Monday, October 18, 2010

A Friend In Need


There are a lot of things in life, which we tend to take for granted. And one of mankind's greatest folly, is that to assume that life shall always remain the same. Nevertheless try as we might, we seldom manage to confront the waves of change that come crashing down upon us, and try as we might to stand our ground, we are swept away, into the abyss of uncertainty.
But as we find ourselves, in a new environment altogether, bewildered and unsure of what life may have in store for us, warm memories of a distant past come flooding by, filling us with hope and a new resolve to overcome whatever life wishes to pit us against.
For me, the beginning of medical internship, was quite unnerving, to say the least.
A new institution, strangers at every nook and corner, the constant feeling of unease and the general perception that all eyes are on you, watching your every move.
The funny thing, is irrespective of how dramatized my perception of life may be, real life is a lot different. No ones looking at you, no one cares, and frankly people are way too busy to care two hoots about what you do or don't do.
I suppose I am one of those whose perception of life is heavily reliant on the people that surround me.
Now when I think about it, I really wonder, what in the name of heaven was I getting so worked up for.

But not too long ago, when I first landed in Russia, things were pretty much the same.
Seemingly hostile glances, the frigid night air which literally sucked away the last dregs of the warm Indian memories I carried with me, coupled the general feeling of unpleasantness that enveloped me like a menacing ominous cloud. The first year in Russia was tough, no doubt. But then, things got better, much better, and by the end of six years I felt at home with the once dreaded country.
But things did not change, on its own.
Things changed, because I met people who helped make my life a lot easier.
In the current generation of social networking, sometimes I feel that the genuine feeling of friendship has been lost somewhere. Where most of your "friends" are those who barely looked at you in high school, or those whom you bumped into at some odd gathering.
The friends I met in Russia, were not vague acquaintances, nor were they random strangers who passed you by in a corridor. They were those, without whom living there would have been nothing short of hellish.
I miss those days the most.
Like I said earlier in the there are some things we take too much for granted, and somewhere I felt that life will always go on the way it is, and we might never part ways.
But part ways we did.
By the force of circumstance.

In my opinion, of all the trivial luxuries one might acquire in life, a good friendship is one of the best luxuries of all.
You must consider yourself most fortunate if you have a buddy or a chum, who listens patiently to your consistent whining, who puts up with you no matter what, waits for you patiently even if its you who are making him/her late and in more simple words, consider yourself most fortunate, if you have a friend, who lets you be you.
A friend who is present during the good times and the bad to lend a shoulder. Someone who wont judge you even if you suddenly burst into song in the middle of a crowded street. Someone who tolerates you in every way possible.
That in reality is the example of the perfect friendship, and that of a perfect friend.
I have had many "friends" in the past, but very few perfect friends.
But at the same time I ought to consider myself fortunate to have experienced such a delightful friendship. But at the same time wonder if ever I shall experience such a luxury again.
The luxury of being myself without the thought of being judged. The ability to be just me in someone else's presence.
A true friendship is one of the most liberating experiences ever. And seldom in life do we get such opportunities.
Such things are meant to be treasured. And rarely do we ever get a chance to realise it.
But like I said, the very experience is rewarding.
I will always be grateful to the moment in my life that led to me to such wonderful people.
And even if we have parted ways, the memories are enough to fill me with hope amidst a strange new place, when the fear of uncertainty begins to engulf me.
A toast to the friend in need,
for being the beacon of light that continues to flood my memories!

PS: I know its been a while since I last blogged, but with the beginning of internship, my laptop's screen getting broken, and massive reconstruction at my home, the last few months have been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride, I'll try to rein in the disarray slowly and steadily!!!.....And try my very best to return to the blogosphere once again!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's The Point Of It All?


