100WritingDays

Day 15 – Not everybody is running a marathon

Two years back, I finished a 5km “sample” marathon run and to my surprise, I was able to complete it, without much practice. This year, I got over ambitious and signed up for a 10K run. And as I manage to get my ass in the park every other evening (with some unavoidable breaks) and struggle hard to finish the milestone for the day, I realize that this is one thing I had estimated a bit too much on the positive side.

During the breaks, I look around to see people strolling in the park, kids running around and ladies walking leisurely, sharing their daily dose of gossips or newly tried recipes. As I absorb the surroundings, I am able to mentally visualize that the scene in the park would have been the same for the past 45 minutes I spent there, the only difference being, I noticed it only when I sat down to relax.

When I reach the park, all I think about is my goal for the day and how I can improve at least a bit today. Everything else seems irrelevant at that point. While I am on the track, I  notice other runners closely, their stamina and their style of running. And sometimes, luckily, I come across coaches who come there with their students, slipping me a tip or two, encouraging me and making my day.

There are things which you know only when you start “doing” them rather than simply planning them out. I now know that I cannot be like my athlete friend who can finish 10K easily. Since running is something that I had picked up only last year, that too only in small proportions, I have practically understood that I am an ordinary person whose stamina is even more ordinary! And to improve, I have to really push my limits.

I have started loving these little sessions as I try to chip them out from my schedule everyday. They are important not only because they make me feel energetic and good about myself, but from time to time, they unknowingly drop by small life lessons which I often need to be reminded of.

“You choose your own battles. And once you do, you find your own companions, you identify your own angels and demons. Not everybody will be able to help you. Not everybody will be able to understand you. You will be on a different path which you carved for yourself and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you will be. Because, not everybody is running a marathon.”

 

 

Day 14 – The “Dream”

Does life really get in the way of your “dream”?

So your childhood wishes eventually have to vanish into thin air because there are other things that come in the way?

Think about it. The dream. Your dream. Or have you stopped dreaming altogether?

I know I stopped some time back, when in my foggy head I was “busy”,  but in reality I was absolutely clueless to where I was heading. In fact, it was more or less the feeling of being half-dead, a zombie race where I did not know what I was doing!

I didn’t do anything for all that I had wished for and began to lose track – slowly and eventually, like a domino effect. I wanted to start college again, work on a select number of things that interest me, earn money through them and live happily ever after. (Yeah, that was pretty much it!)

But in the hustle of trying to do what is meant to be and what I wanted to be, my end line became a little too blurred. I just kept moving, without any definite meaning. In fact I even forgot that I used to have a dream because the constant not happening of so many things prevented me from going forward. It was like a vicious circle from which there was no easy escape. And amidst all the hustle, the dream became a lost hope, where in it was shadowed by the unlimited ifs and buts – “Perhaps, it is a bit too late. Maybe the moment is gone and so is the dream?”

And then I met a child. A 6 year old girl with a dream -to become an actress. A confident and determined dream that never seemed to look beyond the heart’s desire. Another 10 year old. He wanted to be an astronaut.

Without even realizing, instantly, these little angels brought me back from the half-dead world. Life sprang up into that child in me, who was hiding behind the heavy desk of the over analysing adult. The child who always dreamt and desired without any boundaries started dancing happily inside the practical adult, who now deeply wished to balance out both – a combination of practicality and wildness, imagination and perspective.

I now have that zeal to experiment and do things that interest me, keeping in mind the other tasks that need to be done within the limited time I have. Everyday, there is one thing crazy and one thing which keeps me sane. And I am happy. Happier than before. 🙂

Turns out, it is never too late, at least not to dream. There is always a third door. A way out. Dreams are meant to be seen and fulfilled. Weird, ambitious, funny, amazing, fascinating, fantastic – whatever they are, they should be met with the guts to pursue them. Every time, all the way!:)

 

Day 13 – A thing or two about love

No. I am no Love Guru. I am just another young soul who has had her share of dreamy ideas for this ever so talked about four letter word. It has made to my blog often in different forms and yet here it is again, winning the spot for the day!

A few years back, I extravagantly used this word. Anything that felt good enough was the feeling of “Love” for me. I happily declared that I loved my friends, not liked them, but loved them. It was that simple. As I think about it now, I realize it is indeed that simple, only in a different way.

Amongst the numerous things that life has taught me, the most important one is the fact that there are only a few people in this world I can possibly love. I really cannot bring myself to feel that way for everybody. time_100writingdays

And eventually, for these people, I have come to understand the perfection behind their tiny imperfections and how even my simple day to day gestures seamlessly incline to suit and sync with them. I have actually surprised myself with the way my relationships have unfolded. I am happy, people around me are happy, and everything is good and beautiful as these are all two sided affairs. (Way to go!)

