Belongingness and Rupture

“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”

_Bertrand Russell

Life is very subjective. To experience it one must rely on one’s own ability to find joy in everything they have and everything they do. Yesterday, while going through my Twitter feed I saw an age-old wisdom that said, “Everything comes with an expiry date.”

Our lives at no point are separated from the delicate balance of the sweet moments of belongingness and painful rupture of loss. Throughout our lives, we develop taste for things and our likes and dislikes. We accumulate possessions and they become our daily part of life only to one day taken away from us. In their presence, we refer to them as ours as if we own them. We thought that it is we who will decide their existence and they will be with us for the rest of our lives. Not even for a moment did we try to imagine their existence separate from us. We resisted all sorts of thoughts that tried to convey their ephemeral existence to us. We denied our occasional disbelief in their short presence in our lives only to find one day that all our beliefs were fantasies and our sense of possessiveness was whimsical.

A few days back someone asked me, “Shubh, I’ve seen some homeless people always smiling and joyful in their lives. What makes them so joyful and in contrast to that why most of the time those people who have everything in their life are not happy at all?” After having a few seconds of silence I found the answer in the question itself. Replying to him I said, “Maybe because those homeless people have NOTHING to lose in their lives so they are happy and, the former have everything and they are not happy because they fear to lose what they have.” His simple but deep question inspired me to inquire about my dynamics of life.


I had a pair of shoes which I wore hardly once or twice since I got them from a close friend on my twenty-third birthday. All those days when I was having those shoes, I kept them on the shelf with the hope to wear them in future. This morning I lost them in a very funny way. This incident at first made me feel a little sad but also taught me never to tie a tag of forever lasting to “Things”. It reminded me to live in the present moment enjoying the things I have without wanting them to stay with me forever. Somewhere I read that,

“To find peace, you have to be willing to lose your connection with the people, places & things that create all the noise.”

_Anonymous

How do you see your life in relation to things, people and places? Have you ever imagined your life without them? Share your general reaction to this post in the comments. Take care! Until next post!

Unapologetically me

(Note: This post I wrote in July. For some personal reason, I couldn’t post it back then. I’m posting it now as a memory of some of the best learnings and experiences.)

It’s been months writing anything up here. I was away trying to figure out answers to some of the big questions about myself. No, it doesn’t mean I got all the answers in this short time by ghosting away from this site, but yeah I can argue that I got considerable clarity in my thoughts regarding my concerns. Due to the pandemic, our exams got cancelled and we all got promoted to the fifth semester. From May until June I pretty much lived an intense life filled with mental agony and lack of objectivity. I was spending most of the time living inside my head. As a result, I became erratic and suffered backaches and severe pain in my neck and my overall health depleted. spending most of the time thinking and worrying- focusing on things I’m not having in my life, I felt depressed inside. On the other hand, constantly being anxious about my future was impacting negatively my mental and physical health. My skin got blemished, hair falls was exponentially increased, digestion slowed down, sleep cycle got disturbed, stress level increased, interpersonal relations got affected and overall productivity came to its lowest point. 

Also, I’m reading this wonderful book by Bessel Van Der Kolk on PTSD, which is wonderfully written. Growing up in an atmosphere of stress and fear I always felt like I’m on the run. I often end up working to exhaustion, which results in severe health issues. I’ll surely share my learnings from this book so it can benefit the larger audience. 😊

From July I started observing those acquired habits and patterns in my day to day life by constantly questioning my thoughts and actions. With the help of some of my friends and other close people, I started working actively on my overall mental framework, which was along the way acquired many unnecessary and often destructive beliefs. To bring more clarity into my thoughts I kept journaling regularly. Reflecting on the past two months I found that I was getting distracted from my purpose, pursuing things of less importance and constantly ignoring my values. I was running away from the real issues and to make myself feel better I was spending time with self-help YouTube videos and other motivational online content. Thanks to few of the people in my life who pointed out savagely my setbacks and hence made me aware of my getting off tracked before it’s too late.

