about my parents

i am eighteen years old and only in the past couple of years have i realised how utterly grateful i should be for my incredible parents. there have been days when i wasn’t an easy child to deal with, but all i ever received from their end was love. their parenting has been blood, sweat and tears, in the purest sense.
my parents have raised my sister and i gently and patiently, appreciated our every achievement, no matter how small the scale and acknowledged our every effort. their upbringing has got me well acquainted with the feeling of being loved unconditionally, sans any terms and conditions.
in my years as a pre-teen, my relationship with my mother wasn’t as healthy as it is today. but since the past decade she has grown along with me, even more so. she has always been a kind and loving woman, there’s no denying that. but since her indulgence in spirituality, my mother has transformed into the most calm and collected person i know. her mental and emotional strength has sky-rocketed, so much so that she can not only bear the weight of my father’s, my sister’s and my burdens but become the unexpected sunlight during rainy season. to see my mother radiate positivity under dire circumstances and spread comfort to everyone around her is astounding. there are days, however, when her unfailing optimism irks me, because on sometimes i just want her to agree with me and say, “that sucks, my dear”. but after all that she has done for me, i would do whatever it takes to see her happy and proud. now that i’m leaving for college, she’s been remembering my childhood days, when all it took to make me giggle and gurgle was raspberries on my stomach and tickles on my chin.
my father is a gentle man, especially when it comes to me. it makes me a little sad that he’s not around as much as i would like him to be, but that’s okay. i understand his commitment to his work; being a doctor isn’t easy at all, particularly not when you’ve got hundreds of patients lined outside of your cabin, waiting to share their troubles. he may be seated on the sidelines, but he’s the best cheerleader i’ve ever had. he is easily swayed by others’ opinions, but he also gives a lot of importance to what i have to say – which i appreciate so much; and he always prioritises my happiness. no matter how many birthdays i celebrate, my small hand in my father’s soft and tender hand will forever be one of my favourite feelings in the world.
parenting is a mammoth task, but massively rewarding if done right. but here’s the thing – you don’t raise your child with the goal getting something in return. that makes your child a liability waiting to be balanced out. my parents have given me the freedom to do study what i enjoy, pursue what i’m good at – no matter the scope. i can’t ever thank them enough; my happiness is linked with theirs, there’s no otherwise. i aim to please my parents.

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baby’s day out

I’m going abroad for week this summer, with my family. When I learnt of this impromptu plan, it was probably the best news I could have received in between my boards. What escaped my already air-bound mind was that, we have to apply for a visa. My mother and I were supposed to go to the visa office together but we secured an appointment on a date when she was out of town. I had to go alone. Once my father explained all the proceedings and handed me all the important documents, I wasn’t so nervous anymore. Just a week ago I had been to the passport office alone and exited successfully. Not to mention I’d turned eighteen two months ago. I thought, “I can do this, how hard can it be?”.

It was 12:45pm when I reached the visa office, and things started off just fine: I was allowed to enter without the appointment receipt, our travel agent’s guy was around during the initial stages to help me out. Once near the waiting line, I was escorted to the lounge – air conditioned, free Bisleri water bottles and cookies, that sort of thing. I must’ve waited for about half an hour during which I tried to study for my psychology exam. Tried here is the key word, because I was distracted by the stares of some very important looking men sitting with me in the lounge, muttering in Telugu which I failed to understand. Soon enough, one of the attendants – Mr Singh – approached me and asked for all the required documents. Fifteen seconds in, he tells me we’ve filled in the wrong visa application form. My heart sinks. While he leaves to get the correct forms, I call up my father who says he’s on his way to help me out. My sunken heart lifts itself up – “This isn’t too bad. I’ll get past this.” I start filling the forms – with a pen I borrowed from one of the very important looking men, who knew he wasn’t going to get it back anytime soon – and my dad arrives twenty minutes later. Once everything seemed in order, he wishes me luck and I go back into the lion’s den, while he left to attend to the patients he had left hanging at the hospital.

