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.

New Beginnings

All of us lead certain distinctive kinds of lifestyles. It begins when we are very young. We fall into categories, and usually just keep going deeper into them. Habits and patterns form. These turn into mechanical behaviour, more or less. Many don’t realise it. Those that do, find it difficult to reverse. Impossible, we say. “Nothing’s impossible!” our mind screams out in despair. That’s usually where 90% of the optimism gets drained.

A very few of us are fortunate enough to have a light thrown at us, and have somebody tell us that indeed, nothing’s impossible. Nothing. There are other ways to live. Better ways. Good people.

I am extremely honoured to say that I am one of those fortunate ones. I recently had a 7-day long experience that has definitively changed my life.

Starting at 8 AM on the 23rd of April to 2 PM on the 29th of April, I experienced what were probably the most relaxing, liberating and enlightening (roughly) 150 hours of my life so far. I’m being totally serious. Some of you who have read some of my previous posts, and especially the last one or two Coffee Updates, may have read about how I have enrolled in a two year long teacher training course on Yoga, at The Yoga Institute in Santacruz, Mumbai. Since it is an advanced course, it’s prerequisite is that all students must first complete the introductory 7-day camp. The 7-day camp is residential as well as non-residential, which means students can stay there at the hostel for the duration of the seven days, depending on the availability of beds, of course. It is meant to be done living there, to get the authentic experience. And that’s how I did it; I stayed there for 7 days.

It involves waking up early in the morning, doing exercises, or asanas, as Yoga calls it, and various other activities throughout the day, both physically and mentally stimulating, interspersed with wholesome, fresh, nutritious food at regular intervals. All of this not only rejuvenates your body, but it freshens your mind as well.

At this point, I have to admit that I was, at first, very apprehensive about doing this. Not in the ‘I-don’t-want-to-do-it’ way, because I knew I had to do it and I knew how good it would be for me if I let it. And that right there, is probably the thing. A part of me wasn’t letting the course be what it was meant to be. On the very first day itself, I was repeatedly reminded to open up my mind, let go, relax and enjoy. After what I learnt there, I realise that Yoga, as it is marketed in so many places around the world: loosening up your body, essentially becoming some sort of contortionist, is so badly interpreted. Yes, the physical side is an very important aspect, but to me at least, Yoga is more about the mind and being the master of it.

There were a few huge notions that I engineered into my mind while I was there, and these are the kind of notions that stick around.

The first one is of not judging people. There were about 57-58 of us taking part in the 7 Day Camp, out of which a good 30%-40% were from countries other than India. We’ve lived all our lives, being told to be wary of others, how the world’s a cruel place and whatnot. Some of the more skeptical people also tell us that the world’s become so shitty you can’t trust anybody. As we grow up, we also learn from experience and whenever we experience something of this kind, it sticks, because we’ve also been hearing so much of this kind from those close to us. Impressionable young minds. Classmates spreading rumours about you, having a fight with a friend about something you later realise was petty, having an experience of typically snobbish Government employees. This kind of stuff happens a lot in early life, and especially the first two. It all reaffirms our faith in what everybody tells us and how the world is basically a giant pisspot. What we don’t realise, though, is that it’s stuff like this that shapes our psyche, and ultimately our life.

Maybe the world is a giant pisspot. Depends on where you decide to stand. And that’s the second thing I learnt. I, and only I, have control over how I see things. If I see them from a negative light, then it’s only going to make me feel shittier about things. Not a single soul in the world would know. I control my state of mind, and Yoga is all about having a balanced state of mind.

I have always been a bit of a dumb perfectionist of sorts. I have wanted things to be a certain way, for them to turn out in a certain way. I have even wanted myself to be a certain kind of person. But that was a classical kind of punishing belief system that I had created. I even studied about it in Psychology class, but it never struck me. I guess epiphanies are like lightning in that way, they don’t strike unless there’s a thunderstorm. That brings me to the next thing I learnt. I have no box I need to fit into. There’s no hard-frame category I must be in, or a condition I must always be fulfilling. All I need to be doing is my duty, whatever it may be at that particular point in time. At 4 in the afternoon, for example, my duty is to go to the gym, because fitness is a duty to myself. Or at 6 AM three or four days a week, my duty is to go cycling with my sister. Once college begins, my duty would be to attend college from 7 AM to 12 PM 5 days a week. Every Wednesday though, I am allowed to watch The Flash for 45 minutes, since that constitutes recreation and that also is important.

That’s enough of me preaching, I guess. I’ll sign off while you guys are still tolerating me.

Just kidding, I’ve got some more epiphanies to rant on.

LOL, kidding. Again.

I’ll show myself out.

starts meditating

Makin’ it Right

There’s those few times when you’re really pumped for something. Like, completely excited. Sometimes its more of an amalgamation of excitement and nervousness, confidence, and the lack thereof, surety and doubt. In that kind of state of mind, there’s a million different thoughts shooting to and from every nook and cranny of your mind, some appearing from corners you may not have thought you had. Little paradox, I made up right there, eh? It does feel like that is the case, at least in those kinds of moments.

