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Sharing

When we are sharing our latest victories on this space we call social media, are we as comfortable to share our losses ?

While we share new love, can we share heartbreak ?

While we share new jobs, can we share losing our livelihoods ?

While we share victories, are we as comfortable sharing our losses ?

While we share photos of exotic lives, can we share mundane existence ?

In a world where sharing has taken on a different meaning, would someone feel less lonely if they knew they didn’t have to be exciting to be accepted ?

Would someone feel more loved  and cared for by daring to be ordinary ?

In a world where we celebrate joy, can we accept and cherish the mundane so people can find acceptance, even approval in an ordinary life ?

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Happiness ?

As young women we are constantly told the goal is happiness. Graduating from a good school, working for a good company, choosing the right friends, marrying the right man, would all result in one common goal society wanted for us. Happiness. I have seen so many women, including myself pursue that ever elusive dream.

Don’t get me wrong. Happiness is not an elusive concept. A perpetual state of happiness is. We are trained to believe in happily ever afters, in reality there is no such thing. Its an oxymoron of sorts because happiness is a fleeting emotion, not a perpetual state of being. Contentment is.

When we grow older we realize that we graduate from a good school to learn the right values and concepts that will see us through the real world, working from the right company gives us the right set of opportunities, the right friends give us the most amazing experiences to grow and evolve and the right partnership only compliments that state of evolution. So why work so hard to be happy ? Wouldn’t the end result be to work towards a state of contentment ?

Society cant define that. How does one who is not as emotionally evolved say to another “All I want for you is to be content” ? “All I want for you is to be happy” sounds so much more acceptable, after all, on the face of it, society is always supposed to act like they have our best interests at heart right ?

We live for these people. Their acceptance. Their approval. They don’t live within our four walls, they don’t pay our bills, they don’t even hang around when the going gets really tough but for some reason we live to please them. Why ?

As we get older, the goal is to start living for that internal acceptance. Ironically the calm is not always there inside. It comes only after you reach a state of contentment. The calm comes after the feeling of contentment not the other way around. Lost is okay. Desolate is okay. Broke is okay. Single is okay. Unsure is okay. Confused is okay. Worried is okay. Anxious is okay. Happiness is not the only state of mind we need to be in. When we accept that, we are content.

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One Night in Bangkok

I spent a weekend in Bangkok a few weekends ago. Bangkok to me before this trip was a place I would transit through on my way to someplace else. Never really a holiday spot and I honestly didn’t really look forward to it. If there isn’t much in the history, culture or beach space, it isn’t my idea of a holiday. But if the company is great, hey! I have been known to make exceptions.

So I was with a bunch of people, all guys I might add. Whats cool about holidaying with a bunch of guys is its just way more chilled out an atmosphere. Personal opinion speaking.

What does one do when they visit Bangkok with six guys ? Well, you most probably would end up at a go-go bar. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a go-go bar is a nightclub that comes in many shapes and sizes but typical elements include a bar, a central stage with several poles and seats facing the stage. Girls dance on stage and in between dancing, these girls will mingle with the crowd, and are happy to have a chat in return for a free drink. This is the most innocent version.

When I walked in, I found myself judging these women. Hey, they spent their days and earned their living dancing (basically the same moves all night) and chatting up men for a free drink. I was definitely in a position to feel sorry for them right ? Wrong.

As I watched closely, these women took their jobs very seriously. It was as much of a job to them as would working in an office, driving a taxi, housekeeping and the likes. It was a way to earn a living and they took it seriously. These women had a smile for every person who walked in and kept the room abuzz with their laughter and their chatter even when I’m sure some of them didn’t really feel like. I am sure they wanted to be anywhere else at midnight rather than on a stage, skimpily dressed and dancing on stage in front of a bunch of strangers. But they did it anyway.

What I found more intriguing was these women who did this, did so with joy. It didn’t seem like anyone forced them to be there, although it could have been the case. There was one dancer who took a liking towards my friend and basically made it her night’s mission to get his attention, make him buy her a drink, dance with him all evening, pass loud jokes and basically make sure she had a good time doing something she would most likely have avoided if she could.

These women were free. They chose their lifestyle and they wore their skimpy outfits with pride, They had a smile for the most morbid looking man and they kept their spirits up at an hour of night when the whole world is most drained of their energies. When they said farewell, they would actually conduct themselves in the most traditional manner with arms folded and thank you for the money you gave them.

