Strength


“Isn’t strength the ability to renounce every lie in your heart?”

“Wouldn’t you agree that having the courage and bravery to be honest with yourself is another form of strength?”

~Tamaki Suoh  (Ouran HighSchool Host Club)

Tamaki is an anime character from   shoujo manga series Ouran High School Host Club created by  Bisco Hatori.

I found Tamaki during a Google Image Search for some anime characters I wanted to download and play with on Adobe Photoshop CS5.

I completely believe in what he says here. I have followed it and taught it to my boys too. If you are not honest to yourself , you can never be honest to others. Most of us lie to ourselves more than we lie to others. It is deeply ingrained and comes easy. We live a life of deception and denial. All our life we pretend to be someone else, avoiding dealing with issues related to self. It locks us in a cycle of self sabotage, blocking our ability to move forward. It takes strength and courage to look within, to face oneself, to break the cycle.

Deep within us there is a desire to do the right thing, be a good person but of course we don’t live up to it. We lose our bearings and feel rotten but we won’t let go of deceit, defending it just to prove ourselves right. Bearing the burden of the duplicities, false pride, and self-importance that all of us have in various measures most of us are unable to renounce the lies within.

I try never to do anything which would make me feel uncomfortable when I look into my own eyes. I expect the same from those who are close to me. That is something I teach my children too.

Take a mirror test to begin with. It is very uncomfortable and here comes the need for strength. Look into your eyes. Reflect upon your thoughts, how you deal with others, what do you say. Notice if you want to shift your gaze or avert your eyes. You will know when you aren’t right, that it is a lie you are living. Now comes the time to convert that strength into courage. Courage to accept and rectify. To be honest to oneself and others. I do it and I think that if your inner justifies your action then it is right no matter what society says.

Accepting oneself leads to self-confidence  and greater mental strength which is required to  take control over one’s life. To have a warrior mindset one needs to master thoughts, feelings and emotions. One needs to recognize them honestly and deal with them as they should be rightfully. Only when the mind is free of burdens of managing various lies it can help build strength of character.

We can only discover our true self-worth by being honest to ourselves.

Confession is another way to be honest with oneself. I feel that however difficult it may seem, confessing  always improves a relationship and a person as a whole. Doing a wrong and then covering it up with layers of denial and lies makes everything collapse. Ultimately the truth finds its way out and that pain is greater than the pain of the first wrong done. Most of the time it is too late to mend the bond when the trust is lost and one may have to live with the guilt for the rest of the life. It is always easier to lie than to confess. Confession of truth hurts but the realization that the person is lying hurts more. The pain is much deeper even if the lie was told to save the hurt.

I prefer not to indulge in anything my conscience won’t allow.

This is my feeling. I feel relationships survive on the strength of honesty and to be honest to each other one needs to be honest to self.

If you are convinced about something , if you feel no guilt, no weakness or fear, if you can justify honestly your action to yourself  Then  you are strong. That is the true strength.

So, can you handle that moment of truth? It may most probably will not be to your liking.  Do you have strength to break down, to feel pain, sadness, rejection?  To feel human ?  Do you have the courage to face the defeat and the strength to take it as a challenge to conquer it?

It takes more strength to be true to yourself than to put up a wall.  Do you have that strength?

Self-protection armor, most of the time unconsciously erected at a young age, causes most of our adult suffering. Let go of self-armoring. Let down those walls.

Being vulnerable is not a weakness, it  takes more strength and courage than overcoming most of the obstacles that you will ever encounter in a life time.

Changing old patterns takes an effort and that effort needs immense strength to carry forward but that is the road to self-empowerment and it is certainly worth it.

Give it shot.

Renounce every lie in the heart.  Be aware. Be strong

This post is written for GBE2  WEEK #58 (6-24-12 to 6-30-12): Strength

You and I – Unrequited Love


Days and nights have suddenly turned cold in the middle of summer. Cold and Hard like last year’s loaf of bread. I slice them with blunt knives and chew on them without appetite.  Indifferent messages do little to bridge the aching distance or break the deafening  silence that has occupied every fiber of life nor does an occasional assemble of  affectionate words give any comfort. Even though the heart longs, it knows it will never get more than that.

I wonder if this pitiless indifference is subterfuge for hiding the torments of love or it is  the opposite of love. Love has denied rest to my soul and slumber to my eyes. I have begun to dread the approaching night. It deepens the loneliness and hurt as I stare into the vast emptiness of the dark sky. A lonesome moon sometimes glides past the window and lying on my bed, fatigued by days of sleeplessness, I watch it disappear from sight.

Words that I wrote for you float like pipe dreams, adding fuel to the slow fire consuming me from within. It is funny how presence makes itself felt more poignant through absence. Stray memories come to haunt , it is amazing how darkness brings things to life, gives them a form, a voice.

I lie as still as possible , least I disturb your silence and it moves away just as you have. I don’t even dare to breathe.

Mind is a fucking manipulating control freak and in those moments of vulnerability , it leaves no chance to whiplash.

There is no feeling worse than knowing you weren’t worthy of truth, of love, of sharing, of  togetherness, of complete oneness, not even an incomplete one. Unrequited love curls itself in some secret crevice , wounded and bleeding. It doesn’t die.

There is always a part of me that hopes for more, and so there is a part of me that is always a fool. Love does that.

Am facing a silence so cold, so sharp you could cut yourself on it.  There is nothing so hurtful, nothing so bare and forlorn as the silence that falls like swords on two people who no longer know what to say to one another, and it is the kind of silence that tells you that you are no longer of any importance to that person, who really is no longer even there; it is a silence that renders you invisible.

