Monday, 9 January 2017

Chrysalis

Don’t we all love butterflies? Well, maybe not all – I know my brother was scared of butterflies as a kid (yes, laugh all you want!) – but I’ve always been inspired by them to a huge extent. The first tattoo I got was of a butterfly…

I really feel that Nature is the best teacher. I mean – look at the butterflies! Magnificently hued and the objects of everyone’s envy! But then again, I wonder: what do we envy? We envy their beauty, we envy the fact that they blossomed from relatively ugly, green caterpillars to luminescent self-propelled flowers, if I may put it that way, and we envy everything we cannot be and cannot do. Human nature…

Just some time ago, while reading random facts online, I found out that butterflies have short life-spans. Yes, the longest may be a year, but their average life-span is a mere five days to two weeks. When I read this, I remember thinking to myself that this was yet another example of the law of impermanence in life. Nothing lasts forever. Now, that is both good news and bad news. What really was the point of being so beautiful if your life was merely fourteen days long, at the very best? Ironically, two weeks later, I got the answer to my question. Mother Nature’s mysterious ways cannot be undone; these fractals of our amazing world are here to inspire all of us, if only we paid a little more attention.

The butterfly counts not the days or weeks it has, but the moments it has, and that is time enough…
Today a caterpillar, tomorrow a butterfly. We should never lose hope of what tomorrow might bring. Despite all the heartache, sorrow, pain and insecurities, we are all butterflies waiting to happen. Just when the caterpillar thought life was over, cocooned in darkness and misery, it transformed into a butterfly.

The caterpillar thought, “It is the end of the world.”
The butterfly realized, “It is the beginning of the world.”

The struggles, the battles you fight today, prepare you for tomorrow. They help you develop the strength and make you realize that you need to fly. You might feel that you are about to fall, but butterflies can’t see their wings, can they? They can’t see how beautiful they are, but people around them can. People are like that. We really are butterflies waiting to happen. People are like butterflies and the world is our chrysalis.

A month ago, I found a dead butterfly. It’s not the most common sight. Incandescent green wings, unimaginably beautiful…Dead…It really is not every day that you find a dead butterfly. Until I held it in my hands, its frayed wings, I could have lived in the bubble that butterflies are fairies that come out of nowhere, entertain us with their beauty and disappear into nothingness soon thereafter. But no life is unfair…and fair: an integration of happiness and sadness; change. Change is the only constant. And probably, that is the biggest lesson we can learn from a butterfly.

If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies. If nothing ever changed, clear, blue skies would not follow storms. If nothing ever changed, life would have no meaning.

Just like the butterflies, we will awaken in our own time. We really are just butterflies waiting to happen…

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Bubbles

It’s been almost five years since I’m writing here, sharing random thoughts, emotions and feelings with the world that stops by this space from time to time. Maintaining a regular blog had always been on my bucket-list of life, and only lately have I realized the need to actually check items off this list. I am lucky to have had a wonderful life so far (touch wood!) – a loving family, amazing friends, lots of magical moments – but nothing really lasts forever. Life goes on, until it ends. But what comes between these two polarities depends entirely upon us…And that is my minimalistic approach to life. I’ve tried to make mine count so far. The rest of the journey is still a long, long walk to go.

And because we all have a bucket-list – a list of certain expectations that we hold of life – I intend on checking items off of mine, or maybe, writing a few more chapters. After all, your life is your story. You are the author. You are the author of this never-ending novel of love, adventure, fun and all that you want and more! (And the owner to a bucket full of soap-water!)

Life’s the bubble you need to blow. Blow your own bubbles, and pop them if you want. That sums up really what life is in my eyes…That sums up what my thoughts on life are – my thoughts are bubbles that don’t go *pop*.

