The concept of space is abstract. It is an internal quest. It is mysterious and limitless. We live in a space, trying to co-exist. It is vague and hard to perceive. Space lends everything its characteristics. Water in nature prevails differently in space. Similarly, in this physicality exists a duality. In Space between us Life’s dramas are staged. Sometimes we are “too” into that place, However, this, we fail to understand. It is only when we distant ourselves, We discover in all this, A greater significance. Space is fluid and ever-shifting. At times we fail to observe our boundaries. Sometimes, we encroach upon other’s space. At other times, people seize it completely. This dynamic spurs our conflicts. We, as contestants, constantly, Try to prove our worthiness. Through this power-play, we express, Our essence and our personalities. The balance that our existence seeks, Prevails in this awareness that- It is, in this space, That our entire life exists! The tasks that we do are executed here. There occur repercussions for our actions. No one can own this space. So, life is nothing but a series of interactions.
This time when we meet, With extended awareness let’s greet. Transcending time and place. In this dimension, For us, we hold space, For me to treat you right, For us not to fight. For respect to prevail. Together we need to ascend, Beyond egos and judgements, Beyond power and submission. Beyond right and wrong… In that space, Let’s meet. With safety and grace. In each other we home!
Moon has a dark side. Sun gets eclipsed. Life has blind spots. Sea has Cliffs. Hidden from eyes- Some drawings, Still cast a spell. Some eyes- See what is behind The veil. The walls are meaningless, When the thoughts connect in resonance. Distance is nonexistent, When vibes coincide. I see the same moon, That twinkles in your eye. I hear your silent words in my ear, As if, you are here, so near. Some impressions are indelible. Some romantics are incurable. Some stars are our guides, Regardless, why do they hide!
I believe, Dhano is a good soul. She is not exceptionally elegant if you go by society’s established standards. However, she is loyal, durable, and quick to manoeuvre… Yes, I am talking about my Maruti 800 personified, who my family lovingly called Dhano(courtesy Sholay). She was bid goodbye today. I am happy for a new member of my family, however, I will miss Dhano, my friend in lots of adventures. I still remember the first drive I took trembling. My legs were shaking when I got off the ride. It was a difficult car to drive because of its steering (as I had not taken power steering on purpose). I loved it because short drive mein long drive ka maza 😉 Due to its amazing pickup, I was always first to lead on the green signal. Its small size was people’s envy, as I could manoeuvre it in a small place and did not have to worry about parking. Some adventures with Dhano are unforgettable. Once, I was returning from the temple in the morning. I saw that a man was running behind his son’s school bus. I believe, Dhano kind-of, pushed me 😄 to help that stranger. I asked him to hop-in my car. Initially, he was surprised but, he sat. So, off we went chasing the bus in a very filmy way…Bhag Dhano Bhag… The child was able to get his stuff, but his dad seemed dizzy after that ride. Oh, what fun it was, to see him get down the car and with folded hands say “Jai Mata Di!”. Dhano was my reliable companion when I was constructing my house. Long pipes, marble tiles, and whatnot were loaded in it. We overloaded it with stuff during the shifting of the house. It was so full of cartons leaving only one place for me to sit and drive. She carried the load like a pickup truck. Sometimes, to an extent, that it became difficult to drive. However, to take care of her, I ensured that I never missed any of its maintenance services. Some months back I was frantically driving to the hospital, late evening, with my son semi-conscious on the back seat. My heart beating uncontrollably. I was pushing my anxiety away, constantly telling it to wait, so I don’t get a panic attack. Somewhere in my heart, I knew my Dhano was there and we will reach in time. We did. Once, it was pouring cats and dogs and I had joined this new place of work and also had to visit an income tax advisor for filing my return. Now all the property-related documents and all my qualification certificates were with me. In Chandigarh, water logging takes place for a short while at roundabouts. The water was at my door level. Suddenly, I saw some smoke coming from the bonnet. I stopped the car on the side. After pushing the button to open the bonnet, I jumped out of the car, in the rain, wondering what to do. I was standing next to my Dhano, hugging tightly, that plastic bag of important documents. I was so fearful thinking what will I do if there was a fire in the car. A cab stopped and the driver chose to help me. He opened the bonnet and checked and the smoke that seemed to be coming was from steam being formed and not due to any fire. I was so thankful. Some events become the turning point of life. That day, that adventure with Dhano was a major turning point in my life, due to personal incidents that emerged thereafter. It is only in a tough situation that we realize our strengths and also who are the people who stand with us. In these twelve years, Dhano was taken for granted, I always knew she was there. Today as we part ways, my heart is heavy and I know that something is changing for, forever. Thank you, my friend. You always be remembered. Adieu!
