Thursday, 28 November 2013


We all talk about living life to the fullest and enjoying each and every moment that life has to offer. But what do you make of days that just pass by as if they are already dead by the time you begin to experience them? What do you make of those experiences? Do they just disappear from your universe simply because you did not take the trouble of registering them?

None of us succeed in remembering each and every detail of the things that happen to us. If something is forgotten, does that mean it has ceased to exist? What happens to people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and cannot remember what happened just a while ago? I find it very difficult to put myself in their shoes. If I woke up one day and did not know who I was, I cannot even fathom how I would feel. Would it mean that my life-time has just gone by silently, crawling away from my memory and leaving nothing but traces of anxiety buried within me? If that happened, would my life-time be measured simply on account of the anxiety that I will, then, harbour?

These days, I find myself becoming a rather passive observer. I don’t really desire life but I definitely have no wish for death. It upsets me that I have no other option – in a world where one is always spoilt for choice, having just two alternatives does not feel good. There are many things that I still wish to do but none accommodated by either one of those choices.

People sometimes feel I over-think. These days, I feel I just cannot think anymore – if I do, my head will explode! I feel my thoughts are held at gun-point to live and breathe as if they wish to survive. Sometimes I feel as if my thoughts have disowned me and I am left with no memory. I only have everything that has been forgotten and each day, I am struggling to live this forgotten life that seems to be whispering to me in an undead manner through words that keep running away from me the moment I choose to speak them out.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Silent Screams

She was a believer. No matter how bleak things appeared to be, she never lost hope; and in the end, everything did become alright again. So, there really was no need of her to question faith. Yet, these days, there were too many questions arising in her mind. Some of the questions seemed ridiculous; others she felt were valid. Each question that was raised weighed her down – she did not have answers to these questions and that made her uneasy. She felt stuck in a rut, unable to move. The unpleasant feeling tied her down as if her entire body was bound by heavy, sturdy, iron chains.

Why was it so difficult? If she had managed to arrive at the question, why was the answer so far away? Each day, she grew increasingly restless. Was this just a phase? Would it ever pass? Why was nothing happening? When would it end? Was she just wasting her time or was there a possibility of something good coming out of all this? She desperately needed answers.

She had smoothly flowed along the course of life. She had graciously accepted everything that life brought her way overlooking all flaws and seeing only what was good. She used to proudly proclaim that her life was perfect despite the presence of some imperfections. Where had she gone wrong? Was it not right on her part to ignore faults and just appreciate people for their goodness? She had never seen it as a conscious effort. It was something that came naturally to her. Why was it suddenly such a difficult task? She was known to be a motor-mouth. There were days when people wondered if she ever paused to even take a breath. But, all of a sudden, why was she tongue-tied? Where had her voice disappeared? She felt like a stranger among familiar faces. Her mind was like a volcano almost at the brink of bursting with a lava of questions but it just could not find an outlet to erupt. Every day, she was screaming in rooms filled with people who were seemingly deaf for no one took any notice.

She started questioning everything. Doubts emerged. She became frustrated. A few noticed that things were not as they usually were as far as she was concerned – they asked her what was wrong. Finally! Finally, people were starting to notice the change! She was delighted! She was ecstatic! She had a wide smile on her face – the time had now come for her to open her mouth. But alas! No sound came. She had become so accustomed to not being heard that she had ended up losing her ability of speech. She stared sadly at the inquisitive faces and just shrugged her shoulders. “It’s nothing,” she said in a dismissive tone, “I’m alright.” The people believed her. No one saw the fast pace with which she pranced, rapidly blinking away the tears that were now brimming in her eyes. Even if they did, they did not give it a second thought. Time is precious – why waste it fretting over an individual who doesn't cry for attention? The world is kind to just attention-seekers.

She gave up and resigned to her fate. She decided to stop speaking altogether – if she never asked questions, the disappointment of not receiving an answer would not haunt her. She was a victim and her silence played the part of rescuing the very world that had victimized her. In some way, the silence was also protecting her – shielding her from possible answers that she may receive but not like. She was being held hostage by her rickety belief-systems and was restricted from taking any action. Was there someone out there who could still hear and rescue her from this mess? She needed help even though she did not know how to ask for it. Was there anyone who could feel her pain and lend a hand?

