And Tonight We Grieve

It has happened yet again.

Lives scarred. Lives lost. Lives unceremoniously snatched away from unsuspecting innocents.

A hefty price paid to feed the chasm of human depravity. The price of life.

What little value it holds.

We burn candles. We mourn. We thank our stars in gratitude for not being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

We try to empathize. But, no human experience is ever enough to translate the pain felt by our brethren today. The pain of families left behind. What they wouldn’t give for another minute with their loved ones.

A massacre. A deranged soul. A gun. A law. A Lobby.

It’s time to take stock and weigh. An agenda against a life. A gun against a bullet peircing through the flesh.

Because tonight, we grieve again.

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Breaking the Mould of Peer Pressure

A question that sometimes drive me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve been aware of the realisation that most of the time my likes and dislikes are quite different and distinct from the people around me. It would appear as if the whole world is obsessing over a certain fad at the moment while I’m unable to see any charm in that particular thing. More often than not, I absolutely abhor or despise it.

Time and time again, I’ve tried to ascertain the reason behind this discrepancy, because, like everyone else, I wanted to fit in or felt pressured to do so by peers. I failed to understand if I did not want to follow the beaten path merely because so many others were doing the same or was there some other factor involved? Would I have given the object/substance/matter in question a fair chance in vacuum without knowledge of the fact that people were going bonkers over it? It was baffling and somewhat disconcerting.

As of yet, I have no answer. Over the years it had become more and more difficult to define my own choices, to choose my own desires. It was easy to get swayed by popular opinion because of the tendency to be one of the flock. Any deviation from the ordinary is usually looked upon with scepticism and I really did not want to draw attention to myself. Was I being true to myself, however, was an entirely different question. All the lines had gotten blurry.

What I do know, today, is that it’s alright to be different. It’s alright to think differently, to choose differently and to decide differently. Peers are just that. Peers. They are not you. You’re your own person. It does not matter why your wavelengths don’t match those surrounding you. What matters is being unperturbed by their existence and concentrating on your own. So many children buckle under peer pressure. So many college kids get goaded into doing things they don’t like to the extent that it they end up ruining their lives. It is important to learn to say no. To put your foot down and draw the line between what is acceptable to you and what isn’t. No one can take the right away from us. All that’s needed is a simple assertion from our end. Within no time at all the notion of fitting in would look like the smokescreen it actually is. Sooner or later, invariably, everyone ends up finding like minded people. Thus, it is imperative to thrive in your individuality rather than to suppress it, to let yourself grow into what you’re meant to be and not what others would like to see you as.

At the end of the day, and also to answer the questions I posed earlier, remember the words of the good ol’ Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland – “We’re all mad here”.

To Feel Again

“Happy is the heart that still feels pain”

Getting hurt is part and parcel of life. Nobody refutes that. Getting over the hurt and moving on, albiet a humongous task, takes place around us everyday. We’ve grown to take it in our stride. What is incredibly special, however, is the ability to preserve the capacity to feel pain within our hearts. It is easy to shut ourselves out, protect our emotions and become indifferent towards everything. When you won’t feel a thing, you’d become immune to feeling hurt.

Yet, such well-intentioned guarding makes us blind to the happiness coming our way. It desensitizes whatever empathy we may have been able to feel towards our fellowmen. It turns us into highly functional robots.

The human spirit of resilience though is unparalleled and undaunted. After a stretch of such emotionless wading through life, it raises its head and brings us back on track. Once again, we open ourselves to the possibility of getting hurt by allowing ourselfs to affiliate. Even though we’ve been made wiser by our past bitter experiences, we try our best to not let it reflect on our present and future, we do not prejudge, we give every person we come across a fair fighting chance. How amazing is that?

So here’s to all the Bravehearts who plough through all the hurt, pain, suffering and are able to feel again. It’s true, happy is the heart that can still feel pain, because it’s what makes us human. It’s a language more universal than any other. We might not be able to understand the words that come out of someone’s mouth in a language foreign to us but we can never fail to see the pain behind someone’s tears or the scars etched across someone’s skin. And then, despite all odds, despite all unfortunate events that life has thrown our way, we are able to show love and help them overcome their grief.

On this note, I leave you today with a beautiful song by Ingrid Michaelson called “Everybody”. I’m also sharing it’s lyrics below the link for everyone who is too busy or is not in a place where he can play music right now.

PS. I’ve done a couple of posts where I share my thoughts and then end with a song having related lyrics. I would love to have your feedback to know if I should continue with them or if my song choices don’t really click with you. Thanks!

We have fallen down again tonight
In this world it’s hard to get it right
Trying to make your heart fit like a glove
What it needs is love, love, love
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open up your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

As I walk along the streets of my city, I see faces abound. Regardless of all their differences, I see them share a commonality. They all wear a harrowed, tensed and worried expression. It baffles me to see the time, energy and effort we waste in worrying over things beyond our control, since worrying in such cases can do no good. It saddens me to see people worrying over things that might very well be in their control – wouldn’t it do more good to expend effort into working towards solving the problem rather than worrying over it?

