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.

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scribbles · story

Is independence a complete concept?

Disclaimer: This article is written from a girl’s point of view living in Indian society. It does not intend to take a jibe at any of the existing concepts. Please read this with an open mind and don’t take things personally. I, as an author of this article, am open to your views and ideas on the issue. This article has manifested as a result of several conversations with my friends and various people around me, observations of events and daily incidences that have been taking place around me for more than 5 years. All the stories that I narrate here are real with no fictional element attached to them. Thank you.

I know what you’re thinking. Why have I added this disclaimer? It’s because whenever I try to raise any perspective regarding sensitive issues in society, before actually understanding the thought behind it, people get offended for no reason. My readers must understand that I am a student and I am learning. This blog is my space of expressing my thoughts and ideas and I am open to new perspectives too. I do not intend to get involved in unnecessary online debates, if you have something to say regarding what I think, please feel free to say that and allow me time to think from your point of view. We are all different people with different stories and we all perceive things differently, so without being mean to each other, let’s respect one another thoughts and have a constructive discussion rather than social media trolling or banter.

Now coming to the actual content, the question of Independence is a tricky one. Please note that Independence here is being talked about with reference to Indian women because, in India, men are the more privileged ones by the virtue of their gender in a patriarchal society.

As a kid, we were always taught about equality, human rights, basic fundamental independence to make a choice but as I grew up I realized how flawed our understanding is. Men and women are definitely not equal in any of the aspects. While feminism talks about equality and making the world a better place because we all should just treat each other as humans first. We need to understand that men and women are different with regard to their physicality, their psychology, their emotional quotient, their intelligence quotient, and these differences exist within the same gender too. No two individual human being can ever be exactly the same. But when we have to talk in general terms, men and women are wired differently and a lot of their behaviors depend on their upbringing, the kind of environment they have lived in, what they read and the kind of exposure they have of the world.

Independence does not come naturally to Indian women. I am the elder sister and still, there are occasions when I have to go to the local market after 8PM, my mother asks me to take my younger brother along, which does not make sense because

  1. He does not want to leave his work
  2. It is my own area, my own locality, so what it is late?

Safety is the issue. I get that. I get their valid concerns and it hurts because I am helpless. I cannot convince my parents that I am safe in Delhi after 8PM because I know I am not. I have to keep my eyes and ears open at all times even during the daytime. Live locations and informing my parents whether I have reached my destination safely or not has been a daily practice. But we are talking about independence here, not the safety issue.

Girls and women in India need to pick their battles for independence. Independence to make a decision, make a choice, travel, be themselves basically. Independence to wear clothes, to date, to eat what they want to eat,  to develop sexual relations with someone, to travel solo, to get ahead in a career, to study, to make a choice regarding their life and so many other trivial things which are basically daily routine things.

What I feel is that independence is, first of all, a state of mind and then it is defined by the people and situations around you.

Now I’ll tell you where I got the motivation to write this post. It was during one of the conversations with a friend of mine. So, I had to deliver a package to another friend who used to be my batchmate in college and she sent her boyfriend to collect it and just like that, I was talking about my day to that friend and she just said- “you know you are too independent for your own good. Men appreciate it when you seek help from them. They don’t like women who are too independent because independent women like you challenge the male authority. Any alpha male will not like an alpha female and that’s exactly why you’ve remained single throughout. You don’t share your work or burden with the men in your life, try doing that, someone might date you.”

Okay, so first of all, with no offense to that friend, I truly believe that she is deeply conditioned by the patriarchal society and has accepted the ideas that she has been fed with. Secondly, I believe that the minds of the Indian women are not independent. They have started to believe that they are the weaker sex while they are not. A woman is definitely not as physically strong as a man but the kind of emotional and mental strength that women have been gifted with is commendable and if any individual, be it a man or a woman conquer the limitations of their minds is unstoppable.

