Wonder

Everybody’s got two wolves inside them. Both of them are starving. One wolf is anger, envy, pride. The other one’s truth, love and kindness. Everyday they tear each other apart. But it’s not the better wolf that wins. It’s the one you feed. – Tsalagi Tale

Sometime I wonder if anyone wonders what it’s like to be me; to live my life. The way I wonder what it’s like living someone else’s life. Do they think it’s easy? Or that the perceived value of my life is more or less than theirs? Do they wish they could be me? Or do they feel sorry for me and wish they never lead a life remotely similar to mine? Or do they even think about these things at all?

I want the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and know what they are going through. Sometimes I see the people who are evidently living a great life and for a fleeting moment I wish I lived theirs. But then, I stop and think of what problems they could be having that I don’t have and can’t handle. What struggles do they have in their seemingly perfect life? Will I ever be able to deal with the same issues that they face? Maybe their relationships with their loved ones are the hardship they face. Maybe they have trouble conceiving. Maybe they have financial issues and live with uncertainty every day of their lives. Or they don’t have enough food for the whole family. Or they are crippled by debt.

We all live under different pressures. Each person’s pressures, issues, difficulties, hardships are tailored towards their own self and with one goal: improve, rise above, hope, persevere, grow, learn, survive. Every single person has a unique set of issues like no others. I guess the Buddhist’s, video game creators and sci-fi authors are correct in a way: maybe a person ascend from one level to the next, the only difference being in the level of difficulty a person faces. But all this is an exercise in an isolated, individual world. Our secluded selves are not the way this world allows us to operate. To our individual problems, throw in an added complexity; that of the human’s ability to have interpersonal relationships and socialize. You now have the ability to exponentially increase your hardships in intensity or reduce them.

Because people forget that we all have our problems and are at the level of the game we are supposed to be at. Instead of dreaming/imagining each others life with empathy, it becomes a game of comparison. Although, there are people might dream of your life and be envious of it, they at the end of the day will step out, wish you well, be grateful for what they have, and move on. Others, however, might think you have an easier life than them and instead of wishing you well and moving on, they would take it upon themselves to teach you some hard lessons they think life hasn’t taught you. These people don’t directly cause you pain or stress, because that would make them terrible people, but they wait in the sidelines and encourage situations, hoping hardships befall you so they can “save” you and teach you the lesson. Their “good Samaritan” label on their self-identity remains intact and yet..

I wonder if my dim view of people is naive or if in my 32 years of life, I have managed to glean at least something insightful from my life. A lot of us don’t even know what is going on inside our own heads, let alone another’s. How do you gauge another’s intentions if we, the only creatures with the ability to communicate abstract ideas, can’t elucidate our murky feelings or be transparent about them? Perhaps, what we lack is courage. I know I do. Sometimes I think I am that person that wants to teach people the lessons I’ve learnt the hard way by “saving” them. It makes me hate myself and I have to make a conscious effort to draw myself back from being that person.

So, I guess the question is, which type of person are you? How do you make yourself be the Empath rather than the Samaritan? How thin is the line between them? What role is the Empath supposed to play in the world of interpersonal skills?

At Water’s Edge

This book seemed like a pretty decent read. It was easy and fast-paced enough to hold my interest. I realized slowly that I did not much like the insidious chauvinistic undertones this novel carries. I was starting to get really angry towards the end of the book, however, the author did attempt to redeem the book and the protagonist.

Honestly, I cannot feign to understand authors today. I’ve been reading quite a few books by female authors these days and the one repeating theme I see is that each of them either paints the picture of a woman who is an alcoholic and a drama queen or a helpless damsel in distress who needs “saving” of some sort. Each woman is shown to be weak and dependent either on alcohol or on a man. This book was no different.

The book began with the character being a self-obsessed, self-absorbed stuck-up society girl, who grows into an empathetic woman and realizes everything that is wrong with her environment and the people she has been surrounded by. What I don’t understand is how or why she has to go on this journey of self-discovery by learning how to do housework, sweeping floors, and making beds. Understandably, it shows that she is growing sympathetic to the plights of the help; what I don’t understand is why she didn’t choose to go on this journey by instead learning to attend to soldiers hurt in the war (which, honestly, would have made me respect her a tad more). In any case, by helping around the house, she wins the love and respect of the manager of the inn. Another problem here: why does a man only seem to fall in love with a woman who tries to change herself by learning how to work in the kitchens? What kind of example are you trying to set? What are you inspiring female readers to become?

One other thing that drew my attention was that each of these books that supposedly are a journey of a woman on “self-discovery” in some way involve a man, who somehow acts as a catalyst for this woman to “better” herself. This man is always painted as a through-and-through hero, who, literally in this case, comes back from the jaws of death and who dispatches a few to the fate that was to be his. I don’t understand the need for these characters in this book. At least, The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl didn’t have a patriarchal figure who had to “save” them or help them improve themselves, and under whose watchful, encouraging <lustful> eyes the protagonist realized she could be and have so much more.

