XXI: Humans Making Human Life Miserable.

social-media-addiction

What I’m going to write about in this blogpost is nothing new. Nothing that you don’t already know about. And I would be a hypocrite criticizing the social media, so let me make a few things clear before hand :

  1. I am insanely addicted to social media.
  2. I want to quit. (Almost sounding like quitting smoking. Well, if cigarettes are deadly for the lungs, social media must be deadly for the brain)
  3. I am not ignoring the fact that some good comes out it : Like we can keep in touch with our long lost friends, who are not lost anymore and don’t care much about our happy social media lives, knowledge about new things, which not everyone is interested in though. What we mostly end up reading is: You won’t believe how this monkey ate 100 bananas in 2 minutes, Girl posts a picture of her cute puppy and it must be the cutest puppy you have seen in your life!.), and not to miss, we are constantly updated about events near us, which we tick going to, and then never end up going to in most cases.
  4. Why I know all these things? Well, been there done that, cribbed about it, cried, questioned my life, sanity, existence, purpose of life and wasted hours of precious sleep.

Now, getting back to the point. I’m writing this post because I want to lay out my thoughts clear about this social media issue, since I’m trying to quit this deadly addiction, and yeah I know blogging is kind of the same thing too, but my blog is very dear to me, and doesn’t get me addicted, so that’s okay.

So here’s the thing : I think social media when it started was still for a good cause. Sharing photos with people you can’t meet every day, getting back in touch with old friends, and being all nostalgic, feeling special with there were 10 likes on your photo, and so many people wishing you on your birthday.. and on and on. But almost 10 years after the new buzzing craze about facebook and twitter and the like, the social media scene is very different. It’s not the same world of sharing and caring and connections anymore. The face of social media has changed completely, and how!

Facebook cares so much about us, that it tells everyone that its your birthday and you should wish your ‘so called’ friend a happy birthday to make their day special (yeah as if that would help), it tells you what the weather is going to be like – stay dry dude, it’s gonna rain! Enjoy the sun babe, the clouds are clearing in your city! , it wants you to share something – from what you’re listening to, watching, reading, eating, drinking, thinking, breathing, pooping – everything! It really cares about your safety and keeps asking you to change your privacy settings – aww! Facebook is so sweet. It cares for us so much and doesn’t even charge money for it! Facebook is such an angel. And so is every other social media – Twitter lets us contact celebrities, though it’s a little mean, because it restricts us, and tells us exactly how much of our mind we need to speak. Instagram lets us live our dreams of becoming a photographer, writer, traveller, book expert, food expert, cooking expert, and any expert. The real experts out of which are very few. And yes, laugh as much as you want, I’m a wannabe writer too. But I’ll get over it like my fellow ones when I turn 50 and realize I didn’t really make it as one.

And oh, not to forget snapchat! It lets you be a dog, fish, cat, snake, angel, monster, ghost – you name it and you have it! Such a dream come true application isn’t it? No need to buy make up anymore.. They have it all! You can tell your friends about every little thing that you’re doing..  I’m laughing at myself as I write this, because that’s me I’m talking about. Just another social media addict trying to quit.

But the question that comes to my mind now is that – What is the purpose of all this? Isn’t it more like a vicious circle of social pressure, where beauty standards are met by snapchat filters, awesomeness of life by the countries you travel to, standard of living by the 5 star hotel check-ins in your profile, and peace of mind by the background view of your morning cup of coffee? And this is not the only question that comes to my mind :

