Amidst chaos and confusion

I have been absent from this blog for the longest time. No I have not been cheating. Usually, when I disappear for such a long time, it means that I have started another blog or have started writing somewhere else altogether. Apart from occasional posts on this blog, where I am documenting my adventures in kitchen, I haven’t gone anywhere else. Neither am I writing much at work lately. In fact, I write very very little when it comes to work. It is rather annoying. I digress. So back to the question, where have I been?

I have been caught in a vortex of endless confusion, despair and more confusion. Last few months have been…the only word to describe them is exhausting. I have spent around a month in and out of hospitals(not for myself), I have wondered what the fuck am I doing with my life, have wanted to quit my job more than once and I have probably never been so out of touch with the world as I am today. In short, life has been a mess and I have been struggling.

It is the 26th of January, to be honest, it still doesn’t feel like 2013 ever left. There was no Diwali, no NYE, not much of a birthday, nothing that really stands for passage of time (in my books) in the past 4months. It is like living on a day-to-day basis. Dealing with one thing, one crisis often, at a time. My usual haven, something that gives me a sense of control, work has been sort of a big fat pile of messed up as well. But that’s the only tangible thing right now. I can work that shit out or say I want to leave, everything else is so not in my hands. This sense of not having any sort of control on things that can upturn my life, is unnerving. Especially, because I strive to find some control in every situation, being a spectator while other factors govern my decisions has been….new.

In this state of confusion and chaos, there have been some handful positives and learnings

  • I have learnt how to control my temper
  • I have realised that loss of control of situation isn’t always a weakness. Sometimes letting go is crucial for sanity
  • A part of being an adult (gasps) is not giving up on things and trying to find a solution when you can. Walking away is probably the easiest thing to do at times, but probably not the sanest choice
  • I have, once again, realised I can be absolutely right and perfect but there will be people who will always hate me. I am still learning how to deal with this one.
  • I am 26 years old. I suddenly feel that I am the right age.
  • Living alone is both a curse and a blessing. I have had to live alone for short periods in the last four months, while the silence can be haunting at the end of a colossal day, but the same silence is comforting when you are waging a war against your own thoughts.
  • I have sort of understood, that people don’t care, won’t care and friends are just friends not people who are with you through thick and thin.
  • But then there are also people who will surprise you. God bless them.

Probably one of the biggest realisations was praying consciously. Being very aware of what I ask for. We ask for such random things from that promotion to that boy. Before every prayer asking myself, am I praying something that really really matters to me? What are the things that I can’t live without? If tomorrow something does go wrong, would I feel that I have wasted a prayer? I found these answers and realised there is only one thing that matters to me. And that’s the only thing that I will be praying forever.

This year has started on note that screams change. In my surroundings, in my thoughts and the way I deal with things. I don’t know when this cycle of chaos will break. When the storm outside and in me will die down, but I guess I can still hope for some calm, if not a silver lining.

PS: This is probably the vaguest post I have written. But it is a start to writing again. Hopefully, I will return.

On vulnerability and otherwise.

I am the kind who doesn’t stay at one place for a very long time. The kind who hates discipline, unless it is self inflicted. I belong to the generation who aren’t acquainted to things like staying at one job for a very long time at a time where saying ‘ I don’t know’ is an acceptable response. Our relationships are as inconsistent as we are, and even the most sorted ones in my generation, didn’t intend to be the sorted kind.

In the recent times, I have rediscovered a few things about myself. This rediscovery has been because of multiple things. But I think two things that have changed me are leading a team at work and responsibility (rather increased responsibility) at the home. While my juniors make fun of me for being extremely calm and patient, I have realized that I am actually very calm and sorted in the head. While my team has screwed up more than once in a major ways, I have never been able to shout at them. Exception of one really extreme incident. While things at home have been consistently difficult, the only thing I manage to do consistently is not panic. At the personal front, a boy was a real jerk to me and what did i do? I shut him out for a few days, let him apologize, told him he was being a jerk and moved on(or I am trying to move on, to be honest). The reason I am writing all of this is not self appraisal or arrogance but the fact that I am realizing at what cost do I do this.

On most days when extreme shit happens, the kind that pushes me over to be visibly and openly angry, my reaction is to shut down, sulk or cry it out. Anger makes me cry. Being so calm most of the time means that when things go wrong, things that are beyond my control go wrong, I literally emotionally break down. My first instinct being – running away from it if I can. But I often can’t and it means facing shit and being open about the fact that how emotional it makes me.

Recently I came across a video that spoke of power of vulnerability. I have always been the kind who was never afraid to be vulnerable. As much as I appear otherwise, I always know how the choices I make are making me vulnerable. Many a times, I believe too much and let myself fall into some very visible traps. These are times when I know I am going to hurt but I still let go for one reason – if i don’t how will I find out otherwise? Being defensive about being emotional does very little. If you don’t give people a chance, they would never surprise. If you don’t get emotionally involved, how the hell can you care? It is not possible to be emotionally detached and yet be involved in something.