As I became more aware of those patterns I started replacing them with meaningful and goal-oriented activities. I uninstalled all the social media apps and spent my free time reading physical books (I am reading Marcus Aurelius by the way), working on my online Yoga sessions, taking sufficient rest and doing quiet reflection at the end of the day. Instead of worrying about my depleting health, I started working out and having more nutrition in my diet. Unlike before I strived for perfection and finishing tasks till I’m exhausted now on I learned to slow down and take time to rest and do things that I enjoy to break the exhaustion cycle. As I kept my mind constantly on the task at hand, I became more aware of my postures which helped me tremendously in relieving my neck and joint pain. As I got to learn that life is a single-player game and your importance in society as well as among family and friends is equally proportional to your utility, I shifted from being a people pleaser to being unapologetically me and as a result, I gained tremendous confidence in myself and my abilities. I reconstructed my daily schedule from getting early in the morning to writing down my to-do’s and sticking up to them and prevented doing anything random, unnecessary, and out of impulsion. To develop a healthy self-concept, and harness my value system and unlearn those destructive self-beliefs which I internalized growing up, I limited my social circle only to the people high in integrity, healthy self-concept, and self-efficacy. It helped me regain my strength back. I accepted my mistakes and weaknesses and as a result, I took one more leap towards becoming unapologetically me.

This is a picture I took while passing through the physics department of Lucknow University. I always feel grounded walking on this campus.

Writing these blogs brings transparency into my life. It is the single most empowering factor to me. Every time I post something about myself I feel more strengthened. It’s this delicate balance of how much I should be sharing and what I should keep to myself that was the major challenge so far. It’s really important for me to be as transparent as possible, though sometimes I just have to remind myself to shut up. To me, it’s very empowering and liberating to fully own my truth.

Hope you folks are doing well. I’m truly sorry for staying away for so long. Once again it’s lovely to see you here. I’d love to know your reactions to this post and what you have to say about getting distracted from your purpose? How you are preventing yourself from occasional mishaps? Will come up soon with developments in becoming unapologetically me. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the monsoon and great companies of people who help me become the better version of myself. Lots of love to all. Until next post!

PRINCIPLES OF LIFE : 1. TRUTH

The magnitude of the effects of our decisions on our lives can not be underestimated. Often in the pursuit of getting the most out of the situations, we compromise our collective values and truth, overlooking the pernicious effects they bring to our character in the long run. Our character once contaminated, lead us astray in all walks of life and cause us multitudes of suffering. For this reason, we should always prevent our character from corruption and wear truth on our sleeves boldly. As the great philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius has said in his book “Meditations”, “It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise, it cannot harm you – Inside or out.”

It is crucial to have purity in thoughts. Pure is what is true and to put it conversely truth is always pure. To seek purity in our thoughts is never to compromise with truth. Even a slight transgression in what is true takes away its sanctity.

On September Nineteen I turned 23. after doing retrospection on more than two decades of my life I can see how badly I’ve suffered every time I fell short of living up to my standards and values. We get damaged more by our attempts to deny and distort what is true, and by believing, and perceiving things wrongly. In the words of Stephen Covey, “I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.” In those crucial moments of my life when I failed to analyse the situation while making a decision, I must have lacked clarity in thoughts due to my inability to discriminate between what is true or just, and what is false.

Around us we see multiple phenomena going on. As humans, we can’t live separate from the social structure we’re living in. Society and the people surrounding us always have a tremendous influence on us. Perhaps, the majority of what we call life takes place in society and consist our codependent nature as a human. Sometimes these relations we have with people are superficial and in turn, based upon selfish motives. The principle of Truth does not only limit to ourselves but extends to our functioning in the outside world. Moreover, it helps us develop an outlook to understand the world in its originality. We should learn to seek truth in everything we do. It can be done by questioning the legitimacy of beliefs and knowledge we hold about the world as well as ourselves. It is crucial to filter out what we hear, read, and see to get to an understanding of the phenomenon taking place around us. Once we develop a critical outlook and analytical approach towards the outside world we get to know the ruthless and exploitative nature of individuals, society and nations at large.

Truth is the ultimate weapon to fight all the evils and it is self-evident by the infinite examples of known and unknown history. Truth leaves no room for defaults in one’s character. Nothing can escape the eyes which seeks truth.

Need of observation in our life

What makes someone intelligent? Even psychologists are vague and have multiple theories to define this concept. However, the approach to define this term can be different for different individuals; nevertheless, one common idea which we find universal to all interpretations of observation is that it is the ability to grasp things beyond their superficiality and to respond accurately to increase our chances to achieve our desiring objectives. Putting it differently, we can argue that observation is a crucial skill that can fetch a lot to our lives.

