What Does Focus Even Mean?

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

Relax.

Focus.

Teachers and invigilators tend to say things like these before an exam begins, in an effort to give us a pep talk to instantly calm our frantic nerves, all those neurons revising last minute details. They try to motivate us to write down every single answer that we didn’t even study while preparing!

When it came to me, however, I never really understood what they were trying to achieve. I mean, I never really got what they meant when they asked me to focus. They say focus, I ask howww? What do you mean?! How should I focus, what should I focus on? You know?!

And so, today I’m going to try and answer the question: What does focus even mean?

It was about a year back that I began to understand what focus might mean. I was in the middle of this intracollege writing competition and I had advanced to the final round, and it felt like everything was falling apart because I had no creative clue of what to write next. I don’t know what wise old neuron gave me this idea, but I began focusing on my breath.

I remember being told right from my childhood, that whenever you feel angry, anxious, nervous, scared, just close your eyes, count your breath, focus on it, and you’ll calm down. Since I had nothing else to do, and nowhere else to go, I decided to do this. When I opened my eyes a minute later, I saw this third year student, who was supervising the event. She looked at me with her eyes wide, as if trying to say, “Time jaa raha hai, aankhein bandh kyu kar rahe ho! Likho jaldi! (You’re running out of time, why are you sitting with your eyes shut? Quickly, write!)” I smiled at her and for the next 15 minutes, I tried my best to write down whatever best I could come up with.

Later, I found out I won the competition. I’d never gotten to the point of hoping to win it, because in that moment, all I was doing was breathing, and acknowledging that process.

Of course I sound all wise right now standing here, but its something I just happened to do, and it worked. Since then, any time I begin to feel overwhelmed, I just breathe. I don’t know, maybe that’s what focus means, or at least that’s what it means to me. So, today I want to ask you, what does it mean to you?


Remember, a few months back, I shared a post with you, which I said was a speech I gave in my Public Speaking class? Well this post was the latest speech I gave in the class.

I hope you liked it! If you want to read more of what I write elsewhere, or just see the stuff I do in life, go check out my Instagram and Facebook. You’ll find the links at the bottom and top of my page, respectively.

I’ll see you guys soon!

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Coffee Update #9

Ah, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here! Yes, I know I’ve been gone a long time, but welcome back to another Coffee Update; allow me to catch you up on all that’s been going on in my life.

So, pick from our assorted collection of coffees and teas, and sit back into the chair.


If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I wear a hat now. Yeah, I just made it sound like I went permanently blonde or I did laser surgery for body hair or something. No, it’s something less drastic than that, but still something that quite dramatically stands out when I walk past you. I’ve realised a hat gets so much attention when you’re walking in the street, although the fact that that attention quickly fades when people look down at my face is a different story altogether.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that you should try out something new. I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for much more than a year now, and recently I tried out this new place that opened up close to my house. I was extremely impressed by their work. Its pretty much an elite salon for the price of a mid-range one. I just hope it stays like that.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that my first year in degree college is over. I gave my finals about a month back. I feel good about these exams. Very good, in fact. There was a lot riding on them, and I put in a buttload of effort and time and I think I did well. We’ll soon find out!

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that on my birthday over a month back, I received this beautiful diary. Its elegant and robust at the same time. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. And I got this amazing shiny golden pen along with it! I’m rationing my usage of that pen since those things are expensive and I don’t want to run out of ink on that one within two months! But the diary, oh, the diary! I’ve been using it a lot. I’ve always been the guy who writes more easily on the computer, or phone, but this diary changed it completely. I’ve been writing a lot on physical paper now, when about two months back I found it uncomfortable. To the person who gifted that diary to me, I thank you 17 times over!

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I’ve been writing on my other accounts as well. I’ve been writing there a lot lately, and I’m surprised by the response I’ve been getting! I’ve been posting a lot on my Instagram account, which you can check out by scrolling to the bottom of this page. I’ve also been active on Facebook lately. You’ll find a Facebook icon in the top right section, right at the top of the blog page. Go check me out! Let me know what you think of that slightly different brand of writing I’ve got up on those two places!

