To the Woods

I hadn’t expected it to be this cold or I would’ve brought the sweatshirt mama bought me last Christmas. For now, I hope my flannels will keep me warm. It is funny how in your last moments, you’re supposed to think about the ones you love, or all of those rare moments when life seemed extraordinary. You’re supposed to be having flashbacks of your favorite birthday parties, or the day you got your first kiss or the day you went to your very first carnival.

I smile, trying desperately hard to light a fire in this dark. I rub two stones together, little sparks lighting up with every strike, ultimately giving birth to a young, warm fire. My eyes reflect the yellow glow they receive and somehow, I don’t feel cold anymore. Rubbing my hands, I take a glimpse of the valley far below. Dark, quiet; like the trees were asleep, unburdening themselves.

Dry leaves crunch and break beneath my worn out shoe. They’re going to be one year old tomorrow. He gave me these when I turned 21. A quiet wind blew through the woods, fanning my young flames. The trees sighed and looked down upon my little figure. A young guy huddled by a tiny fire, smiling on the adventure that lay ahead.

I wonder if I’ll be missed. The son who had it all, but somehow didn’t? The obliging one who went astray? The exchange of a present on his 21st birthday, that changed everything. In one year, I was no more their obliging son. I was, according to them, ‘confused.’

What would’ve happened if they had said yes and we hadn’t run away? Would we be happier? Would our Sunday dinners include him too? Would we be free? Would we be allowed to stand on the altar? The smile on my face fades away, as I watch the dying embers of my fire. What will they think when I’m gone?

Slowly I stand up and wade my way to the forest’s end where lay the bare ground. The part where I could directly face the valley down below; almost hearing the sound of all the lives that slept in it. Do those birds ever have to run away?

I lie down and gaze at the star studded night and catch a glimpse of a falling star. I hear footsteps approaching and somehow my smile comes back.
‘I thought you said you needed dry wood for our fire,’ he says as he lies down next to me.
Holding hands we gaze at the night, thinking of what would happen next.

Somewhere in the distance, a star twinkled a little more brightly.

So what is Conformity?

 

I’m reading a book on social psychology these days, as a part of my goal to completely and fully understand the human mind. (Seriously, how free am I?) And in the pages I have managed to leaf through until now the author has again and again talked about conformity. He has talked about peer pressure. He has elucidated  on how our behavior changes when we are in propinquity to certain people. He has talked about how badly we want to be accepted.

He has talked about all the things every body hates to talk about, let alone accept it. Also, this post might seem preposterous to certain people, I request you to maintain your rationality and not take anything personally.

Have you ever wondered how your sense of self esteem is directly proportional to your social media account? The rate might vary, but don’t you feel a tinge of satisfaction when the likes cross 200? Or do you judge someone’s instagram based on the number of followers they have? Be honest about it. Do you feel .. ‘proud’ after crossing 1000 followers?

This ‘feeling’ that I’m talking about, this is called ‘conformity.’ Or in simpler terms, ‘validity.’ The feeling of being accepted. The reason why we post it and then wait for the notification box to turn red, is because we crave validity. We crave approval. We crave people nodding their virtual heads seconding us.

I] Why exactly do you ‘dress better’ for a date? I mean, it’s not a rule right? You might as well flaunt those striped pajamas? Then why? Some inner voice telling you to ‘make an impression?’

II] In a hypothetical group of 5 people, four of them say the correct answer is B. You were confident that it was A until all four of them said the correct answer is B. Now you’re starting to have second thoughts, why?

III] Our hypothetical friend Jack has gone for an aquarium visit with 10 of his other friends. He points to the water and says, “Look Bill! That’s a whale!” Bill looks at him confused, “Uh, Jack? That’s clearly a Dolphin.”
Jack looks at Bill pitifully, “Uh NO, THAT is a whale?!”
Bill turns around to the other 8 friends, “Guys! Jack here thinks this beautiful fish is a whale!”
The group glares at Jack like he just killed a unicorn.
“What is wrong with you Jack,” they mutter together “That is a Dolphin!” 

NOW, Jack is starting to doubt himself.”I guess it is a dolphin ..haha how silly of me. “

Now obviously the 9 friends were paid for the experiment to call the fish a dolphin when it was clearly a whale.

But why did Jack change his opinion?

These three examples clearly illustrate what validity and conformity is. Something works inside our brain that makes us crave approval. Something that forces us to mutate our behavior in order to be accepted. How group pressure can sometimes force us to act differently. How we start to self-doubt when the group stands against us.

