It is easy to love someone you know, or you have formed some form of attachment with. But it is difficult and worthy of applause when we develop ourselves to love humanity. This love can stem only when we detach ourselves from our own tiny world and focus on the bigger picture we are surrounded by. This is probably the driving force behind my company’s latest CSR campaign this Valentine’s day: ‘Celebrate love by donating’ ! My company rarely impresses me by their activities, but this one has truly attracted my heart and soul! It is a very unique and inspiring thought indeed.
U.A.E has declared this year of 2017 as the ‘Year of Giving’. Subconsciously, this thought always pricked me that I am not doing anything for the greater good. My life is so entangled with my own relationships, both personal and professional, that I never really paused to think how my existence could impact people positively. Time and again, I am nagged by my conscience that my life is really unproductive. We love some people in our lives so dearly, we give them our all yet at some point of time, they hurt us. They puncture a hole in our heart every time they do so. And they even walk out without warning. We mope around for a few days, months, or years and replace those people with a fresh set of people. But the cycle of heartbreak repeats. It is a part of life. I have decided that I do not want to replace people with people to attain happiness. I have tried that multiple times and somehow, always failed. I always wondered where I am going wrong. I expected, that is where I went wrong. Now I want to channel all my love, care and attention towards humanity. I want to nurture my soul by giving all I have to the desperate and needy creations of Allah, without expectation of any return from them. Maybe then I can justify my presence in the world. Maybe then I can sleep peacefully at night. Maybe then I can silence the tug of war in my heart between my duties and desires.
When a person with a sedentary lifestyle decides to embrace an activity, pain is an unwelcome accompaniment . Waking up in the morning with a sore body is one thing, but when those pains remind you that you have to eat clean for the task to be fruitful, it is another blow to the mind of a foodie like me. Yet, I continue to tread along this new path I caught on to almost a month ago. Keeping aside the positive impact on my physical aspects, this has also been therapeutic to my mental well-being. You want to ask what triggers my endorphin secretion these days? The park.
So this park is my new-found happy zone. The place where I walk and walk and walk and think and think and think. As my body warms up, my ears are abuzz with colorful sounds, children playing gaily on the swings, women chattering away to their delight, ‘Turn up the music’ playing on my Galaxy and the much quieter chirping of the insects in hiding. As I cross the first 100 meter mark, I see the guy in the orange t-shirt, sitting on the same bench where he always sits. I pass by him and feel his eyes on me. I ignore and walk on. I wonder whether this guy does anything else in the park besides staring at every woman who passes by. I walk on and I see a cute African girl with hair in piglets, running towards me, her mother chasing her. I pause to avoid the clash, put my hand on her little head, smile at her and resume my walk, agreeing that beauty knows no race or color. This girl looked just as cute as the creamy Filipino kid on the bike and the brown dimpled girl cradled in the arms of her Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi mom. I realize my thoughts have slowed down my pace, and I gear up to cross the South Indian man who is talking a bit too loudly on his cellphone. It is a relief that I do not understand a bit of it, because his face has an unpleasant expression which means its no good. I turn my head to the left and see the ‘Yoga Group’. It seems to have grown in number courtesy to the kind couple who first initiated the free classes in the park. I ponder that how a small thought channels so many thoughts and unites people. I start walking faster because I see a slender figure in black shorts and a purple Nike jersey jog by. Motivation? Nah. More like envy, 😛 . I cross the 800 meter mark which is covered by dead leaves of the trees above. Its so humid that I begin to smell salty. When I reach the 900 meter mark, I inhale and exhale in joy, because I love how my nose is treated to a variety of fragrances here. Reminds me of Lily, Jasmine and some scent I had first encountered during my trip to Singapore. Lovely.
I finally complete one round. There are 3 more to go. But I know that I won’t be bored. There would be new faces to see, new perfumed bodies running beside me and new lovey-dovey couples who walk hand-in-hand on the jogging track in a most annoying fashion. When I am done with my last round and I sit finally, I notice a white cat with specks of brown on its fur. It looks a lot like my Simba. I tear up a bit. I try calling it to me. The cat meows softly in response and walks away. Sitting alone on this bench, blood pumping across my veins faster than ever, I realize how our ecosystem evolves constantly. Diversely. At times, for the worst, but mostly for the best.
It’s Sunday and unlike most countries around the world, this day marks the beginning of the week in U.A.E. So the last two days were weekend, and the popular topic of discussion in my family was ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’! My siblings start school today and the weekend was utilized in buying stationery, school bags and uniforms for them. When I went to the mall, I realized how much difference there is between my school days and my siblings’ time.