The primary mode of our learning is through observation. Since we were kids we learned almost everything by observing them. Gradually we learned to adapt to situations and in no time we excelled to respond to challenges which once felt insurmountable. The one factor which enables someone to overcome their challenges is his learnings of the thorough know-Hows of the problem and his development of the strategies to cope with it. Surely, Human life is transient and we daily face myriads of new and often Peculiar situations to deal with and often without a prior idea of how to respond to certain recurring problems in our lives. Through observation, we get to see a clearer picture of a given situation, which in turn gives us leverage to develop our map to reach our desired outcomes.

We can also make our inner lives much pleasant and fulfilling with the practice of observation. In addition, one can’t help falling in love with nature if he just starts observing its subtle functioning regularly. We get to see the real beauty of the world in its raw and imperfect state. This practice of observing nature provides us with values of altruism, resilience, freedom and joy.

We learn to discover hidden and often pernicious motives of others and get to know ourselves better. Moreover, the practice of observing everything gives us an advantage in building healthy human relations which is the key to our happiness as we develop relationships based on a genuine understanding of self and the other. Having been emphasized its few of the most amazing benefits, observation also makes us more aware of our inner faculties which is the key to self-realisation.

In the world of duality and multiple ideologies, we often get doomed by people’s hidden agendas behind their sugar-coated words and clever behaviours. To understand things in their true sense we should rely on our power of observation, which is not only a weapon to discriminate between good and evil but also help us live joyfully. Hence, we all should become more observant of life and ourselves. Only with keen observation, we can truly know the true essence of human life.

Often I stare at clouds and wonder how negligible my life is considering this vast and unknown universe. It makes me feel light-hearted and at peace. 😊

A stolen apple

Let’s go on a little stroll through the past. I was in the first grade and just 6 years old when I stole an apple from a fruit stall on the way to my school. Today I’m sharing with you a sweet reminiscence of mistake, dare, innocence, and a life lesson.

I was on my way to school with my father holding his hand on one side and my younger brother on the other. We were walking on a footpath jammed with fruit stalls leaving only a narrow edge for people to walk by. As I was approaching my school I was mesmerized by the colourful and juicy fruits on those stalls and their sweet fragrance was grabbing my attention. I wanted to have them first, because I have seen some of my classmates bring fruits in their lunch boxes, and every time I saw them eating fruits in class I felt envious of them. Besides, I was bored of having ‘achar roti’ or ‘sabzi-roti’ in my lunchbox. My father was rushing us to the school as per his daily ritual but that day we were getting late. Father was giving us instructions about behaving in a disciplined manner in school and inquiring us about our exams. Though I was trying to give satisfactory responses and affirmative nods to each of his inquiries to please his ears, my attention was wandering only around those stalls packed with varieties of seasonal and exotic fruits.

As I was looking and enjoying that sight, I saw a vendor stood facing his back to his fruit stall. He was taking out and polishing meticulously some freshly arrived apples from carets piled up against the wall and placing them on his stall decoratively in a way to make it appealing to people’s eyes. It was indeed a very capturing sight for me. As I was passing very close to those strings of fruit stall I was wondering if I could ask my father to buy those fruits for me for my lunchbox but then I reminded myself that my father cannot buy me those fruits because he was not in any job and hence he wouldn’t be able to pay for them. I was also aware that papa even if wishing to do his best cannot fulfil some of our whims and wishes and therefore, it won’t be a good idea to make a futile effort of asking him for buying those fruits.

In my mind, I was struggling to calculate the price of one apple as heard someone talking once that apples are very costly fruits. I curiously slipped my left hand into my pocket to see if I had some pocket money given to me by my granny. I was wondering at the same time how many days it will take me to collect at least ₹15 if amma ( we call ‘amma’ to our granny) will give me 2 rupees every day for my pocket money while leaving for the school. I will ask her for 3 rupees instead, I thought in my mind but still, it would take me many days to buy an apple. As I saw the zebra crossing we were about to cross for the other side of the highway where our school was located. Taking a deep breath I looked down to the ground and then to the face of my father. He was looking at the traffic light to go red. I looked at the vendor facing his back to his fruit stall and to my brother, who was not able to see me because of the silhouette of my father between both of us. I took an observing look around to the men and women rushing for their destinations, busy road, and some people across the road getting out from dazzling showrooms wearing fashionable outfits and sunglasses. I looked at that vendor once again and without thinking much I picked up a big red apple and placed it in my tiny pocket. My pocket though, was so little to hold that apple that there was no way I could have put it inside without making it distinguishable to the people or without it falling on the road.