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I’ve completed more than a year at the two year Yoga course I’ve talked about a lot here before as well. In retrospect, almost everything goes by faster than we thought it would, that’s just our flawed perception of time I guess, but again, this went by faster than I thought it would! I’m enjoying every bit of it, learning something new every day there. By far one of the best things I’ve spent my time doing.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that as a psychology student, I feel very good about the mental health awareness going around right now, if not a little impressed by the scale of efforts being taken by people. There’s been a lot of things that have coincided and have contributed to the overall cause of increasing awareness about this issue. There have been a lot of public incidents such as student suicides and whatnot, along with internet campaigns and outreach campaigns and even media has sparked off debates, such as with the recent TV show, “13 Reasons Why”. World Health Day also came smack dab in the middle of all this. While not all approaches to raising awareness may be considered ideal, just being able to spark off a dialogue about this issue is a good enough start. I also wrote something about the issue and published it on my Instagram on World Health Day. You guys can go check it out there, although I will also be publishing it here as a separate post.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you to put down that coffee and first go check out the YouTube channel called ‘Nerdwriter1’. It is absolutely fucking mindblowing. The guy who runs the channel, Evan Puschak, is a goddamn genius to, first of all, come up with the concepts he makes videos about, and second of all, actually make such fantastic videos about it. He earns a lot of extra respect from me because he is an editing god, so yeah. Go check him out. You know what, I’m going to just put one video of his down here. One that I found really good. That’ll get you to check him out.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I think life is an enigma. You keep scratching your head about which of the 1,00,000 will actually make the whole thing go, “Ting!” and then confetti pops out of nowhere and you get a chocolate cake handed to you by a guy in the best suit you’ve ever seen. That doesn’t happen. What does happen is that you get all that you need and the circumstances that shout out to you to notice it. Its up to you to look around and see that you have something great here, and if you step on the right tiles, you’ll make something greater from it, with time. I think I’m slowly learning to notice what I have and I know it’s all I need.


Aaaand that’s it on this edition of the Coffee Update! You are officially all caught up with my life.

Hope you enjoyed the coffee!

I’ll see you guys next time!

Adios muchachos!

Coffee Update #8

Heyyyy guys! Welcome back to another Coffee Update. This is where we grab a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate, as the climate seems to demand, and I talk to you about what’s up with my life right now. A bit of a vlog in a written form, if you will.

So grab a cuppa and settle down!


If we were having coffee right now, firstly, I would tell you that I can totally NOT get over this song, at all. I’ve played it, like 47 times in the last 5 days. Maybe an exaggeration, but that’s as accurate as it gets. The song’s too goddamn catchy. Ed Sheeran never ceases to surprise me. Go check it out if you haven’t heard it already! Here, I’ll just give it to you:

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Click on the image to go to the football blog I’ve started

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I’ve created another place for myself to write! Some of you may have seen a couple of football-related posts on this blog. I realised that this isn’t exactly the place for those kind of posts, but I do have a great interest in football and, as it appears, some people think I write well about football. So I decided to create The United Writer! It is a blog where I write about football and Manchester United Football Club.

It’s hardly been about three/four months since I started the blog, but its already allowed me to get in touch with some great people in the football-related media community and interacting with others in a field of your interest is always a great experience. For example, the owner of one of the biggest football fan accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, got in touch with me, since (I assume) he probably liked my work. Now I write with him on his website! The name is Man United Zone, and you can check it out by clicking here: Man United Zone

I’m really happy with where I am, and I look forward to growing more, and in that quest, I can use all the help I get!

If we were having coffee right now, I’d briefly tell you about what’s going on with me academically. I had my exams for the first semester of my Bachelor’s course at college about a month back. We got the results for that, just today. I’m not happy with the amount of effort I put in, preparing for the exams. We haven’t received a cumulative grade yet, but going by the individual subject grades I’ve got, I’m pretty sure I’ll make an A, I’m hoping they bump me up to A+. Yes, regrets. Powerful thing, no?

I haven’t done particularly badly, but I’m going to try and not make the same mistakes again. I tend to do that sometimes, and I really don’t like it when I do.

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If we were having coffee right now, I’d talk to you about Sherlock for a little bit. Holy shit, Cumbersandwich you beautiful, beautiful man! What an absolute gem this show has been. It seems pretty clear they’ve prepared for the end, and this was probably it. I think it’s a great end to a great show, and it would seem unnatural to drag it on further. It was a pleasure. I shall miss the two year long waits for new seasons.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d just like to thank you. For being here, reading and listening, with us separated only by something as trivial as a digital screen and maybe a few hundred miles, at the most.

I write because I like to share my thoughts here. Right now, I appreciate anybody who’s reading this, and even those who choose not to.


So, well, that’s what’s up! You are now officially updated with some of the stuff I’m dealing with at the moment! It was great catching a quick coffee with you peoples, I’ll see you soon.

