“Are you done with your day dreaming yet?”, asked Roni as he watched his sister Adah fancy pictures of New York from a magazine. “I just can’t get over it. What a great city!”, Adah sighed while flipping pages. “What’s with this obsession lately?”, inquired Roni unable to understand his little sister’s fantasy. “You know, I watched Kal Ho Na Ho last week during my sleepover”, stated Adah. “So?”, Roni paused. “The whole movie was shot in New York! I mean I heard about it as the greatest city in the world, but man! Those magnificent buildings, the architecture, the people, their clothes. I so badly wish I walk around those streets, wearing long coats, with a coffee cup in my hand, just like the actress did in that movie”, she giggled. “Oh great! Enough about New York, think of your exam tomorrow”, shrugged Roni as he walked away.
“Shall I apply for schools in New York?“, asked Adah, as she scrolled through the catalog of schools to apply for her masters program. “Would be too expensive for us”, said her brother, as usual dampening her spirits. “Okay”, she sighed.
Adah is pursuing her masters at a grad school in mid western United States. A school that offers great programs in her area of interest and also less expensive compared to universities in big cities. A year passed since she started school, but unfortunately, she wasn’t successful in finding a part time job, which made things hard financially.
With the arrival of October, all international students were busy planning their trip back home for Christmas. “Lucky people, they all have jobs”, she thought. Though she badly wished to visit her family, she dropped her travel plans as she couldn’t afford spending as much as $1500 just for air fare.
After a few weeks, she received a phone call late midnight. It was her best friend calling. “Hey! Were you sleeping?”, she asked. “What do you think people do during this hour”, Adah mocked.
“Sorry, but I had to tell you this. You wanted to go to India for Christmas, didn’t you?”, she asked. “Yeah, but you know I can’t afford”, Adah hesitated.
“Few of my friends found this deal, two-way fare to India for $370!”, she uttered. “370??!!! What the hell?! It sounds fishy and fake”, Adah asked surprised as she wasn’t sure about what she just heard.
“I don’t think so, travel websites do this sometimes is what I heard. May be we could give it a try. If something’s wrong, we can always request a refund. If you want to book this, you need to ASAP!”
“Well…. sounds okay, can I think and do it in the tomorrow?”, Adah was confused.
“The deal might not last that long… and hey! I forgot to mention! This fare of $370 is from New York, not your place. You will have to book domestic to New York and the fares look pretty reasonable, I already checked around your dates. Probably would be a good idea to book in advance, so we can do some sight seeing!”, her friend, who happens to live in the East Coast added.
“New York!!!! Are you serious??!!!”, Adah jumped with excitement. Her drowsiness vanished in a jiffy! After some apprehension and calculations, “Well, the total fare for the entire round trip sounds very reasonable now. I get to see my family and visit New York at the same time. So hell yes!!”, she yelled.
Then comes December and Adah was finally in New York!! Her happiness was endless, she couldn’t believe she was standing in her most favorite city, which she has been dreaming about since childhood. Her best friend was generous enough to show her around and took her to most of the famous touristy places. Adah had goosebumps each time she looked up at the skyscrapers. She gazed at the architecture, the streets, people and relished the food she ate. She loved the vibe, the feel and realized it was just like she had imagined! She cherished every moment during her limited time in New York. Adah was extremely grateful for her favorite destination on the planet to be one of her first places to visit, since she arrived in the States.
“I cannot thank you enough for all this! I visited New York and now I’m off to visit my family after a year, both of which I never imagined to happen so soon! Thank you!!!”, Adah thanked her friend feeling extremely grateful. “Can’t wait to show Roni my pictures in New York!”, she giggled, as she made her way to the airport.
Law of Attraction Takeaway– When you wish for something with all your heart and soul, the universe paves way and moves circumstances, people and places to make things favorable for you, in order to accomplish your wish! There is magic all around! Good or bad, every incident in your life is a result of this magic. Sometimes, we get so lost in our day to day lives, we hardly recollect or acknowledge some of those magical moments.
The universe works wonders in the process of making your wish come true. Recognize and acknowledge these wonders, to instill your belief in the Law of Attraction.
“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” – Paulo Coelho
Every winter evokes a nostalgic state of mind which takes me back to 2014. For most part of my life I enjoyed winter, as all it meant was an opportunity to wear sweatshirts and of course the holidays! But my stint with a real, freezing white winter was experienced when I first landed in the United States. It was the month of December in 2013. My friend and I were nervous as much as excited while heading out from the airport. Though we had an idea of what to expect from a Midwestern winter based on our research during grad school applications, we weren’t really cold tolerant people.
