500 followers – My Delirious Speechlessness

My blog’s family reached over 500 followers today! It’s been growing at a steady rate in recent times for which I couldn’t be more grateful. When I started out, I used to pen down my thoughts and never expected anyone to read a word of it. Basically, it was an online version of a dear diary. Gradually, I started writing on topics that mattered to me, that touched my heart and the ones I could not go to sleep without talking about. That’s when people started reading and responding to my posts. With your love and constant encouragement, I even started writing poetry. Something I thought I could never do. Surprisingly, you did not shy away from showering your love on all my poems. So much so that poetry has become my primary form of writing these days.

Your comments have been kind and motivating. What greatly humbles me is that more than 500 writers and readers out there found my blog worthy enough to give it a place on their regular reading list. What inspires me is the number of beautiful souls that have reached out to me by way of this blog. You are, each on of you, a blessing. Especially when I look at your thoughts on my posts pertaining to social justice, feminism, mental health and the like.

I believe it is an unparalleled feeling to come across a kindred soul. Today, I’m proud and grateful for having an entire community of kindred souls.

Like I keep saying, my door is always open for all of you. Be it to discuss important world events, personal experience, to have a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to confide in, an agony aunt or even someone to just share a moment of silence with, I’m always here for you. I promise to uphold this no matter how large this family grows.

I’m elated, delirious, overjoyed and beyond thankful. Thank you!

I would also like a moment to ask you to be kind enough to let me know in case there is any particular topic in your mind that you would like me to write on. I’m always open to ideas and nothing would make me don my writing hat faster than a suggestion by one of you.

Furthermore, I try to visit blogs of everyone who likes, comments and follows my blog. In case I’ve missed out on doing so, I assure you it’s entirely inadvertent. If there’s any piece of writing that you would want me and other fellow bloggers to read, please leave a link for it on the comment section down below and I’ll do so right away.

Thank you for being the wonderful people that you are.

Forgive me my rambling and repetitions. I’m truly happy. I’d never thought I’d reach this milestone. Now that I’m here, I’m raring to write more and read even more!

Lots of love,

Varnika.

PS. – As you can see from my picture, I’ve been reduced to doing monkey shenanigans in order to cope with this news. 🙈

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The Feminist Propaganda

I’m unapologetically a feminist. Therefore, I’ve always been inundated with questions ranging from “How did you become a feminist?” To “Are you anti-men?”

So, clearing the air and giving rest to all the brouhaha surrounding this issue, here’s my two cents.

Firstly, let me clarify that when I say feminism, I do not speak of it as the ‘trend’ or ‘fad’ that is taking over the world. It is neither a fashion statement nor an attempt to be “in” or considered “cool”. It’s also not a ringing endorsement to celebrities who call themselves feminists without even knowing what it means.

Feminism, simply put, is the understanding that every person deserves to be treated equally and fairly, based on his worth and not his gender, colour, caste, creed or race. Arguably, this should be common sense and the norm, rather than something to be advocated for. However, we’re far from living in a utopian society. Thus, the need for feminism. It’s a call to abolish inequality. It’s a call to acknowledge basic human rights. It’s a call to recognise talent, value and worth, not how or where you were born. It’s that simple.

Coming to the pressing issue of how or why I became a feminist – Let me tell you that it is not a religion that I converted to, not an agenda that I discussed tabled over a conference, nor a propoganda I signed up and subscribed for.

I’m a lawyer by education and a writer by disposition. Both of these happened long before feminism caught on as the next big thing. Maybe even before I knew there was a word with a meaning like that. Yet, I chose professions and vocations that did not discriminate by gender. I’m not a lawyeress or a writeress. I find it degrading that we need to segregate actors into actors/actresses and the like. Why does one’s profession need such a delineation if it weren’t for the purpose of according an unequal treatment in some sense or the other? It’s not as if the non classification of a lady artist as an actress would have led to believe she were a man when I see her on the big screen? Does it even matter if a character is played by a man or a woman as long as it is portrayed impeccably?

So, I guess it is sufficient to say I did not become a feminist. I was born one. I was raised as one and I will continue to live as one till feminism is no longer needed. Till all people are, indeed, considered equal. I’m a feminist by nature and by intent. If only the world knew better, they’d be feminists too and systematically abolish all biases that make one man consider himself to be more entitled than his brother.