Thanks to excessive marketing and advertising, going back to school has become another reason to go on a shopping spree. School shopping was a necessity back in the late 90s and the past decade. It has now become more of a trend, another asset to flaunt. The concept of branding has influenced adults so much that even kids like my 9-year old sister want a ‘Hello Kitty’ than an ordinary pink-colored bag. Would you believe it when I say that we spent 4 hours at the mall to buy these goodies for 3 of my siblings? The place was sickeningly crowded and all around me, I could see innovative school merchandise. ‘The Avengers’, ‘Hellboy’, ‘Captain America’ bags, tiffins, water bottles, stationery for young, naughty boys and Cinderellas and Hello Kitties for the chirpy and excited girls. There were bright colored, beautifully designed notebooks that make you feel like writing all the time. There were cute pens, pencils and pouches that made me consider buying them just because they are cute. Deep down, I was actually harboring a bit of an envy. I was almost irritated that I didn’t get to choose from this much of a variety when I was a kid.
Envy aside, I also felt nostalgia hit me really bad as I realized I missed my school days. School was a place I loved, even when I was a kid. I remember that my friends would hate the thought of going back to school after vacations, but I actually used to count down the days when I would go back to school and read new stories in English class, visit the school library, eat the mini pizzas from the canteen and play dodge ball with friends in break and P.E. I loved (still do, as a matter of fact) the smell of new books and I always promised myself at the beginning of the year that I would write in them neatly (handwriting has been an issue for me all my life) and maintain my books really well. Promises would break but my love for going to school never faded. I am working as a full-time employee now and am at the brink of my career, but part of me misses the school and college days. Part of me thirsts to be back in a class, learn something new and make up for the time my teen ignorant self so foolishly wasted. I also miss how carefree I was back then. I was known as the ‘joker’ of my class in school. I had a weird habit those days that whenever I used to be scolded by a teacher or fall in any kind of trouble, I always felt like laughing. It was like an immune response. I was immune to scoldings and lectures. I never felt really bad, although I did feel embarrassed. But I always took comments from others in a positive way. I can’t say whether I really worked on my weaknesses but I never used to maintain an enmity or emotions like hatred towards anyone, teacher or student. I still try to maintain this habit in my daily life, but being a kid is simply less complicated I guess. The adult mind does not think so simply, it has a whole lot of influencing factors.
Another part of my brain is haunted by memories of a particular teacher of Mathematics I was taught by in Grade 6. She was evil and made my life hell for a year. I remember her curly hair adorning her face that always had a sarcastic smile on; I remember her soft, threatening voice, cold and terrifying and I still feel the chills down my spine and I ask myself, ‘do I want to experience that again?’ Haha, I guess not. Definitely not.
So, I come back to reality, thank God for wherever I am right now, and complete this post and get back to work.
They say the only thing that one can be certain of facing is DEATH. Yet when it strikes your loved one, why does it shock you and traumatize you beyond repair? We watch the news and see millions of people departing from the world due to poverty, sickness and terrorism but that barely manages to move us for a minute but when a dear one of ours passes away, we feel like its the end of the world, not only for us, but for everyone. The world becomes eclipsed by an unseen phenomena. We wail and cry till our eyes can no longer support us. We struggle to breathe through that constricted, suffocating windpipe. We feel that we have the right to demand everyone’s sympathy and compassion towards us. And when people do not reciprocate in the expected manner, they become cruel? What we fail to question ourselves is, ‘were we any different’?
Where on one hand, death’s hand cruelly takes away a part of us, its intensity of pain can re-unite ties that were severed long time ago. Its ominous presence ironically shines light upon the path of forgiveness, love and care between bitter relations. A whole lifetime does not suffice to teach us the importance of love, friendship and unity, the way death so brutally does. And for those who still ignore its teachings, death renders them with nothing but regrets. Regrets for not making up when there was time, regrets for acting so foolish, regrets for acting so selfish, regrets for not regretting earlier.
Although, as much as we loved those who pass away, we learn to cope up with their absence over time. We begin to smile, laugh and even love again. I wonder how those up in the heaven feel when they gaze down at us, laughing and loving again, without them. Do they think, ‘after everything I did, this is what they do’? Or do they really feel selflessly happy for us? Does the goodness of heaven diminish the worldly attribute of jealousy?