Silently and scaredly and pretty much insecurely I was trying to hide that apple from the eyes of my father who was making his grip tighter on my hand as we were about to walk on the zebra crossing. My being uncomfortable was manifesting in my walking as I was looking here and there to save that apple from the eyes of people. I was wondering what if some passerby would have seen me and already told that vendor that I have stolen his apple and what if that vendor guy is behind me.

Father started asking me about my uneasiness and about me not walking swiftly. Finally, he asked me to show my other hand and lo… The kid got caught red-handed with a red apple in his hand. Firstly papa took it from my hand and then with a sceptical expression he asked me if I brought that apple from home. As I replied no, he understood that there was something fishy going on. He started laughing heartedly as I meekly told him everything with tears in my eyes and feeling sorry for my conduct. Papa, that day did something I believe every father should do in a similar situation. Instead of swearing at me or using threatening and demeaning words for what I did he went to my class teacher along with me and told me to narrate everything I did. I was ashamed, embarrassed and a little scared standing and confessing in front of my class teacher. I was scared of the idea of getting punished for what I did. Writing this I can recall that instead of punishing or shouting on me the lady (my class teacher) compassionately and emphatically explained to me the gravity of my mistake. Instead of raising her voice she brought me closer and held my hand as a gesture of solidarity. She told me that the shopkeeper might be a poor man and one should never touch others property without informing them. After telling me the importance of living honestly and truthfully she told me to make redemption for my misconduct by going back to that vendor right away and returning his apple with a confession. The apple I was fantasizing about on my way to school was no longer the apple I wanted. By then it was an object signifying a loss of dignity, guilt and shame. I went back to that fruit stall with my father. While returning it and making confession I felt happier and regained my lost honour in the eyes of my class teacher and my father. I saw everyone smiling afterwards. I was happy. My father as well as my class teacher, both lauded me.

I’m with my father and my younger brother, trying to free my hands for going far inside the waves. I love beaches and looking at waves. I’m not sure how safe it is to post personal pictures on this site but I can’t help sharing this one because this is so cute and nostalgic.

That day I learned the importance of being honest in life. A very precious life lesson. Looking back I can see how these little experiences contributed to building my value system. In most situations it takes nothing but courage and willingness to accept and improve from our mistake and to grow out of them. Though it took me years to inculcate these value system radically in all aspects of my life and relationships, that day I felt a sense of being human and something superior than self indulgence. This whole experience is so imbibed in my memory that I feel the ambience of that day every time I reflect.

How about you? Have you ever committed a mistake and then confessed it? Particularly talking about childhood, what do you think about how parents or teachers should correct children’s way and what was your experience? If you think the punishment is a more effective way of imparting moral values in children can you explain your grounds? If not then can you suggest a better way? Leaving you with these questions here. Thanks for reading. Until next post!

What if I die tomorrow?

“How long am I on this planet?

Sometimes by default such questions like – how meaningfully have I lived my life until this moment? How have I contributed to this world? Laying on the deathbed what will be the testament of my existence? What if I die tomorrow? If it is today, will I be dying happily? And then comes the most daunting question, “does my life even matter in the first place?”

Oh, I agree that me writing about DEATH can seem problematic, pathetic, or depressing to some but I think it is the other way around. Yes, talking about death is sort of a taboo in our current society. We live for the sake of living, and dying is an out of question thing. But hey, wait, I think considering all those comments it is yet true more than ever that death is the most inevitable and unpredictable reality of our lives. How can we disregard such a universal truth and not talk about something as inescapable and certain as death?

Counting on death we can realise that life is a zero-sum game and as result we stop giving f**ks about people’s opinions, pretending, playing status games, fears and phobias. For we become very sure in our minds that in the end we will be inquired by life with a question, and at that moment we won’t be having any other options but a true confession. The question will be one and the answer will be one. Knowing this fundamental reality we stop obsessing over money, fame, and power because we realise that happiness cannot be found in superficiality but in the most subtle, simple, and little facets of living. And above all, after facing this question we start taking our dreams more seriously. When I think of death, my dreams of building a treehouse, a visit to the Disneyland, participating in the world bicycle championship, hosting an international Yoga seminar, having a house in the hills, working for the upliftment of the deprived, and making mental health accessible and feasible for everyone becomes more vocal in my heart.

