What to do with your time when you are traveling

Sketch by brother

Recently I’ve had to travel a lot and I am trying to figure out a way to best use or waste that time. So today after take-off, I decided to just scribble a bit about what most people do with their time. And what you can also do instead of vegetating.

  1. Take photos of stationary and moving things through stained windows.
  2. Read/ attempt to read that book you picked up last month/ pretend to read something that will make you look slightly more intelligent/interesting.
  3. Talk to random people and exchange life stories. Get a free therapy session done!
  4. Work, because you are too busy and you must be very busy since you’re working while traveling. Meeting deadlines while you are in a  high speed vehicle is its own thrill. (You can spot a Consultant by the white shirt and panic on their faces as they frantically try to work in planes, buses, cars and boats!) 
  5. Eat- the snacks you got packed, the snacks you will buy, the snacks others are eating and the snacks you’re thinking of eating.
  6. Count the stops if you’re traveling by train or bus. Count the number of times flight crew members strut up and down the aisle with food, trash and trash they are supposed to sell.
  7. Write/ draw/ doodle, revel in your artistic side when surrounded by people, for people. Nothing boosts creativity like people-watching, especially when they are strapped to their seats and can’t do anything about you watching them.
  8. Catch up on sleep. Nothing matches the wonderful swaying of trains or the fuzzy whirring of planes to put you to sleep.
  9. Catch up on sleep- that’s the best way to avoid people who want to talk to you.
  10. Sleep, it’s the best thing to do in that time. Unless you’re in a magical chariot with Michael Fassbender traveling through Middle Earth.

I did a bit of 7 and attempted to do lots of 8-10, but it was interrupted by a hoary voice announcing status updates about food, junk being sold on planes, temperature and whatnot every 15 minutes.

Facing Fears

I know I need to do this. But this feels so challenging, so uncomfortable and so difficult. Like meeting long lost cousins with whom you can’t make any conversation and so you have to keep stuffing your mouth with food so that you have a genuine reason for maintaining stoic silence. Like sitting in an interview where you are nervous and trying so hard to impress that you end up claiming you know seventeen languages including the three your interviewer is proficient in. Like getting jostled on a crowded railway platform where you’re not sure if you’ll manage to board the train with body parts and personal belongings intact. Like being in front of someone you like on a bad hair day that is compounded with zits and bad breath and smelly stained clothes. This is what writing has come to be- utterly uncomfortable and inconsiderately awkward.

The cursor blinks on the blank page waiting for me to type. My brain comes up with a million diversionary tactics. Should check mail. Should look up a certain book. Should look at that author. Should read up on the writing habits of said author. Should adjust volume or change song on shuffle. Should expand my knowledge base by reading obscure things on Wikipedia. Should get some visual inspiration from things other than cats. Should get some laughs from others’ misery and failures. Should watch that cool video of people doing impressive things. Should watch another video. And another one, for ideas. Should allow the internet to make me a writer while all it does is keep me from becoming one. Should go walk around to clear head. Should drink water and coffee to feel awake. Should do everything possible in my power so that I can delay what I have to do.

Just by another half an hour. By a day. By a week. By a month. By a year. In a year you can come up with such a wealth of excuses. There was no time. Too much work. Friends take up all my free time on Facebook. Hangovers took over my weekends. There are so many books to be read. There were so many movies that absolutely had to be seen for the third time. My neighbours are too noisy. My flatmate listens to nasal singers and makes me listen to it. My office has a no-creative-writing policy. My house doesn’t have the right aura. My laptop’s so slow it takes a day to type a sentence. I ran out of paper. My fingers keep slipping on pens. I have no pens. It goes on and on.

And then you forget. You forget you wanted to write. You forget how to. And then you sit in front of your computer, feeling like a dog might feel in front of a dinosaur. Staring at the screen, willing your mind to think. And your mind does think. About the weather. About things on a to-do list. About that dress you saw in the store last week. About that joke you didn’t understand day before yesterday. About the Modern Family episode you saw today. About Gloria’s accent. About what you can have for lunch tomorrow. About clothes in the dryer. About chipping nail paint on your toe. About every insignificant trivial thing than can keep your mind from staying still enough to actually think about anything.

But why does my brain fear writing? Or is it thinking that it fears? It can’t be the latter. I’m always thinking of things. Things, not ideas, but thinking nonetheless. Then it must be the former. What if nothing comes out? What if my fingers get Raynaud’s disease and I’m left incapable of typing a tome? It might also aggravate that condition where pens keep slipping from my grasp! (I just spent 4 minutes 19 seconds looking that up.) What if I keep forgetting words? What if my computer crashes and all that I would have written gets lost? What if something urgent comes up? Like Notting Hill on HBO or Pretty Woman on Zee Studio. Then I can’t afford to sit here and write!

