Diary Entry #4 : Hope

It is getting more and more difficult to wake up each day without instantly being filled with dread. As I scroll through the morning headlines on my phone, the death toll rising rapidly, I cannot help but wonder about a four letter word – H.O.P.E.

While everything comes crumbling down around us, we are still feverishly and most ardently hanging on to some semblance of hope. The hope that it will all be alright soon. The hope that we’ll be able to meet, see and touch our loved ones soon. The hope that the worst may yet be behind us. The hope that the ones who are suffering, will learn to rise up again.

They say without despair there’d be no respite. I say, despite despair, there is always respite; because even in the darkest of days the human spirit of resilience still dares to hope. And that, my friend, is our only respite. For we shall overcome, we shall overbear all odds and we shall persist.

To all those losing hope today, hang in there. Believe. Love. And most of all, hope.

We are living in dire times, unprecedented circumstances and we are all very, very afraid. They say



In the best of cases

You’d be alive

Without victories under your belt

And feathers in your cap

Rich, for your experiences

Richer, for your successes

Richer still, for all your failures

Better now

Than when you started

Hopelessness’ despair

You’d have thwarted

So do it

Give it your all

Take life by the horns


In the worst of cases

You’d be alive

With more than a breath left in you

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).

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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Flying Solo No More

Just a boy still he was, in the body of a man.

Ploughing through life, yet painfully aware

Of lies, deceits and selfishness.

If only had hadn’t fallen victim to this ploy so soon

He’d still have had friends rather than a bunch of letdowns.

So, yes, he went through life keeping people at bay

An arm’s length was the maximum allowed leeway.

While others huddled together in groups to share their joys and sorrows

He always found solace on the roof in the company of his thoughts and stars.

Till one day he found that this wasn’t really enough.

He spun a fantastical world in his mind to escape from reality.

The few moments of lucidity that he still couldn’t control

He chased away with drinking bottles of alcohol.

Then one night while returning from a drunken soiree

He looked up at the stars and their twinkling got to him.

“Are you listening to me?

When I speak, do you even hear?” He bellowed

“I can’t, I can’t, I just can’t go solo anymore.” He knelt down and pled.

Two days later he came across a soul.

Swimming in despair like him yet plastering a smile on her face.

He thought she was his light, little did he know he was becoming her respite.

She talked to him and shared herself

While he listened in bewildered awe.

Till her words gave him the comfort to let flow his feelings raw.

Now they both cling to each other and smile and laugh and play.

Cause it was love that forged their eternal bond, born from despair.

The stars smiled down as they walked hand in hand, enlivening the other’s respair.

For more poetry, click here

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There are things that can be forgotten. And things that cannot – that sit on dusty shelves like stuffed birds with baleful sideways staring eyes. – Arundhati Roy

Certain moments, certain people, certain things, somehow get etched in our minds very deeply. Come what may, you know you’ll never be able to forgot them. Years later, unexpectedly, while doing something completely unrelated or even while doing absolutely nothing, a memory will emerge from the depths of your mind, leaving either a lingering smile or a painful sigh only to vanish again and resurrect later.

Curiously enough, such instances are never augured by any omens. They just happen. Your path crosses with a stranger who’ll never know that a portion of your mind will now forever be dedicated in remembering him. This is weird as much as it’s enigmatic.

Sometimes, however, they come as a respite from this burden of life.

One such moment changed my life.

I remember vividly, like it was yesterday, how I was driving down to the riverfront with scattered thoughts and tear-filled eyes. I was in desperate need for a break from life. So much had happened. Everything seemed out of control. Yet, life itself was at a standstill. For many months, I’d been feeling like a bystander as my own life passed me by. This night, however, I just couldn’t breath. Hence, the drive. Unfortunately, it was doing nothing to clear my mind. On the contrary, it gave me ideas that are still too scary for me to pen down. Just as I reached my destination and scrambled out of the car to take in the cool breeze, however, my phone chimed. It made me frown as I was quite sure I’d turned it on silent. I hadn’t responded to a single soul that day. Hence, curiousity got the better of me and I squinted to see who the text was from. To this day, I have no idea what unseen force made me respond to it. That person was neither family nor a close friend. He was a mere acquaintance whom I’d met twice as a teenager and who now lived halfway across the world. We’d recently got talking but nothing that warranted a reply from me in the circumstances I was in at that time. Yet, while I ignored every other person, I responded to him. Weirder still was that he immediately gauged something was wrong. Then, even more surprisingly, that stranger proceeded to do everything in his power to lift my mood from halfway across the world. He even managed to coax me into going back home that night which, while I was driving down, I had no intention of doing. That thoughtfulness, that kindness, that sensitiveness and that sensibleness carried me through.

