Your Mountain, Your Path

I have had a few thoughts about stuff, so bear with me as I try to compile them into a fairly sensible blog post. I might be incoherent at times, but trust me; there is a method to my madness. So here goes.

Bruce Wayne kicks off Batman v Superman by saying there were once ‘diamond absolutes’. I believe, in real life, there are none. There are no absolutes. It’s all variable and relative.

There’s a lot of idealism in most people’s upbringings, I suppose. I’d hate to generalize or speak for others, so I’m going to stick to me. I grew up with a lot of ideals being placed in front of me. I continue to grow with a similar buffet of ideals placed in front of me. “I must strive to be ‘x’ kind of a person”, “strive to achieve ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ things”, “look for ‘x’ kind of qualities in people I must accept as peers, friends, partners,” et cetera, et cetera.

Simon Sinek is a well known orator and in general, someone with great understanding of people, among, I’m sure, a lot of other things. There’s this one interview/speech of his where he talks about millennials, the why behind their troubles in life – faulty upbringing, skewed perceptions on life, low self esteem, lack of “grit”, and how society sees them. I am aware I’m not the typical prototype of a millennial, but I couldn’t help but relate to some things Simon says (see what I did there?).  

He says relationships are slow, uncomfortable, meandering, messy processes. He says, “I see young people these days standing at the foot of a mountain, with this abstract concept of ‘impact’ that they want to have in the world. What they don’t see is the mountain.”

The concept of this mountain is what I’m trying to get at here.

Its not wrong to have ideals like the ones I mentioned above. I have many of those ideals, and I’m sure many of you have a variation of them as well. They motivate us and keep us going. They give us somewhere to go. However, there’s some traveling to be done from where you are, to where that ideal is. There’s some climbing to be done, and there’s no one single path. I may walk 20 miles before falling into a ditch 10 feet deep, not coming out of it for a few weeks.

That’s how life is. There ain’t no map, no instruction manual. Each and every one of us is figuring it out as we go along. A different path, is not necessarily the wrong one.

I talk a lot about ‘moments’ and enjoying them, in a lot of my blog posts, but that’s because I believe in the process. I live for it. The ‘little innocuous moments’ as Sinek calls them, when you’re not doing anything, when you’re just sitting and looking around, observing, registering, and thinking. When ideas come and go, when people look at you like an idiot for not looking down at your phone or reading something and instead just gazing around. You’re not an idiot. In that moment, you’re human. And the great thing about that is that while you’re on a path to some esoteric land where you want to get to, you’re looking on each side, at the fields passing you by, the roads, the people, all the other mountains, the rain drops, everything. You’re looking, and that’s more than many of us can boast of having really, truly done today. So, look!

To not blindly walk, but appreciate the path others are on, while walking on my own path, is something I want to live by.

How to not be Stupid – For Dummies

It is common experience that distraction and a temporary lack of definite direction are easy to befriend in certain states of the mind.

I just call it plain stupidity. (Of course, the first step to accepting your own stupidity is to not glare when your closest friend taps you on the head and calls you the stupid fellow you are.)

“…the pangs of sequestration in the maddening darkness of a closed prison,” says K Satchidanandan in one of his essays.

I have a habit of sometimes being too naïve. That’s a bad thing, by the way. I say things I may mean as a compliment, being completely oblivious that there is one small facet of what  I said, that turns the whole thing on it’s head. It no longer remains a compliment, having lost all its endearing attributes. It is now a prickly statement of disinterest. You’d have to be supremely detached to not get pissed when I do something like this. Stupid, remember?

Of course, ‘getting pissed’ thereafter brings with it the various stages of “maddening darkness”, giving birth to the aforementioned “pangs of sequestration”.

Satchidanandan knows his shit.

I could quite easily go into vivid details about how these “pangs” are, in totality, quite sucky indeed. Or, instead, I could tell you how I stop feeling stupid (although I’m told I still am stupid), and go down the river of #SentiFeelz.

This is exactly how.

I write.

And then I am rather hastily transported back to a land of no pangs. Here, its suddenly hard to brush off the thought of those flowers. I actually, thoughtfully, bought flowers for the first time ever today. It was a big deal. They looked amazing. Even better in the hands of whom they’re meant for. The rains just make this moment of reminiscing, shining.