Enough! I just have to sit down and write. Let it flow. The words will come and fall into place. After a few false starts, words scoot and squeeze next to each other and try to make sense of what they are saying. They keep coming, lining up sluggishly, woken rudely from a deep sleep. Sitting squab, dull and drab. I must check progress and see what can be done to improve this writing experience. Maybe I should do something to remove these green lines that tell me my sentences are not correct. Maybe I should go look up some grammar rules. Maybe I should find a better word to replace this simple word and spend an inordinate amount of time proving to myself how I can use a Thesaurus. Maybe I should do some online research to add more details and lend more credibility to the trumpery put up. (Trumpery: Noun. Usage: Archaic. 1. (informal) statements or beliefs that are untrue or make no sense 2. Ornamental objects of no great value) Maybe I should re—re-re-read the measly two hundred words to see if they “flow”. Maybe I should just keep typing gibberish nonsense bunkum codswallop hogwash to inflate the word count? Like I did just now. Maybe I should just hit myself on the head and write. But that might injure me too much to write. So, without further distraction and drama, I shall carry forth bravely.

Alright, so what am I writing about? So far I’ve been writing about not writing and have done a very good job at not writing. I was supposed to be writing about facing my fears. My initial plan of facing fears by writing about it doesn’t seem to have worked out quite well, but at least I now know that I can waste one and a half hour (alright, two!) typing a thousand words (give or take a few words less- thirty to be precise), something which I had claimed should take no more than half an hour at most.

Now that I have at least turned to face my fears, I am sure with little less of internet (and distractions and laziness) and more of time (and efforts), I can fully face them and begin to become a prolific writer. Right now, I have to go ponder the very important question- what movie to watch tonight?

P.S : 4 years back, I’d written a post about How to get over Writer’s Block. High time I took my own advice, or at least entertained it.  

For Love, Honor and Glory

You would smile. And what would that smile not be? It would be anything you want it to be.  There is practicality to be taken care of, there are problems to be resolved, but you would let yourself be carried by the Code of No Rules. The highest principle of following your own voice, mind and heart.

The man who follows all of this should be your hero. And no one else. There is nothing he wouldn’t do. And everything will be his own to make and throw. He will be in plain sight, waiting to be found. You’d once believed he would lead you somewhere, and you still do. Waiting, as he does. To find and to be found.

The words will come to you, as will everything else. All you have to do is do something about it, wait, wonder and work. No, don’t worry about it. That won’t take you anywhere. You are already where you deserve to be. That line you hated will sum up your life for you, yet you will allow that to pass. And see what you let change your world for you. Or you can let it be, just as you said it would be.

But go and follow that scented breeze, linger a while at that frozen lake, watch the sun break the ice, and smile at the way things break down and come to be. Watch yourself melt and crumble, blend and spread, come together and form. Watch the seasons pass, the sun scorch, the rains wash, the leaves fall, the snow settle, the roads glisten, the flowers bloom and breathe in while these mundane miracles unfold.

Why are you even here? Go smile to yourself, for love, honor and glory.

Devil’s Workshop

They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Who is the devil and what is an idle mind?

Is that wily creature who visits once in a while to sow seeds of discontent and doubt known as the devil? Is a mind that has overcome the problem of crowded thoughts and now seeks solace in temporary, and necessary emptiness, an idle mind? What’s wrong if Mr. Devil wants to squat on Idle Mind’s property? No one’s occupying it at that moment it seems. Are you worried about encroachment issues? You think Mr. Devil will never leave? You think Mr. Devil and his spawn will corrupt your blank mind?

You needn’t worry so much, you are already taken, by lesser delights and virtuosity.

