Story #33: The Lighthouse (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

Picture this – a little ship sailing out in the open sea. It’s all nice and calm. The sky’s clear and the annoying, noisy seagulls are surprisingly missing. Such beautiful peace! However, don’t be so easily fooled by this quiet, deceptive tranquility. The absence of those very same noisy birds doesn’t bode well. Heard of ‘the quiet before the storm’? And before you realize it, there are menacing, dark clouds crawling over the same clear canvas. The heavens split open as torrential misery pours down.

Just a tiny boat, a tiny boat that is no match for the giant waves rapidly approaching. You lose control over the wheel, there’s nothing but looming rocks, encompassing shadows and monstrous waves up ahead. Treacherous whirlpools and sweeping tides that silently linger to bait in clueless, naïve wooden preys, threaten to break and gobble you up. You’re but a mere wooden toy tossed and flung around by the tides that just might capsize you. They conspire to seize you and hold you down till all the fight leaves your being and all that’s left behind is a beaten down wreck in the very depths of the high seas. A wreck that wards off most and commands a presence that is answered only by nervousness and a silent wish to stay away.

You should know this though, this tiny boat is anything but tiny. It’s your existence. It’s as magnificent as any of the finest ships out there decked in its own unique grandeur. It is your life and as much as you’d like to always be in control, but there are times when that’s out of the question. There are so many monsters out in the sea looking such harmless vessels to wander out, testing the waters, so that they can find them at their most vulnerable state and devour them. One small blind spot. Just one Achilles’ heel. Just one little insecurity for them to hound upon.

But amidst this turmoil and chaos, for that one moment when the waters retreat, have you ever looked about? Or are you just too caught up in healing and recharging yourself for the next onslaught?

Sure, it’s important to heal and pull your guard back up. But just for a little while forget them. Let your guards remain down and look into the dark, dreary expanse of the night. What might appear to be camouflaged as an abysmal stretch, hides among its countless evanescent stars a single, sole light lower than the rest perhaps. A lighthouse.

A lone ray of brilliance to guide back the other solitary crafts. Just a tower to guide you back home. It doesn’t forsake your tiny meandering self. It doesn’t leave you alone with your own thoughts. There’s suddenly so much more to your life and there’s this tiny spark within yourself. A hope to possibly continue hoping and to survive. Even if it’s but a mere mirage, it still fills the lost nomad with a promise of there being a light at the end of the tunnel.

When surely all seems lost and you seem to be done for, don’t forget there are those who will guide you back. There were times I faltered and almost gave in to my demons. I could barely get back up from where I had fallen. The ones I relied on, my own blood, weren’t there for me. In fact, I wasn’t needed. I was just a mistake after all. I would like to make this about a story of true love, because who doesn’t love a romantic story once in a while! My apologies, but that didn’t happen.

Sure, I found love and soulmates. Yes, I say soulmates, with an ‘s’ , for they are my better halves. I hadn’t had the best experiences in friendship before but if there was something good that pain gave me – that was my own lighthouse. They scattered rays of hope for me to hold onto in my life and a drive to continue fighting.

The companions I cherish and always seek out, be it when my life’s caught up in a storm or not. They made me realize that even if my self is rendered into a formidable wreck, there are those select few curious minds that will set out to explore this same wreck. They will dive into the scary depths to find me all battered on the ocean-floor, only to preserve and put me back together again.

There are times I have been unable to express how they quite literally saved me from rotting away and breaking down. There’s now a drive in me to seek out this lighthouse, to wait for that occasional explorer, and to continue sailing and conquering the high tides.


This is the most beautiful analogy to life that I’ve read in a long, long time.

Life tosses and turns you over, but there is always that one source of light, that beacon of hope that shines in your darkness, telling you that there is a way- a way out. 

So you know you need to hang in there a little longer, if you’re not seeing your lighthouse just yet. Hang in there a little longer. It will find you, and in Coldplay’s words, lights will guide you home. When you do find that lighthouse of yours, hold on to it like you’ve never loved anything before. 

I hope you do. 

