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.

Simplicity Rhyme

simplicity

They promise me hoards of gold and glitter,
And a jewel to bedazzle my slender neck,
A ring to festoon my lady fingers,
A sparkly dress to adorn my chest.

I smile with gratitude,
While they try to find the perfect shoe,
For what more could a girl desire?
Than a closet full of exotic tulle.

They scamper across the country,
Fidget, fight, falter and ferment.
Frenzied by my lack of satisfaction,
My heart had exposed my furtive pretend.

Aghast they make a one last try,
And scour the stores for a velvet sweater,
Displeased I caress its threads and wonder,
When was the last time someone wrote me a letter?

Wistfully I smile at my list of pleasures,
A little pile of invaluable treasure,
A mix tape made of our favorite songs,
A good old journal, that time had worn.

A wooden mug, a home for my coffee,
Maybe flowers- tulips and lilies.
An album of old photographs,
Stuck on a paper haphazardly.

Matching bands,
A token for our friendship,
A ticket for a stage play,
A messy unplanned road trip?

A picture on a key-chain,
For I shall carry it forever,
Small antique wooden artistry,
A box of varied stationary!

And the most precious of all,
What you’d find in every corner and nook,
A beloved obsession,
A precious book.

While I tried on that sweater,
Smiling at my imaginary list,
Secretly bubbling at my fictional tryst,
My smile faded at the wonder of how,
They only measure joy in bills.

As I looked at my velvet image,
A living example of standing travesty,
My head shook in contempt,
How hard is it really to comprehend?
That a feeling as pure as felicity,
Some people still find in simplicity.

Chasing Life

Over the past couple of months a new form of concern has managed to make a home in my mind. I’m not allowing it to worry me, but since I observe various forms of it every single day it has caused me to brood for a considerable amount of time.

But what really sparked this natter and the anxious tapping of my keyboard was a recent post I read by one of my most beloved inspirations, Elizabeth Gilbert. I am short of the right words to describe how much I admire this woman and what she is doing for the society. I might go on a rant about my admiration for her, but let us preserve that for another post.

Everywhere I look around these days, I see people choking. Everyone toiling in the sun, anxious and worried about what is to come. Some are anxious about the future, some are stuck in stagnancy. The younger ones are only starting to get accustomed to societal pressure, the youth are worried about building for themselves a life that society approves, and the adults are worried about what is in store for their kids’.

I see people with tragic levels of anxiety and nervousness for life. Almost nobody these days has the courage to live for themselves. At this point I must state that I certainly do not exclude myself from the list.

In one post, Elizabeth (Liz) vividly recalled a story about her cousin. She reflected how her cousin left her secure and comfortable job and decided to start afresh in a new country. A country as beautiful and promising as New Zealand. She told how her cousin had reached that point of stagnancy in her life, where no matter what she did, dissatisfaction prevailed most of the time. So she decided to begin again. After reaching one saturation point, she garnered all her strength and moved away where everything worked out for her. Today, Elizabeth says, her cousin looks back and thinks that the only thing she needed to make herself incandescently happy was courage.

Courage to let go of everything that was pulling her down. This is what I see everyday. All the people I meet; everyone is being pulled down. Everyone is trying to find answers. Everyone is busy trying to please the world and present to it a facade of prosperity, wealth and happiness. It is shocking and it is grieving to see people having to go through so much just to fulfil their obligations to the world.
I see people fed up of their jobs, fed up of the people around them, fed up of their course of study, fed up of stress. Yet almost nobody has the courage to break the fetters. They spend their entire life in pursuit of happiness yet they never find it.

People continue chasing in the entire race not realizing to stop and breathe for a while, for the fear of being left behind is daunting, isn’t it? I fear we all make the same mistake. Choose survival over living. The fear grips us in its fists and we do everything to survive. Ignoring our passion and our inner calling and gearing up for the race.

But for some (like Elizabeth’s cousin) this becomes unbearable at one point. Some do manage to break the shackles, some do manage to tread the untread path. Some do manage to take the risk, give themselves a chance and just for a while, start living for themselves.
I ardently believe that it is never too late to start afresh. I do not encourage people to abandon their filial or any other responsibilities, but what I do urge and request from this post is, to please stop being your worst critic and start approving of the things you do.

