The Future

Today is the 2nd of October. Its celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti, here in India, and I hope, in the rest of the world as well. The ‘father of our nation’ as he’s called, Mahatma Gandhi, was born on this day 146 years ago.

Its a day usually involving looking back at his life, how he voyaged, along with the rest of India, through the troughs and peaks of the freedom struggle. Its a day usually involving a fair bit of reminiscing.

But let’s not do that. Let’s instead look forward. Let’s look to the future. I’d like to look to the future instead.

What does the future hold for me? What would I be like, what would my life be like 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now?

I honestly don’t have a damn clue.

IMG_20150320_195649You know how they say that its not good living in the past? Well, I believe its not good to look too far into the future as well. Just as there is no point in thinking too much about what has been, there is no point in dwelling too much on what, possibly, probably, is still to come. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and promise yourself you’ll get where you want to be, no matter what. No. Matter. What.

I am in one of those phases right now when I don’t know whether I should be enthusiastic about my future or not. I know what I want to be, and I have a very rough idea of how I can go about it, but I am honestly not sure about it all at the moment.

For me, the next three to four months are the most crucial months of my junior college life so far. I have my terminals towards the end of this month (for which I’m obviously not yet prepared completely), prelims (preliminary is the full form; they’re basically like mock tests before our final 12th Board Exams), and then the 12th Boards in late February, and will stretch up to late March. After that I have a couple of months off, not to figure out what I want to do next, that is kinda a little late, but just to take a breather before I plunge back into the fray.

After the next decade or so, I aim to see myself having a profession, of some kind, in the field of Psychology. Of course, writing will be my side-business, so don’t you people worry about me ever stopping writing 😀 I have been doing some research regarding careers in Psychology and Sports Psychology has interested me a lot. Other branches of Psychology that interest me are Criminal Psychology and Couneselling/Therapy. Are any of my readers here Psychologists, or do you have knowledge about that field? I’d love some advice or anything you have that could help in any way.


That was me contemplating about the past, present and future. What do you look forward to?

Advertisements

Map Insipiration

In the map above, you can see the big green thing called “Shivaji Park”. That is a huge, open ground in Matunga, Mumbai, India. If you walk from my home, you’ll get there in about 20-25 minutes. Its been somewhere I’ve gone many, many, many times over the 17 years I’ve spent on Earth.

Since I was born, I’ve lived in the same home as I do now so I know this neighbourhood, and beyond, very well. Shivaji Park has been so useful to the people living in this area, the area itself is now called the Shivaji Park locality. There’s people who come to walk, run, exercise in the gym situated in it, walk their pets, eat at any of the numerous eateries that have sprung up around this landmark or watch the sea that is just a crosswalk away from the park.

There’s number of reasons why Shivaji Park is so close to me. There’s another garden close to it where my parents often go for their evening walks. They’ve been doing so for maybe 10 years now, and I go there often with them. Sometimes we ditch that place and go walk at Shivaji Park instead. One of my aunt’s house is 5 minutes away from this garden, and she has a beautiful dog, so I often go there just to goof around with him. And Shivaji Park is another 5 minutes from her house so after I’ve been to her place I’ll go to Shivaji Park to have a bite, or just sit for a while. There’s also a Crossword Book Store right across Shivaji Park, by the seaside, a perfect place to go and just read for hours on end. (Sidebar: Their variety and overall quality of books has steadily gone down over the years so its not that great of a place, but they’re still well-stocked.) And now, my college is 5 minutes away from Shivaji Park as well. Its like a triangle, college on one side, Crossword completely opposite, on the other side, and the garden and my aunt’s place complete’s the triangle. I’ve already spent a year and two to three months at the college I’m at and I will probably be at the same college for another three years, at least, so I’m going to be frequenting Shivaji Park a lot.

You know, the thing about Shivaji Park is that its one of those places that doesn’t change much with time. Like, sure, there’s gradual development in terms of infrastructure and all, but other than that every time you go there, it seems like the very place you’ve spent so many great moments at. Its charm doesn’t dull with time.

Its a great place to be at.

Coffee Update

Today’s Writing 101 assignment is to update my readers (that’s you) over a virtual cup of coffee (replace ‘coffee‘ with ‘tea‘ if that’s what you prefer) so as to let them know what the goings-on in my life are. I think its a good way to create that personal connect with your readers, one that not many other writing forms can create successfully, and, since I like to be casual in my writing, I feel quite up for this.

if we were having coffee right now...

