The Leftover Pizza

Daily life Pizzazz, some nuggets, some fun

Archive for the category “Life”

Heartbreak, abuse and suicide

So I have been following/covering this case of a young Bollywood actress with a not-so-promising career, Jiah Khan, who committed pizzaheadersuicide, after what has now been widely reported as ‘heartbreak’ over her relationship with actor Aditya Pancholi’s son Suraj Pancholi. Strangely, the opinions I hear on this case are so divided that it seems like Moses and the Israelites could walk through the gap.

Everyone agrees, Jiah was young, beautiful and she shouldn’t have chosen to end her life so. That part is easy. But the sea parted after Suraj Pancholi was arrested for abetment. Suddenly, even the most vehement of feminists were heard saying how can you blame him for what she did? I partly agree with the theory that suicide is your personal choice, but there are sometimes circumstances of abuse where the victim is driven to suicide. Suicide is all about the feeling of having no options and has little to do with weakness or foolishness. The alleged suicide letter, if taken into account as the original sequence of how things had gone down, does support the talk of abuse. But that is still for the courts to decide, all I wish is to debunk some random theories spouted by misogynists and feminists about why Suraj can’t be responsible, all of this, of course, is on the basis of the recovered suicide note being true and on other commonsense things.

Argument No. 1 : Suraj Pancholi is young, only 21, how could Jiah expect him to marry her?

Umm, that still doesn’t take away the responsibility of having a healthy relationship away from Suraj does it? And I don’t think our society is as forgiving of an 18 year old girl who made the ‘mistake’ of dating some guy. We expect her to take full responsibility of her choices, so why not ask the guy to shoulder those too, irrespective of his age. The most irrational arguments I have heard when I said this – well its not like he raped her, she agreed to it too and the best I’ve heard yet, well you women are born with it (vagina and uterus) so you have to deal with it.

Argument No. 2 : Why didn’t she walk away?

She had it all, beauty, what seem to be like somewhat concerned family. Why didn’t she just walk away, if she had started to know that Suraj was a loser? People who say that have clearly never been in an abusive atmosphere before. Yes, the abused can walk away, but it is not always easy. There is what is called a cycle of abuse in every abusive relationship. The first time the abuse happens is mostly when the victim has slowly shed all inhibitions and trusted the abuser totally. It shocks the victim, logic kicks in and they try to distance themselves. When the abuser realises that he/she may lose control over the victim, they return with more promises of change, of special love, all honey suckle and dew. The reconciliation is followed by a honeymoon period until the abuse happens again. It being human nature, the first few times, we tend to forgive, because we are so in love and all of us have at some point or the other given in to irrational rage of some kind (not physical always). Now say when it first happens, the victim confides in friend A who offers support and advice to immediately move out. But victim is still in love so when abuser returns, victims takes them back and feels ashamed at judging abuser and speaking ill about them to A. It happens again, now victim might be too ashamed to confide in A, could maybe go to B, or say even if A is the only person the victim has, it will be only so many times before A throws hands up in air in disgust at the victim’s inability to just walk away. So what happens? Victim gets isolated. The only source of validation remaining is the abuser, who is the most unreliable source and also the source of the misery in the first place. Left with no one, where does the victim go?

I also feel that it is a classist argument to say that unlike common housewives, Jiah had access to better services and finances. That is totally discounting the impact abuse has on self esteem and the person’s belief in a better, safer tomorrow. That doesn’t come from money or resources, you generally get it from the people around you and when you have atleast one primary relationship other than the abusive one that is fairly unconditional.

Argument No. 3 : Jiah’s mother was divorced, that childhood trauma made Jiah unstable

Yes, parents’ divorce does affect children, no doubt about that. What I objected to were the not-so-subtle jibes at the way Rabiya Khan, Jiah’s mother, must have brought her up, for her to be so weak. Whoa! Why doesn’t anyone question the atmosphere that Suraj grew up in? Suraj’s father, Aditya, has been known to get into brawls frequently, he has had multiple very public affairs all throughout his marriage and has publicly beaten up some of the women he was allegedly going out with. When questioned about his alleged public affair and fallout with Kangna Ranaut by Telegraph, Pancholi’s wife, Zarina Wahab is quoted as saying if you marry a younger man who is good looking also, then you have to be prepared for such things happening. One can excuse this even, saying that maybe they had an open marriage. But as far as my understanding goes, in the Indian context, an open marriage, is generally open only for the man. But of course, no one asks whether Zarina Wahab taught her son by staying that abuse is ok and the woman just puts up with it when you do it. No one questions what values of stability did this teach Suraj, but I forget, the over arching argument in this case is that the marriage is still intact, unlike Rabiya’s. Our society’s emphasis on marital status over its quality is amazing.