How ‘nonacceptance’ causes us emotional despair and causes harm to our mental balance. And how being accepted by our peers can instantly elevate our mood.

How it often gets intimidating when you’re the only person defending a cause. How group acceptance is equivalent to comfort. How social media has only added another platform for encouraging low self-esteems and high rate of acceptance seekers. In fact, the entire social media framework works on this. How the fear of not being accepted has its roots deep within us.

This helped me draw my personal conclusion. Even though our want to be validated is strong and almost over powering our smallest of actions, yet breaking this need of social acceptance is one trait that characterizes the truly successful. Those who manage to defend their cause without being deterred by those around them. Those who manage to break the shackles. Those who are ‘successful’ in its literal sense. Those who prefer to sail against the wind. Although, it is not an easy task.

For now, I cannot promise you any solution to this problem, the only thing I can do is urge you to break your own fetters. Or at least be brave enough to stand for yourself.

But the day my research bores something substantial, I will write another post as an answer to this very post.


 

Also, I would urge you all to please go and check my good friend Divyanshi’s blog for she just entered the blogging world contributing her creative ideas for fashion. She is one of the most talented people I have met and portrays on her blog her own colorful and unique sense of fashion and models it all herself. Please visit her space and give her some healthy reviews. Thank you!

Happy Place

I know I have been severely erratic with my posts and I’ve been denoting my presence on WordPress with bits and pieces of hurriedly scribbled poetry lately and if anyone is unhappy, I truly apologize.

I don’t quite have an excuse, it’s not like I’ve been ‘awfully busy’ or anything. I’ve just temporarily lost my flair for everything.

Yesterday, I was wondering about how different people seek happiness in different ways.

Some find it in luxury, some in technology and for some happiness can be something as ordinary as a nice cup of tea or a fresh morning stroll. Every human, no matter how colorless, mundane or outgoing he may be, has a happy place.

It might be somewhere far and desolate with more nature around or amidst the glare of the buzzing life of the city with the traffic and the lights.

Believe it or not, even sitting among so much LIFE can sometimes bring a kind of peace that is hard to define. It might be with a friend or just the company of our own, but we all have it. Our happy place.

A small corner of tranquility, far from the claws of noise and conundrum. Somewhere, no matter how bad it gets, we’ll always be if not necessarily euphoric, then at least at peace with ourselves.

Our escape, our retreat. Somewhere you can just shut down for sometime.

Like our very own mind palace, we’re able to clear our minds and not think about anything for a while. This gives space for good thoughts and fresh vibes. 

I’ve been meaning to ask people about this. What exactly is their happy place? Where do they go when things seem out of hand for a while?
If there’s anyone out there wondering about me, then I have two happy places.

One is when I’m alone, in my very own company or when I’m with my music. Just some sweet melody from a piano or violen. The tunes tickle my mind and my soul smiles. It’s so comforting.

Second is when I’m here. Writing a post, unburdening my mind and pouring out my heart and soul on this white digital sheet. It’s surreal to think that two years have passed since the incorporation of ‘Brooding in the Tepid Dusk’ and I’m short of words to explain how much this blog and the wonderful community on it has helped me through my thick and thins.

What an important portal this blog is for me to escape and blurt all the emotions out. I feel truly at home when I’m writing here.

And honestly, it’s the people who care to read who make it even more worthy. It’s the people who make this place my happy place. So thank you for that.

If you haven’t been able to identify your happy place, pay close attention to your life and you may find so many normal things that make you jovial. Sometimes, life’s biggest blessings are hidden underneath the most ordinary details. For us to maybe eventually learn to appreciate their worth.

So if you’re still dubious, then please go find your happy place. Don’t ask anyone but yourself. What do you do when you’re ill at ease? What makes you happy despite all odds? What or where is the one place where you’re the most raw and happiness brews to serve you the greatest bottle of wine.

And if you’ve already found it, then tell me about it. About your happy place. Where do you go? Whom do you go with? What do you seek?

RAIN

 

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Sitting cocooned in the arms of my soft blanket, my cold fingers warmed by a hot cup of coco while an overturned book rested on the side table, patiently waiting for its owner to resume caressing its pages; my gaze turned to the light showers of rain, that had now become torrential.

A cold brush of rain swept my hair and it fluttered and tickled and gave me a giggle. Closing my eyes I took a deep breath and inhaled the moist earth, relieved from the scorching burden of carrying 7 billion lives. Staring out of my window, I smiled at the stormy sky, and the charcoal clouds smiled back, sending down a gush of wind to acknowledge my presence.