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I got drenched in the rain last evening. My 9 year-old sister and I had gone out to rent a movie from the store nearby. The rains have been on the down low these past many days so we weren’t expecting anything beyond the light drizzle but what we got was a full-blown thunderstorm complete with bellowing winds, raging thunder and streaky lightning.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I have been going to the gym for about four months now (I think I spoke about this in one of my earlier posts as well) to gain some mass. I am genetically slim, my dad was that way too when he was young, and I gain weight very slow, no matter how much I eat. Its weird, but it has its upside: you have no restrictions on eating, whatsoever. I have also been taking protein shakes that, just BTW, taste like you mixed the world’s darkest chocolate with with the world’s most bitter medicine and added the smell of burning rubber to it. Absolutely awful. I don’t know how I’m going to finish the whole 5kg pack.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I have been taking another writing course on Blogging U (for all those of you that don’t know already). Its Writing 101 again, but with a revamped look and new set of assignments, and might I say, I’m having a blast at it.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I have been thinking about writing for some sort of website or magazine where I would actually get paid. I’m having a bit of a break from college since we’re through with almost everything in most of our subjects, there have been a lot of holidays what with the Ganpati festival and whatnot, and our terminal exams are nearing. So I have a lot of time on my hands right now, and my mom has been telling me to invest it in something beyond the blog, occasional studies, movies and TV shows. Something that makes me grow as a personal, and if it gives me some monetary benefit then that’s an added bonus. I would love to know if any of you guys know about any such websites/other media where I can contribute by writing.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that Manchester United play Southampton tonight and I’m looking forward to watching the match. Anybody else out here who’s going to watch it as well?

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I am pretty active on Quora as well. Those of you who haven’t checked out that little place of wisdom, must do so immediately. Its basically a Q&A platform where anybody can ask and answer questions about absolutely everything. I was introduced to it by a friend and initially I used to answer questions related to topics like life problems, everyday psychology, English grammar and football. I guess my football answers were really liked by people and I started getting asked to answer football-related questions only, so now I am a most viewed writer in multiple football categories. I guess we had an assignment in Blogging 101 once to create identities on different parts of the internet along with our blogs, and I have something of an identity on Quora now, which you can check out by clicking here.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee right now?

To Cancer With Love

Dear Cancer,

To be honest, this is not something I thought I’d be writing today. Or for a lot of days to come. I have thought of writing something of this kind before, and even more so in the past few months and I have put it off for quite some time now, I guess because not many know you were once part of my life and I’m afraid to open myself up to the world like this.

You came to me when I was quite young. You were pretty smart in the beginning, giving the wrong signals to the doctors. But I guess you weren’t smart enough in the end.

I was too young to know what you were, what you meant, what you could and would do to me. But I could feel it all right. All those tests, those hideously bitter medicines, those endless rides to the hospital, back home and back to the hospital again, those painfully embarrassing butt injections, laying still for hours on end just to get a picture of my brain or something, that operation I underwent to get the catheter in my arm (if I think hard, I can still remember the sights and sounds of that whole thing, the blood over my arm and chest)  and waiting in the OPD for hours and hours for a visit to the doctor. Oh, and those awful spinal injections you threw at me? In the beginning I just pretended the pain wasn’t bad, but later those injections actually didn’t feel all that bad. So, Mr. Cancer, try harder.

I think it is evident that I was too much for you, since you no longer plague my body, but I think I gained more than I lost in the time I spent with you. I couldn’t have been the man I am today, had it not been for you. I’m being totally serious right now. I’m pretty sure there’s an alternate universe somewhere out there in which you didn’t introduce yourself to me and I’m a completely different person. And that may not be in a good way. I wouldn’t have met all those nice doctors and nurses, many of which I’m still in touch with, had it not been for you. I wouldn’t have met all those nice fellow-patients at the hospital had it not been for you. It may not have been fun to stay home when others go to school and run and jump and play about, but it made me who I am. So thank you for that.

You know, my mom always says that I am a very positive person. Whenever she tells anybody about you and me, she always lays a lot of emphasis on how positive I was through it all and how it was instrumental in steering me through those times. And I am positive. I look for the positives when people think there are none. Sometimes there really may not be any realistic positives, but then optimism can’t be classified as being realistic. I believe realism may get you far, but you need some optimism to get over the line. Optimism is a human trait, but ironically, not all humans possess it. I doubt I’d have been such an unabashed optimist had it not been for you. So thank you for that.