I wait for an hour for Mr Singh to get back to me. During this hour, another family seated themselves in the lounge – mother, daughter and son. The daughter seemed to be around my age, except I was not dressed well enough. The son, probably about twelve or thirteen, had in his hands a sleek black iPhone – and I’m just being paranoid but, I almost felt like he discreetly clicked a picture of my tired face and made a meme out of it. But then again, at that point, all the negativity had planted itself into my mind so I must be getting ahead of myself.

The hour become an hour and a half. I didn’t go look for him because not only was I shivering in the AC room but I also had to use the loo – desperately. But, I didn’t want to leave my spot, just in case he happened to drop by the moment I left to relieve myself. Tapping my foot against the hard wood floor, I tried to distract myself by skimming through my neglected textbook. In the cold. While my bladder was whining as though it already didn’t have enough of my attention.

At 4:40, Mr Singh finally got back to where I was. Two minutes in, he groaned and looked up at the fancy ceiling of the lounge and informed me that my travel insurance documents were wrong and a few extra xeroxes were missing. My sunken heart plummeted. He breezed through my other documents and kept pointing out the little errors that had slipped my father’s mind and some that were never informed by our agent. I explained everything to my father on phone and I did so at a whisper. Not because I cared of what the other aunties and uncles in the lounge thought of me, but because I was on the verge of tears. Mr Singh was staring down at me – almost pityingly – and that made everything worse. I blubbered out incoherent words to my father and at that moment, I felt like a little girl whose hand had slipped out of her mother’s in a crowded bazaar. “Why are you crying, ma’am?” Mr Singh asked me, annoyed. My throat was blocked and my eyes were wet with tears, I was ashamed of myself for crying so easily.

Mr Singh, meanwhile, was sure that my visa application couldn’t be completed today. He told me to come back tomorrow. He didn’t understand that I had wasted nearly four hours which I should have spent studying for my final exam. Afraid of crying even harder, I just nodded to everything he said. Once he left and the stares of everyone else in the room had shifted onto something a little less interesting, I called back my father. He was upset, not with me, and he knew I was overwhelmed. Speaking in the kindest voice, he told me that he’d be there in another twenty minutes. And so I waited.

My dad made everything right, even before he arrived. He asked the authority responsible to e-mail him the correct travel insurance papers and got them printed out. It wasn’t until he arrived and I saw the Frooti bottle in his hand, that I realised it was 5:15 and I hadn’t eaten lunch. No wonder my head was pounding. Before I could register anything else, he had his arms around me and as much as I appreciated the gesture, it just made me burst into tears. My hands covered my face and I could feel the stares of those around pierce into me. My eyes were shut tight and my sniffling was loud; that was when I knew that I hadn’t had such a bad day in a very long time.

Once my eyes were dried and I had had a sip of the cold Frooti, I went back to the counter. It had been five and a half hours since I’d been in that office, and the other attendants had started recognising me, wondering what I was still doing loitering around. Another lady attendant and Mr Singh approached me and started rechecking my documents, once I told them that the correct documents are all there. Just when everything was okay – I realised that in all this flurry, I had misplaced my passport sized photos. “They were right here, I swear.” I said. I spent five minutes scanning the glassy floor, frantically searching every piece of my belonging. “Lagta hai aapka aaj din hi kharab hai.” (Looks like, your day itself is bad), Mr Singh said with a reconciling smile before he helped me in the search. By then, I think, he had understood how shaken and inexperienced I was. I was sure I had searched my backpack at least five times, and on the sixth time, there were the photographs – inside the small pocket in the front zip.

From there on, everything went accordingly. Mr Singh and I shared a few smiles and that put me at ease. I didn’t want to be the reason for a government employee’s bad day at work. At 5:45, I was out of the place. I ran my hand through my hair – that had become tangled in between all the haste and worry – and I was sure that the one strand of hair that left my scalp was because of the immense stress and worry I had felt in the span of six hours. I sat with my father outside for a little while, so grateful he was there. When I reached home and walked to the elevator that would take me to my floor – it was already there, waiting for me. It was almost as if the universe had pity on me and made things a little easier. What a long day it’s been. But, the trip should be worth it, yes?