In the moments of obscurity, this question of death can work as a compass like our own North star, while making vital choices it can become a guiding confidant, and in the moments of darkness, a ray of hope. While we are deeply rooted to aspire for living we should once in a while remind ourselves that death also can be as fulfilling as anything else. It has a deep meaning too if we strive enough to look for it. It reminds us how fragile we are as a human, and how badly we need compassion for each other.

I think death has many more lessons to teach than life. Our narratives about death need a refreshing. So we could celebrate death as much as birth and other aspects of our being. I have heard about a tribe of Gypsies in West India, called the Satiyyas. They celebrate the farewell of souls from their bodies. In my mother tongue ‘Hindi’ there is this idiom ‘Anta bhala to sab bhala’ which in English means all’s well that ends well. In nutshell, I believe aiming for dying happily can create a happier and meaningful living as an offshoot.

A beautiful picture sent by one of my friends this afternoon. Also, it’s super awesome weather in Lucknow for the past two days. I’m mostly busy giving online lessons and attending lectures. Though some thoughts of desires now and then make me feel horrible, I’m handling them pretty well without letting them control my days.

What do you people think of death? Do you agree with me on the idea of Death? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. Take care! Until next post! 🤝

Things that matter

how are you doing? hope you are keeping safe.

Lately, I have been occupied with some important issues. I was trying to make the best out of this lockdown which is once again seemingly extending without any hopes of its deadline. Another reason for my lack of activity on this site was that somewhere along the line I started losing the purpose for which I took myself up here which is to express the more covert sides of me. To build a community sharing similar values of social justice, vulnerability, personal growth, healing from traumatic childhood events, truth, and care.

So anyway, since last time lots of things have taken different dimensions. Hours turned into days, days into weeks and weeks into months. In no time summer is gone and it’s almost monsoon in North India. (it’s 8:30 pm, 12th of May at the time of typing this blog) everything turned into raw memories. Many dreams and aspirations turned into realities and they were as ephemeral as those dreams. The fears, anxieties, doubts counted for nothing. The attachments and passions were short-lived. Some friendships which seemed to be lifelong companies are struggling to make sense of themselves. A search for romance is as fancy as chasing a rainbow.

All these past days my attitude towards life pretty much shifted from escape from suffering to embracing it to its core. As result, my capacity to see things for what they are and accountability towards them got strengthened. I started giving less and less importance to trivialities surrounding me. My inner conflict somewhat smoothened and I feel freer from day to day situations. I found out that life gives us lots of opportunities to realise our true potentials but often as a materialist, blinded by the myriads of reactions of our actions we don’t give much thought to them and they simply pass down to others, and this process of passing on keeps going on and on until it reaches to a worthy receiver who in return make that opportunity into triumph.

Life seems like a zero-sum game. No matter how much you add to it, in the end, everything is zero. No doubt that in the realm of life those simple acts of kindness are the most valuable ones. Everything else will be forgotten but those little and selfless acts of kindness, those words of concern for someone you care for, those moments of laugh and those unspoken acts of helping someone in their needs, those acts of lifting someone’s spirits in their moments of despair and gloom, which leaves you dancing in bliss with a sweet sense of belongingness. In other words, in my opinion, that human touch is all that matters and it can be felt only by the attitude of sharing and sacrificing.

Growing up in a critical and abusive family, developing self-care habits and self-love is to this day an arduous task for me. But I’m still proud of my efforts for developing habits of self-care like doing Yoga, meditation and reading. I took this super awesome picture last year at a nearby nature trail in my hometown Ayodhya.

The happiest moments are the moments that are not anticipated. I believe in acquiring what you want in your life (eg. a job, possessions and achievements, etc) can never be as fulfilling as those unexpected offerings by someone, those moments of solitude and sounds of birds in the morning, that warmth of morning sunshine, that gentle hug, the taste of fresh fruits, and other simple pleasures.