Its been close to ten years since you first stepped into my life. The first three of those were largely spent at the hospital and at home. You were like my second home during those years. School is supposed to be a second home for kids of that age but school was relegated to a distant third or maybe even fourth for me. I can’t really say whether I regret it or not since it wasn’t my choice in the first place, but I can say that if I was given the chance to change it, I would keep things the way they are. I don’t care that I spent two to three years of my seventeen and a half year old life in a hospital. I didn’t think that what I had was a big deal then and I didn’t care about it much. Once I was told I had “a disease”, the natural reaction for me was, “Okay, well, let’s get rid of it,” and that’s what I spent the next few years of my life on. I guess that was just ’cause I was too young to know better, and a part of me knew that “what I had” wasn’t strictly normal, but I just went with it, and I can say that I wouldn’t label that part of my life as a fall in my graph, so to say. If anything, its half of my life’s highlights reel. So thank you for filling the highlights reel of a guy whose remaining life events surely pale in comparison to the memorable experiences that you’ve given me.

I don’t regret having met you, but we should probably stay out of each others’ paths for the foreseeable future.

Yours,

Jai.

Appreciation

“A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.”

VisionAvengers: Age of Ultron

The weird-looking dude in the image above is ‘Vision’ from the second installment of the Avengers franchise, Age of Ultron. He is basically a God, armed with the yellow ‘Mind Gem’, the one you see sitting pretty on his forehead. This movie didn’t fare as well with the critics and audience than its predecessor, but there still were some amazing moments and dialogues scattered here and there throughout it, and the moment Vision let out this piece of wisdom was definitely one of those.

Nothing lasts forever. As hard as that may be to accept, it is true. It is a heart-breaking revelation sometimes. To be honest, we all know it, and there’s no meaning in thinking or worrying about it because nothing’s going to change that. Instead, enjoy it while it lasts. That’s the least you can do. Its the least you owe yourself: making the most of what you have. Don’t make yourself regret it after it’s gone.

Make that phone call, drive across town to meet that one person, do what you should be doing before you realise you can’t do it anymore. Seriously, I’m not even being opportunistic or over-the-top here. Just do it, quite literally.

A Desk, A Noisy Classroom and the Cinema Hall

Writing is a funny thing. You may write about world peace, or about harmony or getting along with one another but you may be writing it in the middle of a war, or in a busy cafe. Roald Dahl wrote about murderous giants and horrid witches from a quaint little yellow hut by his house.

They say home is where the heart is. Going by that, I guess its fair to say that we write best where our heart really is. It could be a little hut by the house, like it was for Roald Dahl, or it could be our desk. It could be a bench in the park or our bed. It depends. Sometimes I can’t write in the same place all the time. I need a change of scenery. Some fresh air and different sounds. Different kinds of sensory stimulation. That’s what I need sometimes. I need some sort of stimulation to get me going and keep me clacking away on the keys. It doesn’t matter if I’m typing half-rubbish – I can always weed that out later – the important thing sometimes is to keep writing.

One sort of stimulation for me is music. Like most of us, I prefer different kinds of music for different situations, moods and needs. While I’m writing I usually go for instrumentals. That way there’s no words in the music that get in the way of the words in my head. There’s a lot of old-school instrumentals that are really soothing, and they do the job no doubt, but even modern fast-paced soundtracks are extremely effective. There’s Brian Tyler’s Into Eternity from Thor 2, the main theme of GoT, all of Steve Jablonsky’s amazing works in the first three films of The Transformers movie franchise, Michael Giacchino’s Enterprising Young Men from the new Star Trek franchise, Hans Zimmer’s Like a Dog Chasing Cars from The Dark Knight, and many more (comment if you want more, I’ve got loads :D).

But what if your writer’s heart isn’t in any singular place but in writing itself? Well, then you’re like me. I’m that sort of person, that if I get an idea to write, an impulse of even a minor plot device that I just feel I want to use in a story, I’ll start writing it.

I often write on my desk because I’m home when I get ideas and my laptop is lying on my desk and I’m too lazy to carry it elsewhere. When I’m not home, however, and I don’t have the laptop close by, I use my note-taking apps or even Microsoft Word, on my phone.

