The story so far

There was a time I fought with the world. I fought everyday but I could not win.

I complained. I hated all.

The world seemed like an unequal place. I revolted against authority, and followed my heart. Half-hearted efforts yielded little. With my feet in two different boats, the journey was destined to be rocky.

Was I a rebel though? I think I was. A rebel without a cause, then? No! My cause was to prove to them that there existed a different kind of life. I needed to show them there was a life that was much, much better than just safely following the herd. I spoke to them. They were unconvinced. They said I spoke too much and delivered too little. They said I was a loser.

Then, one day, everything changed! I was destined to prove them wrong. I chose a life — no, a life was thrust upon me by my circumstances. Circumstances which at first had seemed hostile to me. I complained. I fought with an imaginary God. I cried.

I asked, “Why me, of all the people in the world?”

My imaginary God smiled and whispered, “Because you are special!”

Days changed into weeks, weeks into months. The curse turned to a boon. And I realised – I was happy. For the first friggin’ time in many many years, I was happy! By jove, that was the only thing that mattered. That happiness and that satisfaction was the only thing in the entire world that mattered to me.

Today, months later, I feel like I have created my own little island of “all that is right” in the vast ocean of “all that is not”.

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In this island of mine, there is no hatred, no grief, no sadness, no regrets. There’s only happiness and good old fashioned hard work. Like a karma yogi, I work. And the consequent satisfaction is the biggest reward.
The mockers and haters are very far from my island. I don’t need them anymore.

In this island, I am happy. That is the only thing that matters. This is my story so far.

Thank you for reading!

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Thank you for reading! A performer is nothing without an audience. A writer is nothing without a reader.

I had started writing under different circumstances altogether, hoping to just pursue it as a hobby, as some kind of a respite from the moronic  life of a Math Honors student.

But, circumstances have changed in the course of the last two years. For the better, too! Life has been kind, for not everyone gets a second shot at re-starting life, wiping out all previous mistakes and regrets. Not everyone has a job where one’s natural talents are put to use.

I am happy today, after a long time. The written word means a lot to me. This blog means a LOT to me._DSC0054


(I have been super busy for the last month, which explains the irregularity in posting. Also, not having an internet connection at the apartment where I am holed up for this month truly sucks! But, I will back be home pretty soon. Hope to start writing regularly again. Before I sign off, once again, thanks for the reading)

The soul crusher

You who are ever in disagreement shall one day agree with my vision, my thoughts. One day you shall see light shooting out of my words.

You who are ever in opposition shall one day nod your little head in approval, and my heart shall leap in joy.

Do you know how much heartburn you cause when you trample upon my ideas, over which I have worked half a day and some more hours?

Could you not show some solidarity or at least refine my thoughts?

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Why do you instead choose to just berate, and criticise, and never show the path to the ever-complying learner that is me?

Oh why!

What cruel joy do you derive from shaking up the very foundations that offer me confidence in my humble capacity for creativity and intelligent thought?

Your method is maddening – your words seethe, I discard them as another of eccentricities, and yet at a later hour those words trouble.

My mind doesn’t want to concede defeat, not to you.

The fight that goes on within the recesses of my mind is of a mighty scale. The objective is one – to get your nod of approval.

Do you realise how central you have become to my existence? Yes, THAT central that my first waking thought is about meeting your impeccably high standards somehow.

Yet, defeat rattles my efforts – day in, day out. The reactions are varied – ranging from feigned indifference to righteous indignation at such flat rejection.

But, this I promise you, defeats may rattle me, but they will not break me. From the ruins of defeat, I shall excavate the seeds to victory.

That victory shall be the sweetest, better than any I have had so far. That shall be a REAL feat for I shall have matched your high standards.

Till then, I shall try.

Today I lose.

I shall meet you tomorrow again.

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I’m good enough!

Have you ever realized what power these four words wield – “I am good enough”?

Try saying them to the mirror in front of you every once in a while. It feels empowering, and we all deserve that power; we all deserve that confidence.

For the most part of our lives, we are taught that we are not good enough, and that we need to buck up. We are taught to be like him, or her. Judgments are passed about your abilities, without any consideration for our feelings. The bar is often set too high, and unfairly so.

Then one fine day, we end up finding that one thing we love doing best. Luckier ones end up actually doing that thing that excites them.

