Sunday 5 February 2017

Blog Moved

Hey Stray Reader,

This blog has been suspended and I have moved my blogging adventures to another, more exciting space. If you want to follow my writing (which is much more regular and consistent now), you can check out my Medium page (You can access it as a guest, or via your twitter account, in case you want to leave comments or recommends)

It's a fun new place. And you won't regret a moment of your time if you choose to check it out. And I am not saying this just because my writings are up there but because of all other exciting writing and writers that you may end up discovering at Medium.

Do come. You will like it there!

Thank you for sticking around. Happy reading. And hope to see you around at Medium! :)

P.S  In case you are having trouble finding the response tab in Medium, it is there at the bottom of the blog, after suggested articles. It looks like this:

Hope this helps. See you around! :)

Saturday 7 May 2016

Why I Mourn The Death of Shere Khan...

The Jungle Book was recreated…again. It conquered many hearts…again.
I love Mowgli. Like every true Indian child of the 90s, he has always been an integral part of my childhood — as dear as a close friend and as idolized as a personal hero.
And yet, as I sat in the theater watching Mowgli triumph and Shere Khan fall to his death, consumed by the terrible ‘Red Flower’, my heart wept a little.
Kipling wrote the Jungle Book in 1890s. It was the time when tigers ruled supreme with a population of over a whopping 40,000 in India alone.
Unfortunately, 1890s is long gone. This is 2016. And the worldwide population of tigers is a little over 3000.
Minus Shere Khan.
Heroes and villains are a functions of their context. And may be, in simpler times, and perhaps for simpler stories meant for kids, it might seem easier to frame a ferocious wild beast as the villain.
But these are not simpler times. And kids deserve to know the truth. The truth about the times that we live in — times where ‘tiger-farming’ is an acceptable practice to breed tiger for harvesting their parts. Where poaching has all but erased these magnificent creatures from existence. Where tiger’s enthralling ferocity is no match to a measly human as long as he holds a gun. Where ‘survival of the fittest’ is not an evolutionary truth but merely a game for human pleasure and greed.
The times where humans are the true villains.
Statistically, this argument can be made extremely compelling…with all the money and smuggling and trade and kills involved.
But statistics are just numbers. They are of no use until they evoke true emotions.
Emotions like the awe the beauty and magnificence of a wild tiger inspires.
Emotions like the helplessness you feel when you hear about the atrocities being committed against Nature in general and tigers in particular.
Emotions like solidarity for the beast who does nothing wrong except fulfilling its role assigned to it by the nature.
Emotions like anger at the humans for overstepping their boundaries every step of the way and forcing these poor beasts to stray from their natural course.
Emotions like the chill that ran down my spine when I stood in a remote corner of the Himalayan jungle and heard our guide contemplating the possibility of losing that beauty forever.
Emotions like intense sorrow at what we have lost…and what we continue to lose just because we are too selfish to care for the Nature and its agents.
It is an old adage, often reiterated by wildlife conservationists…the health of the jungle is determined by the health of its tigers.
Shere Khan must live. Because without him, there is no jungle. There is no Mowgli.
There is no us.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Dead Man Talking

Choti Mata's Notes : Choti Mata writes fiction. Quite often, it is weird and unpublishable. But God made blog and we never even bothered thanking Him for it. Anyway, here is a story...straight from the graveyard!