Even now, so many years later, that person still carries me. Of course, I fell in love with him a little after that night. Of course, he still cares for me like his own life was on the line.

Even now, so many years later, I close my eyes and can feel that breeze on my skin, those tears warming my cheeks and that chime ringing in my ears and I know, I’ll be alright.

One unforgettable moment saved my life.

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I choose happiness

They say for the best of writing to flow through you, you have to experience pain. Poetry stems from the misery you’ve endured. This is true more often than not. Even art, music, in short, every kind of beauty seems to be a necessary corollary of pain. This has not only been proven time and time again but has been hailed as one of the fundamental truths of life.

Yet, no one talks about how difficult a place it is to be in. How difficult a choice it is, when you’re caught between the two things you love the most. One that has been your respite from the drudgery of life and the other that is a newcomer that’s got you brimming with hope.  That ever elusive, hopelessly dead hope that you’d given up all thoughts of achieving.

I’ll stop being cryptic now. What I’m talking about is the love for writing and happiness, the two things that matter most. I agree, I’ve always been best tempted to write when I’m down in the dumps. I’ve produced the most cathartic of content when my heart and soul have been aching. However, I’m tired of the misery.

People, since time immemorial, have romanticized the idea of pain by putting on blinders and seeing only the end result, the beautiful mess that comes out of it. They ignore the blood and tears that have been poured into it.

So, I’ve decided to allow myself to be happy, even at the cost of abandoning my oldest ally. I have decided to ditch the despondency, even if it means I’ll never pick up the pen again. Because what happiness has shown me is that if it’s meant to be, it’ll come to me. It’ll come back to me. It’ll celebrate my happiness with me very much like it alleviated my pain.

They say if you love something, set it free. My darling words, I’m setting you free. I hope you can be there through my joys, not just my miseries.

It takes a village

Privacy – Its no secret. Its just none of your business.

India, a place where the patriarchy, and more often than not, the entire society, blatantly comes out to judge a woman by the clothes she wears. “Exposing” skin is considered a direct manifestation of the Western thought. Believe me, following the west is the worst thing you can do here bar none.

So much so, society has even stooped to the level of justifying rape and eve-teasing by proclaiming that the victim was asking for it because she was revealing skin, i.e., she was wearing short skirts or, briefly stated, modern clothes. Trust me, no one is ever asking for it.

There is even a hashtag doing the rounds on twitter called #NotAllMen, I kid you not. This is a supposed feminist stand taken by the male gender in the country, proudly declaring themselves as beacons of morality since they are not indulging in the rape culture. Hence, not all men.

Simply put, the problem of rape in India can be easily redressed. As can be surmised by the prevalent circumstances highlighted above, not all men rape and a women is basically asking for it by wearing provocative clothes. This brings us to the obvious solution. Women, cover yourself.

If you show a patch of skin, you are readily giving up your privacy. You are declaring your consent redundant. You are inviting rape.

One can then posit why girls cannot mind such a teeny tiny thing.  Why are they still brazen enough to step out of door attired in such a manner. Why can they not take a Simple measure to protect themselves. Its just so baffling!

Its because even burqa clad women are being raped. Six month old infants are being raped. 70 year old grandmothers are being raped. So you see, the clothes don’t matter. Nothing matters..and herein lies the crux of the situation.

We, the women of India, are living in a society where a woman was shot dead in a bar because she dared to refuse to serve alcohol to a man after hours. SHOT DEAD. This man’s official defense in Court was that he was provoked. His defense was that he has been brought up in a male dominated society where men have a superior status and a woman’s refusal is a direct hit to his manhood. He has not been conditioned to bear such an atrocity. Poor man. Of course he had to shoot the woman. How dare she refuse a man!

Do you think in light of all this, a woman’s privacy matters? her consent matters? And no, there is no such thing as non-consensual sex.

It takes a village to raise a child. There is something very wrong with the psyche of a society that moulds a child into a monster. The sooner we realize this, the sooner can we treat this pandemic. Do not tell me she was asking for it, do not tell me not all men rape, do not tell me she is characterless. Do not preach morality by donning a holier than thou mantle. Get your hands dirty to clean up the muck. Tell me that what lies beneath a woman’s clothing is not a secret, its just none of your business.