1 Dec 2016

The Knight in Shining Armor

Once upon a time in a small village tucked far away in a beautiful green country, there lived a girl. She was just like all the other girls in the village. She liked playing in the park, she liked laughing with her friends, her eyes lit up when she gazed at the stars, she liked flying high on the swings, she loved playing mother as she made little blobs of mud cakes for her make believe family and she loved spending time with her story books. She had a perfect little life. But then slowly the demons of society started catching up with her. Soon she realized that her body was a thing of beauty and pain. Grown men would lust after what she never thought would matter. She didn't understand what really happened when for the first time a man groped her. It felt weirdly uncomfortable and strange. She never felt weird when her mom bathed her or her dad carried her on his shoulder. Neither did she feel uncomfortable when aunts pinched her cheek or uncles patted her head. She couldn't really place this new feeling that she was having. Should she feel ashamed or should she feel sad? Or did she just have a bad dream and mistake it for real. She couldn't really say. As she grew up, her mother taught her not to trust men. And she took it to her heart as slowly she started seeing the filth in the society around her. Her fight or flight instinct would kick in at the slowest provocation. Being alone in any room with a guy turned her senses on over drive. She would feel a lump on her throat and she would gulp down her fear. But she was a brave girl. She stood strong and took on her fear. She let her self believe again in the goodness of people. She convinced herself that not all men are bad. She took down the demons from her mind. She was a happy girl again. She let her guard down and let herself fall in love. It was a beautiful feeling. She started smiling to herself all the time. She woke up with happiness in her heart. For the first time she felt the need to look good. She would catch herself looking at her reflection on the small puddle on the way to school. She would write her eyes with jet black kaajal and put on her light pink lipgloss to give her best to her love. She wanted him to love her like he had never loved anyone. She wanted to call him her own. She wanted him to have eyes only for her. She would gaze at his strong hairy arms and would dream of holding it all day. She wrote his name a hundred times behind her maths notebook. It felt like every waking moment of her life was spent in the anticipation of meeting him. She wanted him to be her knight in shining armor, protecting her from the big bad world. She was ready to give her whole heart and soul to him. But he wanted more. He wanted her naked body. Her body didn't mean as much to her as his love. She was willing to give it to him for his love and affection. And for the first time in her life she felt the pleasures of flesh. She felt the pleasure of naked bodies touching each other, the pictures we draw with our mouth, the heat of a man's breath against her face. She felt it all that day. And the next day he was gone. He left without a trace and she was left standing alone in a very large and menacing world. Her heart broke into a million tiny pieces. She felt guilty and ashamed at herself. The shame overcame her sadness and spread a gloomy veil over what was left of her heart. She blamed herself for letting her guard down. She blamed herself for trusting. Her knight in shining armor had just turned back and stabbed her. But our little girl was brave. She knew she had to move on. She couldn't tell anyone her secret because she felt deeply ashamed. So she collected all the million pieces of her heart and glued it together the best way she could. And life did move on. She passed out of school and college with flying colors. She was extremely happy when she landed her first job. She was ready to join the league of adults and explore the world beyond her small village. With packed bags and eyes full of dreams, she boarded the flight to the land of her dreams. The big city overwhelmed her with its bustling streets and crowded shops. But she loved every bit of it. She loved her job, her new friends. Life was beautiful again. She spent hours shopping with her hard earned money, she started going clubbing on weekends and on long road trips with her best friends. But the demons were still waiting for her in the dark corners of her tiny little world. And they found the right time when her male friend from back home decided to visit her. She was happy to see an old and familiar face in the big new city. She welcomed him and happily showed him around the town. But he was barely amused by the city. What amused him more was how the little young girl from his childhood had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. For her he was still the young childhood friend with whom she grew up playing cute little games. She was unprepared to face his lustful advances. She didn't know how to react when he tried to forcefully kiss her. She was lost and utterly speechless. The power of a male's grasp scared her. She had never felt this helpless before. She felt scared and desperate. She pushed him away with all her might but her mind was scarred forever. She cried in her prayer. Where is my knight? She wondered. Where is the person who shares my rib and is sworn to protect me from this big bad world. As if in answer to her prayer, she met someone. He was handsome and loving and he loved her with all his heart. She loved him too with all her heart. But was it real love or her need to find a protector? As time went on, their relationship saw many springs and winters. They fought madly and loved deeply. She felt she could get lost in his arms and he felt he could never live a minute without her. Time ripened their relation but fate challenged it when he got transferred to a distant city. With tears in her eyes and promises to never let the distance break them, she bid him goodbye. True to their word, the love was strong and they spent their nights talking and making up for the distance. But she was again alone in the day. She had friends but everyone was busy chasing their own dreams. She would spend the weekends walking alone on the beach and reading books by her balcony. She would occasionally go out for a movie or try out new restaurants. She missed her love but she missed companionship even more. So when her colleague and good friend of long time asked her if she wanted to check out this cool new bookstore, she was happy to go along. She had known him for a long time now and he was a good friend of her love. So, she suspected nothing devious in his invite. But the demons were smirking at her from the corner of the artfully decorated bookshelf. As if to grab a book behind her, her colleague leaned over and  pressed his hand over her body. She froze as she realized what had happened. He acted like it never happened and she felt disgusted. The same old feeling from her childhood creeped back into her. The confusion, the disgust, the weirdness, it all came back in an instant. She felt betrayed. She felt angry. She felt scared and helpless. She felt angry at her colleague but she felt even more angry at herself for not slapping him. She felt angry at not reacting to him the way he deserved. She felt angry that even after all these years and so many mistreatments, she still didn't know how to react strongly in these situations. And she felt angry at her love. Where was he when she was mistreated. Where was the guy who is supposed to protect her when she was shamed. Where was her knight? She cried herself to sleep. Next day she called her love and told him that he had failed her. He didn't understand her mumbled words and misplaced tears. He didn't know what to say. She felt betrayed by him. But he didn't understand. She didn't love him anymore she told him. Love turned sour and then bitter over time as the trust was broken and more broken was her scarred mind. He never understood what he did wrong. But she had lost the faith. Our young little girl tried to be brave. She started questioning herself on why it was happening to her over and over again. She pondered over the question many times running different scenarios over and over in her head. One day while typing away on her office computer, it dawned on her. She was the knight in shining armor that she was searching for. She was searching far and wide for her protector while all along, the knight was in her. She thought her love should protect her from the big bad world. But she was the only one who could do that. She had to build the strength in her to fight back. She had to train herself to fight back. The story books were wrong. No knight in shining armor would ever come. The knight was in her all along. Our brave little girl will keep fighting for she has just discovered her knight. Life goes on and so will the fight..