Argument No. 4 : Dying over heartbreak is irrational, breaking up is not abetment

Agreed. Wholeheartedly. But let the investigation and the courts prove that this was just heartbreak and that the alleged suicide note and its contents were false and had no bearing on Jiah’s suicide. Till then, let us not say categorically that it was mere heartbreak and not abuse. But what about an innocent man’s life, you may ask? Well, our society is very forgiving of men anyways, I am sure, Suraj, if innocent, will come out stronger, do some great Bollywood movies (which he may end up doing even if he is not innocent) and get married and live happily ever after some day. After all, jaan hai toh jahaan hai.

Shall write some other day about suicide, the various emotions and circumstances behind it and responsibility for it. This post is only about how abuse could lead to hopelessness which could translate into suicidal tendencies.

P. S. Male rights activists, I eagerly await your comments about how I am just a bitter ole feminist who is rather lonely too 😛

Waity Katy and other relationships where women are blamed

Commemorating the 1st anniversary of the grand Royal wedding, CNN had a special show on Kate Middleton aka the Duchess of Cambridge. The royal wedding was the biggest wedding spectacle since William’s parents got married ages ago. And a lot was written about Kate and how she got her prince.

Kate has been held up as an example of a modern woman who would hold out for the man she loves and almost every one of these reports mentions that all this waiting earned her the infamousmonicker ‘Waity Katy’. Basically the fact that she waited 8 years for the man she liked seemed too much of a stretch for a modern woman. She was dubbed as someone who didn’t have any other aim than marriage. And whatever work she did was automatically called meaningless. Damned if she did, damned if she didn’t.

Now I don’t know the couple nor do I think all the report writers knew them. But even so, I have a huge problem with the whole description of Waity Katy. Apart from a brief interview with the couple, where Kate herself said their much publicised break up was because of William’s immaturity, no one seems to have ever questioned William much. Of course, he is the prince and he could obviously string a commoner along.

No one seems to talk of the fact that even if he was a normal man, the attitude towards the woman would have been the same. She would be questioned for waiting too long. She would be questioned about why she can’t just move on if marriage is so important to her. She would be asked todevelop other interests and have a life. If she moves on, she would be called impatient and someone who didn’t have the emotional understanding to hold on to a man. If she doesn’t she would be seen as a weak woman whose life revolves around this guy. If after spending years with her unlike William, he dumps her and promptly gets engaged/married to someone else, then the first woman would be jeered at. People will show fake sympathy towards her while at the same time saying that she should have known he would never marry her after so long. There would also be the typical statements like why would be buy the cow if he got the milk for free (yep, please cringe some more).

No one seems to talk of the fact that the guy is equally responsible for the relationship. If a guy can’t commit, the girls are asked to exhibit behaviour that encourages him to commit. No one tells the guy to just man up and be genuine. Some people I know are going through similar things and all of us being around the same age, we keep hearing of something or the other. But rarely does anyone talk of how the guy needs to step up too. Then there are movies like He’s is just not that into you that teach women the right balance between desperation and going for what their hearts want. Yes, gag me already.

The business of deconstructing romance and writing self help books on it is very lucrative. Almost every celeb marriage is analysed in great detail and nuggets of wisdom are given out to women (and some men) on how to conduct themselves to get a mate. But most of these books are targetted at women. Very few if ever talk of men doing their bit to change their expectations and roles as per the changing times. For all their empowerment, in the dating and marriage game, women are still considered at the mercy of the timelines and convenience of their men. If she asserts too much, she will pressure/scare/nag the man away. Its like men are the helpless, dimwit damsels whom women have to rescue all the time with patience/understanding/maturity. Left to themselves, the men are incapable of making any decisions because they can’t/don’t want to talk about it/are overwhelmed with work or whatever other tower that they are lodged in. But they also love this tower of bacherlorhood and do not want to leave apparently. So the woman is also seen as this evil creature who shall take them away from the comfortable familiar into an unknown land, one where they will have to deal with themselves. And oh my, they are overwhelmed.