I apologise for the long ranting but I do firmly believe this needed to be said. Thank you for reading.

Love,

Varnika.

Finally, a White Christmas (#Blogmas 1)

Hello my lovelies!

It’s been a long time since I’ve spoken with you (discounting the ramblings of my heart seeping through poems). So here I am today. November has been a long and arduous month. I couldn’t be more glad that it’s over. December’s here! Finally! It’s my second favourite month of the year. I’m partial towards January because, hello, birthday month!

Continue reading “Finally, a White Christmas (#Blogmas 1)”

Giving Thanks – Meet and Greet Edition

Hello!

I know Thanksgiving is over but I couldn’t post at that time due to an exam I had slated for today. Yet, I have so much to be thankful for that I did not want to let this opportunity pass me by. So, here it goes.

Firstly, thank you and THANK YOU! I’ve reached 425 followers today (does a happy jig). It might not seem like a lot to many of you on here, but, believe me, I’d never even considered it to be a real possibility a couple of months ago. What overwhelms and inspires me is the amount of love and appreciation showered by each one of you on all my posts. I look forward to reading each and every comment every morning. I try my best to respond to them all. If I’ve somehow not interacted with you yet then I hope you’d be able to forgive it as an inadvertent omission. The fact that so many bloggers and writers, whom I ardently admirer, take the time to say a few words about my writings is very humbling. So, today, my first and foremost, and intently heartfelt gratitude goes out to each and every one of you who reads, likes, comments on and encourages what, untill very recently, had been a baby steps like foray into the beautiful and astounding world of writing.

On this joyous occasion today, I am thinking of hosting a virtual Meet and Greet. Only if a sizeable number of you are interested though! If you intend to participate, here’s how it will go about –

  1. In the comments section down below, please introduce yourself in one sentence.

  2. Introduce your blog and the topics you like to write on along with the nature of your writings, for eg., Poetry, prose, flash fiction, essays, etc.

  3. Post the link to your blog.

  4. Post a link to a post that you’d like people to read. I would definitely be visiting every blog and every post mentioned here.

  5. Please put all of the above in one wonderful comment.

I promise to get back to each and everyone of you. I’m hoping all the participants would go visit each other. At the end of this week, I’ll do a shout-out session too!

I eagerly await the chance to get to know you, your blogs and to read your lovely posts!

Since I’m asking you to tell me a little about yourself, it’s only fair to even it out. So, just for fun, I’m throwing in the chance to ask me any one question that you might want me to answer!

Thank you for reading and for participating!

Love,

Varnika.

Beauty and Beholder

He sees me

When I wake up each day with a swollen face and groggy eyes.

He sees me

When I’m sleeping each night in an oversized tee and a messy bun. Mouth open, probably drooling. Definitely kicking and wacking him with my immensely restless, flailing limbs.

He sees me

When I’m stuffing my mouth more than its full capacity on finding my favourite food. Dropping crumbs all over my dress and have smears of sauce surrounding my lips.

He sees me

When it’s that time of the month and I’m in my granny panties. Flying off the handle at every tiny thing. Then breaking down and crying at absolutely nothing at all. Till I’m left with a bowl of ice cream, watching shows through the night to comfort myself.

He sees me

When I’m without any makeup, and with an unwashed face. When the body shaper’s off and all my flab is on display.

He sees me when I’m not feeling my best, looking my best or being my best.

He sees me, also, when I’m trying to fall in line with the age old notions of beauty.

He sees through all the trappings dictated by societal vanity.

He sees me.

And

He loves me.

Moving on

Sometimes, I look back at on days which led me to you. I wonder if I had an inkling of how drastically my world was about to change. Would I have been slightly happier, knowing good times lie ahead? Or somewhat sad, preparing myself to bid goodbye to the self I used to be? After all, I’d lived with that detached, aloof, anxious, depressed personality for almost a decade.

