A letter to the system

Respected system,
Hello! This is a note from someone within the system. Someone who’s been successful in facing the system. This note was long due. A ‘vote of thanks’ if you will. It’s been more than 2 decades that I’ve been a part of this system, one which makes me regret every second of it, sometimes. After a ‘bored’ exam marking the end of our teens, you tried to make scoring well, the sole purpose of our lives ; day in and day out. Not for the purpose of knowledge, but out of the fear of failure. “If you don’t score well, you won’t get a good job. If you don’t get a good job, you won’t be able to live a comfortable lifestyle. If you won’t be able to live a comfortable lifestyle, how will someone be able to share your home with you?” Sounds familiar? I’m sure it does.
‎Since then, you’ve sucked quite a lot of us students into your black hole. Sadly, none of us knew enough at that time to prevent it from happening. Maybe you gagged them. You made them so withdrawn that they felt this was the only option. Are you happy, now, system? What’s the point of being a world class student if you can’t be a decent human being first? Is the system’s importance greater than the well-being of a student, of someone who’s in the system, striving hard to meet your unrealistic goals? Are you worth lying cold and alone from one night till the next morning on the cold tiled floor of a housing society? I don’t think so. It’s time we deflated your ego. You instill fear into students and get your job done, is that really the way to go about it?
‎The worst part is that we fail these students, too. These fighters. These warriors, who are sometimes driven to the point of exhaustion by someone your system wrongly gives authority to, till the time they ultimately can’t fight anymore. I think you need to retrospect and get off your high horse. You’re definitely less important than a person’s well-being, both physical and mental. And the people whom you incorrectly give authority to, should be made to realise their fault, for the rest of their lives, what their thirst of power did to some warrior, some kind soul ; who was sadly so tired at the end, that he didn’t have the patience to carry on anymore. Vimmy, I was glad to have made your acquaintance. You will forever be loved. I hope you’re at peace now. I pray that your kind soul finds purpose again. I’m truly sorry for what the system did to you. Maybe in another universe, things would be corrected.
‎So, for the people who say that doctors change lives and save them, who’s saving ours?

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Love Or Ego?

Are you with someone because you really love them or because you’re too afraid to see what if they could’ve been a better person without you?

Yes? What would you choose? Oh, I’m sorry. You’ve already made your choice, right? If you hadn’t, you would’ve called me back or atleast texted. Something, anything. It would’ve sufficed. I called you back. But you again spoke like you didn’t care. Me forgetting something was an honest mistake. But you again talking like that, like I’m careless and insensitive – that, was a choice. A very clear choice. Great. I’m accepting that I have major flaws, some by virtue of which, you should have already run for the hills. But you stuck around, to my pleasant surprise and cliched butterflies. Now, however, I think you’re realising your mistake of sticking around. So, you announced your verdict without realizing that I never wanted this conflict, that I never wanted to let you down again. But it seems like I did. Like I always do. Time and again, you have shown me that you can do better, be a better person, waste little time, if only I wasn’t holding you back. The fact that you didn’t bother to interact again, despite the fact that I broke the ice by calling you, has made me gain clarity on your decision. So, thanks a lot. I love you.  But I don’t want to hold you back anymore. 
And that, is the exact difference between aging physically and mentally. That is the difference between being old and being wise, being mature. Sometimes, you have to let certain things go, for the greater good. Sometimes, even if you feel like you’re being unnecessarily targeted for something, you have to know when it is wise enough to walk away and not react impulsively. Sometimes you have to walk away from something good, not because it’s easy but because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes, you need to trust karma that if you’re deserving enough, you’ll get back what you sacrifice, what you hold dear to your heart. Sometimes, you have to let fate work it’s magic and just focus on doing good deeds. 

If you’re worthy, you’ll attain what/ who you’ve worked hard for. 

Family Ties.

