Tag Archives: Experience

In A Perfect World

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Reverb 10.17: The Inner School Of Life

Another Reverb10 prompt that I’m not really feeling. Maybe there are just too many of them crammed into a month and too similar to each other. It’s boring to keep writing about the same thing in different words.

December 17 – Lesson Learned

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

(Author: Tara Weaver)

It has been a year (and more) of learning. I don’t mean that in an ‘every minute we live, we learn’ way. It’s actually like I enrolled in the School of Life, taking Remedial lessons for having missed out on all the great stuff in the past decade.

The learning comes not from experiences, but from reflecting on them. And things continue to happen at such a rapidfire rate, I’m still making sense of them. What I feel I’ve ‘learnt’ now comes from stuff that happened months, even years ago.

I’ve learnt that the person I was a decade ago was a much better one than the woman I worked so hard to turn into in these past ten years. Stronger, nicer, warmer, more alive and definitely better. I’ve learnt that that girl hasn’t vanished completely. Most of all, I’ve learnt that I can’t go back to being seventeen and neither can I realistically wipe out the 10-odd years that came after. But I’m learning that I can build a new me with the best of both people since they both were, essentially me. The joy and wonder and warmth of the teenage me with the confidence and stability and independence of the adult me. I guess all the lessons I’m learning have to do with that larger idea.

How I’m choosing to apply it is to not be apologetic or sorry about who I am. There’s stuff I do and think and feel that isn’t cool or convenient or mature or expected. It doesn’t ‘fit’ with my image. But those make me, me, much more than the approval and admiration of everyone else. I’m choosing to hold on to my phobias, my fears, my unique idiosyncrasies even if everyone else in the world thinks they belong in the last century. They’re mine to nurture or work through at will.

Reverb 10.10: Waiting For Wisdom

Another somewhat uninspiring Reverb 10 prompt but that may just be because I write so much about this already in my blog. So here goes:

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(Author: Susannah Conway)

This has been a year (and a little more) of reflections and insights. I had a windfall of wisdom due to me, after the decade I spent chasing all manner of unwise things. I don’t know if I’ve collected all but I’m still making sense of much of them. Wisdom seems to me like the juice of ripe fruits. The orchard spans acres and acres and I haven’t even finished on the first tree. The feasting has begun but there’s much wisdom juice to still be sucked out. Let me just instead, list some of the wisdom-rich experiences of the past year.

I’m not counting the experience of turning thirty and quitting my job and starting my book. Yes, all of that is slightly stereotyped early mid-life crisis like, isn’t it? Those experiences are already being chronicled in The Thirty Diaries.

Last year, I participated in an online study that examined the trend of people quitting their regular jobs to pursue other lines for various reasons. My participation required me to write an essay type answer each day, to various soul-searching, thought-provoking questions that the group posed to me. The questions explored my notions of success and motivation as also my life lessons and my future plans. What I discovered for myself, was that I had spent a decade and more aspiring to (and with reasonable success, living up to) a common perception of success, as it was held by my family and friends. The big change in my life at thirty was less about quitting one track and more about deciding to figure out success for myself – what it is, how to measure it and how to get going on it.

The novel was begun last year but that was more of a task. It really became a soul exercise only this year when it hit me that fiction or otherwise, this was something I was creating from myself. The emotions, the ideologies, the characters and their stories, these were all things I shaped from the raw material of my own life experiences. While my novel is not autobiographical and none of my characters are based on me, their world and them is built from the clay and bricks of my own dreams and feelings and relationships. Writing about them is quite literally like building. For that, I have to go into the storehouse of my own emotion every single time. And what I find there, is not always to my expectation, let alone liking. There are wells over wells of forgotten feelings and repressed emotions that emerge with every soul-digging enterprise. When I write about a fifteen-year-old’s struggle to fit, it irrevocably takes me back to my own awkward adolescence and forces me to face what I thought and felt and believed, back then. The mind is storehouse of every single thing you’ve said and done and felt and in so many ways, you are better off not going there. Writing is signing away the safety valve of forgetfulness that life gives us. My madness is let loose. And yet, I wouldn’t stop it, if I could. Maybe there will be some wisdom in this unabashed tidal wave.