22 Nov 2016

Moving On

Its one of the most difficult things in life, moving on. Moving on from a relationship, job, place; it could be anything. Change in general is a difficult thing for most of us. We get so accustomed to the warmth of the familiar that even though we know its time to leave, we just stick on. Not because its the best thing to do but because its the easiest thing; the most convenient thing. If something doesn't grow you personally, professionally or spiritually, it has outlived its purpose. Decluttering your life just like your wardrobe can be a very rewarding experience. Moving on from a relationship especially is a very sensitive and emotionally taxing activity. Having been in and out of my fair share of emotional roller coasters and having witnessed a lot of people going through the same, I have gained some insights on the topic.


A lot of people keep coming and going from our lives on a daily basis. Some that we happen to share a seat with on a crowded bus or subway. Some we meet regularly on the way to work or on the way back from library. A few we talk to and then totally forget about. Some people leave a lasting impression with just one meeting. I don't think I'll ever forget the retired book publisher who bowled me over with his knowledge and chivalry or the waitress who gave me a sound bit of advice and moral boost at a time when I really needed it. Some people we have known for years. Few who came into our lives during a particular phase and stayed on while some others who parted ways. Whatever the relationship or the duration we knew these people for, everyone in our life adds some value. They bring their uniqueness and ideals to our life and adds value to our life knowingly or unknowingly. And once they serve the purpose, they leave. And that is how life is. Whether we like it or not, that's how its going to be. Hanging on to those who need to leave will just drain your energy and spoil the good relationship we had. Sometimes, letting go is the best thing you can do to a relationship. Maybe if I had kept in touch with the ex-book publisher and gotten closer to him, I would have found out things about him that would make me dislike him. The waitress might turn out to be a nasty woman. The magic that those few minutes or few days create might not survive in the long run. So, its actually good that not everything lasts long.