Sure, times like these, when I have too much on my mind, too much stress to deal with and some very difficult decisions to take, the only thing I don’t like about myself is just exactly this. The emotionality of everything around me gets overwhelming and the only thing i want to do is run away. The more emotionally involved you are, the more hurt you feel. The more it hurts to walk away and the more difficult the decisions become.

When I look back at short stints at workplaces, relationships that haven’t worked out, friendships I have walked away from, there is a pattern. The minute I felt I was all in and not appreciated for it, I have walked away. Or the minute I felt that I had given all of myself and the other side hadn’t returned the favor, I turned and left. Without another thought.

Is it ever the right reaction to things? I don’t really know yet. But I am trying to find out. Because sometimes walking away in peace isn’t an option and staying calm isn’t a reaction. There has to be a middle ground, even if it means compromise.

Into the wild

Into the wild. The tragic story of Christopher McCandless who went off to Alaska to never return. A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends started quoting the movie on Facebook quite frequently. A few months ago, I was asked by my friend to watch the movie. I remember starting it and switching it off for some reason. I think it just wasn’t the time to watch it or read it yet.

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So when I did watch the movie, I was struck by a very different kind of melancholy. It may be stem from the fact that I could understand that boy although not agree with him. The need to push ones limits, look for some of truth, any sort of truth, to find some sense, literally some sense in what happens around us all the time, to know and understand that there is a power beyond us, call it nature, call it God, which is so much easier, so much purer, so much more beautiful than what we’ve seen in our entire lives put together – is a thought and a want that would haunt anyone of us, anyone of us who has dared to question self and the core reason of our existence.

The book illustrates so many more youngsters who have done the same thing. What connected them? What made Jon Krakauer feel so empathic towards a soul who is just cursed and misunderstood by so many people? It is probably the knowing that at an age, all we desire is the need to know is that the world is much more and much greater than us.  That all that is wrong and will wrong in our lives is miniscule and probably irrelevant compared to it. May be it is the need to know that there is some that is still untarnished and untouched. Something that just….still remains pure.

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For some of us, dealing with imperfections and moral defects in those around us is much more difficult. Our desire to make things perfect, overpowers our ability to be humane and compassionate. It becomes very easy to judge, forget that we too may make mistakes sometimes and sometimes imperfection is a sign of being human.

May be I connected with that boy, only because I know how difficult it is to see those who we hold to high moral standards err. To know that we lead and we will continue to lead an imperfect life. I just wish he would’ve realized that before he made fatal errors and returned to world to tell his tale instead of Jon Krakauer or Sean Penn having to do it.

In different levels of ascendency

It is the sense of melancholy you that comes out of watching too many ‘real’ movies. Stories that could be your life. People that could be you on the screen. Melancholy that is associated with broken memories and traces of cigarette smoke on your hair. And a bit, may be on your soul.

The kind of sadness you feel when you pass by a spot where you spent most of your youth. Or when you look at childhood photos and find your favourite one missing. It feels like someone just took away your candy or your favourite soft toy. Your entire comfort zone.

And sometimes, it is plain depression. The sort you’d feel if you were heartbroken for the first time. Or when you can see exactly what you want but cannot take it, cannot have it and cannot desire it in the way you’d want to.

Resolves, Superstitions and Happiness

So it has been more than two weeks since my birthday and haven’t had the time or the inclination to come here and write about it. So here it goes, it was one of the best yet. For very simple reasons at that:

  • I confirmed a job I was looking forward to
  • Received some awesome and funny phone calls from some really awesome friends
  • Had someone to keep me company throughout the day and flirt with me
  • Got some really nice gifts and flowers
  • Had a nice dinner, preceded by buying stationery! Nothing could make me happier.

I guess more than anything else, I was just happy. There was no single reason that made me happy but something did. I think it was just my resolve to be happy that day.

Over to the second bit. Yes, I have started working again. It is something that took very long to happen but in the end, my patience paid off. It is very rare that I look at something and say that I want to do this. This was one of those very few moments. And for some reason, I am ridiculously superstitious about it. Very few people know I have started working again. I refuse to update my Facebook or Linkedin, even when I know that it is a practical thing to do. Like always, I am scared to be happy. Scared to jinx it. I don’t think anyone can blame me. It does have way too many plus points as of now. But * touches wood * patience. This is going to be about patience and not excitement. I am going to let things happen at their own speed. I am not going to rush into things.  I am not going to do anything that I’ll regret.

After watching Life of Pi yesterday, I have resolved to go to Pondicherry in the beginning of the New Year. Pick up my bags and go sort of trip. I have wanted to do this for a very long time. Just book tickets in advance because I just cannot afford the airfares.  That is, if one of my other secret plans doesn’t work out. And you will have to wait for that secret to come out.