There is no doubt that life is short. Whether you live for a staggering 100 years, a strong 50 or an innocent 15, as they always say, its not the quantity but the quality that matters. Why do we spend so much of our life struggling with hatred, jealousy, greed and enmity when we can spend the same time with love and compassion. The answer is because we somehow believe that we are immortal. We believe that our healthy diet, exercise and our fixed deposits are going to be our everlasting elixir of life. Just embracing the fact that this world is temporary and that we have to leave everything behind one fine day is a powerful factor to keep us grounded. This is the solution to every fight. Yes, this is what we need to ultimately achieve what is called World Peace.
Faith. It is such a strong emotion. For those who believe, it dwells deep within, but very often, it completely ricochets off those who are less fortunate. Such a person is doomed to become hopeless, because every relationship on the planet is driven by faith. The Creator demands a sense of faith from His creations. The newborn has faith in its producer that it would be nurtured. A mother has faith in her children that they would grow up and protect her when nobody would. It is with utmost faith that a farmer ploughs his land and sows the seeds, hoping to reap a living. A mutual faith exists between lovers, a belief that they would last with the other forever. Friendship is built on the foundation of faith. However, when life gives a bitter dose at some point of time, people lose their faith. At first, they stop expecting from people, then God, and eventually they lose faith in themselves.
Life gets very difficult without faith. How can one pursue their dreams believing that they are doomed anyways? It is sad that some people never recover from such trauma. Lack of faith is a way to self-destruction. What remains is a heart that pumps but does not feel.
It is important to remember that a few setbacks should not be given the power to crumple upon our hearts, emotions and ambitions. We were born to live, fight, adapt and evolve with time. Life does not really come to a standstill. It goes on and its upto us to go ahead with it or wither in our agonies. I remember there were days (in fact, time and again, there still are days), when I used to wake up and feel why did I just not pass out in my sleep. These days were followed by nights where I used to cry and plead to Allah for a better tomorrow. And guess what? When I wake up today, the first thing I feel like saying is: Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah). For those of you reading out there who are in a predicament, get up! Go out and explore the world and discover that life is such a beautiful representation of faith. Approach the world like a foreign traveler and have faith that good things are going to happen on this journey, and trust me… eventually, they will.
I recollect memories of my childhood when I used to stand in the school assembly witnessing the daily routine of kids celebrating their birthdays going up on stage and telling the whole gathering what they aspire to become after they grow up. There used to be many aspiring doctors, teachers, actors and so on but I now wonder how many of them actually went on to fulfil their dreams. Of course most kids just used to say what sounded cool then, but then there were a few who really meant what they said. I believe during some period of life between childhood and adulthood, most kids start dreaming. Dreaming about their uncertain futures and the choices they got to make to live a happy life. The thing that most people don’t realize then is that how important it is to hold on to our dreams and not let our temporary desires or any other obstacle sway our aspirations. Somehow, along the way we start losing faith in our dreams, and start compromising the life we really wanted to have with the life that others indirectly create for us. Sometimes it is our family trying to live their ambitions through us, or we end up thinking what the world would say if we did something we wanted, or we just get distracted, nevertheless we lose our dreams and start living life with a more practical approach. I am not against being practical, but I am against the idea of killing our dreams just because the world thinks they are impossible to reach. As humans, we have an instinct to dream and a right to fulfill the best of our dreams and I hate the idea of someone dictating to us what is achievable and what isn’t.
I believe this is the reason we see so many people unhappy around us. There are many people out there who could invent something or sing, dance, act and write. There are some who loved but lacked the courage to fight, few others who wanted to reach the stars but feared to walk the road less taken. All they do now is regret. They have become slaves to the world around them. When time demands responsibility, they had failed to stand up for their dreams and make the right choices and when they now reap of what they had sowed they conveniently blame God and fate. Life is what we make of it. It is important that our inner voice never goes unheard because it is that voice which is not influenced by the world around us. It is honest and free of prejudices.
There is a pleasant twist in this amazing tale of time. Time can always change. And it is never too late to start dreaming and getting what we want. A person without ambition and dreams is like fire without heat. It lasts but does not serve its purpose. And purpose is what we need to make every moment of our lifetime a moment of rejoice. So dream big everyone, there is no harm in dreaming. J
Actions speak louder than words. I do not know how true that is but that is what most people say. However, I beg to differ. I believe actions reciprocate what we say. Actions can manage to have an impact on someone only when they are defined by our articulation. There is this famous quote in India that says words are comparable to an arrow which is released from its bow, once released it cannot be returned back. Thus we are always advised to think twice before we speak. I never really appreciated the significance of these sayings, but now, at this stage of my life, I wish I had.
