Making memories

Days spent surrounded by the beauty of the hills and the endless sky, laughing and playing cards with people I’m most fond of, we knew we were making memories. Looking back they feel sweeter.

Last year (2016) was filled with travels and laughter and so much joy and despite being a lot of anguish, and heart break (Which 2016 was for a LOT of people), the joy is all I can remembers. That is the beauty of memories, somehow everything gets a rose-tinted filter.

Thank god for digital photography that we get to capture these memories and look back at them whenever we feel like it.

Beautiful places remind me that the world is full of beautiful places, waiting to be experienced, and how little I’ve had the pleasure to see, grand memories I’m yet to make.

As I sit here sifting through my picture archives, I can only think of all the travels that await me this year.

Until next time, keep making memories.

xo

Done Deal

Yesterday I was told that it is perhaps my cynical attitude that has made successes elude me. Now this may seem a bit harsh, but in the context of the conversation, it actually wasn’t. However, it was enough to register in my mind, and had enough impact on me to make me want to write about it.

Like most cynical people, I wasn’t born this way. When I was (about) 15 or 16 years old, I was the doe-y-est doe-eyed idealist of a girl who believed that everyone had the same heart as me. I look back with awe at that girl, because she was uninhibited. As you can see I talk about her in third person, because I sometimes feel like that girl existed in a different lifetime than the me I am today. I would, however, like to believe that that girl still exists behind the armor that I have had to create to protect her.

Anyway, in the last three or four years (that I have noticed), there have been many instances where the supposed done deals have fallen through, never to be spoken of again. This has included people who wanted to collaborate with me professionally, job opportunities, business opportunities, and a few even in my personal life.

Which brings me to what I have learnt (the hard way) – People Say all the right things, but its a whole other story what they do. I have met umpteen number of people who where charmers, people whose words are so full of conviction that the listener (me) was bound to feel taken by it. But when it came to execution, these charmers were nowhere to be found, and often were the ones who averted their gaze and eluded me for months to come.

These “done deals”,  had they worked out, would’ve changed my life. But it didn’t work out and my life changed anyway, its funny how life unfolds sometimes – my perceptions became clearer, my instincts became sharper. and generally became wiser (and perhaps a little cynical).

Now, in hindsight it feels like it all worked out for the best, because more details about these “done deals” have been revealed, many of which would not have been ideal by my standards.

Long gone are the day of Gentlemen’s Agreements or handshake deals. Today we live in a world where most people wouldn’t hesitate to do anything to make a quick buck, or make a fool of themselves for their 15 minutes of “fame”. This whole “anything for money/fame/success” attitude doesn’t appeal to me at all, in fact I consciously stay away from people who so brazenly lack scruples, I’m quite old fashioned like that with very conservatively drawn lines (maybe sometimes to my own detriment), I still believe that your word should mean something.

My biggest blessings have been unanswered prayers, where I have felt like it wasn’t an opportunity eluding me, it was actually me dodging a bullet.

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So am I cynical about people, yes, because expectations lead to disappointment. But there’s also the faith that the big guy in the sky has my back.

And despite every disappointment, if I have found some reasoning or some lesson to sand off my own rough edges, I consider it precious.

Until next time

xo

The uncomfortable truth

I recently stumbled upon this show called 13 reasons why, the hot new show everyone is talking about, which is based on a best selling novel by the same name written by Jay Asher. I had never heard of the novel or the show and had no idea what it was about (except of course the self-fulfilling title and the little blurb on Netflix), I decided to watch it.

For those of you who don’t know, this show follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life. (Source – imdb.com)

Firstly, let me start by saying I am NOT a fan of grey subject matter, where things like suicide, misogyny, bullying etc., are glorified, at least that is not my idea of “entertainment”. My preference for television shows or movies are usually comedies, romances, romantic-comedies or even well made thrillers.

