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So what will it be?

Everyone has that one secret hide out – that one place which defines ‘beautiful’ by every means. For me, that place – that hideout – is somewhere deep inside my mind. And once I’m there – for whatever reason or some times for no reason at all – there’s nothing in the world that can make me happier & there’s nothing in the world that can possibly bring me down. The only irony is – I seldom get to go there and stay.

They say life is so unpredictable but it’s so satirical how certain things in life are so common – so known. For instance, almost everyone you run into and ask, what they want from life or how they would like their lives to be – they’ll tell you that they want to be happy, have a good life, a good time with a good family, a well-paid job, a successful marriage etc. That’s your list of the most predictable set of answers.

Everyone wants to feel good. Everyone craves for that happy, easy life where they perfectly fall into love with the perfect person, have a perfect relationship, look perfectly gorgeous, make ample money, be respected and admired and die with the perfect smile on their face. For all I know, I’d kill to have that life. The catch, however, is – it’s easy to “want” it.

Easy answers come from easy questions. And the simplest question to me is, ‘What do you want from your life?’ – then comes all or a combination of everything that I’ve written above! It’s so omnipresent that it has almost lost all of its meaning now. Just like if everyone wanted that one kind of product in the market – in no time it loses its value – it’s no longer a big deal if you have it. Similarly, to want a perfect life is something everyone craves for – so what’s the point? How are you different? Why are you more deserving than anyone else out there?

To avoid the easy answer, avoid the easy question. Ask what’s more interesting. To me, the more challenging question is ‘What struggle are you willing to take up in your life?’ What pain are you willing to endure? And for what? For whom? I believe the answer to some of these kind of questions actually determine how our lives conclude to be.

For sure I want to become a partner at the law firm I work in – I want the big bucks, the recognition, the status, the fame, the knowledge. But am I willing to suffer through insane work hours per week? Am I willing to undertake all the humiliation from my boss or my clients? The obnoxious paperwork? Surviving the nearly impossible work-life balance?

Isn’t it amazing to be all rich and fancy without having to face the traffic of hard work and gratitude? Wake up one morning and Ka-Boom!!

Sure I want to have an awesome relationship with my better half. Who wouldn’t want that? But then is everyone willing to endure the differences? Is everyone willing to face the tough communication? Is everyone willing to feel deeply hurt and still let go because you just love the other person too much? Is everyone willing to walk the entire emotional journey that it takes, to get to the point where you’ve built your mansion? If you don’t think this through and if you don’t repeatedly ask yourself ‘What and how much of all the pain are you willing to take up?’ –you merely settle. You settle down and eventually end up asking yourself ‘What if?’ and you keep asking that ‘what if’ until it turns into a ‘What for?’

Can you imagine having lived a good deal of years – sleeping and waking up with that one person who is allegedly your ‘soul mate’ only to be left with the question to which no one has an answer – ‘What for?’

The bottom line is;

Happiness doesn’t come without struggle. It requires for you to embrace pain in order for you to fully feel what happiness entails. Almost every sane human being wants those ‘good feelings’. The simplest reminder about the reality of life is – nothing good in life comes easy. Well true that, but that ‘good’ depends on where we have suffered and how we enjoyed the struggle. Whenever you analyze the cost/benefit – sadistically enough – there has to be love for the suffering. You have to be passionate about pulling all nighters to get those good grades, you have to love it when you get no recognition for your hard work at office to become a challenging entrepreneur, you have to survive the emotional turbulence and at times keep staring blankly at your phone that never rings to actually win the game of love. You have to ‘want’ the cost to ‘enjoy’ the benefit.

It seems a bit difficult so far – to really want the pain at the end of which awaits your rainbow – but the worst is yet to come. And that’s when you find yourself wanting something one after the other but it never happens and you never get any closer to it. When you constantly find yourself wanting such a thing – it is either a mirage, a fantasy or a false promise. Maybe you don’t really want it. Maybe you’re not willing to suffer enough.

For every determinant about life ask yourself the hard question. How much, how far, for how long and for who? Pleasure and happiness are the predictable answers to the easy question. But alas, life is not all about roses and unicorns.