For those hugs and kisses, Love’s sweet nothings, All the emotions, Amounting to devotion, Upon him, were bestowed. His heart was big. It still wanted more. Dreams were big, The desire for more. High passions and intense craving. For possessions and to be a somebody. Yet, inspite of all effort, And being surrounded by wonderful people, And inspite all the motivation, With all the reasons which could bring him possible victories… That never happened; Was it ever meant to be? His heart was angry, lonely, and longing. Craving for what? A mystery? For what he thought would be provided by another, It was his own soul’s yearning. His heart was big, Its yearning was bigger. Everything that went inside it, Disappeared infinitely, Tenderness failed to affect him. Undoubtedly, his heart was magnetic. It pulled affection towards it. Even though, that heart waited for someone to stitch its damage, Yet, whoever came close was pushed away. For distance appeared safe. Self-sabotage, though it was, He knew no other way. Only, if he could break this pattern. Learning to give and receive love. Feeling safety in closeness as in distance. Rising in love, and not letting ego drown everything. Accepting the uneasiness that comes with another’s close presence. For love is unconditional, it is compassion. Trusting someone enough to let things shift. Till then, his heart with its emptiness is, Nothing but a bottomless pit!
She adored the prince through and through. Every day on his window-pane, she flew. She sat and sang, songs so sweet. She felt it was – what was meant to be. Every day it made him happy, It made him optimistic for the day. Then one day, it was not enough. She sang but failed to cheer him up. There was no red rose he could get. For his beautiful mistress! He saw the white one and wished he was dead! The nightingale was heartbroken. That morning when prince awakened. The bird had blood-fed the rose. It was as red as could be. The nightingale was no more. The prince merrily plucked the rose. A Rose to express his love, Why? wasn’t love just enough? Yes, life is not always fair… True, not everyone cares!
रिश्तों का ताना बाना, Ebb and flow of relationships… तेरा मुझसे लड़ना, मेरा तुझे मनाना, rising beyond ego clashes. तेरा मेरे संग बैठना, मुस्कुराना, like blissful ecstasy. रिश्तों का यूं बन जाना, our destiny.
धागे ये कच्चे हैं, यूं उलझ गए ऐसे ही, न मुझे खबर लगी, न तुम समझे सही! टूट जाते हैं जो धागे कच्चे, गांठें पड़े, न जुड़े कभी भी, दर्द के दरिया में, रोज़ गोते खा रही हैं जिंदगी
इस कदर छा गया दिल में सन्नअटा, silence perpetually. अब न मिलोगे कभी, acceptance eventually. अब इस टूटे आइने में दिखे है, harsh reality. कुछ का होता है यही नसीब, inevitably,. रिश्तों का ताना-बाना, Ebb and flow of relationships!
Trapped in a gloomy dungeon. Everywhere darkness adorned. There prevailed chains, Brokenness, and pain. Everything unreasonable and insane. With all the might, I put up a fight. Depleting me of my energy. As I wriggled out of the dungeon, slowly. There was light so bright. Dazzled, I lost my sight. Suddenly, the world was a new place. As though I was born again! I trembled as I crawled I got assistance and I survived. Some motivated me in my despair. Some offered me kindness and care. Someone share a laugh. Someone convinced me I was enough. I tried to gather my strength to walk. I was feeling weak still. The ascent is always a steep uphill. I saw a hand stretched towards me. I took its support like crutches. I walked a few steps and felt powerful. As the weather changes, so does time. Those dependencies are nothing but enzymes. Chemicals in the brain create that fog. The more you want something, The further it got! But I was in an unusual ‘high’. Love gives you these wings. Freedom to float anywhere, freedom to say anything. Fantasy is a flight towards a dream. Yes, I understand the science behind it all. Mysteries, build adrenaline rush, And push us to do hard things. The ‘high’ is sufficient to move a mountain. Is this ‘high’ making me an addict, insane? In your world, you see the same stars. Awestruck, we see the same moon from afar. My mind and heart feel so connected, Though the distance between us cannot be measured.
How do I see a sameness in differentiation? There is a strong connection in this separation! Although, I love the thought that we could be together, This is but just a thought. I want to feel close, yet I want to stay afar. I am living in paradox. Maybe, I am in love with this paradox. Or is it that, I feel we are not apart? Maybe I am imagining, what you’ll be, It may just be my fantasy. Maybe I distraught the reality, Maybe I assume what is not! Maybe there is more that I do not see. Yet, it is making me the person I always wanted to be.