  • Aren’t we playing puppets in the hands of people who run these applications? They ask you to tell where you’re travelling, you tell it. They ask you to share your photos from this afternoon, you share it. They ask you to wish someone a happy birthday, you do it!
  • The even bigger question to ask ourselves is – Aren’t we living under constant pressure to perform on the social media? We need approval from society about our standard of living, so we proudly boast about our pictures from our last vacation, our new job, our new relationship, our new expensive clothes..
  • Doesn’t that create pressure on the less fortunate people who are on the social media? These days everyone is on Facebook. Everyone is connected to everyone. Everyone sees everyone’s lives. But what really happens is that we see only one side of the coin. We might not even think about what that person goes through to live the happy life they present on social media.
  • In an online world where the richest and the poorest of people have social media profiles, the pressure builds up. A middle class person might not be able to afford the Euro trip, but when he sees his social media friends touring the world, the pressure in his mind builds up, he envies, questions his happiness, existence and peace of mind. In such a scenario, the whole concept of happiness changes.
  • This also allows people to openly criticize other people. The worst off in this case are celebrities who are slut-shamed and laughed at for posting anything and everything. The envy and pressure comes out in this form, where celebrities are trolled for no good reason. People think that it is okay to throw words at these celebrities – as if they are the judges of their lives. That is exactly why these celebrities want to keep their lives more private. As soon as they come out in the open, people grab the opportunity to spew ugly words on them.
  • The news that goes viral, does it really deserve to be news? Half of the times we are not even sure if it’s genuine news or just a catchy social media headline that has the power to ruin our day or night because that’s the first and last thing we do. Scrolling up and down, reading things that probably don’t even matter but have the power to damage our mood! For example , I once read the headline of an article which claimed that a son had murdered his mother and written something on the floor with her blood. My mind went numb for a minute, but when I actually read the whole article, there was no proof of the claim, only an assumption which was turned into a headline to catch attention! I mean, seriously.. These kind of things really can damage your day and brain.
  • And the final and the most basic question is – what social media makes us do, do we really want to do it? Or do we do all those things because we want to be socially accepted? Do we really want to go out on that Saturday night and be a part of the group check-in when we’d rather sleep in? Do we really have the money to afford the trip we’re planning? Are we really enjoying the food we’re eating after uploading the beautiful filtered picture? Are we really happy on that trek or we’re tired as hell and wished we’d never taken this up? Do we really care about all those issues that we support on social media? What do we really genuinely care about?

Ps. I mean no offense to anybody. This is a personal view from what I’m observed and discussed with people. If you are happy with your social media life, lucky you! If not, this should get you thinking like it gets me thinking, and together we can get over this lie that social media is, and strive for better and more fruitful human lives 🙂

 

 

When You Lose Someone – ‘Literally’..

17361531_1513476121998617_5131819622053272993_n

This morning when I sat to drink my coffee, I couldn’t control the tears. ‘Khaali pet chai coffee mat piya kar’, he would say. ‘Don’t drink tea or coffee on an empty stomach!’. 

I wonder if a person really goes away from your life after they cease to exist in form. When you lose someone close to you- literally, you realize that they never really cease to exist in your life.

I don’t know about others- but I’ve always dreamt a lot. My dreams have been too real, and once I wake up, it is too hard to come to terms with the real life. Because what I saw with my eyes closed is as real as what I see with open eyes. This morning it was a pain to wake up again to reality after what I saw in my dreams, and must have been even more painful to start studying for the exam coming up- so I chose to pour my heart out again before I get back to the real life.

This day, last month, was the last day that my dad lived on Earth. He passed away on 12th March, and since that day, I have neither gone to sleep peacefully, nor woken up peacefully. Who said he doesn’t exist anymore? I see him smiling as soon as I lie down in bed to sleep. I see him smiling, and laughing, and cracking his silly jokes over and over again. Some nights I have to shed all the tears that my eyes can shed, to be able to finally fall asleep with tired eyes. Then he comes in my dreams. Who said he doesn’t exist anymore? In my dreams, I see him in new settings, new places, and he creates more memories with me. Memories that are as real as the ones we lived together. But memories that become painful, as soon as I wake up. Because every morning, when I open my eyes, its like losing him all over again.