“ I have been coming here every day for past 5 years. Every single day, I wonder if the mankind will ever realize the futility of it all. That no matter what they do and how they do it, they are always going to end up here.”
“You do realize that visiting a graveyard everyday is not exactly healthy.”
“Nor is carrying a corpse on my shoulder after I have personally ensured that it is a corpse. Not to mention the instances when the corpse also talks. You don’t seem to mind any of that.”
“I don’t mind any of it. I am a corpse. Not minding things is kind of my job description. I was just trying to be friendly.”
“Yes, of course. Because what I really need in life is to be friends with a corpse.”
“Look man, I was alive once. And that once was only a couple of hours ago. I haven’t gotten rid of all my humanity. Not yet. Also, I don’t like being referred to as a corpse. It is a little insulting.”
“Right. Did you stop to consider that you would not need ‘referring’ if you would just stop talking and behave like a reasonable corpse…erm…dead body. It will save us both a lot of trouble. Why are you talking anyway? I have never had a dead body on my shoulder that wanted to chat. It is a little weird.”
“I don’t know, man. I am here. I was bored. I thought I may as well talk.”
“Okay. But you are talking to me. Am I not supposed to have a say in whether or not I want to have this conversation?”
“Did you consider the fact that I might have a say in whether or not I should die?”
“Okay. Fair point. So, you are here. What is that supposed to mean? Are you actually dead?”
“I should be dead. I don’t think my not being dead is a possibility. I am pretty sure humans are not designed to survive with adjustable heads that dangle away from their shoulders.”
“Right. So, if you are dead, then how are you talking? Are you a ghost? A zombie?”
“How am I supposed to know? I have been dead only for a few hours. I am still learning. May be I am stuck between the planes. May be there is some sort of a waiting line for the dead. All I know is that I am still here. Nobody up there seems to be interested in changing that at the moment. As for everything else, you can’t expect me to answer the humanity’s most perplexing question. Not so soon anyway.”
“What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Well, given your current predicament, you are remarkably calm. Not spooked. Not even a little rattled.”
“You mean…with you on my shoulder and all this talk?”
“Every fortnight or so, I zero in on a potential victim, hack him or her into pieces and bury them in this graveyard. A corpse…err…body that refuses to shut up barely makes it to the list of top ten most horrifying things that I have seen…or done in my life.”
“Okay. I get it. You are not scared of horror movies. Because you create them. So, what are your influences? Jack the Ripper? Freddy Krueger? Hannibal?”
“I think you have watched too many movies.”
“Do you have a code? Like you kill only those who have it coming? Wait…that theory makes me the bad guy. That can’t be right.”
“As I said, you have way too much TV. This is real life. And you are really dead. This is not how things work. Besides, even if I did have a code…after staying awake for fifteen days straight, it would go for a toss. I kill, so that I can sleep.”
“So, you sleep only once every month? Just one night in a month?”
“Technically, I sleep for twenty four hours. But yes, only once.”
“That is…very disturbing.”
“Told you.”
“On second thoughts, it makes you some kind of a hero. Forgoing sleep for fifteen days when you can kill one every other day and have a nice sleep.”
“I think you are underestimating the enormity of the issues involved in killing another human. Also, you really need to work on your definition of a ‘hero’.”
“Whatever man. I think you exercise a lot of restraint. But, why murder? You can slaughter animals or something. That would spill enough blood to give you some shut eye.”
“Yeah. Maybe. But it is a poor substitute. Like a nicotine patch. It might work…but it will need will power. Besides, if you really want some sort of a super complicated psychobabble, then well…I think all human life is a burden. And I am happy to relieve some miserable suckers of it whenever I can.”
“My life wasn’t a burden.”
“You were a homeless junkie who was a step away from carving out your own kidney for the next hit.”
“Yeah…well, point taken. And on that note, do you think marijuana works for the dead? Because I think I am still high.”
“You sound high.”
“Anyway, so you think life sucks and then we die. And you are happy to speed up the process.”
“Yes, pretty much.”
“Why don’t you relieve yourself of that burden then? Why others?”
“Because suicide is for cowards.”
“As opposed to murder being…for brave-hearts?”
“You are still underestimating the challenges involved in a good, discreet murder.”
“You enjoy it.”
“I do. It doesn’t mean it is easy.”
“I can imagine. I think we have arrived. Whoa! Is that a grave? You had already dug a grave?”
“My shrink had said that I have OCD before I smothered her with a pillow on her own couch. My most satisfying kill ever. But, I think she had a point.”
“I think she did. That grave is very well done. Very meticulous. It is a shame that it is not empty.”
“Not empty?”
“Yes, it is not empty. No room for me. Sorry.”
“What are you even….Damn it! That grave is not empty!”
“Exactly what I said.”
“But it should be. I dug it up this morning. Whose body…Oh God! That body…that is…me!”
“Yes. You!”
“How is it…what the hell is happening?”
“Nothing is happening. It is just a little return gift. From me. A memorable good bye. No suicide. But , all the benefits. I hope you like it!”

