Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Random Thoughts

The world has thrived on marketing since it was born. From barter system to the introduction of money, it became easier and easier to characterize our wants and buy them. In this tech savvy time, with the click of a tab, we can browse through and get what we crave for, or what we think we want or what we realize we should want.
These days, I can fill my stomach with an app, which lists restaurants around me; I can shop for clothes and all items needed to survive, I can even go on dates without actually having to step out.
I had bought a Kindle a few months ago and I discovered I could carry a hundred books at a time and I can read multiple genres at the same time. I went and bought a few books a few days because I missed the new book smell and I missed turning the pages of an actual novel. 
I don’t remember the last time I went shopping in a mall. All my shopping is now done online. It is super convenient and so less tiring. But I miss trial rooms. Because of too much traffic on the roads, going for a movie is now last on the list- Netflix is first. Even finding your soul mate depends on what app you’ve downloaded. 
Are we losing the charm?
Do I know what I want? I thought I wanted freedom. With my own house and car, money enough to go on trips, I have the life I had dreamt of. I even have friends- I go out with a different set of people every few days. Of course it isn’t like school or college- people now have their own lives, priorities and choices. Now I understand my parents, “Family is what always stays.” But in this time of whatsapp, has communication become more difficult? 
When I want food, I say I am hungry. When I am tired, I say I am sleepy. When I want something, I say it, without hesitation. What about when I want attention?
Why can’t we say loudly that we want love? And who sells love out there? If you’ve to pay for it, it can’t be love, is what they say. Is this what is missing? Is this what all movies are made of? Realizing that we have everything, yet we have nothing?
They say we can only be happy if we are happy from within. We can only love if we have love within ourselves. Where will this come from? Who will tell us how to find these feelings within ourselves? Does someone need to tell us? Do we need to go to the mountains to realize the depths of our emotions? 
We definitely need to get out of our comfort zone to reach the place where all magic happens. But where are the directions to this place? 
So many questions and so little time. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015


I am happy.
It has been almost 2 years since I said that sentence and truly meant it. It is such a great, warm feeling that I feel high just dwelling on it.
I try not to lie to myself. I can lie to the world or try to pretend for the society but no, Papa taught me to be truthful to myself, no matter how harsh the truth. This time, the truth isn’t harsh. This time, the truth is nice.
I met a lot of my friends the last time I was in Delhi, a month ago. After meeting them, I realized that I had been holding a grudge against some of them for the longest of times. I had expected them to be there for me and blah blah blah. After meeting them, I found out that they were not the ones being stuck up, I was. In my mind I had not forgotten and that made me grumpy. I worked on that epiphany and introspection helped me out a great deal. I am in such a better place now.
Life goes on, but moving on is a conscious choice. I thought I had moved on but one meeting with old friends made me realize that I still held so much negativity inside me. Now, I can undoubtedly say that I have moved on.
I moved on from being dependent. I moved on from being needy. I moved on from being an emotional crap. I moved on from needing a shoulder. I moved on from restlessness. I moved on from loneliness. I moved on from holding grudges.
I feel I grew up more in this last one month than I had in the last 10 months.
My concern with living in Gondia was that I would be alone in a new place, with a weak mind, away from Papa. I am still in Gondia and I feel happy. That is like an achievement in this spiritual journey. Papa always said that if I am not happy right here right now, I wouldn’t be happy later. I never truly understood this before now.
This time when I came back to Gondia, I didn’t immediately want to go back. I had an amazing time with my girls, dancing late into the night. It suddenly hit me that we just had a couple of months more together. Just 2-3 months more of the only hostel life I’d get to experience all my life. That just gave me the zest to live this time to the fullest. Now that the end is near, things look different. It is all a matter of perception. It is all a matter of how we train our minds to react.
I feel happy here. Nothing has really changed, except that I am living in now. I am not wishing to be someplace else. I am not wishing to talk to people who aren’t here. I am not living in the days AFTER I complete the training. I am just being.
I feel changed. I feel strong. I feel powerful. Circumstances may or may not change but the power of one’s mind, the over-balance of positivity can make such a huge difference, I never knew.
I feel ready for the next phase of growing up, of learning. Bring it on!