There are so many bubbles like my thoughts – bubbles of happiness, regret, sadness, compassion, inspiration, etc. Maybe, we are all just bubbles ourselves. Bubbles that keep getting bigger and bigger, and inevitably, one day, go *pop*. The last couple of years are when I’ve really grown up though, to see the world as it is, and blow more bubbles. Bubbles can be more than just thoughts and feelings. Bubbles can be the happiest moments of your life – a sum total of all your happiest days – and it is because of these bubbles that you are still alive. A bubble can be a memory that cheers you up and reminds you of sunnier days. A brilliant-hued bubble reminds you of the rainbow beyond the rain and the dawn ahead of the dusk. These bubbles take you back to your childhood days when blowing bubbles was the supreme joy of life and blowing bubbles made a day your best day – made every day your best day! So, it is vital that we hold on to the bubbles of life, vital that we hold on to our thought bubbles and then enjoy the transcendence that follows.

What are these bubbles of life that make us smile?
Playing Uno with your brother. Petting dogs on the road. A good hair day. Someone saying that you look beautiful today. Music. Reading a book that you just cannot put down. Meeting your friend after the longest time and still feeling like you met yesterday. Raindrops. Telling your niece a bed-time story and even though she’s heard it a thousand times, she still has the same, curious moon-eyed expression on her face. Coffee after a long, tiring day. Your favourite song on repeat. Switching the television on and seeing that your favourite movie has just started. A bubble bath. Having 100% charge on your phone. Chocolate chip cookies. Pizza. Oh, these bubbles just never end!

And they never will…These are bubbles that never go pop. Because happiness never ends. Happiness is always around us. In forms that we don’t acknowledge and take for granted. A hug is happiness. A cup of hot chocolate is happiness. Happiness is always around us. And yes, so is sadness. But life is your bubble, and thoughts are your bubbles. So, it is your choice. You can choose happiness. You can choose joy. You can choose forgiveness. You can choose better instead of worse. You can choose love. Because you can make your own life. Life is your bubble. And if you don’t like your bubble, pop it. Start again. Blow another bubble.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Goodbye 2016!

It’s the last few days of the year. Goodbye, 2016. Finally, this year has come to an end – a year that was a total roller-coaster ride in terms of emotions, memories, and achievements. In hindsight, it was just like any other year I suppose. Some part of me is glad it’s coming to a close, a part of me is not (I mean what do I do if the coming year turns out to be worse than this one!). Excuse my cynicism, it’s a side-effect of ageing. To be honest, cynicism is nothing other than disappointed idealism; something I realized the other day when my best friend was trying to drill in my head that a few bad days do not account for an entire bad year. To be entirely honest, it has been a good year – a year full of lessons and clich├ęd inner awakenings that are again a part of the natural growing-up process.

It’s weird looking back at who I started 2016 with, and who I’m ending 2016 with…Who I was a year ago, and who I am right now. I am a much happier person today than I was at that moment. I may not have changed for the better, but I’ve definitely changed for good. I feel closer to my companions, I feel more at home than I’ve ever been. 2016 has been a whirlwind of change, yet I still feel centered. This brings me to what I wanted to talk about – change (what they say is the only constant in life!). We love it, we hate it, but in the end, we just have to deal with it because there is nothing else we can really do about it. People change, ideas change, situations change, and before you know it, the year ends and you are a completely different person – or, perhaps, as I’d like to believe, a newer, improved version of yourself.

Reality is subjective, but 2016 has made me aware, to some extent, of what is real and true; and as I’ve allowed myself to be awakened to my feeling of being, I realize that it was everything that I already knew. I am what I am trying to become and achieve. I do not become loving, I am love. I do not become sincere, I am sincerity, and so on. So yes, that’s it. The ocean persists, waves come and go. You are the entire ocean in a single drop and not a single drop in the ocean. Life happens. Moments come and go. Just seize every moment.

I’ve noticed people getting annoyed at my optimism. Few have managed to muster courage and ask why I am happy all the time. There are many who claim they can never imagine me being sad. I just feel that people fail to understand – I am not happy all the time, and I can be sad too – last year, was particularly hard for me, and there have been moments where I’ve been in the depths of despair. But, I feel that if there could be an accurate measurement – life would actually be finite suffering and infinite hope. For me, what I learnt in 2016 was that being negative is a sure-shot guarantee for ruining things. Being positive, on the other hand, might just make a difference…or it might not. But I am willing to take that risk. Hope…Hope is everything. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. I hope you will find what you are looking for, the coming year.