Everything in this world is transitory, including our human lives. And that’s what makes it meaningful. How? It is the question for you to answer for yourself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on this one. Until next post! 😊

Choose

From a very young age, I have been into philosophy and literature. When I was just a kid I had this great desire to learn karate, guitar, dancing, yoga, and if I say so myself, I was gifted in skills related to arts like reading, sketching, painting, philosophy, cooking, and crafting. Looking back I can remember that I always used to get excellent grades in arts and writing-related stuff. At that time I didn’t have many sources of literature, I was, frankly, prohibited to read anything but the books of academia. So I used to visit a nearby public reading nook, where I could find newspapers and magazines in different languages ranging from Marathi, Gujrati, Hindi to English, and Urdu. I used to visit that place every day to read about world news, articles on lifestyles, mental and physical health, philosophy, and to satisfy my teenage curiosity about gender and sexuality. Moments spent reading were moments rejoiced. To this day I believe those insightful articles on various topics crafted my mental world like nothing else. Looking back I can see how in my school I felt like running away from dreary ‘Math’ classes. Though I used to score decently in it, I never invested myself much into math maybe because there was too much hype around it and almost always “I took the road less traveled by.”

(Literally, too this time because I can remember my ten-year-old self having a long lonely walk into the woods and places which were often uncharted)

While at school and in my neighborhood I received appreciation for my art skills, at home no one ever counted art as something where I should give much time, or even try to excel at. I always got discouragement from my uncle for engaging myself in sketching, basically anything which was not Science and/or Math. Despite me being exceptional at it until ninth standard, there was no such restriction on me investing much time in arts and crafts, but afterward, I was criticized and discouraged for spending my time in ‘artsy activities’ and got appreciated for mugging up the dreary concepts of Science and Math for the sake of decent grades. To teachers, to students, to parents, and to society altogether everyone was interested in our scorecard much more than anything else. No one cared if you have any other potential. Hence, I internalized scoring well in exams as one of the ways to get some appraisal.  As a submissive kid, gradually I stopped practicing sketching and painting, and for the sake of appreciation (I realized that I always longed for appreciation and affection from my family and to get that I even used to do things not for my own happiness but to get some validation from them) I devoted myself to Math and Science avoiding my own strengths. I scored overall good marks in the 10th and 12th Board examinations. Though I struggled in keeping it up, yet I opted for a Bachelor’s in Science program with Physics, Chemistry, and Maths. But this time I fell flat on my face. I FAILED. In the pursuit of getting validation from my social circle, I was left at the lowest point in my life until then. I had an option to rewrite the paper which I failed but I was tired of proving my worth by doing something I’m not meant to do. I was exhausted by trying to live my life according to the expectations and wishes of others.

A wonderful podcast I was listening to lately on Spotify while committing to myself that I’ll never gonna let someone else control my life’s decision anymore be it in any area. Besides, I am a fan of Guy Raz and his speaking skills.

After this phase, I was depressed with the fact that I had wasted two years of my life, just for nothing! I was lost, purposeless, and didn’t know where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in my life. So, I gave myself two months of break and tried to do everything to make me feel better. I was traveling to new places, exploring new ideas by reading books, doing yoga and meditation, making new friends, and exploring different career options. Finally, I chose B.A. in Tourism with French as a foreign language (I chose to study these subjects not with any intention to make a career in it but to explore these areas and I ended up loving them).I haven’t figured out yet what I’ll be doing in two to three years from now. I’m working on my weaknesses, and carving out my best self by learning, and growing, and getting out of my comfort zone daily. When I decided to take complete responsibility for my life, I realized life is much better and worth living. Now I have much more than I could ever imagine. Though not in the material sense but a kind of inner richness and contentment you just can’t put a price on. It is now that I’ve started living my life in full measure, appreciating the joys of little things, which in true sense are blessings I’ve got.

How about you? Is there anything in your life curtailing your aspiration to live up to your standards? or are you yet figuring things out? Feel free to ask and share your views on this post. Au revoir. (a French expression for “until next time”)


“Failure is an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Prioritizing Friendship

Today after my exam I met my friend ‘Monsieur Langlois (this is not his real name though, this is how I call him because… reasons)’. The moment I saw him it was very obvious to me that something is bothering him. I thought he might be unsatisfied with his performance in the exam, so I tried to cheer him up – reminded him of how he can’t control everything and that he should not beat himself up over his performance in the exams. Although, even after my best efforts he was lost in his thoughts, and then when I was about to give up on his puzzling state of mind his gaze droped to the ground, “what does friendship mean to you,” he asked. The depth of his spontaneous question left me perplexed. We are close friends but recently we had a little misunderstanding between us. Because of my financial crisis we lost touch and he misunderstood it as me avoiding him. Though without much struggle we sorted it out by understanding by listening to each other perspective. However, I was still wondering if he left something unspoken. To get a clearer picture of his intention behind asking this question suddenly, I reverted with the same question to him but he insisted to me that I respond first.