I know it sounds weird but the truth is that pain is what gets you anywhere. What makes you strong. It makes you who you eventually become. Pain is what makes you believe in ‘hope’ – because at times that’s the only choice it gives you – to be hopeful. To have faith. To hold on. To wait.

In the end, it is the pain that defines us – distinguishes us from one another – and it’s the pain that brings us together. So my question to you is – what will your question be?

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A Day in the Life of a Lawyer

I recently completed my post grad degree from law school and if there’s one thing I can say about it – it’s this; if you can manage to survive till the end of it you’re quite a star. To be able to deal with the competitiveness, to always stay focused on your goal, to be able to tune out the insanity and most of all to always unconditionally and passionately love the subject would amount to only a handful of reasons which would want you to jump out the window – pretty often.

Being a lawyer sounds pretty awesome – & if you watch shows like Suits and Boston Legal, heck being a lawyer even looks pretty awesome! But in reality, being a lawyer has some aspects which can really push you in the corner at times and force you to either push back and break through or suffocate and sink.

Here are some things I’m sure every lawyer can relate to….

You were a star in law school, but you really know nothing.

School teaches you how to go about a given set of facts – it tells you all that has been done in the past and it inculcates within you all those fancy Acts and Statutes you ought to know. But as soon as you step into a law firm you will almost instantly realize that law school didn’t really give you enough practice of how to think like a lawyer. It does not really prepare you to practice law ‘per se’. Trust me, no matter how bright a kid you were in law school, more than often your job will make you feel like the dumbest person on Earth because and I quote my boss, it takes time to develop the legal common sense. *sigh*  

Your first job is just that.

Law firms are no longer a closely knit family affair like they used to be… about like a century ago. Business practices are moving faster than ever and have also become complex knowing no limits. Be it multinational companies or compact law firms; everyone is operating and competing across borders. Whilst it is very important to find your niche in the industry you aspire to build your career in; it is equally important to keep an eye out for the firm’s reputation. Since most fresh attorneys take up their first job out of sheer desperation to start working, I would warn them to be very careful that their first job should not attach to them its bad reputation (which again is one thing that matters a lot in the legal industry). If you get a bad vibe from your boss or even a handful of your fellow attorneys – run. You wouldn’t want to dread in guilt by association. There are a lot of good firms but there are also plenty that can ruin you.

Getting paid is like pulling out a tooth. Yourself.

So we all know how the system works right? We have clients, we do their work, we charge them by the hour, the work is done, the client is happy, they pay us, we pay our employees and we all go home.

Life would be bliss if that happened as easily as it appears up there. It’s all good up to the point where the client is happy – because after that, nope they don’t pay us that easily. Law firms usually have a mixed plate of clientele – super wealthy and famous people and the average Mr. Z – the one common problem: they won’t pay their bills. So if you are a lawyer – embrace yourself for being broke for 8 out of 12 months (on average – if you’re lucky it could be 7).  

Reality eventually beats perception

One must love their job to able to succeed in it. True. But if you are choosing to become a lawyer you will almost always have to passionately love what you do not only to succeed but to survive. Sorry, but there really isn’t any easier way of saying this. So if you want to get out of law do it before you become middle aged, frustrated and professionally depressed with no recourse of going back either because it’s too late or because you need the money. Young lawyers should actually aim to never lose interest in their job because working for a law degree can never be a great way of eventually doing something else.

It’s either the big bucks or everything else.

Although it is important to be goal driven and know what you want or which area of law you would like to practice. But all the excitement does tone down a bit. Back in law school there were so many of my classmates who were all about ‘I shall set up an NGO and do pro bono cases’ & ‘I shall be Captain Planet and save the environment’ – in the end – well you become ‘that’ person’s lawyer who is doing nothing but the exact opposite of everything you wanted to protect/save! Yup, it’s good to be optimistic and environmentalis-tic but it’s important to keep a reality check. And in today’s world, sadly, it all comes down to ‘cha-ching!