I had that kind of moment earlier today.

Some of you may know my Boards are going on. In fact, they just began today. I appeared for the English exam this morning. Now, a few hours before that, I was sitting on the couch at home, and revising a couple of questions from the chapters I had to study and I was going through some notes I had on my phone simultaneously. The chapter I was studying at that moment, had something to do with the education system in the country, and a question the textbook posed to us was whether we would change anything in the current education system of the country, if we had the power. It also asked to elaborate on what that would be, and why. Anybody who has had the littlest of experiences in the Indian education system has definitely considered a lot of changes that should be made to the same, and I admit I’m no different. It is evidently a flawed system. Of course, nothing’s perfect, but sometimes the flaws are just plain stupid and worse, unfair. So I went through the answer the textbook guide had, thought of whether I agreed with it (which I did), and thought up what I, personally, would write if such a question were to appear on the exam, before quickly moving on to the next chapter, like we usually do.

Well, not quite. Something must have stuck, since I found myself circling back to this topic a little while later when I’d put aside the books and was just sitting there thinking about how I’d be managing my time during the exam, because the English exams I’ve given in the 12th Grade so far have all been lengthy.

This, precisely, was one of those moments where I had a shit ton of different thoughts and muddled in all that was one thought that I somehow managed to hold on to. There’s gazillion different things floating around our minds and its not even surprising that we lose so many thoughts that could potentially be huge.

The thought I had was about that same question I read in my English book. It occurred to me how we always reminisce and say things like, “What I would give to go back to school/college. Ah, those days!” I realised that what we actually mean is to go back to the time when we were that young, with the kind of circumstances back then, not literally back to school or college. We generally mean to refer to friends and the experiences we had with them. We hardly ever want to come back to school or college, and especially not for the academic-side of it, because that’s just plain boring, no?

Well, yes, partly, but then that’s exactly what must change. The kind of change I want to see in the education system should make me want to go back to school or college to study again, but in the changed environment. It should make me go, “Oh, what I’d give to be able to study that way!” And although I won’t be able to do it and it may make me envy those that would be, I’d be able to deal with that fact because of the sense of pride I might then get, and the satisfaction in the fact that there’s at least somebody who is studying the right way, or at least a better way.

I know that that is a very vague answer to that question, but it still holds true in a way, doesn’t it?

Now, I hope I don’t come off as a complete dick in what I wrote up there. Like, some may think, what is a 17 year old suggesting changes to complete education systems; a 17 year old that’s barely through college himself. Just expressing a thought of mine.

Thank you very much for reading!

Before I sign off for today, I’ve got an Awesome Quotes post coming out tomorrow. I’ve scheduled it, and kept it on auto-publish so bar any glitches in the matrix, it should be out tomorrow, so do come back for that. In case you haven’t been here for a while, then I’ll have you know that the post coming out tomorrow is part two of a two part awesome quotes feature, and you can check out the first part by clicking here.

See you guys next time 🙂


All’s Well That Ends… Oh Wait…

Image Courtesy -
Image Courtesy –

There can only be two reasons for looking at the sunset. And by looking, I mean actually sitting there, enjoying the breeze and appreciating the alluring, vibrant hues of yellow, red and vermillion. These reasons are: 1. When we’re really happy and 2. When we’re not. In rare cases there is a third (like, you’re out at the beach with your family so instead of building lousy old sand castles with your younger sibling you’re looking at the sunset), but the state of mind ultimately boils down to these two reasons.

The other day I found myself looking out at the sunset. A lot of thoughts drifted through my mind and I usually have a pretty long train of thought that doesn’t last beyond the moment so I can’t really recount those thoughts here. Surprisingly, I don’t remember whether I was particularly happy or not at that moment. It was definitely a mix of both. The circumstances in my life would make me think that it was more of not-happy than the opposite (my 10th Grade results are under a week away).

I’ve always had a positive approach to life to the point of being called an unabashed optimist. I’m certainly not ashamed of that despite my optimism not materialising in various situations.

I believe failure doesn’t deserve the amount of hate it receives. People are not supposed to fear failure. They are certainly not supposed to go hunting for it with axes and clubs but at the same time one must always reserve a margin for possible failure. It is in this aspect that I regret being the brazen idealist that I was.

I used to believe that even when I did not give my best effort, everything would turn out fine and that my effort was ‘just enough’. Obviously, it turned out to be far from enough and this would make me doubt myself. This self – doubt would deprive me of self – confidence and anxiety would creep in. I started setting unrealistic goals for myself and I always thought that whatever I did was not enough. It was a vicious cycle. It had to be broken sometime.

Like the hero in most movies, I fought my demons (and I’m still fighting them), but life’s been much better since that teensy – but – oh – so – ginormous epiphany about a year back.

Well, this ain’t therapy and I’m definitely not looking for a shoulder to cry on (like I would ever do that). Usually I just keep writing when I do, so one thing kinda led to another.

Anyway… thank you for bearing with me and here’s a little story (like a potato at the end of long memes :P):

Continue reading “All’s Well That Ends… Oh Wait…”