But, as always, there are a few complicated scenarios ( the quite so often “hanging in the air” ones! Sigh!), where there are so many strings attached, so much to do and say, yet not understood, or rather misunderstood, lack of time, ever so increasing distance, feelings shattered and hearts broken, or well, may be on the verge of it. I think everyone gets a fair share of one of these scenarios at some point or the other and even though the after effect to the very least, is not the end of the world, it does leave us a bit torn apart.

And pertaining to such situations, here’s my thing or two or rather a small pointer about love. I cannot say I have known the feeling completely, but I have survived and lived through a scenario where I was completely cut off from one person I love dearly, not because we were fighting but because there was no means of communication between us.

During those months, I could feel my love for him grow, in bits and bytes, in leaps and bounds. I started to appreciate his importance in my life like never before. Even more, I began to understand how much I had ignored what I have always had and instead cribbed about what I did not. His absence made me realize how lucky I was to spend those infinities together, which in turn, gave me a bucket full of memories, enough to cherish forever.

So, I started paying attention to the little things, decorating my moments with what I had,  cherishing every day with my special people and realizing how abundantly blessed I was.

Isn’t that is what love supposed to feel like?

A blessing so surreal that you float in happiness. A smile that flickers on your face out of nowhere. A feeling that makes your heart beat. A life that can breathe and thrive beyond words, beyond time and beyond distance. A moment that is forever. A ray of hope that brightens your world.

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Day 12- Don’t break the flow.

Wise and successful men have always prophesied the importance of continuous efforts. To finish what you start not in a day, but in bits and bytes everyday, in small steps that will lead you to the destination you had envisioned. It has always been the most trusted method, the one which has been tried and tested since ages – Small droplets of hard work everyday leading to the ocean of success in the end.

I am writing this because I have mostly failed at an attempt to follow this advice. I begin things and lose the momentum as I try and juggle between various tasks. I am certainly to blame for breaking the flow of my challenge of writing a post everyday. There were short trips, people I had not met for a long time, birthdays, too much work, family time and what not if I want to jot down the reason. But then, there will always be. And the truth is, I do not want to give a reason anymore.

I know it is hard to come back once you break the flow. It  has always been for me. God knows how many things I have left lingering behind as I was too lazy to continue. The inertia never let me begin. Life happened. There were things which were always in line to occupy my priority list. There were numerous excuses. Several so called important factors to weigh trying to talk me out of doing it.

Amidst all those conflicting thoughts, there has always been only one deciding factor for me. My heart. That small and little inner voice which feebly tries to tell me what to do, and gently asks me to bring down the chaos in my head and listen to it, at least once. Calmly. Clearly. Intently. Because whether I believe it or not, the little voice knows that once I know what I have to do, once I know what has to be done, there is no one on this earth who has the power to stop me, except me, myself. And some times,  I got to trust the little voice which has never betrayed me.  After all, nothing worth having is easy! 😉

Picking up the pieces from where I left. #100WritingDays.

Day 11 – One year is a lot of time

One Year. 12 Months. 52 weeks. 365 days. (And even a bonus day every 4 years!)

One year sounds like just normal amount of time, 12 months seem like something, 52 weeks feel like a good lot and 365 days make you think of the ample available chunk ahead. One year is seriously a lot of time but also, an illusion. No matter which way you count, it will slip away, like grains of sand from your tightly held fist, and there you will be, looking back over years not just a year.

I met a couple in my office last year. They were about to leave for a different country for work when I first met them. After one year, they are back, along with a 3 month old baby daughter. Their entire life has taken a huge and a beautiful turn, in one year.

I was away from home for a year, and I had practically lived a whole new life, in that one year. Made friends like family, travelled like crazy, learnt to survive on my own, became independent and perhaps a tad wiser too.

A friend of mine completed her post-graduation in the language she loved, travelled five countries, got a job and will be staying in yet another country for the same, all in one year!

No matter what, the earth will rotate and create a day. Each day will add up to make a week, month and eventually a year. So, plan accordingly. Have patience. Instead of a day, think a year and think big. Spread out your lists and tasks, and see the little work add up enough to turn into something magical. 🙂

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Day 10 – My blue blooded notebook

And then there are days which I expect to be good, because, well I am mostly an optimistic person in some sense or other. But once in a few weeks, without invitation, there happens one small thing which hits at a place, that makes it so hard for me to recover that all I want to do is grab on to that one thing which I love the most, that one thing which is like my big ice-cream bucket.