Would it have been akin to leaving your first home when moving into a better place? The chipped paint, those chunks of plaster falling off, that smudge of oil there and that stain somewhere else which obstinately refused to disappear. Every rip, tear, cut, scrape, scratch and wrinkle, telling a tale of days lived. Never to be revisited by my corporal self again. In ever corner, still lurking, stifled memories that used to overpower me every night. Shadows gliding on surfaces with the shifting sun, hiding and illuminating different parts and spaces, some beautiful, some ugly.

I wonder how it would have felt to cross over the threshold one final time, forever leaving behind that dilapidated structure, carrying no baggage in this journey onward.

Was it still standing in my wake? Or did it crumble and raze to the ground, no longer straining under the burden of keeping itself together for my sake. No longer a shelter, no longer a prison. No longer needed, no longer hated. Did the windows finally budge and open up to let fresh light stream in? Or did they shutter themselves forever, donning a veil in mourning?

I might never have an answer to my queries of the past, but I find solace in the fact that I am home now. The one I had always sought.

And to you, my old self –

A Dieu Vous Commant (I Commend you to God)

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A Love for All Ages

When we’re young, we have a beautiful notion of love. Our hopes and dreams are framed by Mills & Boons. Love, as we’d believe, was a perfect fairytale with a happily ever after that cannot be marred by any hardship. We fall for blue eyes, golden hair, soft, pink hands held while passing smiles. Till, one day, poof! it’s gone. It feels bittersweet but didn’t really mean anything in retrospect. Even if we look back on it just a day later. It isn’t something a bowl of icecream and a night spent weeping on our mother’s lap cannot fix.

When we’re slightly older, our idea of love mingles a tad with the unattainable. Our focus shifts from the sweet pangs of first love, to the allure of bad boys. There’s an aura of mystery and the thrill of a dangerous chase surrounding them. They hide such secrets in their eyes that it can unlock the very depths of our hearts. They leave in their wake a ruin where only pain and misery reside. Through our filtered lenses, we start believing that love is painful and sad. It comes with sacrifices and compromises. The stench of betrayal and the stain of being used are not easily washed off. We give and keep on giving till there’s nothing left for them to take. We do regrettable things to keep them around. Even to the extent of hurting ourselves. Changing our very being to suit them better. In trying to find love, we end up losing ourselves. Love becomes an illusion. Hard and ephemeral.

Then we grow older and, arguably, more mature. We move on, shutting all doors to love. Love is synonymous with hurting and we can’t take it anymore. By now we know it’s not something that is meant for us, even if it does exist. We have fortified ourselves against its sadistic nature and, thereby, alienated ourselves from any opportunity of experiencing it again.

And just then, when we’ve locked our hearts and thrown away the key for good measure, love, finally, seeps in. It comes in the form of a friendly, kind face. Of hopeful eyes. Of imploring smiles. Of hands held out to catch you whenever you stumble. Of words designed to complete you when you fumble. Of promises that are, indeed, kept. Of happiness that is freely showered. We eye it with scepticism. We relegate it to the far confines of our mind, determined to never revisit the dark days.

And yet, and yet! It finds its way. It’s built on the blocks of perseverance and understanding. It stands tall on the pillars of commitment, for better and for worse. It takes all the worst parts of you and replaces them, piece by piece, with hope, with happiness, with a sense of belonging. It cherishes you like an unparalleled treasure. It cradles you like a long lost part of your own soul.

This, my friends, is when we see love in all its glory. After a fantasy and a tragedy comes reality. A love that transcends all ages. Find it, hold it, keep it, for its not leaving you alone till you learn what it means and can start to love yourself.

Most tales of yore end with “and there were none”. This, however, ends with –

And then there was love.

Halloween, Guy Fawkes and Monsters

The Fifth of November

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

A happy Guy Fawkes’ Day to all our friends over in the United Kingdom. Enjoy the fireworks, blokes, lads and ladies! But stay safe too.

Are any of you still suffering from a Halloween induced sugar high? I know I am! And that’s despite the fact that Halloween isn’t traditionally celebrated here in India except for a few themed parties here and there. But your girl couldn’t leave an excuse to hog on some candy now, could she? (okay, maybe it was more than some but, hey, who’s counting?)