How many times have you heard the phrase, “You’re just a child. You can’t do this. Leave it to the elders” and been infuriated? If you’re somewhere in your mid twenties, I bet this has happened to you loads of times. Actually, even if you’re a bit older than that, there’s a high chance you’ve faced such situations too. Honestly , at this age, you’re stuck in life where you’re neither considered an adult nor a child. The society is really confused about which category to box you in, so as is their tendency with anything new and potentially better than them in any way, they classify you under some stupid category to feel better about their lifetime achievements, coming to us ‘kids’. ( I don’t mean to be snobbish here, but the elder generation has a habit of complaining about the millennials and vice versa under the garb of ‘generation gap’ which is apparently a more polite term and is supposed to, somehow soften the blow which is thrown on people’s self respect and confidence). To be fair, sometimes, I’ve experienced when elders from your extended family come to stay with you for a few days and you feel nothing but an effort lingering in the air-  to put you down, to show that they’re better at handling domestic chores, like managing YOUR home, where they’ve never stepped in, before today. All this, more often than not, garbed under the pretext of caring for you! This mainly happens when your parents are grateful for them to ‘grace us’ with their presence, while us 20 somethings know the real purpose, the apparent sense of victory experienced by the extended family on showing that they’re better than us ‘kids’ ( which, by the way, is a highly subjective term, used often by elders rather recklessly. It’s as if you become kids or adults in an instant according to their convenience. For situations when you’re right and they know it but want to deny it because it hurts their delicate ego, you’re suddenly a ‘child who’s not seen the world as much as those near-opaque- lens-patients of cataract have seen. Exactly the opposite when they want to blame you for something. Then, you transform into an adult ‘who has to look after an entire household tomorrow.’ Yes, ladies and gentlemen. TOMORROW. )

 

Why this selective categorization of kids, sir? Why do you conveniently behave different with kids as you please? Why this sense of warped competition between generations? Aren’t we after all, a family, irrespective of our age? Isn’t this unfair? 

If you ask me, I understand where the concept of nuclear families comes from. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for the entire family to stay together. But sadly, we reduce families to nothing more than competitors for boosting egos, whereas grandmothers should always get the chance to teach their grandkids gems of age old traditions and amazing stories, with great recipes which are handed down generations to generations, in an unimitable style of cute grandmothers, whom nobody else can replace.

Having a family should be a blessing to be thanked for, never a burden to be lived with.

Distinctly Disappointed

For people who are new to my musings, hello! I’m a girl – just your average 22 year old trying to achieve her dreams, while maintaining inner peace in this fast paced world. Do you remember how we were taught the difference between boys and girls, somewhere around the time we were entering our teens? It was essentially taught to us with a good intention, which was to protect ourselves from feeling unsafe and unappreciated in certain situations. This difference was mainly taught to make us understand the importance of self respect, of how we should never let anyone treat ourselves like a door mat and stand up for what’s right. 

But now, as I let my mind wander with a hot cup of tea in my hand, I feel that we would have been better off not knowing this difference. I would even go to the extent of saying that sometimes, I wish I wasn’t  born a girl. This has nothing to do with social issues or anything remotely discriminatory, in any context. Don’t get me wrong, of course all of us should know to safeguard ourselves, mentally and physically. But then, maybe, the world would have been a better place if one gender wasn’t forewarned about the dangerous methods of the other. Agreed that I don’t like certain wrongdoings commonly associated with a particular gender, but like they say, it’s not necessary that the entire gender indulges in those wrongdoings. Maybe over time, over- protective elders just let certain stereotypes prevail, in the false hope of protecting their loved ones. 

Let me share a small example with you. There were times when I was told to ‘not hang out with boys so often’ because ‘they are not trustworthy and can misuse your trust’. So like any good kid, I agreed. I mostly stuck to my girl gang till my high school. My high school years had some of the biggest life altering moments for me. This was the time when we had a small taste of the real world, where we could not always hang onto our mothers’ loving caress or fathers’ protective shoulders. So coming back to my example, I saw numerous instances where the best of female friends fought with each other, never to look back, even if the said person was their childhood friend for silly reasons like a guy or jealousy. It used to come to such an extent that no party was ready for a calm discussion. Everyone was up for a cat fight and people, being the interfering insects that they were, loved to gossip about other girls than take care of their own business. Most of this was due to girls not trusting each other enough, where they were ready to abuse each other to the highest degree, just because of some stupid misunderstanding. Naturally, this included breaking ties with quite a few family friends and being blamed for something which I never did, for years together. This was highly upsetting but I noticed something when I gathered my courage to think rationally. Coming to cases where girls were fighting over guys, the said guys were the best of friends with each other and always kept their bond sacred, never letting anything or anyone come between it. (This was the primitive ‘bro code’ of those times.)

 Wasn’t it stupid for girls to be so mistrustful with their own gender? Wasn’t it silly when girls casually slut shamed other girls to gain attention of certain guys they fancied at school? I mean, come on. How much had you even experienced real life, away from your protective cocoons at home, to know about ever lasting love and loyalty? Were you really naive enough to think that everything was as rosy as your bubblegum movies or Mills and Boons novels ? Really ?! If only life was so simple!  