For those who know me, and are close to me, know for a good fact that I am crazy about dogs. Words cannot describe how much I love them, and how much I yearn to have one as a pet. Then again if I ever had a dog, I would probably pamper it to bits. I would make a soft little makeshift bed to sleep on, feed it off the table, play fetch, anticipate it waiting for me eagerly when I got home, and greet me each day by slobbering all over me.
My last dog was a German Shepard named Spooky, and frankly I believe it died of a heartbreak after I left for Russia.
Not a day goes by when I don't think about him. He was one of a kind. He would wait for me to come out of my house and would then act the goat by chasing flies all over, trying to be his comical best.
Now as thing would have it, it has been a year since I returned from my Russian exile, and I yearned to get myself a dog, a Pug this time.
But the answer was a flat, heartless NO!
Or after my constant persistence, my parents replied that they will get me one after I begin my Post Graduation.
Now that in my opinion is a trifle ludicrous.
There is no way I can ever be free if and when I pursue my PG in whichever medical subject I get. Theres no point in getting a dog then, because it'll be a puppy with no one to take care of.
Besides, the best time would have been when I had my vacation, or perhaps before I began internship(which is about to begin quite soon)
So when can I get a dog now?

After PG there'll be marriage, then kids, then career, then before I know it I'll be an old senile grandfather telling his grandchildren about how once I wanted a Pug, but I could never get one.
People say that life is about sacrifice.
If this is what life's going to be like, then what s the point of living. I'll be just existing like a rock forsaking all that I love in the name of "sacrifice" and "acceptance".
I think a great deal of people, use words like acceptance when they are denied the things they love.
So all in all is life just about putting away everything you hold closest to you in the name of a career, family, responsibility, etc?
I suppose an "adult" would reprimand me by saying, "are you crazy? you place a dog before your career"?
But then again, I say, what's the point of it all?
You work putting everything aside for your career, then you work to survive, then you work to provide, and in the grand scheme of things, are you happy? When people accept what they could never get, they call it maturity and being an adult. I call that being a euphemism to being a sore loser.
Did you get the dream job you always wanted? Or your dream car? Or your dream house?
No!
You put them all aside, to survive, to exist.
Not live.

Then what's the point of it all?
Thats not called living. Thats just existing. Just like a goat that exists being helplessly ferried from place to place by the shepherd only to be killed one day by the butcher.
Unlike the birds who truly know what is it to be free.
To soar in the heavens, going where they please. Their lives being truly in their hands.
If you cage a bird, it will twitter constantly yearning to be free, no letting go even one day, because it truly know what freedom is.
Unlike the goat which lies tethered, not making a sound because it does not know what freedom is, and has "accepted" its fate.
A great deal of us live like goats being herded from place to place losing our own free will.
Very few of us are like the birds who like to soar in the sky and will never accept anyone trying to cage them.
I cannot live like a goat.
I cannot just accept everything that comes in my way.
I want to live.
I cannot just put away things that I love just because of the feeble excuse of "that's life."
I always have believed that there is more to life than just existing.
I believe that in life you must work. But not work just because you have to. But work to get the one thing you want a lot. Work for your dreams.
Work for the things that make you happy. And not rest till the time you get what you want, so that there is some purpose to your existence.
Its when existence has a purpose its called a life.
Not otherwise.
A great deal of us just exist. Not live.
I don't picture myself as a grandfather, telling his grandchildren about all the things he wanted but could never get.
I want to be the grandfather who instead would tell his grandchildren, about all the things he wanted and got them in the long run. Thereby encouraging them to do the same.
Philosophers have been deciphering the meaning of life for ages. Some making the prospect of living so complicated that even an astrophysicist might not understand.
But keeping things short, not many know what living is all about.

Its just about being happy, fulfilling your dreams and existing with a purpose.
Ask the birds, and they'll tell you what living is all about.
How they fly wherever their mind takes them, amd how they greet each day with their song, and how blissful they seem in flight, because they know that they are indeed living, for there is nothing before them except the endless blue horizon.
A lot of us get caught in the maelstrom of existence losing out all that we hold dear to ourselves.
And that's because people always accept and never question.
Life has to be questioned constantly. So that you do not delude yourself into thinking that your "sacrifices" are justified.
Question everything.
The reason you do the things you do, the reason you like something or someone and the reason you are who you are.
Life becomes a lot more simple when you question.
And answers always come to those who question.
One must understand the point of being on this earth.
And one cannot understand anything unless until one questions.
If someone tells me I cannot have a dog I will question why?
And I will continue to question till I get one.
Because that's what makes me happy.
I cannot forsake my happiness for anything.
The dog is an example in my case. But that rings true for everyone. When someone tells you you cannot get something, question why? People must learn to live and not exist.
Otherwise what's the point of it all?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Great Expectations


