Wounds heal but the scars never go away
Wounds heal but the scars never go away
Maybe it’s what you think, or it’s what you think you should think, but there’s a general belief that your time in school will be the best time of your life. However I strongly believe that this does not hold true anymore.
School days today instead of being filled with joy, sports and fun, are now filled with stress, academic pressure and tension. With the increase in competition in every academic field, children have lost their childhood in going to coaching classes. If one wants to study at the Delhi University, which is one of the best in India, anything less than 96% is unacceptable. With this pressure to perform coupled with parental pressure, stress levels these days are soaring high.
According to a new survey released by the American Psychological Association, during the school year Teen stress levels were found to be at a shocking 5.8 while adult stress levels were 3.1 on a scale of 10. Teen stress levels exceed the normal stress levels by far.
School days were the best days, because every child was a flower of innocence. But this flower of innocence in every child is dying at a much faster rate than before. Children face bullying and teasing on an everyday basis. These activities leave scars on them forever. When ask an individual aged from 35-80 their memory of school would be one of their best memory, but when you ask someone younger, their most distinct memory of school is that of bullying.
Victims of bullying are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying
Aren’t these numbers astonishingly high?
In schools where bullying is an everyday affair, how can we call these years the best years of our lives?
All of your teenage years are spent in school. This is the time when you are most insecure and unsure of yourself. As a teenager you want to fit in with the coolest crowd at school. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. And when you don’t conform to these so called standards of being ‘cool’, we children feel insecure about ourselves. Even a simple pimple can cause havoc in our lives. Our appearance is everything. We do anything to fit in. How can we call these the best years of our lives, when we are not discovering who we are, but cloning others, trying to be someone we are not.
According to a teen magazine 77% of teenage girls find themselves overweight even if they are not.
With growing peer pressure from our friends, we feel compelled to dress and talk in a certain way. Statistics of peer pressure confirm that 23percent of teens started drinking before the age of 13 and 67 percent of girls are pressured into dressing a certain way.
Everyone wants the latest gadgets, most trendy clothes and list goes on. Why is this, to fit into the ‘cool’ group at school.
Life can be a wonderful journey even after school. You can travel the world on your own terms, not restricted by where your parents want to go. One can pursue their hobbies and the list goes on.
School can be fun, but even after school life can be enjoyable.
In Rabindranath Tagore’s poem he says:
‘The child who is decked with prince’s robes and who has jeweled chains round his neck,
Losses all pleasure in his play;
Dress hampers him at every step.
In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust
He keeps himself from the world,
And is even afraid to move.’
This dress can be the dress itself or even the restrictive rules at school hampering the child from exploring himself.
School life looks like a bed of roses but everyone forgets to see the thorns.
Success and failure is like the grapevine twirled on a wooden stick; the mistakes we make being the support stick and success being the grapevine that climbs on the strong foundation – the stick.
We look with wonder and happiness when a child first learns how to walk, after falling numerous times he eventually emerges a victor mastering the task at hand. We forget that unlearning, making mistakes and succeeding is so integral to our learning process
‘Most people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure ‘ – Napoleon Hill
In life we do not get the chance to erase our mistakes, all we can do is learn from them, embrace them and use them as our base coat to build our beautiful masterpiece- painting a pulchritudinous picture of our lives’ successes.
Mistakes teach you to be good, however, success teaches you to fly higher above any mountain you have flown before.
If we observe a pendulum, it oscillates from left to right-success to failure. Although, in the end it ceases at the centre. This symbolises that life is a balance between failure and success. An excess of either of the two can lead to an imbalance.
Long term success comes from short term failure.
I would like to leave you with a thought, does a scientist get the joy of science when he repeatedly fails to complete an experiment or is it from his success, so what really drives him forward- success or failure, and what is it that keeps him grounded, preventing him to fly to high and melting his wings like Icarus?
Arbat Street is a one kilometer pedestrian street in the historical center of Moscow. It is assumed to built around the 15th century, but was destroyed in a fire in 1812, which is associated with Napoleons invasion of Moscow. The street was then rebuilt after that. Arbat Street was Moscow’s first pedestrian street. Originally the street formed part of an important trade-route and was home to a large number of craftsmen.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries it became known as the place where petty nobility, artists, and academics lived. In the Soviet period, it housed many high-ranking government officials.
Arbat Street is one of the most beautiful streets I have seen. With its picturesque street lamps, with subtle yellow light illuminating the brick-covered ground, it felt as though it had been picked out of a fairy-tale. Arbat Street is lined with shops selling trinkets, Matroyshkas (the traditional Russian doll) and other handicrafts indigenous to Russia. With a variety of cafes serving mouth-water Russian cuisine, it in a foodies delight. Arbat Street also has a collection of talented artists to entertain and humor you.
‘You are never completely dressed without a smile.’
Humanity unanimously believes that happiness is associated with a winsome smile that brightens your face. Smiling is the physical aspect of happiness. Humans are peculiar being, when we smile our eyes become moist with tears.
