Off the Pedestal

For the longest time, I held unwavering perceptions of people. They were bound within the confines of the labels anointed – Mom, Dad, Teacher, Elder Sister, or just plain “Adult”. In my head, the parents could do no wrong; they were secure and unblemished on their pedestal where I had placed them. Similar expectations were laid on the other adults in my life. The formula was simple: Adults have the answers. Adults are the solutions.

The term human never really applied to them, until it applied to me. Until there was a world beyond black and white. Until there was a tricky middle ground of subjectivity at the edge of which I was precariously balanced. That is when I started to extend the liberty of making mistakes to myself and my peers. After all, it is probably the most natural thing in the world.

And finally, came a day when I extended the same courtesy to my parents (and the other adults, but obviously the key are my parents). I took them off the pedestal and gave them the freedom to be, and in the process took a weight off my shoulders of trying to view the world as per the lenses I believed I was expected to see.

In that moment, I looked at the person beyond the label and tried to catch a glimpse of their journey and their pains, of their unfulfilled dreams and their doubts. It taught me to forgive, for all the times I felt they should have done something different with me. It also taught me the meaning of unconditional love, of taking in the load of good along with the pinch of “bad”.

The view up from the ground was assuring to say the least, but now at eye level where I have allowed blemishes to touch them, the perspective is now pure and beautiful and familiar.

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Raw Material

Today, she decided to try on the mauve cotton suit. It complemented her frame beautifully and brought out the depth of her eyes. Innocently, she went about her way when alas, the seams ripped open. Just like the other time, when her black denim jacket unraveling at the shoulders.

Her friend had been facing a similar problem with her clothes. One day it was the yellow chiffon dress that tore down her back while some days later, it was the blue silk skirt that frayed all around the hem. It seemed that the tacks and safety pins held only for sometime until the clothes eventually fell apart, worse than ever.

No matter how many times they tried to repair their garments, change their tailors, use assorted fabrics or try out different styles, they never really held together. It was a frustrating time. It was a bitter time. It was a puzzling time.

Only a close examination made them realize that the material of their clothes had been of poor quality, handled with little care and mended without a thought. Of course, their stitching was not going to hold for long when the material itself was falling to pieces.


Just like the law can only do so much. Unless the mindset changes, no number of death penalties and rulings can make an impact on the horrifying rape and molestation cases taking place in the country. In fact, I’ll go to the extent of saying that law is just an easy way out. It is WRONG as a solution. Fear of death should not be the check-post for a criminal! The law may work for two minutes, but unless we examine and address the fabric of society’s perceptions, I do not really see an end to the number of ‘Nirbhayas’ the nation is producing.

Identity Check | Who am I?

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Home time! Four years since I left and as always, the excitement just grows. But my last visit was different with a handful of bittersweet realizations.

A timeline…

08:00 hours: Outside the railway station

To my horror, I blanked out and couldn’t place a key lane on my way home! Armed with determination to make up for the loss of that one name, I spoke in my very best Gujarati (local language) to showcase my diminishing authority over the city where I have spent about twenty years of my life. Assurance seeped in as I recalled every nook and crevice in the lanes around my home.

08:45 hours: My first peek

The sofa covers had been changed. The ceiling fan creaked more than usual. The potted plants had been rearranged. My steps faltered, albeit for barely a second. The easy familiarity that usually engulfs me was deferrred by that one second, yet I stubbornly refused to acknowledge the delay… But for how long??

13:00 hours: Post lunch “siesta”

I took it upon myself to clean the drawing and dining rooms. And hello smug realization! I could have done it blindfolded. My memory did not betray me – my fingers lovingly remembered every scratch and dent. I was humming and chatting with Dad as I have done a thousand times before. It was just another regular autumn cleaning to make Mom happy and earn brownie points.

17:00 hours: A ride to… forget?

As I rode my beloved scooter after almost six months, I was aghast that I had to open Google Maps. I could no longer place the cafe at its precise location. My mind was playing games. A lane brought memories of another hundreds of miles away. A building looked exactly like my old flat in Mumbai. A colored house transported me to a quaint one near my old institute in Goa. Was I disloyal and cheating on my city??

22:00 hours: The skirt quest!

Hunting for an old skirt made me stumble upon a big bunch of letters, photographs, hand-made greeting cards, love notes, embroidered handkerchiefs, school reports and old cassettes. A plate of onions kept distracting me as I went through every item, laughing over my effortlessly absurd past self. The diary entries (Man! We learn to bitch early!) and moments of “Oh! I had a crush on him??”  were priceless. I ended up clinging to that faded piece of paper as if my whole life depended on it… Where is time travel when you need it the most??

02:00 hours: Panic Attack!!!

I belonged to this city. I knew it. I had proof and was woefully curled up in a nest of them – reports, photos, letters and books. I am NEVER EVER throwing them away; those old souvenirs made me and are invested deep inside me.

Though I was restless in those tearful thoughts, sleep eventually took over. The home sleep. The best’est’ and incomparable!

But! Where do I belong? Who am I? A Pseudo Gujju? A Neo Maharashtrian? A wanna-be Goan? My loyalties stand confused. Meanwhile, I was at peace. I was home. It felt good to be back home.


I am nowhere close to finding the answers – it is definitely more complex than home is where the heart is… Anyone feel the same? How do you deal with it? Have you made peace with this?

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Do Your Bit – At least for Yourself!

What happens when things don’t go the way you planned? What happens when life takes a U-turn from its planned course? What happens when your blissful joyride has an irreversible breakdown? How many times can you deal with the heartbreak?

Once? Twice? A lifetime?

We all have expectations – from ourselves and others. From the housemaid to your employer, from parents and family to significant others – hell even from your dog who must give you a cuddle when you down. Realistically speaking, it is impossible that all our expectations be met. Circumstances, often natural or out of our control, have a tendency to say hello and crash our hopes.

My question is, how long is too long when you keep tolerating it? This is especially true, when we rely on other people and come to depend on them. There is a time when you take those expectations almost for granted! Yeah, I earn! But I still live in the comfort that if something really horrible happens, I do have my parents’ support. Or I have the assurance that I can call my bestest friend in the world when I want to sob, irrespective of her location and time zone. Sure, disappointments are part and parcel of the game. But what happens when they become a rule? Given your track record, you realise that if the going is too good be prepared for a major screw up.

I simply stop expecting – easier right not to get hurt when things don’t go your way? Don’t expect. Don’t get hurt.

BUT! When we stop expecting and you brace yourself for the worst every single time, isn’t that the failure of the relationship? Doesn’t it make it fickle? Co-dependency is the beauty of mankind! Yet over here, we are giving up on that fundamental element because we are too wary of being let down and be disappointed all over again.

But, the show must go on. We pick ourselves, dust off, maybe do some wailing and then move on.

So, after a lot of thinking I kind of took a call and hope to stick to it. Whatever happens, my true day of failure is when I fall below my own expectations. I am determined to do my bit and give it all – at least for the sake of living up to my own hopes and not tumble from grace in my own eyes. There is a certain standard we all set for ourselves and we owe it to our self-respect that we adhere to it if not cross.

Time to make peace with being let down and simply focus on what needs to be done – irrespective of the end!

Quoting from Bhagavad Gita (Holy Book of Hindus) – To Karma (action) alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction.

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The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “bat, bet, bit, bot, but.” Clearly not a light take on it, but hey! It is SOCS for a reason…