Tag Archives: Peace

Hello, December!

Dear reader,

A warm Hello to you. Where are you as you read this? Curled up in a warm blanket, with a coffee in your hand? Or are you in a bus or a subway, commuting to office and peacefully reading a slice of other people’s lives, as passengers move in and out at each stop? Or are you in your garden, with a hose in your hand, watching over the big roses that you planted few weeks back? Or are you looking out a grey window, watching over buildings from a glass house, wondering about the purpose of your life?

I am on my bed, my blue blanket snuggled under my legs. My back is against the wall. On my left, from the window daylight shines like in a cloudy day. A motorbike just passed by, wheezing out noise. A carpenter is knocking repetitively on a plank of wood somewhere. Other than that, the sound of my typing into this blank screen adds to the audio spectrum. There is a feeble wind outside as I can see the leaves of a big, nameless tree fluttering. It is about 11.00 AM in the morning.

I have a busy workday ahead of me. At work, we are currently trying to understand how cloud platforms work. My mind is also filled with a bunch of creative ideas, still in their nascent stage, in want of fleshing out. I just finished writing a small piece which will go as a voice-over in one of my videos.

December is here. And to tell you the truth, the cold ain’t so bad yet. I am seeing folks updating pictures of snow on Facebook and WhatsApp statuses, but I don’t feel the chill yet. In a few days, Christmas will be here. The malls, the churches will light up in fairy lights and Christmas trees. It would be a spectacle to behold. We will exchange Secret Santa gifts at work. Maybe, we will go out on 24th night, me and my teammates, and we will sit in front of a church as the night turns into 25th. The air will be chilly, and people would be in colorful sweaters. We will eat cake after the service is over, wish each other merry Christmas, and return home to our comfortable beds.

December is that month when we take stock of the year. The memories that were made. The profits and losses. The balance sheets of life. Did we accomplish our 2018 resolutions? Did we lose that stubborn belly fat? Did we travel more, write more, and make new friends? Did we get over our heartbreaks? Did we lose a loved one? How do we summarize the year, put a final sum in the balance sheet and decide what to prioritize in the coming year?

The coming year. A new blank slate where no child has drawn a unsteady line with the white chalk. A new blank slate,before the duster has been rubbed. A new blank slate with the promise of incredible things happening. A year full of promise. To ourselves, and to others.

As I write this, a fraction of sunlight comes through my window – as if the sun understands the palpable glee in my heart as I write this. In this moment, I am peaceful. In this moment, I am full of hope. In this moment, I do not care how today will turn out and if we will meet the client’s expectations. In this moment, I feel confident that I will do well, today and in the times to come. In this moment, I am truly myself.

Are you?

Love,

Arpita

A Magical Day

There are days when you just feel good about life. Everything seems to fit perfectly into the grand scheme of life.

On these days, maybe someone tells you about how you add value to their lives, or help them out in tough situations.

Maybe an old friend walks up to you and you go for a cup of coffee or tea together.

Maybe you walk amongst the busy city streets, passing snail-like traffic and tree-lined avenues, the wind blowing your hair.

Maybe you pour your heart out in your writing.

Maybe you decide on a change in life.

Maybe you see a smile on someone else’s face, and you feel happy in their happiness.

These are days when it feels good to be on the face of Earth, even as the industries and cars blow smoke into the air, people die and hearts break. These are days that are just perfect.

Today was one such day.

