Monday, December 29, 2014


Last month, I was walking to town in a terrible mood, on a surprisingly pleasant day in Cardiff; it was comfortably sunny with no sign of rain. I remember feeling extremely flustered for some reason - my handbag refused to stay on my shoulder for more than 5 seconds, my jacket was too warm and my shoes weren't being very helpful, either.  If those 10 minutes were to have a background score, it'd definitely be "Boulevard of Broken Dreams".

I managed to carry my sorry self to the first coffee shop I saw and mumbled my order to the Barista who asked me if I was alright. Now this wasn't the typical greeting that most of us throw at each other because he seemed genuinely concerned. I forced a smile and told him that I was just having a bad day, inching my way towards a table to avoid small talk. Within a few minutes, he brought my coffee to me and handed me a small note which read - It's just a bad day, not a bad life :).

Being the Pinterest-er that I am, such quotes hold a special place in my heart and this small gesture really made me melt. I giggled and thanked him and went back to the book I was reading. The next 10 minutes, however, involved me reading the same page over and over and over again, comprehending absolutely nothing. My mind wandered to everything that had happened in the past few months - rejection, unworthiness, pain, blame games and guilt. 
I looked up and saw the same Barista, singing to himself, making small talk with the customers and having the time of his life whilst serving coffee. If there's one thing about me that I'm proud of, is the ability to see the positive in every stormy situation and I sat horrified, realizing how negative I had been, lately. Instead of gathering myself up and all the rocks that life was happily throwing at me, I was slowly tearing myself apart.

For the next few minutes, I laughed and cried and softly slapped myself awake from the million delusions I'd clouded my mind with. I decided that escaping from reality wasn't going to help my situation in any way. Sure, I could drink my fears and pain away every night of the week but would the excruciating pain in my head, the next day, make anything easier? 
Physical pain might be way more comfortable than emotional pain but is living with any kind of pain a possible solution to all the challenges in life? 

I immediately took out my phone and noted down everything that had made me smile in 2014 - right from my achievements in February to the small note from the Barista in November. I then went on to pen down whatever I wasn't too happy about and surprisingly, this list ended after 2 points. I stared at my screen for the longest time, trying to think of more negative situations. Surely, I couldn't be THIS disturbed because of one or two things? Realization came in the form of a phone call from my mother and ended with a massive smile on my face as I walked back home. She told me that change occurs for a reason - it might break you, but it also transforms you into a person you never thought you'd become. We can't control situations or the minds of others, but controlling ourselves is possible.
I introspected for the next few days and concluded that I can't possibly look for happiness in some place, some person or some situation unless and until I don't find it within myself. 

Today, if you see me smile, you'll know the reason behind it. It's definitely not a person or an object or a glass of wine; it's just me, accepting my unadulterated self, learning to live with everything that life has to offer and filling up bags with all the rocks thrown at me to eventually build a fort.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thank you, Maa.

She worries a lot, abandoning her beautiful smile for a forlorn expression. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you Maa, I thought you'd get angry", I remember telling her once, when she asked me why I hadn't told her that I'd hurt myself. I knew it was a silly excuse, that she would have found out anyway; mother's instinct, she calls it.
She usually walks with her head held high. "Because I'm your mother and you make me proud everyday", she says. Little does she know that every time she walks with me, I'm the proud one. Not only because she's the most perfect mother in the world, but because every time she walks with me, her head lowers down, to look over every step I take, making sure I don't stumble.

She isn't a typical Indian housewife and to be honest, she was never brought up to be one. My grandparent's ambitious nature carved her into an accomplished career woman; 9 to 5 job, client meetings et al. In the midst of her passion to work, she jumped from obstacles to more obstacles, struggling to "fit in" and be "accepted" for who she was. Come to think of it, a newly married woman working at an ad agency and later at a travel agency, spending hours with clients - how could our society come to terms with such a bold move, especially when things were a bit rocky at home?
It is her integrity, self-respect, humility and morals that I am most thankful for, today. Not only did she swear by these qualities at every moment of her life, but also made it a point to instill them in me, right from the beginning. Her boldest move however, was when she finally stopped
working to fit in, and instead, started working to give me the most beautiful life.

"My heart breaks when your heart breaks", my mother whispered. "I broke up Maa, not you", I exclaimed, wiping her tears.
My mother is a quaintrelle. She also makes everyone's problems her own and lives her life for others, constantly trying to help those around her. I wish I was as sacrificing as she is and I know that I probably would never be. Her passion lies in helping people and after 20 long years she finally decided to pursue psychology and art therapy. Today, when I see her running from one workplace to another, stopping at home for a bite of lunch, I try not to feel too overwhelmed. It is her passion that has allowed me to study in one of the most expensive countries. But it is also her idea of commitment and hard work, that has truly helped me survive there.

