Saturday, 29 September 2018

In Pursuit of Love

I am fascinated by love. I have spent a great deal of my time researching on it. As a young girl I wanted to know if all that's being said and all the fuss being made is actually true. I often found adults say, "these things happens only in movies and story books!". But that made me question how in the world did these people get such ideas to begin with? It can't all be a lie..there must be some truth in this supposedly fictional notion called "love".

As I plunged forward on a leap of faith, on a quest to find love, I came across more than what I had bargained for. I met some amazing people who like me where on their own quest. I wouldn't say that my journey is over, as long as  I am alive am sure I will want to explore love, but that said I would like to share few things I have come to realize.

Love is the most underrated and overrated emotion in the world. It may sound contradictory but that's exactly what love does, it creates scenarios which makes no sense. There is no logic or rationality involved. There is no right or wrong when it comes to love. It is what it is. That doesn't mean people can't choose to make rational decisions, but on it's own love defies logic.

Each of us share a unique relationship with every other person in our lives and none of them are replaceable. Suppose you have a friend, which means you share a certain companionship and share some experiences together. Now even if you drift away and you find a new friend, you will never have the exact same relationship as you did with your old friend. I don't mean it will be better or worse, or even similar for that matter, but never the same.

Similarly the concept of one soulmate is little difficult for me to comprehend. I do believe you meet people who are connected to you in much deeper level and maybe if you are lucky you will meet them. I read somewhere that "a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything you have been holding back, the person who brings you to your attention so that you can change your life". There is something beautiful about this idea, because this means that you don't have to worry yourself to death thinking "what if I don't marry my soulmate?". You are not bound to spend your entire life with them. This means your soulmate could be your spouse or could be someone you took a bus ride with! It makes you appreciate each and every moment you share with a person.

Another thing which I have come to appreciate is innocence. I don't think you can ever love the way you loved when you are a teenager or that innocent age when you are untainted by life. There are many advantages of growing old, you are much more wise and experienced, you become practical and mature. But in all that maturity you lose innocence. As a grown up you can never be as free in love as you are as a teenager. You can never really stop using brains knowing all that you know from experience and world around you. So I think one shouldn't miss out in love at that age, even if it is unrequited or ends in heartbreak.

I often ask people about their experience with love and till now I have found something unique in even the most simple love story. I have come to realize that you never really stop loving someone you had loved once. But sometimes the moment passes by and like two ships sailing across the ocean in different directions, they drift apart. I think denying it confuses heart and more you try to convince yourself otherwise, more troubled you feel. But once you come to accept the truth, you will feel at ease and open yourself to move ahead in life.

I have often been asked by my young cousins how do you know when you are in love? Does it really give you butterflies in the stomach feeling? Does it really makes you light headed when you kiss someone? And I have often found people laugh and say " Not in real life". But that's not entirely true. It is perfectly possible to feel all of the above in love, and it's absolutely possible to be in love and not feel any of the above. Love could be like a tornado, exceedingly overwhelming and scrumptiously overpowering, or it could be like a mild breeze on a damp summer evening. It doesn't mean one is better or more powerful than the other. Difference lies in what an individual wants and expects from love.

Even after spending a decade exploring the meaning of love, I am sure I still have lot to learn. But what I have understood is that it is indeed a gift, like sunlight it doesn't show any prejudice. Just being rich or beautiful doesn't qualify you to be loved, on the other hand most ordinary person may be extraordinary in someone else's eyes.

I think often think that because of our preconceived notion we can't recognize love even when it's right in front of us. Never compare your love life with others and feel unsatisfied, because you never really know their entire story. You don't know what they had to go through to reach where they are or what would happen to them in future. All you see is a glimpse of their life and you can't judge by it. If instead you try to focus on your own story you would realize how it is as unique and adventurous in it's own way.

And for those who have given up on love, be careful, it has a habit of coming at the most unexpected times, so keep your mind and heart open :)

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Why India is a Misunderstood Nation?