On my vacation to my home place Hyderabad six months ago (this also being the reason why I had so regrettably abandoned my blog), these were the thoughts occupying my head very profoundly. Everywhere I went, shadows of my past stalked me. And all I could think of was, ‘if only’ I had not said that, ‘if only’ I had not done that. I sometimes wonder, when will such a time come in my life when I would no longer need to say ‘if only’. When will I be content? Is it me who is flawed or is it just this world?
Revisiting places close to our heart can be a very weird experience. One moment we see ourselves smiling, recollecting some random day spent in bliss in the same place, and the next second brings with it a sinking feeling of painful nostalgia. I gulp down my tears and try hard to brush it off my mind, and erase the sequence of events that replay from time to time but unfortunately an invention that aids in selective memory loss has still not been invented.
However, the undeniable fact is that I am what I am today because of those bittersweet experiences which have made all the difference. The difference that will last a lifetime.
24 hours. That’s the number of hours left for my 21st birthday. I was just lazing around on the couch today taking advantage of the weekend when my best friend from India messaged me on WhatsApp asking me how do I feel knowing that I am going to be 21 after 24 hours. To be honest, the first word that came to my mind to describe its state was, ‘PATHETIC’.
You must be thinking I am weird. You’re not alone. So do I. But I really cannot feel happy from within. And not without reason. I just cannot accept the fact that I am going to be referred to as a woman from tomorrow. I really cannot believe that my girlhood is over. Or maybe, it won’t because some say, age is just a number. And the vigour of youth can be felt at any age, as long as the heart is young. But still, knowing that during the same time of next year, I would be almost done with my college definitely does not help matters. I just cannot shake off the terrible truth that tomorrow would be my last birthday celebration with my friends in college. Who knows where life takes us after this? Who knows whether we would even have the time for each other once college is done? And thinking about the amount of responsibilities I am going to be facing after college is done, creeps me out even more.
How has time passed by so quickly? I really do not know. I can still remember being a kid, counting years on my fingers till I could get a driving license and drive coolly like my Dad. And now, it all seems so futile. All I heartily wish for now, is to go back in time to those days when all that mattered was play, play and more play. Those days when that Cola flavored lollipop was the best thing in the world. Those days when all I wished for was getting into a school like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (from the Harry Potter franchise) and ride on a broomstick all over the world. Those days when birthday celebrations with my childhood friends really were HAPPY Birthdays.
Happy birthdays have somewhat ceased to exist in my life since the past 3 years. Maybe I am being melodramatic. But well, when I am in a mood so low, I can’t help being a tragic, whining idiot. But I cannot be blamed. Its the events that have unfolded since then that force me to think so. All my life, I had dreamed that my 18th birthday would be the best one. Unfortunately, it did not. One mistake, one wrong choice ruined it all. And that day became the day I had to part ways with a significant part of my life. And every birthday after that has never stopped to remind me of that day, those moments of pain which seemed like they would never end, and those tears that never ceased. Although now I know, that I cried in vain, and that the decision I made that day was probably the best decision of my life, I still cannot rid myself of the sinking feeling in my stomach when those immortal memories that were asleep, suddenly awaken to remind me that I’ve not healed completely. That I need some more time.
Deep down, I know that I am being very ungrateful to Allah (God in Arabic), because I know that I have been truly Blessed with such wonderful, understanding parents, such awesome siblings and amazing friends who love me dearly, everyday of my life. And just the thought that all of them are still there uplifts me. But I still do not have expectations from anyone. I just avoid expecting too much, because expectations hurt and I cannot afford to be hurt more. I cannot inflict myself with new wounds, when the marks of the old ones can still be seen. I can go on and on, but no amount of words would suffice to express my confused feelings between joy and sorrow, and hope and hopelessness. Besides, life is all about surprises. It takes a new turn every single day, and expecting something and ending up with something else really shatters one, so it’s better to just sit back and wait to see what Allah has written down in our fate. Sometimes, that is all, we, as humans can do. Sometimes, it’s just not in our hands. Not everything is under our control. Whether we like it or not, truth is, this story, the story of our life, is not written by us. It is written by the Superpower that resides high up in the Heavens. As Shakespeare rightly wrote in his famous play, ‘As You Like It’, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…’
Living – a phenomenon exhibited by humans, animals and plants. Biologically, all these organisms exhibit somewhat the same mechanism of living, they are born, they utilize substances in their environment for their growth and eventually, at a certain stage of their life, they die. But what sets humans apart from other organisms? Why do we consider ourselves superior? We are superior because the Creator has made us mentally capable of understanding emotions like love, hatred, fear, jealousy etc. And these emotions affect our relationships with the people in our life. We communicate with people, observe them and judge them. Based on our judgement, we form opinions about people and these opinions play a very important role in forming or destructing our relationship with them. But is our judgement always correct? Can we always be sure of our views about others?
