Does she have it all sorted?

I often lay awake at night and wonder, do people look at me, and think that she has it all sorted?

Because in my head, I am clearly doing it all wrong. I look at various other people, and just pick some aspects of their lives which appeal to me and conclude that they are living the best life there is to live.

Some have an amazing partner, and they never had to go through multiple break ups to find them. It’s almost as if they are reaping the benefits of some good karma in another lifetime.

While others have a successful career, they are living in a better country, earning more money and getting far more opportunities to grow.

Others are just happy in what they have, be it less or more. They have some passion that brings them joy, be it travelling, writing, making reels, anything. But they enjoy it so much that they hardly have time to worry about what others are doing, what they themselves are lacking.

And here I am, wondering why I am doing things so wrong that I am not satisfied at all. There is no lack of opportunity for me to achieve any of the above. It’s the courage and the determination where I lag behind. And sometimes, the culprit is not knowing what I really want and the will to go after it.

I feel that many unsaid standards have been set by the world on the quality of life and we are always comparing ourselves against them. The worst part is, these standards keeps on changing, so even if we achieve one thing, tomorrow there would be a new goal in town and our achievement would get obsolete. And because of just following the herd, we often miss out on finding what we really want while trying to keep up with the world.

Also, I am not blind or immature. I know about the truth of social media and what people slow in their stories is far from reality. I know that the lives of others look more rosy from the outside and in their normal every day lives, they are struggling too.

I hope that even my life looks better from the outside and all my inner turmoils aren’t visible.

And so I wonder, do people look at me, and think that she has it all sorted?

Independence day

I often end up fighting with my mom when she asks me to not step out late at night, to not go on road trips alone with girls. I ask her difficult questions as to why I am not allowed to do this whereas guys can do the same thing. Ofcourse I know the answer but I still probe her. I understand it’s for my safety but I don’t want to understand it anymore.

Why am I supposed to not go out because the world is unsafe for me? Because some creep lurks behind the shadows and might attack me? Why cannot something be done about that creep?

And the worst part? My parents think I can be independent, i can be safe from all harm in the world after getting married, because they think having a man in my life is going to protect me from all the lurkers in the world. Women are to be passed around from possession of one man to another, from father to husband, to take care of them, to stop them from being independent. But the same men cannot be taught how to make the world a better place for us.

I am fed up of begging for my independence, to be called a rebel for asking what is rightfully mine, to demand to live in a safe place where I can freely roam around without a pepper spray. I feel that the term independence was only coined for men of our society, because thanks to them, girls can never truly be independent.

Secret love

We would steal glances the entire day because there is a thrill in knowing something, doing something, and keeping it hidden from the whole world.
We would try to stand together in the crowded spaces, and let our fingers graze each other, just a smidge, so as to not raise suspicion.
Often, we would even hold hands under the table but hurriedly let go of it, when someone walked by.

The entire thing felt like a build up.
We would be igniting fire inside each other, birthing a monster, which would ravage the other at night.
Craving for more all the while, just to consume everything in the evening.
A dangerous game to play before dusk, only to relish in the victory till the end of the dawn.

We would look at each other the entire night, our naked truths, peering into each other’s souls. We had nothing to hide from each other.
We would be entwined in each other’s arms, not relinquishing, because we were afraid of the separation that the next day would bring.
We would talk, kiss, make love, laugh, sleep, but not let go.

Only to let go in the morning and do it all over again.

I am insecure

I am insecure
That what I feel is un-relatable
It is silly, weird
Will make people mock me
And so I keep my feelings bottled up inside

I am insecure
That what I say is never heard of
Nobody will value my opinion
I will be proven wrong and ridiculed
So I stayed taciturn

I am insecure
That what I write is not a piece of art
I don’t use fancy words
And nobody wants simplicity
So I keep a secret journal

I am insecure
That I am not special
But I am not common either
I don’t fit in with the society
So I became invisible.

Balconies

My day starts and ends with screens. From phone to laptop to television, screens are all around me, making me disoriented. There is hardly any escape because I am stuck in my home.
I often wander to my balcony to escape it all, because that is the nearest place closest to nature. A perfect getaway from our box like apartments into the arms of the real world. In times like this, I try to take in every piece of nature city life can offer. I fill my ears with the music of the horns of the passing cars, the animals fighting over something or maybe just playing with each other. I take in the lush greenery of the flora, some on the streets, and some harboured in my balcony. I stare at the sky, the many shades of blue, the moving clouds, and feel myself flying away with them. I feel the breeze on my face and close my eyes. This is all I want, this is all I need.

Photographs

Who doesn’t love photographs? Some like clicking it, some like posing for it, some just like to post them, and some waste hours just watching what others have posted. They are all around us, created to hold on to memories a little bit longer, to live in some old moment again and again, to give a visual form to old thoughts, to honor our closed ones by adding their pictures around the house or in an album, to keep the picture of someone special hidden away in the corner of the wallet, to feel something more than mere thoughts could have allowed.

