Characteristics of a healthy Relationship.

For those of us who have been emotionally abused/neglected, we may not know what a healthy relationship looks or feels like. It was our parents’ job to model healthy relationships, but if they did not treat us (or each other) well, our concept of relationships becomes what we have seen or experienced. We end up in a pattern of getting into relationships that remind us or are a mirror to what we’ve experienced in the past–with its pain and toxicity. It’ll take us time to really know healthy relationships as they should be, but here is a good place to start: address your current relationships to see if they are meeting the below criteria. Address and re-assess.

(Note: this is by no means an exhausted list, but instead, a starting point for you to explore your relationships. Also, ask yourself specifically, what do I need in a relationship? There may be some things others don’t value as strongly, but are very important to you. Acknowledge that you have every right to need what you need in a relationship).

1. Mutual Respect :- Does the person accept you for who you are? Does the person appreciate your individuality and the right to make your own choices? Does the person acknowledge the right to your own thoughts and feelings? Are you able to do the same?

2. Trust :- Do you feel safe with the person, physically and psychologically? Is the person someone who you can depend on?

3. Honesty :- Does the person keep to their word? Does the person show consistency with their words and actions? Does the person communicate their thoughts and feelings openly with you? Conversely, are you able to communicate openly with them?

4. Interdependence :- Do both the person and you have your own lives, as well as take individual responsibility for yourselves? Do you mutually communicate your own needs to one another, while maintaining respect for the other person’s limits and boundaries? Is there a sense in your relationship that you are sharing your lives with one another, as opposed to overly depending on the other person to fill your every desire and need?

5. Communication :- Do you and the person communicate your thoughts and feelings with one another? Does the person strive to actively listen to you, both in good times and in bad? Is the person able to acknowledge your perspective, even if there is disagreement? Is there a mutual agreement to work through conflicts openly and respectfully? Do you do the same for the other person? Remember, communication takes two–speaking AND listening. It is helpful to look at yourself and ask if you are struggling to do some of these things, so you know what you can work on.

6. Realistic Expectations :- Does the person realize it is not your job to meet all of their needs and expectations? Does the person understand you are human and thus prone to occasional mistakes, and that is okay? Does the person love and accept you as you are, everything that you are… knowing that you are not perfect? Are you able to do the same?

If the person you have in mind is showing potential red flags, you have every right to adjust the person’s level of involvement in your life (i.e., close friend vs. an acquaintance), or to even cut them out completely. This is your life. It is completely up to you who to have in your inner circle.

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Connection with The Creator.

If you are having a very difficult time overcoming sins (whatever it maybe), no matter how much you tried to refrain from it and you gave in each time despite trying your hardest to leave it for God but you failed every time. I will advise you with two things & you will find the most strongest and closest connection with God.

Firstly, when you commit the sin, seek God’s forgiveness as soon as possible. As soon as you realise you have sinned, seek His forgiveness there and then. Don’t give second thoughts about your intentions (stop thinking you will fall into it again) or doubt God’s mercy towards you. Just block out everything, breathe in and out until you are relaxed and spend 5 minutes speaking to God. Acknowledge your mistake, promise not to do it again, avoid that which brings you to the sin and ask for forgiveness.

After you have done this, don’t think about whether God has forgiven you or not. God wants to forgive you that’s why He guided you to seek His forgiveness in the first place.

Secondly & this point is very important if you cannot let go of the sin. If you keep falling into this sin, INCREASE YOUR GOOD DEEDS. You done one sin? Do 3 good deeds. You done it again? Increase another 3 good deeds. Don’t focus on the sin here, focus on doing good deeds, why? Because good deeds please God, it will bring you closer to Him & they erase bad deeds.

You feel low and filthy because you sinned? Increase your good deeds, let that guilt motivate you to rush you to good so God’s mercy and forgiveness reaches you. God’s forgiveness is far greater than your sins so let your book of good deeds be greater than your sins too.

Open the Quran (or the holy book you read) & read, cook for your siblings, give them water. Smile at your parents, spend time with them. Help your friend with something, teach someone a good manner . Give Salam/Greetings to a stranger. Give charity to the needy.