But on a lighter note, it isn’t that bad – subject to how much you love being a lawyer of course! 😛 Like me? I thoroughly enjoy my profession. Even when there are days when I have no work – I still rock at being a lawyer! And despite all the reality checks – being an attorney is so much better than being a law student. There are no more hypothetical cases – no more make believe characters – no more ‘assumptions’. Everything is reality – real people – real life scenarios. The good, the bad and the ugly. And all eyes are on you. On what you say. On how you argue their case. It does give you an adrenaline rush!   

 

 

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One Step at a Time

Faith.

You are drenched in it exactly when it’s the least of what you are expecting. So for a while, she became a spectator of her own self. She stepped out, folded her arms neatly across her chest and watched her.

Passionate, non-conforming & surrounded by meaningless angst…yet vulnerable – extremely vulnerable. With a series of deceptive cadences running in the background, she appeared to be replete with rampant sensations that juxtapose naturally. There was love, anger, poise, confusion, patience, impatience, prayer, hopelessness; all rushing around unleashed without colliding. A beautiful sight indeed.

She never liked rain. But now she does. Perhaps because here it rains pretty often; or perhaps because she’s learning to like new things. So she stands by the window pane, with the curtains neatly put aside and she dreams. Dreams – the one place where she is the happiest. She sees a red silk scarf drifting upwards into the dark black sky as if leading her eyes to a sight that will bring a smile on her face.

Stars. For as long as she can remember she has loved stars. To just stare into the endless blinding sky with little sparkles of joy scattered all around playing hide and seek in their twinkling manner. To her, they define freedom. They define joy. They define hope for an existence in the gloomiest of places.

So I continue to watch her from night to day and then from day to night. Bereft images fill the canvas of her hyper mind and she becomes them all. Laughs and cries with every illustration that comes and goes. And when the Sun is eaten by the sky for supper, she sits and recalls her day while praying – trying hard to make sense of it all. But it seldom makes any sense. Almost never – not yet. So she thanks the Lord for the many tales of comical misfortunes that she’s heard of and for the fact that they don’t define her life – not yet.

And then she is told by many, not to worry – not to think. How oblivious can man be at times with the opinions he gives. How can one possibly ever stop thinking? That is where dreams and hopes are born. That is where every story once began. Hence, think.

Think of your life and how you had pictured it to be. It’s not the same right? It never is. For no one. And you aren’t any exception for the good looks or the pure heart that you have. So relax. But think.

Think of how you would like your life to be. Now that came easily to her! And I saw a shy smile gently curve out on her face. She knew exactly what she wanted her life to be like. In that one instance she felt her set of doubts and fears slip away from between her toes into the carpeted floor. Just the thought of her tomorrow made her spirit lift. She could hear her and his laughs in the distance. How she wanted to run to that tomorrow and grasp it tightly with both her hands. They laughed and laughed and when she looked at him she felt sure of where she was. She felt complete. It was dream she had locked away with a glass key – waiting for fate to blissfully open it into her life soon.

Finally I appeared as her ghost in the mirror. The mirror into which she fervently stares all day; looking for a piece of her heart that has been missing for a while now. So I looked at her and I asked;

What are you? An optimist? A pessimist? A dreamer? And contrary to my expectations of receiving hazy answers, she instead looked straight back at me and said – neither; I am neither of those.

I dream. I believe. I pray. And I believe in my prayers. I believe I am being heard. And not only that, I believe I am being answered. Why shouldn’t I be answered? When all that I ask for is tranquility… I ask for happiness… I ask for love. After all who doesn’t deserve just that?

I do. I believe I do.

But just because I live with the dream of my future in front of me, don’t label me an optimist or a pessimist or a dreamer. I breathe in my today. If today makes me happy – I share my happiness – I laugh and I laugh out loud so others can laugh with me. And if today makes me sad – I isolate myself and I cry. I let it out not because in that moment I am weak. No. I let it out so I can dream again. So I can remind myself that I am living with my dream right in front of me and that’s where I need to go – that’s where I am meant to be.