And finally there is the relationship. I’ve been writing about dating and the opposite sex and relationships for a long time now. But actually living it is a whole new experience. What’s more, the last time I was in a real relationship, I was a different person. The very act of being with someone is stepping over into a different world and being a different person. You are never quite the same again, even after the relationship ends. Building something with another person, just adjusting to another person’s world is causing the foundations of my own careful, precise, cleanly-ordered world to crack and crumble. It’s not comfortable, in the least. But this time, I can feel me growing, quite literally. Wisdom, I await you with humble arms, wide open.

BlogAdda 3: Protecting Your Privacy

My third post is up on BlogAdda. Last week I talked about how to build accessibility for a blog through feeds and link-sharing mechanisms. This week I take a look at the exact opposite.

While the internet opens you up to a broad range of people and experiences, it also leaves you open to a number of undesirable elements. Fortunately, filtering mechanisms are available that can help you tailor your online presence with the level of accessibility and privacy that suits you the best. Privacy is as relevant an issue as accessibility and I felt that after talking about how to make one’s blog visible, it was vital to know how to also protect oneself online.

(Click here to read the post)

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Maturity Is An Age Thing

On one hand, it seems like adulthood is getting younger. Six-year-olds are taking computer lessons, twelve-year-olds own mobilephones and seventeen-year-olds are entrepreneurs. On the other hand, it feels like maturity is an endangered species. Oh sure, there’s the whole ‘maturity has nothing to do with age’ argument. I’ve used it myself. But I’m coming to change my mind.

Specifically, in the area of the internet, since this is where the age limits are vanishing the fastest, this is visible. Programming, web design and social media are all populated by younger and younger people who match or even surpass older peo ple in skillset. However, the deeper ramifications of each action appear to be lost on them. Indeed, several such things are shrugged off as ‘old-fashioned behaviour’.

What’s worrisome is that the controls of things with far-reaching consequences are in the hands of several people who may not even consider the ramifications of their actions. The MMS scandals are one alarming fallout of powerful technology in the hands of those who are not yet ready to take responsibility for their actions. And yet, look at the damaging consequences of a mistake.

Three times in the recent past, my privacy has been invaded. Recently, I’ve had another two encounters. In the first case, I went out with a bunch of people, friends and their friends. One of them later went out and said something about my ‘hot date’, referring to a friend who had travelled with me. By the time this news got back to me, it had become my ‘happening love life’. Haven’t kids today heard of the saying, ‘Loose lips sink ships‘?

The second relates to an interview for a media piece. A friend gave out my personal details to someone who in turn, circulated it to someone else. The first I heard of it, was when I received an email from a total stranger who said he knew ‘a friend of a friend’, had my phone number but had been asked to ‘appease’ me before calling.

When I protest in such situations, the responses are predictable. Occasionally someone is apologetic and the common refrain is,

I didn’t realise you would mind!

Really? Is that not obvious? A phone number is personal. So is an email address unless it is freely available on the person’s online profile (blog, Facebook, Twitter etc). If it’s personal, it’s for a reason. If you have it, don’t share it without asking. What happened to the smartness of kids?

And this is the good news, that a few people are at least contrite. The larger majority takes offense (!) and tosses it back with a,

You’re the one who’s making a big deal out of it, loser.

Of course that’s just arrogance. And arrogance and thoughtlessness both indicate a lack of maturity.

I know I’ve showed both of these traits (and perhaps I still do). I’ve learnt from lessons by older people and
by making mistakes and being pulled up. My motivations and references have changed over time. I’ve figured out the battles I want to fight and also where it’s okay to lay down my arms. I react differently to things, I think before doing certain things. My attitude and hence I, have evolved. This is my maturing (still in progress) and it happens over time. It cannot be rushed or shrunk back.

