life · scribbles

Mental Health and Pandemic

Hello Dear Readers,

I know I have been pretty dormant with my blog off late and whatever I wrote in the past few months was nothing more than few random scribbling of a depressed mind. As I write this, I am trying to be as cheerful as I can because let’s face it, we all can do with a bit of happiness in these morbid times. It has been more than 6 months since the pandemic of covid 19 has hit India and we are all locked up in our homes working from home, a lot of people have lost their jobs and are just sitting home idle trying to survive on their savings and while some don’t have savings either and have to just manage somehow, let’s face the fact that life is currently hard for EACH AND EVERYONE. There are sick people in the family, there are deaths, there is financial struggle, exploitation at work and lack of peace of mind so all of these things are going around and on top of that we hear the news that India has the largest number of covid 19 cases and the lowest GDP, there is hate in the world against the government and political leaders, people have lost tolerance for each other in such times and while people need to be more kind and empathetic, there is a general drain out with regard to empathy in the people, people are finding it hard to empathize and understand now that so much is going on in the country at a large scale and so much is going on with the people at a small scale, in short, no one is spared, everyone is suffering, be it kids, be it teenagers, college adults, doctors, teachers, parents, businessmen, women in general, the list is endless. Almost everyone I know is having mental breakdowns every now and then, I personally have breakdowns atleast once a week. There is tremendous pressure to be productive and fit. A lot of people have put on weight during lockdown and due to which there are emerging insecurities about body image issues and with gyms not opening, there is a surge in online fitness programs which people feel the need to attend, I, for once, followed a diet plan for a month, lost weight and when the program ended, gained even more weight, so it is extremely difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle or fitness routine in this pandemic. I saw a meme yesterday which said that “The pandemic has been so long that I got in and out of shape in these many months” and I could not help but laugh it off because that’s exactly what happened with me too, though I was already out of shape because of pandemic, thanks to emotional eating and huge consumption of cheesecake during depression days but then during the pandemic I lost 2kgs with a diet plan and then again put those back on and now my face is also fat and my arms are giving competition to my thighs but enough about me. I have no clue how people are motivated to exercise during these times, I am not even motivated to get up in the morning. Some nights I just wish please god make me die in my sleep so that I don’t have to wake up but then I guess I have work to do before I leave this world, so god is kind and lets me live. But whenever I talk to anyone and ask them how they are doing, there is a standard reply “kat rha hai time“, it seems that everyone has given up on joy and the idea of “living” the life. This pandemic has turned all of us into survivors and well, like everyone, I am also trying to survive. There is a bank of good days and bad days. There are productive days and days which are followed up by complete lethargy and sure work suffers during those days but then it balances out in productive times. What I have learnt in my six months of pandemic is that self love and self appreciation is really important for survival. Most of the times when we are busy in our lives, we have these small little milestones like “Boss approved of my work”, “A colleague appreciated me”, “I did my work before deadline”, “Someone called me pretty at the party I went to last week” and there is negative stuff too like politics in the workplace, stress etc but there is a routine, you wake up, you take a bath, you have to reach office on time, there is work on your desk, you get stuck in traffic, you come tired, you spend time with the family or watch tv, eat your dinner and go to sleep so it takes your mind off the little milestones and the negativity in your life, but pandemic took that sense of routine away with you and you have a lot of time to think and be with your self and even though there is work but you are not being watched and there is no set office environment, the lines between work and family time or time with oneself are blurred and this gives room to negative thoughts, this is where your self love and self appreciation will come in handy to keep you sane in times like these. You need to pat your back for little little things you do, like you made food for yourself or you cleaned your house or you studied and made a document or you painted or you wrote something instead of measuring your self worth by the amount of office work you got done. I am telling you all of this because this is something that I have experienced personally, I tend to measure my self worth by how much productive work I have done but then we need to normalize this fact as a society that times are tough and if you are just surviving that is enough, sure you need to work and earn and do stuff but sometimes it’s okay to break down, it’s okay to relax, it’s okay to reach out for help. We all shall make it, one day at a time.

Wishing you the best

Yours

Neha

Books · life

Books I read in 2019

Last year in 2018, I started off with this blog series- Books I read in 2018 

Continuing with the tradition I started, I am again going to document the books I read in the year 2019. This actually provides a great opportunity to reflect back and see the progress. In 2018, I managed to read 37 books in total with 4 half read ones, however, the quantity of books I read this year is less but totally worthwhile. Without wasting anymore time, here I begin.

Sometimes I spend so much time in setting the background that content gets lost. To be honest, I felt this year was far too long and it got divided into two halves, the first half of the year was pretty normal, happy, chirpy while the second half was full of darkness and I had to cope with depression during that time so reading took a backseat, anyhow, the list and the experiences are as follows.

1. Surviving Women by Jerry Pinto

Times have changed and it’s hard being a man for now there is a strange species around: The Modern Woman. This book talks about how the confused Indian male sees the modern woman and majorly talks about male psychology and answers several questions about manhood, patriarchy and feminism. It’s actually a good read with a lot of funny elements and sarcasm. Both men and women can give this book a shot. It shares voices of 110 odd men throughout.

2.  HBR Guide to Emotional Intelligence

This is one of the most insightful books I have read in a long long time. I have not been really fond of Self Help Books but it isn’t really a self help book, it is something that makes you go deep into self analysis and analysis of the people around you. It makes you understand yourself and the people around you in a better fashion and helps improve your relationships with yourself and with the people in your life. Definitely a recommended read.

3. Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome

Honestly I have received too many judgments whenever I tell people that I like to read erotica. But I feel it’s important to indulge into such reads once in a while.

