19 March, 2011

Let Go

I've been meaning to write on this topic since a very long time, just kept postponing it though - have no idea why! I guess probably because it's a bit personal, and I've been debating over spilling out personal stuff on Writing Revived. After a lot of debate, I felt that it's okay to share this one personal episode with you as it helped me through a difficult time and I hope that through my experience and learnings it helps you too. This may be very helpful to you if you've been/are attached to something very dear to you - but which you fear losing in the near future. It helps in other areas of life too. So here goes...

We'll be travelling some 11 years back in time, to the year 2000 - I remember clearly that that was the year Hrithik Roshan blew away every girl's mind by his rugged looks and breathtaking dance steps in the super hit movie Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai... si-i-i-ghhh! Anyway... that was also the year I had to shift from my ever beloved city Bombay to a weird place [that's how I thought of it then] Lucknow!! At first I thought it would be some sort of developing village [pardon me dear Lucknow people - but I was a bit prejudiced and had my nose in the air then].

I HATED that place - from the very deepest core of my heart, I hated Lucknow at first sight! We reached there in the heat pricking month of May! It was swealteringly HOT and the Loo [the 'hot wind' that blows in North India... what were you thinking ;)] was quite irritating!! I mean, I was used to the humid Bombay weather... but this!! It was 'eeeeekkkk' - I was a teenager then, so all the 'eeeks' and 'ewwwws' were frequently uttered at that time.

The buses were so tiny, the cycle rickshaws looked quite funny to me - I was seeing it for the first time, and the image of humans sitting high atop a seat while another human peddaled them away to their destination looked quite a sight. The one thing however, that impressed me about Lucknow though was firstly, the 'Lucknowi tehzeeb', frankly speaking, I loved - still do - the tehzeeb that abounded - still does - in Lucknow. Secondly, were the roads - Big, Wide roads... they looked fantastic!! I always loved driving down the 'Bypass', and waiting for that glimpse of the majestic looking La Matiniere Boys School... it reminded me of those fairy tale castles. Really lovely place! Pity I didn't see much of the boys... :D

Anyway, moving on, I had to change from the Maharashtra State Board [and I was just bordering on average in that board] to the higher level I.C.S.E...  Bloody freak, I thought, how am I ever going to come up to these standards? My entrance exam was a disaster - the I.C.S.E standard was almost two levels higher than the Maharashtra Board, but the Principal was kind to grant me admission, on the basis that - I had to repeat my class eighth once again! That was a bomb down on me - first moving to a new place that I hated with all my guts, then, repeating a class and third - being in a Convent! I had studied in a Co-Ed school for 10 freakin' years!! I was used to that environment - and now a Convent - all of a sudden!! It was too much for me to take - after all, my hormones were kicking around, and being a 'teen' just then I was seething with scorching anger with all that was happening. Resentment, aggression, anger, torment - and all other types of negative emotions built up in me.

I withdrew into myself - hardly spoke much at my new school - and more than that - missed my Bombay friends to a distressing degree! My new school was filled with discipline, rules, dignified behaviour and rigorous STUDIES!! The above four were taken quite seriously - not to say that there wasn't fun. There were loads of fun times - it was the first time I observed that girls can be as naughty and mischievous as boys. That tickled me :D I slowly made new friends - who were/are very caring, supportive and understanding. I have no idea how many times I must've whined to them about missing my Bombay friends - but they listened and were there for me. :)

Even so, after a year over there, I still missed my Bombay friends to a very great extent - probably because they were the first real friends I ever had in my life. I didn't know what to do about it. I had to get out of it - I knew that, but I just didn't have the strength then to face it and move on.

Now, we'll sidetrack a bit - so that it's easy to understand later why I took a particular step that changed my life :

There was a teacher in our Convent and she always struck me to be a sensible, reasonable and understanding person. Mind you, that Convent was filled with teachers who were sensible and down-to-earth, it was really admirable the way they taught and communicated and behaved. All of them had an aura of dignity around them. And it was fascinating to know that such people existed. Anyway, somehow I liked the way this teacher would talk and address everyone.

Now back to the story - after a year of battling with myself over missing my friends way too much, I felt that maybe talking to this understanding teacher would help me. So, one day during recess/break time, I mustered my courage, went to the staff room [teacher's room] and asked for her. She came out, and I told her that I had a problem that I would like to discuss with her when she was free. So, she asked me to see her the next day in the Library during my P.T [physical training] period. I said thank you and left before my courage sprinted away.

Now, comes the main part of this story - I entered the Library the next day and saw her sitting correcting some notebooks. I went up to her and and asked if I could have a seat [whatever good manners I've learnt in life is because of this wonderful school]. She gestured me to sit and resumed her corrections of the notebooks. She finished it soon and directed her concentration on me and said, 'Say what you need to.' So, I poured out my woeful story to her and she did not interrupt me even once during my whole narration. When I finished she waited for a few moments [perhaps for me to calm down and pay attention] and then said the most memorable lines that made a lasting impression on me to this day and for my entire life.

She said, "V-, many times in life we strongly desire varied things, we like to keep them with us, treasure them and hold them tightly refusing to leave them even when they harm us. But you need to know and understand this, you have to learn to LET GO. The more you hold it tightly, the more you hurt yourself.  Don't forget your Bombay friends, remember them but free yourself from the anguish. Let go V-.... Let go. Okay?"

I had been expecting a longer talk, and this tiny piece didn't really register in my head right then. I just nodded, took her leave and went back to my P.T class.

Over the next few nights and weeks, I mulled over her words. 'LET GO' was the strongest that reverberated in my conscience. I didn't know exactly 'how' to let go, but I started taking more interest in my present day going-on's. I started listening to my new friends and got involved in school activities. It was a total blast!! Before I knew it, I was doing fairly well in my studies, had new friends who I loved a lot and who loved me a lot, had helpful teachers and overall I still remained in touch with my Bombay friends through letters [didn't have internet then].

I felt like sharing this slice of my life with you because I know that many of us go through this feeling of  strong 'attachment' with others. It might not even be a person, it may be a hobby, or a job, or something that you really have passion for. Sometimes, unforseen things happen in life which make us want to hold on tighter to the things we feel we're losing. That fear of losing something so very precious to us makes us go to any extent to keep it close to us - even when we know that it's harmful for us.

In such times, remember - in the end, you need to be at peace with yourself. If you desire something that isn't giving you peace, but just tormenting you - you have to learn to let go. You will only be cheating and hurting yourself by holding onto it.

I'm sorry I can't tell you 'how' to let go. I can't tell you that because the process of letting go is different for everyone. What works for me may not work with you. However, you could try involving yourself with your current life's happenings, or surround yourself with people who make you laugh, you could talk to people who have a positive outlook on life, then you could also ask someone to guide you toward a more peaceful life, meditate, catch up with a long forgotten friend - or whatever new way you find which will help you to Let Go. Sometimes, letting go just comes with Time - if nothing else works.

After all this, all I can say is that you need to learn to forgive yourself [in some cases] and most importantly - love yourself - for all your faults and goodness. Life will be much clearer once you learn to love yourself!

Let Go.


Peace be with you!


Venice :)

P.S: Some names haven't been disclosed out of respect for privacy.

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