As I stepped out, I noticed traces of snow here and there, but less than what I imagined. The chilly breeze through my hair was a feeling I would never forget, as it is still fresh in my mind after 4 good years! After all, that was my first feel of Nebraskan winter. Within few days, we had good amount of snow and just like many, I enjoyed my time with my first snow.
The honeymoon stage with my snow experience was over pretty soon and thus came the hard part. A 26- minute walk to my apartment every Tuesday and Thursday night after class was the toughest part of my masters program in the States. Yes, I wouldn’t ascribe my hardships in a foreign country to a hectic schedule, busy lifestyle, never ending assignments, homesickness or the tough coursework, but to a bone chilling torture of winter walking with heavy backpacks, freezing palms and feet that almost feel numb and dead by the time you reach home! Not to forget the foggy glasses as a result of my thermal face mask. All this in spite of wearing four layers of clothing with heavy jackets, gloves, beanie and boots! The privilege of not having a car! But yes, it was HARD!!! Those moments were the only times I felt like running away, the time I missed home and family real bad.
The same scenes repeated each time we went walking to a nearby Walmart. Nothing is as close by as you think when you walk on a freezing winter evening with temperatures falling below -30 C, carrying tons of grocery bags! Phew! (in a cold way) I think most international students can relate to this if they lived in colder places. But it was definitely intense for someone who used to cuddle up in a fluffy blanket just for tropical winters!
I still have a love/hate relationship with winter, but amidst all my hatred for spine chilling cold winds, there was and is one thing I crave for- Sunshine! Yes, who would’ve thought I’d really crave for something so basic- like sun rays! To feel the warmth in a way I never felt all those years back home. It made me realize the need and existence of light and heat from sun.
Now, I’m glad to be in a position where I no longer need to walk miles for groceries or any place else on a winter evening, but winters do evoke my cravings for sunlight! They made me notice and acknowledge a blessing I never really cared about. No matter how much winter reminds of my hardships during my early encounters with it, it definitely made me grateful and reminds me to get out and get my daily dose of Vitamin D!
Sameera was walking down the street with her heavy backpack. She was returning home from school after a hectic day of team meetings for a group project. As she headed towards the bus stop, she couldn’t stop thinking about the difference of her opinions with team mates. The long discussion and argument in preparing a PowerPoint presentation for the project made her exhausted. The blazing sun only added to her discomfort, making her feel fatigued and dehydrated. She could not help but notice the tan on her arms, but it seemed indifferent. “Not a big deal now”, she thought.
“Good evening! How’re you doing?” greeted the driver as she boarded the bus. The warm greeting brought a smile on her face. An instant sense of solace infused her as she sat down in the air conditioned bus. She felt better escaping the heat.
As she continued thinking about how she could’ve made the team understand her point of view, she heard a breathy voice from behind- “Hello!” She turned around to see a dark, bearded man who appeared ragged. His appearance wasn’t welcoming enough for her to acknowledge his greeting. Nor was she sure enough to judge him by his looks. “Hi”, she smiled hesitantly. “Do you go to school here?”, he asked intriguingly. Not being sure of where this conversation was headed, “Mmm hmm“, she nodded. “Cool, so what program are you enrolled in?”, asked the shabby looking man. Having lived in a foreign land for not more than two months, Sameera had all kinds of doubts and fears running in her mind.
“What if he is genuinely striking a conversation? Or what if his intentions are otherwise, he doesn’t look trustworthy anyway. Why risk?”, yelled the voices inside her head. She decided to get down at the next stop though it wasn’t her regular one, just to stop herself from giving any more details to a stranger.
As the bus halted, “Err, I need to get down here”, she said and swiftly walked away avoiding any more glances with the man. The moment she felt relieved of getting out of that weird situation, she noticed the man behind her. He was the same one, the scary looking tall man. She quickly walked away and tried her best to not turn back. “Hey kid!”, she heard the man call her. She didn’t answer and continued walking away faster. “Oh my God!! Is he following me??Is he a kidnapper?“, she panicked and started panting.
The man continued to follow her. “Hello?!!”, he screamed. She was nervous and she tried getting away as far as she could. “Sam- eera?”, he yelled. “Oh wait! How does he know my name?!”, she was surpised. She stopped and turned around.
“Your school ID. You dropped your card while getting down the bus”, he said showing her the card, puffing and panting. “I got down to hand it over, felt it must be important for a foreign student”, he said.
Sameera was dumbstruck! “Oh my god! I’m so sorry, thank you! I cannot thank you enough! Sorry for all the trouble sir“, she apologized. “Be careful kid“, he said and left.
She sure was thankful for her ID, but embarrassed for her false judgement. As she headed home with mixed feelings, “While it’s alright to be cautious, appearances are indeed deceptive“, her mind echoed.