Demeaned by people who know less, ridiculed by society that doesn’t understand, standing tall with freedoms they chose. You go go-go girl.

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Its Okay To Ask

Sometimes its hard doing it all yourself.

I am in the midst of shifting homes, moving from one beautiful space into another, working by day and shifting by evening and I must admit its a lot of work dealing with multiple brokers, furniture delivery guys, plumbers, carpenters, the list goes on. I have found myself unable to open my eyes in the morning out of sheer exhaustion to finally tearing through the day on a burst of adrenaline.

I have found myself losing my mind at people I would generally be very polite with and actually checked myself for it a few times.

The problem with us women who have done it all by ourselves for so long is we don’t know the beginning of how to ask for help and how to take the help that comes our way. We feel obliged, duty bound and somehow guilty to take from others. We cringe at the thought of having to feel bound to someone else who has done something for us to help us out.

I have noticed that when you don’t go looking, surprisingly you find. You find help from all corners, you find people who want to do things for you, just because.

It takes an army sometimes and its okay to let go of that power we like to own and share in the company and love of a helping friend. Its okay to ask the universe, the world and the people in it for help just to make our lives a little easier, if only for the day.

In a burst of tears last night, I told a friend on the phone that I didn’t have the energy to pack, move things, finish a pending report and shuttle between the old house and the new one. It felt refreshing to just break down and cry it out and express to someone else, the strains I was feeling.

Help is something we need to ask for. Its nothing to be ashamed of, its a reason why we live in a world full of other people and not alone on individual planets. We co-exist for the very reason that is to give and take.

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Breaking Up

I definitely believe with all my heart that breaking up with someone you love is the hardest thing anyone will have to do. Or at the very least it features very high in the list of the toughest things to do, at whatever the age, whatever the stage in life you are at. There is something gut wrenching about having to cut ties with someone who meant so much to you at one time and you promised to love forever. So why do it ?

We break up for all kinds of reasons. It could be we wanting different things in life, it could be incompatibility, insecurity, money trouble, the list goes on. But the reasons dont make the process easier.

We break up with friends, relatives, partners, spouses and even jobs more so today than we did in the past. People for some reason worked harder to make it work between extended families, marital partners and social circles. Today, they just dont.

There is something so painful about letting go, but if we stick through those painful moments, those times when it seems like we are making the biggest mistakes of our lives, those gut wrenching moments, the instances of absolute confusion and terror, the feeling of liberation starts to set in.

When a human being lets go of something that does not serve him anymore – a piece of clothing, a home, a car its the most natural thing in the world to do. That object was creating more clutter than it was serving him. Would relationships be any different ? Like inanimate objects, human relationships also have an expiry date. Every single one of them. Some stay very long, some go quickly. But like inanimate objects and things, it is up to recognize what serves us and what only creates clutter in our minds.

We prioritize relationships with others sometimes more than we prioritize the relationships with ourselves. And this is the relationship that without doubt will last the longest. It is up to us to protect our space, our hearts and minds because there is no real proof we have more than one chance to get it right.

When we end relationships, we are not severing how we feel for the people we loved, we simply wish them well and say farewell. We hope they will come back at a time when their presence makes sense again in our lives and if they dont, we part ways with love in our hearts and the warmest wishes of a wonderful future awaiting them. And then we return to protect the person who needs us the most, and will stand by us the longest whom we more often than not seem to forget. Ourselves.

Break ups are the hardest when we look at them as a source of pain, when we look at them as opening paths for new openings and opportunities to experience this wonderful life we probably get only one chance at, it isn’t such a bad thing anymore.

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You can do anything

We all live fast paced lives, fulfilling responsibilities, chasing dreams, caring for loved ones and sometimes not forgetting to care for ourselves.

Some of the time, when we are not too busy to think, the best of us go through those feelings of self doubt. Are we really shammers ? Are w e faking it to make it ? Do we really have what it takes to succeed ? We are all guilty of feeling this way at some point or the other.

I was guilty of feeling this a lot. My life was a race from the time I managed to drag myself out of bed, through the drive to work, the crazy hours at the desk achieving targets and trying to make those reports make sense and the few hours of being social at the end of the day to feel like a normal person. Yes I was doing my best, but I somehow didn’t feel as accomplished as I would have liked.