It has rendered me invisible. Some days ago I wrote , sometimes one knows one’s place – outside the periphery.. The words come out so powerfully now. It is all good to talk of giving space etc, of trust and understanding and being comfortable even in silence of a loved one but this is not that silence.. this is a silence that cripples.

It’s a marvel that even with such agony the longing doesn’t diminish , it continues to feed on the loneliness and gain strength. It grows stronger , so does love- even the unrequited one, for it has its own rainbows.

“Because, if you could love someone, and keep loving them, without being loved back . . . then that love had to be real. It hurt too much to be anything else.”-Sarah Cross

but the other part holds true too. We are creatures of desire and desire needs to be respected.

Love needs to be fed. Nurtured. Nourished. It needs to be deeply felt.

It needs to be reciprocated.  Replenished.

It needs to be expressed. In actions as well as words

Especially when words are the only medium.

Unrequited love is an orphan of silence.

Abandoned to fend for itself  during the endless days and never-ending nights.

Read all YOU AND ME  posts here 

Am going to be alright


Some days are tough. Very tough. The days when you are torn into shred by the pain and grief. When you want to reach out and hug and wail like baby, when you just want the world to end. When you yearn for the human touch, when voice is not enough and yet it is the only solace you have. When the words get lost in the lungs and you clutch the cell in your fist shut, your blurry eyes , tears streaming down your cheeks, unable to  utter anything. When you swing between being a woman and a being a mother and feel helpless and defeated in both roles. When phrases like “hang in there” or ” this too shall pass” sound so hollow, for they don’t lessen the agony one bit.

When you feel the burn at the back of your neck and behind the ears, a throb at the temple, head heavy as boulder , eyes nothing but overflowing pools of hot liquid. When your cheeks, and jaw hurt as if you have chewed on something hard for a long time. When “moving on” seems like biggest hoax. What doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger , it cripples you. It is intensity of the disaster that matters. The deluge of grief that opens up so many wounds. It makes distances grow manifold.

Last two days have been a chaos especially the Easter Sunday brought sad news that broke the floodgates and it all just flowed and flowed. All the pain that had accumulated for sometime slipped quietly into the new one and it became a lethal cocktail of emotions. All the parts of me that were vulnerable , opened. I still do not really know which was the dominating pain- of loss, of not being with my sons or my own unmet desires and loneliness.

Death is always brutal realization of  how fickle everything else is.   A few days ago a little pup brought warmth of love and filled the  empty lives of my boys with something to hold on to, to cuddle and care , to watch over and look forward to and they were ecstatic. I said a little prayer of thanks and hoped that my absence would finally not loom large and trouble their hearts. The pup would occupy that vacant place at least in some way but destiny has been cruel to us. We have not yet finished our quota of hurts.

Joe passed away early Sunday morning. A very brief  illness evening before and in the morning he was gone. Sometimes there are no words which can console a heart lashed again and again and again by life. Each Love creates its own theory of pain.

Do you know how it feels to bury a baby you have fed and bathed and cuddled next to you? Do you know how it feels to someone who himself is just a kid? Can you even imagine the pain that slices through the very core of a boy who brought the baby home, made him a part of his own self, shared his energies, his love, joy, sorrow, everything with the little animal companion. I do. Been there done that and to see my boys go through it just left me numb. We tried to put up a brave front, said positive things to each other and in  silence of our heart we scream in agony. We broke down , unable to bridge the distance between us and finally our brain shuts off.  Sometimes we the live just because of the stumbling breaths we exchange. There is disquiet of quiet all around. Once the first deluge is over , there is a complete disconnect. One wants silence.. complete silence.

I disconnected. Put everything on mute and my heart longed to connect . Just for a while. Just with you. To be there. For a short time. Just as it longed for the boys. Loneliness cuts deep. It swallows you completely. I guess that is the way it IS, to be there and let it take over. To feel it, observe it, endure it. Loneliness shelters in this unconditional hurt. You curl in and feel safe in its nets.

I buried my face in the pillow and wept. Tears heal. Then I opened the curtains and gazed at the night sky. Eyes dry and swollen , sleep as usual hiding somewhere as it afraid to enter those burning gaping spaces. Night sky is soothing. I guess its darkness repels the darkness within.  Somewhere between  those two darkness I drifted off  into an unknown land carrying the unbearable weight of all that can go wrong and has gone wrong.

We are all connected, through love, through loneliness, through pain and even from a  distance one reaches out in the darkness hoping to touch some other hand. We are designed for many things but loneliness is not one of them. Yet it came to me slowly and steadily. Circumstances brought it to me unasked. Now I guess I have become accustomed to it and sometime even seek shelter in it, appreciate it. It helps me still myself. To listen to my body. It’s aches and wants.

I decided to go some place quiet today. Sit sometime in silence. The church I visited was closed. Another sign that one must endure and not escape. The taxi driver was sleepy and we almost had a brush with death twice. I hurt my right arm. Bruised my middle finger. It turned a deep shade of blue-green.

The heat was unbearable. Throat parched and body drained with exhaustion I looked vacantly stared at the passing terrain.

Now the night has come, something is still tugging at my heart But am gonna be alright. Damn it.  I am still hanging between silence and words. Guess its time to let it flow. Let the body relax and let the pain ease out.

Joe baby, where ever you are , know that you are remembered , loved and terribly missed. RIP.

Get Up Stand Up Stand Up For Your Right


Don’t give up the fight. Life is Your Right 

RECOGNIZE your inner strength, BELIEVE in yourself, Be Ready to SHED what is not YOU,  if you feel you are being caged ESCAPE  from the tiniest crack you find,  FIGHT for your Dignity and Worth.

Be True to self,  Be selfish Love Yourself  First, Break Away, Cut the cord that strangles you. Bend the Rules.  

