Obituary (Fiction essay)

“We are deeply saddened to inform, our beloved mother Sumedha passed away peacefully in sleep last night.”
42 years of a friendship had come to an abrupt end. Just like that. Another piece of me fallen and turned to ashes. If I was sad for her or for me, I couldn’t tell the difference. The mark of this date was etched for all of my remaining time. This loss was so permanent. 
I had woken up from a deep sleep, my morning cup of coffee had turned out perfect, I managed maintaining my resolution of not checking the phone for the first hour of waking up, the newspaper was already at my doorstep – neatly stacked, just like I prefer. Everything was in harmony and the thought of this being a great morning lingered in my head as I went through the science section of the newspaper. People do not get me when they discover that I only read one page of my 50 + pages edition. They tell me how more I can find on the internet without wasting a dime. Thing is, I know all that. I am well-versed with the internet-thing. But I am also an oldschool person. I love print more than screen. The feel of paper and ink against my fingers is my daily sensual satisfaction. Also, I don’t have to lose time and energy to pick topics to browse, the newspaper serves it like a buffet. I only ate desserts. 
This morning, I read about the last position of Voyager II in space, a blind female astronomer who listens to stars, a 10mg pill that can combat 5 different infections and how having close friends can elongate life by almost 8 years! 
Do you know that feeling of discovering something amazing and sharing it with the one that you first miss? My first thought was to take a snapshot and send it to her. We always shared interesting things. She and I, were not everyone’s regular, middle-aged girlfriends who discussed detached children, scheming in-laws, lack of sex and dying relatives. I could never put up with such discussions and that’s why I only had a single girlfriend and my need to keep her happy was natural and reciprocated. 
So much is felt for the family when someone dies. But how many families have members who really know one-another and are completely at peace with their personality? The obligation of behaving properly is so great. There is love and care, no doubt about that, but the weight of responsiblity and also, criticism take away people’s individual beauty. But friends? They know us. There are no obligations. We are chosen, loved by choice. Is there anything more aesthetic? Or any loss greater than the loss of a true friend?
She and I, we were girls on fire! Even at 56, we were creative, knowledge-loving, self-assured women who had visited every little and big café in our city. We had traveled places, went on adventures like paragliding and scuba-diving with pounding hearts. We had been two spirits with the sole purpose of making  most of our time after children had fled to their own worlds and husbands had left us behind. We had been soul-sisters, who opened a whole new dimension into each-other’s mind. Together, we were brave. We exchanged exuberant compliments even before any of us could feel useless or lonely. With her by my side, the world had been my friend. 
Until the moment I unlocked my phone, I had it all going.

Posted in Companionship, Death, Despair, Elders, emotions, family, Friends, Friendship, imagination, loneliness, longing, loss, Love, memory, notes, Old age, online, overcoming, parting, realisations, Relationships, sadness, Sister, soul, Stories, Storyteller, Time, Uncategorized, women, writing | Leave a comment

Positive or Negative?Identifying Influence

A person with negative mindset feels jealous, even threatened, of someone competent or better, where a person with positive mindset will feel inspired & bonhomie. 
The Negative’s idea of success includes bringing others down to look taller/better, while the Positive one will only push self for progress and may also try to build others up along the way. 
The former is insecure. 

The latter is self-aware.

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Lifting Obligations

How often do we settle for other people’s comfort at the cost of our well-being? It is more common than most people will openly admit. We feel that a person meeting social/family obligation is the model of a good person. Even if those obligations are floating in thin air without any cause to them. Even when it leaves you torn, move you away from your inner compass. How often do you question what is asked of you, with rationality and awareness? 
Someone recently told me – there is a thin line between kindness and foolishness. I know I have suffered more for the sake of being kind than other things because I have been foolish to feel so passionately for those asking for help, I put self on the back seat. Several times in my life, I have donated 80-90% of my resources when I needed them most, lended my grace times and last of energy in pursuing other people’s chores when I needed to invest in myself (It has been THAT bad!). It took me 31 years to now really see, I had been so drunk into this cultural crap, I was always evaluating my worth from people around me. I had developed this urgency that others need it more than me. To give is a great thing, but to give pieces of you is foolishness. Because then, others start expecting you to serve them pieces of you. Nothing less would do. 
Don’t do that! What good is a farmer who refuses to plough his own land?
If someone demands what you can’t/shouldn’t provide, wish them well and go your way. It might make you look like an A**hole but, know that people making uncomfortable demands/requests of you are no better either. 
Be kind to yourself first. There is NO shame in putting your well-being foremost and distancing from inconsiderate individuals. Cut out the Drama. You will be assuring that you live truly in whatever years that are left in you. 


