March 18, 2017

The labels we give ourselves

It is often said that we are our own harshest critics. And I know that this saying resonates with me  a 100%. Growing up, I heard a lot of very negative words that were directed towards me. And these words had an impact. I was told I was selfish, arrogant, stubborn, stupid, self-centered and disgusting. I was body shamed with labels such as fat, pudgy, porky, balloon, ugly. School was the worst since girls are never very kind to one another, especially as teenagers. Everywhere I went, I heard more labels, until I started to see myself as others saw me - started to hate myself, my personality, my sense of identity and of course, my body. Labels have the power to really stick. They tend to corrode the positive sense of esteem and replace it with a darkness that is very hard to shake off. It has taken me almost all my life to do so. 

My labels revolved around the notion that I thought to great of myself, and so needed to be put in my place, or brought a few notches down. Maybe the people who directed these words at me thought that it would do me good. Maybe it was their way of defending their own self esteems and egos. Either way, it led to the creation of a mistrust, and a low self esteem that was masked by an outgoing personality. 

Words that are physically demeaning are even worse, because they can really be damaging to your confidence, and self image. I have spoken about my body image issues before, and it has taken the better part of my life to accept myself.

I am sure you have been subject to this labeling as well. And I would love to hear what you did to reject them and be happy in who you are, not what others think you are.

March 15, 2017

From Maximum City to Maximum Silence

Its been 3 years since I left Mumbai to live in Canada, and the thing that is still the most disconcerting to me, is the silence. Especially in the winter months. India is chaotic and noisy. There is a hustle and a bustle to daily life in Mumbai, the sounds of the milkman, the newspaper man, the knife sharpener, the kabadiwalah, the various other vendors who peddle their wares at you. Then there is the noise of the children, playing around you, or the myriad festivals and the loud speakers that invariably come with them. Add to this the daily ministrations of the various animals that are part of your day - street dogs, cats, birds chirping, crows cawing. Add in a layer of traffic and cars honking and you have one heady albeit noisy cocktail of sound. Deafening in its intensity, but still adding to the everyday. Staying in North America couldn't be more different. The silence speaks volumes. On most days, you may not hear the sound of another human being, animal, locomotive or electronic equipment. This silence gets magnified a thousand times over in the winter months, when the weather is terrible, and you don't see too many people around. 

I remember not being able to sleep when I first moved to Canada. And I realized that this was because the silence was so unnerving to me. It can also be soothing. It gives you the feeling of being wrapped in a cocoon that reassures you in its constant parity. However, I do think I miss the vibrancy of India and its millions of sounds.A very real case of the grass always being greener on the other side, no doubt?