On the face of it, this book can be a very casual read but at the same time if you give it enough thought, it will make you think about concepts of female sexuality and importance of pleasure for females, notions of consent, psychology, manipulation, insecurities in a relationship and insecurities about one’s own self.
Reading this book was a mixed experience because while it is exciting and thrilling for the most part, it does gets emotionally disturbing too.
I’d rate it as a 3 star book on a 5 star scale. You may or may not pick this book, totally your call.

4. What to do when I’m Gone by Suzi Hopkins and Hallie Bateman

What to do when I am gone is a book written by a mother-daughter duo. The mother and daughter share a special bond and the mother is the lifeline and anchor in the daughter’s life and they talk about a lot of stuff and one day they were talking about “Death” and daughter requested her mother to help write her a step by step guide to get through life after the mother has died and this is one of those books that have made me feel so warm and happy from the inside. Like in Disney movies whenever someone would fall in love, the animation effects would show that the heart glows in yellow, this book made my heart glow through every single page.

5. Am I there yet? by Mari Andrew

5th book of the year was this graphic novel.
Journey of a girl from her 20s to 30s.
This book is so so so so beautiful which talks about so many things

1. Overcoming uncertainty
2. Creating a feeling of home when you are away from home. Creating your own space
3. Finding the purpose of life
4. Love and dating- making wrong choices and dealing with them
5. Heartbreaks and loss- how to handle grief, how to manage your own self.
6. How to overcome disappointment in life and become resilient as an individual
7. Discovering one’s own self
8. Finding yourself and finally becoming an adult by the time you hit 30s, just keep growing always.
There will be challenges even after hitting the 30s but then you’ll be equipped with enough experience to get through the life ahead. ❤️ Recommended read for all the people in my age at least. (P.S. I turn 25 in Feb 2020, Teehee)

6. HBR Guide to Better Business Writing

This was a tedious book to read but extremely important if you’re a student or a professional who has to do a lot of writing at work or a teacher too. Highly recommended read for all.

7. Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This book was literally put into my hands by my dear friend Eshita Hatwal, she had been after my life to read this book for a long time and me being me kept on procrastinating it but she actually put the book into my hands by gifting it to me on my birthday and I cannot describe what I really felt after reading this book. I was just numb because it was one breathtaking read. Read it to feel the extreme overwhelming power of unconditional love between two sisters.

8. The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine

This was purely a scientific book with all the medical terms but at the same time it taught concepts to a layman through stories supporting that science and this is one book which MUST BE READ by all women in order to understand little boys, teenage boys, 20 something young men, 30-45 age group men and beyond. It has answers to why boys get aggressive, why male ego exists, why men come off as emotionally distant or emotionally unavailable at times, why sometimes work comes above relationships, why fathers bond more with daughters or why they share a disciplinarian kind of relationship with their sons and why grandfathers are usually grumpy.
Highly recommended.
And honestly this one would make you respect and love the men in your life more.

9. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine

It was again an extremely insightful book about how our minds work. I would recommend every woman and every man to read this book. It explains several of our behaviors, mood swings, PMS, the motherly instinct and much more.
What I learned from this is that it is true that our biology affects us a lot, our hormones play a huge role in our daily life and they become our reality, however, if we start understanding our biology, if we start understanding how our minds respond to situations and conflicts, we will be better equipped to transform our realities. We can ‘re-wire’ our brains if we understand them in the first place.
Highly recommended.

10. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

I finished reading this book in one sitting and that happens rarely now. This is one such romance novel which you cannot stop reading once you pick it up.
Books like these make me believe in all things magical. What a heartwarming read. If I could I would marry the man in this book with no second thoughts ever. ❤

11. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Mental Toughness

I am genuinely blank about review of this book. I remember picking it up but not much of it has retained and this was the time my mental health started to get affected bit by bit so I tried to read it to keep myself charged but honestly right now I don’t have any memory of it. It was more mechanical and a tough book to read. I don’t remember how this book made me feel or what it said.

12. The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The story of Ramayana through the eyes of Sita and how different it is when told by a woman. Honestly when I picked it up, it looked a little lengthy and confusing and a bit boring too but once I crossed reading first fifty pages, I could not put it down and it was a beautiful journey then on. Definitely recommended.

13. Jungle Radio

A big children’s book about birds. The one with too many colors and bird poems, it was a pure delight to read this one. I felt like a happy kid while reading it.

14. Delhi Heritage Top 10 Baolis by Vikramjit Singh Rooprai

Vikram Sir is a dear friend and he came up with his first book and I just had to read it. It is a beautiful piece of work and anyone who is interested in history and heritage must pick this one up. I have personally been on a couple of heritage walks with Vikram Sir and therefore, there were certain parts of the book I could relate to so well because I have seen the Baolis and heard him explain things. It was an amazing journey, and I am eagerly looking forward to more books by him.

15. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

A collection of erotic poetry, just for sad days.

16. Public Policy In India by Rajesh Chakrabarkty and Kaushik Sanyal

India has 130 police officers per 100000 citizens, 0.62 doctors per 1000 people, 15 judges per million and we need huge policy shifts. Quite an insightful read.

17. Destined to Feel by Indigo Bloome

Part 2 of Destined to Play book, highly disappointing. Part 1 was a nice read that motivated me to pick up the second part but a waste of time.

18. Dealing with Difficult People

This was about how we manage our emotions and people in our daily lives and mostly at workplace. Good read.

19. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

This was by far the best book of 2019 because of how relatable it was for me at that time. I was going through a rough period with regard to my mental health and I spent a month reading this book about therapy and mental health. It made me think a lot and cry a lot too. Sometimes the book would get so heavy for me to read that I had to abandon it for days but when I finished reading it, there was certain sense of calm and peace and it was after reading this book I found the courage to go to therapy and realize that I was in need of help and nobody will save me if I don’t reach out. I want to thank Kritika Narula for this recommendation.