Once last year I was sitting in this really boring Hindi lecture at college and I was doodling Iron Man’s armor, and Captain America’s shield and The Flash, when I got an insane idea for a story. So I whipped out my Hindi notebook and I just started writing. Another time, I was watching a movie, it was a really cheesy Hindi one. I don’t even remember the name, except that Ranbir Kapoor was in it. And I wasn’t really into it; I’d gone to watch it with a bunch of friends and we were all cracking up at how silly it was and then I got one of those out-of-the-blue ideas to write again. I didn’t have a phone then so I took one of my friend’s phones and I started typing in one of the note-taking apps he had and thought I’d email it to myself or something. Hilariously, in a hurry, I didn’t save it properly so I lost about 1500 worth of story material.

Again, I can’t always write anywhere I feel like. There’s a lot of times that I force myself to sit down and just write, because I haven’t written in a while. Sometimes when the gap between writing sessions increases, it just gets harder to squeeze out some material. I guess the place where we write can really influence our writing. The ambiance, the disturbances, or lack thereof, can all reflect in our writing.

In the end, though, I believe it doesn’t matter if we write in your office, or on the toilet, in college or in the train. What matters that we write.


Those were my thoughts on writing and the places where we write best. Where do you write best?

Also, below you’ll see a short poll about the different kinds of posts that I write. What kind would you want to see me write more of, or what kind have you liked the most on my blog? Please fill in the form and help me out to know what my audience likes best, and I’ll write accordingly!

Secrets

Secrets have a way of unraveling themselves to the world. Sometimes you may least expect it and people start sniffing on your tail. Somebody stumbles into something and joins the dots. A series of, what may seem like co-incidences, sometimes bring people to stumble into it in the first place. You’ll be left marveling at the wonder of life, when things like that happen. I know I was when it happened to me a couple of months back.

Sometimes we’ve gone through some…things in our past. Maybe when we were kids or maybe when we were already grown up. And maybe a lot of people close to us know about those things. However, sometimes we leave a big chunk of that life behind and move on to a different kind of life in a different place with different people who don’t know all that. We talk to them, get acquainted, spend time with them. We may grow very close to a few of them, but we haven’t told them about those things. Sometimes we feel as if we don’t want to, sometimes we’re dying to tell them, other times we feel we shouldn’t. We don’t know how to. We can’t. But we know we won’t feel at ease unless they know. We feel the relationship isn’t real unless they know.

But then they end up finding out about it without us telling them. They stumble into something and they join the dots. Now that they know, none of all that above matters. Doesn’t it?

The 25 Things That I Like

  1. Staring at the sky and the clouds.
  2. Listening to soundtracks.
  3. Watching or playing football with friends.
  4. Sweating it out during a workout and then admiring the results.
  5. Stepping on dry leaves.
  6. Watching Sherlock, Suits, House of Cards, Captain America 2, and tons of other movies and TV shows, over and over again.
  7. Playing Football Manager.
  8. Having a nice, hot samosa when it’s raining cats and dogs outside.
  9. Watching one of Aditya Rathod’s videos.
  10. Having a cold coffee on an extremely hot summer’s day.
  11. Intellectual debates.
  12. Scraping dried glue off my fingers.
  13. Grammatically correct sentences.
  14. Exploring new places.
  15. Trekking.
  16. A good book (who doesn’t like that?)
  17. The adrenaline rush you get before you speak on stage, and the high after having done it well.
  18. Long drives.
  19. Dogs.
  20. Late night outings.
  21. Late night football matches.
  22. Going to the movies.
  23. Afternoon siestas.
  24. The satisfaction of hitting the ‘Publish’ button after writing a thoroughly satisfactory post.
  25. Finishing lists.

Taking Inspiration from the Community

Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is to write a post based on the inspiration I got from one of the posts on others’ blogs on which I left a comment yesterday.

It is difficult to choose a particular post because I liked all of them very much. So, I’m going to choose two.


THE FIRST ONE

The first one is inspired by a post on The Epic Blog.

The post is a quote:

“Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”

– Tom Hiddleston

The post leaves you with this at the end:

“Loki is the best villain in the Marvel world. Period. Any disputes?”

loki

Absolutely not!

Confession coming up!

I am a HUGE movie and TV show buff. If I like a movie I will most certainly download it and rewatch it again and again until I know most of the lines by heart. If I like a TV show, I will, in most cases, watch EACH and EVERY episode there is to watch. That’s what happened with The Big Bang Theory, Suits, Friends and Arrow. Now its happening with The Flash.

And I love superheroes and movies and TV shows based on them. And I love Marvel AND DC. They’re both unique in their own ways but I’m going to have to take Marvel’s side here. And there is no doubt that so far, on screen, Loki is their best villain. I’m dying to see what (if anything) happens to him in Avengers: Age of Ultron (whether Thor realises he impersonates his father Odin at the end of Thor: The Dark World, or do they leave that for Thor 3?).