I decided to break my daily routine a bit and decided to try an hour of fitness every day. The regime that appealed to me the most was Yoga. Why ? Because Yoga lets you take each movement  with a channeled focus on getting the posture correct, it makes you focus on the core of it all, your breath and it gives you time during each Asana to look within. That was the time in the day I started to actually stop and look within. To really see if this was a facade of a person pretending that everything was going as planned or if this was just another human without all of the answers but doing her best with each passing day. I saw the latter. Initially I was scared to get so close to someone, that someone being me. But later, I looked forward to it. Over the months I would stop dreading the aches and pains of each class and look forward to the sixty minutes when while my body was getting its workout, my mind was focussing inward.

Still, I was a novice in class. There were people not huffing and puffing, panting and rolling over, just completely at ease. I tried really hard to catch up. But, there was one Asana, the Sarvangasana, the shoulder stand that I would just gape at other practitioners and wonder how they could achieve this position so naturally. I really and truly believed my body was not cut out for it and this would never be for me.

I pressed on. I started learning more about myself with every meditation session, with every sixty minutes and as my body got stronger, my mind did too. I used that time each day to filter my thoughts, undisturbed and channelize my focus inward. My body took its time but my mind started to get stronger, clearer.

Then one day, the dreaded Sarvangasana. And we had one of those teachers who wouldn’t accept those “sorry please excuse me from this one” looks. I just had to do it. So while everyone naturally drifted into the pose, I dragged my Yoga mat to the corner of the room and tried again, against the wall.

And then I did it. My legs naturally flowed with the movements, then my hands, then my back and before I knew it, I was in the pose the rest of the class was in. I wasn’t watching them, I was joining them. Yes, I was awkward, but I did it. Not because my body was so much fitter but because my mind was calmer, more focused.

This made me so happy, a simple Asana, made me so thrilled. It made me realize my mind is where it’s all at. I focus my mind on the direction I want to go and it will take me there. Either on two feet or standing on my head.

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Too many likes ?

2016-09-30-1475236577-9265213-socialmediaimageWith the advent of so many different forms of social media like Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, the list goes on….there are so many different kinds of posts from so many different people. Some posts spread news and information, some spread messages that are so morose, some spread jokes, some post about every day happenings and some post pictures of themselves, what they are wearing and what they are upto at different times of the day.

With the latter two, there is a group of people who have begun vicious attacks about the narcissistic nature of the users who share a lot about their lives, their latest looks detailing how unhealthy the trend of oversharing is. These people are called mentally unstable, attention seekers, narcissists with even quotes from the medical community about this.

I however have a slightly different perspective that I would like to share on the matter. In today’s world, everyone has very little time to stop and appreciate. We spend more time on our phones and tablets than we actually have talking to people. And even when we are talking to people it isn’t without our gadgets getting more of the attention.

Would it be so wrong for people then to turn to these media to ask for approval in a world where approval is so hard to get ? These are ordinary people looking to feel better about themselves (if just for a few minutes) by putting up selfies, dinners with friends and holidays they take.

We live in an age where communities have shrunk, people dont have as many people around as they used to when technology didnt take over the world and most people living in big towns and cities are alone. These include the working professionals with soaring careers and the stay at home parents. Social media has made the world smaller and has brought our friends closer. Suddenly the world doesnt seem like such a lonely place and there are so many people out there to help serial posters feel a lot better about themselves.

The young woman who posts so many photographs of herself and has her regular set of followers who give her that boost of confidence will always work on staying fit and looking her best, the professional who shows off his jet setting life across airports and continents will continue to work hard to keep up a lifestyle that could otherwise be very lonely as he spends  more nights at airports than he does at home.

Instead of standing by the sidelines of our friends lives and cheering them on, we are doing the cheering them on virtually. Would ‘LIKE’ be such a bad thing then ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating Our Women

Yesterday was Women’s Day. I saw quite a few posts on Facebook and LinkedIn celebrating women and thanking them for all that they contribute to.

However, somewhere I was caught thinking about the hypocrisy of it all. We live in the year 2017 and ideally women in society don’t need a specific day to be celebrated do they ? I haven’t heard of International Man’s Day. Is there something I am missing ?