Never let anyone write your story. Never hand over the pen to them.

Never feel guilty of  doing what your heart feel right. Never complain. Never explain.

There are no excuses to let yourself be treated like shit.

Never compromise yourself .

Never be bullied into silence. Don’t be a victim.

Never lose your true self  under the deluge of  masks society offers you to wear.

Society has never been kind to women who stand up and speak their mind, make your choice. Be free or be damned.

Freedom to be oneself  comes with a price , sometimes a huge one, Pay the Price or let others pay the price of  trying to cage your spirit.

Nothing is more important than your dignity.

HAVE COURAGE  to Chat Your Path. Never resign to your fate. 

Stand alone, it better  than being lost in a crowd. 

Never submit to the will of others.

Walk out of relationships that smother You. Dare to break away. Be at loggerhead with the society. It is not a cakewalk but it is worth every moment. Subjugated life is devoid of any soul.

Have the moral courage to Defy what in Unjust. Don’t be a performer.

Never let your bodies to be outraged. Never let yourself become an object.

Draw a line and stop the “little adjustment” from becoming a big compromise.  If it takes the monstrous shape it just engulfs before you know it.

Don’t wait for change to happen.  Make your move. It is never too late.

Stop living in your fears.

Think for yourself, never go in with conformity and herd mentality.

Recognize Abuse , for it is often camouflaged as love, betterment, moral duty, guilt, emotional blackmail.

Speak up. Silence only helps it breed and dig its claws deeper into your being.

It is better to raise your voice against unjust than suffer and reinforce the fact that women can be used as old newspapers.

Be financially independent.

Be fearlessly yourself

Sometimes  it takes more than just courage and will to do what is “right”. Look within and you will know your reason to do it.

 Someone said to me , ”  It is all there for you to get, the only thing is How badly you want it.”   You can’t imagine how true it is. It gave direction to my life.

Courageous Risks are life giving  – Take Risks

I DID 

“My priorities are sorted out. I have moved on” , I said.

“Moved on ?”  “True moving on is to bring the past to a closure. It is done and over “

“True that ”  I said.  “So be it.”

It was last year this date that I made the life changing decisions.

This year this day  I am  That I am  and nothing else matters.

I am grateful to my friends, fellow bloggers, readers, and each person who believed in me and stood by me, some visible some invisible.

My boys are my strength and it fills me with tremendous pride and love for these young adults for understanding  my decision despite of the physical distance it created.  Thank you for  being my children and for loving me for what I am.

My family who did not “wash their hands off me” like many parents who do the moment their daughter gets married. I am blessed to be part of you.

We all have a spark within but to turn it into a flame  one needs a breath of life –  ♥ レo√乇

Remember 

There is nothing more gratifying than being oneself. 

Don’t need no memories hangin’ round


I want to offload. Offload all the clutter from my head. Offload the memories. Who wants to remember  anyway?  Spit, gargle, scrub, wash .. I did everything to clean the scars that my life got when it touched yours but the scars settled in the corridors full of memories won’t fade. They take monstrous shapes and explode inside my head. Isolated snippets that becomes larger than life , uglier, gruesome as they flash past inside my head like lightning.  Wounds that cut themselves and come alive in flesh and blood only to drag me down the past I want to run away from. There is no healing with memories lurking inside oneself. They appear out of nothing, damage and vanish. Just like that. 

What wouldn’t I give to forget these memories, wipe them off. I am tired of  tossing and turning each night, I want to get back my sleep? I would give it all up even if it means losing the good memories from another time , another place , of some other people. Yes, I would, if it means I won’t have to remember all the crap that scalds my inner, which gags and chocks my heart.

With my life going the way it, the things I have known and those I come to know whether I want it or not, the images that I am unable to shake however I may try, the mental trauma and heartache that wears me out on daily basis, the words that resonate inside my head however I may try to shut them up, the good memories too are slowly turning rancid.

Actually there isn’t anything good about your memories to be frank.  They are nothing but poison ivy clinging to my brain and sapping life out of me.  In fact I shouldn’t have let you in.  I pay the price with loss of face, faith and everything. I left the house that once I called home ( I wonder why coz it was never my home ) but the memories tagged along. I remember it all. Every bit of it. And that is the part I hate most.  You encroached my space then and  won’t let me have it now. 

I want to  gladly clear it all.  Give up , the good, the bad, the ugly.  Just don’t need no memories hangin’ round. What am I going to do with memories? Am done with sob story memoirs. I don’t wish to dig up the graves. Am done with all that. Am done with wanting to remember. Done with you. Please Leave. I do not need a fucking rotting fungal infested tumor of memories in my brain that is You. 

I want my mind spot clean.  I want space for new beginnings to flourish. I want  peace.  I do not want an inner tumult to wreak havoc in my outer world. I don’t want memories of old hurt, anger, loss, love anything  influencing my judgement and making me read the signals incorrectly. 

So you ask,  what about “happy memories” ? Memories that warm you on winter nights and give you company in loneliness? The beautiful sunsets and the walks in pathless woods?  Well, there is nothing happy about them, they hurt big time. These attention seeking narcissists. They bring a sense of loss, a void. Some people may have them, I am not denying that but for me , I can do without them. This cocktail of bitter-sweet nostalgia and pain. I don’t wish to go on vacillating between past and present with the noose of memories tightening on my neck. The events that were , were happy , full of warmth but as memories I can do without them. I will have many sunsets and many such walks in woods in present to fill the empty spaces.

I want to “die to the past” and ” live to the present”. 

Maybe I will find a stability later sometime in life to not let mind take over but right now, Oh man! I need an escape route.  

One need not be a chamber to be haunted;

One need not be a house;

The brain has corridors surpassing

Material place.