I’m not going to give you a play by play of what this show is about, because there are umpteen number of posts online which do that. So don’t worry about spoilers here. 🙂

But after binge watching it, here are my thoughts –

  1. This is NOT a show to binge watch – the content is too heavy, most of the characters (including the protagonist) are not very likable, and all the issues they talk about on the show, and there are plenty if them (alcoholism, bullying, unrequited love, suicide, depression), but sadly none of them are truly addressed in depth on the show, except to have visuals that really do make the viewer uncomfortable. It very well poses the problems, but offers little to no (satisfying) solutions.
  2. This show is basically a reflection of what happens in (pretty much) every person’s high school experience. Anyone who has gone to high school knows that it can be a harrowing experience – there’s an endless supply of rumors, backstabbing, frenemies, bullying – and one is expected to go through that during teen years (probably the most vulnerable period of life when every single thing feels like it will last forever), that’s just cruel. Alas.
  3. Glorification of Suicide – is just NOT okay! I think people should think about what they choose to create as entertainment, don’t tell impressionable teenagers that suicide is an option. I recently read that Suicide is the second leading cause for death among teenagers, and this broke my heart. By the end of this show, I really did wonder what the hell the point was. Perhaps it was the frustration of binge watching a show like this.
  4. The BIGGEST, most baffling flaw of this show is how clueless the adults in the show were. I don’t think teenagers are covert operatives or world class spies who have been rigorously trained to show no emotions, or give out more than they want to reveal, teenagers are often clueless, confused people who are trying to understand what its like to be an “adult”, and they act out, and when someone is on a downward spiral, or saying/doing things which are clearly a cry for help, I doubt that it is so subtle that no adult can spot it and get them the help they need. This was perhaps the most frustrating part of the show, for me.

Now back to reality, in a Teenager’s mind, everything is magnified, everything feels like the end of the world, everything looks bleak and hopeless (I know, I was one not too long ago), but it really isn’t (I know this now). The world is a HUGE bountiful place with kind, kindred souls, thrilling experiences, abundant beauty, and one would only get to know that when one chooses to live. Suicide is NEVER the answer.

I realized very young that suicide is not a solution at all – it merely transfers your pain on to your loved ones. Death (by accident/old age/illness) is a sort of loss that changes people, but death by suicide is the most cruel type of loss which haunts its survivors for the rest of their lives.

I have lost 2 friends to suicide, and I know how helpless, confused and angry we (our friends) felt when we were at the funeral, where it was too late, and nothing we said or did could bring our friends back.

Despite being someone who has dealt with depression, an abusive relationship, bad grades, low self-esteem issues, etc., in my teens and early 20s, and survived – I don’t normally talk about depression or suicide, not because I don’t want to, or because most people would not understand, or because of a lack of interest or ignorance, I don’t often talk about it because it makes people uncomfortable. I know this by experience. Sometimes reality can be so raw and uncomfortable, and just not polite conversation (and we all know how I feel about that).

Even my two best friends haven’t heard me talk about this stuff, at least not in-depth, simply because, now, long after those days have passed, there is simply no need to rehash it and make them feel uncomfortable. Again this may have something to do with my love affair with “polite conversation”.

The point I am trying to make is, the need of the hour is not to make shows that glorify suicide or tip toe around issues like depression, it is to teach kids (by example) to be kinder, for us (as a society) to be more open and accepting of mental health issues, to make it okay for the young adults in our own lives to be able to talk to us, and instead of perpetuating the highly curated lives that people exhibit on social media, and dare to talk about the things that make people uncomfortable, not with the purpose of making someone uncomfortable, but to actually make a difference. To be able to help each other navigate through life.

And most importantly, so we don’t forget that Life is actually full of blessings – waiting to be noticed. As time has passed, MOST of my experiences (life lessons) make sense, when I look back. Every single experience I have had has made me who I am today. Every single time I’ve felt wronged by the world, I’ve also learnt that the world owes me nothing, it is up to Me to make a difference for myself. Every single time I have been faced with utter rudeness, I’ve taken away lessons on how I will never be. Every single time the world has given me difficulties, I have found people who love me no matter what. If any of those experiences were different, I would not be the me writing this post. Something about the butterfly effect comes to mind.

