Not so perfect

I would write, and then delete

Everything I had written, I would repeat

The process because my writing seemed to be

Too simplistic, too flawed, too imperfect to me

It was a major opportunity, an important project

Therefore I wanted every detail to be perfect

Except,

The deadline approached, my work remained incomplete

The pursuit of perfection had led to my defeat..

*

Perfect is the enemy of good enough

Pursuit of perfectionism makes it tough

To achieve a goal, because when you run

After perfectionism you tend to become

Rigid, unflinching, inflexible indeed

When pliability is what you most need

To improve, you sabotage your goal

And end up getting stuck in a sinkhole

Of negativity, you cannot move ahead

Every step you take is filled with dread

Of making a mistake, you keep going back

To square one, the ability to move forward you lack..

*

Perfection is elusive anyway,

And no one is perfect on the first day

If perceived imperfection leaves you paralyzed

Then perfection you would never realize..

*

Now I just write, imperfectly so

I allow myself to go with the flow..

Someone Like Me

(Because every story matters..)

I live on the fringes, I have a story

That I want to tell, but doubt overtakes me

It resembles nothing in the culture mainstream

Strange and unfamiliar to most people it would seem

There are ordeals that I have faced

Because in this society I am out of place

Would anyone be interested to know

All the scars that I have to show?

Do I have the audacity to assume

That my story matters, or should I just resume

My efforts at assimilation that have been

Disappointing, I stay largely unseen..

*

Some people say that stories should be inclusive

Then learn the stories of people who live

On the margins of society, let someone like me

Be represented in a book, a podcast, documentary…

Don’t take your mind seriously…

Here is something interesting I read-

Don’t take your mind too seriously- it said

I was simultaneously intrigued and amused

I wondered how my mind would be used

Effectively if I did not take my thoughts

Seriously, how would solutions to problems be brought

Before me, if I did not listen to my precious brain?

Though my thoughts sometimes drive me insane

I would think that my thoughts would be an important part

Of who I am, more than my body or heart

So this was antithetical to what I knew

Too outrageous in my opinion to be true..

*

We tend to believe our thoughts as facts irrefutable

Thus our outlandish thoughts often enable

Us to concoct fictional narratives in our minds

They morph into firm beliefs, well-defined

A passive observer of my thoughts, let me try to be

Like clouds passing across the sky, let me see

The thoughts that float in and out of my mind

Thoughts are not my master, let me leave them behind

Teach me, my boy..

I instruct my son on completing his assignment efficiently

Expecting him to obey me, assuming that he

Needs direction to complete it to the satisfaction

Of adults, including his teacher, without any distractions

This is an assignment that is trying to test

His imagination, but instead of encouraging his interest

I am trying to curtail it by adding my inflexible beliefs

To hasten him towards completion, so I can get selfish relief…

As this powerful realization sinks in

My parental strategy needs some rethinking…

*

Throughout our lives, we try to teach

Our children how to live, we often preach

To them thinking that we can show

Them the right path, we assume we know

How to live life, after all we have experience

From which we can distill life’s essence

*

While we teach children what we think is right

We need to learn from them too, join in their delight

As they explore the world around them joyously

We must learn from young children how to be free

From expectations, and curious to explore

We can teach children some things; they can teach us more

As we step into parenthood, we enter another phase

Of learning, from other parents and our children in various ways

Can I inhabit a book?

As a young girl I read voraciously

About people in different lands, never did I see

A character whose life was similar to mine

Even in books from my country, I did not find

Someone like me represented, if I were to guess

Middle-class studious girls weren’t material for a book’s success

I learnt to inhabit the skins of characters varied

But I longed to see myself in the books I did read..

*

It seemed books were written with specific readership in mind

Even books written by indigenous authors I would find

Had a colonial perspective, meant to please

The erudite western reader’s sensibilities..

I read and loved many books, but never really felt a connection

The bookish world and mine had no intersection

*

It is quite refreshing these days to see

In published books increasing inclusivity

There are books with characters similar to me

Their circumstances sometimes mirror my history

Such stories also give me hope that one day

Someone would read what I have to say

*

Representation matters, and I feel validated as a reader

When I am able to see myself in a character..

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) completed!

Challenges tend to scare me, I must say

From most challenges, I simply run away

But the National Blog Posting Month doable appeared

So without announcing it (because of fear)

To post on my blog daily I resolved

It was an ambitious project that involved

Coming up with thirty ideas and getting in the flow

Of writing each day, hoping creative juices would flow

In addition to finding time to work, travel, and read

And all the other things that my attention did need

I managed to complete the challenge with success

Though this was not my best writing I confess

I learnt something about discipline

And that, I think, was my biggest win

Focus…

Focus- that elusive element I am trying to find

To stop random perambulations of my mind

My thoughts and emotions are on a roller-coaster ride

How do I quieten the chaotic environment inside

Something is bothering me, but I cannot say

What it is that has me feeling this way

There are various stimuli distracting me

Such that a straight path I cannot see..