When you lose someone quite literally, you realize how different it is from losing a friend, or a lover after you break up or choose not to talk to them anymore. That person exists, but doesn’t bother your existence. You hate them for what they did, every bad word they said to you, but when you lose someone literally, you realize that whatever problems you had, they didn’t really matter more than the person itself. You realize how different it is to voluntarily go away from someone’s life, but when someone ceases to exist in form, you want to forgive everything they did and have them back. So I would say, Do it today! My dad always told me ‘Sab log ache hote hain‘ – that every person is a good person deep down. Only situations make them do what they do.. but deep down, deep deep down, they’re a good person. It is only now that I fully understand these words.

When you lose someone literally, you only lose them in form. Who shall take them away from your mind, heart and soul? Who shall erase their words ringing in your head? Everytime I drink coffee on an empty stomach, I hear him scolding me. Everytime I close my eyes, I see him laughing and hear him bragging that he had perfect teeth. Everytime I sleep, I see him. Its painful. Because these are dreams of separation. But people say it’ll get better with time.. Maybe it will reach a point where I live a second existence in dreams, and create happy memories with him again? Who knows what is a dream anyway? Maybe then this waking life would be a happy place to live again.

SO Easy To Tell Lies .

tumblr_nthkpdWrH81qdp0ono1_500

Image source : tumblr.com

I think we live in a world where telling lies has become acceptable and an easy escape. Well, it’s the easiest thing to do isn’ it? Want to escape an awkward situation? Lie that you have to go somewhere. Don’t want to continue the conversation? Lie that you have to do something important. Don’t know what else to say? Lie some sweet little lies. Couldn’t reply because you didn’t want to? Lie that you were busy. It’s just SO easy!

I think we’re getting so used to lying all the time, that we have completely forgotten that those little lies we tell all the time are directly related to the promises we break all our lives. You lie for the silliest of things and you then you tell someone you’ll love them forever? Duh! Who’s gonna believe you?

Sometimes I find it funny when I watch/read the Ramayana and Mahabharata and the strong determination of the characters to not lie or to not break promises. Like come on! Just because the mother Kunti said the brothers must share whatever they had won, they shared a woman? It would have been so easy if the promises didn’t have to be kept and the word of the mouth not to be respected. The great war of Mahabharata wouldn’t have been fought! And as a result, so many incidents could have been avoided.. But wait.. How would the world be gifted with the knowledge of the Bhagvad Gita then? How would we have been inspired by these great stories then? Wow! So many consequences of respecting the word of the mouth!

So does that mean we humans of the 21st century are smarter because we avoid so many consequences by just telling convenient lies? Well, I won’t give my opinion on this.. That’s for your to judge – whether its right or wrong. But wait, aren’t we becoming a race of the say-it-and-get-away-with-it mentality? .. Let me give you an example.. When you have to console somebody, the first thing you say to them is – I’m sorry.. bla bla bla.. and I’ll be there for you whenever you need me… bla bla bla.
Hello? Seriously? Have you given it a second thought before saying it? Are you sure you’ll be there for them? Are you sure you’ll pick up their call at 3 am when they’re having a terrible breakdown, and you know you’ve to wake up for work at 7 am? Are you sure you’ll give up on your sleep for them? Do you really care that much? Well, maybe you don’t. And you don’t have to say that lie to every other person who is going through a difficult phase.. Because you’re not supposed to be there for everyone. It is okay if you can’t. But by saying that pretty little lie, you kill somebody’s hope for humanity.. So next time you claim to do something for someone.. Think! Will you really be there for them? Or will you text them back in the morning saying that you were busy/ you were sleeping/ or that you’re terribly sorry your phone was on silent…and bla bla bla.

And well, that applies to everything else too. Think before you say you’ll do something.. It’s okay to not say it, than to not respect your own words and continue lying to hide a previous lie.

The Dying Fire.

16788014_1484821028197460_236478486_n

As a part of the photo-poetry collaboration that I started. This photo was sent by @himanshu_durden on instagram.

How innocent is our hopeful being.
Like a bonfire on a monsoon night :
Life, wishes and the happy things.
Everything goes down the drain.
What was once a bundle of flames,
Ready to consume and destroy.
At the same time, spreading warmth and joy.