20. Tongue in Cheek: Funny Side of life by A. Khyrunnisa

Not very gripping, short stories which you can read before going to bed or in between study breaks, that’s how I finished reading this book. Doesn’t live up to the expectations, will probably make you smile a little occasionally, that’s about it.

This year, I didn’t have any half read books like last year because the books that were half read in 2018 are still pending and I don’t know when will I pick them up again. Till then, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and have taken away some good recommendations with you. Happy reading.

 

 

life

My Experience at Katha Utsav 2019

I was lazily enjoying my semester break and as the hangover of my solo trip to Kedarkantha started to fade a little and I was just getting into the zone of my PhD studies which keep on getting delayed for one reason or the other, one day while binge watching Modern Family on Hotstar tucked in quilt, I got a call from Tauseef Bhaiya about Katha Utsav. He told me all about it and how mentors for poetry are needed to teach kids of 4th to 6th and all of a sudden there was a new project and excitement in life. I was initially nervous because I have never taught poetry before but then I studied so hard for 5 days to perform for 4 days. Reading books, developing content and activities for children, PhD work took a backseat and I had only one thought- to deliver good things to the kids but by the end of the Utsav, I learned more from the children than I was able to teach them. They were so brilliant that I felt privileged to be their mentor.

Other than my experience with the kids, I learnt so much from the mentors. I am taking away new friends from this festival, thanks to Tauseef bhaiya. I got to spend sometime with Gouri, Gunjan, Shivani, Rachana and many more and there was abundance of love and hugs and positivity. There was abundant laughter and lots of good food.

I am grateful to Vikramjit Sir for this opportunity and guiding me through this festival. He helped me curate my content and gave me the validation for the activities I had planned for the kids. He was a constant support during this and I am glad to have worked with him and so many beautiful people.

Lastly, I am grateful to Sameeksha and the Katha Team for putting up such a good show!

Here are some glimpses of the festival

life · story · Travel Diary

My First Solo Trip-Kedarkantha Trek

For more than a year now, I had this dream of going on a solo trip and December 2019 was the time I could do it. In India, it is super difficult to convince your parents for the solo trip but somehow I managed to break the barriers and go and it was surreal. This trip was much much needed for me in order to end this year on a good note and find myself and my identity. This year had been a rough one to say. I had been depressed and given up on life in general and was in therapy so doing this was so important for me to regain my self confidence and faith and belief in myself, in life and in all things beautiful.

So, I booked a trek to Kedarkantha with Bikat Adventures and off I went. Why Bikat Adventures? It’s because I have heard so much good about them and the fact that they take extremely good care of their participants so I had full faith that I’ll be in safe hands and I was.

I had taken a Volvo Bus from Delhi to Dehradun from where the journey was supposed to start. On my first day, I met my trek leaders Lalit Yadav from Noida and Yitso Waka from Nagaland along with a group of 10 people-The Marwadi Family with whom I was clubbed to travel and it was a pleasant ride from Dehradun to Sankri. This was the first day and it was a day of introductions, we all just got to know each other and I was getting quite surprised reactions so as to how come I am travelling solo, little did the people knew why being solo was important for me. As we were approaching Sankri, I was informed that there will be no network for five days and when I told this to my parents, they freaked out a little and so did I but eventually I was comfortable because I had finally time to myself and there was an opportunity for digital detox.

In Sankri, we stayed in a homestay with the warmest of the blankets.

On the second day we started off with our trek from Sankri to Juda ka Taal. The climb on this day was steep and tough and I was the slowest person from day one but I managed to reach up there safely and then we camped in Hargaon. As we were approaching Juda ka Taal, we saw traces of snow and our camp at Hargaon was in the Snow. I kept my speed slower than usual because I wanted to be safe, I really didn’t want to be clumsy and fall on the first day and injure myself so I took baby steps and was lagging behind from everyone. And wherever the climb would get tough that I thought I cannot make it, my trek leader Lalit, aka Lalli Bhai was so kind that he held my hand and helped me climb at each step. From day one he was motivating me and keeping me going and didn’t lose patience when I was slow. When we reached Juda ka Taal, we saw that the lake was frozen and another local guide Jaychand Bhai who was with us even glided on the frozen lake and clicked jumping shots for everyone. We reached Hargaon campsite by evening and as soon as we reached there, there was a stretching session to keep us fit for the rest of the trip and later on we were served snacks and tea. The family I was travelling with carried so much of food with themselves that it was amazing, I had the opportunity to taste different kinds of Puri, Theplas, Papad Churi, Butter Cookies etc while being with them. At night, we had bonfire where gossip sessions took place. One of the girls from the group worked as a Make Up Artist with Bollywood Celebrities and she narrated some juicy bollywood gossip over bonfire and we all shared a good laugh. Along with this gossip, we had a learning module too on medical conditions in high altitudes and how we can equip ourselves better while being in the mountains. If you’re a first time trekker, make sure you go with Bikat Adventures because their learning modules in between the fun sessions will make you aware about things you don’t know otherwise and will stay with you for a lifetime.

Anyhow, we enjoyed the night and then when we went back to our tents to sleep, we were given sleeping bags but it was so cold, I couldn’t sleep at all throughout the night and kept on shivering. I had worn every piece of woolen clothing I got and still I was shivering, the temperature was somewhere between -2 degrees to -5 degrees at night and there was chilly winds, what kept me sane was the beautiful moonlight and the stars and the golden hour. What’s the golden hour? Golden hour is the time of the sunset when all the snow mountains turn pink and they change hues to orange and it’s a magnificent sight to watch the sky at that time.