And hence, I am a realist. Well aware of my today, strong enough to retain my sanity in the middle of every chaos and constantly in communication with my Lord to one day take me where I deserve to be.

After all this, I watched her take a step backwards with a satisfactory smile on her face and a warmth in her heart as she pulled her anxious pieces together firmly and she whispered …

This time.. I breathe for faith. So breathe in me a hefty dose of unrestricted faith. So much of it that it fills every restless corner of my soul. So much of it that no matter what happens I am able to stand firm on my feet and focus on the tomorrow that fate will unlock for me with the glass key that I tossed at it ages ago. Breathe in me so much of faith that it becomes my strength; my sword, my shield.

I breathe for dreams. Dreams filled with hope. Hopes that are so excited themselves that they have no room for any sorrow. Breathe in me a dream where I reach out to the sky and touch every star that the sky holds. Breathe in me a dream where I can rest your head on my lap and caress it with gentle strokes as I watch you fall asleep.

I breathe for strength. For once I want to pluck every hurting thought out of my mind and take a walk by the seashore barefoot; in peace – complete peace. So breathe in me so much strength that as you juggle with every errand you ought to run to please this world, I can stand right beside you and pray that life gives you the best of what it can offer. So much strength, that through my silence I can tell you what I wish for you and me.

And today, I not only breathe for life but I breathe for love. I breathe for love that makes me idyllic not only with myself but with you. For so much love that it comes from within me and reaches out to you. Breathe in me so much love that one day if I get tired of walking towards my dream, I can look at you and know that things will change – that life will be better – that there is an immortal promise waiting for us out there. So much love that I know that promise is you – and that it’ll be worth the wait. So I breathe to shut away the past, to stand firm today and to wishfully step into a beautiful tomorrow with you.

I breathe with faith.

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Life as we ‘learn’ to know it

It’s where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we are – Joyce Carol Oates

I still have blurry memories of my first visit to London.. Amongst the other countries that we visited during that euro tour I can confidently say that London was my least favorite. And so it has always been – until lately.

The desire to do my masters dwelled within even before I finished grad school and was followed by a series of trial and error episodes. The excitement to pursue my Post Graduate degree would severely escalate during certain periods and would roll down the hill during others. The priority list was constantly shuffling over the past few years. But God works in His own mysterious ways. I got into the university for which I tried for 3 years & ended up rejecting the offer of acceptance that they sent. At a point, I thought the fog in life was finally lifting when instead I ended up facing thick, dark clouds of despair that seemed endless to pass by. I had never contemplated going and living abroad to do my degree and yet here I am.

I feel like I am a living example of the fact that sometimes God gives you what you think is best for you only so that you can realize that it isn’t. Moreover, if you somehow find peace with His plans He eventually gives you people and opportunities that you had never dreamed of.

Although I still have a significant amount of time left to spend here, but when I do look back from where I started I feel like I’ve come a really long way. There were good days and bad days, exciting days and challenging days and one thing that remained constant was the amount of lessons it taught me – the amount of reality checks it gave – the amount of experiences that it brought with itself. There were days (and initially there were quite a few) when I wanted to quit everything and run back home. But today when I look back, I don’t regret a single minute spent here no matter how difficult it seemed back then. I’m grateful I lived through every bit of what each day brought.

If I had to define my stay in London in one line I would say – it is my chance to be myself. Here, I am on my own. Except for fulfilling the set of basic expectations, I need not please anyone except for myself. And that has made me realize a fundamental thing about life – you are who you choose to beliterally. Whatever way I treat myself is exactly how I think, it’s exactly how I feel – it is exactly who I become for the rest of that day. And credit goes to this city as well, which welcomes you to start over and discover the actual ‘thing’ within yourself – it allows you to go wild in imagination and breathe freely without the fear of being judged or looked down upon. Nevertheless, the onus to be worthy of it lies with every individual – you must show that you are worthy of being given this chance. And I think the only way you can do that is by making the most out of it and extracting as much positivity as you can.

