My life as a slave…


I never thought I’d be this dissatisfied with my life and more so myself at this point in my life. The phase of self-discovery and self-actualization that I went through after med school left me in a haze. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was worth something. I felt like I was a phoenix, reborn into a whole new person, the old ashes of myself, of regret and grief and depression finally being shed away. I had made it through the darkest periods of my life and I felt like I was breathing for the first time. As my students and my responsibilities as a teacher overwhelmed me, I saw and palpably felt myself change. I started believing in myself, I saw a purpose to my life and I saw those things being reinforced and the love I gave being returned to me for the very first time in my life. For the first time in my life, I no longer felt the need of a friend, something that I had brooded about for as long as I can remember. I woke up with a smile on my face EVERYDAY.

Then I got married!

Saying that I’ve gone insane would be an understatement. I have no clue how I spend every day. I am totally unaware how day fades into night and then the sun rises the next morning as I grudgingly force myself out of bed and start my routine. I have always been a person of routine, lists and organization. I’ve mostly been in control of the responsibilities on my shoulders, but I start to lose it when I don’t have time to myself – and here’s the flaw of my introvert personality. And yes, I accept and say that being an introvert and craving personal space and ‘me-time’ is a personality flaw. The suffocating feeling that encompasses me every time my husband enters the house is quite familiar to me – I had this sinking, dying feeling all through med school. It made me feel that everybody owns me except for myself. And it’s the worst feeling when everybody controls my life but me.

And just like my single life when every decision regarding my life was made by my father, my married life is no different. My head starts buzzing even before I’m fully awake; almost every day without fail, I wake up with a throbbing headache, which is a constant reminder that my life and my body are not mine. I was born to serve others. My life is a slave to others whims and fancies. I’m constantly in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing that might upset any of the highly sensitive and dispassionate people in my life.

I have this constant urge to burst out with all that is going on in my head. Having a highly intellectual and awkward and weird brain that is not easily satisfied with the useless ramblings and the senseless and pointless small talk of others, is also no less than a curse. I want to talk about art and movies and opinions and ideas and politics and the possibilities of the future. I want to use the big words that are always at the tip of my tongue but I can’t as they are simply beyond everyone’s comprehension. I want to flaunt the unique accent that I have and correct everyone’s incorrect grammar and severely mispronounced words. I WANT TO READ AND WRITE AND DRINK COFFEE AND HAVE DOUGHNUTS AND FRIES.

I cringe at the thought that I haven’t read a book in over five months. That’s how useless and crazy busy and no-room-to-breathe my life has become. Constantly soothing someone’s blown-up ego and elevating their easily bruised pride and keeping my own cool when someone eats my piece of the scrumptious chocolate cake (literally) is NOT EASY.

I feel my real self drifting away from myself. I am constantly on the verge of tears. I want to scream at people and tell them how illogical and crazy and stupid and irrational they are. But I can’t.

So basically, the life in med school that I had crawled out from, is back to haunt me. And the kicker is that it’s ten times worse on my own highly introverted and sensitive characteristics as this time I don’t have time to drown myself in music and books – because this time I have this overgrown child constantly ruining my life aka my husband!

I’m doomed!

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Consequences, consequences

There are times when I wish I could do anything I want without ever worrying about the consequences. But of course, that is not possible. Everything has consequences. Every single breath taken has consequences. And for someone like me, who has made the most colossal mistake anyone can ever make, well, let’s just say I need to think ten times as harder as the average person before even uttering a single word. My name is Abby. And this is my story.

I always thought I was different, special even. I always thought I was somehow better than others. But this was when I was 12 years old, and I guess everyone thinks life is a piece of cake when they’re 12. Piece of cake. What does that expression even mean? Does it refer to baking cake, because that’s no easy feat? So, it probably means eating cake, something that I’ve never really been interested in. For me, eating is probably one of the hardest jobs in the world. It’s not that I’m bulimic or anorexic or that I’ve had some bad history with food, it’s just that food generally has never interested me. And throughout the course of my 25 year old existence, whenever I’ve been stressed, which has happened a lot, food was the first thing to go. The slightest hint of worry, and I’d bid adieu to eating. So then, what do we call someone who doesn’t like food? Oh, I know. This is something I’m an expert at. Labels. I’ve lived with quite a few my whole life so I’m pretty sure that automatically makes me an unprecedented expert at labeling myself. Labeling and categorizing. Weird. That’s what they’ve always called me. At first I hated it. I resented the people who started it. But now, after years of experience and some adult understanding, I don’t hate those people so much. So what really happened to all that hate you might ask. I channeled it. I drove it inwards. I’m no psychologist, but I know what I did with all my people ‘issues’ was unhealthy. I was stupid, maybe still am. But I’m pretty sure I was spot on to change the object of my hatred. And now, instead of hating the rest of the world, I just hate one person. Me!

A cynic.