Next morning, after breakfast, we started off our trek to Kedarkantha Base Camp. Before the start of this trek, we were given gaiters so that the snow does not enter our shoes. It was a short trek this time, we reached the base camp in two hours. On this day, we were also celebrating the birthday of one of the group members. When we reached the base camp, there was again stretching and we learned how to pitch a tent. The sun on this day was bright so we enjoyed a lot in the sun and chilled and relaxed, there were gossips and we had lunch then in the evening we all had music, songs and fun games and a cake made of Sooji Halwa. After a super fun session, we were briefed about the next day which was the Summit Day, the day we were supposed to climb the Kedarkantha Peak. We were supposed to wake up at 2AM and get ready. We all went to sleep early that night.

Now, my mood and experience till the base camp was up and about and I had zero self doubt and everything went on smoothly but the day it was summit day, I started having severe anxiety and doubts and almost gave up, I told everyone that I am having second thoughts and I don’t want to go to the Summit and I started developing backache, gastroenteritis, stomach ache and everything. I was super scared, I wanted to stay back at the base camp and not go further to the peak but then everyone motivated me and gave me a pep talk and I decided to go ahead and I am super glad that I didn’t give up because the trek to the summit was the best trek experience. I had such amazing meditative moments during this trek- there was a state of pure awareness and thoughtlessness that I cannot describe how amazing it felt, I was just one with the nature. It was a feeling where I was aware of my single breath and there is only one way of life- “Bas Saans Lete Raho” just like Hrithik said in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, it was that moment for me. I also saw the moon rise and moon set and sun rise and sun set on this same day. These are such special memories, how moon and sun change colors while rising and setting. I reached to the summit in six hours and it was all worth the effort. I am so glad that I did not give up because had I given up, I would have not experienced such divine nature the way I did. It was stupendo-fantanbulously-fantastic. And while coming down, I had the opportunity to slide on the ice and it was like I am in heaven, I felt like a kid so free being able to slide in the snow, I was at my happiest.

On the same day, we climbed down to Sankri, we walked continuously for 16 hours, it got a little hectic and I developed blisters on my feet but they’re reward marks and if given a chance, I would go on a solo trip again. It helped me find myself and love myself and find the strength that I had lost this year while battling through depression. This trip made me feel alive and I cannot be more thankful to god, to my parents, to Bikat Adventures, to my trek leader Lalit because of whom I could complete the trek, to the Marwadi Family who were a constant support throughout the journey and to my friends who have managed to stick with me through thick and thin.

life · scribbles · story

What My Depression and Therapy Sessions Made Me Realize

It’s no news that I have been depressed. I have been pretty open about my mental illness and have reached out for help and have been lucky enough to get help at the right time as well. From being perpetually suicidal to being normal functional human being who manages to now take bath everyday even in winters, manages to concentrate and study, manages to eat her meals on time and have a sound sleep, I still end up sleeping a lot than a normal human being but I guess that’s acceptable when you’re recovering and I don’t have to beat myself up for sleeping. But I have had tremendous realizations when I went through this turmoil of depression and a series of therapy sessions. Before proceeding further, I’d like to share a happy news that I am out of the clinical depression phase but I still have to take care of my triggers because it’s a precarious stage where I can go both ways. I am at a point where I can either come out of it or go into a super dark place if triggered and then it would be super difficult to come out of it. So far my graph is upwards instead of spiraling downwards like it was for months that I hit my rock bottom and all I could wonder about was how to kill myself but now I have hopes, laughter, smiles, goals, now I wake up in the morning and have something to look forward to.

Anyway I was talking about the realizations I have had. I realized that I am 24 years old and I am about turn 25 in two months and twenty nine days and I have not lived my life for myself at all. I have lived a life which was ALWAYS approved of by my parents. I have let others make choices for myself and my life and have not lived an individual life and occasionally I have rebelled in order to establish my authority over my life but that rebellion was also validated and it was not complete rebellion. I have lived whole of my life in fear and I have always wanted to be accepted by the social standards, always being the conventional “good girl” and not making any mistakes and whenever I was about make a mistake I have always been taken care of by my parents and teachers because they have been the closest to me and whenever it came to friends and friendships I have always tried to make my friends happy by doing what suited them and what they liked instead of actually saying or demanding what I like in a friendship and whenever I have done so, I have lost people and so keep the people close to me I have put myself behind and put others first and I have been terribly alone but at the same time I have realized that the right people and the right friends do stick around no matter what. When I was going through a rough period, I thought I had nobody but I had so much support and so much unexpected support that I cannot fathom and I am extremely grateful for that.

Depression took away my identity for me. If I were to define myself, it would be, A Happy Go Lucky Girl who loved to read, write, talk and meet new people and go out and have fun.. the girl who would laugh uncontrollably at almost anything and spread smiles around. Things that I have been really proud of as a person is how I would laugh with complete abandon. I have ample number of pictures of me just laughing, laughing, laughing and laughing. I’m someone who has laughed in a sensual situation and made it comedy and turned the guy off but I really don’t regret it you know. Because I was just plain happy. Depression took away my uncontrollable laughter, it took away what I loved the most-my habit of reading and writing, I just could not concentrate to read and writing stopped coming to me naturally. All I wanted was to stay at home, in bed and cry and do nothing, like life became absolutely meaningless for me. I started hating myself, my life, my surroundings and everything about it. I constantly had this need to be around someone, to have a friend to talk to, but at the same time I felt like a constant burden on everyone I loved and everyone who loved me. I stopped being comfortable with the idea of being alone, being alone sent me into complete loneliness and would make me feel suicidal. Depression took away who I was as a human being. And therefore, therapy came to rescue.

