Dear Karma,

148244_20130918_164325_tumblr_mje5i0r02U1rzkceno1_500I don’t need to ask you how you are doing. Witnessing things around me, I know you are having a ball of a time! We need to talk.

We are in December 2015! Yes, the year is ending already. You were more rotten this year than the stinky cheese that’s forgotten in my fridge! Why is everyone else’s life perfect! At least, Facebook says so. From getting the flawless candid profile picture in 2347th take, with a scenic background (of course, of another country) to eating that picture-perfect blueberry cheesecake, everyone seems to have everything. While I am stuck here gulping my own version of cheesecake: low-end-cheese-slice-sandwiched-between-brownies. True story.

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Unfortunately, the cheese slice between brownies is true. Sigh.

Well, this is what Karma has come down to. Karma is one of the more popular words used today, and more so for vengeance! People mostly use it in terms of cosmic payback! On any other day I don’t believe in God, or supernatural power or anything like that, but if you mistreat me, universe will pay you back! Wow.

Instant money, instant noodles, instant information has spoilt us, and has made us impatient. Hence, we want everything instantly! If you give someone five sweaters this winter, by general logic, you must also get five sweaters back! Do you see the flaw in this? It rather is if you help someone in “their” need, you will receive help in “your” need. And these two needs can be completely different. Having said that, if you help someone with the intention of increasing your Karmic account, you have lost the trail!

A very common way of giving solace to a person in anger or any other extreme emotion is- Karma will do its work. But Karma IS work! Karma means action.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

This view of karma makes a lot of sense to me. It isn’t about payback, or evening scores. Rather it sings out of the mystery of interconnectedness, about choices, and consequences in a way that seems true.

Each thought, each action, is something like a brick in the edifice that we think of as ourselves. And out of each thought and actions something is built. And a lot of it by our own hand. But, it doesn’t lead to fortune or poverty. It is more fundamental.

Action. Habit. Character. Destiny.

So, if I do something, whatever that something is, it is unlikely it will lead to a simple reaction or response. The universe is too big, and too many things are going on at the same time. Very few things, particularly in our human lives, can be traced to a single action. So, that thought, that action, to shift the metaphor, is a thread we add to the weaving of our lives.

By itself, not so much. But then add another thread, and then another, each woven into the great fabric, it begins to matter a lot. Perhaps even for everything.

Rather more important, I think, than dreams of just deserts.

Dear 16-year old me,

Hey!dear16

Listen up. I need to talk to you. I know you are going to have to put that giggly conversation on hold for a bit, but then I assure you, you are not going to regret this.

“It’s okay!”- These are two magical words. Always remember, whatever is happening – right or wrong, happy or unhappy – it is okay! It’s a phase, it is going to change. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Not even the things you want to last will last – which also is okay!

Board exam is probably the easiest exam you will take in your life. And it isn’t as big as you have made it in your head. Relax.

At 16, you are a good kid. But remember, you miss the point if you start feeling the pressure. It definitely is not worth the effort, only to make every-single-one you know, like you. You are going to disappoint a few people now and then, but that’s how it works. It’s important to maintain honest relations, than fake densities. You are going meet some incredible people in a few years!

That perfect guy you think you are going to spend the rest of your life with…uhh, you are not in touch with him anymore! The only guy that is perfect is your father. So deal with that heartbreak and put it behind you.

I can see that the straight hair-do is what is really doing the rounds these days. But you are going to fall in love with those curls eventually. They look absolutely stunning!

I know you are afraid, afraid of unpopularity, afraid of not fitting in, afraid of not being cool-enough. But, you know what, being cool is anyway overrated. Being yourself, loving yourself exactly the way you are is really the thing. I know this sounds like a boring lecture right now, or you are even embarrassed of me doing this but only do things that you really enjoy doing!

One great news is you are never going to need trigonometry in your life. But, pick up that brush, and brush up on your art skills. You are really going to need that a lot.

I know the sister is nagging, and no one seems to “get” you. Step back. Calm down. And you will realize it is so insanely silly to even think that way!

Break some rules. Not because they will make for great grandparent stories, but because a little bit of rebel in you always helps. ALWAYS.

Everything changes. Sometimes too fast and too sudden. The only thing common to all these changes is- it is always for the better. Just don’t let the whole optimism go anywhere. Take it all with you, you keep needing it more and more every year! Stock it up.

Life only gets better from here. I’d be lying if I say that it’s all rainbows and sunshine a decade later, but that’s what makes it all worth it. So hang in there! The trick is to keep breathing. Head high. Aiming at the stars.

Also, like Baz Luhrmann says it, wear sunscreen.