~Emily Dickinson, “Time and Eternity”

From a distance


From a distance earth and sky seem to meet but the reality is different. I prefer to watch the horizon from a distance, to feel  romance of the sky and earth. I keep alive the magic of day and night linked together like no two things can. One can not exist without another. It’s a complex relationship they share, Forever together and yet forever apart. So do we. 

I love its cryptic majesty. The sacred orgasm where the earth lays itself bare to the sky, the sky bows down to kiss her and both explode in colors of their cosmic union. To get drenched in those colors, to feel the energy flowing between them is like a spiritual orgasm. The agony and ecstasy of love. I love to lose myself in those glimpses of  deep divine ethereal ritual. The way earth bounders  the boundless sky.

It is intoxicating to watch the different facets of love so beautifully revealed by nature. The two polarities ; known and unknown, visible and invisible, the . We all have a little of sky and earth in us. Love has its roots in the earth as pain and agony and its branches of ecstasy reach to the sky. The horizon for me is also the dual aspect of love  – physical and spiritual.

Then this feeling of timelessness and egolessness when I watch the horizon and think of many beyond that. There is a magical pull that draws all the negativity and fills me with calm when I gaze at the horizon. I feel that there is this solid grounding energy of the earth, reassuring and supporting and the vast ,warm, expansive energy of sky and the horizon is the blending point of both. A balancing point and that’s what it teaches me. to reach for the sky and still stay rooted to the ground. 

It is the perfect love affair where the sky and the earth meet. As I look deep into the horizon I find answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion. 

Horizon has another meaning for me.  Sometimes the reality of a certain situation is so painfully obscure that you do not wish to face it. I like to view it from a distance at such times especially if it is about love. Love that is unattainable. A mirage has its existence and beauty only from a distance, if we go closer it vanishes. Such is love sometime. I love to keep the image alive , to rejoice in it from a distance from where it looks perfect. A perfect merger of two beings in love. For a moment all the inhibitions, doubts, reservation are shed. It is as beautiful as one imagines it to be. A closer look or a pondering about its really would shatter the heart. Sometimes to sustain oneself we need a horizon.

I know that somewhere between where the dusk and dawn meet I will find love as splendid, as magnetic, as erotic, as spiritual as the love of sky and earth at the distant horizon. As real and as dream like as it seems. For that is a wholesome love, where no one owns the other, where there is distance and togetherness at the same time. 

Photograph courtesy Google images. All credits to the rightful owner.

On Expressing Gratitude And Regret


I believe

“Gratitude needs to be expressed. A person may knowingly or unknowingly enrich your life by his/her thoughts /actions. However insignificant or intangible they may seem to him/her if they bring even the slightest positiveness, strength, love or happiness to the receiver then they need to be appreciated. Also I believe that such reciprocation of warmth cements the human bond (Wont give it a name like love, friendship etc) . Gratitude should also be taken graciously and seen as the love and appreciation from the receiver to the giver.

I remember sharing this on Facebook and here are two main responses to my status.

 Shail  says,

I believe in expressing gratitude and also accepting the same from others gracefully. Some stupid movies and books have popularised the philosophy of, “No sorry and thank you between friends”. Never heard such bs. Excuse me! I beg to differ. I shall aplogize and say thank you when occasion demands and expect them to be accepted gracefully. Otherwise you are no friend of mine! Well, I expect the same from you. But of course you are free to do as you like. ;)”

Another very dear blogger friend Sangeeta  added something equally profound.

I feel when we deny gratitude we start nurturing a guilt and that makes our personality seriously skewed…. as if always doing something to cover up something , to prove something or to repay( the reasons of gratitude) with useless gifts ….while gratitude in our attitude would have made it a lot simpler and peaceful for ourselves.”

I may not “unfriend” someone for not accepting gratitude and apology the way we believe it should be accepted but Yes, it would hurt me a lot. I detest when people say “no sorry no thank you between friends”. Even a dog doesn’t resist the urge to express gratitude , it wags its tail when petted.

Some people diagree and say it is inappropriate and inconsiderate to expect everyone to follow the same verbal code. I don’t think so.

Gratitude is a constructive force that expands our hearts and creates a bond between the receiver and the giver. It is the same with apology. We do all kind of things including going into an awkward silence but “sorry” seems to be the hardest word to say.

Why are we so afraid to expose ourselves to others?

Why is it so difficult to show appreciation and remorse in simplest form of words?

I feel a simple “Thank you” or” Sorry” when genuinely expressed can bridge distances, mend broken relationships , dissolve anger, heal broken hearts and much more. I feel being unable to express gratitude and remorse is a serious character flaw.

 Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, the bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and from deeds left undone”.

I think it is a very poignant statement. Often it is too late when we realize where we went wrong with our silence at a particular time. We leave much unsaid. It is strange that members of a species renowned for their communicative gifts should leave unexpressed some of these deepest emotions.

A friend feels that sometimes a person may feel unworthy of the gratitude expressed to him/her so he/she should be the judge of the amount of worthiness.  One may feel that one hasn’t done enough to deserve such praise.

I disagree.

I feel that the receiver is the judge of that. Even the smallest of gesture is enough for a person to say ‘Thank you” because it helped her/his growth in some way.  I don’t mean that these two words should be used blindly for they will lose their worth but when occasion demands one must express them with all sincerity.

We all crave for these basic feelings.  Unfortunately those who are closest to heart are taken for granted and always denied gratitude and empathy and more more unfortunate than that is the fact that genuine offering of gratitude , appreciation or remorse is usually not taken with the same spirit.

I feel that it isn’t a very nice thing to do to oneself or the person giving a sincere compliment whatever may be the reason.  Most people think they could have done better or been better than the reality of the situation. This is what I call negative reinforcement.

