In the Midst of Popular Judgments!
When I was small (I still am, so I might say when I was smaller), I had this habit of analyzing people to figure out who they were. And I had my own standard procedure to scan them. People who treated my father with respect were good people. The rest? They were bad or irrelevant. Mind you, I was smaller than the lunchbox I dreamt to carry! Growing up, I realized how naive my analysis was. Naive translates to 99% faulty.
My life experiences have since translated into the realization that people are not who they seem to be, or who they pretend to be. More often than not, they’re just the opposite—more like an unraveled monster hidden in their cupboards. They uncloak their beauty the moment nobody is looking.
Some scarred experiences remind me of being a victim of body- and slut-shaming by my own friends, as well as a subject of sexual abuse by my most trusted family friend. And, well, the list can go on. But that doesn’t define who I am or wish to be.
Of course, I suffered in silence. Mental trauma, insomnia to some extent…they still remain under the perils of the hidden monster. But the greatest lesson I have learned in my life over the last two decades is that one cannot live happily while being bitter about whatever happened in the past. Calling people names doesn’t help, if there are enough of them.
My greatest pal in overcoming this traumatic experience has been my dream star, Shah Rukh Khan. And as he says, I have learned to be immune to popular opinions about myself, and the expectations that have been inflicted upon me. I have learned to be me as a choice.
Another powerful lesson Iearned (at the risk of quoting the evil but smart Peter Baelish) is that knowledge is power. You know things, and you’re automatically more in control. Things make sense to you, which is powerful—however bizarre it may sound, not everyone can make sense of the things around them.
I have learned that people aren’t stupid—they are just ignorant to certain things. And ignorance breeds stupidity. A little more knowledge never hurts. And knowledge on my terms doesn’t only refer to getting to know about your prime minister but is a wider concept. I try to gain some of it through books and Netflix, as well asTV shows, movies, and law (I’m a law student—did I forget to mention that?)…and, well, more books.
I’ve spent a major part of my life battling insomnia, and nothing about it is romantic or poetic. Moving from many sleepless nights in a row, to getting approximately four hours of sleep per night has been a hell of a roller-coaster ride. It’s tough when people tell you, “Close your eyes and you’ll fall asleep.” It simply doesn’t happen that way, does it? You’d know if you suffer from insomnia.Mental health is another important thing I got to learn about while growing up. And one cannot underestimate its importance. The way certain things, from setbacks to the criticism of others, can impact our psychological state needs to be understood. Inspirational and motivational speeches are OK, but let’s accept it. The world is competitive, and it can be painful to be a part of it. And these things matter. Period.
However, in the midst of all of this, I haven’t quit analyzing (read: silently judging) people. But now it’s going to be through my profession rather than unexamined assumptions. I’m happy to be a to-be lawyer!