-:-

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

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Story #32: A Lesson Learned (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

‘Absolute disgrace; utmost disappointment’.

The words echoed in my head, as I faced yet another failure. At that moment, not winning the competition and its prize money seemed to me as if the world had come to an end.

While travelling back home , I glanced out of the window to see a nine-year old kid playing around in the scorching heat of the sun along with his sibling, with a content smile on his face which forced me to ponder over a question.

‘What exactly do we need to be happy?’

Is it a posh car? Or a luxurious bungalow? Or designer clothes and shoes?

But that kid did not possess any of these, yet he was joyous and satisfied . He had a serene smile on his face which was only because he knew the art of being content with what he had. 

By this I absolutely don’t intend to say that aspiring for better in life is wrong. However, I realised that while sprinting in the constant race of attaining and achieving more, I must never forget to value and make the most of what I am blessed with in life. 

I went up to him, wondering what I should say. When I stepped forward, I realized that there wasn’t any need for words and a smile could do wonders. We sat under a tree as he animatedly described his family and life. After an hour of conversation, he large heartedly offered to share half of his fruit with me. That day I found a friend half-my-age, who taught me one of the most valuable lesson of my life!

Sometimes, looking at others’ lives really puts things back into perspective for us. Seeing how some people are content with what they have, even when it is less than what they would like it to be, makes us wonder if we’re thankful enough for what we have. 

As I’d said in the last post, we can’t really compare ourselves to anyone. However, what we can do is learn to appreciate the things we have, rather than mourning over the things that we don’t- Because a lot of people have it bad, rather, worse than us. 

You may not really like or appreciate the things we have now, but they are most probably everything someone else wants. So be grateful, and practice reckless gratitude. Appreciate the things you have now, because you might not have them forever. 

 


Sometimes, looking at others’ lives really puts things back into perspective for us. Seeing how some people are content with what they have, even when it is less than what they would like it to be, makes us wonder if we’re thankful enough for what we have. 

As I’d said in the last post, we can’t really compare ourselves to anyone. However, what we can do is learn to appreciate the things we have, rather than mourning over the things that we don’t- Because a lot of people have it bad, rather, worse than us. 

You may not really like or appreciate the things we have now, but they are most probably everything someone else wants. So be grateful, and practice reckless gratitude. Appreciate the things you have now, because you might not have them forever. 

-:-

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

Story #31: Comparison Kills Contentment (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

In a world that is constantly trying to change you, judge you and mould you… your real strength lies in standing up for what you believe in, working on yourself while being your true self.
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I’m sure you all have experienced “Existential crisis” at some point of your life. For me, it’s almost every week. There comes a time when I start questioning the purpose of my life, literally. I’m usually a very positive person but then one day I’ll just look around, see other people accomplishing so much, tapping bigger opportunities, doing great things in their lives, some of them my friends, and then I look at myself and uncontrollably compare my dull and anti climatic life to their extraordinary glamorous lives. This may sound really cliché but there are certain moments when I feel that maybe I’m not good enough and I’m not doing enough. It’s exactly what running on a treadmill feels like!
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Comparing ourselves to others is a basic human tendency, I guess. The persistent fear of lagging behind, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and the sense of not being the best. And I hope I’m not alone. Looking at our over-achiever friends, the success of our colleagues, we fall into this deep state of introspection where usually we’re disappointed with ourselves, discouraged and not to mention, a little jealous.
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But then one fine day I read these three magical words somewhere (No, not ILY): Comparison Kills Contentment. These three words have really changed my perspective. Comparison is good if it improves us, but the moment it starts to lower our self esteem and makes us dislike ourselves is when it becomes harmful. A lot of times I subconsciously judge myself by looking at what others are doing. Even the little satisfaction left after I’ve accomplished something is totally ruined. The hard work I’ve put into my little big achievements seems nothing in front of what others seem to be doing. There is always someone better, someone prettier, someone a little more hardworking. I get stuck in this never ending cycle of disappointment. And not that comparison is always bad, it can be taken in a positive sense if it motivates and inspires us to become the better version of ourselves, but most of the times it leads to self loathing and can be extremely depressing. It makes us ignorant and ungrateful about our blessings, our capabilities. We become blind towards our own aims and aspirations.
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Easier said than done, but the moment you put your blinkers on, focus on your own goals, your own journey, celebrate your achievements and learn the lessons from your misgivings, is when you experience ultimate satisfaction and happiness. It’s about always giving it your best to everything that you do. However vague, unrealistic and little your dreams may sound, it’s all about dedicating yourself completely into fulfilling them.
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Here, I’d quote Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Similarly, every individual is different, unique and capable in their own ways. The grass is always greener on the other side, only if you forget to water your own grass. Everyday is an opportunity to make yourself better, to grow, to achieve and to succeed. It’s about time that we start getting inspired, and not discouraged by other’s achievements. It’s about taking one step at a time, competing with your own self. And to be the best, you just have to become the best version of yourself.
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I have always believed that every human being is unique, and has their own way of doing things. So likewise, you can’t possibly say two people are the same; I mean, the might be similar, but not the same. So that brings us to the point that, if no two people are the same, how can we ever compare them?