Days passed to weeks, weeks to months and years and eventually, I saw that the said guys were still the best of buddies, not sparing a second thought for the numerous girls’ friendships where they had caused a rift, where they caused never ending damage ; most often than not, involving parents from both parties. For what, exactly?! The reasons why a few of us girls were slut shamed for, (by a few girls too) or endured personal, crass comments pertaining to our dressing sense for, were happily sipping beer in the loudest of lounges, while we wallowed in self pity over lost friendships. Bittersweet memories of the past haunted us, whenever we tried to strike up conversations with new people. Does this remotely even make sense to you? 

Then why should the society remind you to be proud of being a girl, when a girl in need, is almost always abandoned by her own community of girls? Why should you dream of having an army of bridesmaids at your wedding, like people potray on various social media platforms, when you know that jealousy and stupid misunderstandings will never let your friendship with females last that long? Should you really hope for a ‘girlfriend’,  (and I mean that in a platonic way, in case the millennials misunderstand.) ‘your person’, someone who can teach you how to do perfect make up or wear cute dresses with killer heels for your date, someone you can cry with – eating tubs of ice cream at any given time of the day  when you know that gender-wise you’re never going to have that in your life? Isn’t it better to be realistic, that maybe you’ll have a gang of brothers at the most, at your wedding and that you’ll never experience that weird feeling of seeing your female best friend getting married and going to her new home because you won’t end up with one? 

This, my friends is why I sometimes feel that being born as a girl in this world isn’t as amazing as people make it out be. You lose a lot of loved ones in the process for the effort to really matter. Things would be a bit easier for guys, according to me (and this is my personal opinion, you’re free to disagree) where atleast you’ll have each other’s backs, no matter what. 

Thus, I am distinctly disappointed. 

Distinctly disappointed with my own gender.

 From a 22 year old, still waiting for someone to restore my faith in my community of girls. 

A piece of advice to the millenials

All the millennials of today, here’s a piece of advice for you. 

You know, if you bother to get your noses out of the screens whose edges you so desperately crave for and hold onto, for that one apparent news about your ‘crush’ (a more decent term for the people you stalk, for the lack of a better term) you’ll understand how you’ve always been protected by the ample amount of green notes in your family and you haven’t experienced heartbreak, in the true sense of the word. 

If you think that just because someone is a regular feature in your snap stories and you are a regular feature of someone’s Instagram stories and that this is love, maybe you’re mistaken. 

If you think that just because someone ‘special’ jealously holds your hand if someone else from the opposite gender so much even, looks at you, if you think this ‘cute jealousy’ is love, maybe you’re mistaken. Love isn’t a bird which should be caged, it’s like air which is free to roam around anywhere and is omnipresent.

If you think that because someone at 3 am pours his heart out to you via your phone’s screen but fails to acknowledge you in the hallway and you think this is love, maybe you’re mistaken. Love doesn’t depend on convenience.

If you think that because someone is asking you for photos of you which would be objectionable in normal settings and you deliberate on pressing ‘send’ because you think this is love, maybe you’re mistaken. If you manage to bare your soul out to someone before you manage to remove his clothes, that is true love.

If you sneakily hold someone’s hand in class and think this is love, maybe you’re mistaken. You can’t know love when you’re in a classroom but don’t want to manage your relationship handling your jobs and practical life.

If you think that by celebrating monthly anniversaries, this is love, maybe you’re mistaken. True love stands the test of time and does not need to be proven to anyone.

So children,  please leave your screens and catch hold of real pens and papers, secure your future and consider yourself lucky if you find someone who is willing to love you the way you are in real life, farts and fats, included.

Today’s Harsh Truth

imagesThere are different ways of feeling lonely, aren’t there?

You can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. You can be living a seemingly healthy and happy life and yet feel lonely.

High functioning depression. Ever heard the name? You could be having the best job, the best family and yet be affected by depression. Bet you haven’t.

Even if you did, what did you do about it? Did you check if your loved ones fall into that category? When was the last time you were kind to a stranger?

I met a guy at the railway station the other day. It was ‘Rakshabandhan’ or a day when sisters tie a sacred thread on their brothers’ wrists as they vow to protect you lifelong in India. It’s a really significant day for those who follow this tradition. People were rushing onto the platform to catch their trains whereas I was walking out of the station, towards home, after a long day at work ( P.S. If you’re a medical student, healthcare industry doesn’t consider certain festivals as holidays for which we would get leave in school. )

He came to me and asked why I was sad. I was shocked for two minutes because the world we live in today, every daughter is taught to be wary of strangers talking to them for any reason. I regained my composure and assured him that I was doing absolutely fine. He smiled and told me that I must be somebody’s sister too and today must be a really happy day for me as I would be meeting my brothers to tie the ‘rakhi’ or the sacred thread. He told me that I looked really tired and stressed and that I should forget my worries today and spend some time with my family to unwind. He shared excitedly that he himself was going to meet his sister in the locality for the said festival. I decided to put my faith in the goodwill of strangers for once and smiled, returning his kind gesture. I agreed with him and went in the direction of my home.