 

(To be continued.. maybe after my meeting with Mr.Devil)

Doing Nothing

>

It’s been a while since I came here to rant. Well, actually this is not going to be a rant (hopefully). I just noticed that I came here to babble long time back and since today I am in that mood, why not babble and “contribute” to a blog? 
So the weekend was a big active deal, compared to what it otherwise is, and left me quite tired. This is saying something for someone in the “prime of their youth”. I went for a party on Saturday night and went out in the evening for a good time on Sunday. Both had their share of good times and Saturday night had its share of fun and yuck-ick-flack-ness. But I don’t want to go on about that here. So yes, both these left me quite tired by the end of the weekend, and Monday morning I just didn’t want to get up and go to work. This is a state that usually accompanies every morning, when you get up and wonder why you have to go to work, what if you didn’t go today, what would you do if you didn’t go to work today, and then, after practical questions were asked and dismissed, you’d ask yourself the question – What if I never had to get up and go to work? This question when asked first brings about the best answer one would ever like to come to be real, “I’ll do whatever I want”. This goes away as soon as you begin pondering on what it is that you do want to do, and how, and when, and where and so on. I doubt any of us actually get beyond wishing for whatever it is that we want.
So there I was, waking up at an hour which would bring much rebuke and lecture from parents, and indifference from many others who have the same lifestyle that I currently do. I woke up at the indecent hour of 2 p.m. That is the time by which I should be at work, sitting in front of my machine, checking mail, trying to sort out the day and see what meaning could possibly be wrung out from a day that seems no different than any other. But today, I checked the time, asked myself if I wanted to go to work today, answered a very simple “no” and went back to sleep. After that I got up at around 6 in the evening and decided I’ll do nothing at all today. Which is what I did all day. I made tea, drank a lot of it, read a nice soppy romantic book, avoided people at home the best I could, ordered for groceries, made dinner that no parent concerned for their child’s health would allow you to eat, watched a movie, avoided some more people and came online to see what other people were talking about. 

DOING NOTHING:

Making Tea: Here’s the thing with making tea. It should be the simplest thing, but it rarely is. I for one can never know how much tea to put in and always end up drinking something that should kill me but doesn’t because I’m stronger than that. So I’ve now resorted to using tea-bags. I was going to make tea because I was too lazy to go make some real food that could serve as lunch/brunch/snackrunch whatever.. I did the usual boiling water, putting fancy things in it to boil like ginger that looked so dry and twisted that it made me feel as if I was really concocting a herbal drink, adding sugar etc, when the flatmate who was “helping” me out with this asked aloud that making tea with tea-bags is so much work as you have to boil the water too. She said some other things too, but they left my mind before landing on it. I was so indifferent by then that I didn’t even want to think of other less tiring and demanding ways of making tea. So, tea was made, and since I made her a cup too I thought I’d go sit on the couch and watch TV with her and see how the evening goes. The pointless banter that almost always seems to accompany “chai-sessions” and which many a times is very entertaining and interesting and all things nice, didn’t really happen this time around. I never understand how and why people expect others to listen intently to what happened to someone who’s not famous, and by the sounds of it not interesting nor worth the listening time. Which led me to politely excuse myself from the company by expressing my bored state and slouching back to my room to read this soppy novel I picked up on the weekend in peace, with my tea and tea-bag and the pleasure that comes with finding you tea’s still warm. 

Reading Soppy Romantic Novels: Of late, I’d not read any simple, romantic type book. I used to read a lot of those in school, as one of my mother’s best friend found it in my best interests to read all the Mills & Boons, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steels available. I’m sure she thought they would play a great role in educating my mind and I can safely say they did. For one they gave you the power to predict what is going to happen in a novel by reading just the first chapter, or in some occasions, the first four pages. Second, they reinforced beliefs that all women, even the most ambitious, feminist, and independent women, at the end of the day, want “love”. Everyone needs LOVE. No living without that, no Sir, not at all. As I grew up and learned many other things, these novels ceased to interest me, even remotely. Even the snippets featuring a man claiming that he wanted to take the woman, there and then with no heed for the world, stopped arousing any interest. And thus it was for quite some years, where reading “romance” novels just didn’t happen, mostly out of lack of interest and because by this stage I believed my education to be adequately complete. But on Sunday, I found this tiny bookshop and I picked up this book called Kate Kincaid by Henry Denker. I picked this up because I’d read one novel by Mr.Denker before, when I was quite young and was very moved back then. Based solely on that, and without even reading what the novel was about, I picked it up and began reading. Kate Kincaid is the story of our heroine by the same name who’s a nurse and feels very oppressed by arrogant young doctors and how she’s torn between two men who love her and all bangaboosh that happens in such novels. I don’t think it’s well written. But I’m liking it so far. There’s always something to like about a “pretty nurse who’s overdetermined and fiery” and wants to change the world. It’s always pretty faces changing the course of history, innit? That aside, I think one major reason why I like it is its purpose is clear. It’s aimed mainly to please and distract and provide escape. It doesn’t want to make you think too much, or at all at places. It doesn’t want to educate you, doesn’t want to spark ideas in your head, doesn’t want to push you under a running train, and all those things. It’s plain and pure, use and throw entertainment. (Ok, maybe not that harsh. Maybe I will not really throw it away, but am not sure. ) There’s something about your heroine struggling with choices, struggling to resist the kiss from a man who makes her forget things and to see a man, fall in love with a woman he can’t take his eyes off. At some stage in life, that something might have meant wishing and dreaming about such things happening in real life. At this stage, it means that there’s nice things happening, doesn’t matter if it’s “real world” or not, but that it’s there, that things belonging to reality and fiction aren’t necessarily exclusive of each other, that being happy at the prospect of it doesn’t necessarily mean wanting it. 