We’re all humans (I hope) and our structures and functions are the same. But, the way we think, how we perceive the world, how we understand things; this is the stuff that varies. Perspectives. That’s what makes you, you. There is no room for comparison for things that aren’t the same. Your history, your emotions, your life experiences make you who you are; no one has experienced life exactly as you have. Embrace that fact. You are different, and thats what its all about.

Comparison kills contentment. The minute you start contemplating where you are in life in comparison to someone else, that’s where you start damaging all the progress you may have made. You don’t know what that person has been through, or how hard they have worked. Possibly, they have embraced themselves, in their individuality, and learned to take advantage of who they are. Maybe we can only make progress in life once we are at peace with who we are.

So be yourself; hopelessly, recklessly yourself. No matter how hard someone may judge you, no matter how many jokes they make. You are one of your kind, irreplaceable. Know that.

-:-

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

Story #9: To My Passion (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

I learn everyday.
I change everyday.
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I was 10 when it happened. It was a co-incidence, nothing more. It wasn’t a big deal initially. But gradually, over the years, it translated to one of the best things I own right now. It’s a passion. I have stuck to it for 9 years, and everyday it taught me something new. It taught me something amazing. It gave me perspective. It helped me through my lows and celebrated my accomplishments with me.
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I changed everyday.
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What began as a hobby formed most of my life, who I am today. And I don’t think I can ever repay what it taught me. My passion gave me a drive. It gave me courage to face anything. It gave me something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
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I change everyday.
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I do apologize for a being a little philosophical about this. It’s in my nature and I cannot help it at times. I wasn’t really sure what else I wanted to write in this anecdote other than things I already have. But then I got thinking. 
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I believe we all have different personalities for different places, we might be different at home than at our school/ college. We might be different when we are out with friends, and you get the point. But I believe that if one wants to discover their true self, they should look in that passion. Who knows, one might even be surprised.
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I am not basing all of this on philosophy, I also called on my good friend experience (we are new friends, by the way.)
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At times, I have been lost myself, but I was always able to find myself, or rather, it (my passion) found me. In the darkest of places I have ever experienced, it never let go of me, or this time around, I never let it go. 
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Anyone reading this post might think that I will pursue my passion as a career. That’s a no. I cannot. But I am not sad about it. I’m just glad I found it. I don’t believe that one always needs to follow their passion. One can just keep it to themselves for the rest of their lives and learn what it has to teach. Everyday.
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To my passion
Thank you.
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My project was titled ‘Anonymous Anecdotes’, so obviously I had predicted to get life experiences from people in the form of anecdotes. This entry, however is one of the few that stood out because it talked about something so positive and inspirational.