But photographs were just meant to let us hold on to the memories a bit longer. When did photographs become the memories itself?

Cameras and reels used to be costly and hence we only spent them on the choicest of events. Now that phones make every click free, everyone goes clicking away 100 times every hour in a day. They are not memories anymore because we fail to create any memories as we are so often busy in capturing the said memory. I’ve been part of numerous occasions when the outing was only centred around taking pictures, and there is no conversation, no event from that day that I remember, other than the fact that we clicked pictures.

We visit great picturesque locations but instead of marveling at its beauty, everyone is busy in taking the perfect picture of that place. We attend concerts and instead of enjoying the music with closed eyes, our heart entwined with someone we love, swaying at the beats, we are just looking at the concert through the screens, and the entire focus is on keeping the hand still to get the best shot. We meet a friend after years and all we want to do is click a picture and add a story with the hashtag #feelsLikeYesterday, but are we really feeling anything?

Is it just me or have we taken this picture taking business a tad bit too far? I get it why professional photographers spend time on it or someone who has a hobby. But why is every other person so obsessed with taking pictures of every moment, every day, and not even going back to look at them because the gallery is so cluttered.

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves

These were some great words said by Ed Sheeran, let’s please not change the meaning of them please !

Next time you meet a friend, you go somewhere, please think for a while about that very moment first, stay in that moment & enjoy it, and then maybe later consider documenting it and showing off (or maybe just skip the latter).

Minimalism

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about minimalism, how leading a minimalistic life, i.e. living only with the things that give us happiness or something that we truly need to function, can help us in living a happy and successful life. It talked about how we often buy things just because we have this false need of validation that owning that particular thing will make us happy, or sometimes it’s just because we compare the things that we own with others, thus always trying to fill a void with useless garbage, but not realising that the void is always going to keep asking for more (it’s a black hole :|). It was very motivating and inspiring, and I ended up cleaning out some old stuffed toys from my parent’s showcase, that I had received as birthday gifts when I was a teenager. But this post is not about how to clean up your house or your closet. It is about cleaning up your mind.

Agreed that living with minimal things is satisfactory. But what about all the extra noise that we keep hoarding up in our minds? Signing up ourselves for infinite activities and bearing the burden of not being able to do them? Along with materialistic things, also craving for all the experiences that others are experiencing and feeling that doing that would make us happy?

I see a new book, I put it in my TBR list. That list keeps on getting bigger and I know I am never going to read them all, and yet I don’t stop. Watching that list only gives me anxiety and I have actually lost the names of the books I actually want to read in that junk. Same goes for trying to watch all the movies and shows, that I have been told are the most amazing piece of content ever created. I am sure they are. But do I want to watch everything, or can I even? The same way where we keep buying useless things to impress others, we keep on reading or watching things we don’t want to just to impress others or to get some sense of achievement, but the list never ends.

If that wasn’t enough, there comes travel. This earth is never going to fall short of the places where one can go to blow off some steam. And someone or the other is always going to go to places that you have not been to, and you will always keep craving for that, for more. More often than not, this craving is just out of FOMO and not because you actually want to see so and so place.

Along with that, there’s a crazy need for trying to excel in so many things, trying this out, trying that out, burning ourselves out. It’s good to be ambitious but it’s also good to know when to stop. And it’s best to realise which things actually make you happy, and not go crazy while juggling between activities because if you keep your foot on many boats, you are just going to fall down.

Minimalism goes a long way. I am not sure how ready I am to throw away many things that I own yet, but maybe I can throw away some items from my To-do list and get some peace!

Hyderabad, I miss you. And I miss myself along with you.

Living alone was one of the dreams that I never knew I had. Living with friends, F.R.I.E.N.D.S taught me, was an even better dream to have. This living alone time came and flew away so quickly, I hardly got time to grasp it all. And here I am, thinking back and wondering if it’s ever going to happen again.

I am about to complete one year since the time I came to visit home for 2 months, and I mentioned this to every person who asked me because I needed a constant reminder that I am not done with Hyderabad yet, that I’m gonna go back. 2 months turned to 3 to 4 and then reality struck that going back is not happening so soon. I left that city for good, while not even getting a chance to go back and say goodbye.

This city, perfectly balanced between happening and laid back, safe enough to never let me feel I cannot go somewhere because I am a girl, and empowering me in the process, will always remain special in my heart. Letting me make new friends, and helping in re-kindling old faded friendships, teaching to stay alone even in a crowd and also somehow making me feel whole when I used to be alone, this city has given me all kinds of days; good, bad, happy and sad.