There comes a phase in everybody’s life where you find the outside world more concerned about you, than you are for yourself. While your mind may already be filled with the ifs and buts of life, the unwanted advises and suggestions from every so- called ‘well wisher’ and acquaintance, only adds to the clutter inside your head. The result? No prizes for guessing, an overwhelming chaos in your mind!
Once you get beyond the ‘25′ age limit of settlement, concerns from nowhere start pouring onto you. Specially in India, where there is a preset deadline for every life event to occur, the moment you miss your pre- designated ‘age’, you become the center of interest!
According to the Indian norms of having a successful life, there are three main areas to be accomplished to be labelled as settled:
Education– Get a valid degree! Preferably in Engineering or Medicine. Any other field is an area of concern for ‘settlement’.
Employment– Get a job! Of course you need one for your bread and butter.
Marriage– Get married at the ‘right’ age. Otherwise there is something wrong!
Now let’s look at some of the key points to be checked off your life checklist to be considered ‘well settled’. Mind you, there is much more to accomplish here:
Exceptional Income– Having a job doesn’t guarantee great income. Make sure you end up in a job with a fat paycheck!
Property– Having a good house and a car. Well, having the same in a foreign country can mean exceptionally well settled.
Children– Nobody is ever well settled without having children. ‘Married with kids’ is the most common notion to be considered well settled.
Now that you’re familiar with the basic norms of leading a happy and successful life according to an average Indian, you are expected to ‘plan’ your life accordingly. If one of the above criteria for settlement is left incomplete, trust me, you’re screwed!
First and foremost, you unintentionally start becoming the biggest worry of your parents. Not because they can’t wait for you to succeed/settle, but because they can’t answer every Tom, Dick and Harry who raises concerns about you. A clear example of societal pressure.
Second, you start feeling ashamed of yourself for being questionable. As people who were nowhere to be seen till this point, suddenly start inquiring about your attitude towards life.
“Look at your friends! They are racing ahead with their careers. What are you up to?”, questions one of your dad’s friends, who claims himself as your well wisher.
Once you’re sure of what you want to do and work towards it, you start feeling a sense of relief for being on the right path. Then comes your aunt! A distant aunt, who hasn’t seen you for over a decade, nor has inquired about your well being all these years. She is suddenly very much interested in your wedding. She advises your parents from her ‘experience’ that missing the age-limit might diminish your chances of finding the bride/groom you deserve!
“It’s high time you get married!”, she suggests. She is clearly unaware of what you’re going through, nor is bothered about your intentions.
When the right time comes, you get married. You are happy to have found your partner for life and start basking in the glory of being newly wed. It doesn’t take long for your neighbors who come over for a cup of coffee, to start rubbing in their recommendations!
“Now start planning for kids, before your biological clock starts ticking!”, they warn.
The chaos gets worse if you fall into the female species, as there are stricter deadlines and age limits for everything. Before you realize, your life is being planned and judged by a third person, who will never appear at the time of need in the future.
Life events aren’t always meant to happen as planned. There are many unexpected events and turns life offers you, that can never be planned. Easy said than done. Neither the well wisher uncle nor the distant aunt realize your effort being put into getting your dreams accomplished. They are neither a part of your journey, nor will they ever be!
Life happens at it’s own pace and it differs for each one of us. The right things happen to you at ‘your’ right time. May be following the herd just for the sake of getting a job at the right time isn’t your motive. You may be dreaming and working for something greater and better! Getting married just because all your friends around are getting married or because your aunt is suggesting, might turn out to be the biggest mistake of your life! Not having children when the society expects, will not fail you to become a mother!
You will be offered with everything that is right for you when the moment is right, when you have the need to accomplish, when you have the strength to sustain and when you have the capacity to maintain.
Until then, enjoy this time of being the subject of gossip for jobless uncles and aunties around you. 😉
Originally published on Women’s Web as a winning entry for January 2017 Muse of the Month
“Ladies and gentlemen, we request your full attention as the flight attendants demonstrate the safety features of this aircraft”, announced a member of the flight crew. Though Mrs. Kumar couldn’t stop staring at the attendant giving the safety demonstration, her mind was elsewhere. She felt void, helpless and lonely. After all, it had hardly been four months since Mr. Kumar passed away in an accident. The sudden demise of her beloved husband had come as a disastrous shock. The thought of living without him for the rest of her life never ceased to tear up her eyes. The compulsion of her son made her board the plane to Chicago, a city and a country she had never been to. Her life revolved around the school she worked at and her husband who loved her like no other. But the sudden turn of events had left her shattered. Due to the trauma she was going through following her husband’s death, her son felt she shouldn’t be living alone anymore.
She spent the next 17 hours of the flight recalling the memories her husband had left behind. After enduring her first international travel filled with heartache, she reached the destination, which she never wished to visit alone. Mrs. Kumar’s son was elated to have her in his land of dreams, which he now called home.