FullSizeRenderAll I’m trying to say is, if what I’ve said/written about here can make an impact on even one person to speak up, to acknowledge the hurt and begin the process of healing or get/offer help, I’d consider myself successful.

Until next time, lets be kinder to each other.

xo

Letters

Have you ever felt the most intense emotions imaginable, and then felt like you would probably never feel that intensely ever again? It makes me wonder if our feelings (especially our ability to love) are a finite resource, like if I kept feeling it, and sharing it, that one day I could run out.

I remember, about a decade ago, I was very into writing letters, hand written thoughts penned down on pretty stationary – to friends, to my then boyfriend, to my parents, to myself, you name it, and I’ve written letters on every subject possible. For a while that was my thing, I’d add a little hand written note with birthday gifts, or just write little notes to myself and leave it in different places to find. I absolutely adored it.

And then something changed, I had my first big heartbreak, the kind that I didn’t think I would survive, the kind that made me lose years trying to recover from, the kind that changed me forever. The only way I knew to survive it, was to numb myself to everything. Life became very mechanical, I reveled in my routine because it kept me busy. I made my time for myself so scarce that I didn’t have time to even think about anything beyond the superficial, my appetite was gone, but I ate so that the people around me wouldn’t be worried, I stated covering up my hollow eyes, and the tracks of my tears with pretty makeup, so no one would ask me if I was okay, which I knew would only have one result – me bursting into tears and coming unhinged and have my broken heart on display for all to see. I put on a happy face and went on with my day.

I did this more for my parents than for myself, the last few years of that relationship was difficult and volatile and sadly witnessed by my parents. I knew that I would not add to it by being a broken girl. They did not deserve it, and I would be damned before I put them through more pain.

So after the big heartbreak, I stopped allowing myself to dwell, to cry, or feel sorry for myself. I was barely 23 years old and completely disenchanted with life. I had numbed myself, this meant that I wasn’t really letting myself feel anything – good or bad.

I did this for years, before I was okay again. Different from who I was before, but okay. Stronger somehow.

One of the things that changed after this was I stopped writing letters. I didn’t know what to write anymore, I didn’t want to be the silly little sentimental girl anymore, that part of me, the naive romantic who loved the charms of hand made, hand-written messages, had gotten lost during the process of life. In the last few years, I haven’t written any letters, my newer friends don’t believe me when I reminisce about it, and some have even felt offended that they haven’t been recipients of them.

So as I sit here, wondering about why I am even thinking about them, I realize that I still love them, I love putting thoughts into words, and letting my feelings be translated onto paper, for another person to read.

Maybe One day, I will write letters again, I can only hope because that to me is an act of love.

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To be able to express myself like that again, fearlessly and freely, would be wonderful! Which brings me back to my first thought, have you ever wondered if our feelings are finite, that it is possible to feel everything all at once and exhaust it.

I’m pretty sure that that isn’t likely, as long as there is hope, the possibilities seem endless, like there is this secret part of our being which allows us to surprise ourselves with how deeply we feel (good stuff and bad). That to me is Magic!

Until next time, thank you for reading!

xo

Countdown

In exactly one month I will be celebrating a milestone birthday, the big Three-Oh, and unsurprisingly I am completely freaked out! I felt exactly this way when I was turning 20 (and now I think, awww how cute, that I was actually worried about turning 20!), when I realized I’ll never be a teen ever again, and THAT was a decade ago. Where does the time go?

Milestone birthdays always give me a bittersweet feeling, it makes me feel like time is passing me by so quickly, even though it happens one day at a time, and I always countdown big events, it still manages to catch me by surprise and I can’t help but wonder how I got here.

Anyway, after the surprise (shock) has subsided, I generally tend to feel a little sad that perhaps some of the most fun moments are behind me, but I hope to heaven that I’m wrong and whats coming is way better than what I’ve left behind. After all life is about moving forward, even if we do sometimes look back just to reminisce for a little while.

Nonetheless, my 20s have been (and still is for another month) a very memorable decade, so many firsts, so many memories made, so many epiphanies, its been wonderful so far, and as I sit here making plans for the coming month, I can’t help but think of some of my favorite moments of the last decade.