Avoiding people: This is something that I’ve been pushed to exercise in extreme over the past few days or maybe months. I’m not completely serious when I say I hate people, nor am I joking in hyperbole. I don’t really want to avoid people, I just want them to avoid me. (That’s such a classic “It’s not you, it’s me”!) As you grow up you realize how much more fun it was being a child. Yeah, I know EVERYONE says that, but this time my reason is something else. When you were younger, and knew lesser people because you had lived for lesser years and had thus accumulated lesser number of “contacts”, no one really cared much where you are as long as you made to school and meals on time. Now, if you stay at home, your office people will ask you where you are and why you aren’t where you should be. If you are at home, your people at home will also ask you why you aren’t where you should be. When you are not at home on weekend, then everyone wants to know where you went. If you are home on the weekend, then they ask why you are at home and not outside. I mean what is it that they really want? I know what they do, but that doesn’t stop me from being pissed at it. So today, I had to answer three flatmates about why and how I was home and I have a strong suspicion that would have led to more questions had I not escaped in time. From work, colleague asks where I am and even the answer leads to probing for reason. Why can’t one stay at home without a reason? Why have we begun to give so much importance to reasons? Why does it matter where and why someone is anywhere? To what use are you going to put that information? How much money are you going to make out of that knowledge?
As a child, when you sulked, someone will entertain you and give you some candy and get you to stop sulking. Now, people would rather talk. Yes, talking is the solution to everything. Everyone wants to talk about it. Sure, even I do want to talk about things and non-things, but I have people for that. And I go to them for that. And I tell others when they are not part of that unfortunate group. But then, they assume that because I’m closed to talking, I’d probably be open to listening. Which I am not, either. I was going under the assumption that “talking” covered for what is generally assumed to be a conversation (noun: informal interchange ofthoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.) and thus expected people to get it when I say “I don’t want to talk/I don’t talk much”. But it seems that most people don’t really understand this definition, and going by other things, this probably holds true for the definition and meaning of a lot of other things too. This comes as a surprise to some people I call friends, those who comprise that unfortunate group to whom I do go to “talk”. I used to be a talkative person, was also considered very social and friendly and all those things. I use the past tense because I believe the way it was said then is very different from how it is now. I still like to talk, to be social, to be friendly and all those things. But I have become more selective about the space and time in which I am so. Yes, I have become “boring”, that,  in fact, should be the biggest reason for people to avoid me. But it doesn’t seem that way. I don’t think I’m that popular or deserve to be so. Deserving or not, it is undesirable right now. And that should not be seen as such a major change nor challenge. 
Recently while telling some people that I am going to join TFI, the response that I got in return was quite confusing, at times funny, and plain annoying in some cases. What has being social got to do with being able to teach kids? Are all our professors and teachers social butterflies buzzing from one party to another? I was also called “cold and distant”, something which I do not challenge even once, but how does that come into what I am going to do? Were all the teachers who contributed to your life and learning warm, friendly and personal? Do you write “warm and lovely person” as one of your talents or achievements on your resume or CV? I know that personality matters affect how you work in any organization. But I’ve seen terms like “team player” and “leadership traits” being dropped around too many times to believe that everyone who’s termed as that can do his/her job damn well. So why enmesh a person’s behavior and attitude with respect to their personal life with their work? I agree teaching might be one of those jobs where a person’s disposition makes a big difference. But do you really assume everyone to be uni-dimensional personalities, that the way they behave with you, they would behave with everyone else too? In that case, with the majority of the people, there’s a reason I behave the way I do and take recourse to avoiding people. Think of it as your good fortune. 

Ordering Groceries: It’s one of the biggest delights of our age- to order stuff and get it delivered to your doorstep. Even though it might be more economical, faster and healthier to just get out and buy things, but it’s also another delight of our age to live in active denial. And reveling in its admission. That should get some brownie points. 