Now, with therapy I realized all that was missing from my life was self love and taking a stand for myself and living the life on my own terms. I have always let others decide for myself, sometimes it has been my parents, sometimes it has been my teachers, sometimes it has been my friends but I haven’t really made my own choices and whenever I tried to make my own choices, I have been afraid and fear has kept me from living my own life on my own and I have ended up conforming to the social norms because it was safe. And safety has led me to depression. Not making enough mistakes has led me to depression. Always playing it by the rules of the society has led me to depression. And now that I am coming out of it, there is a lot of confusion that is going on in my head, there is a lot of bravery and courage I need to actually start living my own life and I know it will make me lose out on a lot of friendships, I will be disappointing my parents, I will be making mistakes but “here’s the thing about mistakes. Sometimes, even when you know something’s a mistake, you gotta make it anyway.” Said the famous Ted Mosby. I am learning to be alone again and this time it is peaceful. I have the right people in my life and I hope to make through this journey.

Honestly I would always be confused what I wanted to talk about with my therapist but this time after writing out this entire blog post I now know what to talk in the next session. Wish me luck if you can and I wish you all the best for your personal battles in life. I hope you make it too.

Much Love.

 

 

Analysis · life · scribbles · story

Getting Shit Together

Hello Dear Readers,

Here I am again, with my laptop in front of me, about to begin writing all my random confused thoughts, leave if you want to leave right now because as my earlier posts, I am not going to make a lot of sense, probably throw in stories and metaphors here and there and make you laugh a bit with passive aggression and sarcasm and stupidest of the thoughts and one-liner, read on if that interests you.

Writing helps a lot, not because it provides a solution but because when I start writing, I empty myself for a while at least.  It feels light and nice to take the weight off my chest and off my overthinking brain. I am aware that I overthink but I fail to improve upon this habit no matter how much I try. I could be writing all of this in a diary and keep it to myself, however sometimes knowing that someone else is also reading this and connecting to it at some level by liking this blog post makes me feel less alone. We live in a world where every single individual is going through his or her personal issues and honestly, I feel my generation is all a big big mess and we all strong too. We may not have the issues our parents or grandparents had to face in their lives, but we do have our issues which are advanced and often at the mental level. I feel that we as a generation are not too strong mentally and need help with that. And the reason we are not really strong is that we have mostly got what we wanted, we have mostly had our way throughout childhood and we would behave irrationally and our parents would give in to our demands, I feel that we are a bunch of spoiled kids in the bodies of adults, and that is why adulthood is difficult for all of us because we never really faced hardships. I am sure our parents also went through the crisis we are going through right now but at least they knew that they don’t have a choice and life works like that only so they made it. We live in the “INSTANT” generation. We don’t want to spend time on our careers, we want immediate results and immediate money, we don’t want to spend time building strong friendships and bonds, we want immediate acceptance and gratification. We are that generation which does not have a lot of patience within us. We behave irrationally, have unrealistic expectations and are always broke because we reward ourselves more than the efforts we put in. Self-love is important, mental health is important, but it must be understood that success is not a cake walk, there are sleepless nights, there are bad days, there are rough days, there are days which will make you want to give up. It takes a lot of effort, courage, strength and focus to achieve the dreams. We are not extraordinary, yes we are all unique in our own ways and have special talents but we must understand our limitations as well and must have the will to work on our limitations. I had a dream of being a professor in college and I failed my entrances twice, I wanted to go for a PhD immediately after my masters, and I failed. But I am someone who always kept three or more backup plans in case my first plan failed, and it helped me buy more time to work towards the goal I have been aiming for.  I learned a lot when I changed my track and it made me realize where I belong and I am still working towards the goal I felt like giving up. The idea is to not get stuck. I have been happy more or less with the career that I have right now, but there is a long road ahead and I somehow know that I am unable to give my best right now because there are externalities affecting my efforts towards my dreams. However, there are other life skills that I am learning which I would not have there not been externalities. We keep planning our lives and life is like Malinga who gives fastball, bouncer, twister which you can’t predict, either you hit the ball like Dhoni or you play safe like Dravid or you duck and change the rules in Galli Cricket. But the point is, you plan goes like a catch out when life becomes the bowler. So just keep playing, and as far as getting the shit together is concerned, well, I’ll talk about that in the next post because I am tired now of writing and giving all these cricket references which I don’t really understand.

I honestly started off to write something else and ended up writing this, so I guess that’s what life is. Keep playing.

 

life

Women in My Life

This one is basically for the women in my life.

I have a couple of super strong women around me. The one woman who comes on the top is my mother. She is actually a superwoman, who gets up before the sun rises and runs the house like a boss. The entire family depends on her for every tiny thing. She takes care of her job, of herself and of everyone and everything in the house. She is the powerhouse of love, scoldings, care, and discipline. She motivates me to be better. Yes, she is my friend and sometimes, I fight with her for unreasonable stuff. I am not proud of it, I feel guilty for a long time after having a fight with her. Even when things have sorted, I still feel bad and not good enough as a daughter for losing my temper with her over something really stupid. We tend to take our mothers for granted and I do that too sometimes, not a healthy thing to do but I still do. But the best part is my mother gives me chances to improve and we both grow as individuals in the process. Now, enough of the fangirling over my mother, I can do that for ages and still do a fuck up and upset my mom over something where she is right.