Until the next post,

Adios muchachos!

Coffee Update #5

 

COFFEE UPDATE5

Welcome back to another one of my Coffee Updates! This is where I brief you with what’s up in my life, what I’m thinking, and what I’ve been up to recently.

So grab a cuppa and settle in.


 

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I am finally done with my 12th Grade Finals, or the Board Exams, as they are called here. They went on for around a month but I wrote my last exam a couple of days back. To be honest, they went very, very well. I feel I did well. I had English, Hindi, Economics, Philosophy, Psychology and Logic as my subjects for the last two years (Philosophy came in, in the second year; I had Math for the first year) out of which I think I found Economics and Hindi to be the toughest overall. Economics because there were a lot of chapters to study and remember stuff from, and Hindi because, well, generally I just found the chapters just really boring. We had short stories and poems and I felt that some of those short stories had a good message to give, but they were so awfully written. I mean, it just dragged on. Plus it was in Hindi, something I don’t read every day so it takes more time than it does with English. So many of those stories were written more than 30-40 years back and maybe this was how people wrote back then. In the end, it all went really well. Now I have a couple of months of just basic chilling out before the results come out sometime in the last week of May, after which its back to college admissions and picking subjects and courses and what not.

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Batmanvssuperman8191234If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice is releasing on the 25th of March, which is also my birthday. I know, right? I have been so hyped to see this ever since it was announced. Batfleck gonna be awesome. Now, yes the initial reactions of most of the people who watched it on its early premiere and stuff around the world, have all been negative. Everybody’s blaming Snyder for screwing up with what was supposed to be a monument of perfection. What people wanted to be a monument of perfection. It is understandable since so many have grown up reading the comics and watching on – screen versions of these characters and it is surely close to them. I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t want to form any opinions right now, but it seems to me as if people need to appreciate it for what it is and not loathe it for what it is not. Its a huge thing that this movie got made in the first place. Seeing Batman and Superman in an epic showdown with such great graphics and stuff, thanks to modern technology. Who would’ve dreamed of seeing this on the big screen 10 years back? With such a great cast, no less. It is very easy to pick out faults in blockbusters like these and tout it around as a huge failure, but very few of us actually know what went on behind the scenes and why this happened. A friend of mine said it could be because of the owners and the people who bankrolled the movie, and could have maybe put some restrictions on the actual guys who made the film. Its not a completely outlandish idea. Despite all this though, I go in with an open mind and I am sure its going to be one of the best movies I ever saw on my birthday.

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If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I am going to go away for a little vacation next week, with my parents and my little sister. The place is a few hours away from the city, and its not all exotic and shit, like most people like to do when they turn 18 or just give their 12th Board Exams, but it doesn’t really matter to me. I’ll be gone for two weeks and its likely that I won’t get a decent internet connection there so its also very likely that I won’t be posting anything for those two weeks or so.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that a few weeks back I found out about this book fair in the city where they sell books by weight. Most of the books are second-hand but in close to perfect condition overall, and they have fixed prices like, Rs. 100/kg for certain kinds of books, 200/kg for others and 300/kg for the rest. That right there, is an absolute steal, because these days even some two hundred page books cost Rs. 399 and Rs. 499. So I got myself a few kilos. We kinda reached late when it was about to close plus we had to get home and study because our exams weren’t yet done with, or I would have probably taken more. In any case, I’m going there again. Anybody in Mumbai want to check this out, its near the Churchgate station, on the east side, in a place called Sundarbai Hall. Its open every day from 10 AM, I think, to 6 PM till the 4th of April.


 

Aaaaand, that’s all I’ve got for this Coffee Update, but there’s sure to be a looot more in the next one, because that will be after I get back from my vacation outta town, so stick around for that.

I hope you’re enjoying these Coffee Updates, because I sure am enjoying writing them! Let me know if you did by liking, following and above all, by letting me know in the comments down below. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Any of you going to watch Batman v Superman? What’d you think of the trailers and the initial reactions? Lemme know! 😀

I’ll see you guys next time.

Naked With Black Socks

(Or the tale of how stupid I can sometimes be)

Okay, picture this:

Stage in front of you. People in the audience expectantly looking at it (okay, those people who aren’t staring at their blue-light emitting smartphone screens). You standing by it, or behind some curtains or something, dreading the time you have to go up there. Your heart is pounding, you’re probably sweating more than usual, maybe trembling a little, maybe yawning more than usual as well. But you’re still trying to keep a smile on your face (that’s probably gone white by now).