Then, the rest can be described as “Pure Magic”.

There is no better joy on this planet than finding one’s feet. That feeling can be felt, or maybe even imagined, but it cannot be described. At least, my humble words fail to do so.

Imagine waking up every morning feeling positive about the work you are going to do during the day. Imagine being pre-occupied with thoughts about how to improve the quality of your work. No, imagine being possessed with improving the quality of your work.

That is the most beautiful feeling that can ever grace our lives.

Ever felt that satisfaction of looking at yourself in the mirror before going to bed after a day of good, old-fashioned hard work. You’re tired and weary eyed, probably goddamn sleepy too, but your soul sings.

You look at your reflection – eyeball to eyeball, and break into a smile and think, “I’m good enough.”

All your detractors were wrong, and there’s nothing like the guilty pleasure of quietly proving them wrong.

Yes, I’m good enough, and I always was! Life is beautiful! 

Believe!

Put yourself through the grind, doesn’t matter what it costs, doesn’t matter what it gives. Nothing has been promised, and it will never be. You do your own digging with your own hands. You’ve got to dig till the dirt in your nails starts to hurt. No tools for you, Sir.

You’ve got nothing to break your fall. So, you must fly well. Fly through dark clouds of despair; fly through sunny skies of promise. But, pray, don’t let fair or rough weather decide your spirits, for these are but illusions of the mind.

Don’t run this race; this is just a trap. Don’t trust these numbers, they inevitably lie. Learn. Learn to slow down. Learn when to slow down. Learn how to slow down.

The beauty of this game is in how it has most of the people fooled all of the time. Inflated egos, drooped shoulders, happy faces, sad faces – Oh! The variety of emotions this game manages to conjure up in the lives of its hapless players.

But, nevertheless, put yourself through the grind. Don’t be lazy. Don’t let inaction be your forte. If you’ve got to spend your time here, you might as well spend it trying to build something beautiful, you know, just so that the time passes fast.

At times, when this stuff feels too unreal, try to instil some belief. Believe! A man has to believe in something, lest he plans on becoming an ascetic. Even an ascetic believes. He believes in the way of his life, and hopes for some kind of deliverance in the afterlife.

So, no matter what happens, believe!

Believe, and put yourself through the grind.

Monk? World traveller? CEO? – Your choice.

Experience : that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
C. S. Lewis

Unfollow.
Don’t listen.
Don’t heed advice.
Don’t take the path less travelled.
Or the one most travelled.
Don’t feed from the spoon.
Doesn’t matter if it’s golden.

One word : Experience.

The most wonderful thing about being born as a human is the ability to choose.
From a plethora of choices. Good ones. Bad ones. Terrible ones.

There are no ‘rouge’ lions. Or desert rats. They don’t break rules, or disappoint their parents.
They are born. They grow. They hunt. Eat. Copulate. Bring new life to earth. Feed them. Grow old. Die.

They live. They don’t experience.

But we can. They say good advice is precious. It saves you time. They advise to learn from the mistakes of posterity. Or contemporaries.

They want you to be the lion. Majestic, king of the jungle, top of the food chain – but yet not a human. Not by a long shot.

But you have the choice. Of drinking coffee or tea.
Of becoming a Buddhist monk, or a corporate hotshot, or a man travelling the world in a boat.

The thing is you can be anyone you want. But the key is to be willing to experience life. To be unafraid of feeling your way through life. To be willing to fail.

Problem is that all we want is a well-charted life. A perfect life.
A life of sincere allegiance to the ‘track’.
The world market feeds our brains with clear definitions of rich, happy, wealthy, healthy.

It’s time we broke their stereotypes.
It’s time we actually LIVED our lives.
The way we’ve always wanted to.

Make the mistakes the world is terrified of. Learn from them and then SHINE. And before you know – a whole lot of ‘lions’ and ‘desert rats’ will want to be like you. But they’ll remain cheap copies.

Experience. Don’t just live.

Yes! Dreams do come true!

This midnight, I write with a great sense of pride, happiness, and nostalgia.

My best friend, Seemanta has just accomplished a task of enormous proportions.

My readers don’t know him, but his story has an appeal that’s universal, a beauty that is timeless, and a lesson that’s invaluable.