The most important lesson I have learnt in 2016 is that you should just seize the moment and tell people how important they are to you. Not because they could leave at any moment or because they could return to you, but because they matter and it’s worth saying something. Parting ways with people forever is easy, but when you find someone you want to keep around, you should do something about it. You get 31,536,000 seconds in a year. Have you used at least one of them to tell someone they mean a lot to you? I did in 2016.

I could go on and on and on. The memories and lessons, good or bad, have been countless and unforgettable. You survived. So did I. And now, we’ve stumbled onto another blank canvas. Paint a masterpiece. Write a bestselling novel. Contribute to humanity in any way you can. I’ve learnt a lot the past year, including the fact that you are only as insignificant and irrelevant s you convince yourself to be. It’s not wrong to be upset or sad or cynical as long as you can shake it off and let go. Letting go was a particularly difficult lesson to master for me, and it’s a lesson that still needs to be fully learnt. Another lesson – it’s not weak to be afraid or sad, it’s human; and actually a tiny reminder that you have something to lose, and gratitude is the way to go.

Take a breath and pause. Reflect on the year gone by. Hold precious memories close. Forgive. Let go. Believe in second chances. Love and be loved. That’s what New Year is all about. It’s time to make a new start and let go of the past– just take some moments to say that final good-bye. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

You Against The World

I could think that the sky above me is pink. When it rains, down come nachos! All the trees are red due to excess of anthocyanins. Maybe, people around me have purple hair, gray hands and feet. Our blood is blue, and penguins run the government.
It is easy for me to imagine such things, but I wonder if I would be able to tell you these thoughts? If I did, I’m sure you’d laugh; or say, “Gosh, what is wrong with you? When did you stop sounding sensible?” or maybe you’d dismiss the whole affair as “funny stuff” or a joke. But, what if that makes perfect sense to me?
We all have thoughts that we’re afraid to voice. Perhaps, we’re ingrained with the fear of being looked at as different, or being labelled “weird”. We have been trained to conform, and we pretty much do things that everyone else does, for pretty much the same reasons. We follow trends, and have our preferred self-identities. But, how real are these identities? Are they really us? Why do we care so much about what others will think, when somewhere down the line we’re also taught that they aren’t supposed to matter?
I find myself bombarded with such thoughts from time to time. Maybe it stems from a state of idleness, or maybe I’m one of the people crazy enough to believe that I need to entertain my thoughts, even if nobody else does. So, let’s take this one step at a time; and start on a journey to find our “true self”, discover who we really are, and uncover a new motto to live by – that it’s probably just us, and only us, against the universe, and that it might always remain that way…
There are so many people on this planet with bewildering diversities in thought-patterns, belief-systems, and lives, yet we all seem to have adopted the image of one “common man” who strives to get through the day, get some sleep at night, and busy himself with the humdrum of life. Everyone is doing it! You can seriously see it happening all around you.
Structurally, we are all the same molecules, we possess the same organs and our brains do not develop special structures and features on the basis of our different racial, regional or sexual background. Then, why are we trying to stand out? Isn’t all the effort going to be in vain? Since we are all so remarkably similar, let’s just try to fit in. Why should we try to think different when we all come down to the same matter? “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Remember?
 Why must you stand out when you can fit in? Why should you try so hard to be yourself? Isn’t that thought by itself sinful? Why do you want to make your voice heard over the seas of the crowds? Why do you want your thoughts to soar high above the clouds?
It’s not easy to keep marching ahead when so many are trying to fit you in their mould. But, always remember, it’s you against the world. It is you against all of them. Stop feeling small, believe that you are Goliath. Don’t listen to the voices – they’re mistaken and are trying to confuse you too! Don’t dig your own grave by falling prey to their words. Just stand tall.