Personality Contest was an important event at the cultural fest at SPM College, Delhi. I stood there in the corridor accompanying my three beautiful friends, least interested in that event. Make-up and all… uh, not my cup of tea! It was our first year in college. In those days, ‘college’ was not just an institution. It was a platform to create self-identify. In the absence of social media, it was ‘the community’. Being ‘cool’, ‘being popular’, and being ‘sought after’ were important validations, just as career goals (if not more!). I had always been an ambivert (partly extrovert, partly introvert), beside being a Tomboy. Quick to make friends and known for playing pranks on people. I loved to believe, I was not a delicate darling, but a strong, rough, and tough girl! The senior wrote the names of my friends on the paper and flapped the shabby paper at me with a look of contempt. “You can’t apply! You are not selected.” I never wanted to participate in the first place! It was not “my type” of an event. However, her way of speaking put me off. Anger took over. Now through therapy, I understand better what I did not know then, that, ‘anger’ can be a blanket emotion. So with all the hurt in my heart and ‘feeling not good enough’ and ugly, I walked towards doing what I had never done before. Quite impulsively, I approached the lecturer concerned with my request. “Ma’am, although this event is not my kind, and I understand that I will be eliminated in the first round itself, kindly give me a chance to participate.” She was quick to give her consent and my name was added along with my friends.
Chemicals in the brain… I could feel the rush! I didn’t realize that I had got myself in an uncomfortable zone. It was a new journey as I started to prepare for my participation with only three days at hand. I did not have any pair of heels. So I went to buy them. Much to my embarrassment, when I tried to walk, I fell. I hated it. I found it hard to practice for the ramp walk. I kept encouraging myself by saying, “It is for one round only, then I will be in the audience with my class, cheering my friends. Hooting and enjoying.” The day came and I literally wrapped my saree (as it was far from being draped!) and hair tied with a clip, rushed to the college. In our English department classroom, the whole bunch of girls took over. My saree was draped beautifully. My hair was done in a nice top-notch bun. Personal Make-up boxes were there and I don’t even know what all went on my face. Honestly, I did not even look at myself in the mirror. I was somewhere else all the time. I was physically present but mentally away in my own world. There was this constant battle going on in my mind. My ego was bruised. No one knew about it. It had me in flames. I didn’t care a two penny, about the contest. It was all about being on the stage. Since I did not have time to buy contact lenses so, I had decided that I would remove my glasses in the first round which was the ramp walk and introduction, then I had plans to enjoy among the audience. On the stage, red curtains were drawn. The carpets were also red. Oh my God…I couldn’t see without my glasses. There was now a threat of tripping over the carpet in my new heels. (I had to mentally focus to keep my weight backward when I walked). To add to that stress now, there was a danger of me literally walking off the stage. The red color was a big distraction. I could not see where the stage ended! I hated myself for putting me there! However, once I was there on the stage, I felt home. Something took me over. I was comfortable and at ease. Surprisingly, I started to enjoy myself. During my introduction, I honestly told the judges and the audience that I had been a tomboy and I wore glasses. I cleared the elimination round. I kept moving forward easily, as subsequent rounds included quizzing, acting, and oration were not much of a challenge. Overall, it was an unforgettable and memorable event and I had to go without sitting in the audience.
Breaking the stereotypes, I was crowned Miss Personality SPM College 1996. In those days, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi was a popular show on air. On the stage, Jassi came to life for a day. That day, a simple plain-looking girl in glasses, stole the show and the limelight. She went missing right after the contest. No one saw her again!
People talked about her, while I stood right next to them, not identifying me (My friends reading this know and would agree). I think, after all, she was not a real person. She was a group effort. The entire class contributed to creating her, making her look the way she did. She was the sum of everyone’s effort and energy. I just played a role on the stage. It was also about- the challenge. The idea of achieving something when it seemed impossible, I strongly believe everything lies in the power of our mind.
Today as I reflect. I can see it very differently. It brings about those two major issues we all struggle with, at some point or the other in our life. First, to be chosen for who we are. We all want to be seen and acknowledged by others, more so by people whom we care about, like our coworkers, friends, and more importantly by our family. Somehow, we feel the need to prove our worth first! This belief of ‘worthiness,’ is so bloody engrained in our mind by this society. We need a ‘high’ about this sense of achievement, to believe, that we are actually worthy and deserve to be loved. Most of the time, we feel not good enough. We internalize, that we are setting goals or increasing standards for our improvement. Sadly, it’s just a cover-up for shame in not accepting ourself!
