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.

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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!

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”

Awesome Quotes – Today/Now

AWESOME QUOTESWelcome to a brand new set of Awesome Quotes. For a change, it’s not a Friday thing.

This week’s theme is today, or the here and now.

I recently participated in a 7-day camp at The Yoga Institute at Santacruz, Mumbai and am enrolled at a teacher’s training course at the same place (I’ve spoken about this earlier, here and here). A big lesson I have learnt there thus far, is to stay in the present. To consciously be where I am, whatever I am doing, with whoever I am. I have realised I have rarely done that in quite some time now.

Tap into your thoughts at any given point of time. Our mind is very fast. Most normal events are too slow or not sufficiently stimulative for it to be completely engaged with those tasks, and it wanders. We are either fretting over the past, the could-have and should-have-beens, or worrying over the future, what is yet to be. Neither is wrong or bad, just know that either way, it shall bear you no fruits, material or otherwise. You cannot change what happened in the past by worrying about it, and you cannot ever know what is going to happen the next second by breaking a sweat over that. Yes, you can learn from what has already transpired, you can maybe even make amends for your errors but worrying or fretting will only waste your time and worse, make you negative.

Therefore, the only thing that will keep our mind steady is to be in the moment and take things as they come, while understanding the consequences of the decisions we make while in the moment. We are being mindful.

With that in mind, I’ve got a few quotes about the ideas and concepts that ‘living in the present’ encompasses. Please, enjoy the now!


“Just for today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once.

Just for today I will be happy.”

— Kenneth L. Holmes

Let’s all try to live in the now just for today, and see how it goes.

“The future is not yet ours; perhaps it never will be. It is exposing ourselves to temptation to wish to anticipate God, and to prepare ourselves for things which he may not destine for us. Let us give heed to the present, whose duties are pressing; it is fidelity to the present which prepares us for fidelity in the future.”

— Francois Fenelon

I find this to be put very articulately and aptly.

“Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision:
But Today well-lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.”

— Translated from Sanskrit

Live today well. Look forward to living tomorrow well.

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Tomorrow is a new day. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with it’s hopes and invitations,to waste a moment on yesterdays.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learn and move on.

“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”

— Dale Carnegie

Live a little. Don’t procrastinate on that shit.

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake.”

— Thoreau

This one’s deep.

“Happiness is here and now.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh, 1926

If you want to be happy, be happy now. Happiness isn’t a place to get to, its a way of travelling.

“Ordinary people merely think how they shall spend their time; a man of talent tries to use it.”

— Arthur Schopenhauer

Use thy time.

“Time is not a line, but a series of now points.”

— Taisen Deshimaru

Make all the use of the now, so you won’t have to complain on its scarcity later.


Aaaaand that’s all I have for this week’s Awesome Quotes! I hope you guys enjoyed.

I’ll see you next time, when I’ll be back with some more Awesome Quotes.

Carpe diem.

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

White v/s Yellow

How many of you have normal white light bulbs and tubes in your homes? Probably, the photons of those lights are shining down on you right now, while you read this.

The rest of you most probably have the yellow ones.

Ever noticed how the yellow ones almost always seem more calm, sombre and soothing. Depending on your mood and circumstances, the yellow ones may add to your ‘sadness’. I put sadness in inverted commas, because I feel it is almost always a state of mind. But that’s not the point here.

So, yes, this post is in fact about light bulbs, but that isn’t the premise of the post. The premise is the emotions and state of mind light elicits in us.

What drove me to write about this? Well, its been coming for a while, because I’ve felt this way about white and yellow lights for a long time now, just never thought I should write about it. But the immediate stimulus was the yellow light that recently got put up in my bathroom, while there also is a white light in there. I am a person who thinks a lot. I don’t mean that in the sense that I routinely overthink (although I do overthink at times), but just that I think deeply. Its tough to explain. A lot of thinking happens in the bathroom, as I am sure it does for a lot of others as well. Now, it is pretty well-founded that the surroundings, the setting, influences our thinking and state of mind and I feel illumination surely plays a big role in that. You should experiment with this, and see for yourself. Of course, this is subjective so you may not feel the same way I do, but its worth a shot if you have the time and the inclination.

Without getting too psychological, I realised that I find it much more soothing, calming and uplifting when I’ve got just the yellow light on. The white one seems a little… harsh, I guess would be the right word.

 


 

So, that was what was on my mind for a while now. Maybe this post was a tiny step away from what I’ve been writing recently, which honestly isn’t a lot, but I felt like maybe there’s others who feel the same way.

Is this what you feel too, or is there something else you feel, apart from this? Anything at all, let me know!

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?