But what is happiness?? People far and wide have pondered over this simple word, this simple emotion.
‘Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to be and celebrate it for what it is.’
Is this what happiness is- living for today and having no regrets? Or is it something more? According to science it is the release of endorphins, but is it just that?
Happiness for me is seeing a waging tail and an excited face greeting me as I come home. Happiness for someone else may be shopping at your favourite store, or eating a scrumptious meal. Happiness for everyone is different.
I extrapolate from the world I see around and live in, that happiness cannot be defined. It is the same emotion, yet different in every way for every individual.
“Be happy not because everything is good, but because you choose to see the good in everything.”
The unanimous opinion of todays ‘modern’ world is that inter-caste marriages should not be considered a taboo. This, I believe is a positive step for the betterment of society. However, what I do not comprehend is why there is a widespread hatred for the individuals who began this custom.
In the Vedic age castes were on the basis of your profession. How we consider designations and different categories of jobs, the people in the Vedic age created castes. The concept of untouchability and degradation of the supposed ‘lower’ castes was wrong. However the actual concept of caste was not wrong. The way the progeny moulded the idea to suit and satisfy their hungry egos was wrong.
The reason, I believe inter-caste marriages were not allowed was, because it would be very difficult for the girl and boy to adjust to each other’s worlds. It would be like trying to fit square pegs in round holes.
As the wise men of the past would say, ‘Love makes you blind’. I speculate that the parents of the child were only trying to ease the process of adjustment to the new home and life the girl and boy would lead.
If a king marries his daughter, who lives in the lap of luxury, surrounded by maid-servants to do even the most nominal job for her, to a farmer, it would be quite difficult for her to modify herself to her new environment. She may even end of hating her husband as he cannot provide the luxury she demands for.
Sometimes, girls and boys can be a little foolish, blinded by the romantic idea, that you only require love for a long lasting relationship. A little advice to them, you live in the real world, not fairy-tale land!
I some way, originally the idea of ‘banning’ inter-caste marriages was right. This was a preventive measure parents put on their children. However now, this has become an immense problem and one of the main causes for quarrels between parents and their children.
Today, a marriage has become more of an alliance with another family of the same caste. Nobody looks at qualifications, temperament, outlook about life of the person their child is to marry; the only important criterion is the caste. An individual’s significant other could be of a supposed ‘lower’ or ‘higher’ caste but a better match. I do not comprehend why this is not understood by some people today.
But, if you look at ‘marriage’ from a distance, as an outsider, the ‘caste system’ still prevails, the original one. We would still not want our daughters or sons to marry someone who is of lower social strata. This is because the two worlds simply do not fit.
If you came from an affluent educated background, would you marry your daughter to an undedicated, less affluent, small business man- who owns a small shop at the street corner?
I am the cause of people’s woes and occasionally I am their saviour too. I am feared unanimously by the impotent humans. I presume that now you must have ‘labelled’ me as the psychopathic killer. However, I am your escape. I am Death.
I live alone in my abode. I am lonely there. All those days and nights, I spend in solitude, in my dim room only illuminated by a candle. I had books that would take me on mysterious journeys on earth and beyond, books that have made me love; however it’s only an illusion. It is not real. My solitary life, with no contact with any other being, is driving me insane!
I have never been ‘Alive’ before. Life, as it is for humans, has always been a mystery for me. Whenever I come to earth to take custody of the soul that enters into the world of the dead; I see the humans’ eyes leaking. I see them shaking the body of the soul vigorously. I see misery, anguish and sorrow. As far as I understand this complex subject of life and death, with my scanty and insufficient knowledge about it, I conclude that dying in one life is rebirth in another. However, these stubborn, slow-witted souls don’t seem to grasp the concept until it’s too late for them and their slow-wit turns to no-wit!
My thirst for knowledge about Life-the human was like a desert thirsty for water. My inquisitiveness for this mystery was too compelling to be left unveiled. I decided to quench my thirst. I decided to take a sojourn to earth.
The sun’s birth in the dusky sky was a little delayed today. The humans below would have been wondering why suddenly their natural alarm clock-the sun, chose to rise at twelve in the noon. It caused a great uproar worldwide! People were perplexed by the unnatural, inexplicable, alien activity. It’s because I was visiting the earthlings that day, not just for my regular visit to pick up a soul but for a purpose so strong, I shone like black diamonds across the sky.
I set foot on earth as a dull, dreary, dismal shadow, of a joyous, jovial, jolly little boy of six. The little boy had a broad smile on his face, like that of the Cheshire Cat. His eyes sparkled with a blend of mischief and exuberance. His face had a tinge of pink childhood glow. But my face was black.
The sun stared at the earth without pause from the sapphire-like clear sky. The heat of the sun radiated back from the tar road my little friend was walking on, radiated back the heat of the sun creating an atmosphere of an oven. He felt the intense heat, I felt nothing.
The little boy ran to a group of boys huddled around a small, wooden table near the side of the playground. The same grin spread across his face, his thirty-two teeth peering out of his mouth intently. My face was blank. I did not feel the anything.
