There were still times that hopelessness emerged again, but yes they became less. I realized that I just cannot turn a blind eye on my expectations, I am no saint, deep down they still existed, like a tornado pulling me towards them. So there was no hiding from them, I had to face them and DO them to be at peace (Remember I told you I am a stubborn Scorpio).
So came a phase of “READJUSTMENTS”, and I kept thinking why did not I think of it before. My dreams as I wanted them were probably not happening due to many reasons, financial, emotional, spiritual but what if I curtailed them a bit, you know just deflect from the path a bit, just try to rewire the dead wires of my mind for once. And it worked, it worked wonders. Life was not as tough like before. I realized that they were many things in life that I did not have any control on, because simply put I was not meant to control everything. Up above me was a supreme force that decided everything, and I was questioning him, I stopped doing that, I started to make changes in my plan according to the suitability of all. Winds were still blowing and I knew I could not stop them, but yes I started adjusting my sails accordingly, so my boat did not sink, I gave the roars to time, and accepted what came in after my sails were readjusted. And digressing a bit here, I would also like to add here that I also took it on myself to fulfill my dreams, after all these are my dreams I don’t expect others to understand them the way I do, put in the efforts to achieve them like I do, I need to do it. I need to give in my best shot not depending on anyone for it. As Nike says “Just Do IT”.
So life after this simple change has been good, it’s easier, less fearful, more comfortable, and more hopeful. You see more of good and less of bad in life now. I know I cannot live happy in simple things, I want more of life, have always wanted more and probably will always want more. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I have learnt that rather than taking a leap to my goal, small baby steps can work wonders. At least I have not stopped trying; I am getting to where I want to go. And I am sure I will reach there someday, not on a speeding jet but probably on bullock cart but I will be there. It brings a smile on my face every day just to realize that I am working hard to get there. So life has been good so far, not entirely fair, but GOOD. And I intend it to keep it that way.
(O.k. Everyone, there is a festival called HOLI, in India, The festival of colors, it starts today and I am leaving for a colorful bash in another half hour, Hope I can get some nice clicks to share. Hence a HAPPY HOLI to all  )