You are bigger.

It’s a Friday night, and you’re alone in your room,

Why don’t you pour out that wine and sip it, watching gossip girl?

Or read that book that you’ve been trying to finish,

Since forever?

Wear your favourite dress, out on that dark lipstick,

Put on your favourite playlist on that speaker of yours.

Twirl a little, have a pizza or go for a run,

This life is yours and yours alone.

There’s no one that matters the way you do,

No one you’d rather be.

You’re kind, you love so deep, complete in yourself,

You don’t need another person to be your “better half”,

You’re not a broken puzzle, looking for pieces to fit together,

All your puzzles are right inside you, already fixed.

Take that solo trip you’ve always wanted to, you don’t need anyone,

For the best company you can get is of yourself.

Expand beyond the horizons of what this world has to offer,

In this moment and all that will follow, you are a beautiful enigma,

Your world sure is big, but you are bigger.

Stop planning every goddamn second of you life!

“All those who claim to have set a goal and achieved it without any distractions in their path, always skip a good amount of chunks from their story. You have got to remember that”- Papa

One of the most enlightening car rides I’ve ever had was perhaps today when I was on my way to the airport with dad dropping me. He and I have had a strange relationship, to be honest. Maybe it’s the way stereotypical Indian families work, with moms being the emotional parent and dads being more of the “tough” ones. This set up is so wrong, I see that now. It’s also dysfunctional. The moment we are confined to a certain set of “gender” norms in accordance with our society, a part of that child is forcefully killed. Girls need to be a certain way, wear certain types of clothing, talk in a certain manner, posses a certain set of skills while boys have their own problems to deal with. It is perhaps because of this that I never really got a chance to open up to my own father. I wanted to, on several occasions, but I was always scared of letting him down.

Now why was that the case? Because I broke all the norms that tried to govern my lifestyle. I went “rogue” as a teenager. I had pre-marital sex, lots of it and loved it. I had multiple sexual partners, dated multiple boys and used more profanity in my day to day life than what a lot of people do over their life time. I wore and still wear revealing clothes, because goddamn Indian summers. I’ve even enjoyed alcohol and weed whenever I felt like it and I’m a 21 year old woman. To the upper middle class kids from my generation (People in their early and mid 20s), these things aren’t as shocking, but look around and ask yourselves, how many of these things can you talk to your parents about?

While I realize that after a point, parents do start letting go and aren’t as rigid anymore, but what we see growing up become our mental blocks. Papa admitted to not being able to pass on positivity to his kids because he was so caught up in trying to better himself. What he achieved at the age of 55 is what he wants me to get at 21. My dad’s pretty awesome and I’m fighting back tears as I think about it. He’s had a tough childhood, filled with so much hatred and negativity. He wasn’t a bad parent to me, but he did have temper issues and he did pass on anxiety to his son, his first child who absorbed it so I didn’t have to. Parents aren’t perfect, just like us. But they do try to work in our best interest. They try to make the best of what they perhaps had at the time and by the time they are actually ready to raise a kid reeking of positivity, the kid’s already in his/her 20s.

Something about dad shows me so much vulnerability. He told me that it’s completely okay to not be okay. I haven’t been okay for a bit now and that’s alright. Because like he said, you can’t foresee what will happen. Trading in creativity, spontaneity, and excitement for job security just isn’t the kind of life he’d want his kids to have. He did it, so his kids didn’t have to and that to me, is the biggest sacrifice a parent can make. So maybe it is time to stop worrying so much about grades and fighting this internal battle of self loathe. It’s time to just be happy, you know. Life’s so much more than a pay-check. I also understand the position of privilege I stand at, but there shouldn’t be guilt attached to it. Because that’s only going to bring you down.

The moment you believe you can do it, there’s a bloody good chance at real success. It is so very important to break through any kind of inhibitions that you have put on yourself since when you were a kid. That kid needs to be happier, and since that kid is still you (just in a bigger body), you can make her/him understand. It’s never too late. My dad’s a 55 year old child who just learnt to walk through life without feeling like he needs to know exactly where he’s stepping next. If he can do it, so can you. Never restrict your intellect to one stream or constrict your thinking. Mundane life just isn’t fun. And if you’re only getting one shot at life, why worry it away to death?

So promise yourself this: Never let anyone tell you that you aren’t enough, because you are. You are nobody’s, you are yours; You don’t owe anything to anyone, yes, not even that boy you’re so in love with or that girl who makes you feel so alive; Don’t wait for people to save you from yourself, it’s time you took some responsibility too; Don’t let past rule over you; Or people in your present bring you down; Don’t expect people to keep their word, majority won’t; Avoid everything negative, everything hypocritical; Have the courage to drop all that you know and start over; Keep going on; Stop setting one goal, there’s so much more to look forward to; Nobody makes it without failure, NOBODY; and most importantly, be proud, be arrogant and love yourself before you do anything else, you’re fucking precious!

 

Why are modern day theories of empowerment not helping us practically?