Thursday 31 March 2016

On Growing Up And Doing It Right!

The irony of having a twitter handle and blog alias like Choti Mata (means little mother in Hindi. Purists will insist that it means small pox. But Choti Mata has long lost the ability to pay attention to inconvenient opinions) and writing about growing up is not lost on me. But personally, 2016 has been interestingly unsubtle in its constant reminders about the notion of passage of time and the weirdly engaging ways age plays a role in how we perceive life and its absurdities.

When I was young and by young I mean, very early twenties, a moonlit night was supposed to be spent on the hostel roof top, staring at the stars, listening to melancholy mood music, talking about deep philosophical questions and dealing with arbitrary existential crises.

Now, when I am not that young…and by that I mean, really late twenties, a moonlit night, when you are out on a camping trip is spent staring at the sky, spotting constellations and wondering who the hell is Orion and why is he  wearing a skirt?

For the uninitiated, Orion the Hunter is a constellation. It is easy to spot and wears a skirt. A half skirt to be precise. It also offers the kind of conversation starter that may be deemed to be extremely inappropriate in polite settings.

Contrary to the popular opinion, growing up is not about being serious. It is in fact the exact opposite. It is about learning to appreciate the absurdity of life with humor and humility that only maturity can afford. It is about learning to bond over the ridiculous, the inappropriate, the outrageous. It is about knowing that existential crisis is a trap. That life is too short to muse over questions that are unanswerable. That philosophy is important but not more than having fun. That a moonlit night is not an excuse to ponder over the meaning of life or wallow in things that you can’t control. It is merely a night to celebrate the fact that you do in fact have such a night in the first place; an excuse to make rowdy jokes about benign stars and flash torches to signal each other in Morse code that you never really learnt.

It is an excuse to live. To celebrate being alive.

There is a particular kind of pleasure in meeting people who are candidates for quarter and mid life crisis but defy the very idea of it, choosing to use their wise heads to embrace their life instead.

It is an even greater pleasure to be one of those people.

Life is tough. Nobody promised otherwise. But to use maturity as an excuse to stop living is terrible.

Angst is a great emotion. In fiction. In life, it just makes things that are already very hard…much harder.

Leave your angst behind…where it belongs, with your teenage self still staring at the stars from the hostel rooftop.

Keep the child in you alive…but do remember to kill the teenager!

Friday 1 January 2016

Why Do You Become A Writer?

Choti Mata’s Notes : Choti Mata wanted to start the New Year on the right note. And there seemed to be no better note.

Let us start with a true story.

My laptop currently has at least 10 open tabs. Half of them contain dispassionate details about how to cleanly slash a neck and kill in less than 3 seconds. And whether carotid artery is better than jugular vein if you are slashing for a quick kill.

I am not a serial killer. Not yet. I am a writer.

There are also a handful of tabs that seem to be talking about aerospace and defense deals. They concern something important. For the life of me, I can't remember what. 

The rest of the tabs talk about nappy rashes in a disturbingly explicit detail. Not because some baby has magically sprouted around me. It is research. 

I am not a parent. Not yet. I am a writer.

One for the kitchen.  One for the soul. I will let you figure which is which. In any case, while these tabs are open, I am writing this post which has nothing to do with either of the sets of tabs.

I am a writer. And that is pretty much the story of my life.

This post has nothing to with nappies. Or aerospace. Or the unresolved angst of the protagonist of my last novel.

This post is about a question that has been looming over my existence for past several years. There are at least seven versions of this question that I can recount from the top my head and grade on a scale from curious to offensive.