Only some of us succeed at finding that ‘one true passion’ in our lives; for that one thing that motivates us, moves us to action, and is always by our side; and I think we can look up to this story for inspiration. 
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This story does not only set an example, but is also a huge inspiration. To love something so much, to have something that you’re passionate about- be it art, poetry, music or a sport, and to stick to it for so long; imagine all the amazing experiences and lessons we’d have to learn to get to know something so well. It becomes both our strength and weakness, and it changes us in different ways. The repetitive “I change everyday” in this story just goes on to show how big of an impact a certain passion has had on this person. 
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So, discover your passions! In the words of Charles Buckowski,
‘Find what you love, and let it kill you.’
Without love and passion, what are we really living for?
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-:-
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(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

The Open Book

If this world is a library, and its people books,
then I am the forgotten volume of heavy words and complicated phrases-
covered in dust, with my yellowing pages,
tucked at the back,
where nobody goes.
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You will only be able to find me,
if you look for me-
it might be hard, searching for me,
setting me apart from my likeness,
but I hope you don’t give up.
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When you do find me,
I hope the long paragraphs of my history do not bore you;
I hope you don’t put me down.
I hope you turn my pages, with hands as delicate as those tending to a bleeding wound.
I hope you read between my lines.
I hope you discover me, word by word, to be the one to fit your liking;
And if I don’t fit, I hope you don’t read me on halfheartedly-
I hope you don’t continue to hold onto me with the intention of putting me down.
I hope the words that span my existence interest you, and paint pictures inside of your head, the place where I now want to be.
I hope you devour me, with every syllable that I silently serve.
I hope you find yourself completely obsessed with me, unable to put me down,
and so we spend days and nights together,
because although you want to take it slow,
you want to get to know me just as fast.
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I hope that when you know you’re inching towards the end,
you slacken your pace just a little, so the both of us have time
to adjust to the loss, that we will have amassed,
as you toss me aside and go looking for another
rhyme that doesn’t end as tragically as this one;
look how my ability to find love is so
abysmal, despite my dilapidated state and spine,
reckless poetic verses and metaphors,
darling, I still failed to make you mine.
~
“You see now, my love?
I’ve never really been a secret diary-
All this while,
I’ve been the open book,
that no one is willing to read.”

 

 

Six Strings To Salvation

Especially when it’s crafted in maple wood,
A guitar will feel warm and homely like mine;
The strings will lie open in front of you, stretched across its length,
Urging you to strum, to pluck or just a tender touch would be fine.

It’s melody will send goosebumps across your skin and shivers down your spine,
On your touch this lifeless object suddenly sprung to life;
Animated, you will try to place it in your arms ,
It’s hypnotizing beauty, like a lovers’ charm.

Curious at first, gawky next and finally acquainted,
It’s curve will perfectly sit upon your thigh;
You’ll run your fingers across the six strings-
Vibrations, resounding notes low and high.

Your fingertips will venture to briefly touch the fret-board,
But a shrilling pain recoils your hand;
This new touch is alien and hurtful,
Like a thorn pricks your skin, as sinfully as it can.

Dawn and dusk set in and fall multiple times,
Until your fingers will finally settle in;
Acquainted, to make the fret-board their home,
When calluses will develop to defend your skin.

Your fondness of the beauty of a guitar will grow multitudes,
Between rapid acoustics and outpouring emotionally-
You’ll find your happiness exuding through those strings,
And your salvation in this melody.

You In 168 Words: 

Spanning 168 words, this poem is written as a gift/dedication for a very close friend of mine:

Her face as if constructed with a cement of remarkable simplicity,
She’s on her own, but never really;
A moon-like presence,
A part always hidden way-
Storms of emotions encompass about her every second,
yet she takes;
Takes on the world
Lets her imagination dance wild,
Imprints her soul on paper
Perfection, her might.
Brush strokes of vibrancy painted across her skin,
She’s the master of countless arts, deft fingers that make the paint brush spin-
Around in curvy circles, just like her hair;
She says it has a mind of its own, yet she does not care.
Sprawling upon the plain sheets
The colour of her heart and the complexity of her mind
Manifesting all that she is
Her pictures screaming verses in rhymes.
Quiet nights spent,
Recreating experiences in paint and paper amidst her eternity;
Her paint brush her salvation, a guide to her destiny.
Highs and lows, moods and smiles,
All belong to this one person, who’s always ready to walk with you a mile.