So if you keep falling in sins, forget the sin. Focus on your good deeds. Sometimes it is in the depths of our sins we find God and know Him more than ever.

Shaytaan (Demon) will do his best to stop you from doing good but do not listen to him, he’s your enemy. He does not want you to have hope in God. When you find him whispering to you, remind yourself that perhaps through my sins God will bring me close to Him. Perhaps because of my sins, I’m increasing on good deeds which I couldn’t have done otherwise.

Perhaps the effort of striving to please God, seek His forgiveness and increase in good deeds will make you a beloved friend of God. You are better than your sins, don’t you ever let them get you down. Your Lord is Forgiving, The Most Forgiving, The Pardoner, The Acceptor of repentance, The One who conceals faults. Our Lord is amazing, He loves you so much so love Him back. That’s His right over you, He never gives up on you so please never ever give up on him & His mercy.

An excerpt from my diary.

25 August, 2018.

There were times when people judged me for being too sensitive, too quite, too shy. It was then i started parting myself more from everyone, i started enjoying my own company, I started building up walls, i started shielding myself, i started not allowing people to enter in my life not because i thought i had trust issues or they would hurt me but because i honestly believed that I didn’t deserved to be welcomed into other people’s lives.

I was on that stage where the young me blamed his own self for everything he was being judged of. I almost forgot how i used to be all lively until i looked in the mirror and asked myself is that me? I was looking at a person who no longer resembled me. At that moment, I decided not to give up on myself and fight till my last breath like a strong man, like a champ and brave enough to be himself no matter what.

Also, I genuinely thank everyone who judged me for who i was to make me who i am today. You all played a leading role in building me up. Thank you!

But why am i writing this? Because when you write about yourself or your pain, the deeper you go with the pain the stronger you’re being healed.

Our world needs more people who are not afraid to be human. Not afraid to take risks. Not afraid to be sensitive, shy or quiet. Not afraid to show who they are.

From the streets of GORAKHPUR.

Food is a medium to connect people. More than that, it’s about doing a favour to your taste buds as you cherish each bite which has its own flavour and variety.

Gorakhpur doesn’t have it’s traditional food items like that of Rajasthan, Gujrat or South, but you can delight your tastebuds and treat your appetite with selection of all types of cuisines at various restaurants, Cafe and Kitchens.

1. Cafe Mitrah :-

Enter ‘Cafe Mitrah’ and be prepared to be charmed by their fabulous food and earthy ambience. The touch of elegance that the place has truly sets it apart from other cafe/Restaurants in Gorakhpur. Breakfast, lunch or dinner you’ll find this place bustling with people at all times of the day. Just grab a coffee and one of their desserts. You can spend hours at this beautifully done up place without even realising so.

2. Food Cage : –

It’s a ritual and tradition to always have fresh wood fire baked pizza when you are in Gorakhpur and I feel its my duty to recommend the best culinary experience I have in my life. This juicy pizza at ‘Food Cage’ in Bade Kazipur, Buxipur is a beauty cannot be left unpraised. Enjoy the great dessert and the great service that comes with the good food too.

3. Biryani Bay :-

Probably one of the best and definitely one of my favourite in Gorakhpur. Desi but fresh produced with deadly flavours, worth trying and throwing money on, especially if you love having biryani often like me. Uff! that biryani impressive melt-in-the-mouth stuff!

4. KFC :-

With multiple varieties of delicious and alluring foods, super looking interior, elegant design, talented workers and managers KFC is worth visiting.

P.S. This is always in my list.

5. Curry Nights :-

When you get tired while surfing through the streets of Gorakhpur and your soul craves for a peaceful, silent atmosphere and you want to surround yourself with soft music and sparking lights ‘Curry Nights’ will be the best choice I suggest.

6. Bake Brown :-

The place is best suitable to enjoy with your pals or to celebrate birthdays of your beloveds. They have a massive menu full of cakes and pastries of many flavours and varieties. They are insanely good.

7. AFC :-

Mouth-watering menu accompanied by warm hospitality and a cosy ambience – That’s the magic of ‘AFC’. The restaurant has both fine dining and casual seating arrangements. Come here to delight your tastebuds.