A major problem in not so great relationships is the question of whether to stay or leave. Should I give the relationship another chance? Maybe the other person will change. Maybe I can change. Maybe its all about adjusting. These are rather difficult and very personal questions that most of us ask ourselves during different stages of a relationship. Yes, no relationship is perfect. All relationships are build on mutual understanding and compromises. But there is a thin line between compromising and sacrificing oneself. In Indian culture a lot of importance is given to self sacrifice. If you sacrifice your comfort for other people's happiness, that is a noble virtue. I do not disagree with the goodness of this person's heart. But how long can you sacrifice your desires before it starts weighing heavily on your heart. As long as you can sacrifice and not have even an ounce of regret about it, you are good. But the moment the sacrifice becomes a burden, you are not just hurting yourself but the relationship. And often the biggest of lies are the lies that we tell ourselves. We lie to our heart and convince ourselves that we are alright with the sacrifices. That we are happy in the relationship. Being in touch with our own feelings is often a very difficult thing for most of us. We are ashamed of our feelings of jealousy, hatred and selfishness. We know that in an ideal situation, we shouldn't be having those feelings. Logic says its not reasonable to have these feelings right now but our heart doesn't understand logic. So we lie to ourselves. Its alright to feel ashamed, jealous, proud and selfish sometimes. After all, we are mere mortals with our own little flaws and weirdness. And being honest to ourselves and admitting these feelings are way better than hiding them from ourselves. If there is one person who was there with you from your birth and will be there till your death, its you and your conscience. The person you see in the mirror everyday is your best friend and companion for life. You owe it to that person to keep yourself happy. When deciding on this and any other big decisions in life, just ask yourself, is this going to make me happy in the long run? Be completely honest and receptive to the answer you get. Maybe you won't like what you hear. But you deserve to be happy and that little voice that answered knows what's best for you.


Everyone deserves to be happy in this world. At least we owe it to ourselves not to settle for anything that is less than what we deserve. Embrace things that grow you and even if it seems difficult right now, make those choices that need to be made. We are here to learn and grow and enjoy the simple pleasures of life worry free.

13 Oct 2016

Retrospection

I'm looking at me through the stained glasses of time
And I can see my adolescent younger self staring back 
You look so young and naive, I tell my younger shadow
You look tired and old is what she replies
The wrinkles on my skin are trophies of a million laughs
The saggy skin, a sign of all the adventures
The grey hair I acquired through my years of experience 
My beautiful body I traded for good times and wonderful adventures 
But on the road to autumn years, I lost my innocence somewhere
I searched wide and far, but gave up tired and somber
Tell me where my pretty little friend, can I find my soul
She leaned in closer, smiled and whispered so in my ear
On the path to great adventures and greater success
You lost your self to the reality of this world
But maybe my dear friend, its not that bad 
Maybe someone somewhere wrote, the garments you should loose
As you march on through the journey of life
Maybe you didn't loose yourself, maybe you didn't loose it all 
Maybe you should go in deep to come out on the other end
Maybe the path to self has a worldly chapter you must read
Maybe there is no right or wrong paths, just paths that we take
Wrong or right, simple or weird, destination is just one
Go where your heart takes you, take risks and take chances
Go fearlessly to places you wanna be, there is no right and no wrong
Just lessons learned and lessons to be learned
I stared in wonder at my self, what wise thoughts you bear
And here I thought my age taught me more
All the wisdom of the world is in you my dear friend, she said
You mask it with your maddening world and forget what you already know
I knew it in me all along but you had to find it on your own
And thats the beauty of this world, in plain sight it hides it all
And there I sat as pictures faded, leaving me with more clarity
Now I see my old withering self, but in a renewed light
Forward my tired limbs you march, the journey never ends
But rest in peace knowing the truth that all roads lead to thee..






10 Aug 2016

Rumi

One of my favorite verses from bible is Mathew 7:7


     Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find;
     Knock, and it shall be opened onto you


There have been many instances in my life when I found this to be true. When I ask and pray with all my heart, I do get answers. It comes in different ways and forms, but it comes for sure. Today was one such day. And I found my answer in the form of a beautiful Rumi poem. I wanted to share it with you guys. Who knows, it might be what you needed to hear all along..


Oh, if a tree could wander
     and move with foot and wings!
It would not suffer the axe blows
     and not the pain of saws!
For would the sun not wander
     away in every night
   How could at every morning
     the world be lighted up?
And if the ocean's water
     would not rise to the sky,
How would the plants be quickened
     by streams and gentle rain?
The drop that left its homeland,
     the sea, and then returned
    It found an oyster waiting
     and grew into a pearl.
Did Yusaf not leave his father,
     in grief and tears and despair?
Did he not, by such a journey,
     gain kingdom and fortune wide?
Did not the Prophet travel
     to far Medina, friend?
And there he found a new kingdom
     and ruled a hundred lands.
You lack a foot to travel?
     Then journey into yourself!
And like a mine of rubies
     receive the sunbeams' print!
Out of yourself ? such a journey
     will lead you to your self,
It leads to transformation
     of dust into pure gold!

18 Mar 2016

A Journey into Spirituality

I have been on a journey. It didn't start yesterday or the week before. Neither last month nor the past year. This journey began even before I was born. Even before my soul chose this lifetime, long long before that I had started the journey. This journey that does not end with my lifetime; will continue long after my body decays. This journey of self realization and truth. 