That day had started out like any other, it was a long and stressful day and I was more relieved to catch my train home, rather than being happy about rakshabandhan or anything else, for that matter. But just those few kind words, especially coming from a stranger, put a smile on my face for the remainder of that entire day. He didn’t say anything really great, actually. They were just a few simple but caring words. Just the realization that even today , some apparent strangers can be kind to you , be caring and not every random guy on the street is out to hurt you , made a huge difference. I think the problem with us today is that we’re used to assuming the worst. We’re always taught to be on guard ( which isn’t always a bad thing, for example for self defense) but in the process, I feel we’ve somewhere lost our faith in humanity. We’ve lost the ability to see the good in people. Even if someone compliments us today, usually we either assume that the person is sweet talking to get his work done or is being sarcastic and actually making fun of us. We fail to appreciate the possibility that maybe that person might genuinely like us. This suspicion of looming bad things happening eventually creeps into our heads, ultimately making us sad, suspicious and dissatisfied souls.

I think he was right. We need to be happier. We need to smile more. We need to spend time with our loved ones and tell them that  we love them , while we still have the chance.

We need more love in this world. More goodwill. More faith. And most importantly, the ability to gracefully accept mistakes and failures, as well as remain humble for our successful endeavors.

Spread love because you never know who needs two kind words to continue living peacefully. Be kinder.

Cheers!

A letter to a foolish girl

Foolish girl, what have you done? 

Years after the incidents that hugely shaped your psyche and your outlook on life, you are still letting them define you. 

Whatever mistakes you committed, you are letting them become you. As people become older, things change. They might not be what they seemed to be. They might not be the friends you thought they were. Maybe your school friends aren’t going to attend your wedding and become possessive about you in front of your fiancè. Maybe you won’t have those pretty bridesmaids that you’ve always wished for, at your wedding. Maybe it’s because girls, individuals from your apparent community (hormonally), individuals who need to stick up for each other, were some of the biggest catalysts why you think female friendships are doomed since the beginning. Maybe you won’t be able to post pictures of people on social media and proudly proclaim ’10 years and still going strong.’ Or ‘friendship goals’ . Maybe there won’t be anyone you would stand craning your neck out for, while you get married. Maybe you won’t have a best friend to share the biggest joy of your life. And that’s okay.  It’s possible that because of this , you’ll be closer to you family than you were in your teens. Isn’t that a very good thing? Maybe you’ll be standing there with a decent graduate degree, hopefully with a post graduate one too, along with your two families. Isn’t that the dream? 

Then, tell me, foolish girl, why do you keep dwelling on the past? Why do you keep pining for people who did not and probably never would, understand your worth? Why do you think that you’re shackled to the invisible chains of your past? Why do you not free yourself ? Why do you not allow yourself to soar in the air and stay where you belong ? 

You stayed calm when you felt like breaking down, like nothing would be better than to lie on the ground and bawl your eyes out. That boy you liked , the friends  who you wanted to become family, left. Yet, you stayed calm. You stayed calm when the world you knew, stopped existing. You stayed calm when everything you believed in, turned out to be a lie. You stayed calm when you were betrayed by those who were supposed to care and nurture you. You rose above the people calling you names. Akin to a warrior in battle, you fought long and hard , even when it felt like you would lose. You fought with all your might and willpower, because somehow, despite that moment of weakness which you had , giving up didn’t seem like a decent , respectful way to go. 

 You chose life in that moment of weakness where putting a stopper to it seemed tempting. 

And you know what, foolish girl ? I do not have the right to call you foolish anymore.  

You are a warrior. You are light. You are brightness. You are positivity. You are courage. You are resilient. You are the sun. Most of all, you’re worthy. Worthy of being loved, worthy of being cherished and worthy of being cared for. 

So stop pushing people away, accept that proposal, go bananas. The world is yours to conquer, my dear. 

When is it too much to handle?

Loneliness. Solitude. How many times have we heard these two words? Do we really know their meaning? 

So tell me, have you ever been among a group of your so-called best friends and felt lonely? Have you been in a room with the people you’ve considered closest to yourself and felt lonely? 

