Self-esteem

How fragile can self-esteem be. I have been fighting all my life to build my self-esteem, be happy with who I am and have the confidence to live my life the way I want to. It is always an ongoing struggle. Just a small thoughtless comment from someone who is not even important in my life can make me question myself.

I grew up in a large joint family, there were so many of us, my mom, though she tried really hard could not give us individual attention. Everything was done for the collective good.  I looked a little different from others, I was born darker, with unruly curly  hair and was also the plump one. Things like being called “Kali” (the dark one) and “Moti” (the fat one) unknowingly worked in  eroding my self confidence. No one realized how it would affect my life, not even me. There was a time during my teenage year when I hardly took any pictures, I always thought I was ugly. The only way I believed I would be accepted was if I did well in school and was the obedient one. So I worked really hard, which did help in life.  It’s not that I didn’t have a great childhood, we had so much fun, we traveled and my parents are just great. They loved us unconditionally and always encouraged  us to be independent. But sometimes  your mind does get screwed even in the  best environment.

I have been practicing mindfulness  to help me deal with my issues. I focus on positive thinking and  try to be satisfied with I have.  This post is my way of just getting it off my chest and dealing with it.  I know life is beautiful, I know I am loved, I know I am enough and I love myself. I just have to keep reminding myself.

 

 

 

 

 

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The mirror lies ….

My sister and I look at the same mirror everyday, what she sees is a girl who is gaining weight and what I see is someone who looks ok. The mirror lies to both of us. My sister is 5’4″ and slender, every time she looks into the mirror she whines she has gained weight, which irritates the hell out of me, because according to me its not true. She is her same slender self.

Now when I look into the mirror I see myself as someone normal, I mean I am not thin, have never been, neither  am I fat.  Even when the world is telling me I have started gaining weight, the mirror keeps telling me I look OK.

I think it is a deep psychological thing. I was a very healthy child, the golu molu type not very tall and then suddenly I gained in height and lost weight , my mum associated the weight loss  to the sudden spurt of growth. But it was actually a chronic health condition which made me very ill for a long time. So for me weight loss is associated with being ill.  When I look into the mirror I don’t want to see someone thin, nor do I want to see someone who is fat as I was teased for being one when I was a kid.  So is the mirror lying to me… no it is just showing what  I want to see.

Self help books : who are they actually helping….

Go to any bookshop, you will find a large section dedicated to self help books. Books that are supposed to help you become rich, lead a better life, be spiritual etc, etc ,etc.

To be honest I did read a few of them in my early 20’s, but now I stay away from them. I would rather read a good biography.

The other day I was discussing books with my brother, when he said he does not read self-help books. It got me thinking, do the self help books actually help.  Who are they helping ? First and foremost they are helping the author. They make loads of money and generally have a happy life. I am ok with books that talk about making money, at least they are trying to help others make money while they make their own.

I have my grievance against authors who talk about how to become  spiritual and better human and how to give back. While asking us to give back to society or give up our worldly goods they are collecting all the royalties from the book. Do they give up too? Its like some of  the old devotional songs sung by a certain singer, where he sings about giving up worldly possession to get to God, but is charging money to sing the same songs. Isn’t it hypocricy at its best.

There are many people in this world who take great positives  from such books. If it was not so,  they would not be  bestsellers. Sometimes we read that it changes peoples lives.  To each his own, I am happy when I get to read such positive stories. But personally I feel everything is right inside us. If we really want to help ourself we need to think deep and contemplate . The answers are right in front of us. Saying that, I am at  a very delicate  juncture of my life, so I hope I will be able to dig deep within, and come out stronger without any help from books.

Anyone who has some positive stories to relate connected to self-help books I would welcome your comments, and also comments of people who do not agree with me.

 

 

The importance of Poppy

Today walking through the streets of Edinburgh , I came across a beautiful but poignant sight. I had read and heard about Veteran’s days and that poppy symbolised remembering everyone who had lost their life in conflict. Our Main Library had a small donation counter with the poppies, and so did most of the shops.  I passed many people with poppies pinned on their lapel, people honouring their brave countrymen.

The garden on princess street had been decorated with poppies and small cross, The cross had names written on it, the names of all the brave soldiers who had died.

