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Paromita Bardoloi writes a heartfelt piece on lighting the first lamp within her this Diwali. And in the process finding herself.
Diwali was just here. Everyone was busy with cleaning. The houses sparkled and the drapes were changed. But this Diwali, I stopped. I let go all that has served its purpose and that was so big.
I spring clean my room almost every 3 months, so you won’t really see me running around hard during Diwali. I don’t believe in clutter. What I won’t use should go out to someone who will and benefit from it. I live by this thumb rule. But then, is Diwali only about cleaning your houses sparkling clean? I looked deeper. Every festival in India, has a tradition. Are we just stuck to the rituals? Isn’t cleaning deeper than just cleaning our houses and changing the decors? Were our ancestors thinking of just clean houses when such rituals were created?
As, I turn 31 in a few days, this Diwali, I sat with myself with my Chaai one evening and asked myself what I dreaded the most, “Do I really need all that I have?” Wasn’t it time to review my own life rather than reviewing all the new things I might need? And then, life stood before me.
First of all, are all people whom I call friends, are really friends? Do all of them care? What about that so-called friend who make me cringe each time I talk to her? What about that friend, whom I knew never liked me, but acted as she did? What about those people I left back long before, but would invariably end up keeping in touch once in a month or so? Why was I angry with myself for the past few months? The Pandora box opened.
I learnt it long back in a life class that everything that you have attached your life to, is serving a need, no matter how ugly it looks. Also, life always shows up. Why is that, despite my best effort, I feel angry and stuck at places? Is it truly about people?
The best thing about life is that, when you sincerely ask a question it replies. So, here was I. Being a small town girl, saying NO, was like a big thing for me. I knew it in theory, that I should say a NO, but I was failing in real life to put it to use. I remember in childhood, it was a rule when I or my cousins or anyone, would not want to talk to guests, our elders would push us too. And that stayed with all of us. If people would want to talk, we would always respond back. It was a good exercise as a child, but now do I really need to respond back, each time. Do, I really need everyone and everything?
I began this exercise in September and it was so difficult, because my own small self was showing, that need to fit in, inspite of knowing I did not like certain places. When you come to college as a teenager, you want to fit in, you want people to love and remember you. But now, should I not outgrow it? Should I not rebuild my boundaries? Was I not getting exhausted at one point? Is being a good human being, does not entail to be good to oneself? Am I not self-harming myself?
There would be people who would call me up, not because they love me, because they need someone to dump their toxicity. The difference between a friend with a problem and a toxic friend is that a toxic friend is never done with anything. They keep coming with the same issues for years. A friend with a problem comes for a solution and a friend who is toxic comes to dump his/her waste. No one, who loves you, will dump anything on you. Your well being is there priority. If not, they are not friends.
I know, people who just come to take, because somewhere, I always brought positivity to the table. But I was the one who was left drained. It took me sometime to truly realize that if someone is leaving you sick and drained, let’s accept that you cannot do anymore. I am no God. I cannot give without being replenished back. I have friends, whose company delights me. I feel like jumping with joy at their company. I always excel with them. I finally realized that all people are not good for me, no matter how good I tried to be. What is good for you, won’t leave you sick and angry each time for years. I finally accepted, that my need to be there for everyone was harming my well being. My body reacts to my emotional health very quickly. Frequent spats of headaches and stomach aches were telling me louder than ever that I was just depositing toxic in my life.
I am a die-hard romantic. I believed in forever. I believed in forever friends. Maybe I lived in that idea of forever, rather than accepting the reality that people don’t grow up the same way as you do.
I am a die-hard romantic. I believed in forever. I believed in forever friends. Maybe I lived in that idea of forever, rather than accepting the reality that people don’t grow up the same way as you do. And no, because you spent your childhood with someone, that person may not really understand you the adult you become. People grow in different ways. You know, my need to tell, how long I have known someone, somewhere compromised on the fact that, I was not happy with a few. I have this childhood friend, who would constantly compare my and her life, and make fun of me. She has a constant need of telling the world, what I must have done in school, like falling in the playground as a second grader or from the cycle when in 7th grade and the roars of laughter will not stop. It took me some time to truly realize that she was stuck to the school life, she refuses to see me as a 30year old working woman. I was tired of playing the 11-year-old kid, each time, taking her upper hand.
This Diwali, I revalued my life. I finally realized that I was angry because I was playing small. I knew, certain people were not treating me right. No matter how much I was trying to write and teach other people about self-love, I was failing miserably, because I was letting people treat me small. I was scared of being left alone or being a bad girl. So, I hanged on. No, some never loved me. They needed my sense of validity. This so called friend, once hearing that I found a right match called me up twice first to ask what magic I did to find it and second time how her Pandit ji told her that she too will find a match soon.
Now, that I look back, I feel angry at myself that I bore through it. The same person, when I would go out of station for some event would text me that she would need to share something important. I would still ignore. I wonder do someone who truly love, calls you up on your tours to tell, how sad they are, when you speak to them, when you are in the town. I asked myself, do these people really ask me, how I was. They would constantly want something from me. My patient advises or my patient ears were what they needed. No, people who love you, ask about you. They let you be yourself and don’t keep bothering you all the time, and if you are feeling bothered something is wrong. It’s time to pay attention. My problem was that, I let go too much.
I finally accepted that in a long-standing relationship for it to sustain, it has to be replenishing and not draining.
I finally accepted that in a long-standing relationship for it to sustain, it has to be replenishing and not draining. You cannot burn yourself to keep someone warm. Life, is a self-work. You can show the path, but cannot walk it for someone. Some people choose to stay where they are. And maybe that’s where there lessons were, as mine were in some places. Maybe wisdom is to burn some bridges and let that light lit my way.
Finally, I learnt to apply the golden rule that if what you have does not fit the vision of your life, is it worth carrying with you? I realized not all that I was carrying was bringing me to my purpose. I felt stuck and angry. And I must have done something to hoard myself. I looked into my life and let go what served its purpose. The boundaries are rebuilt. Because I somewhere hated the person I was becoming. I was so angry at myself. That is by no means self-love.
True it’s difficult to break the patterns. It takes a lot to walk away. And when you try to break it, you would want to fall back again and again because that’s your comfort zone. May be that’s why some people stay in bad places, because they have found comfort there. But then, I know, I have a vision. I take one breath a time and push myself out of my comfort zone and walk towards where my sky is.
This Diwali, I lit a light within. Legends say, Lord Rama came home to Ayodhya on Diwali. This Diwali, I took my first step to myself. I took my first step home.
As Lord Buddha said, “Atma Deepo Bhavo,” which means light your own lamp. This Diwali, as I lit the first lamp on my doorstep, I symbolized it for the light within and I prayed, “May the first lamp I lit, light a thousand more.”
Cover image via Shutterstock
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
Lovely post, Paromita. May that light brighten your life and also the lives of those around you !!!
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