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Self-satisfaction, my a*#

I knew it would be bad. I just never thought my patience would give out so soon. I never thought that I would come to hate kids so deeply and truly. I never thought my perseverance and resilience, which had doubled and tripled over the course of med-school, would fizzle out so soon. I thought I had become mature and strong. Turns out, my views about my self-development and improvement were completely off base. I’m still the same little, scared, confused, anxiety-prone girl I was four years ago. My situation might have improved as far as my career and profession are concerned, but in all other aspects, I’m still as under confident as I ever was.

Marriage is the worst thing that can ever happen to anyone. I repeat, marriage is the worst. It can strip one of their true identities within seconds. There are times when I don’t even realize why I’m doing certain things, except that tradition and culture and norm expect me to do so. Every day without fail, I utterly fail to see the reason and purpose of me having left the comfort of my parents’ house, the love and care of my parents and having come to live with a people who wouldn’t be the least bothered if I dropped dead – and neither I them. I don’t see the part of the puzzle where I fit in, except for acting like a house maid and a plaything for the ‘husband’. I work here at my in-law’s place, and I feel like total crap when I know that I can’t serve or help my own parents who will have to serve and help themselves for the rest of their lives, whereas I will have to comfort and serve people I have zero feelings for, and probably even loathe. It makes me cry tears of blood and enrages me to no end when I can’t be myself for fear of being talked down and looked down upon. I wonder what the purpose is of living in a place where I have to prep for my job at school in the dead of night, like a total stranger or a thief. I dare not mention my job and its unending demands but my Neanderthal of a husband can work away at his laptop for hours on end, because ‘he is the man’. He can do as he pleases because it is his house, and he is the one who calls the shots in everything. My feelings and my wants and my needs can go take a hike, as I’m a woman and it is my ‘religious’ duty to look after the needs of everyone around me – everyone’s needs but my own.

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To want or not to want

What bliss it would be to be invisible!

What contrast to want invisibility after years of wanting to be noticed?!?

Life has become this complex series of paradoxes, each one more difficult and intricate than the last.

Does it make me weird if I want peace and solitude at the end of a long and tiring day? Does it make me selfish to want to be away from family members and their mundane conversations centered around family gossips? Does it make me odd to want ‘me’ time which is a full serving of beautiful faces on the screen, with a side of good music?

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Ode to Teachers

They say if you can read, thank a teacher;
If there is one person who can truly inspire, it’s a teacher.
Who moulds a child’s character? It’s a teacher.
Who holds the key to unlocking endless potential?
It is, and always will be, a teacher!

To all you parents I ask,
In whom do you place your trust,
To nurture your child’s talent?
Whose ability do you rely on,
To hone your child’s strengths?

It is not you dear parents,
Who deal with thirty students all at once,
It is not you who divide your attention, and yet,
Look after all the kids all the same,
Without discrimination and without creating divide!

They say anyone can be a teacher,
And they couldn’t be more wrong,
All of us have experienced the wrath of that one person,
Claiming to teach, hone and inspire,
Yet ending up inciting hate and despising knowledge in us!

I have a few very simple questions for one and all,
The haters, the critics, the mockers,
And especially those who look down upon,
Where would you all be today,
Had it not been for a dedicated teacher?

Would you have dotted your I’s and dashed your t’s?
Would you ever have known 2+2 equals 4?
Would you have known the colours of the rainbow?
Who would’ve told you the days of the week and months of the year?
Hark! It was your ever loving, ever present, teacher!

Whenever you hear a young person proclaim,
That it is their dream to teach,
And school students at that,
There are a million raised eyebrows,
And even more contemptuous and condescending comments!

‘What will you ever get from this unrelenting job?’ they ask,
‘What can you possibly achieve by this?’ they object,
There are better paid jobs for you, they will claim,
But the one that’s the absolute icing on the patronizing cake,
Is, ‘Teaching is beneath you…you’re better than this!’

Society has and society always will
Try its level best to suffocate one’s dreams,
They will encourage you if there are benefits that they can reap,
They will support you if there are any gains that they see,
But an unenviable position you are in lest you deviate from society’s vision!

To those esteemed people who taught me,
Those who inspired and encouraged me,
They saw the best in me and more,
They not only remain my favourite people,
They are the most revered and the most loved of all!

My journey from student to teacher has been a rough one,
But if there is one thing that I can say with the utmost certainty,
Nothing has given me the sense of purpose
Than watching the gleam of understanding in a student’s eyes,
And the smile of satisfaction on their budding faces!

Take this as an open invitation for all,
If you seek appreciation in its purest form,
If you seek fulfillment in an honest day’s work,
There is no better place than a classroom,
There is no better person than an inspired student!

Every human being on earth is here for a reason,
It takes people years to figure out their destined paths,
And when you do come across something that finally makes you whole,
It’s like the final piece of a puzzle falling into place,
Like reaching the summit to your metaphorical mountain!

It is a rarity to find your calling in today’s confusing world,
And there is no path more holy and sacred than teaching,
To teach is to plant a seed,
You may not see the results in a short term,
But the fruits that will be borne will be the most delicious of all!

