A victim of introspection.

“What the hell am I doing with my life?”

“Who am I? What characteristics or traits define me? What are my beliefs? What in life do I value most?”

These are a couple of questions I have been asking myself with more and more increasing frequency. I’m almost 20 years old, shouldn’t I have a bit more clarity as to who I am as a person? Instead, I feel as if I have never been more confused in my life.

Well, that makes some sense because my life has changed drastically. Left the safety net that was school for a college that was thousands of miles from home. Left my inhibitions ( or rather suppressed them ) and became more social ( quite an understatement ). Transitions are never easy. As Asimov humorously puts it; Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.

Writing always helps me think more clearly so here I am. My life is probably not as chaotic as it feels to me. I made it into and miraculously survived the first year of college. I made a decent number of friends. A few really great ones. Had some exciting new experiences that come with joining college and that new-found freedom. It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, but when things got rough I dealt with them with a level of maturity that, frankly, surprised me.

So why this inner turmoil?

I guess I would attribute it to self-doubt. I don’t believe in myself as much as I should. There. I said it. Or rather, wrote it. But whatever. I know. I know. There is so much that I have accomplished that I should be proud of, as people keep telling me. With those people I’d like to share an anecdote. In my school there used to be these parent-teacher conferences. Nothing new about it, most schools have them.So twice a year, my parents would go meet my teachers to talk about how I was doing, academically, socially and so on. Now, most kids dreaded these meetings but not me. Every year my parents would come back and sit me down to discuss the feedback my teachers gave. It was pretty much the same. I was doing decently in my academics, participated in a few events ( hardly ever won ) and talked everyone’s ear off.What I’m getting at is the word that came up every year – ” Potential”. She’s got so much Potential! What I heard was that I was merely average. Every year I would do a little better and still get the same word. That word is imprinted in my mind. In a way, it’s a good thing. I have a strong desire to achieve greatness the feeling of being average is stifling. Which brings me to a simple solution. All I have to do is to work hard and not lose sight off my goal.

As to who I am, that is a far more difficult question to answer. I see myself as a good person. I’m generally honest. I would call myself caring. I would do anything for a friend. I also see myself as a smart person. I was gifted with a pretty agile mind. I value intellect and hard work, although the latter doesn’t come easily to me. I’m strong-willed and I generally don’t conform to ideas just because they are socially acceptable. I’m slightly crazy and open to new experiences. Major flaws that I have would be Insecurity and lack of self-love which I already addressed above. In addition to that, I’m extremely lazy. I can, and have, spent entire days laying with my laptop. I can be a little bipolar and I often jump into things with both feet.

But mostly I’m just confused about what’s right and what’s not. I hate the grey area, things were so much simpler when they were black and white. Our generation has an ” anything goes” or this “chalta hai” attitude that kinda scares me. It’s so easy to get carried away. All lines are blurred and that’s why I feel the need to figure out my boundaries.

Aristotle said that knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Let’s see how far I go.



The sinner and the saint – A Short Story

PART – 1

“You make my heart race, you make my mood lift, you can make me smile after a trying day and make me want to dance in the middle of the road. You are the one I want to share all my troubles with, the one on whose shoulder I want to lean on and that is why I want to be with you. Always and forever.” She had whispered quietly in his ear and then leaned back to watch the varying emotions on his face which finally had settled on amazement. She knew he had given up hope after she had pretty much run frantically away when he had confessed his feelings to her the day before.

She ran straight to her best friend in a complete state of panic.

She couldn’t really understand the surge of emotion she was feeling. Was she flattered? Shocked? Or something entirely different. Whatever it was, it was nothing like she had ever felt before. There was a weird gnawing in her stomach and an intense constriction in her heart.

“I can’t do this. Can’t do this. Can NOT do this.” She repeated more to herself than to Drishti, who was sitting on her bed and with a somewhat bemused expression watching her pace around her room.

“Who are you and what have you done with my friend? Seriously Anushka, of all the people I would never have picked you to act like a love struck teenager. What is wrong with you? “She said and with an exasperated huff pulled me and sat me down.

“Indeed, what was wrong with me? How the hell did I become this? This crazy hormonal teen so different from the relatively sane human I saw myself as.”She thought to herself. It was all his fault, the smug bastard.

“For god’s sake Anushka! Calm down! Now would you please tell me the whole story? Preferably without the hyperventilation.”She said, now looking a little concerned.

She remembered that day, that moment frozen in time, as vividly as if it had been just yesterday rather than five months ago. The moment when Arjun stopped being just another guy. In that moment he suddenly came into focus. It had been the beginning of 11th grade…

“…and as we all know, in humans, the 23 pairs of chromosomes are present in the form of the completely jumbled up chromatin material during interphase. As the cell division begins, this chromatin starts condensing and…”, the biology teacher droned on about various stages of the packing of the genetic material during the process of division of cell in eukaryotes but the slender, bespectacled girl sitting right in the front row blocked her out as she lost interest in what the teacher was saying. She had already learnt this the previous week when it was taught in the coaching institute she had been going to for the last two years.