Anyway, I am here to appreciate the women in my life and the womanly bonds. Being in girls’ college has been in the biggest blessing in my life because it taught me to be “Me” and move away from being the conscious, insecure individual who felt she was too fat, not good enough for herself, it helped me overcome my loneliness. I learned to turn the feeling of loneliness into peaceful solitude. It also taught me to be a supportive woman as well as helped me build my own support system. You find all kinds of girls and women in an all-girls set up and you find women you admire, women you love and you also find women who are irritating to the core and when you spend three years in a place like that you understand how irritating you get as a woman for the people in your life and how to change your behavior so that everyone around is moving towards their goals, there is peace, there is understanding even in conflicting thoughts and opinions and less drama. You also identify where there is actually a need for the drama. So, all in all, being in girls college has helped me become better as a woman and as a human being too.

We often tend to blame the patriarchy and the men for the societal pressures, judgments, and taboos, what I have come to realize is that women are also a part of the problem. Women in India are quite insecure in general and it could be with regard to anything. Some are insecure with regard to their bodies, some are insecure with regard to their friendships and relationships, some are insecure with regard to career and some tend to have multiple forms of insecurities and these insecurities are not with respect to men. We have majorly accepted patriarchy as a form of social structure, women are insecure of other women and hence they tend to display cold and passive aggressive and sometimes bitchy behavior to the women around. Women are mostly insecure of each other rather than anybody else. This is my personal observation and I could be majorly wrong here as well but this is what I have observed in my experience with several women, women who are young to me and who are elder to me, the age does not matter, to be honest. I know women at 20 years of age who are more mature than me and I know women who are 10 years elder to me and are still immature with regard to their general behavior so age does not guarantee maturity in a person. It is quite hard to find the kind of bonding men share among themselves when we study women friendships and bonding. There is bound to be some form of an issue at one point or the other in strong women bondings and friendships.

But I have had such strong healthy relationships with certain women that I cannot help but say that if all the women in this whole wide world just start supporting each other, trust me that this world will be much better in all forms. I want to dedicate this post to Paridhi, Kameshwari, Ekansha Di, Adritanaya, Trishala, Sonal, Monal, Eshita and a couple of other women in my life who simply support. I don’t talk to either of them on a daily or a regular basis. I have occasional conversations with them and the conversations and meet-ups may be small or long but whenever it takes place, the talks and the energies and the vibes are so empowering that both the people involved feel so charged up and happy. It’s like the motivational and inspirational powerhouse that each of us goes about doing our own business feeling better about ourselves, our lives and we strengthen each other’s inner strength. These women can be found even in your professional setting, these women can be your friends and these women can be merely acquaintances but having women around who help each other grow is such a blessing. It’s not that we are not insecure. Each one of us is insecure with regard to different things in our lives but the difference here is that we are not insecure of each other. We want each other to do well, yes, it is human to not feel good if someone is doing better than you and especially when that someone is your friend, there is bound to be some sort of pain in that reality, however, why I am writing this post is that the women that I mentioned above are either elder to me or younger to me or have been my classmates but each one of them understands that each individual is on their own journey and will achieve things that they are meant to achieve in their own time. I have never seen these women put other people down or be cold to someone. They are so secure in their lives and trust themselves enough that they will get through their insecurities that I cannot help but admire each one of them in their own ways. And no, these women are not perfect, they do have their bad days and breakdowns and heartbreaks and feel vulnerable too but that really doesn’t mean that they are not strong. These women are the strongest warriors because they embrace their vulnerabilities and move past them.

I have no ulterior motive of writing this post, I have written this post purely to appreciate these women. And also, to let the other women make aware of the fact that its high time that we start changing ourselves and let go of being insecure of each other and unite as a unit because if we just do that, we help each other become better as humans. Most of my friends talk about office politics, but I have been blessed in the sense that I don’t experience that. I happen to have such a healthy work environment and my colleagues, all of them are supportive. However, two people-Himanshi and Parisha do deserve a special mention here because, in the professional setting, we often say that it is hard to find friends, which is true because there is so much competition, we as Indians have learned the concept and idea of competition since the beginning of our school and we take that attitude of competition even in the official setting, however, in my office, I have experienced collective growth. These two women have helped me in so many ways over the past couple of months that I am really grateful to them and it’s not like we have not had our issues, being human you are bound to make mistakes and have issues, however, learning from mistakes and moving ahead together counts for maturity and respect for each other. It’s about believing in yourself and believing in the people around you.

And it is also about giving. You can’t grow if you only want to be at the receiving end. You only get what you give, it’s about mutual regard, mutual respect, and admiration for each other. You can only give to another woman (or human, as a matter of fact), if you feel secure within yourself and you have something to give, it could be knowledge, it could be love, it could be time, it could be anything, and this form of giving doesn’t take anything away from you. It rather helps you become richer as a human being. So the key is that first give to yourself, accept yourself, love yourself and believe in yourself and then give yourself to the people around, radiate love, respect, knowledge, regard. Appreciate people when you feel like appreciating them. Tell them what you like about them, you never know but you might make someone’s day if they are feeling low. And most importantly, be honest while appreciating. If you admire someone and you don’t like a particular thing that they did or are doing, there is a nice way to convey the truth out to them, it is important to call out for the mistakes too, be honest and be open. I have had friends and colleagues come up to me and call me out for my mistakes- these mistakes could be unintentional or intentional, and sure, it does really feel bad when you receive criticism but do check if it is constructive criticism and if it is, do make the necessary changes in your behavior, try to correct the situation if you can and accept and acknowledge your mistake. Also, be grateful to the people for being honest with you because by doing that you are strengthening your bond. Acknowledging other person’s feelings and understanding them actually works for better for both of you. Do that in your personal and professional world and you will see tremendous improvements.

We as women are really powerful, each one of us, and we all just realize our powers and potentials, we can actually brighten up this world in a beautiful way.

So here it is for the women in my life who continue to do good and inspire me in different ways.

