Wandering With Words

Random musings of a reckless soul.


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Small things; infinite happiness

All this time and nowhere to go gave me the opportunity to relive some old school memories. I was going through my treasured stuff from school when I saw the slam books from then. Along with all the nostalgia came a lot of surprise, embarrassment and self realization. You see, the first page of every slam book was filled by me and my own answers made me cringe. Boy, was I a silly girl back then? You betcha! 

Throughout my school-life I had wanted to be extraordinary. Who doesn’t? Wouldn’t we be all lying if we said that we didn’t desire to have that glory?

The road to nostalgia was filled with chagrin at every turn and it reminded me of all the things I had wanted to change about myself back then, beginning with my name. Yes, that bad. 

I mean, what kind of a name is Irfana (it means wisdom, meh!) anyway? The fact that Irfan Pathan gained fame during my adolescent years wasn’t helpful either. People who mispronounced my name went as far as calling me Irfan Pathan. 

I wasn’t happy with my nose either. It felt too big for my face. Could I be anymore Asian? The two slightly crooked teeth in my mouth bothered me too and how nice would it be if I could get rid of all that baby fat? My feet seemed too big to me and I was invariably desperately in need of a wardrobe makeover. 

And then there was all that stupid acne! Young chocolate lovers would know what I mean. 

Besides these physical changes, I wanted the freedom an Indian teenager never gets- to see the world and rule it. I wanted answers for my philosophical self. I lacked confidence and knowledge but there was no worrying about it because I lived in my own bubble of ignorance. 

I had dreams but no plans. And to top it all, I was hopeless romantic ! 

Years passed, ups and downs and bumps later, I made mistakes and gained experiences. A lot in me changed. Not at once of course, but I know I’m not the same girl I was in school. 

With time, confidence filled my mind and optimism filled my heart. I learnt to be content with things I have while striving towards the things I want. 

While I pursued my passion, I found my calling in teaching. When I started working as a teacher, I became a student of life. I fell in and out of love and realised that it’s fine. I learnt how to nurse a broken heart. I hated the world and fell in love with it all over again. I found peace at libraries and orphanages. I found solace in poetry, stories, prayer and friends. Different things worked for me at different times. 

And one day, I just woke up with the wisdom that happiness resides in the little things in life. 

I love people who just don’t talk about their big achievements but more about how much they love life, how they see beauty in others, how they appreciate every little thing and how they have the hunger and enthusiasm to serve this world. 

Striving for an extraordinary life is foolishness. Putting all your efforts for that one entitlement is foolishness because it makes your happiness conditional. Don’t you wonder if you are anything more than mere titles? 

Rather what’s extraordinary is to discover the joy and marvel of an ordinary life. 

Waking up to the sun bursting through the clouds, seeing an old friend after a long time, a child’s innocent laugh, a blooming flower, biting into freshly plucked fruits, an old tattered book, a text from someone you love, a cup of coffee on a rainy day, random gifts, finding money in your old jacket, the glint in the eyes of your lover when they look at you, a kiss on the forehead, smell of freshly baked bread, being barefoot on grass or beach sand between your toes, the first hug from your child(well, that’s huge!), stories told by grandparents, silence… All these and much more!

Little things are far truer, far more genuine and difficult to falsify. 

I’m not condoning a lack of ambition here. A life without goals becomes boring but try focusing on the ordinary things that feel special too. My pursuit of happiness has lead me to become a teacher, a designer, a wife and a mother. It made me read, write, teach, paint, love and nurture. 

Not everything has changed though. I still laugh out loud like an idiot without a hint of feminity, I refuse to diet, I still experiment with my hair, I still do wear my heart on my sleeve and embarrass myself quite often.

I was a git, I still am a git. But a better one now. 

So from wanting to change my name, my nose and my family, the only thing I changed was my attitude and it has been one of my finest decisions in life. 


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Some books can change your life…

Yes it’s true… a good book can change your life. 

So which one has done it for you? Do leave your replies in the comments! 

Some books that have had a positive impact on my life are : 

  1. Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five Series. (Because this was my door to the world of fiction)
  2. Jeffery Archer’s The Prodigal Daughter.
  3. Tony Robbin’s Awaken the Giant Within.


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Crazypaws!

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The sun rose and knocked,
We left for a morning walk
I saw a squirrel on a tree,
Swear it stopped and smiled at me.

The songs of birds at first light,
The freshness of the day,
The shadows of the early sunrise,
And the clean, crisp air

There is so much to see
The flowers, the birds, the honeybee
The grass under my feet
All of those await me.