Well, actually it was about an another friend of his, let’s call her Mademoiselle S. He said, “Shubh, I don’t know if she really cares about our friendship. The other day while sitting together she left me alone to talking with a random classmate and then she left without once notifying me that she was leaving and she acts in this way very often which makes me feel disregarded. Though she says I’m her best friend, so far I haven’t felt the reciprocality between us. I never get to see the alignment in her words and actions, and I’m struggling to make sense of this so-called friendship now.” He was disturbed by how his friend almost stopped talking to him when she started seeing someone. 

Personally, I admire thoughtfulness and sensitivity in people (especially in men) and this friend of mine has both of these characteristics in spades. After this conversation with him I thought about how our society and media glorify amatonormativity over healthy friendships and other significant relationships. The same day while having my evening coffee, I thought about my own past of prioritizing a romantic partner over my own self and other relationships including close friendships a year ago, and how I invested myself completely in that romantic relationship discarding some of the best friendships I had. I felt terribly gutted after realizing how I fell victim to society’s toxic norm of prioritizing romanticism over other forms of love, Which is hugely glorified by the pop culture and commercial industries everywhere. It cost me an invaluable friendship to realize that friendships are indispensable and much more fulfilling and satisfying than any kind of romantic relationship can ever be.

Learning from my own experience of loss (of course, the loss of that friend was depressing to me) now I try to invest equal intentionality and efforts in my friendships and other meaningful relationships. I am pretty content with the meaningful friendships in my life and I’m quite confident with me not prioritizing romantic relationships over other relationships ever again. 
Do share with me your experiences of loss or rupture in your friendship here in the comments box. I’ll be pleased to read about it. Until next time!

Unpleasant memoir

So after posting my last post I felt a deep sense of fear and sadness. When I reflected upon those feelings of remorse I thought it might be because of the way I brought up. In case you don’t know I grew up in Mumbai with my uncle and aunty. Living away from my mother and father I grew up hearing hate speech against them. I made to believe from a very young age that my real parents never had a good interest in me and they are the worst people alive. we were less likely to talk to our mother and father and phone calls with them were meticulously scrutinized. Though my aunty was the one looking after us but the bond with her was more like of controlling, disparaging, and neglecting caregiver. To express our distaste or disagreements was to invite lots of emotional abuse on my aunt’s part. We were often meant to anticipate her moods and if she was in anger we were encouraged to please her. Amidst those uncanny moments if anyone was there for me to comfort my innocent soul it was my grandmother. To find some solace or to express my needs as a child, I used to turn to her only, and without ever being disappointed she always provided me with solidarity and comfort by her compassionate words and warmth.

I”m feeling sad today over the demise of this joyful and ecstatic company. “Lala”(we used to call this puppy by this name) was always been fun to be around. This is a picture of us together of a week ago when he was doing better. Even in this picture, his eyes is so gloomy that one can make a guess of his health. I request you all to treat stray dogs with love and care

Having been raised in the restrained and often harshly critical set up I internalized a harsh self-criticism. Not receiving enough exposure from my parents in my childhood and the absence of emotional care I needed I always feared abandonment and grew up in a controlling, insecure, and people pleasing adult.

Though I’ve been in a highly dysfunctional family, I appreciate my ability to see things clearly now through lots of introspection and self-awareness. After moving to a different state from the one I was living in earlier I started working on my emotions and reaching out for social support through building meaningful relationships with mutual reciprocality and vulnerability. I started regulating my emotions with the help of various books (Self-compassion by Christine Neff and seven levels of intimacy by Methew kelly are the two most influential non-fiction books I read last year). At last I would like to quote Mike Lew from a phenomenal book about child abuse and trauma ‘Victims no longer’, “we are most lovable not when we are pretending to have it all together, but in our raw and imperfect humanity.”

So, How you doing ? Let me know of your opinion on how your family and childhood in general shaped you as a person. I will Love to read people’s reactions to this one. Until next post!

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