Now, I’m not religious by any stretch of imagination. However, I did study at at a catholic convent school and can sing hymns even in my sleep, if needed. A few words from one of those hymns learned during those wonderful, childhood years leap to mind in the hope that they might provide motivation, perspective or even some mood upliftment and, thereby, dispense with some of the worry doing the rounds.

Here goes nothing…

Do not worry over what to eat, what to wear or put upon your feet. Trust and pray, go do your best today. Then leave it in the hands of the Lord.

The lilies in the field, they do not spin or weave, yet Solomon was not arrayed like one of these.

The birds in the air, they do not sow or reap, yet God tends to them like a shepherd tends his sheep.

If you believe in a higher power, I needn’t say anymore. If you don’t, let me draw your attention to the lines “go do your best today”. Isn’t that all that we can actually do? Do your best, reap the results. Even if the benefits aren’t much, one would be able to sleep at night with the satisfaction that there was nothing more he could have done. Have faith in yourself. Trust your abilities. Push yourself and get ahead in life. Work towards what you want. When worry tries to knock you down, say “not today”. Live a happier life. Live a fuller life.

On a parting note, I’d like to leave you all a link to a wonderful song called Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. It’s had a permanent spot on my playlist since I was a kid. It’s bound to lift your mood in its own funny, peppy way. Give it a listen! And a very happy Monday to you all! (Sorry for making it a motivational one).

Of Gratitude and Giveaways

As the title suggests, the current post is two pronged. I have previously written on the need and importance of counting one’s blessings (to read the post, click here). Continuing on the same note, I wish to express gratitude today to all the people who are part of the sweet, little community that I’ve managed to form in this wonderful world of blogging.

WordPress told me that I am a hundred posts old now. This made me look back on how far I’ve come and in how little a time. Needless to say, I couldn’t possibly imagine embarking on the journey this has been without the love, support, encouragement, inspiration and constructive criticism which each one of you has taken the time and effort to shower on me. You all know who you are, and I cannot thank you enough!

This realisation became more profound in recent days when I had fallen very sick and could not post any new content for a long, long while (I understand that my hiatus lasted only three weeks but for someone who posted and interacted daily, it felt like an eternity). The warmth with which you welcomed me back has left me very touched. What filled me with a deep sense of belonging was the fact that you noticed my absence. Isn’t this what our lives are all about? Creating a mark of your presence so that you’re missed in your absence? Now, I do not claim to have done that in the measure it’s usually spoken of but your love definitely fills me with a similar feeling.

So thank you, thanks to all of you for letting me become a part of this wonderful and giving community. For opening your arms wide when I made my foray into this world with baby steps. And lastly, for sticking by me all through. You are all deeply treasured and cherished by me each day.

Coming to the second part of this post – I come bearing gifts!

The absolutely brilliant author, Mr. Christopher Hepworth, who just happens to be someone who’s works I’m always going to keep a keen eye out for, is about to launch his third book! The Last Oracle releases in September and it would have the suave negotiator, Sam Jardine, back in action. I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the book ASAP. Sensing my desperation and plight with his internal radar, Mr. Hepworth has very kindly and warmly invited all of us (yes, it includes all of you lovely readers) to become a part of his book launch. There are some interesting competitions lined up for you too. What’s more is that you also get a chance to win a free copy of the soon to be launched book! Feeling excited yet? Then hurry up and click on the link down below:

http://christopherhepworth.com/launch-team/

For your convenience, here’s a little sneak peek of what The Last Oracle is about:

“As a series of bizarre climate-related events occur across our planet, it seems the world is edging towards a catastrophic tipping point. Rex Daingerfield is the owner of a giant fracking company that seeks to exploit a rich seam of gas in the environmentally sensitive Greenland ice shelf. But Daingerfield has a nemesis – his daughter. Born to an Egyptian mother, she is inducted as the Oracle of the Temple of Sekhmet. Her role is to protect the earth from the likes of her father. The Oracle recruits the world’s greatest negotiator, Sam Jardine, to convince her father to change his destructive business model. But a secret society of the rich and powerful stands to profit from the chaos that has gripped the world. Led by an errant priest from the Temple of Sekhmet, he will do anything to stop Jardine. As the planet edges closer to disaster, Jardine is confronted by politicians, lobbyists, vested interests – even his own radicalised half-brother – all of whom stand to gain from the mayhem about to be unleashed.”

If you’re new to the enigma that is Sam Jardine, click here to read my review of the book in which he made his first appearance.

Please do let me know if you decide to register and become a part of the book launch team by commenting down below!

More than Breath and Bones

They will remember for a year,

They will talk for a month,

They will mourn for a week,

And they will weep for a day.

You’ll become a name

To be taken with a sigh

Till their minds are shattered

By another tragedy.

They might hold a wake,

They might create a memorial,

They might build a sepulchre,

They might even sing an ode to your sorrow.

Yet, in the end,

It does matter.

The life you’ve lived, the memories you’ve created, the love you’ve given and the love you’ve received.

You’re more than the sum of your parts. You’re someone’s hope, someone’s inspiration, someone’s support, someone’s desire, someone’s family, someone’s entire life.