But, coming to the point, this post got me thinking about villains and superheroes and Marvel and then I saw my phone lying in front of me so I randomly started doing stuff on it and then I probably went to check for something to munch on in the refrigerator but all the while I was thinking about this post, at the back of my mind.

Now, I haven’t read a lot of Marvel comics (I was mostly restricted to Spider – Man as a kid and later a couple of Iron Man and Deadpool ones). Frankly, I am a comic book noob when it comes to Marvel or any comics really. But when I found out that the next X – Men movie is titled as X – Men: Apocalypse I was instantly excited because I’d heard of this Apocalypse character somewhere and I googled him and WOAH! he’s a hell of a villain too. He’s practically invincible and obviously the X – Men’s greatest enemy (foe, if you want to be dramatic and poetic).

So yes, a teensy little bit of a dispute here, but again, Loki is the best villain on screen so far, and X – Men is technically under another roof.

I stumbled into this definitive guide of Marvel's character movie rights
I stumbled into this definitive guide of Marvel’s character movie rights

Moreover, I’ve always loved a little depth in characters (especially superhero characters), in terms of a little good in a bad character or vice versa. I’ve loved it when the portrayal of such a character trait is pulled off well, as it was for Loki (which was heavily dependent on the high amount of screen time over the large number of movies he appeared in).

So another character who I’ve noticed who has such a character trait is Bruce Banner AKA The Hulk. Granted he’s not had the best of times on screen but I think in The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton) and of course the role in The Avengers (Mark Ruffalo) were pretty awesome.

In both (and even in the first Hulk movie, I think), Bruce Banner acknowledges and admits that he is not in control of ‘the other guy’, and the damage ‘he’ can cause is not something Banner wants. In The Incredible Hulk he actively tries to rid himself of the abomination he can become and in The Avengers there are a lot of moments where you can see Banner apprehensive about Fury, Romanoff and the whole idea of The Avengers Initiative.

This doesn’t make Banner a villain per se because he is after all an Avenger (though he was hunted like an animal (because he partly was) and was almost killed numerous times in the Hulk movies). What it does, though, is make Banner human, despite his turning into ‘a huge green rage monster’. But it is that little bit of villainy inside this extraordinary hero that makes him really appeal to me. You won’t find a lot of Hulk fanboys, Iron Man, yes, Captain America definitely, even Loki, but probably not Hulk. But you have one here.


THE SECOND ONE

The second one is inspired by a post on Pan – American Perros.

The post is based on an assignment in Photography 101 – What is Solitude?

That’s a profound question. But it can have a very simple answer. In fact, as pointed out in the post, Solitude can be Bliss. It definitely can and in most cases (at least for me) it is.

I’ve been called quiet ever since I can remember. I’ve been called an introvert too. But that’s never hurt me, or made me hate them. People have told me they don’t feel particularly good when people call them introverts. I, however, feel that being an introvert, or shy or quiet for that matter, aren’t things one can’t or shouldn’t be. I guess I’ve always known that and that’s probably why I never felt bad when I was called those things. I think that a lot of people don’t truly understand introverts and introversion and how it really works and at times that can hurt.


I wrote a blog post on introversion fairly recently. Click here to check it out.

Blogging 101 Assignment: Be a Good Neighbour

Yesterday’s assignment was to ‘be a good (virtual) neighbour’.

Blogging is of course heavily dependent on the writing and posting part but it definitely isn’t restricted to that. A big chunk of viewership (at least in the initial stages of the blog) depends on socialising and contributing to others’ blogs. This includes liking, commenting and sharing. Somewhere, I knew this when I started my blog but I never got around to doing any part of the socialising for various reasons.

The courses that Blogging U offers, are amazing ways to meet new people and through Blogging 101 I’ve already met quite a few awesome fellow bloggers, and the course isn’t even over yet!

So here are four blogs I would like to recommend.

Behold the Infinite

Amazing short stories, great style of writing, and a unique way with words. Plus I love the tagline.

The Epic Blog

First person I’ve come across who is into mythology, does Bollywood movie reviews and has a great taste in poetry.

Pan – American Perros

I’ve always wanted to do a lot of travelling once I grow up. This blog satisfies that urge to see the world, for it has great photos, great writing and DOGS!!!

Shachi Shetty

This one belongs to a friend from college. She has just begun blogging but writes some wonderful poetry.