I also feel that women under the pretext of lack of independence tend to exploit the men in their lives. Because while there are struggles of being a woman in Indian society, there are different kinds of struggles of being a man too. And if a man happens to be sensitive enough, girls do play their card of being a girl. I have seen quite a lot of emotionally unavailable men in my life, a lot of them have been my friends and for some reason, I have seen the guys who have been labeled as “emotionally unavailable” cry in front of me and I could not be more glad about it because they have helped me understand the psychology of a normal average guy and their pressures. Now, as a girl, I have always felt that men have more independence as compared to women and while that’s true, but it helped me realize that independence is not a complete concept in itself. You can not be completely independent, whether you are a man or a woman. Independence in terms of getting things done on a daily basis, emotional quotient, mental quotient are all different aspects and while you can be independent in one aspect, you may not be independent in another aspect and it is okay. Independence while it is a personal choice, it is also affected by several other circumstances around you.

I don’t know if I have successfully made a point here in this post or raised a question here because I am still pretty much confused with the concept of independence, so please share your ideas and experiences.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Books · story

Books I read in 2018

Dear All,

Wishing you an extremely Happy New Year. Every year I read a lot of books and plan to write a blog about the books that I read and it has been happening for two years. But I would always procrastinate it and never document my reads of the year. So after failing this thought of documenting the reads in 2016 and 2017, I am actually going to act on this thought and make sure I make it a regular practice.

2017 was also the year where I picked too many books to read and left a lot of them incomplete. But 2018 was different, I read and I finished the books, not all but most of them to be honest.

  1. Madhushala by Harivansh Rai Bachchan
    I had picked this book randomly while walking in CP around Christmas of 2017. Madhushala is one poem which I have heard on Youtube quite a couple of times but never read it until I picked this up and each and every stanza/couplet was so beautiful and so meaningful that I kept on re-reading this book for a long time. It is definitely a recommended read. ❤

    I am not a fan of Hindi Book Reading but this one was a good start with a simple language. There were words whose meanings I did not get but I have great friends who helped so yeah.