“How was the flight, Ma?” asked Niroop curiously, while driving home from the airport. “It was okay”, she replied.
“The kids are eagerly waiting to meet their Ajji”, uttered Niroop, sounding excited. “I’m sure, you’ll have a good time here, unlike feeling lonely back home”, he reiterated. Mrs. Kumar sighed and looked outside the window, but little did she bother to admire the architecture and the skyscrapers adorned with white glowing snow. Nothing really caught her attention, despite the wonders a new place and a foreign land can do.
She smiled after months when her grandkids pounced upon her, but the smile faded away slowly.
Days passed by, and then months. The spindly branches of winter started regaining their glory, hinting the signs of spring. The family was unsuccessful in making Mrs. Kumar step out of the house, despite their best efforts.
“Maa, it’s been close to three months since you moved here! It’s high time you go out and take a stroll. You’ll have your mind off all this for a while and may feel good. Please trust me!” pleaded Niroop.
A silence followed as usual. “I know what you are going through. It’s hard on us too, but is this the way you’re going to live for the rest of your life? Let’s just go for a cup of coffee, please Ma!” he requested.
She noticed the pain in his voice and the twinkle in his eyes, which reminded her of his need for his mother. After all, parents survive for their children, if not for themselves! She agreed to accompany him for a cup of coffee.
The moment she stepped out, she felt the chilly breeze sweeping through her hair. Mrs. Kumar started gazing around while peeping out of the car window. She noticed sheets of muddy snow scattered that no longer looked beautiful. She took a look at the tall buildings and the sculptures.
As they entered the coffee house, Mrs. Kumar seemed uncomfortable in her own self, walking around in a Saree amidst foreigners. “I better stay indoors”, she thought. “Hello, Nirup! How are you doing today?” greeted a lady in an apron, standing at the counter. Niroop being a regular customer, was a known face at the coffee house. “I’m doing good Dona! How’s it going?” he said. “Not too bad! Looks like we have a guest here”, she asked with a warm smile while taking the order. While Niroop was busy introducing Dona to his mother, Mrs. Kumar couldn’t help but notice the spark in the lady’s eyes and her genuine smile.
“Here, try this White Mocha. I figured you like your coffee to be sweeter, so you might enjoy this one”, Niroop said, while placing a 12oz. coffee cup on the table. As Mrs. Kumar sipped in the coffee, “Is it any good or close to your filter kaapii?” he joked.
“It’s different”, she said.
“So, how’re you liking Chicago Ma’am?” Interrupted Dona, yet again with her warm smile.
“Are you done with your shift?” asked Niroop. “Yup! Mrs. Kumar, I loved your attire! Indian women look beautiful in a Saree!” she exclaimed.
Mrs. Kumar was surprised on what she just heard. “Thank you!” she smiled. “Please feel free to visit any time, I’ll be there, if not your son! You guys have a good night”, Dona said with a hearty laugh. They walked out of the coffee house, but this time Mrs. Kumar could no longer sense her discomfort. She may not have felt very good, but she definitely did feel different. She realized her inhibitions of living in a new country. She slowly started pondering about her present, rather than her past and the future.
Within a few weeks, Mrs. Kumar was no longer a guest at the coffee house. She has kept accompanying Niroop every now and then and developed a good rapport with Dona. They greeted each other with a smile and indulged in light talks. There was something unique about Dona’s demeanor that did not make Mrs. Kumar feel lost and lonely- a feeling that had been haunting her for months now. She was amazed on how someone in an alien land could give her this feeling of comfort. Not only did she enjoy sipping in American mochas, but she also enjoyed her enlightening conversations with Dona, that diverted her mind from the agony she was going through. Soon, she got acquainted enough to visit the coffee house all alone, not just to savor chocolaty coffee, but also to cherish her growing friendship with Dona.
“Mrs. Kumar! Just getting off my shift, will be with you shortly!” Dona said, while taking off her apron. “Take your time”, Mrs. Kumar smiled, while making herself comfortable in a cozy corner table.
“Thank you for taking time to see me. Glad you are here!” Dona sounded excited. “Oh, please don’t be, the feeling is mutual”, Mrs. Kumar smirked. “I wanted to invite you over to my place, for a cup of Indian coffee”, she added. Dona was so pleased with the invitation that she couldn’t refuse. “I’d love to! Never been to an Indian place, nor had their coffee!” she claimed. They left the coffee house and drove to Niroop’s house.