I bleed. And I bleed blue. In my little notebook. My best friend. I used to do it often, but as I have grown up, the frequency has sort of exchanged itself with intensity. I need it then. To pull my legs close to my chest, curl up and to let it out.  To bring out that chain of thoughts that tugged at my heart, breaking free the ocean of emotions.

I use music and words to explain the unexplainable. Music gives the rhythm and words the flow to try and tell myself that there is no right or wrong, no left and centre of the situation, it is just a feeling and I have felt it in my own unique way, coz after all I am simply a human. A beating heart.

There are times, when life seems like a  dead end. A long day, and in the end, it just does not feel enough to feel alive. And my humble notebook silently listens to all my cribbing and complaints about life. In one tone. In the aggressive handwriting. In that rush to say everything at once. When I am done, it still remains equally peaceful, somehow magically absorbing all the negativity I had in my head.

There is a reason I love this little thing. It has meticulously held all such lows and highs, making me realize that indeed, the journey has been a mix variety of such curves. My journey. My story.

Day 9 – F.A.M.I.L.Y.

There are some days which are meant to realize the greatest gift of our life, the gift of our close ones, people who are and who will be there by our side, always. I am not much of a family person, but there are a few people in my life, whom I look forward to meet every time. They just help me being who I am, just by being who they are. Compassionate. Loving. Welcoming. 🙂

It is my family I am talking about. We live together, we often have agreements and disagreements, but in the end, it is our love that keeps us so warm and welcoming towards each other. And slowly and steadily, with time, I have realized the importance of family in my life.

Our family comprises of the people we start and end our day with the selfless devotion we share for each other. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together.

We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayers. Every moment we spend together adds to the bond we share. Family relationships have taught me that Love is really spelled as ‘time’. 

And this is true for all relationships. Home is where all the learning begins from, the starting place which stands to define our roots. Precisely the reason for it being synonymous to peace. 🙂HappinessFamily_100WritingDays

“As you get older you find out that true happiness is not in how much you make or how many degrees you have or how big your house is or how fancy your car is. It is finding peace and joy and calmness in your life that will soon become the most important thing to you. Your family is what matters to you. Love is what matters to you. Things that are of quality, not quantity. “

 

Day 8 – The “1 minute” art

My friend told me this wonderful story about a performance artist, whose work mainly explores the relationship between performer and the audience, limits of the body and possibilities of mind. The story was about this artist, how she met another artist and how they both started working together and fell in love. They did wonderful pieces together but after some 10-12 years, they decided to call it off.

Their breakup, too, as dramatic as their work, was called “The Great Wall Walk”, wherein they walked towards each other from opposite ends of Great Wall of China, met in the midway, and said “Goodbyes”. It must have been one hell of a spiritual journey! Anyway, artists do stuff like that so I will let it pass.

The artists are by the way, Marina Abramovic and Uwey Laysiepen(Ulay).

In 2010, Marina performed The Artist Is Present, a 736-hour and 30-minute static, silent piece, in which she sat immobile in the atrium of Museum of Modern Art while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her for a minute.

One of those “1 minute” retrospective interactions were so special that Marina had tears in her eyes and she held out her hands.

The person who received such a special reaction was no one but Ulay. They had not seen each other in 30 years, and as she opened her eyes, there he was!! And all I can think of after watching this video was what all she would have felt in that 1 minute?

The surprise of seeing him there, in front of her, the happiness and the fast forward flash of all the good times they have spent together. The desire to live this one minute as much as she could for the feelings in this particular interaction was way different than the others. The hope of seeing him again, which she would have buried deep down  must have surfaced and reassured her that life is indeed full of such wonderful surprises!!

And what about Ulay? I loved the way he reassured her with the gentle nod and blink of his eye. It was like the most beautiful gift, an “All the best” wish he had planned for her.

I won’t really call this one a love story. It is an art of sorts, in every possible way. A moment, to be precise, where you understand a human heart. You simply feel the connection and the emotion life presents two people with. The bond build over the years, reaped with love, scarred by some conflicts, dusted with the long break, perhaps healed with time. Sometimes, one minute is more than enough to live it again.

Day 6 – Who is Irom Sharmilla fighting for?

I have not really been able to take out enough time to read the daily paper lately, but today as I did so, I came across the news about the legend Irom Sharmilla deciding to call off her 16 year long fast. Truth is, I know about Irom Sharmilla because of this long fast she had been keeping and whatever little I read in the news. So I decided to dig a bit deeper and find out what the issue actually is.