There have been days when I've been applauded for being who I am, when I've done well in a test, a competition or life, in general. They applaud my hard work and my personal qualities, but I just smile, trying not to feel too proud of my mother. Had it not been for her million sacrifices, her missed outings with friends, her working from home till I was independent enough, her habit of keeping a check on wherever I go and her values which taught me to always face my fears, speak the truth and live respectfully, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

"Nana always wanted me to be lawyer and I thought it was a perfect career for me.", she said, reminiscing about her college days. "I got married very early, but promise me you will stand on your own feet before you become a Mrs. XYZ".
4 years ago, she urged me to follow me dreams because she couldn't follow hers. But I chose to follow her dreams instead, making them mine. After all, I am, quite literally, a part of her.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Who Am I In This "Cupcake" Called Life?

Change is never easy. It's a major battle between letting go and holding on, with a more than evident winner.
Since the past two years, I've come to accept change as something so acquiescent, that it's difficult for me to actually believe that turning the pages of one's life has a possibility to be attached to negativity. These two years have helped me discover myself. They've made me challenge my beliefs, forgive, introspect constantly and accept myself for the person I am. Heck, everyday I learn something new, not about my neighbor or someone who lives a 1000 miles away from me, but about myself, and there's not greater feeling than finally, FINALLY, knowing who I am.

So here's a list of my top five "Who Am I?" moments:

  • I prefer intellectual conversations over mindless gossip- Even a tad bit of gossip/bad mouthing or even knowing about the ABC of some XYZ person's life doesn't interest me anymore. I'd rather talk about people who did some good in the world, who changed people and affected their mindsets, their beliefs and their choices. I'd rather spend hours talking about a literature, cuisines, politics (learning) , culture and religion than sit and judge people who I might not even see some 4-5 years later.
  • I like being a loner sometimes- The definition of a loner in my dictionary is quite similar to the one in the actual dictionary. It's just very different from how people define it; who judge loners as people who have no friends or find it difficult to socialize. I'm blessed with both - amazing friends and the ability to socialize, but I need my space and a lot of time to myself. I love writing and reading and I'd be an absolute fail at both, if I were constantly surrounded by people.
  • I don't enjoy alcoholI know I'm in college and most people might just laugh at me for saying this but alcohol is something I really, really do not enjoy consuming. An occasional glass of wine or a cocktail is all I can manage. This doesn't mean that I can't handle my drink because really, almost always, I'm the most sober amongst my group of friends. This also doesn't mean that I don't have fun when I don't go out. Not drinking is a choice and is, in no way, attached to having fun. I won't deny that I haven't enjoyed drinking earlier, but now, I've just realised that it isn't really my idea of fun. But hey, I'm not judging here. It's a free world.
  • I've stopped caring about people judging me- I've come to believe that as long as I live with dignity and am focused on what I need to achieve in life, what people say or think about me, is the least of my concern. I've been brought up with values that force me to never do or say bad, and towards the end of the day, I'm not answerable to those 5-6 people who talk about me for no reason, but to those who actually brought me up to be the person I am today. I don't feel the need to clarify my words or actions because those who have to judge, will do it anyway. And this is a huge change, coming from someone like me. 
  • Nature is my happy place - I've been tutoring a 12th grade student who lives near the most beautiful park I've ever seen. It's got a massive lake with these gorgeous swans and ducks swimming around, pretty flowers, a tiny stream running down a rocky terrain and hundreds of adorable dogs and babies - trust me, it's breathtaking. Visiting it has become a ritual for me. Twice a week, I leave a little early for my tuitions just to spend a good half an hour in that park. I occupy an entire bench near the lake and observe, just observe. And I would be lying if I said it wasn't the most peaceful thing to do. 

We're all living a mechanical life, and no one is to blame. But amidst all the hastiness, take a break. Stop over thinking, stop living according to the society's expectations, discover yourself, change yourself if need be, take a walk, observe people around you but don't judge, appreciate the small things in life and even the big ones, don't take anything or anyone for granted, respect people without them demanding it, love freely - no strings attached and lastly, don't be afraid - to feel something, to say something, to believe in something because this your life is entirely and wholly yours - people are like sprinkles, the added bit, which you can do without, as long as you're the batter of this delicious cupcake called life.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

If tears could build a stairway.

Where did you go
How do I find you again
Whispering your name beneath the blinds of my heart
Or clamoring it as I slowly fall apart?

I can feel you around me
Clasping my hand as I take an awry step
I look around for you, I clutch the air
Blinking away my tears of despair

I look up, I see you shining
Hiding behind the moon, with those teasing eyes
My guardian angel, my guiding light
I miss you every day, every night

He summoned you too fast
Were you even ready to let go?
One last breath, one last laugh
I wish you could've just asked for more

Now when I look back
Into my reservoir of memories I see
The warmth in your eyes, that delightful smile
The tender hugs and your timeless style

All I have left is
The eternal love between you and I
But I'll see you in years to come
And take those walks again, holding your thumb.

Love you always, Nanu.