It could be a lonely night, but remember even when there’s no else, there is truth. It’s alright to be a little crazy because that is the real you. Life may seem terrible, but you have no clue – it’s actually beautiful, but the journey to the rainbows is you, just you…
In the end, it is you against the world, and this place isn’t going to be your home forever. As the lights get dim, the Universe will embrace your dark, and your light. If the Universe can, so can you. You don’t have to wait until after the end.
No one else matters. You matter. Only you.
Stop trying to fit in. Start standing out. Extraordinary people didn’t fit in. They broke the rules without caring what people thought. We are all books waiting to be written. But so many books have remained manuscripts in the mind, and never been chanced upon. You know why? Because we’re so busy trying to be “normal” that we don’t think crazy. Steve Jobs once said that those who think they’re crazy enough to change the world are the ones that actually do. Those are the books that get written. These are the people who do not apologize for being the way they are. They know that in the end, it’s going to be just them and their creator. The world does not matter. It never did.
I like me, but there are days when I find it hard to love me. Yet, I choose to believe in me. I believe in my beliefs and thoughts. It does not matter who else believes in them too, as long as I believe in them as strongly as I possibly can. I try staying away from stereotypes. I try to be the truest version of me. And those who know we well, I’m sure they’d agree. Even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. Believe me, it makes life a lot easier. Own your true self, be yourself, and be totally unapologetic about it!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Verdict of Love

Love appears to be a silly form of a lost-and-found game. People say that when you love, you either completely lose yourself, or you become the truest version of yourself. Does that make love the best or the worst thing we do? Somehow, unbelievably and inexplicably, could it be both?

Could love be the best of the worst?

Who fixes broken people, if not for other broken people who’ve already been ruined? Sometimes, the messiness in our pasts that drives us, connects us with the same hurt at a sub-dermal level; making us recognize in others the kind of scars we cannot see in our cells anymore despite the writings being scribbled so deep. Isn’t that love? Love may take the shadows of our soul hostage, but in that lies our freedom.

Harry Potter showed us the power of love – young Harry survived the Avada Kedavra curse because of the love his mother, Lily, shielded him with upon her death. Even as a ten-year old when I read the book for the first time, I simply accepted Dumbledore’s explanation for Voldemort not being able to touch Harry – because he was protected by love – and never questioned it. It does not take a detailed equation to believe that love and magic are linked.

Being in love is a magical feeling – every person on this planet who’s had even a stupid crush can vouch for that! It is one small, four-letter word, yet it transcends space and time, saves humanity and becomes a survival instinct. Isn’t Cooper and Murphy’s love (enter Interstellar movie-reference) one of the purest kind? Maybe, in that, love is perhaps the best thing we do. And somehow, it does seem sensible to believe that love could be the fifth dimension in which we flourish, in which we survive. Love is the key to simply existing in a manner that neither the passage of time, nor gravity, nor data can achieve. Love shows us the path of transition from one blank space to another.

Maybe, love is just like all the other forces that make up the universe – unstable, just like all the radioactive elements we know, yet a stronger, driving force than gravity could ever be. Love can be the best and the worst. Love can turn us into either the best or the worst versions of ourselves. And love is the best AND the worst thing that we do, but we need to do it anyway.  
"But love doesn't make sense. You can't logic your way into or out of it. Love is totally nonsensical. But we have to keep doing it, or else we're lost and love is dead and humanity should just pack it in. Because love is the best thing we do."
- Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother)
You taught me well, Ted Mosby!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Interstellar


He stared at his fellow-star tenant, and thanked her for the adventure. Space and time had fought, resulting in a break in the continuum.

The shooting star he had wished upon was already dead. He’d believed her to be infinite, but at that moment, she felt empty…As empty as the vacuum that had existed in her heart when they kept taking pieces of her and she let them. He wondered if there was any word for that.

She often accused him of acting like a storm that often came unannounced and left after uprooting her from her being. He did not dismiss that particular allegation – he was human, and storms are, anyway, named after people; nebulae are not. She was made of stardust – they’d crushed her and she’d let them. She was now going to become a star, because that is how stars are born: they crumble, collapse, burn and then finally glow. As a child, he’d stared at the twinkling stars in the sky and wished upon them, but ever since he met her, the twinkle in her eyes was all that he’d needed. Was there a word for that?

She’d wished for something that had destroyed her. Her love for him had moulded her, but, ultimately, what she’d been able to sacrifice had defined her. He couldn’t come up with a word for that.