A burning passion ;
Its destiny prewritten.
A drop of rain, and a few others
Come pouring down ;
A forbidden love that it was.
Of fire and water.
Like that of life
and constant laughter.
And yet the foolish
union was awaited,
But everything was to die out,
soon after they mated.

A drop, and then a few others.
The skies commanded a slow death
For the fire full of life.
From flames to ashes it turns.
Calling out for a breath of wind,
Like a drowning man,
in a sea of burning sins.

What happened to ‘Friends Forever’?

I’m always quite surprised when I think about how life has changed in terms of the friends we have. I remember how when we were younger, it was always very important to have a best friend. Friendship seemed like an award. If someone called you their best friend in front of others, you felt proud and happy. We said we’ll be friends ‘forever’. But little did we know that forever is too short a period of time.

I don’t know about others, but I, I always had a difficult time having a stable group of friends. Maybe I was too selfish or ungrateful or maybe I just expected too much. My family always told me that I never stick to my friends and always end up fighting with them, because I don’t know how to adjust to situations and work according to others. And even after so many years after school, I fail to understand what went wrong. I’m sure it’s not just me here. I know you too have lost some friends on this journey. But why is that the case? Why can’t friendships remain stable throughout life?

The school friends we promised to be friends forever with, just moved away slowly. As the cities changed, our lives changed too. I know I’m not saying anything you don’t already know of. You do know that relationships change with time, as we grow up and meet new people. It’s easier to be the best of friends when someone is always around. The college friends who you always used to hang out with. The school friends you used to do all the mischiefs with. But as time goes by, and you move away into different spheres of life, there is nothing common anymore. You spend less time together, and you make lesser memories with them. Its gets difficult to understand each other, because you don’t share the same life struggles anymore.

I’ve come to understand that friendships are all about understanding. And understanding doesn’t and can’t come over the phone or a text. Remember when your closest friend in college broke up and came to you with tears in their eyes? The way you saw their pain and understood it so perfectly. It’s about that understanding, which can rarely come over a phone call or a text. When your struggles in life change, the people you find solace in, change too. We wouldn’t let go of our old friends, because we want them to be in our life, the way they used to. We’ll keep calling them; keep expecting them to be the same. You both will be putting in efforts, but the magic of that friendship is lost on the way somewhere. The magic that came with everyday laughter, teasing, hugging, running in the corridors, and so much more.

From school to college, from postgrad to a job, and from one job to another job, life and its struggles change again and again and again. It gets more and more difficult to maintain the friendships that we promised to keep forever. Its leads to more and more sadness and crushed expectations. But that doesn’t mean no friendship is forever. In the age of facebook, where you can have more than 1000 friends, the meaning of friendship itself has faded away. People are less and less patient with their friendships, and quickly move from one to another, because its so easier to meet new people. But what happened to the whole concept of friends forever that we admired when we were nine?

For me, the friendships that last forever are the ones that are baggage free. Because we were used to talking to them every day, we expect to continue that forever. No. When your situations change, the understanding of your friendship must change too. The friends who understand this, can fulfill their promise of being friends forever. Even if you don’t talk to them every day, you must know that they will be there for you when you need them. And even if you talk after two months, nothing should change between you. When you meet them, even if it’s once in an year, you should be able to accept the changes in them, and try to understand their new struggles.

Those are the friendships that last forever.
You don’t have to talk everyday till infinity, but be a part of each other’s lives until infinity.

 

10337695_962792013805957_704334928041149552_n

In this photograph, me and my best friend from undergrad. We’ve been living in different cities since three years now, but nothing has changed between us. We won’t talk for months, but when we do, its all the same.

Keep on Holding .

tumblr_ks2uv0sMgm1qzjor8o1_500

You and I are blind men,
walking on a dark road.
He who is holding the lantern,
is also testing our patience.
So don’t stop dreaming, don’t cease your hopes.
You never know how close is the end of the rope.
Keep holding on tight,
Let not the sweat shake you with fright.
Dream of the delights at the end of the road.
Let not the boat of faith drown with tempting load.

