I no longer flip through the pages of the past I know I can't bring the dead back to life I no longer wander in the garden of your memories I know it will scratch my wounds I no longer wish for the same things I wished for I know everything is a mirage I no longer pick up the pieces of my broken heart I know I can't hold sand for long
Even though the summer is here, it feels like the fall deep inside. Just like trees shed their leaves in autumn, I am shedding every part of me that I thought was my own piece by piece. What happens when you lose everything that you ever thought was yours? When your worst nightmare comes true? When you lose people who you loved dearly and were the centre of your life?
When you lose people, you lose the world you built around them. You get punished for loving them more than anything and for not loving them enough. You get punished until you realise they were never yours and that they had to leave one day. It pains like hell to let someone go and to let go of a part of you along with them.
I wonder how trees bear the pain of shedding their leaves every year. Don’t trees miss the leaves that they lose? Do new leaves replace the old ones? I think that a tree knows that it owns nothing and that nothing in the world owns it. It exists on its own, connected to the roots and not the leaves and the fruits that it bears.
I am waiting for the day this ache will ease, the day I will realise that I own nothing and that nothing in this world owns me. That day my soul will connect with God, and I will exist with solitude.
Ever since the day you changed school and left the town, there has been a void inside my heart that has been hard to fill. I thought we will stay in touch and keep both of us updated about what’s going on in our lives. But alas! The distance has overtaken our efforts to stay in touch. Here was I not letting anyone take your place in my heart, and there were you making new ‘best’ friends and living the best of your life. I am not jealous of you at all. I am just sad that I am no longer a part of your life.
I overheard some acquaintances saying that you have found the love of your life. It would have given me immense joy had I got to know this from you. I always wanted to be the first one you’d share your happiness and sadness with. But turns out that I am not even on the list let alone being the first one. Here was I writing you special birthday messages trying to put in words what you mean to me and how badly I miss you every day, and there were you feeling sorry for forgetting my birthday every year and yet claiming that I am special to you.
You see, over time I have learned that actions speak louder than words. Your words mean nothing to me now because your actions have proved otherwise. You never cared to know how I am doing and what is it that I am going through. I used to take pride in the fact that you are one of my best friends, but now I am left questioning were you, my friend? I wonder if I ever made you feel what you made me feel – sad, dejected, ignored, and betrayed?
To be honest, I no longer care how you are doing in your life, whether you are happy or sad, healthy or sick. I am done wanting to be your priority, waiting hours and days for your reply, and hoping that at least this time you remember my birthday.
Today, here I am calling it quits, letting you go, and making space in my life for some wonderful people to come in. I wish I never meet you or hear from you again.
9 years of friendship, done and dusted!
In the middle of the night, when the entire world is asleep, my soul lies awake, rambling into the mirage around me. It finds itself all alone, immersed in the questions of life, love, and existence. It craves for a companion but runs away from any connection. When did this indifference to feelings, emotions, dreams, and passion set in? It is bewildering how bare it feels on the inside, so bare that my own existence seems insignificant.
Some things never change. Some wounds never heal, and some pains never fade away. Sometimes time never mends, but we become tough and indifferent to the pain and trauma. Some things are here to stay because we are born into them.
Some questions should be left unanswered, and some locks should remain without a key. Not every window is a window of opportunity. Some windows show us a glimpse of our past in our future. It is better to shut that window and move on to something else. If we keep doing the same things again, how will our life turn out to be different?
In the end, life is about letting go, letting go of people, feelings, memories and sometimes the whole of us. We overcome what we have been dealing with only when we let go.
I remember that day rambling down the road all alone in the early spring. There was not even a single soul in sight. Only me, the trees, the dust on the road, and the warmth of the setting sun. As I walked down the pavement, it dawned upon me that all this would soon come to an end. By “this” I mean all the amusements keeping me away from feeling the pain that I have dealt with for years. I wondered how it would feel to go back and struggle for a flicker of hope in those dungeons again.
The sunset early that day, only to never rise again. Since then, the calendar has changed dates, months and years, and the world has turned upside down, but in my mind, I am still on that day of which I don’t remember the date.
It is a long dreary night with cold winds slapping my face and the nightingale singing about a loss. The struggle this time is more intense and grievous than it has ever been. I question if all this is imaginary. But if it is imaginary, then why is the pain so real?
I am giving up my struggle to subsist, letting go of my dreams into the cosmos, and disappearing into thin air. I shall reappear when this long night ends and the warbler sings about love. So, until the next sunrise, let’s call it a day.
Postscript – Not everything in life is a choice. But one thing that we can always choose is how we respond to everything. Sometimes, being on the front foot is the best option. At other times, giving up and letting go might be the best thing to do. Whatever be the case, always carry peace into the battles that you undertake.
I hope this letter finds you in good health, and that you are as savage as you have always been. Our relation began years ago when I was born. I took a lot of time to get around the idea of you, and I am still learning more day by day. I must confess that our relationship has had its ups and downs. At times I have dreaded you and even thought of breaking up with you once. But there have been times when I have adored you and thanked God for you.
These days we are going through another weak phase. The Coronavirus Pandemic is trying its best to strain our relationship, but we have gone through more tough times together, and I’m sure we will come out of this stronger and wiser. Just know that I am not giving up on you.
The reason I am writing to you today is that it is Teachers’ Day, and how could Teachers’ Day end without wishing you? You have taught me thousands of lessons in people, friendships, and relationships in your unconventional classroom. I must say that you are a very dedicated teacher as you keep repeating a lesson until it is learnt. You have taught me that until I change my thinking, I will always recycle my experiences. At times, you are really tough. However, I know I will never be able to find a teacher like you with unique, astonishing and out-of-the-box ways of rewarding the good deeds and punishing the bad ones.
I will always be grateful to God for you. You allowed me to meet amazing people, do adventurous things, explore the unknown and defy the odds. I am what I am because of you. I can’t even imagine where I would have been without you. The only request I have is – please be easy on me in future. You don’t always have to be so hard.
Thank you for never giving up on me. Happy Teachers’ Day Life!
Some questions stay with us for a long time until we find an answer. One question that has stayed with me for a long time now is this – “Why do we feel like everybody pulls us down?”
Every time I mull over this question, I go down my memory lane and observe how people came and exited my life. Some of them gave me memories that I would adore lifelong. But most of them taught me important life lessons that I don’t want to learn again. Most of these lessons were a result of them trying to change me, of me trying to change them, and of me trying to change myself to fit in.
When people try to change you, they impose themselves on you, blurring your view of yourself. When you try to change people, you feel that they are insufficient and are inhibiting you. When you try to change yourself to fit in, you lose yourself.
In short, we feel that people are pulling us down when they don’t accept us the way we are, when we don’t accept them the way they are, and when we don’t accept ourselves the way we are.
Lack of acceptance breeds the feeling of inadequateness which in turn gives rise to a constant feeling of shame and loneliness. The feeling of inadequateness pushes us to constantly compare and compete with everyone. We start measuring our success through parameters set by others. We do things not because it is our calling, but because of “what would others say?”. We set goals because we want to show to others that we are not behind, that we are also in the race, and perhaps can do it in a shorter time. We work on other’s timeline but that only breeds disappointment.
If we will never accept and love ourselves, how will we be at peace? If we live with acceptance, we will learn to be friends with everyone and find love and peace in the world.
P.S. – The title of this post is a lyric of the song “Hold On” by Ananya Birla.
Do you ever wonder why we stopped talking after our very first fight? Well, I think about our friendship many times and question myself where did it go wrong?
I still remember the first day we met. I was new in the locality and at the school, and you were my first friend in both places. We used to talk a lot about our likes, dislikes, friends, family, school, future aspirations, and whatnot. That was a happy time, isn’t it?
But slowly our friendship started turning sour as competition and comparison started to set in. I was often taunted for not being sincere and responsible like you were. I was told to learn discipline and determination from you. I was told to improve my handwriting and your handwriting was quoted as an ideal. You were adored but I was not. So when we had that first fight in class 9th, I never tried to mend our friendship and closed all the doors of my heart for you.
We chose different subjects in class 11th and I thought, “Finally, we will not be compared anymore.” But alas! I am still taunted for not being slim, smart, tall, and intelligent like you are. And now here we are, in each other’s contact list but not in contact, texting each other only on our birthdays. Whenever we meet accidentally, very rarely I can gather the willingness to smile at you and say “hello”.
Although I have lost many friends and potential friends to comparison and competition, you will always be a special one because you have been my friend for the longest time.
We have not met for a long time now. But I wish that when we meet again, I see you as a human and not an ideal that I need to follow.
Very often I find myself trying extremely hard to push myself to be better, to be the best version of myself. And then, all of a sudden, I collapse. I wonder then what if this is the best version of myself?
Life keeps teaching a lesson until it is learned. The lesson life keeps teaching me again and again and I keep failing to learn again and again is “Be Yourself”.
But one thing that I have learned through all these failures is that to be yourself, you must know yourself and knowing yourself isn’t same as what you want yourself to be.
All those times when I thought I was trying to be myself, I wasn’t actually being myself but trying to be the person I wanted to be. How could I possibly succeed when I never knew myself? How could I possibly succeed when the person I wanted to be wasn’t my own vision, but the one imposed by the people?
When I was younger, I remember being told what to be and what not to be. Everyone around me was either quoted as an ideal or otherwise, and I was never given a reason “why”. In short, I never developed the ability to think or reason but just swallowed what people told me. Now that I am an adult, the very same people instead say, “You should have known by now what you want to be.” And now when I am faced with the dilemma of what to be and what not to be, I turn to Google.
But again, as I said, life keeps teaching a lesson until it is learned. I have now realised that no one else can travel that road of self-discovery for me. I can’t even cut short the road. I will have to undertake the journey of self-discovery, learning along the way all the lessons that life has to teach me.
Illustration by Ishita Bansal
If you have a younger sibling then you must have observed that they tend to believe what you tell them. Tell them someone’s or something’s good or bad, and they will believe it. Tell them something’s easy or difficult, they will find it either. They won’t even give it a try, and we would rob them off numerous learning experiences, knowingly or unknowingly!
When I look back at my life, I find that I did not try a lot of things because people constantly told me what’s good or bad, easy or difficult, and possible or impossible. They told me it is shameful to fail at something and dreadful to do something which you cannot excel.
But how can we ever find out what we can excel without trying our hands at it and failing, especially when people around us are constantly slapping on our face their prejudices, and we have not yet developed the sensibility to gauge them?
How can we ever create beautiful memories and have a meaningful life when we constantly judge others on the basis of prejudices that have been fed to us since our childhood?
Having gone through a lot of such prejudices myself, one thing that I have learned is to question every opinion or advice people offer me. The last thing I would want for myself or anyone else is to live a life based on baseless prejudices.
I invite my readers to start meaningful conversations and stop giving or accepting baseless advice, either knowingly or unknowingly. Let’s have discussions and debates about why we think something is right or wrong, good or bad, and possible or impossible.
And those of you who have younger siblings, please stop telling them they can’t do it because you couldn’t do it or because someone else gave you advice that it is impossible or difficult or bad. Let’s not steal from them their chance to give it a try!