Here’s what he has achieved : yesterday, he successfully passed out of the prestigious National Defence Academy, the 1st tri-service academy in the world and rated amongst the best in the world.

However, this is not a story of courage and valor. This is a story of belief. A belief so strong in one’s dreams that it overcomes all opposition.

Back in the summer of 2009, he and I had just appeared for High School Final Exams.

Next up, was College. Out of the 200 students of our class, 98% dreamt of going to an Engineering/Medical College.
I was no exception.

But, he was different. He had a dream – of becoming an officer of the prestigious Indian Air Force.
A dream that then sounded ridiculous to us herd-thinkers.
A dream so outrageous that he was scared of letting anyone know.

I was his best friend. But, he kept me in the dark.
Then one day, he told me.
I didn’t know how to react.
My greatest fear was of losing my friend to a profession that was ruthless, to a profession that didn’t have my respect back then. But I supported him.

People used to laugh at him for he was different. He was soft spoken, kind, and a do-gooder. He was exploited because of his good nature.
He was brawny and he liked to help people with tasks that called for physical strength.
This was often exploited.

People looked at his Defence dream with disdain. Today I realise how pathetically short sighted people were.

I loved him to bits. In a way, he filled the male-role model void that I’ve always had.

He was the first person who read my writing, my poems, my first ‘work’. He told me, “You have it in you. Go for it”.

But, I was scared. I was a herd thinker. I had too many reasons to not pursue writing seriously – my lower middle class background, the unstable nature of a writing career, and so on.

So, I tried a safe career. Meanwhile, Seemanta had cleared all the necessary exams to get into NDA. But, he had to settle with Army Wing because of slight problems with his eye sight.

We separated. He went to Academy.
Letters, phonecalls, Facebook became the new way of talking.

In the Academy he found the environment he had dreamt of and he flourished.

Over here, I plummeted in to mediocrity. I didn’t enjoy my stream and failures showed up.
My destiny was somewhere else. But I was adamant. But one can’t fight destiny.

Plagued by failures and disappointment, I embraced writing once again, by starting this blog – an attempt still half hearted.

One year into writing, and today I’m enjoying it. I am happy. I can see a future in writing. Ideas float in my head so easily. This blog is the only successful thing in my life right now.

I’m still to take that one brave decision to accept writing in a full fledged manner.
I promise you, the reader, that I will do it. Soon.
First, I have a chapter to close. One unfinished task to complete. The last remnant of my life of wrong decisions still calls for my attention.

And I will be back to writing after I do it. I’ll let you know soon.

I want this post to be a learning curve to all those who have a dream.
Never, ever, ever let that dream go.

It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, male, female, black, white, brown, or any other color – if you have a dream, go for it.
Dreams do come true.
My best wishes to you all!

It’s 1:14 a.m. Lots of good wishes to all readers. Signing off from Guwahati, India.

The 50th blogpost and et cetera. . .

Yes, this is my 50th blogpost. But, as usual, it’s only me and the blank screen staring back at me, and the chilly midnight air.

Writing….er…..blogging is a lonely vocation. (Some people are offended if I equate writing with blogging). And it’s better that way. I like lonely.

Now, if you’ve been blogging for few months now, you know how important inspiration is for bloggers.
Especially, if you don’t have any specific niche/genre and pretty much try your hand at everything.

When I began, I had a bunch of ‘pet’ rants –

“Inhuman face of the society”.

“Repetitive, lame tv soaps”.

“Fake God men”.

So, the first few posts contained my disappointment, anger, and sarcasm.

Then, followed few posts about love, heartbreak, stuff that a friend of mine finds to be too saccharine-y. (Yeah! Even I am embarrassed when I read those posts).

Then, came a massive failure in my life. For the first time, I wrote with a purpose. I wrote for myself.
I wrote to lift my spirits, motivate myself and in doing that, perhaps, created posts that’ll stand the test of time and help people to cope with failure even in future.
I felt better about myself.

Then, for Mothers’ Day, I wrote a tribute to my Mum, who’s faced many trials and tribulations, and yet fought on.
It got a good response.

I learnt a valuable lesson that day. People are ready to read your scribblings about personal life, as long as it’s got a message that’s universal.
A thought that’ll stand the test of time.

There’s been no looking back since then. Maybe my writing has changed. The things I write about have changed.