Someone heard her. Not all was lost. One day, along came her friend, Death, to take her; and she gladly went with Him – after all, Life had betrayed her by not showing her the silver lining and leaving her alone. In the midst of her darkest hours of despair, she gladly embraced the company of Death and went with Him away from all her miseries, finally at peace. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

"Snap" Out!

Today, I ended up taking an unexpected trip, completely out of the blue, down memory-lane courtesy a bunch of photographs that captured various different moments of my life. The entire journey from one picture to the next was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. With each picture that I viewed, I was either re-living a memory or I was trying my best to construct one. 

It’s perfectly acceptable to have no idea what was going on at that particular fated moment which my parents chose to capture the six-year old me. It’s also fine to wonder why the album contains a picture of my four-year old brother crying his lungs out. In my head, I was fabricating all kinds of fantastic stories – sometimes, it’s a good thing to not remember. It opens you up to infinite possibilities.

Then, there were more recent pictures of college-life. I was amazed at the amount of pictures I had of my college-days. To be fair, it isn’t really surprising – I went to college at a time when uploading pictures of your random day-to-day life was a popular Facebook trend and I was no exception to that rule. As a child, I remember having camera-rolls that would last almost a year (and sometimes even longer) capturing only significant events of your life. Today, a casual dinner with friends amounts to over fifty photographs!

Sometimes, I wonder if we are over-indulging on the exhibitionism. Do we really need to preserve every moment on film? I have great photographs of me at birthdays and parties with people I hardly know – I look pretty but there are no precious memories associated with any of these pictures. I find nothing to reminisce about when I glance through them. We all seemed to be too engrossed in capturing moments than making them. Today, we have thousands of pictures from our everyday life. How many do we actually treasure?
Some photographs also have the ugly quality of reminding you of all the bad decisions you have made. It can be amusing – for example, a picture of you with a really weird haircut because, at that point of time, you felt it looked really ‘cool’. At other times, it can be heart-wrenching especially when you stare at pictures of yourself with a person who has wronged you – yes, they seemed to be right at that point of time and yes, you have learnt your lesson but the photograph serves as an unpleasant reminder of the fool you had been. Destroying the evidence is no easy task – even if you delete the picture from your computer or tear the physical snap to shreds, one of your classmates is bound to have the proof of your ill choice on their Facebook page! It’s best to just ignore those memories and move on. At least, I did that! Meaning is a truly mysterious quality that arises at the juncture of the virtual world and the real world; don't you think?

What struck me as odd was the fact that I hardly have any pictures with some of my closest friends. Till date, I don’t own a single photograph of me and my best friends from school. My best friend and I would have less than five snaps together in a span of an eight-year long friendship. That’s less than one picture a year and a few of them out of this meagre lot are not even half-decent shots! The funny thing is – it doesn’t matter. I still cherish each and every moment I have spent with these special people even though I have no means of showcasing them to the world. I don’t see the point of flaunting them – they are dear to me; the world’s stamp of validation is not required.

Staring at the photographs brought me in touch with different versions of me. I got in touch with the younger me, the prettier me, the spunkier me – aspects of mine which I feel are slowly vanishing. However, that is life. I am sure as I move ahead; I will get in touch with these old parts and reconnect with them. It is equally possible that as I trudge forward, these parts will continue to bounce away and disconnect with me forever. Either ways, it is alright. Even if I am losing older versions of me, newer versions are getting created every moment. Whether I choose to capture them or not, all these versions will blend together in the end. Life is beautiful and more so, if you can freeze-frame at the right moments!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Reality Check