There was a special enclosure with names of soldiers who had lost  their lives in Afghanistan.  Looking at their photographs I had goose bumps, most of them were so young, in their 20’s with  years ahead of them, dying in a conflict which was not of their making. Its so sad that people who declare wars are the ones who do not suffer at all, they all have their Z level security, their  political careers or have lived most of their life in luxury. The war actually affects the families of these brave people , their loved once who have been left behind to deal with the pain or their kids who will never know the love of a Dad or a Mom.

There is no right or wrong in a war, the only truth is that young people on both ends die, its the innocent family who suffers. How I wish we there would be no more wars. Its the kind of naive thinking that may suit a kid but not me, but one can be wishful , even though its a wish which will never be fulfilled.

Rest in Peace all the brave men and women from all over the world who laid their lives for the betterment of others.

 

 

 

 

Goals

After surviving for 30 years , I finally learned the importance of setting goals. It was a small task but it opened my eyes.  I never believed in self-help books, glad I never spent any money on it. In this world you need to help yourself, no amount of reading will do that,  the motivation has to come from within ourselves, or else its of no use.

This ramble here is my way of remembering what I learned today 🙂

lost baggage and random shopping

The worst thing that can happen when you go on a holiday is when the airline mishandles your baggage, the term in the complaint form which loosely translates to I was there but my bag was somewhere in India.  I was stuck in a foreign country with nothing but a handbag with my passport, wallet, camera and a scarf.  For  a  person who hates shopping  it was double nightmarish. I had to do some  real fast shopping, which could have turned into a complete disaster if not for my very helpful friends.  Few months back , I had watched a documentary on TLC where the guy had lost his bag, and had wondered what would I do if  I faced the same situation, well got my answer , I did cope, but from now , i’ll stop wondering about freakish situations, thay have a very bad habit of coming true.

Well I did learn a few things from this episode

  • Always carry a cabin bag with a change of clothings and basic requirement.
  • Get your travel insurance done. ( I never thought it was important )
  • If you feel there is a problem , be the first to stand in queue, it took me 2 hrs just to get my complaint registered.
  • When traveling be prepared for absolutely anything.
  • Never laugh at others situation, it may come  to haunt you some day 🙂

Life does teach us a lot, now when I look back I can actually laugh at the situation , but I hope I don’t have to face it again, but then I think i’ll be able to cope come what may coz I can find humor in every situation life puts my way 🙂

$#*&5$*(#@$&$%$^

Right now I’m going through a gamut of emotions:  Happy, sad, confused, scared, apprehensive……..

Sometimes I’m soaring high, feeing ecstatic, and then the next minute I come down with a big thud, feeling all depressed. I know its not healthy but I can’t help myself, don’t know if  I’m making the right choice in life, or what the future holds for me. Its feels like I’m taking a plunge towards the unknown, will I come out of it happier, satisfied,  wiser, I hope so , I really hope so.

Compassion

Few days back I was in Kolkata,  my sister wanted to have breakfast at Flurys , the legendary tea room in Park Street,  when we reached the place, there was a queue outside,  generally I hate waiting for a table, but since my sister had never been to Flury’s , I  decided to do it for her sake.  There were many people around, some waiting for a table like us, people just walking ,  tourist, locals  it was a  nice Sunday morning  and also the magazine vendor, it was fun browsing through the latest fashion, there was also a small boy , must not be more than 8 years old, selling chewing gums for Rs. 10/-. He kept on requesting everyone there to buy at least one pack of gum, but everyone was shoving him away, myself included, the expression on people’s face saying “how dare he touch us” , the one that is reserved for street urchins.

There was a family with a small child the boy was almost the same age as the urchin, and that is what made me think  how unfair can life be,  two small kids , one waiting to have a bloody expensive breakfast, and the other begging us to buy gums for Rs.10/-, I went and bought the gum, if everyone of us waiting had bought a pack of gum each he would have done  good business, but no one did,  we all were ready to spend 1000 rs on breakfast ( two eggs with a bits of shredded chicken cost 300), but could not  spend 10 rupees, which could have maybe helped the little boy buy something to eat.  Why is it difficult to feel compassion, to be more understanding? Why has our hearts hardened?

