ON MY OWN

Being alone isn't lonely ,  I tell myself ,
Being on my own isn' t horrid,  I tell myself ,
For all this world is done , is hurt my inner self 
made me lie and tried to shape into someone else

Stripped down my pride and made me doubt all my steps ,
You're a little child , without any sense they said ,
Think not,  so highly of yourself ,
For you can't change the world ,
With your little words they said .

Sanjana Singh Yadav

Why no one is really free : The panopticon

I stumbled on a fantastic movie last night :”Enola Holmes” .It follows the journey of Enola holmes , the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes . Though the movie is a delight for any Sherlock or mystery fans out there , it was Enola’s personal journey that stood out for me .

The movie starts off with Enola finding out that her mother missing . A few scenes her elder brothers come into the frame . Mycroft ( her brother ) disapproves of Enola’s ‘wild’ behaviour and wants to make her ‘acceptable ‘ for the society .

The school curriculum is involved in teaching the girls how to laugh ‘politely ‘ , how to walk ( practicing with a book on your head ) and how to ‘ eat’ properly .The idea of a cultured woman is the one that always talks politely , never raises her voice and is happy with a domesticated life . This movie depicts a society of the 1900 yet since then, this idea hasn’t really changed .In a similar vein , even men are subject to the patriarchal stereotypes of strength and courage . There is a strict code that everyone has follow . There are predefined notions of ‘good and acceptable behavior ‘ which every society swears by .

As the characters again and again lectured Enola of good behavior it reminded me of Michael Foucault conception of ‘panopticon ‘ . A panopticon is prison with a tower in the middle where the guard sits . From the tower, a guard can see every cell and inmate but the inmates can’t see into the tower. Prisoners will never know whether or not they are being watched. Due to the fear of constant survelliance , the prisoners behave themselves and do not even try to escape .

The panopticon

Michael Foucault uses this concept to explain how our society functions . Our society is like a prison .The opinions of other people , the social norms ( for eg : having a great salary , being married being preconditions of success ) are the guards in the tower . The rest of us in the society are like the prisoners . We follow these norms sincerely as we know we are being watched , by our families , our friends and the society . To gain social acceptance , we often give up things unique or different to us, never daring to even know who we are and what we really want . This holds true in every aspect of our lives . One’s job , one’s marriage or even the selection of subject in high school. Most of our decisions are guided by everyone’s preferences but our own . Quite sad , isn’t it ?

There was another scene in the movie that stood out for me . The headmistress assures Enola that she can provide her with all the answers in life. Enola will never have to question anything ever again in life But I wonder why is that a good thing ? We seem to hate confusions , situations and problems in our life that make us think and question things around us . But isn’t it our ability to think that makes us human. The ability to analyse things and give it our meaning .Humans are the only species on this planet with this ability , yet we give it up so easily for the sake of others

The headmistress also disapproves how Enola mother left her to fend her for herself . In my opinion , this is exactly what we should be doing . Letting people life their lives on their terms , commit their own mistakes and find their own purpose .

YOU AND ME

Can I just keep dreaming,
Can I just keep sleeping,
Cause in my dreams you're actually mine
Cause in my dreams we look so fine ,

You brush my hair ,
You touch me there
And when I'm hurt
you actually care .

You crave for my love
I'm the only one you touch ,
Every night we're in a different pub ,
And I dance in your arms till the sun comes up .

But then its back to reality ,
You're in a far way galaxy ,
But still the centre of my gravity ,
Loving you is such a fatality .

MAYBE I’M NOT PRETTY

Maybe I’m not pretty , Maybe I’m just fun ‘. I remember just taking a deep sigh when I first heard this smash hit by JESSIA . I nodded head pursued my lips and though to myself ‘At least I’m not the only one hating on myself ‘ Since the past couple of months I have grown averse to looking at mirror these days . I have bee restricting myself to two meals a day and exercising hard . I dropped 20 kgs yet I feel no different than I did 6 months ago .

I usually go to bed cursing myself for not exercising harder or not being strict enough on my diet . And honestly , this has started taking its toll on me . I’m pretty frustrated all the time . Annoyed and angry at myself for not trying hard enough .

Now that I sat down to write about this I’ve realized how unreasonable I’m being . Rather I want to know why I am being so unreasonable ? what really got me to this point ? Funnily enough it wasn’t me . It was everyone around me . Just slight passing comments . You know , the usuals . You look different from the last time I saw you , oh you should exercise more and some even suggesting that I lose weight or I am never getting married ! I always used to just grind my teeth and let it go . I felt like was incredulous enough for all these diatribes to not affect me .

But I guess I was being too sanguine . Slowly the homilies on a perfect girl became my perdition . The ideas of self love , care became evanescent . I was somehow convinced that without the approbation about my physical appearance , I would always be at the last rung of the pecking order .

The other key dramatis personal in pushing me to this stage was my decision to open an Instagram account . This one’s on me . Just seeing these instagram models crowned with the epithets of ‘goals ‘ didn’t do much to bolster my self image . This just seemed to underscore all the noise around me . Funnily enough even though I am now cognizant of what I am doing to myself and how retro grade these opinions are . I am still an unmitigated disaster, all efforts are infructuous in getting my self out of this pablum of a ‘pretty girl ‘………

The “Google” problem

In the modern age , google has often been termed as our savior . Giving us all the answers to all our questions. Making us more knowledgeable and reducing our confusion. But I do feel at the same time it reduces us as humans . Not in the oft quoted way of making us dependent on technology , but in away of devoiding us of our originality, humanity and thinking.