It is a simple question. Never mind the underlying stream of obliterated anguish. Never mind if that sentence did not make sense to you. You will know what I mean when you hear the question. Or already do, if you have read the title of this post.

So, why does one become a writer?

It is one of those questions that have a billion answers. (Go google ‘quotes about writing’. You will know what I mean)

Each one of those answers is true. Each one of those answers is false. And why not? This question is the gateway into a writer’s universe. And if you are averse to the idea of paradoxes, this is the time for you to turn around and leave.

First off, one does not become a writer. One simply is. It is not a grand statement of superiority. It is a pointless assertion of helplessness.

Still, here is a list of possible answers to this question. All of these are accurate, although their element of truth may be subjective and time sensitive. 

Why do you become a writer?
You become a writer because you define ‘hate’ in terms of the emotions you feel for the colon—the punctuation not the organ.

You become a writer because the warmth of the blood trickling down your arm is neither phantom nor imaginary.  It is silken and viscous and has a coppery tang. You know it. You have felt it. Despite the fact that the last time you ever saw blood in real life was when you had a paper cut and three precious drops spilled on the floor. (Also, you screamed like a possessed banshee. But that never makes it on paper)

You become a writer because your extensive research on necromancy rituals has to find a place. And a word document is always preferable to a night spent in an abandoned graveyard.

You become a writer because empathy is your enemy and every emotional outburst your sympathy seeking friend resorts to is a fodder for your next character sketch. You are not being cold. In fact, there is nobody who would relate to the backstory of the outburst the way you do. After all, you wrote it.

You become a writer because if you don’t, there is so much going on in your head all the time, if you don’t give it an outlet, you will become catatonic. Or worse, annoying.

You become a writer not because your therapist thinks it will keep you sane. That is what functional people do. You become a writer because you loathe functionality. And you write so that you can continue to feed your dysfunctional existence and find rationality where none exists.

You become a writer because being depression prone is your biggest gift; your regrets are the desires that feed your imagination and your flaws are the magnificent undulations that lend character to the universes you create.

You become a writer not because you can flaunt your creativity. Because you can’t. A singer can translate his creativity into tangible songs. An artist can create painting that can be seen and touched. But a writer…a writer can only create the intangible. Stories, characters, sentences and words that can be felt but never touched. Tangible is a writer’s biggest nemesis. A writer has nothing to showcase…nothing to give in the worldly sense. And yet, a writer creates…and keeps creating even when no one can listen, no one can watch, no one can touch his creations.

You become a writer because if you don’t, the pain will consume you. The endless atrocities, the torment of our very existence, the infinite brutalities of the human world—you become a writer because there is too much pain around you and you are cursed to feel every single second of it. You become a writer because if you don’t, you will implode…and nobody will notice.

You become a writer because if when you put pen to paper, you make a room for your insanity and account for the eccentricities of the inexplicable Universe you are stuck in.

You become a writer because if you don’t, the intensity of your identity crisis will consume you.

You become a writer because if you don’t, the persistence of the fact that you are a misfit everywhere will annihilate you. 

You become a writer, because you want to survive. Because you want to live.

You become a writer because it is the most beautiful part of your existence.

You become a writer because it is wondrous and exhilarating. You become a writer because it is your greatest gift that is meant to be shared with the Universe.

You become a writer because if you don’t, what else would you do?

You become a writer, because if you won’t, who will?

Thursday 30 July 2015

On Faith, God and Everything In Between!

I was never planning to do this post here. Not in the near future anyway. But Vagabond’s response to my previous post “Do You Believe In God?” warranted a response for which a follow up comment was woefully insufficient and consequently, this post became inevitable. Once again, thank you Vagabond for taking this blog to places it had never really considered and wouldn’t have ever stepped into but for your regular and remarkably insightful comments.


The fascinating, confounding entity that continues to baffle a large section of humanity irrespective of their belief system and the fact of whether or not they believe at all.