3 years of law school taught me more than I’d learnt in 2 decades of my life. Heck I’d go as far as to claim that these years changed my perception of the entire goddamn world, a feat no family member could have ever achieved. I’ve perfected the theories that grant me a sense of empowerment (especially since I identify myself as a woman), and a belief that I’m capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to. But somewhere down the process of implementation, this is all they tend to remain, mere theories.

Why is it that when most of us get romantically involved with a partner, we end up compromising on all kinds of theories that law school tries to chip into our brains? Through the two serious relationships I’ve had in these 3 years, I realize the end of each one was sporadically spread out with short and long intervals of emotional abuse. And each time it happened, each time one of us walked away, each time one of us broke up or suggested it, we thought to ourselves, “Oh but this time was an exception, it’ll get better henceforth”; Except it never really got anywhere close to getting better.

I’ve read all kinds of feminist theories, radical, liberal etc., and none were in favour of what my cycle of relationships went through. I realize that real life relationships, especially those that are romantic in nature, aren’t simple enough to perfectly fit into a specific theory. But does that mean we don’t implement these theories at all? While the complexities of a human mind will always pave ways for irrationalities, can we not try and suppress it by the knowledge we gain through texts? If I can take abuse from my partner on irregular intervals that only get more and more regular, and preach feminism on social media, does that make me a hypocrite? Does the fact that I don’t want anyone else to go through anything remotely akin to my situation and I keep going through it anyway, make me a hypocrite? Do I need to really implement all that I preach or do I give my relationships certain amount of leverage because well, “He and I are going to last forever”.

I think our generation is the loneliest and campus lives are the hardest. Once you’re out of the comfortably monotonous routine you live by for all your life at home and are put in a hostel with people of your own age group, the place starts getting intimidating. Every other person seems so much more happier, every other instagram/facebook profile seems so perfect, and soon enough, every other relationship seems straight out of freaking Hollywood. But wait, stop for a second and analyze this situation. That picture which portrays such a happy couple was taken right after they had one of their ugliest fights. So why is it up on social media then? Oh because getting approval from our peer is the latest way to determine how good our private lives our. We’ve all done this. I have too. Guilty as charged.

This loneliness that stems from our unwillingness to embrace our own company is probably what is harming most of us at this very moment. Broke up with your partner? Get on tinder already! Why? Because Friday night was date night, what do I do alone now? How about get some pizza and wine and have a date with yourself? You might be pleasantly surprised with just how fun you can be. A close friend of mine told me this and ever since, my Friday nights have not been lonely. I think the only way we will stop taking someone else’s shit is when we stop brushing off everything under the supreme umbrella of “love”.

I heard my 19 year old sister tell me how she couldn’t break up with her boyfriend even though she realized and recognized the toxicity in her relationship. “But why can’t you?” I asked her. “Because I love him and I can’t imagine my life without him”, she answered. Is this really love? Being hurt over and over again, crying so much that you become comfortably numb, alienating yourself from everything that once gave you joy, making your whole life about caring for someone else, is that really what love requires?

Because honey, if that’s love and you’re expected to invest so much of your emotions into it simply because you can’t be alone, I’m out. If love requires hypocrisy, then maybe it’s time to redefine love. How about we try placing ourselves before any partner we might ever have and then see how another human fits into our lives? How about, for once, we give ourselves a break and breathe at a pace that suits us? I’ve seen way too many socially and politically empowered persons completely switching their stances when it came down to their personal lives and that is just sad. So how about this, let’s try and practice the theories that once impressed us so much that we defined ourselves using them? Let’s try. Please.

How are you?

Sounds like quite a general question, doesn’t it? Well I don’t know how to answer it anymore. I don’t know how I can make it better. I don’t know when this feeling will change. I’m not sure if it will actually. And this is perhaps what scares me the most. I know all that I need to do to reach wherever I want to. But somehow, things just seem to keep falling apart. I try to not let it get me down. I try so hard. But by the end of it all, the system of this academic world pushes me against the walls, in a dark corner and keeps me pinned down. I wish there was an easier way to go about life. I understand that this isn’t the worst thing that could happen to anyone, but it’s not what I want. I helped save a life quite recently. I think that deserves to be talked about. I think people are losing their sense of humanity and the very essence of love that is required to keep this world intact.

When you ask me how I am, a million things run through my head. A million different feelings rush in. I want to scream out and tell you just how fucked up I feel. I want to shout it all out. Would that help? If I were to tell you that I need some help, would you help me? If I tell you that I’m scared, will you hold me tight till I am not? Or will you feed off of my vulnerability? Tell me, do you really care or are you just being nice? What’s up with me? I don’t know love, I’m a little lost. But darling, when you ask me how I am, do you really want to venture into my darkness? Do you really want me to tell you how I feel about the way things are? Will you care about how my thoughts on politics or how I think the world needs a fresh start? Will you care about my desires of making this place a much more humane world to live in? Do you want to hear about those times when I pretend to be okay, just so people won’t bother me anymore? Or about how all those therapy sessions didn’t really help me?

How am I? I’m in pain. There are all kinds of things that bother me, and there are just not enough solutions. I want to be okay. But it just seems a little too difficult to be okay when our world seems to be falling apart. So the next time you ask me how I am, I’m going to smile and say, “I’m good. How are you?”