The book painted these characters to be so completely evil or so completely good, I’m surprised she didn’t discover their flaws earlier. Only after being hauled across the Atlantic ocean (and because she was sea-sick the entire time) did she realize how callous and selfish her husband truly is. The character came off as shallow. I loved the journey, to the extent that it was believable. Does it really take war and a life in squalor to humble us? And if she realized so much about herself, in being shallow, how could she not, upon reflection, not come to understand the position of her father and feel sorrow and pity for him?

What I did like about the book was that it made the character realize that the boundaries between the servants and the upper-class were man-made and just existed in her mind. She did become empathetic and sympathetic. Her self-discovery, like I said earlier, was enjoyable to an extent. The book was an easy-read and I finished it in about two days so I don’t feel too bad about reading it. I’d give it a solid 3.5 stars for solid writing style, even though there was a lot wrong with the characters, I thought.

Also, there wasn’t much about the Loch Ness monster in it. Which I was really excited and was hoping for. Disappointed.

Social niceties

The brain is mutable. It changes all the time, a disconcerting amount, in fact. It changes based on the lighting around you, the weather, what you eat, whom you talk to, the way you sit, even what you wear. The consistency of the brain is like custard, and its makeup is more like a forest than a computer, always alive, rustling, changing.

– Your Brain at Work

Never having been reined in by social necessities, the brain grew unrestrained and uncontrolled in every direction it saw. It bloomed and blossomed into this unbridled beast that absorbed everything it saw and used it to grow rampant. And yet it was aware of its own growth; self-aware and capable of watching itself as it broke all social boundaries and grew unhindered. It absorbed everything. Every thing considered an obstacle became a lesson; everything else was a blessing. The mind grew into something so intelligent, it could cut you with its razor sharpness. And yet there was this innocence, that comes from having lived inside of itself for so long. Social niceceties are beyond it. People liked it for the innocence; left it for fear of its intelligence.

People attribute its intelligence to everything they could think of, so as to make themselves feel better for not being it or having it. For not having its abilities. They attribute it to age, or to studying, or not really having a social life. And all this is ok as long as they don’t see its learning curve. It is vertical. It is unstoppable.

Turmoil

I wrote this years ago, when I was having trouble at my workplace and social politics. Over the years, I have come across a lot of people like this, and this post and this significant change in my attitude has always seen me through. It has helped me through life and not just at work.


When the mind is in conflict with the environment, two things can happen; you either run or you adjust your attitude. I tried to run. But then I thought that no one was going to make me do anything I didn’t want to do. I wasn’t going to run. No one could make me. I think this was the best change of attitude that I’ve had in a while. It really made me think that I haven’t really stood up for myself and if I ran now, it wouldn’t be BECAUSE of so and so. It would be because I gave up on myself. So I decided to stay and take measures that would allow me to adjust my attitude instead.

So when I realize that people slack off and leave their work to be done by others, I said ok. I’ll do their work. This is an organization and more than that; a field where no one can proclaim your work as their own. And since the brands are now not divided amongst the Art Directors, no one person can claim that they handled an entire big brand etc on their own. So if I did do some work on “brand”, it would be mine. It would go in my portfolio as my own. With my name on it. Even though I wouldn’t be able to claim that the entire brand was handled by me, my work would speak for itself no matter where I went.

Having thought of things in this way, I was appeased and realized that I would never say “No” to any work that was assigned to me, no matter how much pressure I was under. And things seem to be working out. Even though everything is still fresh and the wounds seem to have been buried. Let’s hope things change with my attitude.

I guess all that matters is a change in attitude. Things always seem to fix themselves. After all it is always just your perception and how you see things. What you allow to bother you and what you seem to consider inconsequential. I’ve stopped showing or thinking of anything that in the least bit matters to me or bothers me.

Obviously I realized that my work-ethic is very different from everyone else’s. So many things don’t matter to me that matter to others. Whereas, so many other things matter to me that don’t matter to others. For example things like coming to work and making it your first priority are things that matter to me. Responsibility and investment into the content of what is going out there in your name also matters to me. The need to learn constantly and to keep moving forward, thats also something that I’m starting to hold very dear to me. It’s the little things that matter. I think, I need to relax a bit and stop putting things on such a pedestal.


It worked out. I stayed at that job for 3 years, being promoted to a Senior Art Director. I handled many big brands and became one of the most trusted Art Directors in the agency. Brands loved my work and appreciated it publically. I left the agency with my head held high and my pride more than intact.