In the course of time, as busy as we are with our lives, we seldom get to spend time with ourselves and deal with the things that bother and affect us.
I suppose the ability to be introspective, concerns probably those who have a great deal of time on their hands. Since introspection requires solace and solitude, which in today's day and age has turned into quite a rare commodity.
Nevertheless, I on the contrary having been blessed with the gift of time(courtesy my still on going post exam vacation) and at the same time cursed, to not utilise the time given to me judiciously, have ample opportunities, to dive into my subconscious and focus on all the aspects that bother me so.
I cannot mediate, and I never have been able to do so, since time immemorial. Nevertheless, I do go into a strange absent minded trance that does sneak up on the most unexpected of occasions. Be it while driving, or while watching television, or even in a seemingly interesting conversation with someone. Giving the impression to the third party observer as if I'm some sort of retard who continues to stare open mouthed, long after the conversation is over and done with.
Nevertheless, personal observations aside, I suppose I ought do dwell into what I intend to speak about. Introductions have never been my forte, and I tend to beat around the bush trying to come to the topic I wish to speak about. And as a consequence some topics seldom end up being presented the way I "expected" them to.
And here's the deal.
Disappointment following expectation.
Its human nature to expect. Expect favours, expect adoration, expect respect, recognition, gratitude, etc. And its when those expectations fail to meet our set standards, that's when we do get disappointed.
The thing is, all of us have set standards, so as to how our lives ought to turn out. Standards set to determine the value of any given relationship. We tend to measure every aspect with our own scale, and end up disappointed when things seldom meet our expectations.
Not only, do we expect things from circumstance, but we expect things from one another also.
Friends expect constant mutual support, parents expect their children to grow up into paragons of virtue. Children expect support and security from their parents and lovers expect selfless sacrifice from one another.
While for those upon whom fortune has smiled upon, their expectations are met from time to time. But not everyone is that fortunate. Moreover one is often left disappointed on more occasions than one as a consequence.
I am no exception either.
Like all human beings I too expect a great deal from circumstance, and from those whom I believe are close to me. But for reasons beyond my obvious understanding, things have seldom turned out the way I wished them to. Leaving me dejected.

But here's the thing.
Some of the best things in my life have occurred when I least expected them to.
There have been tests I never expected good grades on, and yet scored well. There have been people whom I never looked to for anything, but nevertheless came through, during the most direst moment of my need.
And there have been prayers that were answered when I least expected them to, in the first place.
Just as failed expectations lead to dejection, unexpected incidents of good fortune lead to a great deal of happiness.
On a simpler note, there's a big difference between the happiness from an expected source and the happiness one gets from an unexpected turn of events.
Just like school kids who look forward to the weekend. But their joy is increased manifold when their school is cancelled on a weekday, due to say an unexpected heavy downpour.
Some of the best things in life come unexpected.
When I left for Russia,I never expected to meet friends who will make the six years of my academic life a breeze.
And I never expected them to help me in every which way possible. The experience was completely overwhelming.
I suppose that's how serendipity works.
When things occur when you least expect them.
Expectations are like price tags.
We tend to tag on a price for each and every one of our actions.
Say, "I supported my friend during his time of need, therefore its obvious that he will support me when I need him too", or say "we sacrificed everything for our children, so its obvious that they will do the same for us too."
If every action comes with a price tag of expectations, then I suppose all relationships eventually turn into nothing more than business transactions.
Then what's the point of it all?
Expectations exist. They can never be banished from the subconscious of human thought.
But it depends on how much importance we give to those expectations in the first place. Do we let things off easily, or do we live in a morbid fear and insecurity so as to what will we do when those expectations of ours fails to bear fruit?
Somehow in the long run I have learnt that having too many expectations from human beings is futile. Because lets face it. We are far from perfect. And try as we might, we might never meet the set standards of those who expect things from us.
Therefore, the best things in life is to keep expectations at a bare minimum.
And not turn life into a business transaction.
And if we do wish to do something good for one another, then it ought to be done without the price tag.
Theres no need to subject one another to a barrage of emotional debt.
And if we all realise that in good time, it will make living with one another a lot easier in the long run.
For some of the best things in life come without expectations and without price tags.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Tale Of Two Countries


