Chitkul, Himachal Pradesh, March 22, 2012
Chitkul, Himachal Pradesh, March 22, 2012

Life  skills and confidence are two of the best things you can ever give to a child while growing up. For a variety of reasons, I had had little of either for most of my life. When I moved to Delhi in 1999, I did not even know how to write a cheque or how to buy grocery. Now, after almost 13-years 0f being here, a string of failed relationships and a life and lifestyle that is scorned upon by most things traditional, the persistent feeling of being a failure or being wholly inadequate is as hard to dodge as your own shadow.

It is easy to say “ignore society, conditioning and expectations of your loved ones,” but doing that is an entirely different challenge and doing it consistently enough is a feat in itself. But, the fact is that neither swimming with or against the tide trains you enough to deal with failures, loneliness and feeling lost for no particular reason. Most schools of thought and ways of living emphasize too much seeking, negating, suppressing or emphasizing select feelings. And if you can’t seem to do that (consistently reverberate with joy or make disappointments disappear), there is an almost implicit stigma of failure attached to it.

For someone like me, with my previous history of inadequacy and failure, the last three-years have been significantly harder due to an unwelcome addition to my list of problems – loneliness. From the time I could remember, I have always been a loner, but till three-years-ago it has never been something that used to bother me. When it started being a problem, it kicked in as a problem that was impossible to dodge. As if feeling that way being out there in the crowded world was not bad enough, coming home to just myself made it nearly unbearable.

After years of struggling with it, the past few months have slowly seen the tide turn. It is, by no means, an end to my troubles. But it is a promising and persistent reduction in all those feelings – inadequacy, failure – probably for the first time in my life. It also does not mean that I’m not paralyzed by disappointment or that I don’t feel like wanting to dig a hole and never come out of it when I have messed up. I still feel very strongly about those things and I don’t expect it to change. But I do know now that even though those feelings are a significant part of my life, it is not all of my life, unless I choose to make it so.

It feels good to feel.


  1. Struck a chord.

    What works for me: Lifting progressively heavier things.
    The endorphin release and the sense of accomplishment mean that i never find myself in a spot where i ask that dreaded question: ‘Why go on?’

    Its a hack, i admit. 🙂 Some people run mad miles instead.

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