That was two weeks ago.
Life listens very eagerly when you ask it to throw something at you. I got in trouble with my flying and had to face humiliation for something I never thought I would. That just made me realize that I am not invincible and things can happen to anyone, including me.
The situation demanded me to test myself, which would prove that I wasn’t going to revert back to the ocean I just swam ashore from. I am proud to say that I reacted well. I took it head-on and survived. I knew that I had survived through much worse- this was still not that big a deal. It isn’t like I came out victorious, regarding the accusations but I did come out victorious in my own eyes. I didn’t fall into the well of hopelessness. Papa was out of the country for a few days and I swore to myself that I would be back to normal before I talked to him again. When I did, he felt proud of me too. Just hearing that satisfaction in his voice made me happy. I had not failed him.
Listening to people judge you, on your face, sometimes make you judge yourself. I started doubting my own skills but then I stopped. Mistakes happen and it is more important to learn from them than to be scared of them.
I made some very good friends here. One of those friends completed his course and left yesterday. I thought I would feel really sad but I am glad I don’t. This means that this phase that I am living in right now, this strong and happy one, isn’t dependent on anyone but me. It feels so good to feel independent! This is what I used to be, 2 years ago. Now it is time to move forward and learn some more. I don’t want to waste anymore time, waiting for things to change. The change will always be within me, and believing that makes nothing seem scary anymore.
I like this. I love this. I want to keep living in this. And I shall.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Do Angels Exist?

A true friend is the one who walks in when the world walks out. This is so true.

Sheenu walked in my life (and literally walked in my house) like that. She left her residence and her newly born baby at her mother’s and shifted in with us. With her came Naman. Then came the newly-weds Lipika and Nitin. Then to make the tiny house seem tinier, Vaibhav and Sukriti also joined in. Each one assumed their own role in the new family as if it were a pre-written script. The Badmash Company was formed for a reason and it was time for these people to stand up for what they believed in. The reason they came to stay with us will always be Papa.
But suddenly I got the sisters I never had.

I used to dislike Sheenu a lot. I had never shared Papa with anyone and suddenly, Papa liked spending a lot of time with her. She made him laugh and she understood him. She listened to him and cried with him. But in time, I started to love her. Now, I can’t imagine life without her. She forgot her own world and made us her world. What she has done and is still doing, I can never forget. She fought with her family and society to make sure Papa was never alone. For me, leaving home for my training proved much easier knowing that she is there with the love of my life. We hardly get to talk now. We don’t go for dates, we don’t talk on phone, we don’t chat but she knows exactly what to say when I need a friend. She will always be my number one best friend. She became the glue when I lost the will to even talk to my brothers. I can never thank her enough for being my pillar of strength.

Lipika taught me that it is totally possible to be happy all the time. She dances to weird songs ALL the time. She is the best friend I go to when I have to trust someone to take Snowy for a surgery when I am not around. She is the one I have to look at when I have to leave the next day and I have no food to take with me back to the hostel. At 9 in the night, she drives to get me a suitcase full of stuff. She never complains. I know I can trust her to listen very attentively to the little gossip I have about my non-existent social life and make me feel important. She hugs me the tightest and the most number of times. I can’t thank her enough for her PDA.

Sukriti- my wifey. With her around, I never have to worry about incomplete housework. She goes to work, comes back, does laundry and then cooks food- without a tired line on her face. I think I take a lot of advantage of her-I make her get me milk or maggi at 12 in the night and yes, she does that very happily. She is the best friend I can take along to college trips and know that with her around, I would not have a dull moment.

I had met Aman just a few days before Maa went. When no friend found time to visit me, he came. Like the others, even he had no idea what to say to me but he was still there. When I needed to get out of the house for air, he was always ready to take me for a drive. I did house-chores with him and he didn’t mind. He let me cry on his shoulder without saying a word. He let me take his case shamelessly when I was in a happy mood. He became my best friend. When I shifted, he still drove for 1.5 hours to meet me whenever I asked. When I shifted to another state, he became the only one I talked to on the phone.
He spends a lot of time with my family and thus through him, I get to know what funny things are happening at home. I stay connected and hate him for being the medium for that connection. He listens to all my mood swings and calms me down when I freak out for whatever reason. Without him, I can’t imagine getting through a rough day here. He knows exactly when to keep shut and let me rant and he knows exactly when to shut me up and make me laugh.

Do angels exist?
Yes- yes, they do.