But who is God? What is God?

I don’t know.  In all probability, nobody does. What I do know is that there is a Higher Force…some abstract divine consciousness that is indefinable, formless and ultimate. But that is because I believe.

Many don’t. And do perfectly fine.

But even those who don’t, do usually have something they rely on. For some, it is life. For some it is logic. For some it is hard work. And for a whole lot of them, it is their own self.

What is important here is that belief…or idea of having faith in something is important for us as human beings. We ought to repose our faith is something…or someone. It may be an abstract entity, it may be a school of thought, it may be another human being…it may even be our your own very self. As a matter of believing in your own self is actually a very widely recognized school of spiritual thought that is based on the philosophy of Aham Brahmasmi (I am the Divine Flame).

The idea of faith is independent of the entity. In fact, if we were to believe in the idea of a Higher Consciousness as an abstract, fluid entity, it automatically translates into the idea that this Higher Consciousness will then manifest as per our own individual belief system, no matter how atheistic. And so, if you believe in are in fact believing in the Higher Consciousness that manifests as your own very self via self realization in your particular case. The Higher Consciousness can manifest as anything from the version of God you believe to the soul of the departed loved ones you believe are looking over you. It can manifest as kindness of the strangers, as affection of a beloved, as reward of hard work, as surprise turn of destiny, as your confidence or will power, as your ability to fight and survive…even as a leap of plain, old logic.

If you believe, manifestations are just another detail. And of course, there are no coincidences.

The fallacy lies in anthropomorphizing the idea of God. To think that He is a human equivalent, which as I had said in my previous post, automatically implies that in our understanding, He exhibits all the good and evil that humans understanding can encompass.

It is oversimplification. Because if there really is a Force…a God powerful enough to helm the entire Universe, His…for the lack of better term, qualities would be way beyond human understanding or comprehension. Human sentience, human good and human evil would be nothing more than a pale shadow of whatever He stands for and is comprised of.

Theist, atheists, agnostics—they are human categorizations. And like every other human categorization including caste, race, color, religion and gender—they are incomplete. A mere piece of a puzzle, I am pretty sure the God…or the Higher Consciousness is way beyond such petty human categorizations. What is fundamental here…what would matter in the larger scheme of things is the idea of faith, irrespective of the entity that it is reposed in. Because faith is a force…a force which in its true form can actually alter the Universe, change the rules of the game and alter destinies.

If faith is so powerful, then why do disasters hit the faithful? Why is there so much suffering around us? How is a loving God letting so many people languish? Why is there so pain in this World?

God is love. God is faith. God is also personal.

The pain, the sufferings, the tragedies…they are an inevitable part of the cycle of creation and destruction that is essential for this Universe to survive. Just for a second, imagine a Universe where this God ensures there is no pain, no suffering, no tragedies. It is Utopia. And the kind that everyone thinks is ideal.

But is it?

Will good hold meaning without the bad? Will love hold meaning without hate? Will life sustain without death?

These are complex philosophical questions. They have no right answers. Just your answer…and my answer.

The point is, to say that God doesn’t exist because there is evil and suffering and pain around is a little problematic.  It is not wrong…because after all, it is a matter of personal belief and the Higher Consciousness would be meaningless if It did not respect personal beliefs and choices. But the argument, per se, is in broad brush strokes.

Besides, instead of drawing second hand conclusions, if we actually ask people who have been through immense personal sufferings and tragedies, we will find an unbelievably large chunk of people who will tell you how they found THEIR GOD right in the midst of their tragedy, their pain and suffering. Of course, there would be an equally large number of unbelievers borne out of those very tragedies. But the fact that faith manages to sustain for such a large number of people in face of insurmountable human catastrophes and nearly impossible circumstances by itself speaks volumes about how faith, the Higher Consciousness and human sufferings interact in real human situations.