Yes, this has been a month of secrets, superstitions and happiness. * touch wood *

Of a difficult year and unspoken desires

I turn 25 in less than 24 hours. For a major part of last year, I thought that I’ll be turning 24 this year. For me, my last birthday never happened. Till one night, for some weird reason, I decided to calculate my age. And no matter how many times I calculated, manually or using a calculator, it turned out to be 25. I was in shock for a couple of days. How could I miss something like this? But whatever, I eventually got over it and here I am acknowledging it openly.

The last year of my life was full of things I could never imagine. Stuff that happens to you only in your worst nightmares. Only parent being sick. A difficult job that became more and more difficult by every passing day. Personal goals gone askew. Friendships falling apart. Horrible feeling of loneliness. Even more horrible feeling of betrayal. Knowing that people I counted on, failed me miserably. Experiencing the drawbacks of independence. And taking really tough decisions. All of them, in one single year. This has to be one of the lowest ever.

I don’t know how I made it through this. I just know I did. Towards the end of it, I did whatever I could in my power to set things right. Decided to quit the job. Do whatever I could to be at peace with myself. Made, rather I am making attempts to feel better. Letting go of those who could never be.  And finally trying to find things that make me happy.

I learnt a lot in the last one year. I probably changed a lot more than the last few years combined. I don’t think it is all positive but as long as it helps me make it through the day I am not complaining.

Towards the end of this year, aptly enough, I spent the last two days, in presence of a yogi. I did a Nidra Yoga workshop. Something I didn’t expect a lot from. I am novice at yoga. And I didn’t even understand the term properly. Unlike most people, I didn’t come out feeling enlightened or unbelievably positive. Yes, a certain amount of relaxation and positivity was there. But it wasn’t something I’d rave about. I am not complaining, I never expected enlightenment in two days. That would be plain stupid on my part. But I did come out feeling reassured. Knowing that my choices were in the right direction. My refusal to certain things was right. My belief that I can’t live half dozen separate lives was not unreasonable.

I have this one life. To make my mistakes, to create my own achievements. To have my own heartbreaks. To find my own pleasure. To be jealous and full of envy. To bring happiness to others. To find some for myself. To play my roles as best as I can. And when I can’t anymore, to bow out gracefully.

Here’s to the next year. Hopefully, you’ll be the one I am waiting for.

Illusion of hope and all that

A couple of years ago, during a Diwali break, I saw all the seasons of Sex and The City back to back. A friend had given me all the DVDs and I just wanted to watch the series without the censorship of Indian television. From a narrative similar to the book, to Carrie as the protagonist, the series had come a long way. As most women do, even I could relate to most questions, issues and quirky problems raised on that show. My life and personality is a bit like Carrie’s. Albeit the fashion sense. Her love life is dominated by one man who casts a shadow, consciously or unconsciously, on all of her other relationships. Every single one of her relationships is broken or dictated by Big’s presence. There is almost sadomasochist (in a non sexual way) sort of thing that is going on. She loves to do stupid things to herself and those around her in the hope that she eventually ends up with him. Hurts herself and so many others in the process. It is almost like she enjoys it.  Not knowingly though. Even when she does try to stay away from the mistake that Big could be, she can’t. Self-infliction of pain. And he on the other hand, tosses her around like a yo-yo throughout the series. Almost like he enjoys it too. She realizes this herself somewhere down the line. It is a stupid stupid love story.

But why am I writing about it? It is fairly simple. Borrowing Carrie’s own words, today while I thought of how one single relationship can have so much influence on others, I couldn’t help but wonder, if all of our relationships are dictated by the one that could’ve been? The one that we desperately wished and hoped to work out. The one that always resides at the back of our minds. The one that was perfect. Do we actually ruin or influence every other relationship based on that one? Almost hitting the self-destruct button when something that we hadn’t imagined for ourselves seems to be working out. It is like forever hoping that ‘that one’ works out.

But what if there isn’t a ‘that one’ in your life? This is the question that has been haunting me. In the past few years, post one so-called-perfect guy and one way-far-from-perfect guy, I have liked quite a few guys. By liked, I mean sometimes had a major crush on and sometimes pursued. Most them seemingly okay and normal but without the possibility of anything working out with any of them in the long term. While on most days I am proud of myself for being a rather exceptional judge of character and intentions, I have made some serious mistakes when it comes to men. And have gone on plenty self-deprecating trips while wondering why these didn’t work out.

I am left wondering where does this trace back to? This need to embark on difficult, seemingly impossible relationships. Why can’t I ever find a boy who is freaking normal and available in all ways?

Unlike, Carrie there is no Big in my life. No one to wait for. Then why am I making such lousy choices? I have no answer. The closest, slightly acceptable reason that comes to my mind is that I am hopeful. And that I am still a hopeless romantic. I still hope that these difficult relationships suddenly become possible. And in the end love does conquer all. Such a stupid thought in today’s world, but it is the only one that I am willing to hold onto.