Enjoying the white space within

Being with yourself.

It was an idea I could never understand. People who want to spend time with themselves. Going solo trips. On hiking trips. It sounded scary to hear when you have read stories of people getting isolated on an island. Like what if you needed help. What if something happens. What if that what if this. Uncertainty of the future. 

Few years ago, I would have laughed if someone asked me to go for solo walk on nearby beach. Some people do that, taking a walk to clear their mind. It’s a not-so-extreme version of the solo trips. I used to feel sorry for such people thinking life is only meant to be enjoyed with other people. If you are alone then you are lonely. Years later I could understand and also reflect back that I have been lonely in crowded places too.

I used to complain as a child that I am getting bored. I don’t think I had these thoughts to run away from as a child but there was hyperactive energy in my mind to do something. I could see the same pattern in my child. I don’t label it boredom anymore. Instead it’s the unmet need of experiencing new activities to satisfy the bubbling inner curiosity.

Being on your own even if it’s for 1 hour or 1 year sound simple but may need confidence to be with yourself and be comfortable with yourself. And that is a self imposed roadblock with many who are running away from their mental chatter. When there are no distractions in the form of people, vehicles, or technology you are left with the voices in your head. Some say they don’t even hear it. I was surprised to hear that. Maybe it’s true. Or maybe they don’t identify the voices. Or they may have accepted that these voices are themselves and hence are accustomed to it. The ones who are uncomfortable, dislikes these voices as they are mostly negative chatter representing the inner fears. I did try meditation on headspace for a month. It calmed me down indeed but I don’t think I am ready to do the same for hours. Not because I have to work or do other things but for the mere reason that these thoughts alleviate the anxiety in me. We keep consuming from YouTube, Instagram or WhatsApp constantly to avoid few minutes of “boredom”. I see the older generation too. Not sure whether it’s a boon or bane. The phone calls they often get are filled with gossip and sob stories of loneliness after the death of someone they know or the fear of their own death or bad health could be worse for their anxieties. Read a tweet that the marathoners are in huge numbers because they want to get away from these thoughts and rely on physical exhaustion to drive them away.

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Book review – The color of God

The great amazon sale offered the book, “The color of god” by Ayesha Chaudhry at a mere Rs.59/- in October. The title and the cover looked impressive. The blurb was about traditional Islamic childhood which was a mystery to me owing to the fact I didn’t had much contacts in real world. On a whim I got it to read and I am not regretting it now.

The events of the book were relatable, as irrespective of religion, conservative and patriarchal methods were the same all around the world. After a while it would seem recurring and boring to read the same old story and the same impact on the author, but that’s how these conservative ideas get drilled into the new generation. The only difference, as a reader we can easily put off the book but while growing up in the same house, amidst the same environment, groups, and the circle, it’s inevitable to not fall for it. It reminded how, as a child I used to question the existence of God and the story behind the rituals and how we had to follow it through even if it didn’t make sense. It reminded me of how whether be it any religion, belief and faith arises out of necessity to connect with other people. And how why we end up relying on religion to belong somewhere. The identity crisis of the older generation could be easily solved with religion and the connected rituals.

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Something beautiful – K Drama

After months of inactivity in post creation, I thought of bouncing back using photo challenge on Instagram as always. But this time too I got distracted but for health reasons and couldn’t complete it beyond the second day. I kept thinking about the prompts though.

The prompt for the third day was “something beautiful” and I can’t think of anything else other than tv shows which shows beautiful relationships. I feel like I am taken to a fantasy dreamland of ideal and perfect relations so that we can forget the imperfections in real life. And we hang onto those visuals because it gives the hope that such stories exists. If not there is no hope in real life and we fall apart dejected. We find reasonings and justify the flaws in reel characters but we hesitate to do that ourselves in real life. Instead we end up demanding perfection from ourselves. We forget that life is indeed beautiful with all its ups and downs but rely on these creative arts to show that mirror to ourselves.

The K drama (Korean dramas) addiction is catching up onto me now. Yes, the actors are handsome indeed but the surprising fact is how the culture is so closely related to that of India. Some of the romantic dramas are so beautiful that it looks like a fairy tale.

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Joyful noise

The alarm beeps. I wake up with a sad face. I want to sleep more. But the week has only begun. As I move to the kitchen to start preparing for the kids breakfast and lunch, the silence in the house is serene, calm and peace. The clattering of the cooker breaks it all. The pots and pans. The clinking of the spoons. The husband soon joins the battle. After a while, the chimney blares it’s horn. Shortly after, the kid wakes up in a groggy mood like her mama. Within minutes I am called for help to get ready! The clock time glares at me increasing its invisible pressure on me and we all scatter around the four wall, like mad mouses trapped in a single cell called home, envisioning our way out. A joyful noise and maddening environment indeed.

I bear it all. Because in a few years the house will be empty and there will be only silence around. Unless it’s me laughing aloud at some WhatsApp forward sent by the kid. And then I would call her to discuss these silly things which she forwards to me once in a while. Just like how I am talking to my mother now. Everyday.

Piece of mind

Therapists, counsellors and life coaches seem to be flourishing in recent years. It means people are accepting and prioritising their mental health which is a positive news. But few hesitate to water this health goal as it’s expensive compared to the physical fitness (we have 3 cult fit centres within 2 km radius). All these years of self exploration has taught me just one thing – self, self and self. It may sound selfish and the old generation will discard it for the same reason but it has its merits for personal peace.

Whenever you crib and complain that your parents or your spouse are not being understanding or that the boss or colleagues are troubling you, it’s called victim mentality. I realise why it’s so hard to shift the perspective because if we take up the charge we are responsible for everything. In every session we are reminded how we are responsible for how we react or how big our expectations are and how we cannot let go of the past or how we hold onto beliefs etc.

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Accepting the good, the bad and the ugly

Change is constant it seems. I don’t find any though. I am still struggling to get out of my imaginary cage and fly out in the sky. I know that I have wings and that I can fly but it feels limp. It has been like this for many years. This isolation has brought down the self esteem so low that I can’t stand up now. I was planning to join some class so as to use an opportunity to shake it off and start again. I didn’t go.

Over the years I tried to change many negative beliefs, and sometimes I could see the sunlight grazing beautifully on my skin as I am carried around in ornamental pallequins by loved ones. And once or twice I ventured out myself too. Yet it feels strange because it felt different from how I was years ago. Someone asked me what changed. I didn’t have any answer.

Instagram was my exhibition hall where I showcased my feelings in form of images and less of words assuming that someone or other would understand what I try to convey through random pictures. It was fruitless. How can it be? Unless I verbally spew out what’s in my mind in form of captions or words it’s just another art form. The deep feelings still remain deep, and hidden. I thought I “should” bring them out. The voice of the should became so loud that I forgot that I “can” ignore the “should”. That I can choose what to do. Or what not to do. The should created a picture poster on the wall of my mind with all those people who would see me with their silent eyes and I would be left wondering what those eyes were talking to me. I couldn’t face those thoughts and hence I stopped posting altogether.

Created another Instagram account thinking I would start afresh. The sensible me keeps on scolding me warning me that I was repeating the hideous pattern and urged me to come out clean. I realise now why some people clean out their social media and start afresh. Because it’s easy compared to the real life. And the ability to erase parts of your life is so tempting. But is it needed. Shouldn’t life be a melange of life experiences both positive and negative, all the good, the bad and the ugly?

This post is yet another attempt to bounce back. And bounce back we should, no? And we can…