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

If I get my head bitten off every time I try to say something nice to someone, how likely am I to make that attempt again?   It surely is a big downer and in any relationship these are the small pebbles on which we stumble and fall.

Do we lack this art of graceful receiving because the social ethics makes us believe that giving is important and not taking? I believe that receiving is something different from taking for it involves humility and grace.

I feel that gratitude as well as feeling of sincere apology flows out of you naturally and if it is just a cultivated thing, it usually doesn’t last very long and becomes insignificant.  Gratitude need not necessarily find expression in the form of eloquence; it could be just a, gesture, a smile, look, a touch, a teardrop, but when we are at a physical distance then words are all we have to express what we feel. I have personally experienced how much it has helped me open up from within and blossom and also how it cuts like a double edged sword when the warmth of the feeling is not reciprocated or taken matter of factly.

We take people for granted, we feel ‘entitled” and this feeling of entitlement blocks us from giving or receiving and when we aren’t receptive to gratitude whether   it receiving or giving then we may be lacking many other positive emotions.

In recent times we have stripped these two words “Thank You “and “Sorry’ of sincerity and in doing this we have forgotten the major role they play in our lives. We use them flippantly, throw around without care, and often reduce them to an easy way of getting off the hook and evading meaningful action. How many of you remember doing it at one point or another?

Many people seriously lack in gracefully accepting gratitude and apology just as much as they lack in offering them.  I believe that graciously accepting them shows that we value the other person, that there is a positive emotional state and that we keep our relationship above our ego.

So the question is why is it that we can’t take a compliment, gratitude with grace?

One of the reasons is that the recipient of gratitude reverts to a negative rebuttal to whatever nice thing is said and feels that they didn’t deserve the recognition (“Oh, I didn’t really do that much…” ‘No problem’ Ah, Don’t mention it ‘“it was nothing’ etc.  While saying these things come naturally to many, they don’t realize that they are pushing away not only the gift of gratitude but a basic form of positive energy.

It is the same with apology. The act of offering and accepting an apology is as profound and healing as that of expressing gratitude but because the offhand “sorry about that” keeps flying around, our ego prevents us from realizing its full potential.

I think the word loses its impact when we refrain from acknowledging our wrong doing (“Sorry for what I have done”) or when we throw in a self-serving conditionality (“I am sorry if you were hurt”).

Well, if the purpose of an apology is only to say, “While I don’t think I was wrong, I will apologies because you say so”, it is best not to offer one. When you say “I am sorry BUT… “ then , the message of gratitude or apology is instantly annulled and it  perfectly translates  as “forget what I just said, now here’s what I really mean.”

The worst we can do is to insult someone’s sensitivity or intelligence by such a statement. If you are grateful, be grateful. If you are sorry, be sorry.

An apology must involve acknowledging the offense adequately, expressing genuine remorse and a commitment to make changes.

“A stiff apology is a second insult,” said novelist and poet G K Chesterton.

An apology is never a compensation for the hurt caused but a way of healing.  Quick fix “Sorry” never really fixes the broken heart. Apology should sensitize us for not committing that mistake again. It should help in restoring harmony and order in the relationship and in life.

It is sad that most of us lack this beautiful gesture of gracefully receiving and expressing gratitude and apology. The inability to soften and open one’s heart in response to a genuine sentiment is really a shame and one of driving force behind many sour relationships. An opportunity lost for strengthening and deepening the bond of love between one heart to another, for reconciliation and restoration of relationship.

Although I strongly believe in constantly reminding oneself to be graciously grateful and apologize instantly when occasion demands, I also feel that expressing gratitude and apology without necessarily being grateful or remorseful is an exercise in futility.

So next time you say “Sorry” or “Thank you” be aware from within. Ask yourself what is blocking you to these emotions? Is it the stubborn pride or the guilt? It is an act of courage to apologize.

Friendships or any other relationship becomes stronger and deeper when a little grace and humility is shown.

Great Relationships are precious gifts. Be grateful.

Walk the talk : Crumbling relationships, Social networking, Eve teasing and other things


His silence conveyed that something was majorly wrong. I was in no mood to have a heavy conversation. The rain drops were still shimmering on the freshly washed leaves and the eastern sky was seeped in a rosy hue.

It was becoming uncomfortable.

“Alright , what’s eating you?”

” I could have fucking strangled him with my bare hands If Only I could know him. I had a fair idea but that hand had no face. “

” Huh?” I was instantly reminded of a post on eve teasing by Ideasmithy called The faceless hand in the crowd.   Had he read it too?

I waited for him to go on. The park was empty so we decided to walk the talk in the serene evening.

He narrated how a hand appeared in a crowded metro and began to grope, touching , pressing his female companion’s body. No , she wasn’t “dressed provocatively” and did not do anything to “entice”  the pervert. I listened with contemplation.

“Why are some Indian men such perverts? “

Good Question but it is not just Indian men. Maybe the number of sexual abuse / street harassment or eve teasing  are more here but the situation is as bad as anywhere in the world I guess.

I too have experienced it many times and trust me it doesn’t end on the streets and it isn’t just about physical touch. I have seen the lust in the eyes, in the gestures , in the comments and much more. However I may be dressed I am conscious of those stares, I am conscious of the hidden agendas and the underlying meaning in their conversations or offhand remarks.

Are you aware that it’s not limited to real world , that sexual harassment is rampant on internet and by unsolicited phone calls? Have you heard of Sexting  ?

“Yes, irrespective of age , from school girls to elder women, some men are relentless. All they see are breasts. Filthy animals, they strip you naked with their fucking eyes ” He fumed.

“Ah! Don’t insult the animals my boy.”