Happy Hogging!

Picture courtesy : Ali Arif (@aliarifabbasi)

What does it feels like to undergo Depression?

Depression is like struggling to stay afloat in a sea without any support while everybody else around you having fun with their life jackets on.

In words of J.K. Rowling :- “The absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadend feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad.”

Depression is possibly the worst state of mind anyone can have. You will not have any control on yourself. Your thoughts, your feelings, your mood or anything. Everything will be like a random event taking place without your consent. It will be like everything’s fine. You will be very happy at the moment and doing your work. Then all of a sudden you feel everything is just shattered and you suddenly feel cut off and isolated. You cry until your eyes sting and you cannot cry anymore. You feel nothing and you want this to end. You keep telling yourself it will get better, but you don’t believe your own words. You don’t want to die, but you don’t want to exist. You wish you did not feel like this.

Most of the times you lose your faith, belief and the hope that anything good can happen. All you do is try, try and try just to live. Every moment, everyday is an endless struggle. Your mind keeps on telling you that you are a loser, a loner and that you will never be good enough. You should die. You start doubting your own capabilities.

And many times your head feels like a pressure vessel with constant pressure building up. You feel like it is going to explode. You cannot think anything. And that’s when you resort to self harm. Some form of physical pain which will overcome the pain in your mind. A blow out, a pressure relief valve. Self harm helps you let out your frustration.

There are days where you feel helpless and hopeless, like youre unraveling from the seam and no one can stop it. When all you can do is hold up a facade and hope that no one comes close enough to break it. You cant do anything to make yourself feel better. It just feels like you’re rotting from the inside out. The days when all you’d really like to do is shove pills down your throat and die and let everyone move on without noticing you’re gone.

Sometimes you feel either absolutely nothing or everything all at once. You either feel numb, or you feel every emotion that is within you . It’s easy to keep your mind off of all which is kept bottled up inside, but when you do think it even by accident you think of it all. One thought leads to the next, until you lay there shaking, crying. Soon screaming as all these emotions try to squeeze out all at once. Yet by the next morning, you feel nothing again. Absolutely nothing.

Sometimes what happens you know? You feel so numb that you cannot feel anything. There’s blankness in your mind. Like the beep we hear in ECG when a person dies. You cannot feel even a single thing. No happiness, No sadness, no misery, no pain, nothing. You don’t even feel alive. That’s a really desperate moment. That’s when you seek some sign or indication, something to show yourself that you are alive. That’s when putting a razor on your hand and cutting your skin makes you feel alive. You may not feel any pain. But red blood gushing out makes feel better. Makes you feel alive. Makes you feel that you are still here. And then, the beep in your head goes away.

If you feel that depression is some kind of weakness. The person is too weak to have control on her/him. If you are thinking that, then you are wrong. Trust me, those who are depressed are not weak or “giving up” type of people. They are the strongest and courageous of all. Think once, how much courage will it take to cut yourself with a razor or consuming things like cement or petrol knowing how adversely it is going to affect you. And the real struggle is living when all your mind says is “cut cut cut, die die die.”

Depression is a serious issue worldwide. Around 800,000 people die due to suicide each year. Out of which if even 25% are considered depression related issues then that is a whopping 200,000. I think this definitely is a point to think over.

The book at my bedside.

Books have a way of helping us know ourselves better. To see what some cannot otherwise manage to see. A way to some of our asked and unasked questions that might have been circling the conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious self.

If not for books, we humans, chunks of self centred mess drowned in the concept of caste, creed and other useless likes, would have hardly been able to understand the power that resides in us, in our words and our action.

This book is heart wrenching, melancholic, unscrupulous to the characters at times and showing the wounded flesh of society without giving a damn about what’d people think. This book is something coming out of daring, heart broken gesture that wants to redeem itself.

The most amazing quote from the book is surely this:-

“The biggest sin in the world is theft. When you lie, you steal someone’s right to truth. When you kill someone, you steal a life. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.”

Sometimes I think, what does it feel like to live someone else’s life? And every book makes me live more than just one life. But I never thought that there would come a book and I would live those characters for the rest of my life. It’s like eternity.