I recently came across an article in the BBC website which caught my attention. The title read, "Diet of mud and despair in Indian village".
Now frankly, when I read the title, "A Diet Of Mud", I thought its a metaphor or a euphemism, pertaining to a situation of sorts. But I was wrong and a trifle surprised, when I came to realise, that the diet of a certain populace in a nondescript Indian village is actually mud. Well, silica to be exact, from the quarries.
Now that does make you ponder, when you come across an article so striking, as you sip cool lemon sherbet and feast on the luscious alphanso mangoes which by the way are quite a treat during the scorching Indian summer.
Now frankly, I did not have pangs of guilt nor remorse as I read the about the miserable lives of the hapless Indian villagers with my mouth stuffed with the season's best pick of fruit.
It doesn't make sense, to feel remorse or regret with regard to something you are not responsible for.
We all know the age old cliché which asks you to think about starving African children (for the American kids), or the starving Indian children (pertaining to my own populace), when you waste away morsels of half eaten vegetables.
But lets look at the broader picture here, its not like the kids living practically miles away in a wasteland are going to benefit from what you salvage in your kitchen counter far away amidst a glittering metropolis.
Therefore there's no point in pricking our conscience for a fact that we are neither responsible nor have anything to do with whatsoever.
As much as I like to fantasize about things, I also happen to be a core realist when it comes to certain aspects. Especially pertaining to ridiculous myths created by humans, which aim to create a sense of guilt, practically serving no purpose.
Its strange actually, because when I do read about a certain Indian populace so poor, that they have resorted to eating mud, its almost as if reading about a situation in some far off country, having little to do with my own life. The only fact being, that the word "Indian" seems like a weird coincidence.
How can you connect with something which you have neither seen nor heard?
When I look around me, I see no starving masses. All I see are high rise buildings, large banner advertisements for the latest Chevrolet auto-mobile, and multiplexes swarming with college students munching on nachos and buttered pop corn.
So it makes me wonder, is the story about the decrepit "Indian" villagers in the BBC a cruel international hoax?
Is it some sort of a world wide conspiracy to play down the impressive Indian economic "boom" given the fact that we are doing so well, while Europe grapples with surmounting monetary debt?
And why is the issue not reported in the Indian newspapers, whose front pages contain articles regarding the billions of rupees spent to secure the teams for the IPL (The Indian Premier League)?
Then it hits me.
The BBC is obviously referring to the "other" India.
The India, that most of us "Indians" have never seen but only heard about. Through fleeting rumours and small paragraphs which lie inconspicuously near a large advertisement picturing a famous Indian actress wearing a necklace of designer diamonds.
Yes, it all makes sense now.
You see, the western media, seems to think of both countries as one entity. Its a passable confusion when they choose to capture the pathos of the other India, rather than praise the economic and infrastructural developments of the India that we are so familiar with.
But this is where, Shakespeare's quote, "What's in a name"? falls flat on its face.
A name, especially in this circumstance makes a big difference.
Though they obviously sound alike, they are definitely not the same country.
They cannot be, for there exists a sea of difference.
Imagine the contrast.
The difference between a city with flyovers, malls, crowded multiplexes and state of the art multiple speciality hospitals. And the dismal picture of an "Indian" village, which probably doesn't even have a road to begin with, their hospital is a dilapidated building, where a doctor might show up sometime in an odd month or two. Parched lands with little or no drinking water and the absence of electricity.
It almost seems like a picture from the dark ages.
But nevertheless, as ridiculous as it sounds, its true.
I suppose of all the nations in the world, ours is a nation of absolute paradox.
When one end of a populace is practically unaware of the existence of the other.
Its hard to imagine a country which has caught the worlds eye, on account of its economic development, spending of billions on satellite launches, lunar vehicles and cricket matches paradoxically also seems to harbour a race of men, who have resorted to eating mud since they cannot even afford basic food or water.
Its the massive scale of denial and ignorance that perplexes me, rather than make me feel guilty over my plate of mangoes.
Its hard to feel empathy, when you have never seen or experienced something so out of the ordinary.
Its a great divide. On massive economic proportions.A divide reminiscent of the days of Tsarist Russia and 18th century France, where the nobles, aristocrats and the clergy lived a life of comfort and opulence, while the peasants starved.
Their ignorance was so great, that even as the mad, hungry mobs stormed their palace doors, in what culminated as the French and the Russian revolution, the nobles stood shocked and perplexed behind their glazed windows wondering what on earth could have irked them to this degree.
By the time they realised, it was too late, and the fragile windows forming the great divide was shattered. The mad mobs rampaged through the streets plunging the country into chaos, while the noblemen found themselves on their way to the gallows.
Its a fate that shouldn't belong to any nation. But its inevitable, especially when you have ignorant governments who seem to live in denial with regard to the situation in their own country.
If one reads the Indian papers of late, one comes across sections pertaining to a certain outfit called the Maoists, who have solidified themselves into a hard-line militant force spreading panic and mayhem across certain Indian states.
They originated from the other India, consumed by a blind hatred for the India that we live in, and leaving the Indian government perplexed so as to how to deal with the new found menace.
But like the Monarchs of 18th century France, the response of the Indian government has been rather insipid, even after the Maoists butchered 75 Indian military personnel.
Ignoring a complete herd of men can have dangerous consequences.
As their lives grow more difficult, misery leads to despair, despair leads to hatred and hatred leads to a blind fury which culminates into a revolution.
And like all revolutions, they will be bloody and lead to chaos and anarchy.
Divides in a nation are never without consequence. Sooner or later the parched throats of the decrepit masses will cry out for blood, while we sit unaware of the dangerous situation, in our homes.
Hopefully a situation where the other India, invades our India must never occur. For if it does, we shall be the losers behind our fragile glass windows.
Unable to prevent the bloody union of our two very different countries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Personal Islands