Also, note that towards the end, this post is less about womanly bonds, it is becoming general because, at the end of the day, it is about being human. One day you can feel like a man, the other day you may feel like a woman and some days you feel like both and somedays you feel like you don’t want to be a man and you don’t want to be a woman, what you really want to be is just a sloth sleeping all day in bed, it’s okay. It’s okay as long as you know the language of love for life, you can be anything.

life · story

Let go of the Middle

It’s about letting go of the middle.

I am on a journey, a journey of making changes in my daily life. And I try to rationalize everything that happens on the outside and how I react on the inside and thereby creating my own reality.

In the past 72 hours, I have understood that it is extremely important to have a good start to the day as well as a happy end to the day because if either of these is not good, it affects the entire ball game of life that happens in the middle of the day.

A negative episode took place day before yesterday, i.e. Monday.  My start was great, yes there were ups and downs throughout the day but since I had an amazing start, my reactions to the downs of the day were subtle and mature rather than getting too affected. Around evening, something happened that I had to be harsh and negative towards one person who was an acquaintance. I dealt with the situation in the best possible way but I felt bad for being negative but it was necessary to protect my mental peace in the long run. And negativity hampers my physical well being. I am an emotional creature. I could be in extreme physical pain but if I have my heart in the right place, the pain fades away purely with emotional strength and mental strength, however if I am doing absolutely fine physically but if I get hurt or I am getting affected by the negativity around, I will develop aches and fever which will only go after I have my heart clear.

A negative end to a day, or sleeping over the thing that hurts does not make things better, the next day gets affected too. I woke up fine the next morning of the episode and on a very normal everyday conversation at the breakfast table, I snapped at my brother and mother at the same time and then ended up with a nervous breakdown in like 3 minutes and rushed to the office without really resolving my issues. And then the weather was not kind too. Winter rains are beautiful if you don’t have to travel a lot to your workplace, otherwise, they are just irritating and biting cold giving you a sneeze attack which lasts for hours.  And with such a start to the day, things went downhill. Things kept on happening throughout the day and it was really hard to hold back all the tears. And the first thing I did when I entered the home after such a day, I hugged my mother and just cried. I said nothing, just cried and then headed for working out and burning some calories. And I am so glad that I have started working out because it does releases happy hormones, not totally, but my mood improved by 5% and then I ate my mother’s mind with everything that was bothering me after coming back from the workout. Resolved all the issues in my own head, cleared my heart and my headspace and then had a beautiful end to the day and woke up in gratitude. In gratitude for the life I have and for the people, I have in my life.

If the start and end are good, we can deal with the middle. Anything can happen in the middle of the day and it will happen because it is life and we don’t have control over most of the things in our life. What we have control over is how we react in our inner world, how we respond to the situations and people. And it is from personal experience and understanding that if the start and the end are good, we can deal with the worst possible things in the middle with ease and if either of the start or the end is not that good, if we go to sleep with issues or wake up with issues we can’t really enjoy our day and make the most of our time. And while this has been my experience, you can have a different take and opinion on the same and it is okay because we are all learning here. We are all different people, dealing with different issues in life differently. But sometimes, stories and realizations like these can help for you to reflect upon your own story.

If you can, take control of the start and the end of your day consciously and just let go of the middle because if you have your anchors in place, let the storms come, you will sail through.

Much love. Have a beautiful day.

life · scribbles · story

Side Dish

Don’t allow yourself to be a side dish in somebody’s life, always insist on being the main course.

-Ranran

This post is about friendships. My circle of friends has always been really small, people come and they go. Hardly there are people who end up staying for years. I have like five people in my life who have been really important to me and who make feel important too. But sometimes your heart gets broken even in friendships and your friends are not even at fault but you just get hurt and at the same time you don’t want to feel the way you do but you do because you’re only human.

I am at a point in my life where every single person around me, from school, from college and from all different walks of life are committed and I feel like I am the only single one around and I often feel abandoned in my friendships and honestly, that sucks. It’s like you’re happy for your friends but at the same time, they make you feel that you are no longer wanted neither your presence is needed and you’re basically an outsider. And it does not matter if you’re friends for 8 years, 5 years or any god damn period, you are not the main person anymore. They don’t need you anymore to tell their stories to you, they have “their” person now and you’re just encroaching upon the other person’s time which was once yours.

And well it takes time to accept and get okay with this scenario because you love your friends despite this fact and you also know where you stand so you take a step back.

And then “The Break Up” happens and suddenly you become the main person because you’ve always been there even when they were not there and you love, you love because you love. It’s that simple and you tell your friend that you felt like a side dish at one point when they got into a relationship and they apologize and tell you how much you matter to them and then they tell you that you are special and important and everything goes back to normal and then they again find “their” person and you meet “The Couple”, feel like a family and then again the whole cycle repeats and you’re just hurt. You’re not even mad and you just feel like disappearing because you are so easily replaceable. You’re made to feel like just a side dish which no one really gives a fuck about. And you don’t even feel like being mad at your friends because they look so happy and so much in love. You don’t want to break their happy bubble by bringing in how they are making you feel.

I have lost three people who were my so-called “best friends” just because they fell in love and I left their lives and they didn’t even bother to notice. And if they didn’t even notice, how will they ever ask me to stay or stop. So, I don’t call anyone my best friend now because I really don’t have one. But I do have my people whom I know that they understand me and they are there for me and are going to be there for me. But that’s the thing, whenever I get hurt, I close down. That’s the time when I need someone but then I will keep lying to myself that I don’t need anyone and I’ll be fine and I do get fine but I also end up pushing away the people who actually care about me and my existence. And I don’t want to make the same mistake again. This post is dedicated to them, thank you. Thank you for being there and making me feel like I matter to you.

