Woman.

One winter morning, as I walked out of my house breathing the misogyny of my building yet again, I realised how tiring it is to be a woman. It is every single day that I am greeted with stares and uncomfortable looks as I walk out in my western formals, mostly a business suit. Somehow, I have come to terms with these looks, without them my morning feels incomplete. But this thought comes running back to me every single day: Being a woman is exhausting. From fighting stares to dodging misogynistic statements, we do it all every single day of our lives. Why is it that our society pushes us to feel tired of being a woman?

As I enter my app-based taxi service which I shall not name because well I have to survive in this country right? It takes my driver 3-4 minutes to start driving as he needs time to adjust his mirror to a perfect view of me and then do the needful that the app requires. Why is it that travelling or moving about in our urban-dwellings is so difficult for women? We have internalized it so much that we call a place safer than the other if it has a deadline. So basically, the only way our women are safe is by confining themselves to four walls? Have we completely lost our sense of humanity because patriarchy seems to have strong roots here.

Entering my office building, I am filled with ambition as I gear up to accomplish my day’s goal. Yet again I am treated with a deeply problematic statement ” Hey Aks, come to the conference room, we need you. Our client needs a gentle touch in the middle of the pressure”. As wrong as the statement sounds, my dear colleague meant that we need to play good cop bad cop with our client and nothing “offensive”.

My day ends with yet another question that apparently is on the mind of every lady who lives in my building, regardless of everything else, “why does she stay alone. shaadi nai hui?”. Well they don’t care if I am 20 or 27, they just want me to not stay alone because “achii ladkiya ghar par rehti hai akele nai”. Every night before I sleep, I end up preparing myself for the next day, which includes motivating myself to go out there again. I may come across as a pessimist but think about it, these questions would have crossed your mind too.

Why is it that our society ends up forcing women to regret being women? And if that wasn’t enough, our crime against women rates are the nail in the coffin. Why is it that we let the society make us believe that being a woman is exhausting and nothing else?

Home

What are the times when you truly miss home?

One of the things I underestimate the most is home. I don’t miss it all the time or at least once a day. To be honest I sometimes end up not missing it for weeks. I am so used to being independent now that I rarely miss it.But some days or rather somethings and some moments I wish I would have never left home.

Festivals. God, festivals and emotional roller coaster for me if i am not home. You can always celebrate it with friends and relatives but the kind of happiness and festive fever you get at home is unparalleled. There are traditions right? I am not referring to religious ones but personal ones. For us, we do classic Diwali things like rangolis etc but we always always eat khichdi in the afternoon. It has no logic but has become a tradition in our house.

Another time when I miss home is when I am sick. Sounds cliched but it is terrible to fall sick and be alone. The constant pampering that you get at home when you are sick is impossible to receive when staying alone. Of course you may have amazing friends who take care of you but ‘ghar toh ghat hota hai. When you end up missing birthdays or celebration, you miss them incredibly don’t you? whoever counts as family.

On bad days and on extremely good ones, isn’t home the place that accepts you with equal amount of love on both. There is nothing that a bowl of gajar ka halwa cannot celebrate or fix. There is nothing that a table full of people who love you unconditional cannot solve. There is nothing that is close to home.

THE FORCES

It’s a feeling not a job.

When one stands there on the borders of one’s nation knowing that one can die any second what is it that drives a person? 

Money? Satisfaction? No. It’s the love that you have for your country. It’s the faith of lakhs of people that pushes you to do your best.

How is it possible to stand in the beautiful Kashmir valley and not appreciate it’s beauty. Well isn’t that the irony? In its beauty they see their martyred brothers.They see a land that is being snatched away from them. This fuels the fire inside of them.

The frost bites of -10 degrees or the hot flushes of 46 degrees don’t bother them. They learn to handle it with dignity for the nation needs them. They pledge their lives to their country. They stand their while you sleep in your warm beds.

The perks they receive are a compensation for their life. Well you can have it to if you are ready to stay away from your family for months in lieu of 3 boxes of cheese per month. They built their lifestyle on planning. The lavish sports complexes, the multiple institutes they work on concepts of subscriptions. Any organisation can build them. They aren’t given or provided for. 