As Dona made herself comfortable and admired the Indian ambience, Mrs. Kumar headed to the kitchen to make coffee. She then offered her special filter coffee to Dona in a cup and saucer. “Oh, is this the Indian way? Smells amazing!” Dona expressed. While relishing their South Indian filter coffee, they indulged in an aromatic coffee conversation filled with comparisons of coffees from their respective lands. “I’m so glad you invited me over. It is a pleasure knowing you and your culture”, Dona proclaimed. “Thank you! To be honest, I enjoy spending time with you”, Mrs. Kumar smiled.
“I know! The very first time I saw you, there was this strange connection that I sensed, and wondered, Wow! She is so beautiful!” professed Dona. “I was nervous, wasn’t comfortable walking around in a Saree”, Mrs. Kumar confessed. “Also, I came out of the house only after three months”, she added.
“Hmm, I understand. It’s hard. Looks like he loved you very much, the way you miss him”, Dona sighed.
“He did. I was married when I was 18. All I knew was I wanted to study, but I was forced into wedlock. My husband was a very caring and an understanding man. As years passed, I felt blessed to be his partner. He made me complete my degree and eventually helped me become a teacher. I loved my job and my family. But now…the accident has left me nowhere. I miss him so much, I quit my job. I did not want to live anymore”, cried Mrs. Kumar, unable to stop her tears.
“Oh dear, please don’t cry! You have a great family that your husband left behind. You have a wonderful son and adorable grandkids”, Dona said, while trying to pacify Mrs. Kumar. “Do you even know how fortunate you are?” she asked.
“I lost my only love in an accident all of a sudden. The blow is horrifying, something that doesn’t make me wake up every morning. How am I fortunate?” Mrs. Kumar cried out loud.
“Honey! Life moves on! If not now, this may have happened at some point. Life is not about being prepared. Of course, you are fortunate compared to many in this world. Well, look at me! I had an early pregnancy and my son was born out of wedlock. His father left us when he was 8 months old and never returned. I was young and broke, with a son. I never went to school, but wanted my son to get his education. So, I worked hard to save, but all in vain. He dropped out, surrounded himself with bad influences and ended up in prison. I don’t even get to meet him very often”, Dona said in a sobbing tone.
“I’m so sorry Dona! Never realized you had so much pain behind that smiling face”, Mrs. Kumar felt bad.
“Now, I’m in my 50s, with no family, living all by myself, working in a coffee shop to pay my bills. I have to do it, to support myself. I’ve struggled all my life, with no better hope for the future. The coffee house and my work keeps me going”, Dona continued.
“You are very brave Dona! I’m really proud and honored to have known you”, Mrs. Kumar said with pride.
“You’ve had a great life with a loving husband and family. Your son is doing well here and cares for his mother. You have wonderful memories and a promising hope. Memories of your loving husband will motivate you to get going with your life. Acknowledge your gifts in disguise, before you emphasize your loss. Don’t overlook your blessings, you will only make things worse!“, Dona explained.
Mrs. Kumar was feeling a sense of enlightenment and could not thank Dona enough for her offering. She realized how fortunate she was and that she couldn’t make it worse by reminding herself about the tragedy.
After the enriching conversation with Dona and many days of failed attempts to make up her mind, she finally decided on what would make her live in peace.
One fine day, when Niroop was home from work, Mrs. Kumar said, “I’m planning to go back next month.” An astounded Niroop, wasn’t sure if his mother was unhappy to live with them or if she had been having trouble adjusting in the new country. “But why Maa? You’re not happy here?” he asked.
“I want to reapply for my job back home. That job was a result of your father’s motivation. I can’t disrespect him by quitting!” she replied.
Niroop was glad to know his mother was getting back on the right path. “As you wish Maa”, he smiled.
Mrs. Kumar met Dona at the coffee house and thanked her again for making her feel lighter ever since they had their uplifting conversation. “I’m happy you took the right decision. But I’ll miss you!” said Dona. “You’ve no idea how much your words meant to me! I’ll cherish your friendship forever!” stated Mrs. Kumar. “There is no dearth of staying connected these days. Are you on Facebook?” inquired Dona. “I heard about it a couple of times from my students but never really used it. I’ll create an account, for you”, Mrs. Kumar declared.
“Awesome! But hey! I don’t know your name yet”, Dona giggled.
We grow up hearing so many conventions, sayings and cliches, that they end up secured in our sub conscious memory. Result- every choice, decision and judgement revolves around these adages unknowingly. One such cliched statement that disguises to hold true in relationships is – Opposites Attract!
This was, or may be still is not only a popular interpretation of relationships, but also one of the most conveniently used pick up lines, ever! When we are young with not much conscience about ourselves or the awareness for the need of knowing ourselves, we end up making choices that may not necessarily do any good. One such instance is ending up in relationships due to an immaturity to realize what we actually want or mere lack of judgement.