I’m a firm believer of the saying that there ain’t no Halloween without a bit of Stephen King. So I spent the long weekend curled up with his latest gift to the literary world, Gwendy’s Button Box. And no, I didn’t watch IT, or any other horror movie for that matter. I’m a big time scaredy cat with an over active imagination. Really, think Amelia Jane’s level of a runaway imagination (for those of you who grew up on a healthy dose of Enid Blyton). If I watch a horror flick, I end up with endless, sleepless nights riddled with nightmares. Answering nature’s calls in the middle of the night become a tricky affair too. I scare myself into thinking what if I look at a mirror and see a hand closing in behind me, or if I don’t look like myself? Shivers

Books, however, are a different matter altogether. The creation of a spooky atmosphere by spinning words is an awe inspiring art of which I’m a big fan.

Yet, howsoever much I tried to protect my sensitive and reactive mind from horrifying visuals, I did end up being scared out of my wits. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a movie, book or a scary costume. It was the real world and the monsters that reside amongst us.

I was at a complete loss for words when I opened the newspaper and read that a 100 year old woman was raped in a town not too far from where I live. A 100 YEAR OLD LADY. One too feeble to even raise an arm in protest. One too weak to cry out in alarm. One so ill and bedridden that she could not survive the agony inflicted on her and passed away even before she could be taken to the hospital.

Are you suitably horrified yet? Do I need to remind you of an earlier post in which I’d discussed a court case where a 7 month old baby had been sexually abused?

What world are we living in, really? Where has it been ordained that it’s okay to violate another person so brutally and sickeningly? When did we stop respecting people as human beings? As having a life?

Halloween itself stemmed from the belief that when summer ended and the darker half of the year began, the lines between this world and the spirit realm blurred and spirits, both evil and good, roamed the earth freely on this day. People dressed up in terrifying costumes so as to mingle with the monsters so that they could not be distinguished as humans and harmed. We literally, made ourselves look like monsters.

Today, I believe we need to do more in order to stand out from the vile, evil and disgusting people we live among. Differentiate ourselves. Make it known that we abhor being coupled with them as one. We detest what they do and it shall be condoned no more. Let’s bring up our children to be good people first, rather than just successful.

I know, naysayers would say our efforts would be like a drop in the ocean, meaningless and futile. To them, I’d like to point to a saying we have in India boond boond se Sagar Banta hai. Roughly translated, it means that an ocean is formed drop by drop. Every single one of it is material.

So this Halloween, let’s vow to slay the monsters within us and around us. Let it be a day of fun and frolicking and let real life monsters become a myth. Are you with me? We owe it to ourselved and the world to give it our best shot, after all!

Almost Happy

It’s Thursday night around here and morning for the other half of the world. Resounding all around me is the collective sigh of people seeking refuge in the fact that the weekend’s almost upon us. Strangely, this solace is enough to get most people through these two days to when they can finally wind down, relax and be happy. Right now, we’re in the phase of being almost happy, waiting for the weekend.

This, of course, got me thinking. Just like we’ve created the notion of weekends to drive us through hectic, stressful, frustrating days lured by the promise of two days of rest, we, each of us, have our own happy places. A comforting area where we can simply be ourselves, regardless of the troubles ailing your psyche. Thankfully, this place isn’t subject to the particular day of the week. It is very flexible like that. For some, it’s a song, for some dancing is cathartic, others like to curl up behind the pages of a book and get transported to a myriad different worlds and yet some others like to go on nature walks.

I was wondering if you’d all be so kind as to share your sanctum with me, and the people reading this post, today? The aim is to share our versions of a happy place, to remind each one of us of its existence, which usually gets lost in the humdrum affair of life, to bring a smile to our faces just by thinking of it. So, when it’s almost weekend again and we’re almost happy, we could still go to our happy places and find bliss. More importantly, in a world where we have to end up doing a lot of things we don’t like or agree with, let’s once again take care to do the ones we love.

As for me, I find nothing more calming that sitting on a window sill or on the balcony, in my favourite childhood swing, engrossed in reading a book with a cup of coffee in one hand, pausing at times and looking out into the watching people go by, the trees bend and sway, listening to the rustling of leaves. In doing so, I leave all my tensions behind and my mind finds some rest. I’m happy. I guess I’m a firm believer of Lewis Carroll’s saying-

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.