“The kite runner” has everything that a reader looks for. Well, I should say instead, a human looks for. I have never ever read a book with such compassion. The simplicity is its charm. How genuinely each character justified with natural human darkness. The emotions that every page of the book holds, will leave you numb at the end. Not everyone is perfect. But you can surely choose bow to take off the curtains from your loopholes and perform the play of love.

The book fills you with lots of experiences. The innocence that Hassan puts in your heart and the hatred for Amir’s cowardness. You will learn to adore Rahim’s simple love and affection towards the boys and Baba’s rudeness will disgust you sometimes. Still, you accept them the way they are. And when you will have just started characterising these characters in your mind, everything will change upside down. And you are going to watch all new ride of their lives.

Who else can make us fall for 70s Afghanistan the way Mr. Khaled has done. The Afghanistanis say, “Zendagi migzara”, that is the life goes on. And ironically, the book proves it to be right. Once full of happy and prosperous culture, holding the beauty of mountains and pride of people living there, to a country embarrassing grief and lonely cries, shelterless lives. Everything was in fact forcing to make them believe, your lives should always go on, without them or with them. You really feel, you are a part of a horrific journey from the streets of Kabul full of kite runners to the blood stains on the walls of the houses. The book will cut you into peices and tell you that where we have reached in the name of dominating the world, dominating the human kind. Someone lost home, someone lost family, wealth, but Kabul lost its faith in herself.

If you haven’t read the book yet, I will suggest you to skip this para. Without any exaggeration, I admit that i cried a number of times while reading this book. Nothing could hold me. The journey of Amir from a fearful boy and selfish at points to the man who broke his own boundaries after years. The journey of Hassan, whose afflictions did not leave him, still he lived with his utmost innocence and loyalty. The friendship that meant everything for someone. A father splitted between the two ends… The book has every scene, that a real life possess. There were scenes of utter love- the affection of Hassan for his Amir agha, the selflessness when he uses his extraordinary skills to fly a kite just to make his friend (a world for himself) win. The scenes where Amir used to write, and Rahim used to admire, when Amir and Hassan used to atop the hill and sit under the tree where Amir used to teach him sometimes (although wrong at times), Ali’s honesty, Amir’s acute longing for his father’s love- everything will fill you with boundless emotions. The sorrows and haunts when Amir sees Hassan at night and chooses to run away, the false accusations of Amir on Hassan and Ali and their silence to save Amir. These points will make you shiver. The rehabilitation, new lives, death of Baba, pretty marriage life of Amir when this spring comes in their lives, a sudden call of Rahim changes everything. Then struggle to find Hassan’s son, Rahim’s death, the truth of Hassan and wife’s death, in front of his own son, to the pity of orphans living in Kabul. It really seems a big roller coaster, yet worth of taking risk for it. And how Sohrab’s insecurities as a kid looks so genuine to you. The story from his trust to distrust gives no overreaction. And the end is not happy and cliche. And that’s what the beauty is. Not everything goes well, but yes, that hope always stays alive. That one part of you always feel, something is missing, but you accept the end. As it’s more real than a drama.

The kite Runner is a tale which will make you to places, literally and figuratively; a tale which will remind you of your bygones with a smile and sure shot pain; a tale which is a journey to redemption. A tale after which you will sure hear yourself whisper with utmost love and affection- For you, a thousand times over!

In a few words:- it’s irreplaceable, heart melting and a mirror to your emotions.

Why should you travel for food?

Food conveys a lot of emotions in the raw. Some of the best cooked dishes are done by people who really or have empathy (Now this statement is a point emotional observation/crap so take it or leave it).

Some of the best dishes that I have eaten have come from people with the most humble mindset irrespective of their culture. Over here in India there are places where the most rustic people prepare the best dishes.

Over in the deserts of Rajasthan there’s meat that is cooked in desert sand under the sun without any firewood. There is an Ant caviar from some tribes in Jharkhand that is out of the world.

These experiences are worth travelling for. You meet people and food conveys their core emotions in the most raw manner no matter what you eat.

An old granny anywhere can prepare the dish in the best manner known as that to chef and he might forget to spice it up with the emotions.

For the emotions one must travel for food.