Back in high school, and even during medical school for that matter, I was always notorious as a student who never paid attention in class. I would spend the long hours during dreadfully boring lectures, engrossed in drawing, or doodling if you may call it, on my notebooks. While on the absolute contrary, my over zealous colleagues, would be scribbling away every word that our professor would utter, irrespective of whether he was making any sense.
Human psychology interests me to a great degree, and being the truly self obsessed person that I am, there hasn't been a day when I have not over scrutinized my self, over every trivial detail.
Now as I look back, the one thing I would constantly draw in my book, were islands.
I was, and am obsessed with them. I would draw islands of various shapes and sizes, make up stories about island kingdoms, and so on and so forth.
I suppose it never occurred to me so as to why I was so obsessed with the concept of an island. But now as I look back and try to comprehend my juvenile leanings, it makes all the more sense.
They say you are what you eat, or in this case what you draw.
Frankly, any creative outburst if I may call it so, is personally a reflection of your inner self. Even the clothes you wear, the food you eat, or the way you arrange and choose furniture can speak volumes about yourself.
And therefore, in retrospect, in my case what reflected me was what I drew.
And that was an island.
Now, what is unique about an island?
I suppose, is its sheer isolation. Apart, aloof and untouched by all and sundry.
Inaccessible, remote and unscathed. Beyond anyone's reach. And surrounded by the vastness of the ocean. Nestled amongst its great waves.
To me an island signifies isolation and security .
And I suppose that's who I really am.
To me, seclusion meant comfort. It meant security from a dozen prying eyes. It meant being by my self. Rather than hobnob with those I had little or no interest in.
I am not a loner though. I made a ton of great friends. And though I claim myself to be anti social, I am quite friendly and approachable by default.
But by the end of the day, I always craved solitude.
To be alone, unwatched and beyond anyone's scrutiny.
Somehow I found it to be more of an ease to be by myself than to be burdened by social obligations. I always have loved being on my own personal island.
Though not meaning to sound pompous, for most of the time, humans have always bored me. I cannot say why. It could be on account of not having any siblings, or the fact that I have more or less lived in hostels and boarding schools for a great deal of time. Either way I have always ended up feeling that no one has truly understood me.
I always detested going to parties and get togethers and make small talk with people I barely know. My first instinct on such occasions, would be bolt away as soon as possible.
There is a reason I like to blend with people I am intimately close to. And that's so I can be myself. A few choice guests on my private island if I do say so myself.