A lot of the above is just rant, I shall admit. And I know some of those who will read will have some of the same questions to me and may even suggest that I should just stay single (such a convenient defense against so called feminists no?). Some others will probably try to draw inferences to my personal life and wonder if I have such strong opinions because of my own experiences. To them, well, you have the liberty to think what you want.

I have some questions to everyone though:

Is it bad if a woman wants to get married and she follows through on that with consistency? Why is that termed as pressurising, being a gold digger etc etc.

If a career woman also values marriage does that make her weak? And what’s with asking her if she wanted to get married, why did she end up doing some fancy course?

Conversely, if a woman is dragging her feet on marriage and wants to wait, why is she unnatural, but if her boyfriend does it, he is just being sure she is the One?

Why doesn’t anyone ask the guy any questions about when he will get married or get any pointed questions at some random acquaintance’s engagement?

Why does marital status have such a halo, that it makes you suddenly the ‘chosen’ one, the ‘complete’ one?

Lastly if Kate Middleton was called Waity Katy, why didn’t the tabloids call the prince Waffly William?

A relationship is about two people, so the success or demise of it should not always be blamed on the woman. And at the same time, each relationship is different, so judging anyone’s choices of whatthey endure for that relationship should be seen as a personal choice. There cannot be an ‘If I were in her place I would’ because, lets face it, you are NOT in her place.

How couples fight (and make up) :-D

There’s a friend of mine, married for close to 10 years, who tells the most entertaining stories of her fights with her husband. What is entertaining about the whole conversation is that she laughs at the absurdity of the whole fight. Sample this :

Being the girls we are, we were on one of those trips of ‘these men na.’ Any girlfriend/wife worth her salt will have atleast one story of how she found certain things about her boyfriend/husband only after a full commitment or living together. So her husband is a baldie, which she of course knew, but what she found out in the first week of their marriage was that his two front teeth were false! They had been knocked off during his playground days. She recalled between peels of laughter how she ended up calling her father in law jokingly asking him for the husband’s birth certificate. No hair, no teeth, will he now end up saying he is 60, she had asked. She had dated him for almost 3 years before marrying him and the love has survived.

My mother when she was married was told dad had a transferable job. Mother, who had never set foot out of her home state in South India, did not want to stay far away in Naarth India forever. So a transferable government job seemed like an ok option. Till I was about 15, I remember mom bringing up sometimes jokingly, sometimes in a fit of disappointment, during my parents numerous fights, the point that dad had hidden the fact that his job was with the state government and hence non transferable (actually dad’s family had hidden this, dad had no clue of the promises made). She would sometimes affectionately joke about how had she known she would have never married him (now how many wives have made this statement since Eve?)

And then I was talking to another guy friend this morning as part of research (won’t hilarious instances of silly marriage fights make a good book?). I was asking him how they solved their fights. Sometimes he said the silences would go on, the maximum it went on was a week and his wife was the one who would just not talk. So who breaks the ice, I asked. And he says, well, sometimes I get some favourite thing of hers home, sometimes she cooks something for me and the reconciliation is slow and steady. So by the time we are fully reconciled, we don’t remember who made the first move, he concluded. Aah to reach that kind of zen feeling.

Then there is the sleeping on the couch fallout, made famous by various American sit-coms. The Indian version of it, says my colleague, is when the wife doesn’t cook food and he is forced to go hungry. The show where I loved the way conflicts were handled (yes I know it is fiction, not real life) was Home Improvement. Just loved the way the couple would use the neighbour as a sounding board but eventually come to their own conclusions based on their love for each other.

 

 

However this is one couple (I vote for gay marriage) whose fights have entertained us always :

 

 

I have always been curious about why people behave the way they do, including yours truly. So help me people with funny/not so funny stories of your fights with your significant other, I gotta book to write 😀

Salary chronicles

Ever struck up a conversation with some random person on the bus/road (or any place where you could meet random people) only to cringe when the 3rd question they ask after your name and job is the salary?