In my 20s, I –

  1. learnt how to drive;
  2. got my first tattoo;
  3. met my Best friend/sister in law school – I don’t know what I’d do without her;
  4. graduated from Law School;
  5. got my first job;
  6. had my BIG heartbreak, and survived it;
  7. re-connected with my other best friend, after almost 10 years (or more) of having lost touch – and boy am I blessed to have met him again;
  8. reconnected with many many old friends;
  9. drove in my first TSD car rally and won;
  10. battled with numerous insecurities and overcame most of them;
  11. did my first bungee jump;
  12. drove a tractor;
  13. started this blog – my own little corner of the internet, which gives me so much joy;
  14. tried my hand at teaching – a lifelong dream;
  15. finally learnt to swim;
  16. solo-traveled for the first time, don’t get what the fuss is all about, I enjoy travelling with loved ones more;
  17. learnt some pretty major “life-lessons”;
  18. started to actually enjoy good White Wines – and even have a favorite one;
  19. started painting more, and I realized I love it – maybe this will turn into something more substantial someday, only time will tell;
  20. learnt to crochet – and now making a scarf for myself;
  21. dealt with chronic back pain, and realized the biggest thing needed for recovery is TLC;
  22. learnt that I can perform miracles when I am kinder to myself, and forgave myself for all the times I wasn’t; and
  23. finally fell in love with myself – and started my life long romance..

I’m sure there are many more of my favorite highlights of the last decade and numerous “full-circle” moments, but for now this is a pretty good list!

I am looking forward to the next month to cherish these last few days of being a 20-something, I obviously intend to make the most of it.

Life sure is full of surprises, ten years ago I would’ve never believed this would be my life, and despite all the challenging moments, I would never change anything. I get to wake up as me, and that is pretty spectacular.

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Until next time, embrace your life. This day will never happen again, make the most of it.

Love more.

xo

Life Lesson – Back to basics

As someone who has been practicing yoga for the last decade, I tend to be very aware of my body, how it reacts to certain things, how it is affected by change in diet, weather, fitness routine, pretty much most things. That’s the thing about Yoga I love most, the awareness it creates. Yes, the flexibility, strength, etc., are all great, but the awareness you have over your body (physical and energy body) is immense.

On December 12th 2016, I had the most rude awakening of my life – I woke up and could not get up and stand up straight, or walk without crying. I had shooting pain in my lower back, and no matter what I tried to do, I could not move. My legs felt like they each weighed a ton, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, couldn’t lie down in any position other than a fetal position. The only thing that got me through the night was to be heavily sedated, and I saw the doctor the next day to figure out what had gone wrong, and found out that my disc is damaged, and more damage and it could easily have been a slipped disc or a herniated disc. This was something I have to be careful about for the rest of my life.

I asked him how this was even possible, I do yoga! I’m in my 20s! Okay, I work a desk job, but I’m very conscious about talking breaks and stretching, HOW could this have happened??

Very calmly, the Doc told me that this could happen to ANYONE. It doesn’t matter how old/young you are, how fit/unfit you are, etc.

It has been over three months, and my back still hasn’t completely recovered. I still occasionally get shooting pain in my lower back, or sometimes a weird pressure in my lower back. There is now a constant awareness in my body that my back is still recovering. I still cringe at attending long meetings, because I don’t like to sit in chairs too long, I now avoid certain kinds of lounge chairs, I am hyper aware when my back isn’t straight or supported, because anything other than perfect posture, my back makes its presence be known, like a tantrum throwing child trying to get your attention. THIS is not fun!

The back incident (as I now refer to it) was a huge wake up call – because I never expected that I would have back issues, in my 20s (okay Late 20s), it made me so angry, all the rage I didn’t know I had came out to play in those days when I was stuck on my back. It was unfair and I definitely didn’t deserve it!

For 10 days I literally did nothing other than wake up, shower, get dressed, get on the carpet on the floor, took pain medication, slept, ate, and repeated this cycle.

The first few days were pure rage! I was pissed off with life, it felt like I was screaming uncontrollably into the abyss and no one could hear me, no one could help me. I felt alone,  helpless and very angry.