I remembered how one day the autowala kept staring at me from the rear view mirror and deliberately applying the brakes and entering pot holes and puddles on the road.  He kept turning back and staring with a twisted smile on his face. As I sat stone faced not really ready to take up the issue with him on a lonely long road.

“accidental touching/ rubbing/ pushing ” is a common thing which women experience all the time in public transport , crowded streets/ markets etc.

Do we ask for it ? Is it what we wear creates the sudden sexual urge in those men?

What utter crap.

He told me how he had seen a gang of boys whistle and pass  lewd remarks at a mom and daughter duo on a busy market lane in Patel Nagar. They were “modestly” dressed and were walking back home from school. The girl must have been 10.

“Unfortunately eve teasing has become such a universal phenomenon that we don’t even regard it as an issue. It is crazy to think that women are always at a wrong place, wrong time, in wrong clothes and in wrong company and they initiate sexual crimes ” He said reflectively. I agreed.

To think that a doctor can dare to touch and feel your private parts in the pretext of examining is unimaginable but it happened on protesting he simply expressed that ” a little ‘ fun here and there is good for healthy mind, body and soul” Bloody sucker . I wanted to smash his balls then and there but somehow managed to get out of the freaking clinic unable to collect my disoriented thoughts and shocked to core. I wonder how he runs his practice and was I  the only one to be sexually targeted. I know of a case at Spinal Injury Hospital where a pregnant lady was abused by the doctor in the same manner. Too scared and ashamed she just decided to forget the ugly incident.

It was getting late so we left the park .

” Is it because of crumbling relationships that people indulge in revealing their dark secrets to strangers on social networking sites? “

I was taken aback by this sudden change of topic. It’s true that social networking sites have become a comfort zone for people troubled in their relationships and life in general. chatting , talking to unknown faces behind the screen maybe helps in some way to lighten the heart but then there are incidents where this so-called ” sharing and bonding with virtual friends” leads to ugly consequences, harassment and blackmailing. I have been there seen it happening to some people I know.

I told him we will talk about it some other day but he was not giving up. He had seen me struggling to keep at bay the advances of those “available” men who went by the display picture and wanted to be “Frands” thinking that every woman is easy and on a lookout. They take these sites for dating sites and endlessly keep pushing till you want to hit them hard. A writer who found me among common friends requested to be added. After sometime he pinged on chat and asked for an evening out with him because he liked my name and found me intriguing . When I refused point-blank he stated that its good to” explore and discover each other”. I found it disgusting that a person of his caliber could stoop to such level.

We were nearing home and the young man was still in a reflective mood. “The whole scenario sucks. Be it home, workplace, streets, malls, markets, public transport, net women are not safe anywhere damn it ” He shook his ahead. I was glad he was awakening to the basic core issues that were eating up the society . I had seen him tackle some with great effectiveness. It made me feel good.

“Men too suffer ” He said .

“Yes, especially those who tag along in life holding the pallu of their mom’s sari. Those adult babies who can not think ,act without permission and support of their mommy dearest. ” I  said with bile rising in my throat.  “Let’s drop it. Some other day maybe. ‘

“umm, No, I meant this abuse stuff. men too suffer at times but they suffer in silence. Maybe that is one reason the social networking sites become their ground to find comfort and solace. ” ” I am not saying that justifies for what some creeps do but all men aren’t bad after all.”

I laughed. ” Spoken like a man”  I said. “Well, you do want to protect your tribe.”

“Naah, I know each of us is targeted due to some assholes who nothing but burden on this earth. and it agitates me”.

I felt for him. He was struggling with a lot of issues. “It is sometimes not about gender , it is about mind-set. It is about how open we are. Being modern is not just copying West , it is about  being fearlessly yourself  , it is about looking at things from a larger perspective and mainly looking within. “

“We will continue to talk more about it. I think this walk the talk idea is good’ .

He smiled. ‘I guess so’. ‘ I hope the solutions to these things were as easy as talking about them. We talk a lot. “

Profound.

I knew he had a lot to talk about . So do I. I  have seethed about various issues lately. From bomb blasts and our precariously hanging lives, sexuality, LGTB, relationships, this ridiculous obsession with body image and “beauty”, the moral dilemma and much more.

We were still hanging out in the parking lot when he suddenly caught hold of my hand and said,’ let’s go have an ice cream”. I love this kid. :)

“Two things I want to know by the way” He said concentrating on the small round pebble he had turned into a football.

One -

‘Why didn’t you teach a lesson of a life time to that motherfucking doctor? and

Two -

Is having a close friend of opposite sex after marriage  such a turn off  especially when this institution of marriage sucks( I agree to this but then can one generalize this) ? Is it infidelity to open up to someone other than your legal partner( don’t know if I liked this term but it tickled me no doubt)?  Why is it that a relationship crumbles so easily and two people who swore love a few years ago can’t bear the sight of each other now and for good reasons”

Those were two too many questions.

“We will talk about it”, I said.

Sleep did not come easy to both of us that night. The questions burned like embers.

One thing was clear. In days to come we were going to have a lot of walk the talk sessions. Sometimes it is better this way.

Moonbeams and Sunshine : Chapter 3.Tara


Continued from 2:  Kite strings  

Chapter 3. TARA  

She gazed at the wine spilled western sky. The soft breeze played with her curls and occasionally a stray curl rested briefly on her face. She loved these summer pool side parties, the colorful people who fluttered like butterflies, the wine, gorgeous variety of food, the music and most of all the man behind all this fun. He had met Keshav during his Piano performance at the rest o bar he owned.  He wasn’t a looker by the society’s beauty standards but he was certainly a charmer.  He still remembered their first meeting and the deep voice that almost made her swoon.