Beyond a point, salary replaces the ‘Kitne marks aaye beta?’ It is the new weapon with which people can put you down. And unless you are the richest person on Earth, duly recognised by Forbes magazine, you are bound to be poorer to someone the questioner knows. The most extreme reactions happen when you are asked this question by people who you know you will have to bump into again some day – distant relatives or the aunty you always see in the lift etc.

The question is followed by an awkward pause on your side, you take a good look at the person in front of you and wonder how much of the truth is to be revealed. There are many ways respondents react. Method one is the impress the shit out of him/her. So a ‘cool’ figure is quoted and some fancy terms of the perks available are thrown in. The designation is hyped up and never affordable vacations and company sponsored trips are thrown in. Of course you do this only when you have an inkling the person in front of you has absolutely no idea of your industry or the person is an impressionable starry eyed kid.

Method two is downplaying what you earn. This you do when you know the person in front of you is the jealous kinds or you fear this person will request financial favour. In this case you complain about high rents/EMI, the inflation and generally how you never have enough left after the 20th of the month. You also do this in front of nosy relatives/aunties who have no business asking you any thing in the first place. Especially after you caught them bitching about you.

Method three is when you say the truth. This is when you know you have nothing to lose or when you know the other person is too knowledgeable to lie to. Here you will have to face all the judgement said person is capable of. You have no choice.

But whatever you do, you will be judged by your salary. Immediate questions after this answer reveal how said person will always remember you. If God forbid your salary is a little less than the advertised average of your industry, you shall be branded an under achiever. Probing questions on why you are not like so and so will be asked. It will be worse if your actual job is something that is not considered quite ‘cool’, then you are a certified loser and the blackest sheep.

If on the other hand your salary is more than the person expected (the expectation could have been low because of various reasons like the person attributing your simple tastes to a lack of money or them not knowing your job could pay so well) then suddenly they could start respecting you. Conversely, they could even start getting jealous of you. Be prepared for snide comments and weird laughter or a bending over backwards kindness from now on.

God forbid you don’t reveal your salary and the other person may not even ask, but still based on popular perception of the kind of job you do, they will judge you for the salary they do not know you earn. Its a judgement you cannot escape. Perhaps the reason why people are forced to take personal loans.

This happened to me…

A lot of blogs are doing commendable work in bringing out various issues about the traditional oppression of women and the ills of our patriarchial society. While I see the point in talking about these things and the awareness that is necessary, what I fail to grasp is the increasingly complaining attitude that characterises some of these blogs.

Some parts of our society are far more backward than others. I understand the need to educate women/men who didn’t even know that they had such rights. That is something that needs to be done. Many in our society don’t even know they are being manipulated because they are conditioned this is the right thing to do. However, a regular reading of a select few sites, presents a different problem in my humble opinion. That of painting everything with the same brush.

A few of the sites I read had examples of women, who were educated and capable enough to make their own decisions, holding back for whatever reasons. In these cases, the women themselves knew that they are bowing down to tradition, they hate it, but for whatever reason they are doing it for now. There are also sites which talk about men suffering for whatever societal or other constraint, men who are perfectly capable of making decisions, even have the freedom to do it, but not doing so. The underlying theme in most of these cases is ‘this happened to me’ so I cannot do anything now to improve my situation. I feel this is the worst attitude someone can have.

Most of the times when presented with a problem, we all go through a cycle of denying it, minimising it and then a period of despair where we feel we are stuck. In this phase we become whiners, complaining, raving and giving away all our power to our circumstances. The truth is the power is always with us and if we choose to not use it, we should be conscious that we made that choice. I would understand if a sense of helplessness is conveyed by a woman or a man who did not have the kind of exposure and knowledge to even know what their rights are. A significant part of the public lives believing fate and external circumstances are the determinants of our life quality.

But what about the rest of us, who are supposed to know better? Do we just blog about what all is wrong in the society and how that has bound us from doing anything constructive? Or do we talk of how this feeling of being stuck needs to be transcended? What is the point of all that studying and all that exposure if when faced with the same problem, we present the same fatalistic view as those who did not have such opportunities as us? The woe is me attitude needs to change. Also we should be very conscious that we are not enabling someone. It is necessary to acknowledge that one was treated unfairly, but it is much more important to stop making that the only reality of our lives.