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But I stay and gaze
At the scurrying squirrel
And his faithful friends
Observing their eccentric ways

One makes a funny noise,
I laugh aloud, it runs away
They go round n round
Scuttle to and fro
Aimlessly digging holes in the ground
When everything else fails,
They chase their very own tails!

That is what they do,
Just like me and you
They save for winter
But never forgets how,
To live for the moment,
To enjoy the now
And that’s how squirrels are clever,
Than humans can be ever!


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The smile of dawn!

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There was a time when I never used to let the sun catch me asleep.

The morning sunshine, the koel’s song or even the rooster’s crowing had a calming effect.

Just let the sun’s first rays adorn your face and brighten your day!

Then I grew out of the habit. Because, life.

After many months, I felt the magic of sunrise again.

The beauty of nature, the tranquility of mornings, is inexpressibly blissful.


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Healed.

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You are the books you read,

The people you meet.

The dreams you make,

The words you speak.

And  you are, what you take from these.

Let the colors fill your mind

Carry your own sunshine

Live the truth,

Express your love,

Do more, need less,

Laugh a lot and be blessed.

See the wonder of it all,

Marvel at the sight,

Share the happiness,

Celebrate the life.

Dream big, but never be,

In too much hurry,

To stop and smell… to feel… to touch or to see.

So celebrate what has been given,

The tiny bit of heaven!

#HappyBirthdayToMe!


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Life doesn’t rhyme.

compassion

Be kind, for everyone is fighting their battle too.

A phrase so simple and poignant.

Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own struggles. Everyone has made mistakes and everyone has been brought down by life sometime or the other. Everyone has their demons. And dreams.

I once read somewhere that, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

Then why do we struggle with our insecurities? Perhaps because we always compare our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel. Steve Furtick said that.

Did you ever wonder that maybe the little boy in the park is actually worried about his test result?

-Or maybe the teacher who inspires you every day has been fighting loneliness every single day.

-Or the pretty lady at work constantly struggles with acne?

-Or that the woman on the bus is fighting an eating disorder, and the man next to her just lost his fiancee?

So yea, everybody has their own problems-no matter how big or small. Life is all about how you deal with it. Experience can make one bitter or better.

For those who get bitter with time, life is a bitch. But for those who get better, life is a beauty.

If you’re having a shitty day, chances are someone else is too. No need to compound it.
Be kind.

So I watch what I think. I watch what I say. And I watch how I treat other people. We all should. 🙂


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Night and Delight.

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Sigh, oh heart, as you marvel at the moon again,
Along with the pleasant sight, comes a sweet pain.
Jewels in the sky, they speak in mimes,
I bade my heart build poor rhymes.
Dread has followed longing,
Ah, lost love will always be haunting.
Look! The sky shares your tears,
It has come to wash away your fears! 


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Rewind, Unwind.

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              ~ Edgar Allan Poe.

As I read this, the following aria from The Bohemian Girl popped up in my mind :

When other lips and other hearts
Their tales of love shall tell,
In language whose excess imparts
The power they feel so well:
There may, perhaps, in such a scene,
Some recollection be
Of days that have as happy been,
And you’ll remember me!

*We make several friends in our life, some stay along and some carry on. This is for those with whom I have lost touch.*


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Souls on ice.

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I’m a loquacious person by nature. My mouth rarely takes a holiday. But I often fall into the arms of silence when I travel or commute.
Silent, because I’m quieted by that which meets my eyes.

The smile on the face of the child that fell asleep in its mother’s arms.

The couple walking hand in hand in the cold winter night.

The two friends laughing over coffee in the café.

The family of five on a single bike.

The young kid crying for the biggest balloon.

The smell of freshly fried samosas.

Children playing hopscotch in one lane and galli cricket in the other.

The man on the cycle selling cotton candy and kulfi.

Cows and buffaloes crossing the road slowly, very slowly.

Hymns from the temples.

People eating Golgappas.

The crowd that had formed outside the T.V store to watch the cricket match for free.

Rangoli outside houses.

Men pissing on the street. (In my country,kissing on the road is punishable but pissing on the road is allowed!)

Street side salons.

And then, as I stop at the red light, the march of the destitute begin.

The old lady bent double with age.

The man with the crutches.

The little boy with charred hands.

The little girl, selling flowers cheaper than ever.

The old man who says he hadn’t eaten anything since three days.

The light goes green and I move on.
The world changes.
The dark truth meets the eyes. The smile slowly fades.