From a timid college fresher, always second guessing herself and asking for reassurances, to a grown up, helping others fight the same battle; looking from this other end of the spectrum reminds me of the innocent and scared person I used to be. But I cannot separate that person from this city because that’s where that person used to live. I am afraid that going back is never going to be the same (if it happens), because people, relationships, situations, and even I would have changed. I do look forward to more challenges that are gonna come in front of me, and I know I am a more mature person than I used to be to face them. But goodbyes are always difficult. Here’s to the goodbye I never got to say, and one which I would like to say, even if I go back.

To the experiences I had, and the ones I couldn't,
To the person I was, and the one into whom I grew,
Hyderabad I miss you.
And I miss myself along with you !

Gratitude

Amidst these difficult times, everyone is striving and trying to do their best. I do not really want to comment on what should or could have been done differently because I am not best equipped to shed light on that. But I do want everyone to hold on to every string of positivity that we can, to show gratitude to all the people and things.

I am grateful to all the shopkeepers and daily workers around me that were always there to provide with the necessities on our every beck and call. Be it the shopkeeper who was delivering the medicine to our society, or the vegetable vendor that my mom could call to provide certain fruits and vegetables to us. And also to the guard and other helpers working in our society who kept delivering everything till our flat’s gate because we weren’t allowed to step out. They were not doing this just for my family but for all those families that were infected in our society. I am grateful and thankful to all these people for putting up with my and my families’ needs first, even though they were at risk as well.

I am grateful to all the helpful families that live nearby us, who kept asking us if we needed anything, kept sharing their experiences and all the tips and tricks they used to get over the illness themselves. And I am so grateful to all the aunties near me who provided us with proper home cooked meal because we lacked the energy to do so. I cannot even express how much it meant to us and I cannot imagine how they were so selfless and upfront about it. I keep imagining to cook a lot of tasty food for them whenever I can!

I am grateful to all my friends who kept checking up on me, who kept making me feel better and asked about my whereabouts from time to time. And also for keeping the conversation light hearted at times, because that is what we need in these times, something to hold on to and not to be reminded of the bad things all the times. Thank you for always being there.

But I am not just grateful to the people who helped me directly or indirectly. I am grateful to all those people who are in a similar or maybe a worse situation than me and who are doing everything in their power to survive through it all. I cannot imagine the hardships of millions of people out there, who might not have the same facilities that I have. I am grateful for people for fighting and not giving up. I am grateful to all those selfless souls, doctors, other front line fighters, and all the people who are constantly helping others for any contacts round the clock, for doing all those things that I don’t think I could have done. I am also grateful to all those people who are putting aside their personal plans because of the current situation, because that ain’t easy for anyone to do after so much planning. But this in no way undermines anyone who had to go through any plan because everyone faces different circumstances and does what is the best for them.

I know we will all get through it all, because that is inevitable. Yes the world will be a little more difficult to be in with so much pain, so much suffering and loss, but we gotta stick together through it all and do our part as much as we can, whilst also caring about our physical and mental needs, because everyone needs time to recover and everyone cannot be a superhero. So just let’s do whatever we can, guilt free, but let’s do our part because together we can all survive it!

Sex and the city

Having just finished binging the amazing series Sex and the City, my head is muddled with all kinds of emotions. Feeling like Carrie Bradshaw, and writing about emotions and wondering what it all means, and hoping that whatever I say might matter to someone as well. I wish feeling like Carrie involved the cute outfits and experiencing the New York City as well, but for today, I’ll have to keep it limited to the writing.

This series is so much more than just sex and the city. It talks about relationships, experiences, discovering yourself, growing past your fears and embracing someone or something that you thought you never could, LIVING in a city and enjoying everything that it has to offer, outfits, oh so cute outfits, and above everything else, friendships.

There were many moments in this “too ahead of its time” series, where somehow the problems faced by Carrie and her friends in early 2000s felt way too similar to the kind of things the millenial Indians are dealing with themselves. We have been through it all, from wanting to celebrate singlehood, yet fearing that singlehood is going to make us lonely; trying to find the perfect person for ourselves, yet making mistakes and settling for people and regretting; marriages being the hottest topic all around and not being one of the married people making us feel like a failure; being in too many relationships and being judged; and many more that I am yet to deal with.

Like everything, the series has a rosy ending, and the protagonists find true love and apparently lives happily ever after (thank god there were movies to tell us how rosy the life turned out to be) but that makes me wonder that even though we might relate to the problems and issues faced by the characters we see on TV, do we get the same endings that they get, ever? Not just in the matters of love, but all other walks of life as well?

But the part that I loved the most was these women, these four amazing fabulous women, who were so different and yet so similar. We have to agree that we do not always think like our friends do, but sometimes it becomes difficult to deal with these differences, we judge each other, fight with each other, grow apart, we even try to change ourselves to fit in. But it matters more to be more accepting of each other, even if how we look at the world is poles apart, we need to celebrate each other’s choices and be supportive. And that is the icing on the cake for this series.

I think this is what I want to take away from the series as well. Love or no love, getting married to somebody or just to yourself, it’s all alright, and having people in your life who will support you through all these phases, what more can one want?