The second realization is a hard one for me that, the bruised ego is a dangerous weapon. In this context, it brought about a positive outcome. Challenges work on ego. Anger stems from ego. Ego is a false sense of identity. As I reflect on my life, I understand this, time and again the challenges have brought out the best in me professionally and personally. It is a different learning altogether, now, as I look back, I see my ego staring right back at me!
Undoubtedly, there was an achievement and I must give it, its due credits. First, to myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and attempting new things that were not ‘my type’ and navigating through the challenges.
Second, to all my friends from the English department who supported me. It was their incredible effort and presence, memories of which, are so close to my heart. Last but not the least, it feels like a tremendous achievement to break the stereotype!
Someone said, “We mature with damage not with age.” There is a different (inner) devil at every stage. Today I am inviting some of them for tea. These frightened parts of me! I have kept them hidden, I have denied, Disowned and shamed them several times. For I could not do what I was supposed to. For I could not become what was expected of me.
These are my inner children wanting to be- free. So, today I let some of them be! (seen).
For that kid in me is sometimes three, It demands all the attention she missed on. She frets, and doesn’t know how to express and who to explain what is her pain? The world is lonely and dark and mundane. Where is everyone? How do they all function? What is the ‘normal’?
Who do I question? There is no one near except fear. She is expected to be quite. A “Good child”. Tired of all this, little one cries.
Sometimes, this inner child of mine, Is thirteen. Feeling the pain of growing up and changes in adolescence. The world is scary, strange and unsafe. She hides behind her pride. Lets loose the inner rebel. She formulates a survival guide. Strong face. Just a disguise. Yet a safe disguise!
Sometimes this inner child is nine. Desiring a new bicycle and a pair of running shoes. Why do people ridicule? Why can’t I fight back? Break the norm. Break their bones! I will be a Don! Dare they strike! I will kill. I will fight…! Some voice mimics, the dialog from the social script of ‘that mean aunt’ in every family, who is always critical, of literally everything! “Oh my little child, but you are a girl… You will not survive. Uh, accept that it’s your plight. For those boys are big and you are just nine! Surrender! For if God wanted you to be successful you would not have been a girl’!” My child at nine decided to hide(“the girl”) till whenever possible. Frills and frocks were discarded for rough jeans. Long curls gone just like the story ‘Maggie Cuts her Hair’. She’d defy. I am no less. I am a Tom-‘boy’! Fighting on the street. Bruised legs and feet, it did not pain. It was a matter of prestige! The scars were the pride, of my inner child.
However, these lessons are wrongly learnt it was a survival guide. It felt safe to defy, To be angry rebel or to hide. For long, I let my coping mechanism be my comfort zone. As that was what could possibly be done! It’s an un-learning time. With you, I work, to reconcile.
Today in my forties, I acknowledge this pain, My inner children, you are not shamed! Now, I won’t let you suffer again. I won’t deny, in me, you may confide. For, we are the same. Let go of these fears. You are safe, as I am here! For you, I will always be here!
Many of us are small children in adult bodies. Exhausted and emotionally reactive. We are threatened at the slightest provocation or conflict. We are choking on our fears. Pretending to be strong and in-control by hiding away those fears and insecurities that are killing us on the inside. For the fear of tarnishing our “image” that we have so carefully carved. However, being misunderstood can be seen as an opportunity to love one’s self more and let people think what they want to! Sometimes we develop immunity to change and self-limiting beliefs and face difficulty in confronting subconscious fears. Society seems like a monster as it’s “should” and “must” govern us. We get identified by labels and we live in the boxes.
In trying to become all the things people want us to become, we loose ourselves.
Dissociation and numbing are the coping mechanisms one develops while growing up. “I won’t think about it, I will dodge it. Forget it!”, “I am ok”, “I can handle it”, “I am strong”. We use anger to hide the pain within. We wear different masks. We create our personas. All these have caused more harm than we realize. Initially not getting that toy car or the barbie doll; missing the position of school monitor or captain; being left out by friends, not being invited to the party. Not getting that dream job or promotion or house, not getting married to that person, not being able to live in the country of dreams. So many things we need to feel sad about and grieve. Instead, we push it aside as “no big deal!”. We teach our children to “be strong” and “take it in your stride”! Let’s break the boxes. Trying to run away from suffering is running towards it. Being a hero is not about dismissing the hard feelings. It is about being brave and facing them. It takes courage to own up that grief, rejection, loss, and pain. Controlling emotions does not mean denying them. Acceptance is heroic. Grieving is an act of courage, towards not being comfortably numb to being comfortably conscious and receptive! It takes some unlearning to say “It’s okay not to be okay!” Enjoy the song by Marshmallow