The perks of living in a small town

Continuing from my last post, which was a conversation about the perks of living in a big city, I wanted to highlight some points which are unique and enjoyable about small towns also. After all, nothing it pure white or black. So, here are my top reasons for enjoying life in small towns:

  1. Everything seems nearby – In small towns, most of the necessities are present within short distances, and you don’t have to traverse 15-20 km across town to get to your bank
  2. Traffic hardly comes to a standstill – Traffic in Bangalore is infamous, but small towners won’t ever complain of this
  3. People know you and you know people – As human beings, we crave familiarity. I have been staying in an apartment in Bangalore for past three years, and aside from the people who work in my company and also live in my apartment, I haven’t had a ten minute conversation with anyone. It’s that lonely at times! But back in my hometown, neighbors keep coming and we keep visiting them, so that sense of familiarity is always there
  4. The sheer peace of things – I don’t know if it is true of all small towns, but Durgapur is incredibly peaceful. I had not realized this until the point I had actually lived in Bangalore and gone back home after six months. The sheer silence of my hometown calmed my nerves, and when I say silence, it is not just external, but the pausing of the incessant internal buzzing noise in your head. In Bangalore, it feels like I am always on the alert and my mind is racing to survive and adapt. Back home, I can tune down, and enjoy a mental silence. Needless to say, I return from each of my vacations fully recharged and rejuvenated
  5. The special spots that you find to hang out with friends – While there aren’t exciting places to take people out, but localites in small towns always have one or the other special spot to hang out with friends – that bench under the tree beside the SBI ATM, that ground near your best friend’s house, the old school field and so on… you get the drill!

So, those were my top five reasons for loving life in small towns. My strongest reason is no. 4. To all you small towners, feel free to drop a line and let me know the things which are special to your place, and makes you feel like not leaving the place for the greatest wonders in the world.

Cheers,

Arpita

Turning your life around… one day at a time

Have there been days when you just stayed inside the bed, kept looking at the ceiling (or more likely the cell-phone in the recent times), and felt nowhere like getting up and going through daily chores of life?

I am a single female, in my early twenties, living in Bangalore in a flat-sharing basis. I work in a moderate to high stress environment, spending approximately 48-50 hours a week at work. I do not have any family living with me. Quite a few times, I find myself slumping into a cycle of unsustainable habits. For quite the longest time, I formed the habit of staying up as late as 1.00 AM in the night, waking up around 9-10 AM next day. I did not eat good breakfast, and somewhere, through the entire day, I felt lacking in energy. Next day, same routine.

I was able to break out of this cycle, by keeping a close tab on myself. I started going to bed earlier, reducing time on the phone when I hit the bed. To a large extent, I realize that I end up staying late because I am too spent staying on my own and having minimal human contact – I usually do not have many people to talk to, so I try to fill it up with the phone. During the worst phase, I had even stopped reading, something which used to interest me a lot at a point.

Today, my lifestyle has improved a lot. I wake up around 8 AM on most days, go for a walk and come back and have a fulfilling breakfast. I spend some time reading work-related stuff, take my bath, cook lunch, eat and then leave for work. In between, I squeeze in time for some TV series, or read a page of a book. Currently reading Return of a King by William Dalrymple. If you guys have read any books by him, comment and let me know!

I have realized that for me the trick is in getting to bed early. On the days I am able to do this successfully, my routine is spectacular. I feel more positive about myself and more energetic too.

That said, such days are not everyday. This Friday night, after I came back from work, I was up till 1 AM, texting on my phone regarding some work-related issues, which I could have easily avoided. After that, I had quite a bit of difficulty falling asleep, I guess I might have only fallen asleep around 2.30 AM. I woke up in the morning at around 8.30 AM, groggy and very tired. My eyes were hurting from lack of sleep. I tried going back to sleep, but could not. I was too lazy to cut the pomegranate, so for breakfast I kept munching on biscuits. I thought I would chill for a while after, so I started watching The Office on phone. Lunch time came, I ordered food, too tired and lazy to cook. When I got off my phone, it was close to 7 PM – and I hadn’t gone outside my bed except for receiving my order and the occasional visit to the washroom. In fact, I did not even fill my water bottle for the longest time.

This only proves why it is important to fix the sleep pattern. Last night, I did just that. I went to bed relatively earlier. Today, I went for a morning walk, came back, ate good breakfast, and studied for two hours. I cooked myself lunch, and again did some studying. I took a little nap in the afternoon, took my bath after, and then went to do some groceries. After that, I took another long walk, using that time, to speak to my mother and relatives on the phone. I came back, studied again. Cooked dinner with a flatmate, and had a good conversation over dinner. It’s about 11.30 PM right now and I need to go to sleep, and I will after I have finished this blogpost – but I accomplished so much today! Last night, I was so depressed from having wasted a complete day unnecessarily.