A shy boy meets this outgoing girl and he is instantly mesmerized by her charming personality. He falls for her ability to express herself and her gregarious nature. Well, just like any romantic novel or a movie, they are attracted to each other, end up in a relationship and enjoy a sunset together, relying on the masked fact of- Opposites attract!! They enjoy each others company and keep spending more time together. It’s all wonderful and beautiful during their initial lovey-dovey stages of love life. But the real problem sprouts in the long run, when they reveal much more about each other, only to realize how different they are! Well ya! That’s how they got together in the first place, duh!
They no longer find their partners attractive. The extroverted quality that he admired, seems to slowly turn noisy and annoying. The shy guy that she loved and respected, turned out to be a hindrance to her outgoing personality. The attraction fades away as they realize their differences. This is a mere example of one of the scenarios. Well, the differences might be extensive. It could be due to opposite personality traits, career choices, goals, ambitions or values.
Opposites attract- and then can’t stand each other
As the phrase suggests in itself, it is merely an attraction. An attraction that has no promise to last forever. But there are cases where this phrase actually worked, when partners are poles apart, but lived happily ever after. It could be an outcome of complementing each other consistently or a constant struggle to make their relationship work, rather than mere attraction. The bottom line is- relationships will or will not work due to various reasons, but there is no truth in “Opposites always attracting!” Well yes, may be in science, for magnetic poles, but not in relationships!
The choice of your partner depends on your perception of yourself.
Yes. It’s all you again and your mind! We always want to end up with the right ones, don’t we? But why do we screw up? What makes things go wrong? It’s because we never knew what we are! Nor did we know what we want. Self analysis helps us prevent mistakes we regret. It’s all in the perception of ourselves!
People who love themselves at a greater level, often end up falling for people similar to them. Why? – Because they are sure of what gives them comfort and what repels them. A reserved person, who loves himself/ herself for being reserved, may actually only enjoy the company of a person with similar personality and interests. Because in the long run, that’s how they will be!
An introverted person who is not really comfortable in his/ her own self, looks for or gets attracted to an extroverted personality. But it’s important to be sure if that will last forever. It will, if they really are unhappy about their introverted nature, wanting to get out of their shell and crave for someone to complement them.
It is essential to recognize the principles that matter the most to us. Choosing a partner with similar or opposite values, depends entirely on our perception of what is important to us.
Recent studies have shown that oppositesimilar values and views are needed for a healthy and lasting relationship. Many people with similar backgrounds/ professions actually end up longer together. This works, if you believe different career choices might actually cause disturbances.
No two people are alike. No matter how hard we strive to find someone like us, there will be things that are opposing and different. It is necessary to not only enjoy the similarities, but also to appreciate the differences, thus complementing each other. Knowing what similarities or differences to admire, is up to us and our belief of ourselves. This paves way to make the right decision, rather than any pre- existing notions or adages. In the end, any relationship needs effort and commitment to keep it going.
So, understand yourself before you get ‘attracted’ to someone, because circumspection is always better than repentance.
It doesn’t happen very often that a movie inspires or motivates me on various levels. But when it does, it will get to my blog. One such motion picture that stimulated me to write was Dangal (meaning ‘wrestling competition’ in Hindi).
I was a bit late to witness this influencing sports drama, which happens to be one of the most successful films in Bollywood. A biopic based on the true story of a wrestler who fulfills his desire of winning gold for the nation through his daughters, is indeed inspiring on so many levels. The movie depicts the passion and hard work of a wrestler who tries relentlessly to achieve his long lost dream. While the movie did turn out amazing with an inspiring theme, along with an addendum of the effortless portrayal by the lead cast, I was awestruck thinking about the real man who actually inspired the filmmakers to make a movie out his life!
Being a wrestler in India is not easy. With not much popularity to the sport and limited resources to actually support it, there aren’t many success stories. Coming from a rural background, Mahavir Singh Phogat had to bid goodbye to wrestling at early stages due to circumstances. But his desire to win gold for the country only kept intensifying with time. This passion led him to train his daughters and eventually fulfill his ambition. Though the movie was dramatized compared to real life situations for entertainment purposes, the zest and hard work that went in appeared real. While I did enjoy watching his life story captured in a limited time frame of 160 minutes, I couldn’t stop pondering about the struggle and trauma, he and his family went through to achieve this limelight.
Mr. Phogat, based out of a small rural town in Haryana India, wished to train his future sons to make it big in wrestling when his wife gets pregnant. But destiny had other plans and all he could end up with was not one, not two, but four daughters, after years of prayers and implementation of so-called successful conceiving methods to have sons! Okay, so now he has all daughters in a world where they are only fit for either household chores, or for bearing children upon marriage, but definitely not for wrestling! When Phogat realizes the miracles of genetics by watching his girls wrestle, his subsided desire gains momentum. Thus training them to win gold for the nation begins and the girls working hard and making it big in the field of wrestling is all together another awesome story.