ten seconds

i just smacked a mosquito so hard i could almost hear it whisper before its final breath, “i deserve this for attacking you just when you sat down to write about something you have absolutely no idea about; after all, you’re just winging it, so you’re going to need all the help.” 

have you ever felt terribly, pityingly inadequate? of course you have! just when you find yourself seemingly grounded and at the same time, metaphorically suspended in the air, floating about with less worries than usual clouding your mind (do you want me to stop with these puns, really? do you?), you’re suddenly strung high up into the air, with your ankle having replaced the spot for your – or someone else’s for that matter – neck, while your blood succumbs to gravity yet again and gives you a long overdue head rush.

these past few months, i’ve been trying really hard to be optimistic about all things going wrong; i may have also started believing in fate – probably my mother’s influence, and definitely not a bad one. but there are some days when upsetting what ifs start to pick at my brain and all the negativity i’ve managed to avoid suddenly comes and sits upon my shoulder, like an annoying bird pecking my ear, except this one bird weighs a ton. human beings are weak, and a tiny peck, a nudge if you will, is enough for us to give in and descend into this underlying world of all things bad.

three seconds for your mind to register the thought; two seconds for you to frown or scrunch your eyebrows because you’re obviously startled by its sudden intrusion; four seconds for you to mull over your options panic and a hint of pity for yourself , one second for you to choose whether or not to continue that harmful four second streak.

that’s the thing though – if you refrain from giving heed to the first negative thought, you can escape the subsequent self-pity and onset of inferiority complex that follows. now, the content of this particular post is an example of what’ll happen if you give said thought more attention than required: you will have in front of you a poorly structured, aimless rant, riddled with puns and humour that have traces of pity, guilt and sadness, and a clock that reads the time as ‘way past your usual bed time, young lady’.

extremely loud & incredibly close

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i haven’t done justice to this book at all; i’ve been reading it for more than a month now, i think, and it’s because i kept reading it in long intervals – sometimes i didn’t read it for a week or two altogether. it’s not that the book wasn’t interesting, in fact it’s anything but uninteresting, but the reason i was avoiding reading it was because it made my heart hurt and heavy with each page, with each chapter. jonathan foer has done an absolutely exceptional job writing this book; it’s not just a story, you can literally experience the feelings of the protagonist (oskar, a nine year old boy) on the pages; he’s used all sorts of formats of writing and incorporated the visual aspect of the boy’s feelings (if that makes sense) onto the page and the reader can’t help but understand it perfectly well, at least i did, even if oskar himself isn’t sure. i’m not done reading the book, i’ve still got a few pages left to read and yet again i’m avoiding it because a few uninvited tears have already escaped my ducts reading the last chapter, but maybe it’s just me being a lil oversensitive bb. apart from the whirlwind of feelings that accompany this novel, it’s got everything you could ask for: humour, suspense, conflict, drama, naïvety, perspective, epiphanies, analogies, frustration, sorrow, death, experiences, letters, visual appeals, a cameo by a specific someone famous, attachment, love, need, mystery, relationships and so much more. this is a book that i’d definitely want as part of my collection and one that i will read yet again once i’m done reading it for the first time because i feel like it deserves more of my attention; attention that i want to give it without becoming a jumbling mess of tears. i’ve already recommended it to a bunch of people, and i’m doing the same to you – i’m not guaranteeing that you’ll like it but it’ll definitely be a taste of something new.

my idea of the most peaceful place

“What is the most peaceful place you have visited?” When asked this question, most people misunderstand; they describe picturesque places with tall, lush green trees; still water bodies with the surface being reflected off by warm and glittery sunlight; tall, snowy mountains dominating the picture frame; places where there aren’t many people in sight and where silence serves as their companion. But, unknowingly, they are answering the question, “Where have you felt most at peace?” and not the original question that was asked. The two questions have only a slight difference that is often overlooked. However, it is this slight difference that makes each answer vary. If we scrutinize these answers, we can assume that the persons have understood the question but choose to answer otherwise because they (or as a matter of fact, anyone) haven’t actually had the privilege of visiting a place that fosters genuine peace.