Love yourself to the point that you would be able to garner the courage you need to let go. The key is satisfaction and it will unlock the door to happiness.
Make a plan in such a way that you seek and find happiness along with fulfilling your duties. Don’t ever feel that time has run out. As Elizabeth once stated, ‘If you’re not dead yet, you’re not done yet.

joie-de-vivre.

Love always,
Your blogger.

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!

Beneath Your Beautiful

Honestly, it all began like this.

Esh- Can you please elaborate on your status?
Me: *Gives a 2786 page long explanation*
Esh: OH MY GOD. This is so true!
Me: Yep, one of my favorite quotes.
Esh: This is one story common to everyone. Actually, this should be your next article maybe. 🙂
Me: That’s a great idea! Thanks.  :*
Esh: And you’ve already written the introduction above. :’)
Me: Haha, indeed! 😉

So this was a conversation I had with the purest form of awesomeness and my very good bud called Esh (the first three letters to her name) 😛 around a month back. And as much as I’m terribly sorry I’d like to confess that I forgot writing about this very interesting topic. She happened to remind me again last night (told you she’s awesome).

My WhatsApp status went something like this:

“Having perfected our disguise; we spend our life searching for someone we don’t fool.”

And it ignited the curiosity of several intrigued souls to the extent of texting and asking me about it.

I fell in love with this quote the day I read. I can say this with all my heart that each one of us has gone through this or is still going through this scenario. Frankly, when I come across these situations; finding millions of people to have gone through or are still bravely going through any emotional setback, it sends goosebumps down my spine. How can everyone feel the same thing? Even without knowing each other.

I read these quotes on the internet ‘Just be yourself’, ‘Love you for who you are’, ‘Never change for what people think is right’. And it leaves me in utter bewilderment that it is one thing to be frequently reminded that one is beautiful as a sign of affection but it is entirely another thing to loathe yourself so much that you cling on hopelessly to these quotes; screenshot them and stare at them the whole day. You don’t need the frigging internet to tell you that you’re beautiful.

The above quote is ‘Society’ conjured up in one line. The world has so adequately forced us to ‘act’ according to its rigid norms of how we should be. Speaking in a prosaic way, we tend to mould ourselves according to the society that has these firm shackles to confine us into its various norms; those of HOW a girl should dress up, WHAT would make her desirable, WHAT are the basic standards for a boy to be called a Man.

So in order to ‘blend in’ we make masks. Masquerades to make people like us. Disguises to be like them and we cannot escape it, the world is so brutal it won’t spare any of us. We spend years to learn how we have to behave- happier, devoid of flaws and spend nights understanding how these rules work out. Society keeps on juggling us between its cold, frigid paws while we construct those masks; forging them out of insecurities and fear of not being ‘accepted’.

PicMonkey Collage

Trying to be like everyone else. Trying to ‘fit-in’. We’re so afraid to be our self; afraid that the people won’t like us. We’re insecure so much that we give up and decide to join the herd.

So having found no possible escape we cling on to our faker self and spend our life desperately hoping to find someone who looks through that mask, someone who doesn’t get fooled and sees the person we really are behind it. Our flawed imperfect selves that we find so hard to accept and come in terms with. And when we find that one person, we feel revealed. We feel we’ve been understood and we’re not afraid to be ourselves in front of him. We feel raw and at peace.

It maybe anyone-Best Friend, Boy/Girl-Friend. Soul-mate. Analogically speaking, this quote is a vivid way to portray the idea of finding ‘The One’ in a society as brutal as this.

So after having build a ‘perfect disguise’ we hover around trying to find someone who looks into our soul directly. Who has the power to reignite the suppressed flame that is our personality and as you all might have read it on the ‘Internet’ :

“Find someone who accepts you for who you are”

but the good thing about this fallacy is, when that person finally enters your life; nothing ever feels more beautiful, more perfect and more cherubic. So when you find that person who can tear the ‘mask’ away and see through YOU and the pure beauty of your existence. Someone who ‘sees beneath your beautiful’ ; all that cover you took years to master, when he finally shatters it, hold on to him.

 

Esh, I know you’re reading this. 😀 High5!! 😀