He’d always loved metaphors even though he had a hard time coming up with original ones by himself. Yet, life had given him the biggest metaphor in her form. Together, they’d embarked on an interstellar adventure, and in the name of allies, all they had were time pirates! Unfortunately, time had always been relative…Two years, two months, two weeks, two souls who kept responding to the hurt that was taken from them. What words could he use to define that? Time was relative, yes; but the hurts were subjective. Love had managed to transform them, and though it was always transcendent, their love had never been quantifiable.

He knew she was probably laughing upon hearing of his cosmic dilemmas. To her, nothing was complicated. Love was nothing but a fleeting glimpse of eternity that would last forever; love had always been free falling, space racing, never running-away but more of a running-towards. Love was nothing other than the North Star which one could always gravitate back to.

She wanted to return home to the star they came from. He used to call them “star tenants” because he believed they’d shared the same origin star. They’d embarked on the same voyage light years ago, but their pathways had been different. However, different star trails from the same star could only stay apart for so long until parallel lines and intersecting lines lost their meaning. The heart did not know of time, space, distance or choice. Heart-strings unravelled in the same way as did the fabric of the universe – there was a break in the continuum, and in their case it was a paradox of love called love.

He used to believe that a black hole is a passage through space and time. She wished he’d understand that time always stood still, making darkness perhaps the perfect place to love somebody. He did not realize that black holes were hugely dense objects, with an inescapable gravitational pull. When he’d fall, he’d fall forever. Forever. It meant there was no way out. She wished he’d allow himself to succumb to the vulnerability, to the fall…Only if he fell, could she catch him. She wished he’d allow midnight to become the easel he’d aligned his stars on – to write of his future infinitely, just like the artist and writer he was. He needed to reel himself back in; he needed to realize that the pursuit of happiness is nothing but a secret locked for safekeeping with the diamonds in the sky.

Space and time had had a fight, resulting in a break in the continuum. There was a break in the opposite end of the spectrum. What he’d believed to be infinite had become unwritten…Unwritten like the rest of his life before him. He wondered if there was a word for that. He realized that, indeed, there was a word for that! It was nothing but love. As he stared above, there it was! Against the dark sky, he saw a ray, an age-old ballad – of science and faith, love and hope. He saw white light - a million colours that briefly splattered across the easel, an aurora lasting all of eternity. He knew it was her light and in his heart, he preserved it and cherished it while it lasted. Finally, he no longer saw a black hole as a dead end anymore.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Arrival

She could not believe her eyes as she saw the sight that lay in front of her. Finally, someone had tried flashing a torch and attempted to alleviate the darkness that had become a constant feature of her world. Suddenly, she felt as if her light had returned, and slitting the throats of her dumb tunnels, finally, she found her voice back, tearing through the vast emptiness of her long-neglected vocal cords.

Her beloved had finally come her way, and she found herself overcome with desire yet again. The yearnings brimmed inside her like the splattered paints on an artist’s palette that remind one of the uncontrollable and inconsolable passion he has for the colours he imagines in his mind. But wasn’t it now a little too late? Her branch of time hardly had any leaves left, and despite being so close to love, there was still no way for her to experience it to the fullest.

He understood her dilemma. He had been wandering for days with memories of her still lingering, and he knew that despite being away, he was still loved. He realized how, blinded by the chase to success, he had failed to sufficiently reciprocate the love that came his way.  He knew that he was late, but he had returned at last. He wished now for her to come to him, as with each kiss of hers, he fell asleep, and as she tried to overcome the trysts of life and death, he wished to wake up as she shone her light of dawn.


Time was definitely not on their side. There wasn’t enough time to listen to his small broken tales of camaraderie, but his return had finally pacified her lifelong frustration. No matter how late it was, no matter in which condition they both were, they were both together, they were both finally “home”. This final meeting seemed like a fun, topsy-turvy merry-go-round ride that completely overshadowed the tiny, dancing fireflies who stirred up fun, happy memories. The purpose of her life had been to meet her beloved, and once again, as she looked into his eyes, she saw herself, and realized that she had found her God. 


One life-time is never enough to accomplish all unattained desires. They still had to make several journeys together. But for now she knew, as she closed her eyes to rest, there was no next time....