Making Dinner: This in my opinion is the single most enlightening indicator of how your life is. You know what kind of person you are and the life you lead by the way you make and have your dinner. Families eat dinner together, in front of the TV, while watching something, where the only noises are made by cutlery and crying women in the tube. Sometimes you have dinner outside, with friends, over laughter and conversation, but that’s not a regular thing. It can never really become a regular thing. Dinner is a regular thing, and it follows patterns. It is as regular and representative as brushing teeth- what time you do it, what toothpaste you use, and how much time you spend over it. If one begins your day for you, the other brings it to an end, never relinquishing its grip on making it a part of your routine. 
For some days now, my flatmates have been making dinner for me. Before that it was my colleague who used to get dinner for me. Something which I’m thankful for, but more anxious because that means paying back that favor. Somehow, whenever someone makes dinner for me, unless its my mother, I feel as if something’s owed between us. The debt to my mother for it is too great to be ever paid off, so I don’t ponder upon it. But anyone else making dinner for me, even if it’s not specifically for me, bothers me. Don’t do that, because I won’t do it for you. Even if I did, I’d expect you to make it back to me. It’s a transaction in which I don’t wish to be either party. Hence I like making dinner on my own, for myself. And that is rarely the healthy thing to do and which speaks a lot about my life and me, as a person. Left alone, I’d make dinner out of bread, eggs, instant noodles and anything that comes packaged and takes least amount of time to prepare and consume. Dinner is always a hasty and necessary affair. It is the cruelest of affairs and the most easy of them all. It’s all gain and so tasteless. 

Movie Time: Doing nothing without watching a movie is such an incomplete experience. I remember in college, especially during second year, not going to class and doing nothing meant staying home and watching movies all day. I watched the Social Network today. Quite liked it. Used to hate Jesse Eisenberg before this, but I think I might change my mind about that. All slick-slick-talk-talk, and an immensely entertaining movie. Something that might have been a lot better had flatmates not found it necessary to interrupt me and talk trivialities as if life and death depended on it. This is my latest grudge- that of the movie watching experience being spoiled thanks to company. Why can’t movies be watched the way they are supposed to be watched? Especially good movies. Why must you question and explain and point out and discuss and talk during a movie? I see that happening in the cinema so much these days that I think watching it at home might be a better solution. But even at home, there’s the thing about people asking what you are doing when they can see you are watching something with headphones plugged in and asking further details after you tell them that you are watching a movie. The most annoying experience was maybe last Sunday when I was watching a movie on TV, and people saw that I was watching a movie and still talked around loudly till I had to tell them to take their talk about matrimonial prospects of Engineer+MBA types somewhere else and sod off from where the TV and I were. 
Watching a movie should be like reading, you get lost in it and forget the world outside you. People don’t let that happen. People don’t even let you get lost in your own head for that matter.

Online People Watching: This I guess is the most time consuming act of our lives. We listen to and watch and pry and learn a lot from people online. Some we know, some barely, some not at all, but we feel like we do. The number of times we chance a visit to Facebook and Twitter may definitely outnumber our visits to the restroom in a day. I guess it gives some precious pleasure to see what others are eating, picking out, reading, drinking, sharing and talking about. To some extent it’s quite informative, and it provides for the distraction that helps you keep away from work that you so fear to embark upon. It’s the perfect procrastinator and one rarely ever complains about such things. I won’t. I like it. It helps me being hypocritical. And learn, at the same time. The number of times I’ve clicked on the Tweetdeck icon and gone to check on Facebook is something that is helping me live with myself better. Which is zero. As much as is it is a big attraction to go and check, it is an equal triumph in overcoming that need to do something that might be infinitesimally better. Overcoming addictive practices, I gather, always give such joys, and are also necessary, if one were to ever move from knowing to thinking, from experiencing to living.

That was I think most of doing nothing. I had hoped it won’t be rant, but if it turned out to be so, then, who cares? Doing nothing and describing it seems to have done a whole lot of good to me, and, and I’ve also “contributed” to my blog and kept up with my diatribes.

>What will you do?

>What will you do with this life of yours?
Make something out of it? Something is so many things. Which one is it?

Age will outlive you. Grayness will take over your life and hair color. Wrinkles will leave your clothes and impugn your skin. Dreams will turn into failed expectations. Disappointment will take over from hope. Compromise will rule over chaos. What will you do with this life of yours?

Turn it beautiful. With? Your answers and questions, and words. Yes, words. Words carry some weight. But how much will you change your life with mere figments of imagination given form with sounds? Will your words give you peace? Then you are easy. No point talking to you.