The world is a cruel and brutal place, with little place for generosity and love. It’s hard to remember the day when upsetting and dismaying headlines were not littered across the newspaper. The status quo of the world is an unfortunate truth we’ve got familiar with over the past few decades. What’s ironic is that most of these problems emerge from industrially advanced societies. With breakthroughs and advancements taking place in the world every few months, it’s almost as if with every new invention, people are becoming miserly with their inherent values like respect for and kindness towards others.

 Imagine a cockfighting pit; now visualize a bigger, stronger rooster that represents the terror in the world today, dominating the shrunken and exhausted weaker rooster symbolizing all the good that’s left in the world. Terror keeps viciously attacking the oblivious Good, cornering it in a round pit that has no corners, which makes the sight seem even more terrifying. Soon enough the latter gives out tired and scarred; it lies on the ground, life leaving its body with each passing moment. What happens after? Terror remains the undefeated, reigning champion of the pit.

The word “Idyll” is described in the dictionary as an ‘extremely happy and peaceful period or situation, typically an unsustainable one.’ Why is it unsustainable? Abominable and horrid things happen everyday; we can’t possibly stop all of them from happening overnight. But the bigger problem is that for every uplifting and encouraging thing that happens around the world, there are numerous other horrendous things happening somewhere else. This is a seesaw that will never balance, let alone the day it will incline towards all the positive and good things in the world.

All of this unrest in the world is because of the unrest in the minds of the people. Long forgotten are virtues like benevolence and humanity; they have been replaced by hatred and cruelty. People feel the need to assert their opinions, and their faith in the harshest way possible. In fact, the raging conflict plaguing the world has started resembling a trend: it involves silent spectators who get to sit back on their plush couches, type a few pitying words for those suffering across the world, maybe get a sympathetic hash tag trending on Twitter, and that’s pretty much it.

The truth is always bitter and it is safe to conclude that we’re not anywhere close to what a peaceful society should be like. It’s been said quite often during times of distress, that ‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ In such unsettling times, the one thing we can hope for is a united vision – one that assuages the damages at least at a superficial level. It is hard to imagine a world without all this turbulence and negativity, but we’ve got to start somewhere. My vision, in particular, may sound a little far-fetched; but it’s not. Instances that straight out attack humanity aren’t supposed to happen. Whatever happened to the days when people left their doors open at night and slept without any apprehension of an intruder in the house?

My idea of the most peaceful place is a new and improved version of Earth where three mass shootings don’t take place in the span of just five days; where rape victims don’t have to write a letter to their assaulters to justify themselves; where a singer isn’t shot on stage during her own concert; where terrorist groups don’t tarnish a month of charity, prayer and self restraint into a time of terror and bloodshed; where people of colour aren’t ruthlessly shot down because they were assumed to be reaching for their ‘guns’; where the LGBTQ+ community isn’t bombarded with bullets by a hypocrite who resents their very existence; where an Islamophobic, racist and egotistical individual isn’t a plausible candidate to serve as the President of a superpower nation; where I don’t have to keep listing horrifying and toe-curling incidents just to make everyone realize that there is much to be done before everything is right in the world.

Earth 2.0 doesn’t have to be a utopian world. If everything were perfect, it would not only be a monotonous society but also a stagnant one. There is so much diversity in the world, that conflicts in the future are bound to happen, it’s something that can’t be avoided. But as someone once wisely said, “Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” 

 

Admire

untitled feelings

I’m a writer. At least that’s what I consider myself to be, on good days. I write to express thoughts I can’t say and/or have trouble articulating out loud. I write to express thoughts that I can’t share with anyone else. I write to express thoughts I can ponder over again and again because it is written down in ink. But there are times, times like this, when I just don’t know what I’m feeling. Usually when I’m confused or my thoughts are just straying and jumping from one topic to another, I write in an attempt to stop the disorderly ripples in the water that is my mind. But right now, I just really, truly don’t know. Am I happy? Sad? Excited? Worried? Afraid? Ambivalent? I hate not knowing what I’m feeling. But then again, don’t ripples in water add to its beauty?