I just keep smiling out into the trees, as the drops continue falling in front of me, the wind occasionally spraying some water at my stupid face.


Yes, that is me in the image, photoshopping a bunch of potatoes. Everyday stuff. No biggie.

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!

#Shorts: Illusions

The empty garden was made more beautiful with the presence of his friends. Separation had made them fonder in his eyes, and not that they were here, they couldn’t stop talking. Back and forth; it was like a dance.

A minute later, he was reminded he was alone in the room, hoping for what had already been lost. He stopped staring at the wall and switched on the television.

Continue reading “#Shorts: Illusions”

On New Opportunities

They said (degree) college life will be fun.

They were right.

They said I’d learn a lot there.

They were right.

They never said I’d learn so much so early! ‘Cause I have. I’ve learnt a lot. And very little has been from studying the subjects, ironically enough.

One opportunity I got at college was to take part in and volunteer to organise the fests that take place at college annually. I volunteered for two such fests, which took place during the past week.

I definitely learnt a lot just from working with so many people organizing something of this scale, but I think I was offered more to learn, because of the different experiences I had working with two different sets of people on two different things. The people I got to know, the things I got to be a part of; it was all worth the ‘trouble’.

One of the fests was organised by a department that I wasn’t connected with in any way because the curriculum I’ve chosen doesn’t include that subject. Had I not gone to that first meeting when they were calling out for volunteers, I would never have been part of this great event, and never would have gotten to know all of those wonderful people, just because I don’t share a subject with them.

Hmm. Funny how that could have worked out.

Now that I think of it, these fests were an awesome place to conduct a social experiment. I realise now that my perceptions of a lot of people changed over the course of the three to four months we spent planning for the fests. Some people to whom I was indifferent, I now really respect. Some who I really respected, I don’t as much, anymore.

I won’t say that this change in perception is solely because I got to know them better over time, because we all judge people and we have a perception in the first place because we’ve made a judgment of them. That isn’t always bad if you don’t consciously let that judgment get in the way of you interacting with them and working with them. I’ll admit there were a few incidents where I failed at doing that. I really did not like a few people I had to work with. There were moments where I consciously despised them and did not want to meet them at all. I ranted about them to my friends and parents. I got myself angry over them. I tired myself out over them. I’m just really fucking grateful to have my parents and friends around, because I would have been cribbing for much longer if they hadn’t listened patiently to my rants, and then given me a kick up the butt to get it together and do what I gotta do.

At the same time, there were so many more people who I’d love to spend more time with. There’s so many people who I have massive respect for and I always will. I had disagreements with a few people in the heat of the moment. I got pulled under the pressure a little and let go for a bit. I said some things to some people, and I shouldn’t have done that. I let them know of that, and I think my relationship with them is in a better place because of the past week.

The last week has been really good for me. I’ve done a lot of running around, both out on physical ground, but also up in my head. I’ve made a lot of new friends, and been a part of a few things at college, and had experiences I’ve never had before. Since the ‘first time’ only comes once, I guess I’ll never have those experiences again.

I wouldn’t like it to be any other way.

People are Good

A week ago, I was on my way home from college and I had to make a minor detour to grab a few medicines for my grandfather. It was a Saturday, and the shop hadn’t opened yet. The tailor in the adjacent shop told me I should wait for another fifteen to twenty minutes; the medicine store owner should be here any time now, he said. So I stood on the pavement outside the store and I waited.

I was just looking around, observing things (my phone was precariously low on battery). I noticed a few students from my college walk by, people who I’d seen at college but didn’t consciously remember doing so. They looked quite different from the last time I met them. One had a distinctly different hairstyle now. It was only 10:30 and people were already lining up at the liquor store that had not opened.

A bird almost pooped on me. I was lucky. For now.

Among all this, two connected incidents stuck out to me. Not that they were dramatic paradigm-shifters or eye opening or anything, but they stimulated a thought process to which I have kept returning over the last few months.

Continue reading “People are Good”

Why I Greet People With a Salute

(And why you could too)

A lot of my friends know I do this. Whenever I meet them, whether it’s when we see each other during the first lecture of the day at college, or when we catch up with each other in the canteen, or when they open the door to me when I go to their house to hang out, I greet them not with a handshake, not with a nonchalant, “Hey, man,” or an embrace, but with a salute. Of course, I do partake in handshakes and nonchalant versions of, “Hi,” and hugs (hugs are the best, especially if it’s with a dog), but more often than not, it’s a salute. Here’s why.