  2. Amrita Imroz: A Love Story by Uma Trilok
    It is a love story and life story of Amrita Pritam. Amrita Pritam is one of the most celebrated poets of her time, a woman with a rebellious and feminist character. Her poems touch your soul and they often find references in Bollywood movies. Reading this book was a beautiful journey in itself.
  3. Dohanomics by Vinayak Sapre
    This one taught investment lessons with the help of Dohas of Kabir and Rahim. In childhood, we all have read Rahim and Kabir Dohas in Hindi and have written several exams. Who knew that Dohas could teach economic lessons. This book holds a special place not for what it taught me but what it made me do. This book made me conduct a book discussion at my university. I had an interaction with students, my seniors, my juniors, teachers and we tried to find economic lessons in various other forms of literature. And it was one hell of a successful event.
  4. Delhi by Heart by Raza Rumi
    This book was a Christmas gift by a friend of mine. It came all the way from Banaras. I had started reading this in December 2017 but ended up finish reading it in January 2018. And it was one of the most insightful and beautiful books on Delhi I have ever read. This book has my heart.
    If you don’t like Delhi as a city, read this one and you will end up falling in love with the imperfect city that we live in. Delhi is polluted and it’s air is contaminated and everyone wants to leave the city for better breath but this city has so much love and this book will make you feel that love.
  5. Love by Jeanette Winterson
    A vintage mini, an okay read. It had some good lines but that’s about it.
  6. Paaji Nazmein By Gulzar
    Beautiful book. Gulzar Sahab is a legend. What can you really say? I have a couple of favorite poems from this one.
  7. Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders
    A collection of words from different languages across the globe about certain trivial things. It makes you feel like a child while you read it. ❤
  8. A Little Book of Happiness by Ruskin Bond
    Ruskin Bond is my favorite author and his little books are a precious collection of quotes. Always recommended.
  9. The Book of Nizamuddin Aulia by Mehru Jaffer
    What a beauty! This is one informative book, which teaches well and also gives you a good sufi playlist. All the songs like Chaap Tilak have a story behind them and this book narrates those stories and give the sufi songs a beautiful dimension.
  10. The Love Letter and other stories by Buddhadeva Bose
    This book has some heart-wrenching stories and quotes. I have a diary where I put in my favorite quotes from the books I read. Quotes that touch my heart. This book finds quite a lot of it’s paragraphs in that pretty diary of mine. ❤
  11. Desire by Haruki Murakami
    Good Read.
  12. Titanic: The Story Of Unsinkable Ship
    Don’t remember much of it, okay read.
  13. The Nine Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat
    What a book! It gives different perspectives and makes you question a lot of things and people and ideas around you.
  14. Her by Pierrie Alex Jeanty
    Beautiful poetry collection which will mostly make you feel the joy of being a woman.
  15. Moon Theory by R.M Drake
    Poems you need to read on your bad days. Basically self empowering poetry.
  16. Reflections of a Man by Mr. Amari Soul
    Okayish, can pick it up. I feel it’s overhyped.
  17. A Strangely Wrapped Gift by Emily Byrnes
    Beautiful poems and the book is very pretty. But that’s pretty much about it.
  18. Hot Tea Across India by Rishad Saam Mehta
    This book was chosen carefully. I was going on my first office trip to the hills and wanted to take along a perfect travel read and this proved to be one. It has several travel stories and tea moments. So, if you are fond of reading while being on a journey and a tea addict like me, go for it. Pick it up only when you are traveling because it makes the reading experience all the more fun.
  19. Nude Poems by Vishal Bhardwaj
    This was a gift from a friend of mine and it proved to be a beautiful read. I finished reading this book early in the morning around 7AM while sitting on the banks of Tirthan River. So this book is very special because of the emotions it invoked and because of the reading experience I had.
  20. Labour in Contemporary India by Praveen Jha
    Technical read. Good one for economics people.
  21. Beautiful Chaos by R.M Drake
    Self Help Poetry which makes you feel better about life when you feel a little down.
  22. Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet
    This is a pure erotic collection and an amazing one at that. You don’t need a man to turn you on. The words in these are enough to explore the sexual feelings and emotions that are often suppressed and hidden because of the society we live in.
  23. A Little Book Of Serenity by Ruskin Bond
    Absolute Beauty! Reading this will make you feel serene even in chaos.
  24. Would you like some bread with that book and other instances of Literary Love by Veena Venugopal
    This book made me feel that I am not alone. The author felt like my soul sister. She described why books are so important to her and her experiences while reading several books. She had the same fictional crushes like I had and she also had similar thoughts while reading certain books like I had so it felt a little spooky. I wrote her a fanmail and never got a response, well that’s not something new.
  25. 50 Cups of Coffee by Khushnuma Daruwala
    This book talks about hilarious dating experiences for weird girls like me who read too much, have high unrealistic standards and are mostly looking for Mr. Right but end up disappointed. I legit fell off the bed laughing while reading this book.
  26. Eleven Ways to Love-Essays
    Best Book of 2018. Read it to feel it. I can write an entire blog post on this alone. But I don’t want to give any spoilers for the same. But it’s a must read!
  27. He’s Just Not That Into You
    Absolutely useless book. Don’t read. Your friends are enough to tell you whether a guy likes you or he is just playing with your emotions. 😛
  28. Ninety-Seven Poems by Terribly Tiny Tales
    Good Book. Simply bought it because it was crazy pretty!
  29. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson
    Too relatable. Beautiful comic book. This book is me. XD
  30. Public Policy in India by Chakrawarty and Sanyal
    Good academic read. Recommended for people in social sciences.
  31. Pathways to Economic Development by A.K. Dutt
    Good academic read. Recommended for people in social sciences.
  32. The Rabbit and The Squirrel by Siddharth Dhanvat Shangvi
    ❤ ❤ ❤
  33. A Little Book of Courage by Ruskin Bond
    I read this book for free while standing in the bookstore for 1.5 hours and pretending that I am not free riding while I was absolutely doing the free riding shit. It takes courage to read a little book of courage for free 😛
  34. The Pajamas are Forgiving by Twinkle Khanna
    Cute light read.
  35. What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey
    Tells you nothing new but will make you see and appreciate the positive things in life and how you can choose to be happy even in messy days
  36. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    A Christmas ritual read.
  37. The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
    I LOVE CALVIN! THE END.