“You must get close to him Tara. I know he has his eyes on you for some time. Go get him babes”. Shona whispered from behind her smoke rings.

“Oh stop it. He is good but not my kind and I am just twenty-six.” She did not sound convincing.

“Really”, Shona winked and drifted away to get another drink.

At the other side of the pool Keshav was entertaining a group of women with his unending supply of jokes.  She wanted to know more about this fascinating young man. A warm flush rushed inside her body and suddenly she was conscious of Shona staring at her.

“Not your kind, eh? “, she smiled.

The bird orchestra on the trees was getting louder and the strains of clarinet were barely audible. She loved his taste in music.  She knew he was an art connoisseur . She had seen some exquisite art pieces collected from across the globe.

“Are you a loner or is it that I haven’t been a gracious host?” His voice made her jump.

Turning a deep shade of red she mumbled some alien words while her eyes searched urgently for Shona. She was buried in the arms of one of her producers. Liquor, food, gossip, favors, deals and sex, these made the base line for all such parties. Everyone fake till the very core.

“ Shonali seems to be enjoying herself. Would you like to see the library?  He was standing so close that she could smell the faint fragrance of aftershave. Her body turned liquid.

“Are you alright? Come let’s go.” He held her hand and she sailed like a breeze along with him. Her heart was beating like the red Ferrari which was parked in the porch.

He held her hand firmly and she was aware of the warmth seeping through. The library and study were the most beautiful areas of the house.  The fireplace,  collection of books and music CDs, piano and the lovely rugs thrown around the room were simply breathtaking. Suddenly she was filled with life.

“Wow, this is amazing. Do you ever find time to read these?” she asked.

“That’s one thing I don’t do but I aim to please especially writers like you.”  His gaze held her captive. She smiled when all she wanted to do was throw her arms around him.

“Feel at home Tara, come over anytime even if I am not there. “ He said warmly.” I know you are more passionate about the books than the men”.

“I will and I think you should change your source of information about me.” Now she loved the teasing and wished they could spend the entire night together.

They met regularly and slowly Keshav became a part of her.  She married him within a year.  The private wedding at Mukteshwar, a long leisurely honeymoon and then life was back to normal.

Within a year the rainbow began to fade. She was alone most of the time as he toured and ran his business. The parties became less and slowly the laughter and fun faded like the colors of evening sky.  She became a recluse. Shonali married her producer lover and went abroad so there was no one except the silence and the books to give her company during the endlessly long days. The nights were even worse.  Keshav came home in the wee hours of the morning and love-making became just another ritual. Sometimes for days or months she burned and hungered for him while he traveled for business.

She burned night after night for that passion, that warmth, that touch.  The very house that had earlier bewitched her now became her prison. She had everything but still there was a vacuüm.  Keshav too felt it and compensated it with all that he thought she would love but that made things worse. She wanted him and he had no time. Business had increased many folds and he ran two more clubs now.

He went for parties just as a compulsion. She had stopped accompanying him long back.

It was their fourth wedding anniversary and opening of his Piano night when she told him about the Writer’s workshop in Pattaya. A friend had emailed her and she desperately wanted to go. It was a lifetime opportunity for her as a writer.

“When do you leave?” He asked without a trace of emotion.

“Day after tomorrow“, she had replied without giving any more information. These days they spoke only what was essential.

“Alright, whatever makes you happy.” Start packing I will arrange the other things. “He left early for the opening while she cleared the kitchen and trashed all the food she had cooked for their anniversary dinner.

This time tears stayed buried in her deep black eyes.  She was thrilled about the workshop not just because it was important to her as an aspiring writer but also because it was her passport to freedom.  An escape from this museum she called home.  It would give time to both of them to reflect upon their lives, she thought. She loved him and longed for those good old days.

Keshav stayed home on the day of her leaving. They had a candle light dinner and sat huddled on the rug in front of the fireplace, together still far away. Each had million things to say but  silence stood between them like a sentinel.

“One of the deepest truths about the cry of the human heart is that it is so often muted, so often a cry that is never uttered. To be sure there are needs and feelings that we express quite openly; lying deeper are emotions we share only with loved ones, and deeper still the things we tell no one….It is strange that members of a species renowned for communicative gifts should leave unexpressed some of their deepest yearnings”

The flight took off on time. They had hugged awkwardly and Keshav had left for a meeting immediately.  With mixed emotions she bid farewell to him wondering where their fate with take them.

Beneath her in were soft fluffy cloud castles and right outside her window was God’s illuminated promise, a magnificent rainbow. She remembered the lines by Byron;

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.

Her life was about to change forever. Air borne she felt an ethereal feeling sweep through her. A whole new world lay in front of her and she was ready to take it on.

to be continued ….

When she dares to dream of a life she imagines …


 

Amrita Pritam writes,

society attacks everyone who says its coins are counterfeit, but when it is a woman who says this, society begins to foam at the mouth..it puts aside all its theories and arguments and picks up the weapon of filth to fling at her.”

We are the forgotten species not allowed to dream and live a life we imagine. You may disagree but truly however she may rebel against established society and conventional morality a woman is compelled to compromise with life.

However independent, aggressive and powerful Indian woman may be she still has  to go a long way before she is truly liberated.

In our country  ‘thinking’ for oneself is not encouraged at all. It is always conformity and herd mentality. The moment a woman begins to voice her thoughts she is condemned, ridiculed and told to shut up. If she rebels , her condition is even worse.

In today’s society where many women have crossed the threshold of their home and become economically independent, they continue to face oppression and gender discrimination in some or other form. Crime against women is rampant in the form of eve-teasing, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dowry,marital rape,  workplace discrimination, rape, molestation, honour killings etc. She gets out of the hold of one master into the world of many masters. this kind of independence is a relative concept.