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Irony of ironies…

To be in a world surrounded by people, meaning family, who think you are the biggest screw up, is rather unfortunate. What’s even more unfortunate is the fact that having found my true calling and not being able to, rather being strictly prohibited from, sharing the joys of that true calling. Adding to the misfortunes is the sad reminder that my dear, darling father will always be the egotistical, self-centered, self-righteous person a girl could ever have. It was not enough for him that he ruined the prime years of my life into guilting me in a field of study for five years, where every single day I wished for death; it wasn’t enough for him that he never appreciated my talents; it was never enough for him that he took pride in my misery; he was the reason I became depressed and blamed myself for every failure to have ever come my way; he is the sole reason I’m called ‘the biggest disappointment of the family’; he’s the reason everywhere I go, I get these looks of disapproval and everyone makes fun of me as ‘the girl who quit’ – basically, he ruined my life, for good.

When people look at me they never stop for a second to contemplate the sea of hurdles I faced for five years. No one ever looks at me and feels sorry for the fact that my future was all but ruined due to my father’s childish insistence.

I tried. I tried so hard not to hate him. I tried so hard to look at things from his point of view and feel a little ashamed. I tried forgetting about the past and moving on, buying him gifts (which he did not appreciate one bit), being nice to him (when he was never nice to me) and being patient. And every few days he has to bring up the whole fiasco again. He has to proclaim how I mislead him (when he had clearly promised me that once I finished med school, I would be free to do as I pleased), he has to emphasize how I wasted time and money, he has to pinpoint how everyone in the world thinks I’m so terribly wrong.

I was nice to him because I know he was having a tough time after losing his job. But then he has the audacity to go and say ‘ I thought my kids would understand my position…I wish God would call me to Him.’ He says this to my mom two days after he raged on about my incompetence and failures.

Well, I have a few questions for you dad. Where were you when I cried myself to sleep consecutively for 5 years? Where were you when I prayed for death because I couldn’t pass exams? Where were you when I was bullied in college? Where were you when I needed support and guidance? Where was your ‘understanding’ when I going through the lowest point of my life, which was also brought on by you? Where were you when I listened to songs about suicide all night long? Where were your ‘all seeing eyes’ when I looked up at the sky and couldn’t stop crying?

But the irony here is hilariously sad. Even though I know that he wronged me, I will still have to be the one to apologize to him. I will have to make him feel better because he’s the most selfish person I have ever come across. The whole world will still feel sorry for him because he’s jobless and the world will still loathe me because I didn’t follow up on his dream.

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Hope needs to be contained.

‘Hope needs to be contained.’ Although extremely dystopian, this sentence is fascinatingly poetic and has a bizarre truth and beauty to it.

Recent experiences have left me reeling and deeply contemplating about the role hope has to play in our lives. From a young age we are taught, or even instructed, to dream big and ‘hope for the best’. What happens when you dream so big and hope for such an unending period of time that you actually start losing all concern with reality? Should there be an expiry date to hopes and dreams? Just like the dystopian universe pictured in Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’, should we ‘regulate’ our lives according to strict conditions and terms for the betterment of our lives?

‘The bigger you dream, the harder you fall’. I’d heard of this proverb, but hadn’t quite understood the deeper meaning behind the mere string of words until recently. What happens to the tenacity of the human spirit when it keeps getting shattered and dispelled and defeated time and time again? Everything has its limit and there is a certain point to which the human resolve can be tested. After a certain time period has lapsed, even the strongest of people lay down their swords, so what then about the weak at heart?

We don’t expect a window cleaner to become president; we don’t expect a laborer to get a PhD; we don’t expect a taxi driver to own a huge corporation. So then why do we keep expecting miracles to happen our own selves? Why do we dream so big and so long that we stop noticing the small miracles happening to us every day? Everyone in society plays a role – we all have our standings and we are all divided into classes for a reason. Even our cities and towns are arranged and subdivided according to the type of people. Just like you don’t expect a janitor to own a loft in Manhattan, it’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to have the courage of Napolean or the strength of Hercules or the compassion of Mother Teresa or the smarts of Richard Branson. Luck played a huge role in whatever these people achieved. A lot of uncertainties had to become certainties and somehow the starts aligned perfectly for them to achieve what they did. These are one in a million stories – motivational speakers will never tell you that only one or two percent of people in a given demographic ever become successful. So then why do we toil so hard to attain the impossible?

Why do push ourselves to the brink of a nervous breakdown just because we are supposedly ‘never to lose hope’? It’s insane to ask every Tom, Dick and Harry to strive to be like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or J.K. Rowling – those people are geniuses, and they are not born every day. We need to stop chasing the impossible just to keep alive the mantra of ‘hope will move mountains’. Reality maybe harsh, but reality is what we have to live with when our lives are stripped down to the bare essentials, devoid of all hope and inspiration and motivation.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally, my hopes need to be contained. If not for any other reason than for me to be reasonably content, if not acceptably happy, with what life hands me. Whether it’s regarding relationships or careers, I need to open my eyes and my mind and see where to draw the line; I need to accept that certain things and even people, will never change no matter how much we hope they would. So the sensible thing to do in these circumstances is simply to forego hope, and accept things just the way they are!

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