The thing about being on an island is that you are your own master. Its your own world that no one can trespass. No one can question you, or judge you.
Yes, humans are social by default. But than not all of us are born with human instincts.
Given the choice I would rather be on my island than allow any trespassers.
But I have been often reprimanded for that attitude.
Its just that when I meet people, I feel obligated to act and behave in a certain way, so much so that I have ended up putting on so may masks, that even those who claim to know me might not know me at all. When in society, one is always expected to be something what society wants one to be. To be consistently charming, productive, sociable and bendable to their every whim. You spend so much time being someone you'd rather not be, and in consequence lose out on being yourself.
Like Shakespere said, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players"
We don on masks to be identified and sought out, but frankly to me, the more masks you don, the more distant you become from your true self, and lose out on being an individual.
As all things in life, everything comes at an advantage and a disadvantage.
While not everyone can remain secluded, there are times when one ought to be by oneself.
If we let hundreds of people define who you are and what you are meant to do, there may come a time, when you realise, that you have been living someone else's life all along.
I suppose everything needs to exist in a certain balance. Be it seclusion or socialization.
Now when I look back, a lot of artists, thinkers and leaders, were often dubbed to be eccentric. Because they would always appear aloof, babbling to themselves, because, they would prefer their own company rather than be amongst those who could never understand them. They despised influence and were rebels in their own right.
If they had allowed trespassers on their islands, it would have yielded to influence, and the dilution of the individual spirit.
The world then would have never heard of a Picasso, or an Einstein or a Mozart.
I do not wish to don on myself the tag of a genius, but I certainly do brand my self to be individual in my own right. And for the time being I cannot allow anyone to trespass on my land.
I am what I am. And not what someone makes out me to be.
For those who wish to judge me, they shall never get to see the real me. The masks I own are plenty. But I do make it a point to remove them when I am by myself. And retire by the end of the day to my island.
Untouched, unseen and unscathed, far far away.

Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixellou, http://www.flickr.com/photos/storm-crypt, http://www.flickr.com/photos/elijah, http://www.flickr.com/photos/todojuanjo, http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomasfano.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Home Is Where The Heart Is



They say time flies by when you're having fun. Well, if that is to be believed, then I guess I'm having a blast!
Its been seven months since I returned back home. And frankly it only seems like yesterday, when I arrived home from the airport, all puffy eyed, from the overwhelming emotion of parting with my closest friends, and not to mention the utter exhaustion I suffered on account of over 10 hours of air travel.
My parents were overjoyed nevertheless, reuniting with me after a spell of six long years. But throughout the course of my first day of returning back home, I could never partake in their joy, as I wondered desolately so as to how will I suddenly fit in, in the new world suddenly thrust upon me. Its strange actually, when after a long period of time, even familiar faces seem unfamiliar. And your own home seems like foreign ground, where you are unsure, whether or not you belong here.
Thus, through these tempest of emotions, I wondered in apprehension, so as to what course my life shall take.
But if I had only known then, so as to how things will turn up, I doubt I would have fretted so unnecessarily.
As things turned out, I found myself getting used to my home and surroundings much faster than I imagined. And to my utter relief, I actually felt a good sense of belonging.
Gone were my apprehensions and fears, and I felt really good being taken care of by my loving family, finally being able to partake in their joy of my return.
In life, there are many bitter sacrifices to be made, and in the course of things, time really forces you to reconsider, so as to whether the sacrifices you made were indeed worth it.
In the pursuit of my education abroad, I missed my home my family, and my people. Its one thing to say that you have left your family and home to pursue or goals and dreams, and its another thing to live it.
A lot of things in life are easier said than done. And this is one of them.
Dont get me wrong, the six years I spent abroad were the best years of my life. I attribute it to the fact that you develop as a person only when your by your self. But I guess, after accomplishing what you sought to do, its always nice to return home.
In my earlier posts I have ranted about my country, the narrow mindedness of my people, and the dearth of even the most basic human attributes that plague my land. And at the same time, I have heaped praises on St.Petersburg, the surrogate city that took care of me for the amount of time I spent there.
But lets face it, its not home.
You home is the place you live in, amidst all the faults and the issues. But that's what makes it home.
Its like say back home, the wallpapers peeling, the plumbings faulty, and the roof leaks every time it rains. Then on the other hand, you have, say the Ritz hotel. Its a wonderful place to be, with great people, fine food, and a spectacular room.
But irrespective of however long you stay at the Ritz, its not home. You'll always be a guest at the Ritz, and in the due course of time you might even begin to miss the familiar aroma the emanated from the kitchen, or the creaks in the flooring in your hallway.
The same goes for all those who venture abroad. You'll always be a guest. A guest that people may love. But a guest nonetheless.
One needs a home to belong.
As much as I enjoyed every single instance of my stay abroad, I can never really say I belonged there. They were not my people.
Besides, irrespective of how much I tend to criticize my country, I cannot dream of leaving it ever again. The emotional upheaval is far too profound to bear. To constantly uproot yourself from one place to another.
Back in India, after I cleared my rather gruelling exam, I realised that I wouldn't have made it without the support of my family. People who made things so much easier for me to bear.
When you're by your self , there is no support system to aid you in your time of need.
Back home there is.
People may brag about how their homes an awful place to be, or how they feel suffocated amidst their family. If that is indeed so, then its a pity.
Its easy to escape your people saying they're difficult, or impossible to live with. But if that's how you feel about relationships, you might one day pretty much end up alone.
Every relationship is tough. But that's where you need to work on them and make it successful.
My parents might not agree with everything I say or do, but that doesn't stop me from reinforcing my point of view. We have maddening arguments, and terrific fights. But by the end of the day we're family, and alls well again. Not once have I thought that, "God these people are crazy, I can't live here any more."
Its letting go of small squabbles and being able to live with one another in a home as a family defines you as being human.
It wont take even a moment hesitation to pack my bags, leave home, live abroad and settle in a comfortable clean country.
But I'm done being a guest.
And irrespective of the shortcomings in my country, its home. For the better or for the worse.
As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home"!PS: The photos you see above, are some random shots of my home. A personal touch kind of thing!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Alls Well That Ends Well



