Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Eternal Quest For Meaning

Ever loved a song? So much that you play it on repeat; you tell all your friends about it; you gather all the history of the band and all their albums; you sing it all day around the house ?

Most of us would say yes.

Now, ever been through some situation in life and gone back to the same song? Did you suddenly feel enlightened as to what the writer meant by certain verses or a certain stray sentence you didn't really care about at first?

Now some of us would say yes to that too.

The song didn't change. Neither did the lyrics. Maybe the perspective did. Maybe what meaning you derive from the song isn't even close to what the writer meant. But you feel satisfied. You feel connected. You feel as though finally some stranger on this planet full of humans understands you. Isn't it always about that? The connection, the understanding.

You have your tangled story, your tiny mess, your utopia. The artist has his. The beauty of this situation is that the song or any form of art, isn't supposed to answer your questions or solve your enigma; it's just meant to help you understand. It's meant to make you feel again, to help you breathe again, to help you seek yourself so that you have the strength to step beyond yourself and clear your mess.

So think about this : We walk the same roads everyday, half the strangers that you have fleeting eye contact with are the same people everyday. You are all connected, by that one moment of eye contact, by that one bus that you may unknowingly share everyday, by that one book you both love, by the most random fact, you are all connected. And isn't that beautifully reassuring?

In this world where people die for someone to make sense of all that they are, even the most distant stranger could could be the answer to that plea. 

So what if you are shattered, what if you are lost, what if you feel like no one cares? There's always this someone on this planet who spent their entire day or week or month or year making this piece of art that was meant for nothing but you.

And if you're having the best day of your life, winning that award you always dreamt of or finally having that trip you planned for ages; there's always art that celebrates with you, for you and all that you are.





Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bring Them All Back To Life


After two long flights, followed by a long drive to the town, apart from Juultje's beautiful smile, it was this double scoop magic that soothed me.


"I was the match and you were the rock, maybe we started this fire."
Barbecue in the evening :)


Make a wish.
Always having wished to find a dandelion, I was beyond ecstatic to find this on our evening stroll by the fields


Stained glass windows, stories through the light, what a thing it is to watch those coloured impressions on the floor that no one cares to look at .


One of the many structures where those affected by the plague had been housed. 




"When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills."


From the top of the Tower of Reusel


"Lights will guide you home."


Those peculiar but endearing marriage declarations 


Sit. Stare. Take as long as you want. Take as much as you want. 


Experimenting with the black, white and the grays.


Guess who finally found a unicorn?


"And then he smiles, and in all the places around the globe where it's night, day breaks"


Beautiful chaos.


"We accept the love we think we deserve."
Love locks on the Amsterdam bridge. Those promises, those forevers.


Stuff we do when we're given an hour to move around alone


Choose your colour. After all your tea will flaunt it.


"Nothing brings to life again a forgotten memory like a fragrance."


"She stared at the stars like they were pillows for her mind and in their light she could rest her heavy head." 


Paris <3

(Article has quotes from Bastille, Coldplay, Christopher Poindexter, Jandy Nelson and Stephen Chbosky)




Monday, September 1, 2014

What Saves You?

Or should I ask, who?

They say “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” We, as humans, make mistakes. We forget, we lie, and we retaliate. We step beyond ourselves to make sure our thoughts aren’t left unheard and sometimes, we hurt those we love. Then we feel guilty and rightly so. We would bleed out bare for this one person and all we did in their weakest moment was break and hurt and hide. Now, don't get me wrong, being hurt is a sad thing but being the one who hurt is the hardest of them all. Imagine the ocean, those waves, how they come crashing at the shore; they hurt themselves but they hurt the shore and then, they do it over again.

I have made mistakes, and like most of us, I have been in a dark place after realizing so. But is anyone ever at fault? No one does it intentionally and nothing permanently changes. You don’t stop caring, you don’t stop loving and you definitely don’t stop feeling. So this mistake, this error, this inevitable spiral towards conventional human behavior, how does it end? When does the guilt surpass? Maybe never, but there’s always this moment of realization, this particular “It is alright” that saves you. There’s always this one person that steps up and pushes aside all the hurt, just to save you, just to get to get you out of that abyss of guilt.

Find that person. Moreover, be that person. Be calm, be forgiving. Let go of what hurts you, save those that may have done so in ignorance. Learn and remember that each of these moments that we waste in anger are moments that will turn into ‘could have been’s and all of the love that we try to foolishly diminish because of hurt will become the only salvation.

I have always admired the grace that these beautiful people possess and count myself immensely blessed to have such people in my life that never fail to save me. And thus, I’m going to try. Try to step up, try to let go. And I ask you to try too, because at the end of the day, whether or not it saves someone, it will definitely save you.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Travels and Homes

I have been away for a really long time now, and i truly am sorry. I busy with a few examinations and this trip. But here's the post; I hope it makes up for those I skipped :) 

This summer I flew 6831 kilometers to be with Juultje Raaijmakers, who lives in Reusel, The Netherlands, for a week, as a part of my EUmIND exchange programme. And I can assure you, it couldn't have been a better trip.

I’m going to start by mentioning some of the activities that I did there, that I just can’t do here:

• Sleep under the stars.
Yes, I can sleep under the stars here too. But whether its owing to the geographical position or the clearer skies, I have never seen a prettier night sky before. It feels amazing and completely out of yourself to be lost while viewing something as simple as “a black ceiling with tiny bright spots” or something as vast as “stars that more than a hundred times larger than our home planet. Stars, the atoms of which reside in our bodies, in our surroundings, in everything we see”; pick whichever you may.