Those words. They will get you people. People will ponder and wonder aloud at the expense of your words. Your outburst will be their umbrella. You will be comforted by that thought. You will make more words to satisfy them and you, more for you. You will turn to those people with hope and anguish. You will call them your own. You will fall into an easy sleep and dream and remain in that limbo. You will fantasize and garnish that limbo with your words.

But what will you do with your words? Sell them and buy a house? What will you do with that house? Set up a world and invite people to revel in it? Then what? Die with a last glimpse of the peeling paint that you fussed over so much? What will you be able to do with your death? Mark a tombstone and leave with an uncertain hope? A hope of being remembered and remembered?

What will you do with that life of yours?

Things I Really Like But Never Got A Chance To Mention

>It’s been a while since I’ve come here and posted. It wasn’t because I didn’t have time or material to whine about, but life has been such a whirlpool of flea-feces ridden events and incidents that I could only express my feelings through long sad stories about sleep and dreams. But now that I’ve recovered somewhat, I can talk about the latest irritation plaguing my life- people telling me what they like, on Facebook. Without me asking them. About things no one will ever ask them.

So today, I’m going to make a list of things, animals, people, emotions, incidents, emoticons, fungi and miscellaneous items that I like and share it with the world. If and when I have time and even less of a life, I will go create pages for each of these so that all of you can let your friends know that you and I, best buds, both like the same things, animals, people, emotions, incidents, emoticons, fungi and miscellaneous items.

No, wait. I can understand liking these things, but not some of the things that I see being liked and I’m incapable of putting them into any of these aforementioned categories. But since I assume human intellect is capable of understanding, empathizing, liking and sharing these statements, I’m gonna list down things, of similar nature, that I really really like. I’m not even sure if I like them, but I think if I ever saw some of these, my hands will automatically click on “like” the way yours do when you see anything with “<3”.

Here they are:

– When I have a lot of work to do and yet I goof off my time by doing irrelevant things (like writing such posts) and telling everyone about it because that is the best way to let my employers know what a valuable asset I am to their organization.
– I hate it when no one likes the video I shared about a monkey throwing its excrement at a baby and a 200 year old Chinese woman.
 
– I feel elated when I see a cute guy with glowing skin and sexy hair-do approach me so that I can ask him about his brand of facewash, body shower gel and shampoo and then tell him what a girl he is.
– When I give you a missed call at three in the morning, it means something. It means that I’m throwing all over the place and none of my friends will take me back home and you’re the only person I know who will respond to a missed call at 3 AM.
– “Lol” “Yeaaa” “Okkk” “Hahahah” “Hmmm” convey all the expressions, emotions and opinions required in any conversation. Be it about the latest quiz you took to find out the reason behind your birth or Third World debt.
– When I message you, it means I’m thinking about you. If I’m thinking about someone else, I’ll probably be messaging them.
– You can save energy by being switching off your computer for three hours everyday. But, you can save time and energy by excluding all words from your vocabulary that involve vowels or have more than five letters.
– Why do we close our eyes when we pray? When we cry? When we dream? When we kiss? Because all beautiful things can only be felt. Vision not required at all. And yes, crying is a beautiful thing.
– Why type out things when what is on your mind, at any given time, can be conveyed through one click? It will only make your parents think they have achieved something by educating you for so many years.
– It hurts when someone you used to talk with everyday doesn’t talk to you at all. It hurts even more to know that sharing this piece of private information on a public platform has not made any change.
– Every woman deserves a man who looks at her everyday like it’s the first time he saw her. We all want to feel like Adam Sandler from 50 First Dates.
– I’m not beautiful, sexy or perfect. But I’m ME and I don’t pretend to be anyone else. Never mind the photo of Zooey Deschanel as my profile picture.
– I AM UNIQUE. The rest 3,78,999 who liked this agree with me.
– Telling someone you honestly don’t care but inside, you’re dying. Of shame.
– “I’m fine” really means “I need a hug and someone to talk to, preferably a ridiculously patient person to hear the same story for the nine hundredth time. And special treatment, of course.”
– Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong. Especially when you realize it after an hour of getting your ass owned.
– Waiting around for something you know will probably never happen, but still hoping it might..  Like Vogons demolishing Earth to build a hyperspatial express route through our star system. 
-Sometimes, you forgive people simply because you still want them in your life. And also because you are so lonely, insecure and spineless.
– That moment, when the universe conspires, when things go all movie-like and you just connect with the other person and know that they loathe you and hate your guts as much as you hate theirs.
– People actually love me and me liking wrongly worded profundity, but pretend otherwise because they can’t match up to the awesomeness that is me. LOL.

