‘Can you honestly say that you’re satisfied with where you are right now?’ When I tell you that this question emerged from my thirteen-year-old cousin, you will probably wonder why a boy fresh into his teenage would ask such a profound question. But in some ways, this boy has always been a little too old for his age. 

A little context. We were on the subject of my sister’s achievements. Now, my sister is one of those geniuses who achieves pretty much everything she sets her mind to. She’s hard-working to a fault and her brain belongs in a museum. In short, she’s the epitome of brilliance. I’ve always admired her for it and looked up to her to no end. Her victories make me just as happy as they make her. 

People always assume there’s an untold version of this story, though. They assume I have a thickly veiled sense of inadequacy as a consequence of her sheer brilliance. Myriad souls have probed and pried to discover this inadequacy whose existence they’re so certain of. I’ve always found it amusing. 

‘After all the hard work you did, you got a rank in the 40s in your entrance exam. Are you honestly satisfied with that?’ He went on to ask, expecting some dramatic sob story to emerge in reply. 

‘Yes,’ I said matter-of-factly. No second thoughts. Years of deep questioning had prepared me for this moment. But he couldn’t let it go so easily, now could he? There has to be more to it. 

‘But at the end of it, who will they remember? You or her? It’ll always be her they talk about.’ I couldn’t help but smile at his innocent honesty. Not everyone would speak their mind out like that. 

‘Her,’ I said. ‘But how do they matter. Who are they?’ I didn’t bother giving him further justifications, because I didn’t feel the need to defend myself or my beliefs. 

Did I work as hard as she did? No, I didn’t. 

If I had worked as hard as she did, would I have made it to my dream college? Probably not. 

Did I work as hard as I was capable of? No, I did not. And it’s this fact that left me in tears the day JIPMER results came out. It wasn’t anything to do with comparison; it was more out of disappointment in myself because of what I should have done but didn’t. 

Am I happy with where I am? Yes. My college may not be AIIMS or JIPMER, but it’s still one of the top few in the country. I did work, though I didn’t work enough. And I got here solely as a result of the work I put in, and that’s something nobody can take away from me. My sister helped me out so much. She motivated me, guided me, reassured me, and stood by me through those scary two years. She’s my best friend and my mentor, not my competition. 

I’m so glad that I’ve reached a stage in my life where I can honestly say that I’m content and secure. I find the concept of insecurities silly- what good can ever come of them? There will always be people who are better than you at any given skill. Embrace this fact and allow it to motivate you. 

There are some things you can never change. People will talk about you, judge you and attack you with all sorts of unnecessary questions. There’s nothing you can do about that. 

You know what you can change though? You can change how you react to it, and how it makes you feel. Never ever let anyone other than yourself make you feel inadequate. You’ve been cast as the lead role in the movie that is your life, and you’ve got it spot on. But even the best actress has her fair share of critics. 

Keep that in mind as you shoot the next scene. 😉

(PS: 5 is my favourite number. Yay 5 posts! :D)


Ash to Ashes.

So today, I had an epiphany of sorts, which often happens when I’m procrastinating to my maximum and pretending like I have no responsibilities. If you’ve ever spent hours thinking about closure and friends you don’t talk to anymore and things which shouldn’t matter but do, this post is for you. (I hope. :P)

Now that I’m in college, a lot of people from my ‘past life’ are just numbers on a screen. You know, those contacts that you distractedly scroll through on Whatsapp when you have nothing better to do… A very obvious truth that only struck me today is that I can choose which of them to keep in my life. 

Back in school, under the pretentious label of social etiquette, there was always a nagging voice in my head telling me to repair relationships that were showing symptoms of malfunction. ‘Fixing things’ was actually a constant stress to me, and now that I think back to it, I’m sure I overdid a lot of it. The eve of my birthday was always a busy day because I had this policy of setting everything right before I began a new year of existence. It all seems so… unnecessary now. 

Maybe it made sense then. When you’re surrounded by a fixed set of people everyday, it’s nice to steer clear of unresolved issues. I confess that I was closure hungry. Every story had to have an ending I understood, and every event had to have some rationale behind it. I spent days and weeks mulling over the stupidest of things and inevitably, things went from bad to worse after all that effort. 

But now, I have a new life. I’ve grown up enough to know how to prevent complications, and things are comfortable. 

I was thinking about something I did, and I caught myself thinking ‘What will XYZ think?’ (Haha that’s a lot of thinking :P) And then, my head made a very valid point- ‘How does it matter? You never need to meet XYZ again if you don’t intend to.’ XYZ is just another number I don’t know by-heart and if I lost this contact, I probably wouldn’t even realise. 

That’s when it hit me. None of the issues that have ever arisen matter anymore, because none of the people they involve really exist anymore. I agree that this is a very escapist way of viewing things, but if it works, well why not? And this fact in itself is a form of closure. Ash to ashes, dust to dust. So long, farewell, auf wiedersen goodbye! 

So listen to me carefully and repeat to yourself- Let. It. Go. Hold on to the elements of your past that make you feel good, and rid yourself of the elements that fill you with self-doubt. Apply filters to your life, the way you do so skilfully on Snapchat. 

Let it go.