December 28, 2012

Why women are their worst enemies...

Recently I met one of my oldest friends who had come down from the states, after a gap of nearly two years. She was attending another common friend's wedding at my insistence. I had asked her to be part of the wedding since she was here anyway. Now my friend is someone who is profoundly beautiful in her simplicity. She is genuinely the nicest person I have ever come across and very rarely criticises anyone else, always seeing the good in every situation. She is also someone who suffers from low self esteem about her own body image and has struggled with her weight gain for some time. That she had put on a few kilos since the last time we had met had not even registered with me since I was just so happy to meet after such a long time.

And then we met this snarky classmate of ours at this wedding, and the first thing she had to say after meeting my friend was "Look at you, you have inflated like a balloon!" This classmate is someone who herself suffers from a weight problem and has nothing going for her in the looks department. And yet, the only way she can think of making herself feel good is by pulling down someone else. My friend was extremely hurt by this careless comment and will carry the effects of that stinging remark for a long time. And this brings me to the point I am trying to make. Women in general can be extremely vicious to one another. In our quest for perfection, we try and point out flaws of everyone we meet, just so we can compare how we are doing in comparison. We revel in someone else' misfortune and feel secretly happy when someone else fails. We delve into our enemies lives and try to guage whether they are miserable or not, and if not, try and add to their misery with bitchy statements and careless remarks. I have seen my share of such women, and I have only one thing to say to the likes of you:

Remember that you are your worst enemy. You are the reason why you failed- that you will fail is an inevitability and when you do, there will be someone else in the world who will laugh and rejoice at your failure. But you brought this on yourself. Everytime you knowingly went ahead and spoke against someone else, belittled someone, or compared lives with those you think are less fortunate than you are, you challenged fate into bringing the same upon yourself. And when fate deals you that final blow, I hope that you take one moment to think about what this makes you- a pathetic, desperate loser.

December 10, 2012

Your true worth lies in the mirror.

I have spent years in self doubt. Treading the path of righteousnous and of what was expected of me as a 'good' daughter/ sister/ girlfriend/ lover. Of trying to live up to the expectations of the people around me. And somehow I have never truly lived up to the one person who should be most important- Me.

When I look into the mirror I find myself looking at only flaws- miniscule lines appearing on my forehead, that one half white hair on the crown of my head, a new spot or blemish, or the extra fat pockets on my cheek, waist or arms. I am never really satisfied.

People see an extremely confident person in me, someone who holds her head up high and is not afraid to state an opinion. But when that person looks in the mirror, the confidence falls away like a veil. All the self doubt and nervousness creeps in and makes me question myself and my life. And all of this stems from the fact that I belong to a family whose expectations can never be matched. Being a perennial disappointment because of how I look, how I behave or what I have achieved chips away at the carefully constructed self image. That every disappointment in my life is attributed as a failure and a picture of bleakness is painted for my future does not help.

In fact, it makes me question the intention of everyone who ever compliments me. When someone says "You are pretty" I look at them with disbelief- because surely this person must exagerrate or overlook my very obvious flaws. Or when someone says "They admire my confidence" I roll my eyes because they have no idea where that confidence stems from- from the basic need of self preservation. My friends have for years tried to reason with me- counselling against putting myself down at every juncture. But then, 29 years of conditioning does not disappear overnight.

I am trying, I truly am and I can finally say that I have learnt to love myself a little- flaws and all.

December 8, 2012

Reflections of a restless mind

Days fade in and out. And yet nothing seems normal anymore. The routine fails to inspire even a modicum of emotion, until you realise you are not 'living' life, but just existing. Existing to just get through each day. Only to face another one. A life without meaning.

November 17, 2012

Touched by death

You never expect it, most often fear it, and do not know how to deal with it, but death always hits you like a force to be reckoned with. My companion and love for the last 7 years, Tiramisu died yesterday. Her death was painful and a release, so relief was one of the foremost emotions I felt when I heard the news. We had her admitted at the animal hospital at Parel since a week and each day was a struggle to try and delay the inevitable. Dogs are fragile, Labradors more so, and her kidneys had given out. There was very little hope but we still fought, battled against all consuming blackness till the very last day. Hope is such a treacherous emotion, it betrays you into believing the impossible. And that is what we did. Hope against hope that her Creatinine & Ammonia levels would go down. That she would stop seizing and start eating food. And that she would come home soon with us. 

13 hours a day at the Animal hospital takes a toll on you mentally, physically and emotionally. It plays with your mind and makes you as fragile as a fruitcake. I no longer cared for how I looked or what anybody thought. I did not care for what I ate or whether I slept or not. People who met me in these 7 days will know how different I was. Not normal for sure. But when someone you care about the most in the world is in distress, very little matters. 

By the end of the 7 days the senior doctors had told us that there was nothing that could be done and that we needed to take a decision. The junior doctors still wanted to fight, but we pondered over how much more pain we could let her go through. The day she died is the day we would have made the hardest decision ever. And she saved us from that too. The guilt that would have inevitably creeped up and made us wonder whether we were killing her and whether it was too soon. By going away on her own, she saved us from potentially blaming ourselves. That was Tiramisu. Gracious in life and in death. The gentlest of souls with an elegance that was uncanny. I hope she is in a better place now. And I know that I will miss her forever. 

Touched by death, lets live now.

November 15, 2012

Let it be.

Another day goes by and the feeling of missing the bigger picture grows within me. All my life, I have lived by ambitions. They have driven me to strive for more than just mediocrity. To rise above and challenge my limits each day. And yet, somewhere the fire to achieve has dimmed. Replaced by a complacency that is extremely scary. Because to become complacent would mean giving up. Letting go. Fading away.

June 20, 2012

Love in the times of cynicism.

So there we have it. A world full of cynics. Determined to run down the virtues of everyone they meet and focus on the minute-est  of flaws. I wonder whether this pursuit of perfection will lead to the downfall of the human race as we know it? Maybe not. But then again, everything is transient these days anyway. So how does 'love' or the grand notion thereof, stand a chance?

January 7, 2012

The value of human life.

Its funny how a chance remark can get you thinking. A friend just mentioned that a funeral in Mumbai costs Rs. 250/- and triggered a train of thought which questioned the value of human life. We are so engrossed in our daily lives that we do not stop to ponder over how meaningless life and death has become in India. Everyday, scores of people die on our streets. Some are victims of disease, hunger and poverty. Some are victims of chance. But the worst are those that are victims of fate and apathy. I remember seeing a hunchbacked old lady at a signal I passed everyday, on my way to work. I was well aware that the beggars of Mumbai are a nexus and a well-oiled machine working with clockwork precision, and usually I would never give any of them any money. However, this lady was always an exception. Just the sight of her old, frail, hunchbacked self sitting in the sun and approaching cars slowly was enough to move me. I admit to giving her more than just mere change. And a part of me always wished that I wouldn't see her there the next day. That she would be allowed to rest and live rather than beg. But come sunshine or rain, she was always there. As time passed, it almost became a routine for me to hand over a Rs. 20/- to her, if only to elicit a toothless grin from her weather-beaten leathery face. At times she would preen and bless me, at other times sulk and ask for more. Whatever the case, I developed a strong affection for that hunchbacked old lady at the traffic signal...
Months passed and suddenly, I stopped seeing her at her usual perch by the signal. I waited for a few days before asking some of the other beggars about her. Was told that she had passed away and the BMC had taken the body away because they didn't have money for her funeral. As tears rolled down my cheek I wished I had been there to give her that Rs. 250/- for a dignified death.