What I mean to say is, where do we draw the line between acknowledging the problem, educating others about it and enabling someone to stay stuck in the same pattern? How does one decide that, if at all it is possible?

How to take control of your emotions

Copied out from wikihow. Thought it was a great checklist.

1. Know your emotions. There are a million different ways you can feel, but scientists have classified human emotions into a few basics that everyone can recognize: joy, acceptance, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation.[1] Jealousy, for example, is a manifestation of fear – fear that you’re not “as good” as something else, fear of being abandoned because you’re not “perfect” or “the best”.

2. Recognize that emotions don’t just appear mysteriously out of nowhere. Many times, we’re at the mercy of our emotions on a subconscious level. By recognizing your emotions on a conscious level, you’re better able to control them. It’s also good to recognize an emotion from the moment it materializes, as opposed to letting it build up and intensify. The last thing you want to do is ignore or repress your feelings, because if you’re reading this, you probably know that when you do that, they tend to get worse and erupt later. Ask yourself throughout the day: “How am I feeling right now?” If you can, keep a journal.

 3. Notice what was going through your mind when the emotion appeared. Stop and analyze what you were thinking about, until you find what thought was causing that emotion. Your boss may not have made eye contact with you at lunch, for example; and without even being aware of it, the thought may have been in the back of your mind, “He’s getting ready to fire me!”
4. Write down the evidence which supports the thought that produced the emotion or against that thought. When you begin to think about it, you might realize that since nobody gets along well with this particular boss, he can’t afford to actually fire anyone, because the department is too short-staffed. For example, you may have let slip something that you should not have said which angered him, but which it is too late to retract.
5. Ask yourself, “What is another way to look at the situation that is more rational and more balanced than the way I was looking at it before?” Taking this new evidence into account, you may conclude that your job is safe, regardless of your boss’s petty annoyances, and you’re relieved of the emotion that was troubling you. If this doesn’t work, however, continue to the next step.
6. Consider your options. Now that you know what emotion you’re dealing with, think of at least two different ways you can respond. Your emotions control you when you assume there’s only one way to react, but you always have a choice. For example, if someone insults you, and you experience anger, your immediate response might be to insult them back. But no matter what the emotion, there are always at least two alternatives, and you can probably think of more:
  • Don’t react. Do nothing.
  • Do the opposite of what you would normally do.

7. Make a choice. When deciding what to do, it’s important to make sure it’s a conscious choice, not a reaction to another, competing emotion. For example, if someone insults you and you do nothing, is it your decision, or is it a response to your fear of confrontation? Here are some good reasons to act upon:

  • Principles – Who do you want to be? What are your moral principles? What do you want the outcome of this situation to be? Ultimately, which is the decision you’d be most proud of? This is where religious guidance comes into play for many people.
  • Logic – Which course of action is the most likely to result in the outcome you desire? For example, if you’re being confronted with a street fight, and you want to take the pacifist route, you can walk away–but, there’s a good chance that burly drunk will be insulted if you turn your back. Maybe it’s better to apologize and keep him talking until he calms down.

IDEAS THAT CAUSE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS

Change your perspective. The above steps show how to not let your emotions control your behavior on the spot. If you want to experience fewer negative emotions to begin with, change the way you see the world. If you learn how to be optimistic and laid back, you’ll find that negative emotions make fewer appearances to be reckoned with.