After my anger tired me out, it turned into plain submission (with a hint of helpless sadness), I told myself that I won’t let this pain go to waste. It HAD to mean something. I know that God (at least the one I know, love and believe in) wouldn’t put me through pain so senselessly. It HAD to mean something. I needed it to mean something.

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Image Source – Facebook

But what exactly did all of this mean, what was this meant to teach me?

The back incident gave me a LOT of time to reflect, and one of the conclusions was that maybe I had allowed life to go into auto-pilot mode, and just went with whatever life was sending my way, instead of living more deliberately, so much so that life had to give me a jolt to wake me up!

Now I don’t know if I’m right or not, but I choose to believe that it was for some great piece of wisdom that I had to uncover.

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Image Source – Google Images

Sometimes it is at your lowest point that the most precious lessons are revealed. So what was this too precious lesson that got revealed that I wouldn’t have learnt without pain that put the fear of god in me?

Well here are some of the big ones, at least this is what I’ve come up with so far –

  1. My family will be there for me no matter what – of course, I knew this. But this was a reminder because when my big brother (who is usually very busy), cleared up his day to take me to the hospital; and my mum spend almost all day with me rubbing my back, getting me hot packs for my back and comforting me; and I found out that my dad actually lost sleep over my new health condition. It made me realize how blessed I am, even if I wasn’t fully capable to appreciating it in that moment. I definitely do now.
  2. My body is more fragile than I thought – while the human body is capable of surviving in unimaginable conditions, it actually takes real discipline to keep it in good shape. Damaging it is the easiest thing, and recovering might take the rest of my life.
  3. Life is as unexpected as it is short – we NEVER know what is coming next. It only takes a second of life to make a 180 degree shift, and life as you know it will cease to exist. The impermanence of things is both comforting and unnerving. So enjoy and don’t take life so damn seriously all the time.
  4. Appreciate everything and take nothing for granted – there are people praying from the stuff we take for granted. So always be grateful and cherish life.
  5. Meditation helps with unexpected emotional outbursts (in my case rage) – To me, meditation means to simply be still and silence your mind of constant clatter. It is to simply be present. It isn’t always about chanting and getting into an elusive state of trance. It is to simply be still and let yourself be at balance with the world around. I know it sounds new age-y but it works like magic, it has made me calmer and happier.
  6. Writing about experiences dissipates pain – This makes me want to start a journal (with an actual book and pen).

Obviously there are many more, but I am yet to figure out how to articulate it. Its time to get back to basics, to ignore the external influences, and listen to my inner voice and go back to who I am.

Until next time, be good!

xo

Downtime

Often I find that there are various (often opposing) elements co-existing in the same realm without conflict, be it the natural elements, be it our emotions, be it our energy, be it the people around us (it could be anything, really) and then suddenly there’s a trigger which changes the whole equation. In Chemistry class, I remembered learning about catalysts, which are chemical substances that increase the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.

In life also, there are so many triggers, so many instances that provoke change and alter the course of our lives forever.

The biggest such catalyst in my lifetime has been the Internet. Practically anything can be done online – Research becomes faster and more accurate, finding old friends and people you have lost touch with is way easier, online shopping (thank heavens for the person who came up with Online shopping!), dating, work, writing (this post!), business transactions, you name it and the Internet has some part in it.

It has definitely made many aspects of life easier, but it has also made us less personable, less present, and generally averse if not intolerant of anything which isn’t an instant gratification.

Which brings me to what I have been thinking of these past few days, long gone are the days when people wrote hand written letters or sent out thank you cards to one another, and waited days before it reached its recipients, and wait days more for the replies. I can’t help but wonder, do the people of today have the resilience and patience for delayed gratification?

I mean, in a lot of aspects, we may never have the need to find out, but it still makes me wonder.

Sometimes life is about watching the paint dry, before we can go to the next stage. This downtime too is needed, even if it feels like we are stuck in a state of limbo. Perhaps it will all make sense in the (not so distant) future.

Until then, I’m still here – attempting to pour my thoughts into words.

xo