• Jump on a trampoline.
It is a little heartbreaking to admit that I never really found a trampoline within reach to jump on. And then juultje says that she has one in her backyard. *wait wait wait. She is still recovering from the adrenaline burst and the sudden rush of excitement* There’s a very peculiar beauty in jumping on a trampoline, not many people love it, but there is. Maybe it is about those few seconds that you spend suspended in air or maybe it’s about the uncertainty of the rubber sheet that is going to receive you in a while or maybe it’s the ‘hair flying in the air’ or maybe the knot that forms in your stomach or maybe it’s just the one job that the trampoline does perfectly well, becoming your time machine to those childhood days.

• Walk out of the house and find a field or forest where I can lose myself for a while.
I have a garden, followed by a playground right behind my house. I also have a road on the other side, howling with honks all day long. Not saying that I don’t appreciate it, I have learnt to live this way. So when I go to a place where I am  surrounded by fields that stretch till the end of the horizon and where the silence at night pierces through my ears, I am surprised but more than that I am euphoric.  To have a place where you can lose yourself for a while, it isn’t much of a task; here at home, I have my own hideouts. Back there, it felt more amazing than ever to have found some without even looking for them.

• Work.
The concept of part time jobs isn’t very suggestible in India and it hadn’t intrigued me even a bit. But then, I worked with Juul for a day. And I have to say, that day is one the most memorable memories I’ve made on this beautiful trip. We cycled around a quarter of the town and delivered a weekly magazine. We covered normal houses, homes for the aged and the locality for the families with toddlers. What leaves a mark is the conversation we had – culture, opinions, superstitions, death, dreams, pressure, life, unconventionality – everything that a teenaged mind thinks, but speaks only after careful inspection.

• Cycle to another country.
Where I live, the concepts of borders, security and defense are paramount; no ones to blame but nothing can be done. And so when you’re told that the task for the weekend is to assemble together, hire tandems (cycles for two riders) and cycle to the neighbouring country, a little (maybe too much) enthusiasm goes without saying. We cycled to Belgium; just like that. We crossed forests and parks and villages and highways and suddenly, we’re there.

Juultje says that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She wants to make a difference.
I want to become an astronaut. I want to explore; I want to find answers.
Clearly she and I have very different ideologies. But does that stop us from being friends? No. Does that stop us from inspiring each other? Not one bit.

All I can say is, you breathe their air. You to listen to their music. You eat with them. You walk on their streets. You sleep under their stars. You see their passions. You see their compassion. You catch a glimpse of their life. And its peculiar, how through all the differences, you realize they're the same as you.

My trip may not be that fascinating. People go on vacations all the time. Here’s what I have learnt about travel from my recent trips – travelling isn’t about living in the best hotels or eating from the most prestigious restaurant or commuting the most comfortable vehicles. Travel is not knowing where or how you’ll be living. It’s going for the essence of the new town or village or city. It is exploring the life of common people. It is having the deepest conversations with strangers. It’s about falling in love with a new town but still missing your home with every heartbeat. It is about watching new sights but swearing to return to the spot with the ones you love. It’s about being alone but not lonely.

So, go out. Take that weekend trek. Meet new people. Talk about your problems with a stranger. Surprise your family, surprise yourself. Reach out, explore, find yourself.

I'll add a few photographs in a few days :)





Monday, February 17, 2014

The Nation We Want

“What is the nation that you want?”

Had this question been posed a few years ago, I would have given the most ideal answer.

 I’d say:


“I want a corruption-free nation; I want to eradicate poverty; I want more opportunities; I want more development; I want education for all.”

Has the answer changed now? No, but the need of the hour has.
In the past few years, the nation has seen the most radical developments. From the upheaval against delayed justice to the inception of the Aam Aadmi Party, every day, famous or infamous, has been worth noting down in history. No more do we demand eradication of poverty and of corruption. India has reached that phase in time when the youth takes the responsibility on its shoulders. Want justice? Make your demand felt. Need eradication of corruption? Join politics. Yearn for better standards of living? Give opportunities so that you receive some. This is the attitude of the youth and it is reflecting on every social development. Rape, murder, corruption, poverty, sanitation, illiteracy and unemployment aren’t just titles given to social issues that can be tackled some other day. For the youth, the time is now.

What the nation currently needs is a review and a belief. Having been governed and trained by the same voice, the dreams of the nation have become obsolete. Since independence, India has grown at a faster rate than any other nation. We faced the green revolution, developed rural and urban industries, raised the literacy rate, improved infrastructure, launched PSLVs (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles) and GSLVs (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles) and moreover, aided foreign nations in development too. Over 2013, India implemented Right to Education and made feeble attempts at freedom of cyber expression. We have accomplished the monorails and moon mission but we need fresh aspirations.

Haven’t all of us at times reached the point where we stop writing the ‘to-do list’ and actually do it? Be it out of exhaustion or the urgency of the need for change, the new wants aren’t mere wants; they are the change. Loftier issues will be confronted, one at a time. At this instant, the immediate demand is for voices to be heard, passions to be acknowledged and benchmarks to be set.

Back in 1947, India saw a revolution. Are we brave enough to make India envision another? I say yes. Our goal now is not to replicate the technical developments of Japan or the governance in the United States of America or the literacy rate of Canada. The goal is to establish a nation that dreams of new developments; that breathes in the assurance of humanity; that places ethics before greed. Moreover, the goal is to create a workforce of citizens that shall not stop until these goals are transformed into reality.

Here, I am questioned again:

“What is the nation that you want?”

I want a nation that stops wanting and starts doing. I feel proud and privileged to accept that the time of change has come and youth is powerful enough to take the reins of the future in their hands. The eternal quest for opulence will be satisfied. Yes, we have faced hardships and yes, more are yet to come. Back in 1947 our leaders took a pledge; they rested their dreams and faith in the future revolutionaries. Time has come to redeem it and we want to.