This was her third year and she was by now quite adept at handling homework and tests of both school and the coaching institute. But this year everything was different. She had just entered 11th grad and boy, was it overwhelming! School had started merely two weeks ago and they had already covered so much in all subjects. The teachers taught at lightning speed but that was probably because the syllabus was double of what it had been last year.

The girl now was eyeing her classmates, trying to pick out potential friends. As fate would have it, none of her friends were in her section but she was used to this. Never having been very social, she had made a total of three friends in the school she had been attending for the past nine years. But for some reason she felt uncharacteristically lonely. It was the newness of this all that probably set it off. She could recognize some of the so-called popular kids. There was the tall and fair, Ridhima, who played in the school basketball team.That was never going to happen. As she turned her eyes towards the other face she recognized, they were met by another set of eyes locking into hers. Realizing that he had been staring at her, she raised an eyebrow. He simply smirked and turned to look at the teacher. The day after that he just came and sat next to her in class and continued to do so everyday.

Five months had passed since that day and they had become pretty close. There had been instances when either one of them was on the verge of crossing the boundaries of friendship. A gasp of breath when their hands accidentally touched. A compliment that was a little too intense. Those thoughts and memories were always pushed to the back of the mind and left to be forgotten.(which obviously never happened)

She wondered why she had never mentioned this to Drishti before, probably because simply talking about it would make it more real. As she relived all those memories trying to tell Drishti the whole story and failing miserably (She had never been much of a story-teller), she realized that she truly felt something for Arjun. He wasn’t perfect but he made her feel more alive, happier.It was very subtle, an onlooker probably couldn’t have told the difference but she felt it. They had their differences and fought over them but always came back to one another. Perhaps this was love. She made up her mind to go and talk to him the next day for which she now couldn’t wait.

To be continued…

Pre-exam procrastination.

Why is it that the heart always craves what it can’t have?

Why do I feel this crazy urge to write the night before my exam, when I know I should be studying?

Which is what I’m supposed to be doing right now, but instead here I am. After half an hour of reading the same lines again I realised I was fighting a losing battle.

Lately I’ve been questioning the soundness of my mind when I made the decision to do medicine. You would too if you had had only 8 hours of sleep in the past 3 days.

People always say that med school is tough but I always believed that I was tougher. I mean, I have reached till this point through sheer will. Med school has mainly 2 kinds of people: the geniuses and the nerds. Those who study entire chapters in 15 minutes and those who study every chapter 15 times. I definitely never fit in the latter category and although I wouldn’t say I fit in the former, I have always had a knack for last minute cramming.

Last night I found that even I have limits. It is physically impossible to cram half a years worth of medical syllabus in one day. Not only is it impossible but it’s nerve racking and back breaking.

The only glimmer of light at the end of this dark tunnel is the thought of the one and a half month summer break which is probably what got me through the last 2 nights. But, I digress.

I wanted to write about the heart and it’s cravings. It’s funny how appealing things seem when they are out of reach. It says a lot about human nature that we are never happy with what we have. The grass is always greener on the other side.

The crazy thing is that I can’t for the love of God envision an alternate future for myself. As much as I sometimes hate where I find myself I’m surprised to realise that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

I should probably get back to studying. See you on the other side.

Waiting for Utopia

I say that I’m an Idealist

Although I want to be a realist.

But how could that be

Until the news on TV

shows no female foeticide

In street corners no hungry child died

No girl today was brutally raped

Conviction for murder no man escaped

Rain forests were not compromised

How pleasantly would I be surprised

If all of this were to come true

Then an apology would be due

How proudly would I exclaim

I am a realist as I claim!

One friday night.

As she carefully applied gloss over her lips
She saw in the mirror
A pretty girl staring back at her.
She gazed and gazed, strained her eyes
But try as she might she couldn’t recognize
The large eyes surrounded by glittering gold
Cheeks flushed pink.
She shoved into the back of her mind
Tumultous thoughts about which she couldn’t help but think.
She cautiously coated each nail an icy blue
She frantically searched her mind
Hoping for a clue
What had led to this alteration of her character
When did she become so shallow? Since when did acceptance matter?
He had made her feel invisible all her life
Now to approach her, he felt daunted
And there were so many more like him who couldn’t see past her dress
Was this really what she wanted?
Gone were her days of careless abandon
Riding on swings, reading books under the sun
How she had craved for this attention back then.
Would exchange this illusion in a heartbeat for something genuine.
As the realization hit her, she felt a huge weight lift.
She didn’t need to be who they thought she was.
It wasn’t too late, she could change back just as swift.
To the girl she always used to be,
who must still be somewhere inside.
From today she would reign free
For there was no need to hide
She felt a glow in her heart
As her lips opened up in a smile.
She undid her bun and washed her face
And picked up a book she hadn’t read in a while.