It amuses me when women (working women, most importantly) who talk of empowerment and feminism, say “You have to talk to my husband/father about it.” Or “I don’t normally manage my finances.” when it comes to managing their money.
Empowerment comes from being curious. It comes from educating yourself, and people around you. Take some time out and do what it takes to know where your money goes. Or what you can do with it. And once you are conversant with the process and the terms, take your mom, aunt, neighbor, friend or relative with you. Help them find out the various accounts they are eligible to open. Help them file their own tax returns. Educate them on how they can manage their finances themselves. Help them take the first step towards doing that. Enlighten them on the various privileges they are entitled to.
It might all seem a little too far fetched in the beginning, but a little bit of practice is all it will take, to bring in the transformation. Travel that extra mile and do it. Feel the change you want to see.
Empowerment is not just about shouting slogans and creating a hullabaloo. It is about learning to be independent. It is about being able to stand on your own two feet and being your own person. It is about creating an awareness. It is about asking questions. Not necessarily the right ones, but having the courage to rise up and step out.
And above everything else, empowerment begins with you.
Letting you go ain’t easy,
Because, every time I turn around, I see
A sky of the memories
We’ve made, of gestures and conversations, and of the empty spaces that we just let be,
I see your hazel brown eyes looking out for me,
Secretly guarding our sacred camaraderie –
Letting you go,
Will create a hollow
In the depths of my soul, convulsing my heart into shards unseen,
Reducing my world to a vacuum that dissipates into darkness, every speck of my existence, and robs me of all my sheen,
Filling the whole of me with a void, insanely inexplicable,
Leaving in its wake, a restless, vulnerable bubble.
I thought I’ll write about my best friend, my comrade in arms and my partner in crime, today.
I thought I’ll write about art.
So many of you paint. Create music. Sing. Play the violin. Write.
You resort to it when you’re in pain. When you want to be heard but there’s no one willing enough to hear you out. When you’re in joy. When you don’t seem to be able to contain your exhilaration. When you are broken. When you want to go out there and break all that’s engulfing the life out of your soul. When you’re scared. When you’re desperate. When you’re in peace.
I’ve listened to my mum sing her pain out. I’ve seen frustration take shape into beautiful pictures on a canvas. I’ve read novels that speak for people about their incredible journeys.
Art gives you solace, when you’ve nobody and nothing to hold you and tell you everything will be okay.
And that is why, probably, when you create something, you unconsciously leave a bit of you in it. A sacred piece of your heart. So it’ll continue to speak for you when you’re no longer around.
I know happiness is relative but you don’t need a crowd to help you feel good. You don’t need a bunch of people to go to the beach with, or take a sea of selfies to prove how insanely cool you are.
You don’t have to be everyone’s favourite, to be your own person. You don’t have to change who you are, to be accepted by someone you like. You don’t have to do something you detest, just to belong in somewhere.
Having said that, being alone does not mean you’re lonely. It just means you have all the space in the world to be everything that you want. You don’t need a crowd to make you feel welcome, do you?
Drop the façade and the fair weather friends. And the masks that tag along. You really don’t need people who coo only when everything is hunky dory.
If you have a couple of friends who respect you for who you are, flaws and all, who resonate with your thoughts, who help you find your zen, who stick to you no matter what, who lift you up when you’re distraught, then you are sorted. For life. Trust me.
If you’d asked me what I wanted to become when I was a kid, I’d have probably said, a teacher. Or a dancer. Or perhaps, a cobbler. I was most fascinated by them back then. Oh wait, I still am.
Cut to phase 2, if you’d asked me what I wanted to become when I was a teen, I’d have garbled gibberish. Basically, I’d have reproduced exactly what was fed into my head, like a brainless robot.
But ask me now, and I’ll flounder for an answer. Because, lost and clueless, I’m trying to balance my life between what’ll fetch me three square meals a day and what’ll keep my soul happy.
And, somewhere between doing what’s expected of me, and seeking what I want, I’m discovering a space I can call my own, a space, that’s devoid of fear and self-doubt, a space that’ll breathe life into every tiny speck of my insurmountable insanity.
The comparisons never seem to stop, no matter how old you grow – with siblings, with cousins, with peers, with the neighbor’s son or just some random guy at a party.
It’s always been about “living up to the expected standards” when it comes to the society, ain’t it?
I find it hilarious when people relentlessly judge my life asking,
“All my colleague’s daughters are married. When are you planning to?”
“My niece has been to the US of America a couple of times already. Why haven’t you, yet? You work in IT too, don’t you?”
It’s funny how people ain’t bothered about understanding what you want, but have the nerve to tell you what’ll make you happy, no?
Just one thing though. The chaos they bring with them, don’t let it subjugate your perspective. Don’t let their opinions malign your definition of happiness. Or success.
You can’t let the world decide what would bring sunshine into your every living moment.
Turn a deaf ear if you have to, but you can’t forgo something that brings you alive in every possible sense, just because it doesn’t fit in into the society’s definition of success. There’s no two ways about it, really.
People always find it easy to bog me down with their questions –
“Why didn’t you go for a master’s?”
“Have you always been a rebel?”
“Why do you not want to get married?”
But getting me to answer them is a herculean task, trust me.
Because, they weren’t there with me when I battled depression as a teen. They weren’t there by my side, when I went astray in life. They weren’t there to guide me when I made wrong decisions. They weren’t there to pick me up, when I was alone and lost and broken, in spirit and strength.
They don’t know the circumstances I’ve had to grow up in.
So, the next time you meet someone who isn’t as sane as you are, who’s a tad more complicated than the rest of the world, whose demeanor is a little too weird for your taste, understand, they’ve probably had to struggle a lot more in life than you.
And, let them be their own person. Don’t shove something down their throats just because it worked for you or because it is the society’s norm.
For, nothing anybody’s going to do or say, can erase anything they’ve been through. Ever.