  • Eliminate many of the underlying core beliefs which give rise to your disturbing thoughts and negative emotions. There are many irrational ideas that repeatedly upset us[2] They are all false,but many of us are inclined to at least some of them part of the time. You can get rid of these ideas by debating within yourself until you have cast them out…
  • “I must be perfect in all respects in order to be worthwhile.” Nobody can be perfect in everythingthat we have to do in life. But if you believe that you’re a failure unless you are perfect in every way, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of unhappiness.
  • “I must be loved and approved of by everyone who is important to me.” Sometimes you just can’t help making enemies, and there are people in the world who bear ill will to almost everyone. But you can’t make your own life miserable by trying to please them.
  • “When people treat me unfairly, it is because they are bad people.” Most of the people who treat you unfairly have friends and family who love them. People are mixtures of good and bad.
  • “It is terrible when I am seriously frustrated, treated badly, or rejected.” Some people have such a short fuse, that they are constantly losing jobs or endangering friendships because they are unable to endure the slightest frustration.
  • “Misery comes from outside forces which I can’t do very much to change.” Many prison inmates describe their life as if it were a cork, bobbing up and down on waves of circumstance. You can choose whether to see yourself as an effect of your circumstances, or a cause.
  • “If something is dangerous or fearful, I have to worry about it.” Many people believe that “the work of worrying” will help to make problems go away. “Okay, that’s over. Now, what’s the next thing on the list that I have to worry about?”
  • “It is easier to avoid life’s difficulties and responsibilities than to face them.” Even painful experiences, once we can get through them, can serve as a basis for learning and future growth.
  • “Because things in my past controlled my life, they have to keep doing so now and in the future.” If this were really true, it would mean that we are prisoners of our past, and change is impossible. But people change all the time — and sometimes they change dramatically!
  • “It is terrible when things do not work out exactly as I want them to.” Could you have predicted the course of your own life? Probably not. By the same token, you can’t predict that things are going to work out exactly as you want them to, even in the short term.
  • “I can be as happy as possible by just doing nothing and enjoying myself, taking life as it comes.” If this were true, almost every wealthy or comfortably retired person would do as little as possible. But instead, they seek new challenges as a pathway to further growth.

IDEAS THAT MAKE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS WORSE

Learn to avoid the cognitive distortions which make things look worse than they really are. Most of us have heard the expression, “looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.” But when you use cognitive distortions, you tend to look at the world through mud-colored glasses! Here are some ideas that you should stop from rolling through your head if you catch yourself thinking them…

  • All-or-nothing thinking. Everything is good or bad, with nothing in between. If you aren’t perfect, then you’re a failure. You procastinate doing stuff because they are not perfect until you have no other choice than doing them.
  • Overgeneralization. A single negative event turns into a never-ending pattern of defeat. “I didn’t get a phone call. I’ll never hear from anybody again.”
  • Mental filter. One single negative thing colors everything else. When you’re depressed, it sometimes feels like you’re “looking at the world through mud-colored glasses.”
  • Disqualifying the positive. If somebody says something good about you, it doesn’t count. But if somebody says something bad about you, you “knew it all along.”
  • Jumping to conclusions. You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
  • Mind reading. You think somebody is disrespecting you and don’t bother to check it out. You just assume that he is.
  • The Fortune Teller Error. You think that things are going to turn out badly, and convince yourself that this is already a fact.
  • Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization. Imagine that you’re looking at yourself or somebody else through a pair of binoculars. You might think that a mistake you made or somebody else’s achievement are more important than they really are. Now imagine that you’ve turned the binoculars around and you’re looking through them backwards. Something you’ve done might look less important than it really is, and somebody else’s faults might look less important than they really are.
  • Emotional reasoning. You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
  • Should statements. You beat up on yourself as a way of getting motivated to do something. You “should” do this, you “must” do this, you “ought” to do this, and so on. This doesn’t make you want to do it, it only makes you feel guilty. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
  • Labeling and mislabeling. This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. When you make a mistake, you give yourself a label, such as, “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him, “He’s a louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
  • Personalization. You believe that you were the cause of something bad that happened, when you really didn’t have very much to do with it. And ask a friend to help you realize your emotions or worries so that you can have someone to rely on.

Life is good

As I sat through one press conference at a five star hotel which culminated in dinner and drinks, suddenly it struck me, life is good. And I have bloody earned my way to this. If I look at myself today, I can remember that I have put in hard work, immense that too, to reach here. Sitting here today I can allow myself to be a little smug about it 🙂 There is more work ahead, but if I can make it till here, I sure can get further ahead. A friend told me recently, nothing bad is gonna happen to me, I have worked for this and if anything, I ll only be stronger. So cheers, literally, that apple vodka is hitting me now 😛

The month’s up and some random musings about family soap opera

I had given myself a month to do my best for something. Now the month is over. Though I don’t know what all happened, I feel I have given my best shot. So now, its all up to God. I can’t say how I feel right now, the hangover is not completely gone.

Time to regroup. Was just having random conversations with people about idiotic arguments that sometimes family comes up with. It was hilarious all the madness that we inflict on each other in the name of protecting the family, really. So R and I were discussing the wildest things our families must have told us to dissuade us from doing things and surprise, surprise, seems all parents are alike.