You can put a kid on the fast track but you can’t make him an adult before his time. Unfortunately, considering that the world is getting younger, we’re now in the unenviable position of passengers in a powerful vehicle being driven by an underage driver. We’re hurtling into the future along with them. It’s anyone’s guess where we’ll all end up.

Flying Solo: Airport @ InOrbit Mall

Their practice run inspired this post. And here’s what came out of attending a real gig. Airport played at InOrbit Mall, Malad on 8 May 2010 for the AND-‘Share The Wealth’ initiative for World Fair Trade Day.

This is not a review but what came after the concert. Art is impression and expression both at once. And endless circle of communication. Thank you once again, guys.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Love. I’ve been thinking about it.

Once, the idea was embedded in a setting of fear. Fear of missing the one, fear of hurting him, fear of being hurt, of losing him, of losing face, losing a dream, of being broken irrevocably by it. Love.

Those fears have ceased. I didn’t get over them. Experiencing something you greatly fear is a settling, if not disappointing experience. Things are rarely as scary as we imagine. Or perhaps we just imagine the worst possible without also imagining healing, recovery and the peace that follows. Yes, we are paralysed by what we imagine until reality sets us free.

There’s a line in ‘Gone With The Wind’ which says it is not good for a woman to lose her fears. I fear (only, heh) that it may be true of me now. So much that seemed too big or mysterious or threatening is commonplace, even mundane now. The horror is gone, the worry dissolved and so is the hope of rescue, the thrill of release. If the purpose of a difficult experience is to harden you, what happens when you don’t need the protection any more? After slaying the dragons, what good are the arrows you’ve collected and the skill you’ve acquired? Redundancies make for heavy company.

An evening of sweet romantic music, about love, under the stars. I enjoyed it alone. I didn’t dream of someone to share it with. I didn’t want to socialize or even talk to anyone new. And when it was over, I walked around a bit with AmZ who’s hobbling about on a sprained ankle. Being with AmZ isn’t socializing. It’s just being.

We chatted of this and that and then we parted ways. There’s an emotion between passion and indifference. It feels like acceptance and yet it’s more. It’s that inability to label a person. Not because ‘it’s complicated’. But because you know they are so much more than who they are with you, larger than what you perceive of them. They are the past you’ve shared and the easy camaraderie that resulted but they are beyond that. It’s not your place to define it, just to be thankful for what you do have and rejoice in all else, even that which you are not given to sharing with them.

As I sit in the food court of the mall later, writing this, a kid walks by, his face messy with the icecream that his nose is buried in. And it occurs to me, that this child and every other running about on this crowded Saturday evening…each of them, is here because somewhere sometime two people kissed and made love. There would be the loveless unions, of course. But doesn’t it seem like such ‘normal’ everyday instances of life that one is given to noticing in a suburban mall, can only exist in the sharing of everyday lives? Yes. Love is all around me.

Love.
It’s tripping over a fallen poster. It’s fighting over who gets to use the toilet first.
It’s explaining that the traffic is hell and that parking is a nightmare. It’s scowling and asking the waiter to come back after 10 minutes when its companion has arrived.
It’s fighting and making up. It’s fighting and staying angry.
It’s writing and singing love songs in public.
It’s blushing and frowning, both at once.
It’s staring up at the stars enjoying itself. It’s lovely.

Thank you for the ride, Airport. Abhi to seekha hain, indeed. The best is already here and there’s more to come.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Airport‘s songs are Hindi and of the sweet, balladic variety. They sound really good in the open air. Sultry weather notwithstanding, the mood suits their music. I’m not sure I have a favorite yet but I’m leaning towards Seher with a ear cocked in the direction of ‘Abhi toh‘.

If you like this post, drop into Airport‘s MySpace page to sample their music. Updates on their future gigs are posted on their Facebook page. Airport is Arijit Datta, Vinay Lobo, Sidd Coutto and Amit Ahuja. Sapna Bhavnani (of Mad O’ Wot fame) supports them. Now, I do too. 🙂

Closure, Actually

Actually after this, another string of random thoughts on breaking up and the afterlife.

