Marred-Age

It is that time of the year. I am in that time of my life. This time of the year is the worst time for me to be in that time of my life – It’s when two idiots have decided to go for it, mahurats have matched and Taj Gateway has an extra banquet hall all ready. The wedding season!

*match-making aunty flicks a tear of joy*

Till now, it was easy to play hide-n-seek with about just a million wedding invites each year. I didn’t care about them, and the great news is, they did not either! I was happy saving 4 hours of my life, and they were happy saving Rs. 800 of my plate!

So just yesterday I was still sticking finger in my nose, and today I am getting invites to my friend’s weddings – not my elder sister’s friend, or friend’s elder brother buT MY FRIENDS! MY FRIENDS!!! I AM GETTING SO HYSTERICAL JUST WRITING ABOUT IT THAT I AM SHOUTING! WHY GOD, WHY?!B9hXCnPIMAAYUAM

And unfortunately, I love these people- So, I am not only going to attend a total of 5 weddings but all 50 thousand functions of all 5 weddings! One of the few times I wish I was Christian- I do. I do. We go.

Oops!! I can feel it. Intolerance is rising. Shut up! No cares when you are not Amir Khan. *Sulks*

Anyway…

It’s the first time that I am actually using all those motivational I-kid-you-not-kid speeches given to children preparing to get into courses that are actually kidding them: Life is hard. Life is difficult. Deal with it. I spend 20 minutes each morning, using all the knowledge I can remember from the compulsory Yoga class (that I spent doing Shavasana) at school, preparing myself to clear all three rounds of the upcoming trial-

  1. Laden self with 200 kilograms.
  2. Practice and execute dancing on DJ wale babu mera gaana chala do! Without alcohol!
  3. Stand in a line as big as the population of Hong Kong to meet and greet the grin-stricken face of the bride and groom for a micro-second! Oh wait, that is not even a micro-second.

…And get unnoticed! Too much pressure on this little one, I say!

Frankly, I don’t mind other people getting married! I mean free food- Yaay! But things really turn seriously funny, or rather funnily serious when your parents start getting ideas! And it’s worse when you haven’t found anyone yourself, and they offer to help you out! I mean it makes you feel like a failure! It’s their way of saying – Tumse na ho payega, beta!

*digs a hole and goes underground*

I think for my own sake I should stop here. You guys can continue with surfing the web for latest trends, thinking of a reason to avoid that ONE wedding (share your ideas with me as well), buying cheap gifts that look expensive. And while you are at it, I would recommend investing in a great pair of shades. Too much bling is not too good for our eyes, you know!

*gets back to DJ waley babu…*

What Freedom Means To Me

I spent a whole hour yesterday trying to “google” the words freedom and independence. And lo! There is a long list of various meanings and connotations that these words have. Of course, the meaning and implication of these words is very subjective, and depends largely on the context it is used in, but personally have we ever tried to define it for ourselves? We read about freedom, dream about freedom, rejoice and celebrate it, even advocate it, but do we really know what freedom is?

What does freedom look like? Is it the voter’s ballot, or permission for a late-night party? Is it to be free from any debt or a person walking out of prison? We must know what freedom means to us, if we are seeking it every single moment!

We often confuse the word freedom with independence. Independence, in no way, means freedom. And freedom is not dependent on independence. Since the time we have come on this planet, we are all inter-dependent on each other for our well-being. It is practically impossible to do everything ourselves, at work or at home.

The first time I thought I was “free” was back in Junior college- a decade ago! I had my vehicle, could meet my friends whenever I wanted, and could sometimes bunk classes as well! This started to look so immature when I shifted to Mumbai for my undergrad. That is when I thought I was really, in true sense, free! No permissions, no deadlines, and my own ATM card! Also, the pride of living “independently” was unparalleled. The feeling when I earned my first ever salary was supremely incomparable. When I look back now, I wonder whom was I kidding?

I have realized that the trick is find freedom in our thoughts, while ‘life’ is happening around us. Right this moment.

We often feel trapped – sometimes by destiny or circumstances, other times by some external force or our own mistakes. In most situations, we react in an auto-pilot mode. We are not even aware that we are letting our mind make a choice at that instant, besides ultimately blaming others or situations for our misery!