I’d be overjoyed to hear what makes you happy in the comment section down below. If thinking about it could bring even a hint of smile to your wonderful face, I’d feel fulfilled today. Thank you for reading!

Love,

Varnika.

The Ghosts of Our Past

Hello again! So, post my previous write-up on moving on from a bad/broken relationship, I’ve received various direct messages with a lot of queries on the next step in the process. That is, of entering a new relationship and how to go about it while you’re still nursing wounds from the previous one. Now, I’m no relationship expert. Heck! I’m no expert at anything. Yet, if so many of you thought I could throw some light on the issue and took the time to message me about it, I believe it to be my blogger-ly duty to set forth my two cents on it.

Having duly made that disclaimer, I would also like to state that no advise or tip of mine has a blanket applicability. Please use them in accordance with the situation you’re in, the person that you are and rely on your own instincts too. Nevertheless, I would do my best to help out and I’m always here to listen to you!

Did I thank you for getting back to me and giving me such an amazing response? If I haven’t yet, I am immensely grateful. There is no bigger reward than seeing people read what you write, analyse it and give their feedback. So I’m in writer’s heaven right now, thanks to all of you!

Moving on with the issue at hand, you’ll see I’ve titled this post as “The Ghosts of Our Past”. Now, while I mentally pat my back for coming up with it, because I’m weird like that and also a geek, I would like you to take a moment for some introspection. During this time, make a mental note of all the red flags that made you escape your ex. It could be the fact that he/she wasn’t loyal and couldn’t be trusted, that your ex didn’t treat you with respect, or was too self centred to pay any need to your needs, etc.

You see, when we start dating someone new, we subconsciously reflect our previous relationship onto this new one. In effect, we second guess everything that his new person is doing for the fear of having to go through the same thing again. In all honesty, no one can pass such close scrutiny. Moreover, this isn’t fair to that or to you. You both deserve a chance.

So, I repeat, make a note of the red flags. Then when you meet someone new, keep yourself in check, more so over those very same issues. No one can fault you for looking out for yourself. After all, once bitten twice shy came into being for a reason. Yet, we can’t let anything from the past overshadow the happiness of our future, can we?

It is understandable to have trust issues after having been betrayed earlier. Yet, we need to make a conscious effort to remember that this new person in our life has done nothing yet to deserve our apprehension. I sincerely believe in trusting everyone till they give you a reason not to. The same holds true for all other concerns that you may have. Give yourself a fair, fighting chance. Or you could even maintain a strike card, you know. If this new person ends up doing three things out of the red flags you’d identified, he/she strikes out. But atleast give him the chance to make those strikes.

While writing this post, I’m also realising another grave concern that might marr the prospect of a happy future. Oftentimes, when things go well and like we’d want them to, we are overcome by a crippling anxiety of it all going downhill. The happiness we’re feeling in itself becomes a cause for concern. We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. The notion of unbridled happiness coming our way seems far too alien to be welcomed with open arms, calm minds and warm hearts. This, again, is an after effect of our not-so-perfect past. Every relationship begins with happiness, that is the basic premise which makes it a relationship in the first place. It’s all hunky dory till things start turning south. Hence, when we experience happiness again later in our life, we view it with suspicion. We don’t trust our luck to be good enough.

Here again lies a struggle with your own self. I wish I had a solution, a sure shot remedy for this. All I can do today, however, is to make you aware of how our own mind works against us when it comes to situations like these. The only plausible path to proceed entails working with yourself to overcome these self created hurdles. To not let them affect your future.

It’s time to bury the ghosts of our past, firmly and surely. Jettison the baggage and free yourself of all shackles. Leave the previous relationship with the person that you left. Begin anew in the truest sense of the word. Make your own new relationship, new mistakes, new happiness and new troubles. At the end of the day, we’re all richer people for it.

I hope this helps. Again, I’m always available to listen to you and to talk. Do not hesitate in contacting me. Take good care of yourselves. Let me know what you think of today’s post in the comment section down below. I would love to get your views on it. I’m sure some of you might have a better solution to this problem. Even sharing can help others see the way ahead.

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Varnika.

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