Trip to Gurudongmar

Gurudongmar Lake situated at an altitude of 17100 ft is one of the holiest lake in Sikkim,  having already been there once during the month of May , I was ready to explore it during the winter. We left Gangtok at around 10 am  which was pretty late, by the time we reached Chungthang  it was already 2:00 pm, we had to reach Thangu, the last village that provides accommodation. We reached Lachen at 4:00 pm, the rest of the gang  were having a great time, but I was worried,because I was the only one who knew how treacherous the road ahead was. We reached Thangu at around 6:00 pm , it was pitch-dark and snowing, I was worried sick about our accommodation, but the rest of the gang was busy discussing how they would not mind staying in the car for the whole night, I mean imagine sitting in a car at sub zero temperature I was getting irritated,  thankfully one of the lodge was open and they let us two room for the night which meant some of us had to share beds. Once the accommodation was confirmed even I could enjoy the snowfall and the cold cold weather. So cold that the water pipes and the drain pipes all had frozen. This should have warned me of what was to follow. After dinner there was nothing to do except go to bed as there is no electricity at Thangu. I can rightfully claim that it was the longest and most uncomfortable night of my life till date, cramped in a small bed with my sister unable to move , moving an inch meant letting in the cold air. We were left counting the minutes till dawn.

the surrounding hills

The morning was glorious, the surrounding hills were covered with snow, it was a sight to behold. We wanted to make an early start, that is when disaster struck , the fuel in our car had completely frozen and the battery was down. So much for making an early start, we were left trying almost everything to get the vehicle started, we even lit a fire below the fuel tank to melt the diesel. I was left feeling very guilty, because it was my brilliant idea to stay at Thangu, but then I had no idea that the temperature would go below -10 degree or that our driver was an amateur. Thankfully, one of the drivers  arriving with tourist from Lachen knew what to do, and so he helped us get the vehicle started. If not for him and the lady running the lodge, we would have had to return from Thangu itself. They did help us a lot.

Finally, we made our way to Gurudongmar, situated just 5 km away from the international border, it is a barren land, a cold desert inhabited by the army and the sheepherders, looking after their sheep and yaks.Though this was my second visit it still left me spellbound, the place is beautiful, its hard to imagine that a lake nestles  in such barren splendour.

The lake itself was frozen baring a part, it is said that a portion of the lake has been blessed by  Guru Padmasambhava , it never freezes even at the height of winter. The altitude and wind condition is such that its impossible for any one to stay there for a long time. After all the hardship we faced we were there just  for 20 mins , but it was worth all the trouble we faced.

Gurudongmar Lake

Every season has its own charm, but having visited Gurudongmar during winter as well as spring-summer, personally I prefer the summer months. The lake is absolutely blue and the route from Lachen to Thangu is covered with multitude of  flowers.

Lake during the summer months

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

A happy independence day to my fellow countrymen and women (atleast the ones who happen to read my blog). I have received many SMS’s this day from friends, every SMS has the same tone, unity, friendship, brotherhood, honesty, pride etc etc.. its so easy to just forward a message ,but how many of us will actually remember what we forwarded and what we pledged today. Instead of forwarding messages which we will forget about ,I think we all should contemplate and decide on the small changes we can make. For many years I have been promising myself , that I will not pay any bribe and never judge a person by his/her religion, and I can honestly claim that I have stuck to my pledge. I hope Ican do it in the future too.

I also look forward  to the Prime Ministers speech, its a day when many new schemes are  announced. With the congress in power one thing I can blindly bet on  is   a  new scheme with a Nehru-Gandhi  name , and I was not disappointed, now we have a Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.  I have a great admiration and respect for the Nehru-Gandhi clan, after  all they are the first family of Indian Politics, and they have done a lot for the country, but do we need to have every scheme named after them.If  the idea is to show respect then there must be many other ways of doing it, not just by using their name.  You can board from a Rajiv Gandhi airport and land  on Indira Gandhi  terminus. You are ill go to the Sanjay Gandhi hospital.  Outstanding  in sports you get the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. You have hospitals, universities, schools, research centres, schemes etc etc all named after five  individuals. Ofcourse you do need names for all the facilities mentioned, but can’t the congress come up with any other name. After sometime it starts getting confusing.  I think we have enough historical figures to name every facility in the country.  I really liked the fact that Mr. Vajpayee named the rural road schemes as simple” Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojhna”.  Hope next year the congress comes up with a different name, but I also realise that I am hoping for the impossible. 🙂