In this process of enabling his daughters make it big in an unknown arena for women, the girls and the family must have faced a lot of humiliation and discouragement. Though the movie doesn’t prolong much on this aspect, I could not stop admiring the levels of determination this man had, irrespective of the constraints and pessimism surrounding him and his family. Years of training girls in wrestling, right from their childhood in a world full of mockery and contempt, must have put them through a state of agony and hopelessness. But having a hell lot of determination that continued for years and much firmer belief in himself and his daughters, made them achieve the impossible!
In our lives, we may face many similar situations, where the world around us is against our ideas/ decisions/ goals/ aspirations. It is during these times that requires us to be as adamant as a rock to achieve the atypical. The world is filled with an infinite number of preexisting notions about what, when, where, who and how things need to be done. The reactions from people surrounding us can affect our decisions and beliefs in a very horrendous way, thus making us give up on dreaming or aiming for anything that isn’t ‘typical’ or ‘common’. This kills our ability to think out of the box and work for the extraordinary. The ridicule, mockery, disdain are all part of this journey in trying to make it big in a world full of normality and standardness.
The stress and pain involved in the process are only the outcomes of our own mind, but not the word of mouth around us. The world is a Judgemental Jungle, where no matter how right and perfect we are in this imperfect reality, we are and will be judged! The ability to stick to our dreams of working towards the uncommon or aiming for the atypical is purely dependent on us and our minds. The stronger our belief is, the more resistant we stand and no words of discouragement and hopelessness can ever pull us away from our way to success.
Aiming for the atypical in a typical world can never be easy, but working towards it with an unwavering belief, determination and perseverance will eventually lead to extraordinary results!
To enjoy the fruits of extraordinary success by aiming for anything beyond the ordinary, it needs undeterred determination, which is indeed much more beyond the ordinary levels of will power. Hence, the commotion and failures that try in every way to make us give up this expedition to our off beaten accomplishment- should be either ignored or be treated as learning lessons. Turning a deaf ear to people’s scorns needs to become habitual to make sure our belief isn’t impacted. Hard work and belief go hand in hand. Working without belief or having immense belief without actually working for it, will lead us nowhere. When the passion is real and the desire is burning, we actually end up working towards it without feeling it to be an uphill battle.
So, never stop thinking beyond the typical- because aiming for the atypical does not mean aiming for the impossible!
Ah! It’s that time of the year yet again! When you feel afresh, basking in the glory of dewiness, leaving behind all the mess you’ve endured last year. The feeling of newness, with an assurance of a ‘new you’ via New Year Resolutions!
A moment of silence to your screwed up life, as the new year brings in a ray of hope for a better and stronger self. You start making amendments well in advance for the occasion regarding your transformation to a finer, brighter and a healthier human. Because it’s that time of the year, when all your survival rituals appear to look like bad habits/ addictions, divine cravings remind you of being unhealthy and your income makes you feel unwealthy. You feel the urge to change your below average life that you’ve been content with until very recently, with the help of New Year Resolutions. You start jotting down a list of nearly impossible lifestyle changes that are currently disguised as ‘new’ and life changing beginnings.
Finally your life changing day arrives- January 1st. You’ve partied so hard the previous night, that you broke your first resolution for the new year- Rise Early. Never mind! There’s a valid reason for the miss. Now you get careful on strictly following/ sticking to your remaining resolutions for the day. You succeed in keeping up with almost all of them on day 1. As a result, you seem to sense a feeling of regeneration in this process of developing a ‘new you’. This continues for days to follow but with degrading number of hits in your resolutions list. The pressure to keep up with your idea of an ideal self amidst heated circumstances and unfavorable conditions, makes you let go your newly cultivated habits. You loosen for a temporary sense of comfort, eventually breaking the promises you made to yourself at the beginning of the year! You develop a state of failure, thus giving up and end up waiting eagerly for the next calendar year- so that you can start afresh, again.
Majority of us fail to stick to our new year resolutions for the entire year. It takes immense dedication irrespective of how life throws you a curveball, to accomplish this journey of self-improvement for at least a generous period of 6 months.
For all of us who are yet to reach the pinnacles of dedication, new year resolution is not the ultimate solution. A resolution without its association to a new year is the panacea! Why do you have to wait for new years to start something new? How does the end of a year enlighten you all of a sudden with all the good things you need in life? The subconscious mind is dangerous. It had a list of “not so good for you” things all this while irrespective of the date on the calendar. But it takes a back seat until the hoopla of new year begins. Do not fall for this! While new years help us retrospect our lives and motivate us towards betterment, the compulsion that joins with this motive to keep going with the resolutions can become stressful.