A New Chapter

Each one has a hell. Each one has a heaven. The tides of time take us through the worst of times and the best of times. Sometimes, the best and the worst happen together. It is like fire and ice.
I went through my own kind of hell this last one year. The person I was 2 years ago is long lost somewhere, to be replaced by someone much meaner, quieter but stronger. People tend to judge other people’s lives by the chapter they’ve just met them in. Same happened with me. But that is hardly the point.
When Maa died, the worst was over, or so I thought. The worst is apparently not the event- it is the suffering after. None of my friends knew what to say or how to act around me. They preferred ignorance over the truth. That became fine by me- because really, who wants to be around a mourning person anyway? Fast forwarding a bit, I stopped believing in friends. Only Papa was my support. I didn’t talk to anyone; I pushed everyone away. People started getting scared of me. I became rude and mean and utterly alone.

I won’t lie and say that I am fine. I have gone through one hell of a rollercoaster -I am not the person I used to be. I used to be happy and I used to be strong. I am not completely okay yet; I try to be. I am not completely resistant to being emotional yet; I try to be. It is not easy but then who said it would be?
When I shifted here, I shifted away from Papa and these people I came to love. I felt alone and vulnerable. I wasn’t yet ready to face the cruel world just after being exposed to the harshness of life. But life isn’t fair, is it?

After Maa’s death, lots of things changed. We were a family of 5 living in Noida for the last 12 years. We shifted to South Delhi to accommodate the new members of the family. Within one year, the initial family of 5 scattered to different parts of the country. Varun went to Pune, Aditya went to Alwar and I shifted to Gondia.
I first lost my mother and was forced to grow up. Then I shifted to a new area. Then I shifted to a new state, completely alone, knowing that Papa is at home, without the 4 people he had lived with for 20 years. How could I be happy moving out? Had it just been a simple hostel life transition, I am sure I would have been a very different person. But this was extremely difficult. The emotional rollercoaster had just started. I felt newer emotions. I felt scared. I had always believed that come what may, I will handle it. Now I came face to face with fear. I came face to face with self-pity. I came face to face with reality.

People call me depressed and they say I should learn to smile. They call me boring for not having a drink. They call me lonely for not walking in a group, bitching about the world. But who are these people? Another day, another crowd. People talk, no matter what.
I went from being the person who kept the family together to someone with no identity. Naturally I grew quieter.  The mental turmoil I went through because of living alone is altogether another story. I went through a different kind of hell, bourn out of utter boredom and absolutely nothing to do and no one to talk to.

Like everything else, I know this is also a phase. The survival rate till now has been 100%. I am sure I can survive through this too. It is just taking longer than usual but that is okay for I have been through something harsher than usual. Life always goes on. The sun always rises. Without pain, there can never be an indication of what one truly has. Hell is needed to realize heaven’s worth.
I guess I will get there soon. I have always lived in the same pond. Now that I am paddling to the river, it is natural to be scared. Now that the water is not that fast, I can sit on the rocks and enjoy the sunset too.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

First Solo!

One circuit, two
A little better than yesterday
Third was a go-around
Fourth and fifth better than okay

Last circuit a full-stop
On taxiway, sir asks me
“You sure you feel confident?”
“Yes, definitely.”

“Requesting for cadet’s first solo,
One more circuit.” He says on RT
“Confirm first solo?” “Affirm”
He releases the PTT

He gets off
Goes to ATC
It’s just me now
I close the canopy

I taxi to holding point
Runway 04 via Papa-2
I thought I would be scared
But that was far from true

On base or finals,
Aircrafts are none
I ask for line-up
After run-up checks are done

“VT-NFI, ready for departure”
“VT-NFI cleared to take-off, runway 04”
Rolling on centerline, 
I give full power

Static RPM reaches and speeds come alive
At 59, I rotate
The aircraft feels lighter
I climb straight ahead

The 500’ checklist-speed increases, power reduced
At 1700’ AGL,
A turn is made
Aircraft then trimmed for level

Another turn,
Downwind checks
Parallel to runway,
Nothing complex

“On left downwind runway 04,
Will call you on base”
He says.

Abeam threshold, power is reduced
Flaps deployed, descend has begun
Another turn, prop full
Another call is done

Another turn and final call,
“VFI cleared to land”
Final checks- on approach
All going as planned

Two reds and two whites
Speed has to be proper
No instructor this time,
No room for any error

Low enough, on the runway,
I look far straight
Round out at correct height,
Cut power and wait

Aircraft floats-starts to sink
I flare and hold correct-
Mainwheels touch the ground
The landing-oh so perfect!

19th December, 2014- I had the first solo flight of my life on VT-NFI, a Diamond 40. The 6 minute circuit was not very demanding, but it shall be remembered for eternity…
As the day I earned my wings!