See the picture?

That was somewhat the picture I was a part of today. I wasn’t the only one though, it was a lot of other students as well, during our Hindi examination, which was orally taken. Okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit up there, since the audience apart from our subject teacher, was comprised of fellow students who understood our predicament if we fumbled a little up on the stage.

So, we were supposed to give a small speech of sorts, on any subject under the sun (or beyond it, for that matter), in Hindi, ideally with perfect pronunciation, enunciation, and clarity. Beyond that, the examiner usually expects a little over-the-top, nerdy vocab if he’s to consider scoring the speaker anywhere near the 90% mark. You don’t use at least 4-5 big, long, royal-sounding words, then don’t expect a great score. Once that was done, he also asked each of us basic questions like where we lived and what our native place was, including questions from chapters from our textbooks.

Now I’d gone prepared with about a 2-minute long speech, I figured I’d improvise if he asked for more, but that hardly ever happens because they usually get what they want in a about 5-7 lines of speaking itself, and that’s exactly what happened. So that was all good.

Now, I don’t usually get flustered in the face of public speaking. At least not as much as most others. I’ve done it a lot all through school. In fact, I used to volunteer for such things. My dad’s profession involves him to do lots, and lots of public speaking. Hell, that’s what his job revolves around, so he’s told me a lot about it at times I’ve been scared to do it. However, when I had to go up to face the examiner’s questions, I was kinda nervous since he was going to ask us questions from chapters from the textbook, and I hadn’t really revised this a lot, going into the examination. Let’s just say I wasn’t confident about it.

So, he says, “NEXT,” and that means I’m supposed to go up. I walk up to his desk, sign on the sheet we were all supposed to sign on (which denoted our presence for the examination), and waited.

He began with the easy ones like my name and where I lived. But here’s where it got interesting. He asked me where I studied.

And I said…

“At home, at my desk.”

Yeah, I actually said that. Not even kidding right now.

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I did realise that I was supposed to answer with the name of the college I studied at and said it too, but, well…

So, yeah. That happened.

In my defense, I do actually study more at my home than I ever have at college, because there hardly ever are lectures to attend/interesting enough to attend.

Interesting thing though, I was worried about how I’d do at the questions he asked me from the textbook chapters and not about the rest, but I did really well at those questions and instead messed up at the basic stuff. Its all good though, I did really well at everything else in the examination and there were people who goofed up more exponentially than I did and I take solace in that fact.


 

So, have you ever had this kind of experience? Did you screw up publicly like this, and have despised yourself for doing that, ever since? Let me know, so we can laugh at each other’s momentary lapse in, well, intelligence.

Until next time, folks.

Post inspired by the following daily prompt – Naked with Black Socks

 

Coffee Update #3

COFFEE UPDATE 3

Fancy a coffee? Cyber-coffee, shall we call this?

Welcome back to a third coffee update. Let me bring you up to speed with stuff, while you sip on that beautiful little cup of coffee.


 

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I’ve designed a couple of new covers for this post format on my blog (the ones at the beginning of this post). Pretty snazzy, eh?

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I’ve put my music library on shuffle at the moment, and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep is on right now. Her voice can either really get on your nerves, or it feels very, very satisfying.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that Suits is officially THE best TV show on this planet or any other developed enough to rank TV shows. It resumed its 5th season on the 27th of January after a winter break, long enough to make me impatient as hell. Literally every episode of it is perfect. Do yourself a favour and go watch it.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you I just got back my results for the preliminary examinations that took place in the second and third weeks of January. I said I was confident of doing well, and I did. Since the prelims are like a rehearsal for the real thing (the Boards, where you do not actually write on boards), the teachers are often very strict while dishing out marks and frequently give us less than what our answer objectively warrants, so that us students don’t get complacent before the Boards. I did encounter this in a couple of subjects, but not all. No big deal though, I know what the reality of the situation is though.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that Billy Boyd is a hell of a guy. Just listen to this:

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I finally saw Spectre. I see what people meant when they said Christoph Waltz was under-utilised. I feel he was terribly under-used. He was such a badass in Django Unchained and now this is the role he gets in a James Bond movie that should have been defining for him as that character who is kinda blurred morally, as he was in Django. Overall decent Bond flick, but it always feels with Dan Craig’s Bond, that the real villain is always Bond himself, with his personality coming in the way all the time.

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Some Spectre fan art I found.

 

Well, that’s it for this coffee convo (or tea if you’re not into coffee)! I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about me.

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