Occasional thunder paid me a visit, but I brushed it away as a token of friendship.

Taking my arms out, I tried to feel the rain. Watching every drop slide down my slender wrists, eventually falling into oblivion. Some naughty ones even splashed on my cheeks, giving them a natural cleanse of nature.

I could feel the earth breathe, hot air rising from below. I could feel its burning surface cool as those stout icy drops splashed on the rugged terrain. A little group of children played in puddles; reckless, their unconventional laughter echoing with the soft pitter-patter. A woman ran to take temporary shelter, though smiling aimlessly in the endeavor.

Dry yellow leaves covered the road, providing it with a kaleidoscopic blanket; the green ones preferred to enjoy the view from above.

Surrounded among all this life, I couldn’t help but wonder, how every strand of creation experiences an aspect in a different way. Every one acknowledges the rain in their own worldly manner.

Reaching the pinnacle of tranquility, when the exhausted Earth kissed the sky, I tied up my frantic hair, and bid my goodbye.

Understanding an Introvert; Part-I

introvert noun ɪntrəvəːt/  1. a shy, reticent person.
You see, life as an introvert is not as easy and ‘simple’ as you think. People have various fascinating and sometimes hurtful perceptions about an introvert. Like in some way it is a ‘bad’ thing to be quiet and shy. So this post is for all my fellow introverts out there- you guys rule.
introvert
My 20 years as an introvert brought up several types of opinions about me. Some were good, some bad, some reckless, either way people always look at you differently. My experiences have been rather dicey when it comes to people forming an opinion about me. Some people love me on first meet, some hate me on the first sight, some don’t give a crap
And despite all the spiteful judgement people form for introverts, I’ve always been fascinated by them-their thought process when they see a quiet girl entering a subway and reading a book or listening to music, ignoring everyone around.
I’m not kidding, I’ve really experienced all this in high-school and am still experiencing it in college. People often call you ‘fake’ which is a very common term high-schoolers use to brand someone as ‘not very High-Schooly’ or if someone is too kind. Introverts are usually happy being alone, they’re often bored in groups but they never get bored of being with themselves.
‘ALONE’ doesn’t feel very inhospitable to them.They might sit in a group of friends and have fun, but somewhere in their mind they’ll fantasize about the moment they’ll be alone with their book or coffee or anything they are particularly attached with, which is most of the time an object or something that exists only in their mind. We don’t mind staying indoors while others are out partying. You might say-“Get a life!” Guess what? ‘We ARE getting a life.’

It’s creepy how precise this picture is. 😛

What people do is that they mistake our silence with oblivion. They don’t understand the fact that just because we’re quiet doesn’t mean we’re not listening. We observe everything around us. YES, we KNOW when people whisper stuff about us along with scanning us top to bottom with their eye balls.

What you normal people should know is that just because we have trouble initiating conversation with people doesn’t mean we’re rude goblins with a rotten apple for a heart and we sure as hell don’t think of ourselves as ‘above’ everyone else. Most of the time, it’s the exact opposite. And from my own personal view, introverts are usually very kind people, we won’t fire a bullet in the center of your forehead when you talk to us. If you talk to us, we’ll reply-like normal people do-No Big Deal.

Our amount of talk usually depends on our level of comfort with the other person. We can’t tolerate to be around people we can’t stand, again that’s pretty normal.


 A girl in my college sat next to me once and she kept rambling on and on and on and wouldn’t stop and when she observed (finally) that I hadn’t said a word between her chatter for about 20 minutes she said, “Don’t you like to talk?”  Honestly, she kinda caught me off guard, it was very brusque- I didn’t know what to respond. So I shrugged and stuttered some muffled words; eventually she left.

 

One thing about us introverts-we have a lot of trouble trusting people, another valid reason we prefer being to ourselves. We have trouble expressing our feelings, that is why we project it in some way. As for me, it is through writing. I mostly write about my thoughts, my emotions, my frustration or maybe some prosaic observation.

We like to sit and observe. Observe how beautiful the clouds look today, how soothing the wind is, softly caressing our skin. We mute the entire world and just sit and see-and we LIKE that.So I hope when you normal people read this you muster up the courage to talk to that guy who usually sits alone in the cafeteria or the girl who’s seen in the library in the recess. We’re shy, we’re dreamers, we’re cogitative, observers, lovable, thoughtful and of course, quiet.
Try us, we’re not that bad-actually don’t, leave us alone.