To The Children We’ll Have ..

tumblr_m8tcc7vqoa1r2js5oo1_1280

Picture Source : Tumblr

Dear baby,

I am writing to you way before you would learn your alphabets. Way before you would take your first step, and way before you would breathe in this world. But it is important that I communicate my thoughts to you right now, from the world where I live, because I’m sure its not going to be the same when you start to grow up.

When I was a child of your age, I, and all my friends were eager to grow up. And I think everyone who has been your age, certainly was. And I’m sure you too are. But don’t be, my baby. Growing up isn’t all that fun as it seems. You think we adults can do anything, take our decisions, and be free as a bird, whilst you are asked to follow rules, at home and at school. You are asked to talk in a polite manner, dress up nicely, and what not.

But we adults, when we have to choose and take our decisions, we mess it up. We don’t wanna do it, but we have to. We are scared, baby. We are really really scared deep down. We don’t wanna be responsible for our actions and thus we fear making decisions. We have forgotten all the lessons we were taught at school – the good manners – being polite, brushing our teeth twice a day, eating healthy, excercising, being organized, waking up early and so much more. We regret it today, because we don’t follow it anymore. But you, baby, don’t forgtet the moral lessons of life.

When I was younger, we used to go out to play and we’d play till the sun set, the mosquites started biting and till our mums called out to us for dinner. We played all kinds of games, running around, drawing on the ground, collecting stones, kicking footballs, hiding behinds walls, and building blocks. They might not be as innovative and exciting as the games you play all the time on your laptop, but trust me, they taught us a lot. If it hadn’t been for those games, we’d never have shared our childhood dreams with the children in the neighbourhood who turned best friends. We’d never have learnt how to work together and play together. We’d never have learnt how to deal with the company of so many others. We’d have dealt with humans as we grew up too, but what you experience in your childhood, stays with you. Thats when you accept more honestly, love more selflessly and care more naturally. Because then, you don’t know of the horrible notions and ideas that exist in the world. 

Baby, be good to others, and to yourself. Nothing matters more than the way you treat others, and the way you treat yourself. It is okay if someday in life you feel like you don’t have enough of something you want. You have what someone else might not have.
Respect everybody, and respect your elders. They are like those huge Banyan trees that you see in our village where I’d take you every year. Those Banyan trees have been there since a long, long time. They have dealt with extreme heat, thunderous rains and storms. And yet they stand there, mighty and tall. Don’t ignore them as you pass them by. Next time, look at them closely. You’ll know what I mean.

I won’t scold you or hit you if don’t get the highest grade in class. I would want you to do with all your heart what you really like doing. Because thats what would matter the most  when you’ve grown up. Unlike most us, don’t get stuck with a job you don’t care about. Be passionate about you do.

Baby, I still haven’t grown up fully as I write this to you. And I am as confused about life as any other person my age. But this life is so thrilling, yet mysterious, so depressing, yet joyful, so burdened, yet calm. There are days when we wish we didn’t have to deal with life. And there are days when we wish time would stop for us. Every day is not the same, baby. If today it rains, tomorrow the sun might shine. It is this uncertainty that makes life the bitter-sweet symphony that is.

If you’d be like the children growing up these days, surrounded by endless gadgets all day, I’d be really sad. This is the golden time of your life, baby. There is nothing to discover in those screens, and in the four walled room that you live in. Go out, into the world. In a garden with trees and flowers. Walk barefeet on wet grass. Smell every flower that you see. Dance in the rain. Talk to children of your age. Laugh until you roll on the ground. See the sunset and try to paint it. Play hide n seek and invent your own games. And smile. Because this is the most beautiful time of your life. You might think we adults have more freedom, but to be honest, you’re the one who’s actually free. Free, from prejudices, ideas, ways and norms of society.
Rejoice in this moment, and in this day.

Lots of love,
your mother-to-be.