To eradicate the sense of failure when missing a new year check list and the wait for another year- Let’s tweak the notion of New Year Resolutions to plain resolutions, irrespective of the year. It makes you feel lighter, devoid the stress that comes with the New Year Resolutions package. Because every year day is an opportunity to start something new. Every morning is a ray of hope you waited for, a motivation to keep striving for improvement. The D-day might be during the middle of a week or towards the end of Spring or even the beginning of December, but not necessarily January 1st. This gives us the convenience of slowly changing one habit/routine at a time, as too many lifestyle changes at once can be overwhelming.
Different studies portray different figures on the number of days that take to transform a new behavior into a habit. While the pre-existing notion is 21 days, few studies contradict this number. The development of habits depend on various factors influencing the individual such as way of life, cultures and customs. So, you can cultivate your habit at your own pace. Handling one resolution at a time can work wonders, making it easier to keep your list of habitual accomplishments ascending in this resolution journey of yours. Thus the strike of midnight on December 31st will no longer mark the birth of your new self, instead every morning you wake up marks the possibility of a better you.
You do not have to wait for new years to improve yourself and it’s never too late to start again, because- Every dawn begins with you!
When was the last time you ever sent or received a hand written letter? Never? (Too bad!) Has it been years? Like once upon a time? (So you are aware how they look like!) Do you still receive or happen to send out letters/ postcards adorned with your very own handwriting? (Lucky soul!!!)
If I could single-handedly prevent something that is about to disappear from falling into oblivion, it has to be handwritten letters! I’ve been fortunate to get a number of opportunities to write letters. Though they were mostly official/ formal request letters for the banks or leave letters to the Principal in college, I wrote them (no typing!). My lethargy to type and take a print out, in spite of having the resources, might be counted as one of my excuses to hand write. Whatever may be the reason, I’m glad I chose to write over type. Informal letters to loved ones have lost significance anyway, so why not grab the opportunity to write while seeking permissions and authorizations?
Technology has taken over every sphere and one such instance gave rise to ‘writing’ being replaced by ‘typing’. The last time I received a handwritten letter was more than a decade ago, when my family and I moved to a different place during my 9th grade of schooling. After relocating, things weren’t great, life wasn’t smooth, though not the worst. I was unsure if I was slowly getting accustomed to the newness the new place had to offer or was feeling lonely deep inside for missing my old life. Could not make many friends in the new place due to language and cultural barriers. So obviously, I either spent most of the time at school feeling the voidness, or at home quarreling with my brother over Pokemon and Tazos!
One fine day, as I reached home from school, my mother handed over a letter that I received. Never did I receive a post on my name until then. Hence, my curiosity knew no bounds. The handwriting on the cover made me elated, as I was more than familiar with it! A letter from my dear friend back home, came to my rescue after months of loneliness. How better can it get, when I receive one during Friendship Day week?!
I could feel her attempt to communicate through her words on the paper I was reading, through her handwriting that I can never forget after having exchanged notes for years. Her handwriting was always very different from many others I knew. It was crisp with vivid curves and broad, clear alphabets. She was way too generous with spacing between words, thus quickly running out of pages in her notebooks! All these ran in my mind while I was not only admiring her writing, but also reading her letter with a smiley face.
As usual, she used up all the paper of the inland letter without utilizing it to its full potential. I could feel her emotions and felt so close to her through her writing. It had her personal essence that I could not find in the new place. The letter and my moment of reading it was priceless and I wished to cherish it for a lifetime!
Mobile phones weren’t revolutionary yet. They were a thing of the wealthy and definitely not an obvious need in every household. STD call was the most used way to communicate with people living in other states. We communicated often over phone, but the feeling that came with the letter was beyond everything. I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience that feeling. I was always astonished and amazed at the way my grandmother exchanged letters with her sister until very recently. But now, the mobile bug has not spared them either and they communicate via cell phones.
Ever since the popularity of emails and SMS emerged, handwritten letters started losing significance. Now, they are a thing of the past. We live in a world, where proposals are done over Skype and break ups over text messages. I wonder if the current generation kids are even aware of a handwritten letter’s existence!
No matter how emotional the text message is, with innumerable emoticons, how detailed the email is, with more than necessary GIFs and images, they can never match the personal connection felt from a handwritten letter! The handwriting of a person connects at a deeper level, as it is a part of their personality that they share on a piece of paper. But a typed text is the same irrespective of the person typing, thus lacking a personal touch.
Try to write a letter and send it to your loved one. I’m sure they would cherish it for a lifetime in a world full of texting and typing. And who knows? A dispute over a text might lead to a break up, but an explanation via a handwritten letter might lead to a happily ever after!