 

Continue reading “Why I Greet People With a Salute”

On Society, Prejudice, Judging and Introversion

Modern society gives rise to a multitude of problems, psychological and other. Sometimes these problems find their place in a person’s mind right when they’re kids and other times it happens when they are older. Its not easy to find them and even harder to accept their existence but once you have done so I believe its a little easier to get rid of them.

Not many ever realise they had an issue in the first place until they’re quite old. You’re told to have good habits right from your childhood. The same goes with these ‘issues’ and ‘problems’ I talk about.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m not trying to sound like an arrogant little prick preaching to the world, how to be a better person. [Arrogant little pricks are the last people you would like to take that kind of advice from.] There are swathes of people that we see everyday. Many of these have, sometimes astonishingly perceptible flaws and though none of us mean to judge, these character-blemishes can sometimes be very bothersome. We sometimes find people that we just cannot stand, yet we have to deal with them every single day. They might be co-workers, mutual friends, neighbours, a bus conductor of the bus you travel by everyday or even your boss or a teacher.

There’s a guy I’ve met at college and I have the unique and generally-displeasurable pleasure of sitting next to him everyday. [I have just begun college so please bear with my repeatedly writing about college.] So, the guy seemed like a pretty decent guy in the beginning; kinda shy like me, doesn’t talk much to pretty much anybody, serious enough about studies but at the same time not a nerd-y guy. Turns out I was wrong about him.

But now we’re “friends”. And I’m stuck.

You see, here in India, not many guys opt for Humanities or ‘Arts’ [as it is called] voluntarily. Most guys end up in Humanities since the percentage required to get into it is comparatively less than Commerce and Science [though it goes up to the early nineties in the best colleges]. Plus, people from minority classes like Maharashtrians or Muslims, for instance, can get into any college simply on the basis of their being a minority, irrespective of their percentage. This invariably fills a college with people with a low intellectual level.

I am at one of the best colleges for Humanities in Mumbai but this college has a minority reservation for Maharashtrians who are basically from a lower education Board than I’m from and so its difficult to get along. There’s barely twenty guys in all my class and the rest of them [about 70 (its a huge classroom)] are all girls; as I said, not many guys opt for Humanities because it is thought that girls take Humanities because Science and Commerce is too much for girls to handle (goddamn traditional beliefs, I know).

So anyways, I started by talking about the problems modern society gives us. One problem that I have is shyness. I’m not blaming modern society for it because its not its fault, I’ve always been shy. But you know what? This blog actually helps a lot with that and I can say with conviction that I have actually changed as a person since I’ve started writing this blog. Again, I won’t say that its just the blog that’s helped; I have taken active decisions to try and be less shy, talk to people around, look confident and try and be confident and that’s helped too.

I recently saw this video on TED (below), in which the speaker Susan Cain talks about introverts and how they are not given importance by society.

 

 

I was also recently browsing stuff on StumbleUpon and I chanced upon an article on LifeHack which debunked a few common myths about introverts and I completely agree that these myths are really myths and a lot of people feel that way about introverts and I know because people have said some of these things to me. For example, recently at college I was introduced to a friend circle of my friend and we spent an hour or so between classes roaming the campus and I didn’t speak much because they weren’t really my type of friends and I respected this friend so I didn’t get out of the group either. When they didn’t see me speak much and just keep listening, they all went, “Oh he’s such an introvert he doesn’t say anything ever!” and stuff like that.

You can find that article here.

Well, I was just going with my thoughts when I started writing this and now my thoughts aren’t taking me anywhere really, so I’m just going to end this by saying that we all have our issues but we must learn to acknowledge them and learn how to deal with them without being a pain to others around us.

As far as introversion is concerned, I really think people need to start understanding what it is all about, I mean literally everybody I’ve met, has asked me at least once, why I don’t speak much. Even some friends I’ve known right through school have said that to me. When somebody says that to you, you just lose interest in talking to them, because you know that they don’t understand you. When somebody says something like that to an introvert, they obviously have a jumbled-up head; that’s how I think most people who talk that way are. They confuse things for themselves. But they hardly ever get that.

53588732
Peter Griffin really nails it.