Books that I picked up but did not finish reading (Will write about them when I finish reading them)

  1. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  2. The Soul Of Rumi: New Collection of Poems by Coleman Barks
  3. Nation’s Favorite Love Poems by BBC
  4. The city of Djinns by William Dalrymple

Basically, it was a good year in terms of reading. I did not read as much as I could have because most of my time went in reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth until I got too tired of it. At one point, I thought I will get married before the girl in the book. It has 1500+ pages and I have covered more than 50% of the book but there is still a long way to go, I hope to finish reading this book in 2019.

Feel free to share your thoughts and favorite reads in the comment section.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Reading!

 

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. ❤

 

scribbles · story

Exam Halls are Meditation Centers

Well, this year has been quite eventful and uneventful at the same time.

Usually, when I go for an exam, I am so well prepared that if I reach early, I revise the entire syllabus in the waiting time in my head but this time I was unprepared for an exam and I reached the exam hall an hour early. I went inside and I had nothing to do, there was absolute silence, we were not supposed to talk to the stranger sitting next to us, we neither had a pen or a paper to doodle or phones or anything. I just had to sit in one place doing nothing at all.

I stared at all the people around me, I looked at people’s clothes, I counted the number of lights and fans in the room, I basically observed every single thing around me and I watched my mind having all sorts of thoughts. There was a constant conversation between me and my mind where I was asking my mind to stop thinking about all the rubbish shit it was thinking and cooking up random scenarios, all of them had to stop and I came back to the present moment and then there was this conversation- exactly why I should stop thinking and be in the present moment because darling, there is officially nothing to do in the present moment except to stare at the clock and time pass by like that before the exam begins.

And that is when it hit me that exam halls are pseudo meditation centers.

I was constantly aware of my thoughts, my surroundings, my mind, and my breath too and when the question paper was in front of me, I was not thinking about how I am hungry or how someone had hurt me or anything like that. I was completely there, writing my exam and I did not even for once think that if I had studied, I would be writing a better exam, no. I had all these thoughts and reflections after the exam was over and I was riding back in the metro.

Now I finally understand that why life is called an exam, life in itself is a very big and giant exam and we all are constantly living that exam except that we are not aware that we are writing an exam and hence we often fail because we don’t live in the present moment, we are always living in a world created in the past or in future but not where we are exactly.

Let’s change that. Should we?

 

 

 

life · story

The Question of Maturity

2018 is not over yet.

In my last post where I talked about how this year had been and how we all have 40 days left to make the most of the last chapter of 2018, I had been right.

There is so much more to learn and each day is different.

The person I was at the beginning of this year and the person I am and the person I am becoming are totally different and I am being really hopeful about the change here.

My tolerance levels for drama have gone to under zero. I don’t want any sort of drama because this year was filled with it and I have had my share of the drama.

This year was a year of realizations and relationships. Life is nothing but a relationship.

Life-

  1. Relationship with our own self
  2. Relationship with our family
  3. Relationship with our teachers, co-workers
  4. Relationship with our friends
  5. Relationship with our health
  6. Relationship with our work
  7. Relationship with our peace
  8. And the list of relationships goes on and on….

This year was full of ups and downs, there were big highs and big lows and the process is still on!

There were great successes achieved and there have been failures and I know of an upcoming failure as well and that is a result of my “Karma” or the lack of “Karma” for my exam tomorrow.

The highlight of this year was travels and the trips I happened to take. I have rebelled like anything and I have gone insane with that and have managed to come back to my sanity. So, all in all, a circle was completed.

This year I got close to 2 people- one a 20-year-old and the other a 30-year-old and somehow in between I felt myself changing.

In one scenario, I let a 20-year-old to depend on me completely and invade in my space and in the other scenario, I opened up as a person and started to depend on the 30-year-old, I basically lost all my barriers and walls in both the scenarios. I did not set any boundaries in either situation and if you look at it, the circle is again complete- I can think both as a dependent on someone and as a dependable person on whom the other person depended on. And oh boy, it’s tough to be decisive when you know how to think from both ends.