Many women feel it’s better to stay put with the known enemy instead of  an unknown one. Women continue to struggle in our traditional patriarchal society from the time they are born. She  remains bound by the silken chains,dominated by her parents, in-laws, husband ,boyfriend etc.

Emergence of new woman who can defy everything that binds her and yet be happy is a painful, uphill task.

what does independence mean for today’s woman?

Is it freedom from oppression,  self-rule or doing whatever one wishes to without any hindrance? Is it a life of dignity where she has her ” own space” and is considered capable of analyzing and  using her own mind neutralizing the age-old male domination which is so rooted in our collective unconscious .

To me it is a simple life of dignity and respect, of acceptance as part of human race and not some scum of the earth.

Isn’t it time to raise voice against this symbolic violence of male domination ? A violence that  manages to perpetuate itself easily through various channels and is often possible for the most intolerable conditions of existence to appear as acceptable and even natural.

Women in our society, especially married women and among them those who are economically dependent on their husband’s income suffer the most. Their life concentrated between the four walls of the house , their boundaries set. Anyone crossing the proverbial rakshman rekha is doomed . It’s not just an ancient story of Sita it is the story of millions of Indian women. Sita suffered because she crossed the line of control drawn by her brother-in-law and any woman who dares to as much as think of stepping out of the LOC will meet the same fate  – A life full of tragedies. This deeply ingrained belief  keeps many women caged to their ” limited world cage” – frustrated and helpless. Mostly resigned to their fate.

These women seem like cold embers. Seething from within but docile and fearful from outside, living their mechanical lives day after day, rotting away with religious rituals, social, moral bonds, customs and duties.

Who will find this life respectable?

The whole personality of her being is stunted.

Most of them don’t revolt and those who do , cut their chains and try to soar in open sky, mostly find it very difficult to come to terms with the dazzling ever-changing world outside. Not all women have choices and some who are privileged either sacrifice them for emotional or  any inner reason. What roles are these women playing – flattering men , please them in order to survive only to be played around with and finally kicked out of houses they call homes.

I feel personally that women like me who are self-aware and have managed  to take that first step towards a dignified life still lack confidence to take on the society. Years of being home bound shred the self-confidence and gives rise to deep feeling of distrust.

The very fire that burns in them consumes them.

Social taboos and limitations , even if the women are  educated and living in urban society, makes them suffer emotional torture they are subjected to; of the verbal – or in the worst cases even physical violence. In many cases the reluctance and resentment with which their economic independence or earning power is accepted. They face rejection, envy, jealousy, subtle contempt and ungratefulness, they are not allowed to hold their opinions or exercise their rights. The sword of Damocles is always hanging on the heads of even the most powerful and independent of women.

The life of a woman, however progressive, educated or modern  is in first place under control of her parents and then in her husband’s home which becomes her permanent address for the rest of her life. She waives off her rights of the maternal home and if the new home doesn’t welcome her she is cheated of her basic rights there also. In any case of distress she is left hanging in an abyss as family structure is the only welfare sector that our society offers. Parents shrug their shoulders and under social pressures don’t  support her and she is already an outcast in her married home. Most parents wash their hands off their daughters the moment the ” burden” is off their heads.

Women are expected to adjust , compromise, suffer, make peace, forgive the offenses and injustices inflicted at them and go through difficult marriages with ” patience and tolerance” .

Their aspirations, dreams, priorities are nothing and should be put under lock and key to ensure a  ” peaceful happy married life“.

Often in lack of  a support system these women carry a heavy inhuman burden and the relationships crack up under pressure.

Is it that the moral downfall of our society turned many women into insecure lot continuously looking for support and appreciation?

Is it this what causes them to turn selfish and leave their sensitive feminine nature .

In this competitive world some women no doubt who get life in packaged deal with attractive bonanza understanding family  and great career, love support and stability but then there are a huge number of those unfortunate ones who suffer continually and their life is nothing but a struggle to survive.

The male dominated Society wants women who  sinks their individuality and drown their dreams and aspirations.

When she dares to dream  most women are caught in catch 22 situation of submission and rebellion . To free herself from the so-called ” safe and secure environment” of family and home  is a tough choice for most of women in India. Those who dare to break away are at loggerheads with the society. It is no cake walk for them.

Indian women , a major section of them, live a subjugated life devoid of any soul. They are humiliated, used , abused and preserved in stinking jars, they are flaunted as trophies, made to obey the commands like marionettes and barely a few break the chains and escape to live a life of dignity.

Then there is the other perspective . The male perspective which is deeply saturated with years of conditioning and domination of women. They do not see any flaw in a woman living within the four walls doing what she is ‘supposed” to do . Even if reluctantly they “submit” to her ” rebellious emancipated ways poisoned by the  ‘feminist ideas” she is always a butt of ridicule.

One can see why.

Mainly because they can’t think otherwise. Their thinking is limited , they are repeating only what they have seen and learned from the women in their household and community but that doesn’t make it justified , does it ?

Does it mean that the woman should be sympathetic and understanding and even after all her efforts for a healthy dialogue  fail she should continue to be humiliated?

We all know women are being oppressed , we know the reasons What then is the solution?

Is the institution of marriage losing its importance in the fast paced society ?

Is marriage essential ?

Is it not more like a relationship problem ?

What about single unmarried women , widows, single mothers? Are they liberated ?

What needs to be done to the sick society we are living in?

Are all these orthodox rituals, customs, codes of conduct , so called moral values  generated by the double faced society worth anything for the growth of human race ?

I ask these questions to myself and to all my readers .

What change is needed individually and collectively that will ensure a dignified fear free life for women?

Looking forward to your responses on this rather long post.