One thing I keep telling my parents is to stop watching TV soaps, no wonder their imagination runs wild. R was telling me about how once a simple incident back when R was 13 was taken to the extreme of being thought as life threatening, what it really was just an innocent teenage prank. With me, the examples are countless. Just yesterday I got told not to help a friend with their problems because that could land me in police trouble (this when my parents didn’t even know the exact trouble my friend was in). I didn’t know at that time whether to laugh or to just tear my hair out.

Parents, they all do love us, but sometimes their protectiveness can be hilarious. Especially all the time they keep worrying about us landing up in jail or kidnapped or abused by some imaginary goons (and those of you parents reading this, I am sure you are rolling your eyes and thinking of telling me wait till you become a parent yourself, that’s the n raised to infinityeth time I have heard it so go on :-P). I know they do this because they love us, but sometimes it just makes one wonder what’s the point of living if you are forever going to be scared of living. I know that they haven’t done so many things because they were just being careful. I haven’t lived that way, I would rather feel the pain or disappointment of things not working out rather than live a life wondering what could have been.

R and I had a great time yesterday laughing about how filmy our families could get, heartening to know there are others going through the same drama. When you grow up isolated and limiting your interactions to stay safe, you limit your experiences and also limit yourself from getting the feeling of brotherhood or sisterhood. And that’s when you start taking everything seriously and because you don’t know there are others going through the same shit, you tend to feel victimised as if you are the only one. So not true. And in any case, as Bugs Bunny would say, don’t take life too seriously, no one gets out alive anyways.

Letting go of the story

They say everyone has a story about themselves and of the world they inhabit. For some of us the world is a curiosity and we are forever marveling. For some its a dangerous place and we are forever scared. For some others its a chaotic place and we are forever trying to make sense.

But we also have stories about ourselves. We define ourselves by these. We may think we are victims treated unfairly. We may think we are too clever for everyone else. We may think we are weak. We may think we fall short of expectations of others. We may even think we are responsible for all the bad things around or that if only we could change things somehow.

All of these beliefs, these stories, keep us awake at night, worrying about how what we said or did under the influence of these stories affected the rest of our lives. Every once in a while, we come across someone who would challenge us and make us look at how we tell these stories about ourselves and hurt others and ourselves. This person could be a rival but most of the times is a loved one. We then step into the eternal dance of blaming ourselves, our habits, parents, God even to confirm how our stories are true. We love our stories so much that we don’t give them up even in the face of evidence. Some of these stories are passed on to us, some we develop over time.

But the thing I have realised now is these stories play out only if we believe them. Someone may accuse us or imply something about us, that hurts us only when we believe it in some part. We needn’t even have done such a thing, sometimes our own goodness or habit of giving things a benefit of doubt may make us think that’s what others thought of us. I have seen brilliant and compassionate people think that they were not doing the best they could. Probably they bought into someone else’s story about them. The key is not believe these stories. Maybe the person who said that was just momentarily upset. Maybe that person was projecting their flaws on you.

What also hurts is when your story affected someone you cared about. Its tough to forgive yourself for hurting someone. Yes, you learn for sure this time that your story about yourself was utter rubbish, but is it worth it if it comes at someone else’s cost? You cannot change what happened, you can only apologise, but you may not get restitution. Time to throw the story away totally. No story is worth hurting anyone.

Limitations

Its your own mind that puts limits on you, your own feelings of insecurity or otherwise. Its you and no one else. I have been meeting people who have been showing me how much everything is dependent on what you think of it. At some level you could say I am old enough, I should really act my age. And yet I know a lot of times I don’t, atleast not in the area of responsibility or understanding. At the same time for other things, simple things like having fun, doing something unique, I suddenly start thinking I am old, I have missed the bus. Yet, I keep seeing that there are people all around who have done things long past the so called ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal’ age or even life circumstances. So what makes them do it and why don’t I? They say its all in the mind and that’s right. Fear, sadness, love, hate its all inside you. You create your own reality by thinking about it. You make it happen even if it wasn’t going that way. Its overwhelming the first time around when you realise how much your own thinking affects you and those around you. It makes you feel even more scared. Its a huge responsibility that you have to create your own life. But know what, they say you are never given something you can’t handle.

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