And the entire question is of “space”

Each individual is entitled to his/her own space. 

No one owes anyone anything. 

Each individual is on his/her own. 

Boundaries matter. No matter how anyone says that there are no boundaries in a friendship, there are. There are boundaries at home too and we outgrow our homes at times, outgrowing ourselves and the relationships around us is natural and sometimes necessary. The only permanent thing in life is the change and change is good because it keeps on giving you a reminder to not take anything or anyone for granted. We often tend to take our mothers for granted, we must not do that. Whenever I behave in a fashion that my mother feels that I am taking her for granted, she calls it out to me and I try my best but habits like these take time to change because my mother allowed me to take her for granted so many times on so many occasions. 

Coming back to the scenarios I was discussing up here, I now cannot stand to listen to my 20-year-old, I need to mentally prepare myself to spend time with her because spending time with her is mentally exhausting. And it does not mean I do not love her, I love her a lot but at the same time, I love my mental peace. Setting up boundaries in this scenario was hurtful initially because I did not want to hurt but I was hurting her by asking her to not depend on me or invade in my space unless it’s a “genuine” crisis situation.

In the second scenario, there is less drama, there is more love and regard but there is some tension which keeps cropping up due to my constant presence in my friend’s daily routine and it causes guilt. I am not getting any blame or negativity from anyone else but the guilt which crops up within me because I happen to disrupt the peace in his personal life.

Now why this post is titled “The Question of Maturity”

Here is why.

I felt that somewhere between 20-year-old and a 30-year-old, the 23-year-old me grew up. I felt like a mature person which I did not for a long time. (Are you also fascinated by the play of the number 2 and 3 in the above sentence, because I am.)

But there is a long way to maturity. I did not mature but I started my journey and I guess that is good enough for now.

We are all brought up as kids, everything was ordered and we were expected to obey. First, we are conditioned by our parents, then we are conditioned by our teachers and then at some point we are conditioned by our friends and we end up losing our own personal voice.

Whenever I am about to do something, there is a thought about what would my mother say or what would so and so person say because there is a compulsive need to be liked and be accepted by the people I live with. I always think about not disappointing anyone I love but I do end up disappointing people around me in some form or the other.

Note to self: You cannot make people happy. You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness or sadness. You are only responsible for your own happiness and peace. The Moment you attach your happiness with a person, an achievement or an event or a milestone or anything, as a matter of fact, you are on your road to be an unhappy person. 

Maturity means the understanding to decide for oneself, the understanding to be decisive on your own. To stand on your own feet — that’s what maturity is. And I am on my way. I have miles to walk to become mature in the real sense. When someone attains full maturity, one becomes a dangerous human being. Because he goes on doing his own thing — he does not bother what people say, what their opinion is. He does not hanker for respectability, for prestige; he does not bother for honour. He lives his own life — he lives it at any cost. He is ready to sacrifice everything, but he is never ready to sacrifice his freedom.

And we restrict our own freedom, I restrict my freedom with my thoughts, with my desire to please the people around me and I restrict my own freedom because of my personal fears. I am not yet a danger to the society around me but I would like to be at some point.

And I guess I have found the theoretical answer to the question of maturity, but I am also aware that this answer will change its meaning with time and with experiences of life.

And what all I have written above will not resonate with a lot of people, each individual has his own ideas, thoughts, and opinions on the basis of which he lives his life.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, may each day be a new one and may each one of my readers, become a better person than they were yesterday because it is through personal growth we all make the world around us a better place.

 

story

40 days to go

The Start of 2018

Every year around this time, I start to get all positive and just analyze my entire year which has gone by and try to make the last chapter, a memorable one. During this time of the year, I make changes which are long-lasting, which tend to define the person I want to be.

