Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Far Far Away

After ages, I am reconnecting with my love for Neil Gaiman. Paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton, he wrote, “Fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”

I love fairy-tales. Some people say for a twenty-seven year old, my love for fairy-tales actually borders on obsession. Somewhere I feel they’ve cast a spell on me that does not have or need a cure. To many, this may seem immature, weird or even childish and I have had my fair share of “Aren’t you too old for…?” questions, but I don’t mind. Really. For there is no feeling that I would ever choose over the magic and hope you feel running through your veins when the shoe fits Cinderella or when Sleeping Beauty awakens or when Wendy flies for the first time.

J.M. Barrie said it best when he said, “All the world is made of faith, and trust and pixie dust.” This just happens to be all we need too. But we let reality get in the way, and I wish we didn’t let that happen. I do not see why Neverland has to be left in the fairy-dust. And I most definitely do not understand why we cannot keep the hope we once had as children alive and afire. Like it has been said, growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. What happened? Why did people have to go from loving fairy-tales as children to mocking them as teenagers? Don’t tell me, “Life happened. We’ve changed and we’re now moving past our former selves – we don’t know us anymore.” Yes, life is frustrating, chaotic and sometimes unbearable, and we cannot really do much about it. Dark clouds block the sunshine often for me as well – but what I do to pull myself out of this is wish ‘Once Upon a Dream’ like Aurora or ‘Let it Go’ like Elsa. The point is fairy-tales do not deny the existence of heartache, despair or sorrow, but they do deny defeat, failure and unhappy endings.

The lessons we learn from fairy-tales are no different from the lessons learnt for life. Yes, you do not need to believe in poisoned apples or pumpkin carriages but believe in the themes that these stories are rooted in. Fairy-tales, in all entireties, are not an escapade from realistic situations – our world is not unlike theirs, in which both good and evil exist. The difference could perhaps be that we don’t have magic or a Fairy Godmother to save us from the clutches of evil. But, perhaps, we’re so accustomed to being Muggles that we do not realize that magic exists. A good heart, a spoonful of courage to use kindness and goodness wisely and humour – that’s all the magic one really needs.

Once upon a time – for that is how all stories should begin – your story began, truer than true. And they all lived happily ever after – for that is how all stories should end – and yours will too. Life is a story with good parts and bad. How would you know happiness without knowing the sad?
If you do not like the story you are in, leave and find your own happily ever after. The best thing about fairy-tales is probably how applicable they still are in our lives – of course not literally, but metaphorically or symbolically – and how we are so oblivious to it all…
It may have been centuries since Little Red Riding Hood took on the Big Bad Wolf or Dorothy defeated the Wicked Witch of the West, but “Fear” has not changed. We were frightened as children, we’re possibly more frightened now. What frightens us today might not be what frightened us back then, but it is just a different wolf, a different witch. And we still need to battle them.

“Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time and perhaps earlier, are the best means to conquer the terrors of mankind through metaphor.”
- Jack Zipes

I feel this is what seems to be the most sensible approach to feeling better about the world that we live in – if we could only believe in making our own magic.

"Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget what precisely happened but if a story touches you, it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind you rarely visit."
- Neil Gaiman

One of my favourite metaphors is the following:
Just like the Baby Bear’s porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the universe is “just right”. Happy endings need not exist just in fairy-tales. I love fairy-tales and while I may not believe in magic mirrors, or Fairy Godmothers granting me the most exquisite glass slippers (shoes are quite expensive in real life!) but I do believe in the idea of hope and love, which runs from the end of one story to the beginning of another – the idea that happiness does exist. Love believes when you don’t. That is all the motivation and validation I usually need to get on with my life. The ‘bare’ necessities if you know what I mean!

To wrap this all up with a flick of a wand, I wish you all find the same joy and inspiration that I do from fairy-tales.  Fairy-tales have the beauty of always giving one a simpler, newer perspective of things, a transformation of ideology from “I wish” to “I will” and a belief in trust, kindness, goodness, hope and love.

I wish you all Hakuna Matata and lots and lots of love! There is life beyond the stone tower in which you’ve enclosed yourself. Set yourself free, and go seek your kingdom of Far-Far-Away!

Monday, 9 January 2017


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


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.