Women today still have it a little bit harder than men do. Why ? I was watching the story of American Crime Story : The People Vs. OJ Simpson that is really very addictive. What really gets my attention is other than OJ Simpson himself (played by Cuba Gooding Junior), a character in the film that really stands out is Marcia Clark, the prosecuting lawyer. Why does she stand out among so many other strong characters in this very true and very real story ? Because she is a strong woman with a tough job. She was a lead prosecutor in a trial the whole world watched. She was a lawyer in a lawyer’s world. She was single handedly taking on a team of hot shot lawyers on the defense side who used every single trick in the book to win.

Yet when it came to fighting her, the team of lawyers went beyond just the case. They went beyond the arsenal of the case and into the arena of personal attacks. They went after her for the fact that she was a single mother who could not pull the all nighters men could, they went after her with personal photographs taken on private holidays, they went after her in ways only women can be broken.

This happened in the 1990s. This still seems to happen with women in the 21st century. Women balance homes and children and are still doctors, lawyers, actors, pilots, scientists and so much more. Yet when it comes to hitting them where it hurts the world seems to get personal. Men don’t seem to be attacked on that level, just the women. The women who dare to compete and take on the world have to protect their reputations from slander, work extra hard to prove they can be great parents, put in the same if not more hours than  men in the work place and be the perfect partners. Doesn’t that mean something still isn’t right ?

Just one day to celebrate these awesome people who seem to have to do more just to be enough is hardly satisfactory. If you don’t agree with me, just read up on Marcia Clark.

 

 

 

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Is The World Fair ?

I have always wondered if the world is a fair place. Does doing right make good things happen and does doing bad make bad things happen ? Do people earn their share of goodwill from the universe just because they have done good in their lives ?

Or does the universe have its preordained, predestined natural order, a cycle of events that happen as they should, every second of every day and you can either benefit from being at the right place at the right time or be collateral damage for being at the wrong place at the wrong time ?

When bad or hurtful things happen I have always told myself that the universe had something even better in store for me to make up for the bad that happened. That it was going to make up double in good to make up for the hurt I faced.

To be honest, the universe had made up many times over. But in order for us to stay healthy sane individuals, we need to accept harsh realities of life as very much a part of it. There is no judicial system in the sky that is running our lives making up every wrong for a right. That is karma’s job that we as living beings will work out over the course of not one but many lives. The world will exist, people will go about their course of survival since that is the primal urge. Our individual best interests are not a given and we are certainly not the center of the living universe.

I am no expert on the subject of our exact place in the universe but I do know it is in our best interests to act like the world isn’t always on our side. That way when it is, we can be pleasantly surprised.

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To block or not to block

 

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We live in a world where connections go beyond face to face meetings, conversations in the evenings, phone conversations. Today with social media, we can see someone but not be seen, watch someone live their lives without them knowing about it and know our lives. Real friendships which took time to develop over time has lost its meaning because people are not making time to connect anymore.

While superficial friendships based on social media are one thing, people do not seem to understand that behind the veils of our Facebook walls and Instagram accounts we do not realize there are real people with real feelings out there. We stalk and follow people we normally would not speak to regularly, we check out the pictures of weddings and holidays we haven’t been invited to and we spend hours watching the lives of people we would not ordinarily call close friends. We know more about more people today than ever in history.

What I am coming to primarily is the concept of “unfriending” and “blocking” people which real world you cannot do. It would not even be socially acceptable. Its almost cruel but on social media we seem to do it effortlessly. This is not relevant to the stalkers and the people who we do not know. This is relevant to the people we know socially, probably as good friends whom the minute there is a problem with we block off and make sure they are strangers.

We need to be a little more cautious. A little more aware. There are emotions below the surface and we as human beings have lost the age old art of just communicating. There are far more people willing to avoid having an uncomfortable conversation vs. going off the radar completely and blocking people off. We gave forgotten we are human, situations and circumstances happen and we do not need to cut all ties (social media included) just because we can.

Have we forgotten the days of old when communities of people would gather together and talk about their lives? When there was no electronic communication so all relationships were built entirely on direct face to face interaction ? Let’s be more aware of the fact that with more options to connect we have more options to build relationships and break them. Lets act carefully.