So, around this time, I mend things which have gone all wrong. So, if I have had a fight with someone around March this year, I’ll definitely message and make sure that all grudges are dropped, apologies are made and chapters end on a good note and I become open to new possibilities in life. It’s just a very tiny practice but it is also something that makes my life a lot more happy and comfortable for myself and the people around me. That’s my way for having peace within my mind and I feel that if I am peaceful, I have more to offer rather than when I feel chaotic in my own head and skin.

Since I do this every year, analyzing my year and seeing where I have grown up and where I have messed up, I feel that this is one year where I have learned the most.

This year began with my final semester of post-graduation, where I had to work on my dissertation and I remember that it was so much struggle to have a topic finalized for my dissertation because the one I really wanted to work on did not get approved due to the university guidelines and protocol and I had to go for a mainstream topic and put my heart and soul into it. And I clearly remember that eight of my ideas got rejected and while other students have already started working on their project, I was still struggling to get my topic finalized, even after a month of the beginning of the project timeline. That was the first time I cried badly this year and trust me I have cried way too much this year. You’ll know if you continue reading. So, after having my breakdown during that period, I pulled up my sleeves and worked like a proper professional, and aced my dissertation with full marks.

Side Note 1: During my dissertation, I remember developing so much stress that I had several physical ailments, some of which are still there. My dissertation project acknowledgment thanks the one person who invented Paracetamol because that drug saved me literally.

January to April went by sailing through the last semester of post-graduation where I had several breakdowns and emerged with flying colors, trust me I am not bragging, I survived and won the battle I was fighting with myself for myself. I had a job at the end of all the confusion and everything ended on a happy note.

Learning from the first quarter of this year was “Life gets easier when it tests you, when it makes you go through a lot of turmoil, chaos, misery, it also pays you well. All you have to do is to trust the universe, what universe might hold for you often turns out to be better than what you planned for yourself. Sometimes just believing in the goodness and having hope is all it takes.”

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The Year of Meditation Camps

The last day of my post graduation was 7th May 2018 and I had to join office on 15th May 2018. I had a week in between which was spent with my mother at a meditation camp, and that was one positive experience. I learned a lot of things about myself, about the people around me and I would say that one week experience did change me a lot, both for good and bad but at the end of the year when I am writing this, everything happened for good.

There are a lot of things that keep happening and I have always had a habit of burying them somewhere at the back of my mind, not dealing with it, not accepting it either, neither I would come to terms with it, do something about it, they will be just there at the back of my mind, I would not talk about it and when I am either PMSing or having one of the zones when I am overthinking things, they will magnify like monsters and start to consume me. This camp made me more open, it helped me open up to myself rather than anyone else. It made me more of a listener too than I already was and I started analyzing myself as a person a lot. I started questioning my days, myself, my thoughts, people around me, while I was turning into an empath, I was also becoming hard on myself in the process of introspection which I was doing really often after the camp.

During this period I was close to someone whom I would call, mental mirror, a person who had a similar sort of chaos in her head, who thought like me but did not have a simple or sorted or monotonous life like me (Read side note 2), with whom I felt connected to and our bond developed and we were all laughs and cuddles whenever we would meet, it looked unreal at times, people started questioning my sexual orientation at that point, I was assumed to be a lesbian around her and honestly I really didn’t care about that. We both were very much interested in guys and we would gossip a lot. Gossip became a major part of my life because of her, I have always had my life revolve around a certain fixed things and people, I became a part of her chaotic, messy world which was and still is quite happening and full of drama and there came a point that all the laughs and cuddles drained me out, I was not myself anymore, I lost the happy person I used to be. I lost my energies. I was no-where, just lost and turned into a crazy rebel. I absolutely loved this woman and still do but sometimes you have to just have to peace out. A happy friendship became an exhausting relationship.

Side note 2: Drama is good as a filler at times, in long-term, a monotonous life is always better as long as you find joys in simplicity. And as you grow up, you really don’t want drama, you strive for peace. I strive for peace.