Some weeks ago, I was bonding with a colleague of mine at Leopold CafĂ©. Our initial conversations steered around the topic of family, travel, career-goals but a couple of drinks down, we were talking about more intimate stuff like crushes, relationships, our fears, and insecurities…Suddenly my colleague turned to me and whispered, “Don’t look immediately but that guy has been checking you out for the past fifteen minutes! See eight o’ clock!”
I secretly glanced in that direction and chuckled, “He’s probably looking at you! No one that cute would be checking me out of all people…Look at me! I look horrible!”
My colleague just rolled her eyes and replied, “Well, you forget that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and if you think you look horrible, then, you probably cannot see what I can!”
We changed the subject but later that night, I wondered about what my colleague had said…

We all judge others – that is an established fact! We look at a person and immediately draw conclusions based on our first impressions. The judgments may change over a period of time but we are never people who do not judge. We can’t even stop judging ourselves; how in the world are we to stop judging others!
“I am so fat and ugly that I will never find true love”, “No matter how good my intentions are, I always goof things up”, “I am a pathetic loser”, “I will never get anywhere in life” – do these statements sound familiar? With all this negative self-talk happening inside our heads, it is no wonder that we feel nothing is perfect. We are all so driven by our need to be perfect that we fail to see the reality of people with their little flaws. It is these flaws that make them even more beautiful. It is so difficult to accept and embrace our own imperfections – I know that sometimes I find it extremely hard to see myself beyond my shortcomings. I am sure it is the same with everyone else.

In psychology, we learn about narcissistic personality disorder, a condition named after a mythological Greek youth, Narcissus, who was so infatuated by his own image that he drowned in it. These days, I feel everyone, including me, is doing the same thing. We are such harsh critics of ourselves that we are just not ready to make room for anything that can help us feel better. How many of us have difficulty accepting compliments? A few days ago, I told my friend that her dress looked fabulous! She gave me an unsure look and asked, “Are you sure I don’t look fat in this?” I laughed. How difficult is it for us to just give a polite smile and say ‘thank you’ when someone pays us a compliment? I know it isn't very easy for me. I find it easy to accept compliments like “You’re so considerate” or “You are a good friend to have” but I just don’t believe it when people compliment me for qualities like intelligence and beauty. When my friends call me smart or pretty, I really wonder what aspect of mine they are mirroring back to me and helping me to reveal to myself. Are they just being nice or do they genuinely mean it?
A lot of my clients and my friends gape at the effortless way in which I can offer them a fresh perspective of looking at things. The funny thing is that when I am in trouble, these same friends help me see the other side to my problem. Why is it that we can see others so perfectly but when it comes to ourselves, no matter how hard we look, we are never able to see ourselves clearly?

It is easy to say what another person is like but do you really know the actual ‘you’? Once upon a time, I believed that no one knows me better than I know myself. Recently, however, I was asked to make a list of “100 Reasons Why I Love Me” – the list had to contain hundred items of things that I was good at or things that I liked about myself and, to my surprise,  I could not go beyond #23. Reaching #23 was also quite a bit of a struggle! In the end I wasn't even sure if I actually believed in some of the things I had written down. Was I just writing some things down to reach the goal that had been set? Were there only twenty-three things (or probably less) that I was good at or that I liked about myself? Surely, I am better than this; or, perhaps, not? Being unable to complete that list was quite a bit of a shocker for me and I do not believe that the reason behind reaching such a short number has anything to do with modesty!
I asked another friend of mine to work on the same list. She too struggled. When I glanced at her list, however, I could easily rattle off fifteen-sixteen things that I felt she should add to her list which she was not so sure about. Similarly, she told me a couple of things to add to my list which I was not sure held true to me.

I wonder why we have one set of standards for judging ourselves and a completely different set for judging others. In fact, why do we judge? If everyone is a constant work-in-progress since perfection is a benchmark that can never be reached, why can’t we get real? Real people are not flawless. Real people fail. But they also get up and keep going. Real people are constantly wrestling and negotiating with their own shadows, fighting the good fight to keep from spilling their perceived darkness on those around them.

I wish to complete that list soon – hopefully, with a little help from friends (if they are reading this *wink*). I feel it is time for me to get real and get in touch with my core which is beautiful. Are you ready to meet the real ‘you’?