Even if I don't know the starting point, I know for sure that my search for truth always intensified after big set backs. Love and loss, joblessness, depression everything lead me to probe deeper and deeper into the questions. Books were my first best friends. I searched for answers in Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Bible, Koran and in the writings of Osho, Buddha and Socrates. The wordings were different but all the books pointed to one underlying principle - love. Love for all creatures living or dead, unconditional love for friends and enemies. Every scripture hides the same truth in its eloquent language and poetic verses. 

The second stage of practicing and imbibing the preachings were tougher. How can you love the person you hate to the bones? Can anyone do it? Yes, everyone can do it with lot of practice. The innate nature of human mind is kindness and love. We pollute it with hatred and bitterness. The more pollutants you add to your mind, the more difficult it becomes to unravel the hidden gems. Everyone in this world is different. The paths that work best for me might not work for you. That is where the importance of individual spiritual journey lies. You have to tread the path alone because you are the only person who knows what works best for you. I have been trying many different pathways trying to figure out what fits me. I never stop searching for new alleyways and side roads. Read, meditate, pray, practice kindness and find out what brings more joy and clarity to your thoughts. Even if you find a path, if you don't tread it often, it can become overgrown with shrubs and thorny plants. That is why you have to try and fit in spiritual study of some form into your life everyday. Doesn't matter what kind of study you do. All the paths ultimately lead to the same truth. And never rest thinking you have reached the end. If you think you have understood everything you might well be on square one. I try and learn everyday about myself, about the world around, the great plans of the creator and above all the power of love and kindness. This study never ends. Setbacks in life are my measuring sticks for progress. They remind me of the long journey ahead. 

So after a long hiatus, I'm writing to call on you, my readers, to venture into those uncharted waters. Start your individual journey if you haven't. If you are on the path, let me cheer you on. Never stop exploring this wonderful world of ours and the million questions it raises. Find your spiritual self and explore, for that is the ultimate purpose of this life on earth. Stay tuned to learn more about my own spiritual journey and experiences. 


16 Nov 2014

Coping With Life

Last day while talking to a friend, amidst trivial talks, she made a comment, "I envy you. You just walk into a restaurant in a strange city and order a coffee and sit and enjoy it all alone. I have never done anything like that. I'm terrified of it. Even the thought of walking into a strange hotel by myself scares me."

When someone puts it that way, yes, its exciting. For most of you this might seem like a stupid thing to be jealous of. Everyone does that, don't they? Well I didn't until last year. Even I was terrified of going alone into a restaurant and sitting down without fretting about what people might be thinking of me or of doing something stupid. Being alone isn't easy. Not for many of us. Being alone and totally comfortable with it. Enjoying your own company. Not worrying about people thinking you are a loser with no friends. Or just of going alone into an unknown place. All that is out of bounds for people like me. Or it was.

Being alone in a strange city miles away from home with no one to call a good friend, company becomes a luxury. And you learn to go on. You learn to cope with the unknown. You learn to enjoy your own company or the company of the stranger sitting right across you and occasionally lifting his head up from the newspaper to smile at you. You learn to sit back and watch life as it rolls by. You learn that how much ever people pretend to care, they don't care as much about your life as you. If you want something, you have to do it by yourself. Life has this amazing quality. It makes you take the hit and then teaches you to stand up and fight back. You never know how far you can go until you push your limits further and further. I took the hit and I learned to stand up. And so can anyone. Its always tough, the first step. It took me 2 days of contemplation, a leap of faith and extreme hunger to go all alone to the restaurant just across my apartment. But after you make that first step, it gets easier and easier.

At some point in our life, we are bound to face situations which we never expected. Never think you cannot do it. Remember you never know what you are capable of until you push yourself. Having dealt with loneliness, hunger, depression and fear, I have learnt to appreciate those little things in life. Now when I have food in front of me, I thank God for it. When I have friends who stay on the line for hours at a stretch trying to cheer me, I thank God for the good company I have. When one of my student brings me his sketch book and shows everything that he has drawn, I thank God for the smile on my face. I have come out of everything learning some valuable lessons on appreciating all the small and big things that I have. No one said life is easy. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, ALWAYS. And its definitely worth struggling for. :)

24 Aug 2014

Yearning For Home

The wind of this land can touch nothing but my bare skin
The rain that falls softly just cools my tired limbs
Birds here sing sweetly but their language I do not know
The land my feet touches, crunches in a strange whisper

The people smile broadly here and land stretches beyond sight
The food and the drinks whet my appetite but doesn't quench the fire
My eyes keep searching for that bright array of in-congruent colors
My ears can't stop listening for those blaring horns and tingling bells

I love this land that feeds me but its not home
I love the people, the food and the warm greetings but its not home
I love the birds, the dogs and the kittens but this is not home
I can leave my body and soul here but my heart is far away, in my home