During this time, I was also getting close to someone I have often addressed as Farishta. Sometimes I wonder how and why I call him a farishta, so I have always been fond of the story of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz and I read in a book called 40 rules of love-

It is as if for years on end you compile a personal dictionary. In it you give your definition of every concept that matters to you such as truth, happiness, beauty. At every major turning point in life, you refer to this dictionary, hardly ever feeling the need to question its premises. Then one day a stranger comes and snatches away your dictionary and throws it away. “All your definitions need to be redefined”, he says. “It is time for you to unlearn everything you know.” And when this happens, a monotonous life with little colors becomes beautiful and goes back to your original colors of love with which you were born, without the barriers of your mind, your heart. Definitions don’t matter then. Love does.
Love cannot be explained.
It can only be experienced.
Love cannot be explained.
Yet it explains all.

So this person changed so many definitions which I have been carrying on with me. He made my life beautiful in an exquisite kind of way. I have never ever in my life come across such a human being. My life had changed for good. No matter how many years come now, this year will always be a life-changing one because of this fact that the universe chose to bless me with the existence of a farishta around me who had managed to change my belief systems, my personal definitions of love, friendship, relationships, family, life and whatnot in a lot many ways. I finally had a torch to light up whenever my inner demons would become dementors from Harry Potter and would suck away my soul from me.

Side Note 3- Nothing comes in this world for free. The universe always makes sure that whenever something too good happens, there has to be a balance to maintain the neutrality of life. Putting a human being you love on a pedestal is the worst thing you could do to them because in the process you forget they are humans too, they too need comfort and support and someone to look after them even if they appear strong. Strongest people often have trivial vulnerabilities and they have a hard time finding their own farishta. It is extremely important to not forget human nature and the joy and pleasures of being a human being. Reversing roles in a friendship or a relationship is extremely important and love, love. I have often quoted that sometimes love is not enough and it is true. It takes more than love to love someone, it takes thought, it takes care and it takes understanding and maturity. It takes the will to learn and the ability to forgive because humans being humans will disappoint and hurt too and when love and understanding overpower that, that’s when you know you have built yourself a home and darling, home is a feeling, not a place.

Within a period of 3 months, my mother took me to another meditation camp which was not so positive when it was happening, I was not ready for a spiritual journey yet. I wanted to go at my own pace and it felt a little bit forced upon, not exactly forced, I went because I did not want to say no to my mother. And I am so glad that I did not. The second visit to the camp made me open up emotionally, and it also taught me to get stable in the longer run. So if initially, I was having a bad morning, I would still be upset in the evening and crib about the same thing for the entire day, nothing would make me happy, the second visit to the camp made me get over my bad moods easily.

So all in all, I am glad and grateful for all the experiences and learnings I took because of the meditation camps. This year I got closer to my mother and there is nothing better than that to have a best friend in your mother. It sure has its downsides at times when your mother behaves like a mother instead of a friend but it is always the best thing I could ask for from the universe.

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The Year of Office Life, Adulthood, and few new hobbies.
The Office Life

I could not be more blessed when it comes to office life. There is so much that I am learning and it is so beautiful, always. Yes, I do have my days when I get bored or feel lost but I could not have asked for a better environment to work in. My office life began with travel and an amazing capacity building tour in the hills during the first month of joining. I have so much love and gratitude for my organization, my boss, my colleagues, and everyone I work with. And yes I do make mistakes, there are times when the office does feel exhausting and sometimes my heart is not into work but at the end of the day when I look at the bigger picture of life, I have so much to thank.

My office life turned me passionate about traveling, photography, freedom and the idea of being an adult. It gave me opportunities and avenues to explore and learn and also make mistakes. And every single day I am learning the art of life, adulthood, and responsibility and what not. There is something new every single day.
Adulthood

The Government of India declared me as an adult when I turned 18, five years ago. Have I understood the concept of adulthood? Have I really learned the art of adulthood? Do I really practice being an adult?

I don’t have clear-cut answers to these questions. All I have learned is that we mature with time and adulthood gets complex with each passing year. I have often felt like a mature person among the group of people I was surrounded with in college, I always felt like I am too mature for my age and then this year I started feeling exactly opposite the moment I began my office life. I always felt like a kid, inefficient, immature and under the pretext of not being adult enough, I did some really stupid stuff knowingly as well. I was hiding behind my insecurity and the fear of taking up responsibilities at the family front, professional front and in personal life too.