One of the boys materialized a ball. The boys screamed in delight! They were all exceedingly ecstatic seeing the ball. The goals were set. The teams were decided. An air of excitement had taken over the children. The children ran after the ball with enthusiasm. I ran too, with the little boy. The children played under the burning ball of fire until its anger was subdued and it turned a soft pink. The children were tired, yet their happiness had not been washed away by their exhaustion. I felt nothing- I did not feel their joy, I did not feel their exhaustion.
After the boys had had one evening’s share of strenuous activity, they walked back to their homes where their families awaited them.
As my new little friend walked home, his perpetual smile still remained. I did not understand the reason for his smile. I did not understand emotion.
The little boy was home. The pink sky had turned an inky blue. I couldn’t stay any longer for today. I had to go. As a shadow I cannot stay on this wonderful planet at night. Seven o’ clock was the limit. I had to go. I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…”
I was gone.
I was back at the ‘Death Den’. It had been a day on earth, among humans. I did not understand them. I believe that is why I do not understand the feeling to be alive. I know humans are more content living amongst the alive rather than the dead. However I still did not understand why. I had seen him feel tired, joyous and exhausted, though I had not felt it with him.
Suddenly I heard my door creek open. Nobody ever visits me. Occasionally, my Master does, however it is never for any good! My heart was pounding in my throat! All of a sudden my palms became moist due to excessive perspiration. I thought I knew the reason for his visit….
“Death!” boomed the grating voice of my master “What folly is this?”
I kept quiet. My head bowed in submission.
“Why do I hear that you have been traversing through Earth I the disguise of shadow and not doing your duties of transporting souls to hell, when I had firmly told you not to?”
I did not answer.
“Am I inaudible Death?”
“Then answer me u fool!”
“It won’t happen again Master,” I said in a meek voice.
It better not…” My master said sternly “You are to stay here for three years not to show your face to the world outside! Your duties shall temporarily be taken over by another soul.”
“Am I clear?”
My master piercing grey eyes did not leave my face, as if deciphering if my face showed any signs of me falling back on my promise. He thought I would stay and not go to Earth. He was wrong…
Today is the dawn of a new day. A day not significant to most, but to me It is the day of my escape. My Master had placed two robust security guards at the door of my room. He had placed such a device that would allow me teleport. My Master in authority is superior that me, yet I supersede him in shrewd wit.
You must be thinking I would have devised a complicated strategy for my heroic escape. I unfortunately have to crush your hopes as with my Master, you don’t have to formulate any strategy.
There was a window in my room big enough for me to squirm through it. I did so. Now out of the reach of the device that hindered by teleportation, I did teleport back to earth.
This time around I was the shadow of a young girl.
I was in her room. It was an array of all the shades of purple. The satin curtains tinted the harsh sunlight. The pillows were placed on the soft bed. The room had an air of and artist.
This petite girl with freckled cheeks and frazzled auburn hair that complemented her pale skin, was standing in front of the mirror, the streaks of summer sun falling gently on her face from the unlatched window. I, her shadow was behind her.
I was a Saturday afternoon. From my meagre gathering of human life a girl her age is not home on a summer weekend, that too in her night suit! I knew something was not right. While I was trying to balance this imbalanced equation of this mystery, the girl collapsed crying. I thought humans only cried when I took a soul with me. I had not taken her soul, why was she crying?
“I cannot do this anymore!” she sobbed, “It’s too difficult!”
“I am a misfit!”
“Nobody wants to be around me”
“What have I done God?”
“Is it my fault that you gave me the love for learning and left the others without it?’
She did not say a word more but her soft sobs said it all. She was a misfit in the eyes of the world. She had a love for learning, while the other girls her age were more interested in “Teens’ Weekly”.
Life in my eyes had been a rosy walk through a park. Yet I forgot that every rose has its thorns. Life too has its thorns. I feel it too.
I had never known till today that I am alive in my very own way. My Alive is just different.
I felt remorse just as the girl did. I felt a sense of victory when I escaped my entrapment. I had felt it, but not understood it. I felt lonely as well. I just did not think of that to be a part of feeling alive. I do feel emotions. I just never believed it. The girl and boy I met taught me that life is not only ecstasy it is also remorse. I am alive, in the most ‘human’ way I ever could be.
My revelation was ended when I began fading away into the earth. I was not aware of what was happening! It was a complete blur! I was being sucked into the earth’s core!
In a matter of minutes I was in a dim, candle-lit chamber. My master sat there in front of me, his face red with anger! I gulped down my heart back to its place from my throat. I felt like a mouse in front of a ravenous lion!
“You have gone back on your promise as I thought you would.” My master raged.
“It is time you shall be punished for your sin!”
“I sentence you to imprisonment in the fields of Apostle! Where you shall perish for your sins!” My Master’s words fumed with wrath, “I do not want to set eyes on your wretched face!”
Before I could plead for forgiveness, his final order was delivered, “Be gone!”
I vanished into thin air and reappeared in hell. I write to the world from there. I am still lonely and still ‘alive’.