One other thing I realized then was, life is not in statis. It is constantly moving. People were going to come and people were going to go. It was up to me to decide who I wanted to keep, and who I wanted gone. This thought has helped me tolerate a lot of people’s bullshit. It has also allowed me to keep my sanity; knowing and understanding that I will rid my life of the parasites who are stupid enough to think I am stupid and who are currently and forever trying to leech off of me.

Mundane humdrum

I know it’s been ages since I wrote anything on here. Sometimes, however, real life takes priority over the digital one or the one that you live inside of your head. A lot has been going on in my life that has required some specialized attention.

Sometimes as a teenager, I would lie in bed and wonder where my life was going to go, who I was going to become, and who, if anyone, I was going to meet in my life who was going to stay in it forever. And although, I did figure out the answer to my first two questions in the next couple of years, it took me another decade to finally find the answer to the last. I made mistakes, I gave up, I met people I thought were going to stick around forever and who didn’t. I always just wondered if I would ever live a normal life; a life where someday I could say “I was just like the rest”; that I had finally conformed. But God has always had different plans for me. Life has been a struggle; like wrestling with a hippopotamus. But once life becomes easy, I’ve always gotten bored. There was no way God was going to let me do anything in life without breaking at least a million rules.

God is weird. He makes strange and unsettling decisions for us and expects us to adjust. He throws such wrenches into our plans, that I’m surprised we get anything done. But I guess it’s a good way of getting our heads out of our asses. It’s also a great way of ensuring that we don’t get bored. Boredom kills and it can only be revived by constantly having to battle against life.

The strangeness of being the person I became, however, should have warned me, a long time back, that my life was not ever going to go according to any plan I contrived. I am not traditionally inclined; my parents didn’t raise me to be. I am most unladylike. I am loud and obnoxious and not entirely stupid. None of these things allows me to be classified as a woman who would “fit in” to what our society expects. I was always going to remain at the fringes when it came to our society. But then, what is deemed controversial in one society, is applauded in another. And even though no rishte wali Aunty could possibly help me, my mom never gave up hope. However, no matchmaker was a match for my unconventional existence. Believe me, my mother tried very hard. My mom believes in fate though and to an extent, so do I. So we’ll call it that. Rest assured that I am happy now that I’ve met my “fate.” So is my mom. I feel like a burden has been taken off of them. They were starting to question their child-rearing decisions. I don’t think they did too bad though, as parents. They did ready us kids for the world. It’s just that that world wasn’t Pakistan.

All in all, lifes good and as mundane as I can possibly tolerate without loosing my mind to boredom. I got a new job that I love, that motivates and inspires me to learn; that makes my mind churn. That makes me doubt my abilities and yet, when I overcome those doubts and the obstacles it throws in my life, it rewards me with a euphoric exuberance that takes weeks to dissipate. What more could I possibly want?

Well, having a cat would be nice.

Texture

You don’t know me well enough to be able to feel the rich texture of the tapestry that is my life. You don’t feel the rough coarseness of the bad patches, or the light silkyness as the good patch as it slips through your fingers. You don’t have the ability to see the complexity as the threads weave into each other, some appearing and others disappearing. You can’t see the bigger picture, the beauty of the tapestry coming together that forms my whole being and you can’t see the embellishments and the details of the stitch up close. You can’t feel the grain of the paint that’s been roughly splotched on to my canvas and you can’t appreciate the fineness of the gradient as one color blends into the next. You can’t feel the damage or the rips or the wear-and-tear of my most treasured bits of my life. I covet this damage. It has made me who I am today.

What you see is a blur of my tapestry. You see it the way the world sees the Mona Lisa; a seemingly inconspicuous ugly painting blurred by the bullet-proof glass it is protected by. I am not inconspicuous. I am not insignificant. I am not a blur. I am sharp. I am powerful. I know what and who I am and I am better than you are because I am aware of myself. Because I can think. Because I have depth. Because I am flawed and I know it and I accept it and I can improve myself.

And if you can’t see that about me; then you don’t deserve me in the first place.

Live a small life; a quiet life

Living in a small town might not make you feel like you’re a part of something big, like you do when you’re living in the big city; but it definitely allows you to feel the peace of living a quite insignificant life with the quiet you wish you had when you are living in a big city.

And we are insignificant. We are so small.  This world is so big, we can’t even comprehend the largeness of it all. And because of this, we reduce our realities to our proximity; a bubble around our head and we live out our lives inside.

It’s funny how when we are living in the city, all we can think and dream about is to get away. Go to a place away from all the rest of humanity and just live our days in the silence. A place where we can finally see the stars. A place where the silence and quiet stills our chaotic minds and leaves behind a peace. A place where we can retreat to to mend our souls and our wounds.

On the flip side, however, when what we wish for comes true, oh what we wouldn’t give to go back to the city of lights where we lived our days in the comfort of a billion people living their lives around us. Every single one of us wants a big life. We want to be noticed. We want people to know we exist and feel like our lives are not a waste.