The value and function of faith in human lives are complex and multi layered. And while the idea of faith being an actual Universe altering force may be a doubtable, the importance of faith as a veritable coping mechanism is undeniable. And since this can of worms has already been opened, it makes sense to explore the idea of faith and its facets in a little more detail. This post, however, is already in the philo-spirituality overdose zone and any further additions here would be overkill. If you are not already brain dead with boredom, do check back for the final and concluding part of this rare series of serious posts on this blog on God, faith and everything in between!

Saturday 25 July 2015

Do You Believe In God?

A regular reader of this blog (they are rather rare to find and Choti Mata is insanely grateful whenever she can locate one. So, thanks a ton, Vagabond!) asked Choti Mata to answer this simple question.  So, Choti Mata did. Try to answer the question that is. It is still a try because no matter how simple the question sounds, it just isn’t and by the time Choti Mata was done with this post, she thinks she had figured why truth seeking ascetics tend to end up in the Himalayas. She is still not sure if Himalayas do really hide those elusive answers in their frozen caves but she definitely relates to the frustration that might lead to the belief that they actually do.

Do you believe in God?

It is a trick question. Almost…if you take into account the fact that this question, if not in so many words than in some form, format or variation is perhaps the single biggest reason behind few of the bitterest and often the bloodiest discords of our times. 

This, however, is not a post about those discords and their nuances. This post is not about theists and atheists. Or about seculars and religious fundamentalists.

This is personal. And I shall answer it, personally.

Personally, this is perhaps the best time for me to answer this question.  Personally, this is also the worst time for me to answer this question.  This is not a rambling paradox. And this is not a contradictory statement made for impact. The timing is indeed complicated. There are real reasons behind this complication. Perhaps, at some point of time in future, I will elaborate on those reasons.

This post, however, is not about those reasons. Or about my abstract philosophical musings.  I chose to touch upon them because timing is relevant.  For a question that follows us along the crests and troughs of our life, timing is fundamental. Because it is easy to say ‘YES’ when you are at the crest. And it is awfully easy to go with ‘NO’ when life has thrown us into a trough.  The answer is variable and every version is as true as the other at least in those given circumstances.

The best time to answer this question is when you are neither at the crest nor at the trough. When you are on one of those never ending curves that are so complex that you don’t even know if it is a definitive rise or an outright fall or somewhere in between. The uncertainty of that journey is the true test—the point where there are no easy answers. Not to that question at least.

I am at that curve right now. Which why, this is the best time to answer this question. Because the answer would be a lot more accurate. And this is the worst time, because the answer is not easy.

Or maybe it is.

Before I get into the rambling, philo-spiritual discourse that this question warrants, I will give a straightforward answer to this question.

Yes. I believe in God. Absolutely, unequivocally…and hopefully, irrevocably.

I believe in God…or more accurately, I believe in the idea of a Higher Power or Higher Consciousness. I also believe, as do most spiritual disciplines in some form or spirit, that while this Higher Power/Consciousness is universal, its manifestations are a matter of personal faith and hence variable—not just on the basis of our religious/cultural beliefs but our experiential realities as well. And hence the multiple identities that are attributed to it—God, Universe, Life, Destiny or Self.
Each of these manifestations is as true as the other, as powerful as the other and as divine as the other. It is this fascinating multiplicity of the Universal that makes this whole idea so enthralling and intriguing and yet, so difficult to comprehend.

But as I said before, this post is personal. And I am going to focus on the God that I believe in.
God for me is not an idea borne out of religion—although religion does play a crucial part in how I identify the manifestation of my God that I can relate to and also dictates, broadly, how my initial relationship with my God was formed. This is further bolstered by the fact that I belong to a family that is extremely culturally inclined and where daily prayers and elaborate rituals are, to date, a sacrosanct tradition.

Traditions are a part of the culture I belong to. They are a part of my identity. And they add value—not necessarily the kind of value that conservative fundamentalists tend to insist on—but there is undeniable value in social, familiar and spiritual currency.  The value that continues to justify organized religions in our societies despite their evident drawbacks.