And it does not take a year to learn, all it takes is some self-talk, few experiences, and certain realizations. One may not behave like a mature adult at the age of 40 and one may behave like a mature adult at the age of 16. So it’s all about your state of mind and the experiences you gain. I see certain kids who are too mature for their age and I see certain adults who behave in a childish fashion. Yes, experiences do add a lot but mostly it comes down to our own state of mind, our thoughts, our experiences, the people we meet, the books we read and the habits we follow. One day I might feel extremely sorted and the other day I might feel at my lowest point and there may or may not be a strong reason for such feelings, we just have to keep a check on ourselves and our thoughts and when the time comes, we all are mature. The necessities of life and situations make us adults. And having a comfort zone and privileges because of our families and friends make us childish and rebellious in situations, where we are aware that we should be adults but don’t behave like one because we can afford to be the way we want to be.

With adulthood, comes a lot of freedom as well as responsibilities and with time we all get there where we have to be.
…did I say travel?

2018 began with a trip to Taj Mahal, Agra with family.

May 2018- Meditation Camp

June 2018- Office Trip-A capacity building tour to Jibhi, Tirthan Valley

July 2018- Office Trip-Field Visit to Ranchi-Wrote stories on Farmers

August 2018- Meditation Camp Part 2

October 2018- Tripping with Miss Guide You

and maybe one more trip before 2018 ends.

There is so much I want to write here but I think I should wait. All of my traveling experiences this year have been quite overwhelming that I really don’t feel like writing about in detail because I feel it would kill the charm and the memories because each of my travel experience has been so heartwarming and the October trip has certain exclusive memories which are better left exclusive. Let’s just say that one of my new year resolutions which I have been making since 2015 became real. And no, I did not lose weight. This resolution to lose weight continues in 2019 too. Hopefully, this year I will finally join the gym and resolve my commitment issues.

Well yeah, this year I did explore quite a few hobbies- doodling or drawing or photography or singing as a matter of fact.

All in all, it has been one hell of a year which has so much positivity and love attached to it.

And there are a few people I want to thank because, during this year, they were the ones who brought hope, inspiration, drama, dreams to reality and love to my life.

My crazy family-mom, dad, bhai, Paridhi Sabharwal, Sonal Agarwal, Arushi Sharma, Varun Rustagi, Eshita Hatwal, Vedika Kaushik, Shiv Mishra, Atif Khan, Gurpreet Singh Tikku, Kriti Bisht, Kavita Indapurkar Mam, Amit Sir, Kamal Sir, Himanshi Saini, Parisha, Surya Sir and other office colleagues, Aditya Bhayana, Aashish Pahwa, Ashish Godara, Prabhu Tiwari, Shachi and a couple of other people who accompanied me on the trip, Sakshi Gogia, Kamakshi, Sarthak Chaudhary and a couple of other people who have made me smile at some point and I am forgetting their names at the moment.

Thanks to everyone who made this year such a beautiful treat.

Here’s a collage of a really few pictures to conclude this year- Glimpses from some of the happiest days of 2018.

WhatsApp Image 2018-11-21 at 10.46.34 PM

And to every single reader who took out time to read this very long post, I really want to thank you first, for reading this. Honestly, when I write, it is not for anyone else but myself but I also feel that sometimes our stories do make people happy and if all my experiences help someway or in another way to make someone smile, my work is done. I also wanted to write about this year because I really don’t want any of it to fade away with time. Because 2019 will bring new experiences, new people and new days and new issues, the learnings I have had this year will and should help me get through ahead in life and if some of my learnings are useful to you at some point, I feel blessed.

So now we all have 40 days left with us, and I wish and pray for each one of you that may these 40 days be the game changer or the happiest days of your life and even if you are in a crisis at this point, just hold on to this universe and hope and love in life and be with your dear ones, you too will find your way.

Much love,

Neha.