But, one thing remains the same – Everytime I write, it is to create value. It’s about the message I want to convey. It’s about an idea that’ll stand the test of time.

I often find myself thinking backwards, when a post is taking form in my mind. I find myself asking, “Can you see the end of the post? Does it have a message, a strong ending note?”.
Unless the answer is “yes”, I can’t get myself to write.

Another important lesson that I’ve learnt is – “Embrace the personal”.
People avoid writing about their lives. They feel their lives are not interesting enough, not writing ‘material’.

Nothing can be further from the truth.
For inspiration, I’ve often looked into the secret closets of my mind, for hurt, hidden pain, regret or any other emotion.

Whenever I found one, I’ve tried to portray that emotion in my writing. And it has worked. Readers have liked that emotion. I’ve learnt that one has nothing to be ashamed about the ‘personal’. It is to be embraced.

With every passing day, I learn a lot from fellow bloggers.
I’ve also been able to figure out my writing process, my writing hours, and my optimum frequency.

I’m really grateful to all those bloggers whose work has been indispensible in helping me shape my writing. Thank you.

Here’s hoping that the next 50 posts don’t take so long. Happy blogging to you all!

A letter to my 14-year old self

Dear 14-year old Subh,

I sincerely hope that this letter reaches you breaking all barriers of time and space.

Every man makes mistakes in life and learns from them. This letter is just the manifestation of the burning desire to share with you all wisdom that I’ve gathered in the eight years that I’ve lived more than you.

You are young now and much of your decision making is influenced by popular media, hearsay, and societal pressure.

My advice to you would be to stop bothering about that dream six figure ‘first salary’ and to start thinking about a ‘career’.

Listen to that voice inside and figure out what’ll work best for you. Only you can do that. No one else. Learn to have your own dreams. Don’t let people put dreams in your brain.

And yes, please stop worrying too much if things will turn out to be good. You know, they eventually will. So please don’t worry yourself to death.

Some bad news for you – you will have a ‘nervous breakdown’ in two years time. I told you. So deal with it now. You’re stronger than you think. Use your strength to avoid it.

Some good news – you’ll eventually get to be the lead vocalist of a band in college! You’ll eventually learn to play the guitar!
The spoiler? – it’ll be a short lived affair. So make the best of it till it is there.

You’ll make GREAT friends in college, who will last a lifetime.

Your quest for love will lead to three painful heart-breaks!
But, suprise, suprise, there exists around you that special person right now, who’ll turn it all around with her love later on!

I won’t spoil the fun by naming her. Find out for yourself!

At 21, you’ll discover a new love – writing!

Life’s good. You wouldn’t be disappointed, I swear. Just follow your heart’s true wish and grow your own dreams. Read a lot. Eat healthy. Stay positive. Everything will be okay.
Love,
22year-old Subh

P.S. : I know if this letter reaches you, and you put into action all my advice, then it shall obliterate my present existence. If you follow all that advice then you’ll turn out to be a different man at 22. Such a paradox!

Lets take the plunge!

Have you ever felt that strong, overwhelming emotion when, in a very short time, you discover a whole new, exciting world; a world that seems exactly tailor-made for you?

And then, your mind slowly shows the courage to DREAM.

And you DREAM.

You DREAM BIG.

You can visualise the happiness, success, and fame, that the new world shall bring you.

You know for certain that it is going to be a lot of hard work before all of that actually happens; a lot of consistency, discipline and ‘showing up’.

But even then, you can’t help feeling ecstatic about the new doors of opportunity thrown ajar in front of you!

You don’t feel intimidated by the huge amount of work to be done, because finally you’ve found your calling.

And then. . . . . . YOU FREEZE!!!

You’ve thought up so much so soon, and so many things in advance that now, you FREEZE at the first baby steps.

Tonight, I’m feeling the same strong emotions.

I’m excited.

I’m thrilled.

I’m happy.

But, I’m also terribly scared for I already find myself worrying about failure even before the start of the venture.

This post is dedicated to all those souls who feel the same emotion, or have already felt it, or will feel it sometime in the near or distant future.

More power to you guys.
Take the first step. The most difficult step; dedicate yourself to your dream and work your backsides off 24/7; 365days a year, and for many years in a row!

Let us not think about results. Lets just work tirelessly! Work for the sake of working.

Let’s take the plunge!