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Approaching the last two months of the year, Paromita Bardoloi reflects on the lessons this year has taught her.
November almost closes autumn. A year too comes to its fag- end. And 24th Nov, I celebrate my birthday too. This month, I consider very holy. I go back to places where I need to grow, lessons I learnt, dreams I fulfilled, places I rose and fell. As I sit down to write, I look at myself. Here are the lessons this year taught me.
It’s Okay, you can leave: Goodbyes or walking away have never been my strongest point. I come from the old school. I give time, mend ways, have conversations, forgive and still stay together. Most people I am close to belong to the old school. Long conversations are our life-line. I met my closest people during college. Basically we were absolutely over-sensitive kids, where everything hurt and with a high intelligence quotient, we understood too much. Life kept rolling by and we stayed the best of friends. That was when we loved, cried and died together.
College ended. Friendships still stayed strong. But then, we had troubles too. Expectations rose. Maybe I failed. In all this, I learnt, I am human. I do make mistakes like anyone else. Walking out of love is the most difficult part. Was I loved? Yes. Was I accepted? Yes. Did they stand by me? Yes. But sometimes, love comes with so much of terms and conditions that I stopped growing. For the first time, I said, it’s okay you can leave. Sometimes, letting go is not an act of cowardice, it shows that you have learnt to take care of myself. This was the most difficult part to understand, imbibe and act upon. But I did.
All conversations are not worth it: Some people talk of problems because they want a solution; others do because they want to crib. In gist, they love being in their situations. In talking they need empathy or glorification. They always switch to the victim mode. I have been trying to help someone like this for almost ten years (patience, I must say). But even as a teenager, her friends were bad, her teachers ignored her, her parents loved her sister better and so on.
Last week I was having a conversation with her. Now she is thirty two. I think now at twenty nine, I have seen enough of life and people to be just the friend who consoles and listens. I told her to take a stand and look within herself. Now that meant, she had to stop blaming anyone and taking full responsibility of herself. Instantly hell broke loose. Of all she said, here is something classic, “I used to be the topper of my class and used to win prizes for extracurricular activities and what not, all of a sudden in 7th standard everything changed. Be it whatever reason. It is black magic by my relatives or whatever. Then on everything changed for the worse thereafter.” And it slipped from my tongue, “From class 7 to today, it is twenty years, what did you do for two decades?”
The rest of the conversation does not matter. I was just listening. But finally the ‘eureka’ moment set in. Every conversation is not worth it. If a thirty two year old woman is trapped in a twelve year old’s mind and has foregone twenty years, silence is golden. I learnt that leaving a conversation at times is respecting your own sanity.
Dealing with jerks: The first thing I hear when a friend cribs, “It’s just that you don’t meet these jerks, you can’t really understand.” But the truth of the matter is that I meet a lot of them. When you live in a city all alone and that too being single, chances are that most of the time you have to deal with them. Just sometime back, I had a call from someone who wanted to be a part of the theatre group I am in. Here, with all my zest and vigour, I was trying to explain to him the aims and objectives of our group and there he goes with, “I like women who are bold, who smoke and drink and are really modern.”
It actually took me a minute to really grasp what I heard. So, basically he is a jerk, who needed some tongue-lashing and then the use of the delete button. That is the best way to deal with this creed. Jerks always come with their red flags, which you can see everywhere. If he can’t take your call at home, is afraid of meeting you near his house, doesn’t introduce you to his friends, keeps secrets and so on, know you are dealing with a creep. And my friend, creeps deserve none of our mercy or goodness. You need not be his mother, in distress. Just leave the creep.
Heaven knows the peace when you live a life without them. The trick is to have your own standards and stick to it. If you fall for any standard, in all probability you will be entertaining creeps all your life. Use the power of choice; you will lead a graceful life. Once I met a jerk who laughed because I read. The point is not to read books yourself but to not to devalue the other on that ground. Creeps are always masters of de-valueing. This is something I tremendously respect myself for; I don’t let anyone mess with my integrity. This is one reason I walk tall and smile at myself.
Play it big: This is my final mantra. No matter how much you are loved and died for, if you are playing small, you are being unjust to yourself. You are meant to be whole with beauty and flaws and not perfect. So, this is my perfect day to begin again to wholeness.
It’s Okay not to know: There is one thing when you have too many good friends. It’s like being on the Internet every waking minute. I know exactly who is where. Who is dating whom? Who has joined a new company? And much more intimate details. But this year, I put my foot down. It’s okay not to know it all. Too much of information clouds the mind. So from this year, I shall keep the information low and the mind more open.
So, those are my thoughts this November. Hope I shine, hope I rise, and hope I grow. Next November when I write again, I hope that I bedazzle myself.
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise – Maya Angelou
Photo credits: P Ravi Kant, Aatish
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer. Workaholic. read more...
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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