Someone recently told me that “You feel too much, You’re an overwhelming person and people are not comfortable being with people who feel the way you do”

This one is dedicated to the ones who actually put up with the girl who feels too much and goes overboard sometimes. I love you. Thank you for asking me “How are you doing?” occasionally, thank you for telling me that “you are there”, thank you for telling me that “you love me” even when I am not so lovable on some of the days.

Thank you for treating me like the main course on some days, instead of just a side dish.

life · scribbles · story

Adult Relationships

As a girl in her early twenties, I see my Instagram and Facebook be full of posts of my friends having their own tribe, their own people, who have been constants, which have been in their lives for a long period of time. Everyone just seems to have a best friend, a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a bunch of people who are always there.

People have people to hang out with, to call, to go celebrating with, to cry with. They have their groups from school, from college, from office, from tuitions. Everybody just seems to be having someone to hug, having someone to cry with, having a decade old best friend or something like that. But this is what I see on social media, I don’t have much clue about their real life in depth. And for a very long time, it used to make me feel lonely for the lack of a best friend or a boyfriend in life. I have always feared that everyone I will love oh so dearly will leave my life because they have always left in the past. I never had a strong-knit group in the school, in college or in post graduation. I only had individual friendships and connections which have been so fulfilling but I always yearned for something I didn’t have. It’s human nature to look at what is not there rather than be grateful for the abundance that we already have.

But this year had been life-changing in terms of how I perceive my own life. It has taught me to trust, to depend, to let my guard down, to open up and to love. It has taught me to be more receptive to learning, to break my prejudices, to understand the other person and most importantly understand myself.

Adult relationships and friendships can be complicated if you have been a closed person in the past who has a hard time accepting changes in life and changes in the equation with the people around. It is always said that we are a what we are because of the people that surround us. Surround yourself with good people, your life will change automatically, for good.

My fears of having my loved ones leave, never let me get involved into a friendship or a relationship completely because I was lacking faith and trust in the fact that when people leave, I won’t be able to manage. As much as I enjoyed solitude, I was lonely deep down because of my fears of being lonely, being left alone so before anyone could hurt me or come close enough to me that I can cry in front of them or reach out to them when I am sitting at the bathroom floor weeping about something, I would push that person away. I have only talked about my traumas or bad days when I have actually overcome them but never when I am having those moments because I didn’t trust anyone enough to take care of me or to be put it more honestly I never felt worthy enough to let someone waste their precious time listening to me cry. But this year all of this changed, I got too much involved with all my heart and I could not be more glad about it because..well you’ll know at the end of this post. 

This year has taught me to value myself and to be kind to myself first. I would always go out of the way for the people I love but I would never do that for myself. I will always be so hard on myself and will be a person who gets sad often because I wanted more out of myself. But this year I feel that I have improved each day because of the people around me. I have been so blessed to have found a best friend in my mother and to have been able to let my guard down with one or two people this year. This year I learned to depend and then to become independent too when there were changes. Mostly, whenever I happen to experience a change in my relationship or in my life in general which I do not like because it takes away the comfort zone, I would get bitter and close myself but this time I saw these changes as an evolutionary change, as a new experience, as an opportunity to be a better human than I was a day ago and in some cases, a couple of hours ago.

I am human and I have feelings. There are times when I feel disappointed, hurt, sad too but I have learned to heal myself. And I am learning to love with an open heart and I cannot describe how happy it makes me feel. Adult relationships and friendships don’t seem too complicated or hard now. The people in my life and my mother have helped me changed my perspective on myself, on my life and on the changes and the challenges life has to offer and my dear one, life begins to change only when you do. So, anyone who is reading this post, I wish you love, luck, and inner strength because when you are surrounded by these things, the world around you changes.

Now I don’t feel sad or lonely by seeing people celebrate or post pictures with their best friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends because every individual is different and we all have different kinds of personalities and relationships. I have learned to make peace with my solitude and love the people who make my life so much happier without getting the feeling of pseudo loneliness because I always have my loved ones around when I need them the most. And even when I don’t have them, I have myself. I am learning to accept my vulnerabilities and strengths in a way I never identified them before. And I am thankful to the universe for helping me see the things the way I am seeing them now. And in adulthood, we all need to learn this one important fact- you need not have a constant presence of someone around you to know that they love you or care for you or you love them or care for them. We are adults who have different lives. There will be a phase when you will be completely involved in someone else’s life and you will let them come close to you but when it’s time to be an adult, be one.  A healthy relationship is the one where two independent people help each other grow and bring out the best in one another and help each other make the best out of their lives.

Dushmani toh muft hai
Bas dosti ki fees hai
Dosti ki fees hai…

Oh bhai re…
Dil hai ki gehri khai re

Apparently dosti ki fees nhi hai.

Pyaar dosti hai

Aur zindagi bas pyaar hai

Aur khud se dosti karlo to duniya dost hai, zindagi khush hai aur khushi ek aisi cheez hai jo hamare haath mei hai.

It does not mean that when you are having a bad day or feel hurt, by just thinking to be happy you will be happy. No you will feel the pain but you will also see a ray of light in the darkness that life is putting you through and it will be enough for you to sustain and then shine like a star when the darkness slowly fades.

We live in a dual world, without sadness, there cannot be happiness and without tragedies, there would be no comedy. Just keep playing along and love my friend. Love for your own self and life around you and peace within are the most important things in life at any point. So just keep loving. Don’t seek love, become love aur zindagi gulzar hai.

I have made the mistake of seeking love and I keep repeating this mistake too but when I am able to just love without seeking anything in return that just makes me so much happier. And I am grateful for those days when I feel love myself and don’t seek it and it automatically comes to me making me feel fuller. ❤