Freedom, for me, is being able to choose my thoughts and actions as a response to any situation thrown at me, without getting influenced by external negativity or my internal conflict! Freedom is a state of mind. We ourselves are responsible for our freedom. No body forces us to think in one way or the other; nobody can get into our mind except ourselves.

Freedom begins with us. Our actions. Our decisions. Our choice.

On this Independence Day, let us free ourselves of our past actions, bad memories, fears, conflicts, old patterns of thinking and behaving, and let go of everything that is trapped within us or has trapped us. Why should we stay in prison when the door is wide open?

Freedom is just a thought away. Let us create the thought today!

(This is my column in Deshdoot Times, Nashik – 15 Aug, 2015)

One Year Of Writing!

Today, it was a great surprise for me when the website wished me a happy one year anniversary! It has been a year! OMG. Not completely believing it, I cross-checked with the date when I first clicked on ‘publish’ – 15 April, 2014!

Woot!!!

A lot can happen in a year. A few things you plan for, while others just unfold!  One thing I have realised is there is a great pleasure in doing something you love, but the thrill of doing something that makes you uncomfortable , and you successfully overcoming you inhibitions, is incomparable. And keep doing it till it becomes a part of you,  that you actually start another blog ( yeah, blatant marketing – upluscollective.wordpress.com), are always thinking of what next should I write about, are looking around for inspiration, and are always learning.

In addition to that, I also have realised that I use ‘absolutely’ a lot. And also, ‘also’ and ‘and’.

For me, just like I had hoped in my first post,  it was quite an experience. But I don’t think I have been able to really “improve” in my writing skills, or even to “untangle” my thoughts – I may just have ended up tangling them even further, in fact. But I am totally enjoying this journey, and that is what really matters!

Cheers to one year and more! 😀

#Note to self – Think about the next thing you never thought you would do, and jump (into it, of course)! 😉

50 shades of Ban

No one told me when the Make in India was replaced by Ban in India. It is not even funny the number of things we have banned in the last one week.

The only thing that is common in all these bans is our inability to tackle sensitive issues. Banning is running away from the scenario. It is a reflection of our hypocrisy, narrow-mindedness, bias, and cowardice. It shows that we have no faith in our thousands of year old culture and value system, that we are questioning its sustenance.

Having said that banning does not deter the fact that we are what we ban.

I mean if we have to ban anything, implies that it exists, that it is our value-system, a trend now. And banning a video doesn’t change that! Whom are we kidding? Do the policy makers really believe that banning products, actions, videos, and words really curbs their use?  In fact, all it does is people looking for more illegal ways to do “it”, eat “it”, watch “it”, and all this while saying “it”.

Seriously, don’t we all know where to find alcohol in Gujarat? And by now, beef in Maharashtra? Don’t we all use cuss words? Haven’t we seen the AIB Roast or the documentary? In fact, banning the video gave it more popularity, and all the people who did not even know AIB exists, have access to the aforesaid video. And don’t even make me question banning 50 shades of grey.

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I think this simply shows the power of the words don’t, no, ban has. We just have to do it. Cannot explain the psychology more simply. That exactly is how it works, government! “Ban” is not the solution.

There are 50 shades of our mentality to be tackled, and putting even a fraction of our energy in that direction will get a lot more achieved than banning these things.

PS – Let me know when we Ban Janata Party!

The Launch

Well, yes! I would like to call this a launch – a huge step.

I have always been afraid of penning things down. I haven’t even ever had a “I-have-a-secret-diary” phase. I think by writing something – ANYTHING – a line, paragraph or an article, we exhibit a part of ourselves. It is like sharing a secret, making a statement, shedding a layer of our mind, and if I think too hard, beneath all layers -it feels like trusting someone. There, I said it.

So, by starting a blog -which, hopefully, I will regularly update, I am trusting a whole lot of people -again, hopefully, a whole lot will read, with my thoughts. It has taken a lot of me to start writing, or so to say, sharing.

Also, I don’t think I can write. And I think I am right. Especially, when I see so much talent all around me, I probably even get an inferiority complex. But then, as they say, “There is no illusion greater than fear”. My father defines fear as False Evidence Appearing Real. I feel, its time I take my father’s word and here I am, all ready to dive in.

I am sure writing will let me know myself better, untangle my thoughts, and make my vision clearer.

I will need a lot of your support. And feedback.

Here’s to a new beginning! 😀