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The Chest full of Nothings

A short story on “The Chest full of Nothings”

In a Victorian building, with a family of four, was living an old wooden chest; strangely never opened. He sat in the living room, accompanying the ornamental furnitures, royal carpets, chandelier lamps and expressively still statues. Everyone who passed by noticed everything except the chest. It feel disheartened and rejected. It tried its best to make some creaking sounds, but never got as much attention as his companions.

Sometimes, rays of light slithered in, through the edges and cracks; while the chest was busy looking outside and feeling demotivated.

Some time passed and the family had found a new place to move to and they began packing and loading everything in a wagon. They had tried moving the chest in every way possible; the stubborn weight made them leave it behind. For the lack of time they didn’t even try unlocking the chest. It truly lost all hope and felt deeply hurt. “No one wants me” this thought seeped in to rot it’s wood with feelings of unworthiness.

For a long time no one met the house or the coffer.

On a stormy night, the roof of the old building gave way; allowing the winds to displace everything that was left of the house. The coffer lay there hopelessly, awaiting its destruction in this storm.

The storm grew wild and let the branch from a tree fall on the coffer, breaking the lock. The winds screeched and rains thrashed the building. The building started to dilapidate and the chest slid to one side and hit the wall.

The next morning the storm had passed, leaving the quiet. The chest thought it didn’t survive the storm. It was lying open, facing the sun and the light was now throwing itself on every corner inside the chest. Rain drops like an alarm on snooze disturbed the chest out of the nightmare, to look inside. Filled with Gemstones, silverware, Gold and maps to places, secret books, letters of love and a peaceful stillness wrapping everything in velvet dense air. More than being ready for an identity makeover; it sat shell shocked.

A few days later a writer was passing by on the cobbled roads, riding on his bicycle and whistling to a tune. The gleaming rays of the sun shone off the gold and caught his eye. He rode to the building and made his way to the chest. It was finally going to be noticed and appreciated. The writer picked up the maps, books and letters. He felt enthralled to find these to be sixty years old writings. He rode off with the new reads.

The chest felt dissatisfied at not being accepted for everything that it was. He began to doubt his own value. The writer had not even notice the gemstones and gold.

Some days later…

A caravan came wheeling with hope to the building. The foreign traders stopped over, to find and grab all the riches they could. Leaving the chest behind bare, feeling used and valueless.

After a few months…

A humble carpenter was walking with his son and they were looking for some good quality wood to make a table to eat on. They saw the house and helped each other in, through the chaos. The chest was like a chameleon in all the dust and webs. The Father spotted the old wood of the chest and began to say—“Son look, this is a very rare mahogany wood for a coffer—see the grains and lines. It is very good and seasoned over time, as the colour has darkened. Let’s take this and add it to our table top to make it look rich.” The chest was carried away and it was now a part of a dining table in the carpenters house—staging three meals every day and merging into the background of their daily life.

What the Chest has to say to you—”What you make of yourself is how you value yourself. Everyone will notice whatever they can see of value to them. Don’t wait for people to see you and appreciate you. Look within and embrace the darkness as much as the light within; everything you’re made of.”

The story of a Chest
The Chest full of Nothings

Special mention to Tall Tales Story telling for being the stepping stone to write my very first story.

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Accept and Bloom

All your firsts are special—first day of school, first time using a pen or getting your hair coloured, first time frying or baking a bread, first time going on a date or quarantined, first …. (long list, fill at your own leisure).

First own hair cut.

Even saying that makes me happy. The sound of snip snip has always been therapeutic to me. In fact, I start getting warnings from people every year as summer approaches — ‘Don’t get your hair cut short this time’! So I decided to do it myself. Just took the scissors and snip-snip! To tell you the truth it was scary at first— what if I goof up? Luckily ‘stay-at-home’ made it easy; now that the lockdown is extended.

I’ll just pause here.

What if there wasn’t a lockdown, I messed it up and looked goofy for a bit? Would I be judged badly and would people not let me be? As I stood in front of the mirror, hair drenched and dripping- I was combing my hair over and over; I would raise the scissor to my head and lower it. This went on for five minutes. It’s just fringes man! (Go for It); No! If it actually goes bad…? YES! NO! YES, NO! 

Beep* it!

That’s it!! That moment when I decided for myself —that’s what self acceptance is. You own the goofiest decisions, you own your worst nightmares and you own your insecurities. Every time I do these impulsive things, my need for validation dies a little.

I am going to rewind back to 2009…

I am standing on my yoga mat, at a1000yoga; A chilly morning, at half past six, I’m profusely sweating all over my mat (my warm up sweat would be your post workout sweat). After the regular bout of Suryanamaskar, I found myself literally tugging my body forward holding my toes in Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold). My back is curved and I’m hell bent (literally) to get myself to reach perfection in that very moment. (This was my fight against complacency-clearly OTT).

My breathing was fast like I was on a treadmill and face contorted, like I could just deliver something on my mat. Dj my yoga teacher must’ve seen my little act; her soft and loud words still ring clearly in my head today- “Don’t fight with your body. Acknowledge where you are in the posture today and breathe into the posture.” 

(Deep breath and sigh) Acceptance right in that moment.

For the next few days I’d just be happy to hold my toes and stay instead of wanting my back to fold forward. Slowly, I eased into it, over time and now I can easily have my entire body fold like a clip.

Now I’m facing the mirror, feeling the small tufts of hair, no longer a part of me (I didn’t know my hair was soft). Looked up at myself I couldn’t stop smiling. I never really accepted that I have a problem with my self belief. I would doubt myself all the time, (sometimes it’s good to be a little unsure is what I was feeding on). I stopped believing what I told myself. For just uploading a picture on social media I would need two opinions, for the caption I’d ask my brother to read. What my mind told me wasn’t good enough until something outside validated it. 

Now that I accepted where I am (seeking validation), I knew where I wanted to go. Instead of putting it under the carpet acknowledge the flaws, breathe into it and let yourself bloom. I wanted to break this pattern of looking for validation from outside and own what’s coming from within. Acceptance doesn’t come easily to many of us, but owning yourself completely leaves you feeling responsible for yourself and that is freedom. 

Accept and Bloom
Pashimotanasana (Forward Fold –YOGA)

What are you trying to accept about yourself? Your physical body, emotional strength, skills you don’t have yet, pronunciation, social skills, you’re not where you want to be? Whatever it may be, just sit down with yourself, once in a while and check on yourself. What is it you keep fighting with? What are you holding yourself against? How hard do you make your own life? Are you accepted in your own head?

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