So when you feel you’re falling,

When the future seems too bleak,

When you feel like giving up,

Take a long hard peek,

At the pages of your life,

At the imprints left by people,

At the threads interconnected,

At the lives interwoven.

Then pull upon the spirit of human resilience,

And show your demons

That they can’t get you down

Because you’re not alone in this battle,

You’ve got an army by your side.

Then rise,

Rise again,

From dust and dirt

Because you’ve undergone a trial by fire

And proven to be more than just

A whisp of breath and a skeleton of bones.

The world is still reeling in the aftermath of Chester Bennington’s suicide. I, for one, am yet to come to terms with the fact that Robin Williams, the quintessential joker, suffered a a similar end after battling depression. There are thousands of other souls who have given up or are in the process of losing their hold on life. Every day is a struggle, each moment, an insurmountable challenge. I wish I could do more to help them. I wish there was an instant cure, a remedy that could take away all their ailments. There isn’t. But what we, each one of us, can do is spread the word on the importance of mental health. Break the taboo surrounding mental illnesses. Uplift these tribulations to the same level of concern that our physical well-being is regarded with. Because, for lack of a better comparison, mental illness is akin to cancer, a tumour that gnaws at us from within. A parasite that lives within us and thrives on us. And in the end, it eats us whole. An early diagnosis and apt treatment, however, is still our best and safest bet. So reach out, recognise mental ailments, get their victims/patients the help they deserve. Do not undermine their pain, alleviate it. Do not make them pariahs, their own minds do that enough. Every step, be it counselling, therapy, or medication, helps. So let’s vow to open our eyes and gently, but surely, in the words of another troubled soul, heal the world. I am urging everyone because more often than not the victims of mental illnesses will be unable to identify their symptoms, but the people around them can very easily notice red flags. So let’s all do our bit and help our fellowmen.

To read more on the importance of mental health awareness and a poetic description of some illnesses and how they affect victims, click here.

I would also like to thank Christine Ray, who has a wonderfully inspiring blog – http://www.braveandrecklessblog.com – for the title and last line of this poem. “Breath and Bone” was a writing prompt challenge hosted on her blog and although I’m too late to submit an entry for it, I do wish to thank her for coming up with words than can be interpreted in a myriad ways and depict the struggles faced by us.

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Close, but no cigar

I find most of social media inundated by posts titled “letters to my ex” or on a similar vein. They spell out all the reasons why a certain someone was terribly wrong for you. Ironically, this realisation, or shall we say revelation, usually comes to light only when one has moved on to another significant other who feels just right. What baffles me is how when you scroll down to the time when the posters were falling in love with their apparently toxic ex’s, they seemed deliriously happy. As much as they are with their current situation. I understand people change over time. What I don’t get is how, in retrospect, we fall victims to tunnel vision and only see faults in others. Do we forget that the wrong person was completely right for us at a certain point of time? Or are we agreeing we plunged into relationships without first knowing the person and/or analysing if they are compatible with us or not? Hundreds of similar questions pop up in my mind and I’m sure the hypocrisy, or foolishness, call it what you will, could not have escaped the notice of countless other people.

Yet, the amount of vitriol spewed everywhere is nauseating. 

So to every friendship of mine that parted ways down the line in order to be substituted for one that stood the test of time and is still going strong, to every other relationship in my life that ended only to make way for something so beautiful that I’m always at a loss for words to describe it, I am not going to say you were wrong for me or I regret being with you. I get that we could have made it past the finish line but we fell short. While the current “we” won the race, you were a close and well deserving second.

I’m going to sum it all up by saying – Close, but no cigar.

What do you feel about failed relationships in your life? Are you still in touch? Are you civil towards each other or is there a lot of resentment? Do you think my approach makes sense? Let me know in the comments down below!

Made To Be Me

Reblogging because it takes a lot of courage to open up. It takes even more to create a blog and put your words out there. Go read this amazing blog and you’d have nothing to regret. 😊

December Rose

*WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST*

I’m going to try something new today and tell you something about myself using the one-word daily prompt… Because I may only have five followers, and those only from the daily prompt posts, but I’d like to reach out and reveal myself more blatantly to those five followers.

I see the “insights”… Any time I post something without using a reference to the one-word prompt, it goes unread except by my friend, Carly. And I love her for that. But I have this blog to be discovered as a writer by other people who aren’t yet acquaintances. So I use the one-word daily prompt tags, and I get 10-15 views from around the world, and it’s super exciting, but then I realize that they are likely only reading a glimpse into how I think and see the world. Granted, that’s a bigger part of who I…

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Dreamcatcher

She woke up with flailing limbs and clothes covered in sweat, even as new beads of perspiration took form on her brow. Gasping for air, she looked around wildly, surveying her surroundings for any sign of the monsters that might have followed her back to reality.

Leaping off the bed, she ran to the window and looked out, searching for the moon to bathe her in its calming, embalming light. She sighed once and shook her head, shaking off the worst of her fears.

But the window pane glimmered as if the glass was fluid and she let out a piercing scream. This was unreal, she realised, staring hard at that surreal glitch. She closed her eyes and accepted that she was trapped within a dream.

Continue reading “Dreamcatcher”