So tell me, have you been in a seemingly good position in life and still felt lonely? Have you climbed that hill just to see how it feels, inspite of your fear of heights? Have you gone to an outing just to make everyone think that you’re okay? Have you ever entered a party and regretted leaving the comfort of your home instantly?

If the answer to any of the above questions were in the affirmative, tell me, how many of you have thought of approaching someone for help? How many of you have actually managed to gain access to help? 

So tell me, how many of you reached out to that particular person, with  the hope that you’ll receive help? 

Did you take that one step,one more step towards the counselor’s office? Did you reach out to your mother, father or sibling? Go ahead. Please. Take that one more step. Try to recognise the joy in “being”, in living. 
Don’t listen to the narrow minded people when they say , ” Oh, crazy people need help. Psychologists and psychiatrists treat crazy people.” No. Remember this. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are a good human being. Your mistakes don’t define your entire being. We make mistakes to learn from them. Mistakes don’t define ‘you’. You are much more than  that. You deserve all the love and happiness in this world.   

Trust me, even as you are reading this, there is a loved one of yours back home, anxiously waiting for you to return home. So go that extra mile, take all the  help you need, take all the time you need to heal. You are amazing. It is just you who needs to keep that in mind, always. 

Lots of love.

Death – an easy escape?

I was 15 when the thought of dying first came to me. It is you who is responsible. You, who undermined my troubles , thinking, ” She’s acting out because she’s a teen. Dying? Does she even know  what that means? I was just having a laugh. I didn’t mean to make her fall off that cliff. I didn’t mean to make her wear full sleeved clothes in the sweltering heat, to hide the scars.”

Yes, you guessed it right. I’m talking about you. You, who told me that you cared and left. No explanation, no parting words to soothe my soul. You, whom I told my exact state of mind; who instead of taking it seriously, made a joke out of it. You, who made a spectacle of all the private things I told you, in confidence, thinking you’ll hold me. Comfort me. Love me,inspite of my flaws. You, who let out my secrets out in the world, making me look desperate for attention. You, who misjudged my character. You, who thought it was okay to judge the length of my clothes despite the fact that you objectified countless girls, in the guise of having a laugh with your gang of boys. You, who thought it was okay to insult my intellect, even though I completed your assignments on time. You, who was supposed to be my closest friend but sided with the ones talking behind my back. There are three more people involved. One, who let me lock myself up in my room and the bathroom floor for hours together, who saw my eye makeup smeared across my face and kept mum. This list has saved you for the end. You, who thought it was okay to touch my bare skin without my permission; not realizing that I was a person, a human being wanting to retain her will and dignity, because you could not tolerate being rejected. Lastly, it includes you,my friend who simply watched all this from the sidelines- who could have stopped all this from happening but chose to return to his comfortable life.

“Will the paramedics carrying me in a body bag make these people realise their mistake?”, I wondered. I pondered whether making these people carry my lifeless body out of the blood soaked bath tub will make them own up to breaking my spirit. I wanted nothing more but to make friends. All of you mistook my friendliness in countless ways. So later, I wanted all of it to stop, no matter what the price. I know not, what I did to make you dislike me so much. I asked you innumerable times to let me know if I had hurt you. But you thought hurting me back in a worse way would somehow make everything alright.

The answer came to me on a rainy night. I realised that I couldn’t force people to own up to their mistakes. The temptation to use the way earlier mentioned was humongous. But then I thought, “If my existence ceases, how will the next kid benefit? How will the people responsible for breaking me be reminded of what they did,so that they hopefully don’t repeat the same words and actions? I had to stick around for that. I had to live. I had to continue voicing my opinion for the next kid to decide to not give up. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you. Hiding and healing the scars, both physical and mental took me roughly 7 years. I didn’t think I would survive. But I found a reason to fight on. I found a way to both help the next lost kid and remind the people responsible for making me lose my path. I decided I would focus on my career in a direction where I would be professionally and mentally qualified to help those in need of a direction in life and that is exactly what I did. It is a rough road but it will get better once you find a reason to stick around.

Incidentally, I met all the people mentioned​ above throughout these 7 years and let me tell you, that expression of shock mixed with remorse and fear is worth it. It assures me that if not all, I have managed to change at least some people for the good. It is really satisfying.

So, thank you, all of you. Thank you for making me choose a meaningful path in life. Thank you showing me that there are vile people in this world too. You’ve made me wiser.

Lastly, thank you making me see the satisfaction in life. For your own sake, I really hope we never bump into each other again. Thank you.