I guess what I want to tell you all is: there will be bad days even when you are getting to the right track. But the point is to make one single change in your routine, to muster the willpower to do one thing differently one day, and everything else falls in place. Try it!

The past that lingers on…

I am in my hometown, Durgapur, on a break for a week. It is the month of monsoon, and what greeted me first was the all-encompassing greenery and the damp weather. Durgapur primarily has a tropical climate: hot, sweaty, sticky. For the most of Summers the city is brown, but with the advent of monsoons, the shrubs and bushes and the trees claim the land – it is no short of an invasion. The bright, rich green is unashamed in its exploitation, and claims every inch of the land it can touch. It has a raw quality to it which soothes the eye and makes me remember the years in which human beings lived in jungles.

Durgapur is where I grew up, went to school, played with friends. It is a well planned city, with mostly good, wide roads lined with trees. The neigborhoods are calm and silent. Traditionally, people used to work in the steel plant that Durgapur is famous for. Nowadays, kids study and move out of the city all the time, settling down in different parts of the country, and sometimes, even the world. Durgapur has a few good schools which lay the foundation for good careers. Today, while I was on my morning walk, I saw schoolkids in variety of uniforms, in buses, pool cars, on parents’ scooters and bikes, rushing towards school. One of the girls was behind her father on the scooter and she had a bunch of papers in her hand that she was studying; probably for a test at school. This took me back to my school days, when I used to climb onto the school bus, and find myself a seat next to the window and go over the copies one more time before we reached school. The world has changed a lot since I graduated from schools: I did not own a mobile phone until I went to college. But to see that still some things remained same – some kids to this day are as studious that I used to be – was weirdly satisfying. Note that now that I am grown up and have seen how professional life works, I realize that the number of hours put in studying is not always proportional to professional success and I would probably not encourage my kids to study while we were dropping them to school, but nonetheless, it is interesting to see that my hometown to this day remains similar to how I saw it growing up.

On my morning walks, I also walk beside the fair ground which hosts the Annual Rath Yatra to celebrate Lord Jagannath’s visit to his aunt’s house. In my childhood, this ground used to be a place of wonders: lots of snacks places, shops which sold cheap jewellery: necklaces and rings with shiny stones, toy shops which sold trains and cars and dolls and tiny houses. There was also a book fair, which was my favorite haunt. I used to wait for the entire year to buy one book at the book fair and read it many times in the coming months, over a bowl of muri and samosas. Today, when I walk through the narrow lanes of the fair ground, all I can see is the amount of dirt on the sides of the road and the crowd. It bothers me, even though as a child I looked forward to it. Today, I feel more at peace at home, enjoying the silence of the rooms I grew up in, sometimes going through the diaries I kept when I was younger.

Every time I come home now, I discover a piece of myself in those old notes in the diaries; I understand the things which drove me as a child, the things which made me happy. I miss the prayer ceremonies at school, where all the school kids stood in lines, as per their classes and in order of their heights, singing songs that glorified the country and the state and the mother tongue. I miss the ceremonies we used to host in the school where I played the role of an anchor, guiding the ceremony to a successful end. I miss standing on the stage to make a speech (even though it was something that made me immensely uncomfortable). I miss dressing up in sarees and bangles and wearing make-up and flowers in the hair for the occasional dance performance. These things are no longer there in my life – somewhere, I have lost the creative influence that surrounded my childhood likes clouds around a snow-capped mountain. I miss it and I crave it and I want to become part of something similar again.

In all my writing, I have realized, there is a craving for the past, of something that exists in my memory (sometimes in the vague, muddy manner that is characteristic of dreams). It feels strange that I have lived through my childhood and it is really over, for in my heart, I somehow never grew up.