THE RIGHT WAY TO LIVE OUR LIVES

One can find endless articles on the web on love , truth , happiness and the meaning of life. We often try and fit our lives into the standardized templates of life available online . If one gets a certain amount of flowers and gifts , one is loved ,otherwise not . We often try and fit in so hard that we often forget to consider what we really want and what we really like .

Everything from art to fashion has become too standardized and so has the idea of beauty . These days all the Instagram influencers look the same . Everyone putting on the same banal makeup and dressing up the same banal way all for the sake of fitting in to the society .

THE HUMANITY IN HUMANS

Since time immemorial the aim of man’s life has been to find happiness . While some have looked into the spiritual realm , others in hedonistic pleasure . Though I would define in terms of human experience . Happiness can very simply be defined as the freedom to what one wants . For us to explore our potential , to engage in activities that resonate with us the most .

So for us to be truly happy , we first need to know our true ‘authentic ‘ selves . Then find avenues to develop and explore our potential . This is why our uncritical acceptance and consumption of social media is problematic . The social media often attempts to create a mass culture . A society where everyone likes and hates the same things . Where everyone thinks and feels the same way . It ends up creating a standard of behaviour everyone subcribes to .

DEFINING YOUR OWN BEAUTIFUL

It is often said that children should be taught how to think not what to think .This is because what separates humans from all the other species is our ability to think . What exactly do I mean by our ability to think . It means being courageous and brave enough to question all the pre existing norms around us . Seeing whether the ideas of ‘success’ , ‘beauty’ and ‘happiness’ truly resonate with us or not .The ability to think and reason is what makes us humans .So when we give up on our ability to think , we basically give up on our humanity .

Taking a slightly critical approach to everything that is put on the internet might help us make more sense of our lives . It will get us out of the ‘FOMO’ curse . We might start to realise that the things that look so good with an instagram filter. Might not be so pleasing in reality .

Our lives would be so much more convient if we give up the convinience of google

Singing for the soul

I am a bad singer period . I love to sing but I am incredibly embarrassed to do so . Thus I have always preferred listening to music on my headphones with really loud volume and imagining myself singing that song. . To be honest I never really sang until a couple of days . I didn’t even know what I sounded like if I tried to sing .

All of his changed last week . As I drowning in the pool of existential crisis , I saw a interview of Ed sheeran on theJonathan ross show . During the show Ed pulled out an old clip of him singing . And .. it was well .. not the ed sheeran we know . Ed chuckling said ‘ everyone thinks popstars are born singers , but that is not true ‘ . He explained that he practiced his ass off to get where he is .

Now singers working incredibly hard on their craft was not something new to me . Almost every famous singer will tell you about their long hours of practice schedules . What really surprised me was that Ed sounded like most of us in the shower in that audio clip that he played for the audience .And somehow inspired me . Gave me some hope rather made me less ashamed of myself . Having watched all the 10 year olds on America’s Got Talent belting out like Whitney houston . I was convinced that if you aren’t born with a incredible voice , you shouldn’t be singing . But this little 30 second clip really shifted my perespective .

So the very next day ,I dusted off my brother’s piano and started to sing . Now this ain’t any fairytale . It doesn’t really have a happy ending . When I sang I did sound as horrible as I had imagined . But at the same it just felt so good . Just to close my eyes groove to the music and actually sing . That feeling was like no other . I sounded horrid . My parents even came to check on me to see if I’m okay !But I don’t really care about how bad I sound . I love singing and I am keep going to love my horrid , terrible voice and enjoy it !

Could you please MIB me

I sometimes think that life would have been so much easier to live if I hadn’t gotten to know the world .

If I didn’t know there were better things in life , I wouldn’t want them . If I didn’t know that some people make a living out of their passion , I wouldn’t hate my job so much . If I didn’t knew that people fell in love . I wouldn’t hate being single .

When I think about it , I realise I never felt this way when I was a kid . I never had a worry in the world and wasn’t ever jealous of anybody . I just want to go back to that version of me . This thought itself drives me crazy – that my younger self was living a better life than me .

So I think I would be much happier if someone from Men In Black , just wiped my memory . If didn’t know what all existed in the world , I would not want it . I would be able to appreciate what all I have . The little things in life . Go back to pre civilisational – need not , want not .

But even if I want I can’t really get my memory wiped can I ? I have got find a way to live with it . Also isn’t it our desires and thinking what makes us human ? Isn’t it our desires which motivate us to work harder ? But at the same time these desires have become a source of misery for me . So I guess I just need to find a middle path . I have to be rational and objectively examine everything and everyone I see on the television and instagram and figure out what I really want . I know a gazillion people have already said this before . But to actually apply it in life is a herculean task .

FINDING THE EXTRA IN THE ORDINARY

As I have started looking for a job, I have been swallowed by humanity’s eternal question ? What is my passion ? What will make me happy ?

The question of passion and happiness has started to seem like a elusive one . Neither the thousand ted talks on the internet nor the 50 years of life experience of my parents have been able to give me an answer .

As I try harder to find an answer on how to live life , I only get more confused . Life seems to be getting as I try to decide among being a bureaucrat , a diplomat or a musician .What is the work that will give me absolute joy and happiness in life ?

Maybe the answer to this question is not this straightforward . It is perhaps not this is not as one dimensional as I am ssuming it to be . Somebody once said ” No one has found happiness by looking too hard .” This sentence is starting to sound like a gospel truth to me .

I guess I am looking too hard for happiness with ‘my big dreams , big plans to take over the planet. ‘(cue Alessia cara) . I need to live a little mindlessly . Just go with the flow . Take life as it comes . Find joy in small things in life . Spending time with my family , talking to my friends and having a hearty dinner .