When I wrote the blog "Same love" about section 377 back in June 2015, I never thought that in just 3 years we would achieve this groundbreaking victory for gay rights. I am thrilled to hear that Supreme court has put an end to one of the oldest, unjust law of criminalizing consensual gay sex. Of course legalization doesn't mean that overnight people's attitude would change. I am acutely aware of how many stubborn, close-minded people exists in our country. But it definitely is a beginning, a legal restoration of basic human right.

We often find ourselves unhappy and dissatisfied because we compare ourselves with someone who we think is better than us, perhaps more rich or more successful. There is nothing wrong with that as such, in fact it is one of the driving forces which makes us ambitious and driven. But I feel there has to be a balance, after all what is the point of living if you never reap the benefits of your hard work. It is sad if you never had a moment where you stood and admired what you have, how blessed you are compared to the lower end of spectrum.

We as a nation are always comparing ourselves to the top most developed countries in the world (who by the way weren't born that way, they had to struggle and after few centuries reached this stage) and find ourselves constantly judging and complaining.

But once you broaden your perspective and get a complete picture of the world, you will realize that we are supremely blessed nation. Look at our neighbouring country Myanmar, which had been under brutal military rule for over five decades. During which it was completely cut off from outside world and even now people have restricted rights. Just two days back two of their journalists who uncovered a massacre of Rohingya Muslims were sentenced to seven years in prison for violating state secrets. When compared to that our press is definitely lucky! ( although sadly more and more people are misusing this right and craving for only sensationalization).

Similarly it has been made to look like that India is a worst place to be born in, if you are a woman. I agree we have some seriously psychotic sex addicts walking among us who don't even spare goats, forget about anything remotely looking female human! But strictly speaking in terms of legal right, we are way better than most of the countries around. For example India gave right to vote to women from the very first election in 1951-52, the idea was adopted without much opposition as soon as we gained independence. You will be surprised to know that in Switzerland, women gained the right to vote in federal elections after a referendum in February 1971. Not to mention the fact that many of the middle-east countries gave it only in very recent years.

Recently Iranian photographer Parisa Pourtaherian was in news for being the first female photographer in the country to have covered a national league match. She was banned from entering the football stadium (apparently women are not allowed to enter for men's football match), so she climbed up on a nearby rooftop to cover it. In India, we face such discrimination against women at individual level, like there are some families who are biased but you could always break away from family and escape. What would you do if as a nation, as a legal entity you are discriminated?

Another example for Indian forwardness is when it legalized abortion back in 1971, when many of the US states were yet to do it. As per a recent report "Among the world's 1.64 billion women of reproductive age, fewer than four in 10 (37%) live in countries where abortion is permitted in all circumstances and 6% live in countries where it is banned completely". I know there is still a huge stigma behind abortion in India and not to mention emotional pressure a woman is put through. But the fact remains that she can walk into a hospital alone and without anybody else's permission, take a decision and go ahead with it.

In most of the communist countries being an artist, writer or anyone with free will is almost life threatening! Few days back one of China's best-known artists and government critics, Ai Weiwei's studio was demolished by authorities without notice. In India, even if such things were to happen it would be by a mob of misguided souls who "advocate" a party or religious notion. So you can legally file a case and complain, and even though you may run around the court without getting justice for years, it's still better than a country where government itself openly shuns your freedom.

I agree we are not a perfect nation, in fact we are made aware of it everyday and all day by news reports across the country. But we should acknowledge that our constitutional rights, the very foundation on which this nation was built, are just and admirable. It's we, the people, who need to work on executing these rights and responsibilities. Our problem has always been that we have a huge population, it's very difficult for us to follow the way most developed nations work. To add to this, unlike China we are trying to run it in secular, democratic way..which is almost an impossible feat but we are doing it. So let us be little patient, instead of always criticizing and creating this bad aura, have faith that we can bring about a change.

We never let an outsider bad-mouth about our family and friends on our face right? Consider your country as a family member! By that I don't mean to live in a delusional world and keep saying our country is the best and not accepting the issues we are facing. Instead we should work on those issues slowly but steadily. If we see our own country in bad light that's how rest of the world is going to see us. Can't help but remember something John Lennon said, "You may say I'm a dreamer.. But I'm not the only one" :)