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Games people play!

Let me put it in one sentence – Our ways are so fucked up!

We embrace those who pity themselves and try to empower them. AND we try to incapacitate those who come across too sure or powerful. The strong one is rarely ever genuine or deserving enough. The fallen one deserves more. The one who keeps open communications is perceived a liar, but the one who is quiet (and could be plotting) is trustworthy. We do not want to invest on someone who tells us right out that they are worthy, We’ll rather tag them as Over-confident. But, we’ll think about sparing something on someone who is unsure somewhere because he/she seems “realistic”. We call people who have done it or has it “Pompous” and shame them among gossipers for being vocal while we give an open permission to people to cry over self and admit their failures at length. Somehow that’s acceptable. Somehow that’s humble.

Our point of view about power, empathy, creativity and investment is based on out and out pessimism. We want people to have something but not more than us. Even when they are working for it and we are not.

Let me tell you one thing, TRUST those who ask for your trust. EMPOWER those who built themselves up without asking for input. INVEST in people who tell you that they can pull it off. And have your cultural conditioning of pessimism take a backseat. Be prepared to be amazed by the magic of the believers.

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Almost… <3

Night sky.
Clouds blocking the infinite.

Soaked roads.
All smells have slowly died.

Open window.
Curtains fill up, dance inside.

Murky lamp.
A bug making a climb.

Bored teacup.
Vapours vanishing into heights.

Almost remembered.
Some melody lingers in my mind,
Some melody lingers in my mind.

©Akanksha S.

Posted in Beauty, boredom, Contemplating, imagination, latenight, memory, notes, poems, Poetry, Quotes, Rain, Uncategorized, writing | Leave a comment

The Thing About Love <3

Processed with MOLDIV

Love is elusive, many say.
Even transient.
Like a wild horse, it runs free
Exhilarating to ride
Impossible to maintain.

But lovers.
Lovers know different.

They will tell you,
Love is the only thing that stays
When everything changes –
The loved one or the one who loved.

Like a Holly or a Daphne shrub
Holding to its beauty
While weathers move and rub.

– Akanksha S.

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Self-Righteousness & other things

I never liked being bullied, watching someone bully another and I do not enjoy bullying people. I do nag my close friends sometimes for fun because they know I mean no harm to their self-esteem. No conscious effort went into me becoming so. I was born a protector. Just like I was born socially awkward. Socially awkward kids may not necessarily be shy. They can be the loudest laughing, goofy, over-curious, vulnerable kids on the block. I certainly was! And unlike today, grownups then were far less judgemental towards a child. Or may be that was just my great luck to be in a family where I could practice self-love in my early years.

But with time, a lot of things changed. The society went through major transformations from the late 80’s to 2016. Bless our generation for coping up with many different worlds in very little time. And bless those who couldn’t make it intact.

All it takes for a vulnerable child to become a rebel is criticism and scrutiny. As merry as childhood was, teenage was confusing, disturbing because of the inner & outer conflicts and I’m not just talking about the physiology or hormones of a teenager. But the spiritual & physical environment as a whole during this time. As if adolescence wasn’t tricky enough!

Different people react differently to pressure & uncertainties, and I was angry. Like, I was a fire-ball who didn’t trust anyone. When you don’t know better, you hold on to the worse because the thought of emptiness is terrifying.

Give constant criticism and scrutiny to a young righteous person and you’ll get a self-righteous person. Easiest recipe! Now a days we see/post so many “wisdom” quotes that basically mean “I’m like this, take it or leave”, “I don’t compromise.”, “I hate those who think they know me.”