I think being judgemental is a huge responsibility. We often form opinions about others without much thought, usually on mere instinct, sometimes on the basis of origin of birth, colour, religion and personality. When we judge, we don’t love, care or think, all we do is accuse. And accusations hurt, especially when they are not valid. I don’t believe first impression should always be the best impression because circumstances change with time and so do people and such also should be the case with opinions. Opinions should not be rigid. Education teaches us to broaden our narrow minds, learn to accept the unexpected, the eccentric. We should learn to give people a second chance to prove themselves. Moreover, a person should be judged on his behavioural attributes, especially those that manifest themselves in our absence and on interaction with others.
Another totally contradicting thought which my mind has been fiddling with since yesterday is why are people, their actions, objects judged at all? Why are they always graded against a benchmark? Why can’t things be done just for the joy of doing them? Why do we always seek judgement from others in the form of appreciation? Why does acceptance matter so much to us? Why aren’t we just satisfied that God is happy with what we are doing? Is this flaw innate in us or are we conditioned to seek judgement and judge others since birth? So many questions unanswered with nobody who has answers in sight. *SIGH*
Feel free to comment if you have anything close to an answer for any of the questions above. 😛
TIme for me to leave you all to ponder upon my insanity. Until next time of post, goodbye!
P.S: Every line of this post was more of a reminder to myself than to the readers. 😛
Seclusion—it can be so rewarding at times. A walk alone with no one around except the whistling trees and the blooming flowers, gleaming in the cool sunlight gives an unparalleled form of pleasure. These are the moments when we get a chance to reflect, realize and rethink life. Recently, during such stolen moments, I started thinking about happiness – something all of us live for. What exactly is happiness? It cannot be so easily defined. Its literal meaning describes it as a state of mental and physical well-being characterized by pleasant emotions. However, it is highly dependent on individual desires.
For our ancestors, a family dinner, annual vacations- basically, time spent with family and friends was enough to lead a blissful happy life. However with time, people’s opinion of happiness has varied. Now, it has become materialistic- selfish, just like every other emotion these days. Apparently, buying a new iPad, or a piece of designer jewellery, that’s all there is left to happiness these days. Unfortunately, many people fail to grasp that this happiness is momentary. There comes a time in life, when one needs true inner satisfaction. In this fast-paced world, we often find ourselves frustrated, bored, clueless, basically – depressed, and what do we do then? —many start throwing tantrums, some start living off anti-depressants , and few decide to take the nearest exit from this world- suicide. WHY? The main problem of our prevailing society is that we are such self-obsessed creatures. God had created us to be the most sensible, thoughtful creatures on this planet, but somehow we have evolved into this new category of organisms what I would call – humanimals. All the actions we perform throughout the day seek to fulfill some motive. But this race of achievement has become a race against humanity. We are so blinded by our dreams, we never stop to think at whose cost we are fulfilling them. And then when our road to achievement is blocked by an obstacle, we start complaining why God is so unfair. Have we ever been fair on our part?
We are always on the quest for eternal happiness. But somehow along the way, we forget the basic lesson those old bedtime stories taught our innocent minds- ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’. Making someone smile fills one’s heart with such overwhelming joy which is difficult to express in words. You got to try it to believe it. But once you try, learn to wait. Patience seems to have evaporated these days. With growing technology, people have become so used to things happening in a blink of the eye that they expect happiness too to magically appear in an instant. God doesn’t like the idea of fast-forwarding life with a remote control. He has assigned a time for everything to happen, so we should learn to wait. But first and foremost, we have to redefine our meaning of happiness. We need to transform our worldly goals into spiritual endeavours. Only then, can the heart and soul be content.
What I have learnt from all the events that have unfolded in my life, is that life is actually quite simple. It is just our choices, which decide how long it is going to be so. The choices we make may or may not be the best for us, the situations we are in may not always be pleasant, but if we choose to remain positive, then even the darkest night cannot obliterate our hope for a brighter day. We enter this world crying, let us all pledge to leave it smiling. As quoted by popular essayist, Agnes Repplier, ‘It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.’ REFLECT! MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE! IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO START OVER….
This post was too long, but worth a read, especially if you are unhappy! 😉 So all my friends out there, keep smiling!!! See you soon! BYE!