Its been a while since I last posted on my blog, and frankly I cannot express in mere words how glad I am to be writing this post, after such a long hiatus.
For all who were aware, and for those who weren't, the reason for my self imposed exile from my blog, was due to the fact that I was studying for a really important medical examination, back home in India. An exam that grants recognition to foreign degrees, and makes us eligible to practice here in India. A license exam if you may call it so.
Now frankly, the exam is quite gruelling by itself, and by no means child's play. It was nevertheless imperative I give the exam, otherwise, without the recognition, a foreign graduate is pretty much stuck in limbo without any official recognition whatsoever.
Ever since I returned to India, there has been no other thought more paramount in my mind than to clear the examination as soon as possible. Especially after hearing horror stories, of those who kept trying and trying for years without success, and finally losing nearly three to four years, or perhaps even more of their precious time, and eventually jeopardizing their medical career.
On another front, most of my friends opted to join what are known as "coaching classes", to clear the exam. Its a common practice here in India, whereas au contraire I chose not to.
My friends were flabbergasted, and were quite curt in telling me that without those "miraculous" classes I stood little chance of passing. I have always found it so, that in life a lot of people are more prompt in telling you what you cannot do, rather than what you can do.
Nevertheless, undeterred, and not falling prey to the hype the classes generate, I chose to remain home and study for the exam by myself.
Besides, I have always been the sort of person that seldom pays attention in class anyway. I was always busy doodling while the professor went on an on rendering his rather insipid lecture.
Needless, to say I sacrificed a great deal while studying. I missed writing, painting, and frankly it has been over a year since I ventured into a movie theatre.
And all through, I had this morbid dread so as to whether or not my efforts would bear fruit, and whether or not my friends prediction of a certain doom, that awaited those who chose not to attend classes would come true.
For if I did not clear this time, I could see myself spiralling into gloom, and possibly towards a realm of self pity and bitter remorse. From which I doubt I would have ever been able to recover the strength to fight the battle yet again.
But by the grace of good fortune, and Divine intervention, I managed to clear the exam with flying colours, being amongst the 20% of the students who passed altogether.
It was while travelling back to the airport that I realised in disbelief, while checking the results of the exam online on my cell phone, that I had cleared the exam, and was now free.
Emotions of relief, gratification and happiness beyond words came flooding back, and while through all this I realised I was rather hungry, and ordered myself a scrumptious breakfast in the airport lobby, awaiting my flight back home.
And while munching on my baked beans on toast came the flood of congratulatory phone calls from my near and dear ones. All glad that we had passed one of the most dreaded exams ever.
What awaits me now is a three month break, during which I intend to selfishly indulge myself in all that I missed during the long hours pouring over medical literature. After which shall begin my internship in a hospital nearby.
The moral of the story is, that it takes great perseverance in trudging along a path most humans would rather avoid. And when someone usually dissuades you from perusing the path you choose, its not that they are concerned about you, but the fact that they wish to trust upon their own personal insecurity upon you.
Besides, the exam has had a more profound personal victory rather than just an academic one.
The personal victory being the fact that if I could pull this through, there's precious little that can stand in my way in the future.
The same lesson goes for everyone else as well.
Never let fellow humans tell you what you can or cannot do. Insecure beings can never support one another. Their refuge lies in mutual despair.
The day you begin to have faith in yourself and the path you have chosen, would be the day you will most certainly be declared a victor.
For only after trudging relentlessly through the road less travelled, one can truly say,
Alls well that ends well.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Bloggers Void