There’s so much more to come in life and yet the most important and perhaps ironic thing is that this life is but a temporary phase. So far, this part of my life has given me immense time for self-reflection, it has defined ‘perseverance’ and ‘patience’ in an entirely new capacity. It has taught me not to only value but also to realize those things/people/relations that actually matter – that will last till you last – that deserve no compromise. It has taught me to look at myself through a different set of eyes. It has made me stronger. It has made me believe in myself and in what I owe to myself; what I deserve – what I can expect.

Again, life is but a temporary phase. It is no race. It is no challenge. It is not about the desperation to reach somewhere. It should be looked upon as a willful walk in the park on a bright sunny day. One that you can enjoy at every step – because at every step you are making a choice. From choosing to wake up and get out of bed to coming back at night and crashing on it. Every single thing you do, look at, listen to, think about, speak, work on, don’t work on, fight for or quit – everything is a choice that you alone make and face the consequences of. And I have learnt to choose what keeps my mind at ease, my soul content and me happy.

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dreams, happiness, hope, life

Perfect words

Today I came across some wonderful pieces of writing – the first one is a short article written by Mary Schmich. She described it as her chance to be dogmatic about her take on life. I think it’s brilliant!

And the second one is a poem from The Desiderata of Happiness which is a compilation of some beautiful poems by Max Ehrmann. This one here is called ‘A Prayer’.
Enjoy!

Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young – Mary Schmich

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

A Prayer – The Desiderata of Happiness by Max Ehrmann

Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may I
not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on the
margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly
with myself.

Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.

belief, blogging

my blog turns 2 !

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” –  Anais Nin

It’s been a little over two years since I began to follow other people’s blog and finally decided to start one of my own. It creeps me out a little that my first blog post was two years ago and since then I’ve been rambling about almost everything. I can, however, undoubtedly attest that this two year journey has been an outright rewarding experience in countless ways!

When I began blogging I always thought if I’d be able to keep up with it. My family and best friend have been the constant push for me and they kept up with my vague ideas which I wanted to write about in order to ensure that I don’t leave blogging half way – I’m glad they believed that I could write and improve it by writing frequently.

I began giving my ideas words at a young age and although I do things a lot differently now I’m thankful that I discovered this domain. I thoroughly enjoy writing; it helps me to stretch out and neaten up a lot of random and complex thoughts. I often say this and I honestly believe that writing, as mode of expression, is probably the easiest way to let something out of your system exactly the way you want it to be. You don’t have to leave anything to the reader’s interpretation if that’s how you want it.

To top all that off, blogging is an ideal channel to put your word across. It holds all your floating ideas and allows you to put it into tangible form. Moreover, it lets you measure your growth in the field at a glimpse. You can trace back to where you started from right down to what you’re capable of writing today.

From absolutely random ramblings I’ve morphed into someone who can frame her thoughts and experiences into proper sentences – and it always feels great to be able to do so.

As I step into my third year of blogging I intend to write more than before, enhance my vocabulary and tweak my usual writing style a bit while maintaining my focus on the content of course. Also, I thank everyone who has been here, appreciated my work and has given some very useful feedback. I hope I can give you guys better things to read in the future! 🙂

Happy 2nd Birthday Blog!

belief, hope, memories

saying too much

I walk the road with strangers

And unravel their traits with all my wise

Yet they trick me almost always

Probably because I say too much

 

I sit with a cup of tea and intimacy

I share my secrets and let them confide

Little did I know the truth always slipped from in between my toes

Probably because I was busy saying too much

 

I smiled through everything that seemed a bit odd

Patience and compromise had to be the key

Naked eyes refused to see that the hearts were already preoccupied

Probably because the lips have been saying too much

 

Distances meant nothing when I had to caress a relationship

And conflicting views had no effect on me

But who after all dwells in such selfless love these days

And probably I have just been saying too much

 

I sit in wonder riddled by my interpretations

When will all the actors come bare foot?

I wait for them now to share their jokes and secrets

For probably I have been saying too much

 

I empty my heart in a crimson abyss

Although I know they are all privy to cynicism

Standing on the brink of sanity I ask my soul to hush

Perhaps I realize that I have been saying too much..