I enjoy traditions. I am well versed in them.  There have been many memorable occasions where I almost ended up in an altercation with the priest designated to perform a certain ‘puja’ because he had messed up the order of the said ‘puja’ or done something that I knew was not what was traditionally done. 

Yes, I am that well versed. 

I am aware of the rituals and pujas and all sorts of traditional practices.  I am also a professed liberal who prides herself in her open mindedness and who doesn't believe in most of those traditions. I participate in a whole bunch of those very traditions because they are fun. I have no affinity for long drawn rituals that make no sense.I don’t subscribe to senseless taboos and illogical superstitions. I don’t perform rituals just because I have been told that performing them will ‘please’ certain Gods or not performing them will ‘anger’ them. But I do perform/participate in the ones that I really and truly enjoy (usually because there is great food at the end of it and/or the whole family gathers for it and ends up having a blast).

Yes, paradox is the theme of my life. 

Personally, my culture/tradition repertoire includes several chants, Rudraksh and quite an elaborate establishment of Gods that my mother has lovingly created at our home. Again, I don’t do this because I want them to fulfill a wish. Or because I am scared. I do this because it helps me make a real spiritual connection with my God. I do what feels right…and what makes me happy.  I do what I think helps me connect with my God. And that is a conscious, personal choice which can vary drastically from one individual to the next.

I believe in God. But I don’t believe in heaven or hell. I don’t believe in the commonly perpetrated image of the God where he is projected as some sort of a strict guardian with a stick in hand, waiting for us to make that minor/major slip up so that He can bash our heads at every available opportunity. I do not believe in the idea of a God who is cruel or capricious; who hands out harsh punishments and needs to be placated and pleased with bribes and offerings; who is unpredictable and who needs to put us through rigorous ‘tests’ to ensure that we are up to some sort of an elusive mark.

That is one scary God. And definitely not the God I believe in.

If there is a Higher Consciousness…if there is a God, I think He would be an embodiment of infinite compassion and understanding. Given the sheer scale and diversity of the Universe that He has created, I believe, He has to be infinitely liberal and open minded…and empathetic beyond all human limits. To attribute human follies to our God—human follies like anger, greed, impatience, narrow mindedness and hatred—is not only problematic but fundamentally wrong and against the very idea of having a God in our Universe, no matter what religion, sect, timeline or geographical location is being taken into account.

God is a beautiful idea. My God is a beautiful idea. He (yes He…irrespective of my feminist bearings, my God is a He…and for good reasons). He is the reason why I exist…why I can get up in the morning and fight for my dreams. He is my biggest support system…my greatest strength…the light of my life…the peace for my soul.

He is my soul.

He is my everything.

Believing in God, for me, is like breathing. You take Him away…I am as good as dead.

Some of the most powerful spiritual traditions of the World talk about having a relationship with your God—a relationship that is rooted in pure love and faith. That is the kind of bond that is considered to be truly spiritual—the real path to peace and happiness.

To think of God as an overbearing, almost scary force alienates us from His love—prevents us from understanding the spiritual depths of our souls. A bond borne out of fear, no matter how pure or sacred, is bound to be fragile and to a large extent unfulfilling. If we seek fulfillment and joy, we need to stop being afraid of our Gods. We need to start forging a relationship with them.  In my limited experience, uncomplicated faith and unconditional love are the simplest and shortest route to our God, no matter who He maybe. 

Believing in God is fulfilling and sustaining.  Those of us who have been blessed with this gift of faith are lucky.

The true bliss, however, is for the luckiest of them all—the ones who are in love with their God. Sufi traditions believe in an all encompassing version of love that they feel for their beloved, their God—a love that has no boundaries, definitions or segregation of any sort. A love that is so complete that it transgresses all limits of human understanding; fills every void in the human soul and is enough in absolute terms. It sounds a little impossible but I am more than a hundred percent convinced that it is not. That love of that kind is exists and is attainable.

That love…that is my kind of aspiration.