People sleeping on the pavements, in the cold night. They sleep there season after season, never properly covered.
I wonder how many of them had slept without food.

The drunkard walking home. What problems might he have?

The children making street corners their beds. Would they ever know the comfort of a bed?

The woman scouting the garbage bin for something that she could use. What would she give her children in breakfast?

The old man parking his vegetable wagon at the corner of the road. Did he earn enough to feed his family?

The little huts, which had plastic sheets for roofing. What do those people do during cold nights?

The leper still begging on the street. Did his family abandon him because of the disease?

The young boy, was he a runaway? 

The single tear that ran out was not of sympathy or of pain. It was in gratitude.
Gratitude for everything I have been blessed with.

Isn’t it a blessing? Properly functioning body parts, a presentable face, no fatal disease, three times food, a house to live in and clothes to wear.

If this doesn’t make you feel blessed, and you do not feel a responsibility for the less blessed ones, then, somewhere in you humanity has died.


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Dear me.

Dear twenty-years-ago me,

I am sorry. I have lost everything you had. I was helpless.

You lived the life of a queen, I do not.

I have to look after myself. No one takes care of me anymore. I do my own chores. Nobody changes my clothes anymore. I have to be neat and clean and make sure nothings messy anymore! You may not believe me but I even have to eat by myself! I even cook for myself by myself!

Back then, when I was you, people were of two kind – good and crazy. The kind who gave us chocolates and the other who made faces and pinched our face and stopped us from having fun.

Now, people have become complicated. They say Santa isn’t real. Love hurts. You would not believe how hard it is to survive, without losing most of the innocence we possess as a child. That’s a part of growing up.

But have I grown up? I still do, secretly, enjoy melting chocolate on my fingers and licking it. I still play in rain puddles, sleep sometimes with my shoes on, and try to count stars, eat maggie masala, fight for swings and get scolded for having fun.

They say I need to be responsible. And more civil. They tell me that when I go to parks, I can’t play in the mud. And guess what, school has finally ended! Anndd I miss it!

Well, life has changed. A lot. I can’t tell you how and in how many ways. Dad isn’t around anymore. His princess is no longer a princess. But life isn’t so bad. There’s family, there are friends. Real ones. There are memories and there are adventures waiting ahead. There are aims, there’s hope. There are sunrises and sunsets, there is beach and sand.

But you wouldn’t understand all this. Your world was very different from mine. You loved yours, I love mine. Sometimes I hate it, but then I learn to love it again.

So yeah, when someone tells you that you have a lot to learn, believe them. But when they tell you that it’s a dark world out there, don’t believe them! Remember, you could always be the rainbow in somebody else’s life.

Love,

Me. 🙂


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Hakuna Matata!

Do you feel cheated

By life?

Has it ever occurred

Just when you set things right

Life changes the plan

 

Like when you were a kid

You didn’t find the one gift you wished

Among the hundreds you received

 

Or when you ended up being

Second in class

Even though you tried so hard

 

Or when mom makes boring breakfast

And there’s no ice-cream for dessert

 

Or when the hottest one in class

Is a ‘just friend‘

 

Or when you earn only enough

For a small car; not a big one

 

All those moments in life

When you had to settle for something less than best

Life is unfair, isn’t it?

But look who disagrees

The child who sleeps half naked

Near the garbage, under the trees

Well she says she is happy

And grateful for whatever she eats

And she insists:

Life never cheats.


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A life that could bloom

Was brought to an end

Yet the soul was caged

In a body most abused

It was not very late

Neither was she on her own

Did she look like a bait?

Then why was she raped?

Why?

For she was a woman

And men were men

Why?

They asked her to dress up better

And to learn defense

Why?

Protection is not needed

When you keep to yourself your hands

And your dicks in your pants

How could you be superior?

Why?

For the sake of honor

In the name of rage

You kill your daughters

Why?

You subdue, you belittle

And try to bring them down

Why?

How would you survive

If we chose to fight?

And there may come a time

When we refuse to obey

For where would you be

If not for the women

 

Who gave you life:

^The mother.

Who made your childhood memorable:

^The sister.

Who taught you most of what you know:

^The teacher.

Who made your house a home:

^The wife.

Who kept your heart from growing hard:

^The daughter.

Then why? Why? And why?

Do you forget

Your life stands upon that of a woman.

 

Note: These lines and few other posts of this blog are very old : snippets from my journal/diary. The above lines were written in 2012 after this happened – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape.