Thursday, 25 December 2014

Rewind 2014.

One fine evening, I tell Ma that I am going for a jog and I go sit on the staircase that leads to the water tank in my apartment’s terrace. I was listening to “Sound of Silence” on repeat and watching the sun drown into the urban jungle. It is my favorite time of the day. The sky is perfectly divided with the darkness of the fast approaching dusk and the last rays of light from the setting sun. It reminds me that we go through hardships only to cherish good times. We cry on some days only to laugh it all out on other days. The evening sky teaches me the contrasts of life like nothing else. Lost in deep thoughts, I think about all the significant events of the past year. I like to believe that everything in life is an opportunity cost. The events in our life, significant or otherwise are at the cost of the next best alternative forgone. All the memories that I've made in 2014 was at the cost of being somewhere else and making a whole different set of memories. 2014 has been a splendid year for me but of course it does carry its fair amount of shortcomings.  This was the year when I found love and experienced heartbreak. A year where I was lost occasionally and rediscovered myself.  2014 saw me smile at my best and cry at my worst. This was the year when I shined like a star but blinded by my own light I collapsed. It was indeed a year of ironies, contrasts and a lot of growing up.
I could see myself dancing like a jelly fish in the bus on a college trip. I could see myself making a bold statement at a debate competition which is followed by applause. I could see myself go accept an award on stage. I could see myself weep miserably without any reason. I could see myself fall in love or something close to that. I could see myself hug a friend and be comfortable in that warmth. I could see myself in Sweden being happy like never before. As I was going through the various chapters of 2014 in my head, darkness had already taken over the sky. Recalling all those memories made me smile and laugh like a fool. It is funny how just a few moments and certain people leave behind their scars on you.
 Before 2014 I was a different person, in a different phase of my life but now these 365 days seem to have changed me around though I cannot tell if it was for the better or for the worse. There are times when gratitude is not enough to thank the people who have influenced me, stood by me and loved me all the same. Without them I wouldn't be half the person I am today. They make me smile on my worst days and share my joys on my best days.
365 days. 8766 hours. 31,536,000 seconds. A year has passed by and have you made every moment count? Have you seized the day? Have you made memories worth sharing? Have you fulfilled all your resolutions? Well to be honest I haven’t. I have wasted days, spent a few in absolute misery and the rest in overwhelming distractions. Seizing the day or not, I was happy doing it as it was a conscious decision most of the times.
So here’s to all the people who love me all the same, the music and books that served as my escape. To having the best time of my life. To learning to love and to forgive. To bidding goodbye to a remarkable year and welcoming another one. 
I don’t know what 2015 has in store for me; I certainly would not have expectations about it. Right now I am just a girl watching 365 days of my life flash by me in a matter of seconds, hoping that it was all for the best. Hoping that it was a story worth telling.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

An Open Letter To God.

Dear God,

When I was 5 years old my parents took me to a conference in Pune, where a God man or a Yoga Guru as you wish to call him was interacting with the earthly creatures and answering their incessant questions on the mysteries of life, death and the human race. After all I was just a 5 years old kid and all this didn't make much sense to me and boredom took over, so after pestering my mother to take me out of the air conditioned hall packed with molecules of celestial energy I gave up and fell asleep on my mother's lap. Later when the conference was over, my parents and I got an opportunity to confront the Guru back stage and I asked him “Where is God?"  He smiled at me as though mocking my curiosity. "God is everywhere. In you and me."(I’m not sure whether those where his exact words) he said in his deep charismatic voice. This is my first ever memory of you, dear God.  I don't know what made the five years old me ask that, though I didn't have the mental faculty back then to comprehend his answer.

While growing up I have had various instances when my grandma used to narrate the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Slowly my idea of God changed from being a mysterious supernatural being to a Hindu deity who would help me score good grades only if I offered him coconuts and went to the temple every day. When few of my classmates prayed to Jesus and Allah, I realized that there is more to this. I remember asking my grandpa when I was 7 that “How do all these religions co- exist in one country?”  He replied that India is a secular country and we respect our Muslim and Christian brothers. 

Later in my early teens when I started studying about India’s history in school, I realized that this country has been divided beyond repair by religion. All religion professes peace, faith and appreciates good deeds. So it is only logical that all religions can co-exist under one roof of secularism. But that is not the case in India. Difference of opinions in the name of God has divided this country. Religion has been the reason for death of so many innocent souls. Isn't it hypocritical that the religion that preaches love but leads to hatred towards people of other religion? I think we must ask ourselves whether the fault lies in the way we perceive religion or in the very fundamental ideology of religion itself. Religion to people is identity, belief and faith. They believe that faith in God gives them purpose in life and solves all their problems. They’re so blinded by this faith that religion propagates that they start believe that their religion is superior. 