Irom Chanu Sharmilla has been fasting for the past 16 years, a struggle which began in November 2000, when 10 civilians where shot while waiting at a bus stop in Manipur. It was after this incident that Sharmilla started fasting to repeal against the AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Protection Act, 1958 ) where in the Governor of a particular state can declare a particular locality as a ‘disturbed area’. And if you reside in such disturbed area then the armed force can search your home, arrest you or even shoot you. They will have legal immunity to do so.

Her legendary struggle found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the longest hunger strike ever. She has been arrested repeatedly for attempting suicide and have been force-fed by the state.

And now, she has decided to call the strike off. She wants to contest elections in Manipur, become the Chief Minister of the state and repeal AFSPA.

As she stepped out to break her fast, she had nowhere to go but the hospital where she had spent 16 years as no body was ready to accept her. People have perhaps misunderstood her decision. There have been posts comparing her to an icon who has just let people down. Is that really so?

Why do we need AFSPA in Manipur in the first place?

To maintain security and peace. AFSPA was imposed in Manipur on September 8, 1980 to tackle the lawlessness created by four main insurgent groups through dacoity, ransom and killings. To maintain law and order, the army needs special powers infested to them through this act.

So basically, AFSPA has been in Manipur for 36 years, and for most of the north-eastern states for that matter but the situation has not improved enough for this act to be done away with. AFSPA being ordered for such long time simply means that the north-eastern states have been in a state of “disturbance” for more than three decades. Except, Tripura.

Yes, the state of Tripura has gotten rid of AFSPA after 18 long years. Tripura is now one of the fastest developing states in India, and it has improved its law and order situation significantly enough to be an AFSPA free north-eastern state. Manik Sarkar, known as the “poorest CM” of India, has been the Chief Minister of Tripura for 15 long years, and has supported significantly for this development.

In such a scenario, if Sharmilla has decided to quit her silent struggle, a fast to which she had given 16 years of her life, and wants to contest elections for the state, it does seem practical. There is nothing wrong in trying to change her ways if she has not achieved it in 16 long years. She has shown courage to accept that she needs to try a different approach.

We all have idolised Gandhi and so many other great leaders who have sacrificed their lives and in the end  were able to do justice to their struggles. If we really think about it, Gandhi changed his ways as per those times, he was the first one to lead such a massive non-violent struggle in India. And it worked.  He tried a way he believed in and it had not been practised before.

If thought about in the same direction by keeping change as the only constant, Sharmilla deciding to contest elections and asking for support, especially for the cause she has given 16 years of her life to makes sense. She has been fighting for the people of Manipur, her state, for peace and justice. She needs the support of people, her people to make a difference this time for if she loses, it will not be just her loss.

“It is no use saying we are doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” -Winston Churchill

Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not anybody else’s.

Day 5 – When notes still meet, words still strike.

It was one of those days when I felt like I was happy almost the entire day. Towards the end, which actually came a little late than usual, I was still dancing around, because even by the end, I could not figure out if I was happy because I worked so much or I worked so much because I was happy. Still can’t tell. 😛

I started my day by listening to one of Arijit Singh’s medley, the one at GIMA awards 2016, and there is a part of it which really holds me. I leave everything when I am listening to it. An unusual combination of songs and it just strikes. I can’t really explain how but it does. That is the thing with music and lyrics. You just can’t tell because they speak directly to your soul.

 

Music has the power to connect people instantly. It does not need any language. It is the ultimate peace maker, a source of mediation and well, instant mood changer. Someone once told me, you listen to the beats when you are happy and you focus on the lyrics when you are sad. Well, maybe. Maybe not.

I consider myself as a Bollywood fan and I absolutely love retro hits – the 80’s to be precise, sung by Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi. I love their lyrics. I love the music. But that does not mean the new ones are behind in any way. I love the new ones with the same heart.

Music is an art. It evolves. The old inspires the new, but change is the only constant and the art of music has always been embracing it beautifully. There will always be all kinds of it, with new ones adding on and old ones staying like gold. 🙂

So, in this post, I would like to share my list of eclectic eight “new” songs, with lyrics absolutely brilliant (as opposed to the common perception that nowadays lyrics are simply put there to fit in!) and music which would strike the chords of your heart. Play yourself to find out if you like them too! 🙂

  • Lamhe Guzar Gaye, Piku

  • Main Rahoon ya na Rahoon, Arman & Amaal Malik

  • Ikk kudi, Udta Punjab

  • Teri Meri Baatein, Piku

  • Tum Saath Ho, Tamasha

  • Phir le aaya dil, Barfi

  • Moh Moh ke dhaage, Papon

  • Tu Jo Mila, Bajrangi Bhaijaan