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You watch them speak to and of the one they love.
And think, unflinchingly, that they don’t speak to or of you that way.
The only part that hurts is the realisation that they once used to.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

When you cannot remember what you were thinking or how you could ever have made that decision and conclude that you were a completely different person then- that’s when you know that you’re completely over them.

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~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Sometimes getting over someone or something is giving yourself permission to be happy.
At other times it’s letting go of the luxury of being sad.
And occasionally, it’s just realizing that you are bored of misery.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

You talk about forgiving and forgetting like one follows the other
And some people say that they can forgive but never forget
But in my mind, that’s still vendetta since the memory stays alive and hurtful
I’d much rather forget, even if not forgive
At least life can go on unbound by a straining bond

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I am not sorry that you are sad I’m no longer a part of your life
You must be punished for the crime of having hurt me, after all
But I’m just sorry that it all still matters to me
Probably even more than my absence matters to you.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Love is the experience of a person, but also emotions, places, mementos and other people. Being okay with the person is just the first step and not even the easiest one at that. Complete closure is when the entire world that you’ve built and shared with the person starts to feel alright again. It is when, finally…

Friends don’t walk on eggshells around you. Friends aren’t unsure of how to behave with both of you.
Houses, roads, parks and shops don’t make you catch your breath because you were there with them once.
It doesn’t feel ‘wrong’ to be at a certain restaurant with someone else.
Watching a romantic movie or hearing such a song doesn’t send you down a trip of nostalgia.
And you don’t feel guilty about a gift because you’ve gifted someone else the same thing before.

But then, by that premise, there is no such a thing as complete closure. Love is a color that taints you forever.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

If you don’t care anymore whether they love you or not, perhaps you never really did.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Fear of loneliness is a good enough reason for a relationship, even if it isn’t a noble one. At least half the relationships around are founded on it and survive quite well.

Sheer habit is another such. What’s wrong with being in a rut? Some people call it stability.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Lack of excitement is a good enough reason for a break-up.
So is lack of commitment.
Far more than lack of love.

For love may be the name we give the ride, but excitement is the fuel and commitment is the nuts-and-bolts that holds the carriage together. And we all know what happens when you try going anywhere without fuel or in a cart that falls apart.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

The experience of being loved is really as moving, if not more, than the act of loving.
So believe it or not, no matter how unfair it all was, there is justice in the end.
And they will probably miss you far more than you will miss them, when this is done.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Sometimes a person can do you a great service by not letting you fall in love with them because they think you deserve better.
Even if you disagree, if that’s what they think, they are probably right.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

You have the right to be as miserable for as long as you want.
The grave stupidity has already been committed when you fell in love anyway.
Why feel ashamed now?

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~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Cheating and lying are unpardonable.
And it is divine to forgive, a sign of shining, enlightening love.
But no one said you had to be a superhero.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Breaking up can make you feel unlovable, like you were never really loved after all.
But there are many reasons to not love a person.
Duty, ego, fear, indifference, commitment-phobia, emotional detachment.
All of them realistic and logical, none deeply noble.

And there can be only one reason to love a person.
Because you do, that’s all.
That’s neither logical nor noble.
But yes, it is wonderful.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Some of us hold on simply to assure ourselves that we were really, truly, honest-to-goodness, till-death-do-us-apart, irrevocably, madly, fiercely in love.

Perseverance is more important than happiness to some. And ah, how hard we try!

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~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

If you tried and the other didn’t, consider that a gift offered wasn’t accepted. Whose loss is that?

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

There are plenty of other fish in the sea.
But you can’t fish anymore if the last one reeled you in hook, line and sinker.

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~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

When it comes down to it, no one is indispensable. If they had been, your lungs would have been attached to their nostrils and your stomach, to their food pipe. That’s a far more practical apparatus.

A lover cannot have been a Siamese twin. And vice versa.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Oddly enough, the very things that attracted you to each other in the first place are the biggest reasons for your breaking up.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Part of mourning the death of the relationship is grieving the loss of their affection for you.
The other part is grieving the loss of your affection for them.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

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