This may sound cliches but I think it needs to be said out loud again and again for people to internalize it. Army personnel miss their families too, they aren’t available for all the birthdays and Anniverseries. Many of them have also missed the birth of their child, funeral of their parents not because they are insensitive but because they have the ability to be Place duty above the rest. Parents have lost their children, husbands and wives haven’t seen the better halves in months and children they have grown up without fathers or mothers. But trust me when I say this, it’s doesnt make them weak, it makes them strong beyond imagination. The ability and strength of these families is unparalleled. The courage they hold in their hearts is unmatched.

The Army is more than a job, it’s a feeling. A feeling that engulfs not only it’s officer but their families. A feeling that makes you feel at home in every cantonment you enter. A feeling that always places duty before self. 

There is just one feeling that can describe what I feel right now. Gratitude.

Happy 71st Army Day readers!

Forgive

A conversation that stayed.

Courage. Like most of the things around us, forgiveness requires courage. It requires someone who is truly ready to let go, who believes in second chances.

Riyaa couldn’t find that courage or at least that’s what she portrayed it to be. Her trust in her ability to forgive has been weak for a very long time now. She finds it difficult to give people second chances and mind you she may let go of big mistakes but it takes just one small one to tick her off. She isn’t rude or insensitive. She is just too protective of herself.

Which sometimes makes me think, why is it that we give up mankind after one experience? Why do we not trust our ability to let go of harsh experiences? Human experiences are about finding solutions and living each day then why do sacrifice million beautiful experiences only to hold on to that one harsh one.

One night after bottles of Sula’s finest, I asked her ” why are you not letting go” and you would be surprised at her answer. She said “It gives me strength and reminds me of how strong I can be”.

This stuck to me. Forgiveness isn’t always about courage and about closure. It’s about the limit of one’s tolerance and will power.

//Night//


Often we associate night with only negatives and demons? But darkness has its own beauty, doesn’t it? It makes everything brighter and provides character to the beauty of a city or a town.

It’s the night
When everything under the umbrella of avoidance comes creeping Into my heart from all directions
.
It’s the night 
When I am haunted by my deepest fear and my darkest thoughts
.
It’s the night 
When nightmares disrupt my sleep .
.
.
But,
Isn’t it also night
When myriad thoughts teach life lesson
.
Isn’t it also night 
When all imaginative trails turn into creative bridges
.
Isn’t it also night
When Gossip turns into meaningful conversations
.
Isn’t it also night 
When the noise is tuned out and clarity prevails.
.
Isn’t it also night
When the lights shine brighter?.

CHANGE

//What is change like//
.
.
Is it like
A hurricane 
Creating a swirl of confusion in you 
Or maybe like 
Ocean waves 
Pushing you to accept
Serenity and rage alike
.
.
Is it like
The backyard store room,
A chaos one dreads to face 
Or maybe it’s 
A childhood photograph.
Carefree dawdles being replaced
By responsible decisions .
.
.
Is it like 
A bush of thorns 
Cutting across your body and mind.
Or maybe like 
The air that surrounds us
But isn’t acknowledged enough
.
.
Is it like 
A newly planted tree in your garden 
Surprising you everyday 
With its bearings
Or maybe it’s 
A rocky maze
With gruelling decisions standing at every turn .
.
.
Is it like 
A box of memories.
Letting one see naïvety blur into realism 
Or maybe it’s 
A memory loss 
Giving one a chance to start again.

//CHOICES//

/

Is it the Blogger’s post and her lifestyle
Or just creation of my chaotic mind
Is it a viral video
Or plan of a mastermind
Is it the internet’s anatomy
Or its beautifully disguised mankind
Maybe It’s the comments I read on my wall
And the comparison that makes my mind crawl 
What is it that hauls my thoughts ?

In this confusion
how shall I know which filter to press
With which maximum I will impress?
For this is what the internet asks
Successful are those Who match its masks. 
I failed to get through the internet’s mess
But my mind is smiling
As I walked away from the stress