*

Enough is enough, I need to reclaim

My lost focus, there is no one to blame

But myself for accumulating devices several

On which I have opened simultaneously sites multiple

From my phone and computer, I walk away

I take a pen and paper, start making a list for the day

The act of writing things out in long hand

Slows me down, makes me better understand

Tasks to accomplish, in order of priority

Finally I begin to get some clarity..

Then I push the myth of multitasking behind

And start with the first task, I am pleased to find

That focusing on the one thing in front of me

Is much easier now, I can work efficiently..

*

I know I shall get distracted again somewhere along the way

Until then I shall be productive, make the most of my day

When I get distracted, my steps I’ll have to retrace

To get back to my unidimensional focused place

Neatness is not my cup of tea…

If at first I don’t succeed, I try again

My work is not neat, and it causes me pain

So I try to improve, to be more attentive

To the work at hand, my best I try to give

I work efficiently, but orderliness is not my strong trait

I long to make my surroundings and work immaculate

But that does not translate into reality

Neatness never comes easily to me..

The importance of neatness is hammered in my brain

So I berate myself on my shabbiness again and again

Once in a while when my stars seem aligned

I execute things perfectly, only to find

That in my enthusiasm to improve some more

I end up making things messier than before..

*

I try to improve myself in different ways,

But the ability to be orderly is something that stays

Out of my reach-maybe I need to start with a purge

Once I get rid of superfluous stuff, clarity might emerge..

With fewer possessions, I might achieve partially

My objective of being organized and orderly..

*

Ultimately, with the truth I have to reconcile

It is possible for me to be neat for a while

But clutter is my natural habitat, I believe

Lasting orderliness I don’t think I can achieve

Let me break a stereotype…

Whenever I read or hear about someone

Breaking a stereotype, I silently cheer for that person

Because I truly believe born we were not

To fit into arbitrary molds- we are capable of independent thought

Then why should we accept a herd mentality

Why should we not explore our individuality?

*

Why is it so easy to become a follower

Instead of trying to be the leader?

In craving acceptance from our peers

We let ourselves be overtaken by fear..

*

Stereotypes hurt when someone from outside

Points a finger at us, and hurts our pride

Sometimes that is the trigger than can awaken

The desire to break free from molds, that is hidden

*

So when someone breaks a stereotype, that is my cue

To re-examine my life, break out of a mold too

Arbitrary rules of society that are hard for me to follow

I try to disengage from, on a new path I try to go…

You are beautiful, no matter what they say…

After dressing up for an important event

She peered one last time in the mirror with the intent

Of making sure that she was looking good

But she did not get the reassurance she hoped she would

Such was the conditioning of her mind

That flaws in her appearance she would always find

Such that she could never consider herself to be

Beautiful- her imperfections were what she would always see

*

She gave wings to her imagination

And thought of a hypothetical situation

Where every girl and every woman would

Perceive herself as beautiful, like she should

What a seismic shift it would bring

In a world that sells innumerable things

To improve women’s external appearance

Exploits their insecurities, robs them of confidence

All the beauty products come with this message hidden

You are not good enough as you are, women..

If women thought they were beautiful anyway

The entire fashion industry would collapse in a day

And if women felt beautiful they would support each other more

They would be a force more powerful than ever before

If women thought they were beautiful, they would face

The world with confidence, claim their rightful place..

*

If only every girl and every woman could perceive

Herself as beautiful, the world would be a better place, I believe

Black Friday Stoicism

I confess it is hard not to get swayed

By Black Friday deals, so far I have stayed

Away from promises of sales everywhere

Between Friday and Cyber Monday, let’s see how well I fare

I have resolved to accumulate fewer possessions

But for innovative products, I have to make concessions

There are things that I want, and some day might need

Things that appeal to my eclectic tastes indeed

Things I can afford, that can elevate

My lifestyle, objects that I can carefully curate

There are compelling arguments to buy them on sale

And just in an instant, I witness my resolve fail…

*

The minimalistic streak that was going strong until now

Is withering away, but I must not allow

Myself to be lured away by deals on stuff

That I don’t need, I have more than enough

So I turn my attention to the spirit of the holiday

That just passed, isn’t it ironic in a way

That right after we have expressed gratitude

For abundance, we are nudged to shift our attitude

To buy things, as if we are facing scarcity-

I remind myself before going on a shopping spree

That I have plenty in my life, grateful I should be

The best things in life never did cost money…

Travel for the stories

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Cerulean blue waters and azure blue skies

Are most definitely a treat for my eyes

But when I travel, I look for something more

To expand my vision to something I had not seen before

Let me discover the storied past of a land

Its layered history let me try to understand

I want to see beyond what meets the eye

Wander among the ruins, marvel at the sky

That the ancient people saw when they gazed

At the stars above, try to imagine the questions they raised

Learn how they developed tools ingenuous

To find answers to questions mysterious..

Learn how their accomplishments were buried deep

Under the narratives of colonizers who tried to keep

Their supremacy intact, cloak their conquests

In a garb of legitimacy, protect their avaricious interests..

*

The stories of a land’s checkered past

Create an impression that would for a while last

The magic of travel comes alive; you are rendered speechless

Ultimately transformed into a storyteller in the process..

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