As a person who came and lived that thought process for over a decade, I can tell you that it is the MOST PAINFUL way to spend your golden years. It blocks a lot of learning. It blocks the flow of love and knowledge. It blocks wisdom. Your mind creates an illusionary division of “Me VS The World” and you live in this illusion, exclusive of the real you, for years. A very egotistic way to live. Underneath which is a lot of loneliness and a helpless conscience wanting to be set free.

At 30, I can tell you the fight does not go as easy as it came. You will meet people who will constantly challenge your progress with their thought-process. If during recovery, your physical environment is non-supportive of inner growth, it becomes a longer process. You will stumble a lot. I still sometimes, post strong feelings only to delete them. Because ego steps in faster than respect comes along.

But to shoot an arrow really far, the string must be pulled backwards.

It took 2 years of soul-searching. A bout of depression kept to self and overcoming extreme ideas. It took gathering the little pieces of wisdom to be my own warrior. But here’s the catch – this warrior must be the one who does not fight. An agitated warrior in an agitated war brings no harmony (Learned it the hard way). This warrior stands still in the mayhem – recollecting, accepting, forgiving and finally nothing! The journey from being self-righteous to becoming righteous, being defensive to becoming a protector again, is very consuming but it is the most important, fulfilling thing I have done (still doing) for myself.

And if you relate to any of the struggles, here are simple measures I learned which would help anyone:
1) Remind yourself that everyone may not necessarily feel as passionately as you do for several things. And that’s OK!
2) Know that you can help those who ask for it but you can only be your own warrior. And that’s OK!
3) So many people will not understand or be supportive. And that’s OK! Some enlightment are personal.
4) You may support someone through their thin and he/she may not support you in yours. And that’s OK!
5) Not everyone has to be bad or good for you. Not everyone needs to have an effect on you. And that’s OK!
6) Be inclusive. Everyone makes mistakes. You do too. You don’t have to like them and you don’t have to push them away. And that’s OK!
7) Some people can manage facades all their lives and be happy/unhappy with it. You may see it, they may not. And that’s OK! Shift the focus.
8) Some relationships might go sour in this process. Detach. Clean. Attach (if possible). That may take time but should do OK!
9) Don’t take yourself too seriously. That’s definitely going to make you feel more than OK!
10) You will still goof up sometimes as you won’t be all saints. And that’s OK! Have a laugh!

I realise that it is important to take out “self” from righteousness and above all, the thrive should lead to kindness. The point is to be kind(to self and others) before being right.

Bonus 11) You may or may not agree with this article and that’s also OK! 🙂

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Some drinking water

Just over a month back, I was having really busy days and no help at cleaning so my husband hired a cleaner. The young woman came across neatly dressed and quite unemotive. I always try to have a little chat with anyone who works for me, works with me or those I work for. You can learn a lot about a person when you talk about life. You get to know a certain something about them. Usually people like to complain but the way they talk is how you know them. Some people are angry, some hopeless, some amused and some bitter. I personally don’t like bitter ones, they take away a lot of positivity and do not respect their own work.

Her first day, I asked her a lot many questions while I gave instructions. She came back with minimal answers. Sometimes, just a plain nod. Not a blank one though. When that happens, you know you should shut up. So in the last month, all I got to know about her was that she has two kids a girl aged 4 years and a boy aged 18 months. And the little boy somehow fell on a sharp object, which pierced through his head but after some treatment, stitches and bandages he was doing ok. She took 1 day off to take the kid for check up.

That was it. I would occasionally check on her kid, she would reply with a minimal answer and showed up on time everyday.
Then two days ago, she didn’t. I called her, she didn’t pick and I let it go. Everyone deserves an off every now and then. Yesterday, she didn’t show up again. I figured that it could be her kids, briefly worried and prayed for their wellbeing and got on with my day. I thought I’ll call her if she doesn’t show up on Monday.

This morning, the bell rang and she was there. I asked her if everything is ok. She told me that her daughter was complaining about a stomach ache and she kept ignoring, thinking it will subside. She was too upset about the girl not eating properly for last 1 month and loosing a lot of weight. But she thought it must be because the father left a couple of months back. So she would scold her and make her eat. Then Saturday, the girl fell on a side after eating and began to cry. After rushing her to the nearest hospital, she discovered the little girl has 4 stones in her kidney. And by this time, her voice began quivering. Then she said, “I am 27 and I have birthed 8 children, 6 of them died. What will happen to these 2 didi?” I could not help but hug her. And the moment I did, she began to cry out. I held her for sometime, then asked her to buck up and have some tea while educating her with simple ways to stay cautious. 

My husband rushed to get the medicine, I filled her some bottles of filtered water to carry back home. And told her to take all the clean water she wants. Also, to let me know if she needs my help or some days off. Ordered a ceramic water purifier for her which costs only ₹800 for 16 litres of clean water every day for many years. But throughout this, I couldn’t even imagine the agony of a woman losing little children to dirty drinking water and malnutrition. We are so lucky…to have options for what we eat and drink…to live in clean houses…to have education and educative tools at our disposal.

While leaving she smiled at me for the first time and I realised how lonely these strong women get, that they cry over hugs. Probably all that this world needs is kindness. And clean water for everyone. 

PS: In case you too are interested gifting someone clean water, you can go for everpure water purifiers. They are pocket friendly and ISI approved. All it takes is one less movie trip. 

Posted in care, Childhood, children, feminism, food, Health, hope, Human, loneliness, loss, Motherhood, moving on, notes, online, overcoming, Relationships, Respect, sadness | Leave a comment

A letter to my greatest Love! ❤️

My Little Wizard, My Love Ahaan!

I am writing to a future, teenaged you, while you are still very young. You are a goofy, talkative, bright little boy of 4 years, both empathetic and whimsical…brimming with joy, possibilities and curiosity. Here is why I am writing this letter at all.

Sometime back, I lost a dear childhood friend to a sudden misfortune. As much as I missed him, more than anything, I felt a terrible loss for his daughter who is some months younger than you. That she will never completely know how awesome her father was, what he believed in. How he loved his little daughter to every bit…so much he would talk about how he would bring her up, what he dreams to give her, how beautiful he thought she was and how he would beat up the boys who would try to woo her when she gets older. And now, that entire he wanted for her, she may never know.

I could see my struggles in her, because I often find myself wondering what would my father have done or said. Esp. when life and people get rough. I wish I had something from him. Some word, some guidance, some strength…but he too was gone so sudden.

And these memories make me rethink everything about my life. The most haunting questions being – “What if, I’m gone as suddenly too?” “Will Ahaan ever know what I truly believe in and want to teach him?”

I know these future letters to kids are popping up every now & then. But uncertainties are so real. And our fears become more real when it comes to someone we deeply love. While jotting this down may sound like a negative idea. Esp. if you’ve read “The Secret” and laws of attractions. But my life is more like laws of opposition. 😀 Every great & bad thing has happened to me unexpected! So I am assuming (for my goodness’ sake) that this may only be used as a reminder to a future me (in case I forget!) But if I really am gone, this is for you Son.

There are many aspects of life but the thing that means the most is who you are. I do not mean your name, family, economic status, education or job profile. I mean your conscience, your identity beyond tags and your school of thoughts. Every parent has some legacy to pass on to their children. They give what they have. So far what I have with me is mindful of observance, a life filled with personal trials, small meaningful triumphs and immense passion for life(on my own terms). Again, these are only my advices & lessons from life so far. I do not  expect you to be me. You will make your own set of rules that best suit you. But try them all, and then you can practice what you like. Here I go!

On people: 

  • Compliment people when you admire something about them.
  • Never ill-treat a person because he is unable to match your expectations. Ill-treat no one if I may ask. It robs us of our own self-esteem because when we act badly, we shrink during our reflections.
  • Some people cannot live without drama in their lives and they rope everyone around them in it. Just walk away from the drama.
  • Respect everyone but keep that spine tall.
  • Do not let anyone define you – for good or for bad.
  • Don’t believe everyone. Most people’s version of truth is individual.
  • You will meet only a handful people who will say as truth is. You will know when you meet them.
  • Never react harshly to anyone’s food, sexuality, appearance, disability or culture.. No matter how much it shocks or discomforts you. People are sensitive about these.
  • Forgive good people. Forget petty people. Leave mean people.
  • Always say a “Thank you” to those who work for you or provide you services.
  • If someone’s always the victim in every harsh situation, they are probably the culprit.
  • Never take injustice in the name of Feminism just because you are born a man. And yet, strive to be a feminist because true feminism is about equality, freedom, charity and dignity.
  • Accept people for who they are. You may just torment yourself trying to save people who don’t want to be saved. Everyone makes their own choices.
  • Hold doors for the women with you – old, young, rich, poor, pretty or not. Chivalry is absolutely charming.
  • Be gentle to children & women. A strong man always is. Everywhere women go, they go through a lot. If you respect a woman she will, most probably, multiply it while reciprocating.
  • Keep the lowest standards for being friendly. Befriend anyone to everyone – from a rickshaw puller to an aircraft pilot. Just be receiving to goodness and you will find a friend everywhere.
  • Ask people their stories!

On Kindness: 

  • Choose kindness and rationale over Religion.
  • If you have 3 breads share 2 with the ones you love and give one to the needy. Nothing feels more rewarding than giving.
  • Never count a good deed done out of love & kindness. What’s given is given. It no more belongs to you.
  • Ruffle a poor child’s hair, share knowledge, greet an elderly stranger, offer your seat to someone who needs it. You may be the only one giving them any recognition.
  • Kindness is the biggest virtue and it is powerful one too. It neither requires you to bend down nor does it mean that you offer too much of yourself for anyone’s benefit.
  • Do no harm, but take no shit.

On Friends & Family: 

  • Be there for them in need, but don’t halt your growth for anyone. Life is big, filled with opportunities and young is how you start!
  • Do not let an addiction define you. Be it alcohol, smoking, substance, money, need for attention or material things. And also, never put up with an addict for a friend or family. Help them but if they are unwilling to help themselves, let them go.
  • Words matter little when compared to action and intentions. Words matter a lot when they are used to sooth and express.
  • Do not bow to someone who doesn’t even recognise that you have a spine.
  • Hug people often.
  • Your company effects your life. I’ve been drained, terrible, lonely with wrong people by my side and I have been at my best with the right ones.
  • Don’t make business or monetary transactions with relatives and friends. There is a lot of respect and trust at stake, from both sides.
  • Someone will tell you (even thrush on you) their shallow ideas of “Being a Man”, pause and listen to your conscience, you know better. Take your own decisions.
  • Toxic people come disguised as family & friends. Not everyone is worth your love & trust.
  • Most old chaps usually just want to have a chitchat.
  • Have a respectable distance in every relationship. No two trees can grow tall and wide if there is no space between them. They will either clash or one/both of them will grow disfigured. Demand and give personal space.
  • Don’t make promises you know you cannot keep.

On your Dad

  • He does not express very well but he tries.
  • While most fathers leave the infancy and toddler responsibilities all to Mothers, he has been there for you.
  • He puts you first on his list.
  • He wants you to have everything, but he won’t give you everything because he knows too well that being paid before efforts makes one lose sight of what is important – Work and experience. He will give you only what will help you grow and learn.
  • He is an extremely sensitive man. If I am not around, look out for him.
  • He does not share his struggles but his body language changes. If he behaves lost, treat him with some good music and a chitchat. Or just buy him some beer (only when you are above 20!)

On Health: 

  • Eat meat if you want to but respect every bit of it. We all are blood of ancient hunters. But remember, hunters too respect prey.
  • Eat for need, and not for greed. But once in a while splurge on fine cuisines!
  • Don’t take your body for granted. There will be a time when you’d be able to gorge on a family-size and cans of soda without getting fat. And if you take that for granted, there will come a day when you will start to resemble a family-size pizza. Don’t let that happen!
  • Play! Play! Play! Outdoors, indoors, percussion instruments!

On money:

  • Never be ashamed to ask anyone for the money you earned.
  • Save money, both long term & short term.
  • Save money and spend on travel.
  • It is important to having, but it is not worth fighting anyone for.

On Self:

  • Spare time for self reflection. Rethink about any complaints or hurtful comments that friends & family express. Some days that will allow you to see your latent characteristics, shortcomings & denials. Then you can decide how to deal with them.
  • If you talk about someone behind their back, it should be something you have the courage to say at their face.
  • Don’t take all the criticism personally. And when you can’t help it, confront.
  • Never. I mean NEVER take a drastic measure out of sadness. Sometimes things may become too much to take but remind yourself that it will pass. Sadness must be dealt with. It is draining too but there is always something to be grateful for. Soak a pillow, scribble a sketch or write about sadness and then, count a blessing.
  • Choose your own battles. Don’t pick petty fights. Have a concrete sense of purpose.
  • Those who do not stand for anything, fall for everything!
  • Honor your commitment; hold on firmly to your words, but not at the stake of your heart, mind and soul. If something tears you down too often, let it go.
  • Do not try to please everyone. Be accountable to very few.
  • People are curious about those who do not indulge in gossip and social judgments. It’s Ok. Let time and your hard work do the talking.
  • Explore yourself with art, music, books, movies, travel, deep conversations, long walks and meditation. Always keep learning and evolving.
  • Sometimes circumstances don’t change because people are rigid. Be determined but also flexible.
  • Laugh at adversity. Sometimes tragedies make the greatest comedies. All it takes is to see from a different perspective!
  • Keep the kid in you Alive! He will never be too old to run across the street, dance in rain and talk to just anyone. He is your inner compass.
  • Always choose to be a free thinking person. Never be afraid to stand out of the crowd.
  • Be Clever. Don’t use it to be cunning. To be or not be vile, is a choice everyone makes.
  • Have a passion that you practice every day without being bored! Try to do something great with it.
  • There will be intimate struggles that no one else will know or want to understand, be brave through them.
  • Celebrate yourself!!

On love:

  • Fall in love with someone you would proudly bring to meet your parents. Everything in this world is allowed to be cool, but to love meekly is unfair (to the very essence of human life)! Put your soul & heart into loving someone and also, keep a scope for it to break. Several times may be. But always love with your soul. Why? Someday you will know miracles worth waiting for.
  • Sometimes love means holding on, other times, it may mean letting go.
  • Remember, love is supposed to make you feel amazing about yourself. If it makes you feel anything less, don’t settle.
  • Never leave someone over a virtual dialogue or worse, a silence. Be there to say good bye. Unless, you discover that that person is a serial killer..then run in the opposite direction and rent an underground bunker for a month!
  • Love transforms into many little things when you stay with someone for a long time.
  • When done for the right person, compromises become mere adjustments.
  • You have to choose love every day for it to last.
  • Dance with the one you love.
  • Let it hurt but say the truth. Please no one at the bargain of personal integrity. Wise ones, loved ones will comprehend.

On life: 

  • Listen to every kind of music. Music can be the best first step to become more open to diversities.
  • Follow whatever calls you and sounds great. Take risks.
  • Surround yourself with a pet, a few plants (or a garden, if you can!) and lots of books.
  • Those who do not read, remain dim-witted, half-explored. So read!
  • Failures can teach you what success can’t. They will make you a better thinker, a better planner, a better doer! What matters most is trying with everything you have.
  • It is NEVER too late to go for anything amazing.
  • Knowledge is the greatest friend you can have by your side. Always strive to know better. Read. Watch. Research.
  • Look behind but don’t stay there.
  • Your circumstances don’t really make you. It is only what you choose to feel about them that contribute to your growth!
  • When you think you don’t have much, try sharing whatever little you have. When you feel nothing, no one is good – be the good. When you feel life is breaking apart, visit an orphanage.
  • No one is getting out alive!! So despite all that seriousness, practice being silly!
  • Always remember where you came from; where your roots are and respect it.
  • Choose Happy!

That’s it I guess! All the juice of my so-far limited knowledge, experiences is here. Re-read these whenever you feel stuck…The same advices will suggest differently in different situations. I have a feeling that you will have an exciting life because you are my blood! We are the rebels, the ones who challenge their minds. I pray that I’m always around to watch you grow, hold you when you are hurt and applaud for every little milestone you achieve… But just in case if life happens otherwise, you have my words!
Lastly, I just want you to know that I feel super lucky to have you! You are my entire magical universe wrapped in my arms.
Love always and forever,

Your favourite girl in the solar system, Mom.

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