Religious fanatics and fundamentalism is dangerous, it is an evil to humanity. There are so many unresolved issues regarding religion in this country. Superficially we claim to be secular, but how many of us think of Muslims, Hindus and Christians as humans first and then associate them with their religion. Who are these Hindus? Are they the people who wear saffron, go to temples and hate Muslims? Who are these Christians? Are they the people who celebrate Christmas, grant sainthood and lead mass conversions in India? Who are these Muslims? Are they terrorists, do they hate the rest of the world? Religion is a concept that man has created. It has manifested into such powerful levels that now it can destroy humanity. Taslima Nasrin in her book Lajja says, “It is said that peace is the basic tenet of all religion. Yet it is in the name of religion that there has been so much disturbance, bloodshed and persecution. It is indeed a pity that even at the close of the twentieth century we've had to witness such atrocities because of religion. Flying the flag of religion has always proved the easiest way to crush to nothingness human beings as well as the spirit of humanity.”

26/11, 9/11, Godhra riots, Babri Masjid demolition, Indian Partition and the recent Peshwar attacks are all instances of religion destroying humanity beyond measures. Religion was supposed to be a facilitator, a propagator of faith. Since when did religion become larger than humanity? Are we responsible to have bred this evil?

God, weren’t you the supernatural being? The being, that was larger than life. The energy that created the whole humanity. The protector, creator and destructor all bind into one powerful force. If you’re out there, if you’re real would you let religion destroy human beings? Would you let religion kill 132 innocent school children in Peshwar?  Would you tell people that you’re much larger than religion? Humanity is heading towards a path of self-destruction, all of this in your name. When will they understand that you’re all about love, peace and harmony? When will humanity shed the evil cape of religion and respect another human being for being a person rather than look at them as Hindus, Muslims and Christians. When will we all unite under the name of humanity and save ourselves from the horrifying future that awaits us if we continue to let religion divide us like this? When will people understand that religion is a shallow and superficial concept? Faith and belief goes beyond religion. If we truly believe in something, it is for everybody’s well being and never for anybody’s misery. Down the line, religion has lost its essence and it hides behind your name. All religious acts are rationalized in the name of God. Doesn’t matter how many people die or lose hope in the process.

I am just a concerned human being writing to you. Horrifying things that happen in the name of religion that I see and hear around me have compelled me to write to you. Today it was those innocent school kids and tomorrow I could be my siblings. This is slowly going to destroy all of us and it won’t discriminate between Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Humanity is in need of some serious help and I write to you so maybe you could look into the fact that religion is bad mouthing you. We need believers in this world. We need saviors and protectors. We need brothers who don’t discriminate. If religion destroys us, then we must annihilate it.

Yours faithfully,
Just Another Concerned Human Being.

All is well that ends well.

All good and bad things come to an end. This is the philosophy of life. Everything has a beginning so it could end someday. And the cycle continues. We’re all born to die someday. Things just have to come to an end. I for one am a staunch believer in perfect endings. Maybe not the Nicolas Sparks novel kind of perfect or a fairy tale kind of ending. But a kind of ending that makes the entire journey worth the risk, memorable and amazing. But most of the times things end abruptly. We drift away from people in our lives without saying goodbye. We could die without having accomplished our deepest desires. We graduate with grades that are just not what we expected.
Why should endings be perfect? Why would anybody want the thing that destroys them to be perfect? What is this ‘perfect ending’ that I am so obsessed with?
I believe that even if it were the worst thing that could happen to you, it should at least end in a perfect manner. I remember crying and throwing tantrums during last year’s New Year party because the uncles forgot to cut the cake at the stroke of midnight and the countdown was totally messed up. Oh boy, did I loathe that moment! It wasn't my idea of a perfect ending for 2013. Maybe if the countdown wasn't messed up, I would have welcomed 2014 happily. Perfect endings lies in the minute of details that we weave in our heads. Perfect endings welcome better beginnings. Perfect endings are more about making a statement than smooth finishing. If you want to fight with a so called friend of yours, you might as well have a huge cat fight and end your friendship perfectly, you know what I mean.
We run the details of significant events in our lives over and over again. Then one fine day the moment arrives, it could be your graduation, wedding or even a presentation in school. It might just last for 5 whole minutes and all of a sudden it ends, the anticipation dies and so does the fantasy because it has manifested into reality. It leaves behind an emptiness that is often incomprehensible. It is always important for us to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters doesn't matter what we call it or how we see it. The ending should just be perfect enough to compensate for the happenings and kick start a new beginning.

You walk the aisle with your better half and it’s done. You’re expected to start a happy married life now. You receive your degree and graduate first class and it’s over. You’re expected to work in a high paying firm. You finish the last page of your novel that you've been working on for years and it just ends. You’re expected to start over. You run a marathon and it’s over when you make it to the finish line. Every time we begin something, consciously or subconsciously we know that it will come to an end. Then why are endings always looked upon as bad? Maybe because we can't stand the idea of something ending in which we've invested all our energy and nurtured it like our baby. Endings are not all that bad after all, if it helps you get out of a bad relationship or a bad school year. 
 I believe that death, last page of a novel and the last piece of chocolate cake should be celebrated and not dreaded upon, because all is well that ends well.