One of the things most bloggers face in the due course of their blogging history is the bloggers void. Aptly put by Shadowthrone.
The thing is, no matter how much ever dedicated we are to blogging, after some time or the other, you lose the ability to stay focussed on your blog. It could be due to a number of reasons. Like for instance, the lack of inspiration, the lack of sheer will, an unforeseen circumstance etcetera.
Even I for instance find it really difficult to maintain my blog since I graduated.
The thing is, things were a lot different from the world I once belonged to, and the world I'm currently in.
While those who believe in sheer will, would argue, nothing should "ideally" come between a man and his passion. But as I have often stated, circumstances are seldom "ideal".
While I do not write this as a means to justify or complain about the reason for my absence from the bloggosphere, I nevertheless, feel it necessary to elaborate on my persistent absence.
The thing is, things were a lot different back in Petersburg. I wouldn't say I had all the time in the world, but nevertheless, I could always do whatever I want, whenever I want.
I would write, whenever impulse would strike me, be it 12 noon or 3 in the morning.
The thing about impulse, is that its like a spark that comes and goes. You cannot schedule or postpone an impulse for later.
The thought you have today, may not remain the same tomorrow.
And that's the main difference.
Right now, while studying for a major examination, my life is far more scheduled than it was before. I'm not complaining though, because, I have been reunited with family after a span of six long years.
But the thing is, there is always going to be a difference between a single students life and the life of a family guy. Things cannot always be carefree, and I most certainly cannot blog on impulse here.
Now I could say, that I would schedule time to blog every Sunday from 8 to 9 pm.
But it can never work out that way.
At least not for me. Like I said, I cannot schedule thoughts. For instance, say I'm reading the newspaper and I come across an interesting article, and I say to myself "I really ought to voice my opinion on this article", but then I cannot because I have to hit the gym, after which I have to start studying, following which by the end of the day, when I am actually free, so to speak, I no longer am able recapitulate the idea I had back in the morning. Even now as I write this, I'm actually supposed to be solving questions in Pharmacology. Not exactly writing this on my "free time" here.

There hasn't been one day that went by where I haven't thought, "damn!! I really miss writing."
But then again, there's precious little I can do about it.
All I can say right now, is that I will try to keep things afloat to the best of my ability.
But I cannot promise anything more.
Besides, a lot of people from my own blogging network seemed to have permanently dropped off the bloggosphere, without any explanation.
I really envy persistent bloggers, people who have continued to blog come what may, like brocasarea, Shadowthrone, Thousif, and Lazy Pineapple to name a few.
Most bloggers end up in the void sooner or later, while others manage to stick through with persistence.
But every individual has his/her own means of working.
Like I said, there are like a ton of things I would love to do, right from blogging, adopting a dog, to learning how to make a pizza.
But then again, given the circumstance, such things must wait...
No idea how much longer is it going to take......
but until then,
be patient and bear with my inconsistencies, s'il vous plait...
till I manage to figure things out.....