There, I’ve put my heart out on a platter, laid bare my soul for everyone to see.I’ve mentioned some, only some mind you, of the things I’ve not yet had a chance to express. I hope you will see them, understand them, empathize and like them. I’ve also added tiny Like-like buttons so that you get the feel for them. They aren’t real like buttons, but you know that. And you may not even like most of these banal statements. But you understand why, don’t you?

I might lose many “friends” over this post, but then I’ll gain a lot of wisdom and perspective to come up with statements that will help me win them back.

>Of Birthday Bashing and Growing Up

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It’s an universally acknowledged fact that, after you turn 21, your increasing age is inversely proportional to the excitement with which you look forward to your birthday.

Imagine you are five. You look forward to turning six. Because it means all the adults will make a big deal out of it and get you presents and cake and let you do whatever you want, for the whole effing day!! Doing whatever you want kind of loses its charm when you are grown up and an adult and know that you can do whatever you want if you wanted to or weren’t that lazy.

Imagine you are twelve. You look forward to turning thirteen. Because that means you become a teenager and have license to throw tantrums, behave badly and blame it on hormones, puberty and what-not. You will also be pleased to find yourself going higher in the school hierarchy, thinking too much about your appearance and on the brink of a long journey looking for the perfect and effective acne removal cream.

There you are, in your teens.You got voting rights when you turned eighteen, but who really gets excited about getting voting rights?? The elections didn’t even happen that year, not the big ones anyway. You sailed through your teens doing everything you wanted to and didn’t want to but did anyway because your parents didn’t want you to, doing everything others seemed to be doing or avoided doing anything that any one else did because, yes, peer pressure works that way, finally landing on twenty, swearing to yourself to get over the teenage phase and become a real adult. But who counts twenty as a non-teen age group? Hell, you’re still young, still in college, still under 21 and it is the only one year you’ve got to drink while not being of legal age. Nothing kicks a high like that, does it?

Now imagine you are twenty. And you are turning twenty-one. What are the perks? You get to drink legally. And surely, the day you turn twenty-one, you go get drunk and find it no different from all the other times before. So that perk stays for a day and then wears off. Then what? You are twenty-one, probably graduate or about to graduate. You now have to leave the comfort of college and go get yourself a job. In this universe, low attendance doesn’t mean a talk with the Principal, here it’s seeing your peanuts of a salary get reduced to shriveled skins of nuts. And failing in a test more often than not leads to a loss of means to livelihood and other comforts it brings, not to mention the fact that these ruddy tests happen too frequently and barely ever run on schedule.

Now imagine you are twenty-one and are turning twenty two. Or already have turned twenty two ten minutes back. What do you look forward to? To a day of calls, messages and wall posts wishing you fun, happiness and other nice things? To a day of more niceties and maybe an increased consumption of alcoholic beverages than what a normal day brings? To another year of sameness and minute differences? To another year of new resolutions that will be forgotten and discarded in a week? To catch up with other grown-up friends and whine together about growing older and leading a lackluster life? To put the sad moment of realization into words that will be the contents of a long whiny tirade against growing up? (check)

You know why kids look forward to their birthdays and adults dread theirs? It’s not age. Well, not age alone anyway. It’s school, college, a learning institution. With every passing year, you are glad to get the old year done with and begin a new one. Because you look forward to the next year to put you in a higher grade, to learn new stuff, to leave an old class behind, to forget old diagrams and definitions. With every coming year, you know you’ll get a certificate, a parchment, a denouement in the written word that you have sailed through past year’s storm of follies and failures and reached the shore of new undiscovered land, where there are yet unexplored territories and ample opportunities to make new mistakes.

It’s not that we stop learning after getting out of schools. It’s just that we stop getting as many frequent assurances and reassurances. Kindergarten teachers have time for their subjects, not normal adults leading busy lives. Your boss won’t have the time to appreciate the efforts you took to color-code your complicated excel-sheet so that it’s easy to understand. That’s your job, you are not going to get a star on your dossier for every task you tick off your to-do list. Your friends won’t have time to listen to you bitch about everyday activities the way they did when you pretended to be studying in the library. What used to capture attention before, will no longer dazzle your old, mature grown up audience. We’re not kids anymore. We have lists to complete and files to organize. Who cares if you can’t grow up and stop looking for a good word for every good thing you do, who has the time to care to what’s happening to you when their own lives is, as the term nowadays goes- FUBAR?

So there you are, twenty-two and still not much of an anybody. In some era, people used to start their lives at this age. Nowadays, people your age are getting into rehab for the fourth time or are being compared to legends. People much younger are becoming superstars by having a voice that only puts their gender in doubt, and here you are, sure of your gender, unsure of what you are doing with your life. The only thing you’ve got to celebrate is that your generation can now blame the phenomenon of quarter-life crisis when the going gets tough. Well, that’s good for reassurances.

Growing up can be such a pain. How can one not like Peter Pan?



PS: I don’t know if it’s a good idea to be listening to this one now- http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/s/1973+Album+Version+/DjkDf

Image: My 23rd Birthday by nyu   (It’s not my 23rd, but, same/similar sentiments)

>Anger Management

>Ok, high time I came here and ranted. Well, it’s not ranting. It’s just some anger management right now.

I’m being really patient these days. With everything. Yes, I don’t really want everyone to understand it. In fact I don’t expect anyone to understand or whatever. It’s just that I feel if I kept repeating it to myself, I’d be good at it. Gosh, I can never get that thing out of my head. I have, for some reason, always told myself that I will become what I tell myself. If I told myself I’m being patient, I will be so. I need more convincing for myself than for others. Or maybe I can’t convince others about how convinced I am because I can’t convince myself. This doesn’t help but prove only one thing- I CANNOT SELL.

So, back to anger management. It is particularly difficult when you aren’t burning your lungs out. It’s even more difficult when you can’t call up your best friend(s) because your head’s so swollen with fake ego. And listening to all your favorite sweet songs doesn’t help in writing or as they say, channelizing your energy to create something profound, meaningful and deep.

So yes, I am angry. Pissed. Angry. Irritated. All of those things that I could otherwise blame on PMS, and which I could get away with if it was for less than 6 hours. But, never mind. Things are definitely not looking good, despite me listening to all the sweet/happy songs. Only I can lie to myself well enough and delude myself into anger or happy highs. And with all that anger channelization, all I’ve doing is setting a record for saving drafts (thank you google for autosave). So far the count is : 4 blog posts, 3 mails. All resting safely somewhere where they wouldn’t hurt/harm/maim/injure/kill anyone. Or lead to the same aforementioned happening to me afterward.

With all of this, I’ve made a list of things one should not do when angry. Some are based on real experiences and some are things I assume would hold good in a hypothetical situation:

1) Do not email. Type it out. Don’t hit “Send”. Let gmail do the “draft autosaved” thingy for you.
2) Do not talk on the phone if you’re home and are not sure if your parents are asleep. Your parents don’t need to know you’ve improved your swearocabulary over the years.
3)Do not kick your CPU when you know your PC is recuperating from the crash it went through 3 weeks back. It wouldn’t help to have no music, no e-books, no sitcoms, no movies, no xkcd, when you’re fuming.
4) Do not go for a haircut. Just in case.
5) Do not watch movies where the protagonists look real cool stabbing themselves with needles in the first half and real sad-ass losers by the other half, and by which time you’d have probably given up on watching it.
6) Do not go down memory lane if you’re angry in a combination- like angry and sad or angry and lonely or angry and whatever else. Remember- thinking about good old days when life sucked and you couldn’t do anything about it would not help the days when life still sucks and you can do something about it but refuse to do so.
7) Do not drink too much coffee/alcohol/cola or eat too much of chips/spicy food/chocolate.
8) Do not keep precious objects within your reach. Do not keep them in the company of sharp/heavy/both objects.
9) Do not try those counting from 20 to 1 or saying the alphabet backwards kind of tricks. You’d only lose momentum in your angry tirade and miss an epiphany, if any.
10) Do not look for therapy from music-Listening to some chick singing about her boyfriend not understanding her or a crazed guy with laryngitis screaming about his skin bleeding and intestines boiling in bile won’t help you. If anything, it will only make it worse. Go classical. Only instrumental. Listen to Beethoven, if anything. That is, if you have any of it or can be patient enough to download it.
11) Do not try that whole ‘breathe deeply and break your ribs exercise”. All you manage to do is create an atmospheric imbalance of some sorts around you. Not to mention, you feel more tired than before.
12) Do not get into the whole sweating it out drama. You decide to go loosen some fat and push all that anger through kick boxing or aerobics or whatever it is that you do in the name of exercise, and then you pull a hamstring, sprain an ankle or break your hip and get confined to bed rest thus earning yourself some more time to brood and work yourself into a frenzy.
13) Do not get angry at the beginning or middle of your weekend. Get into those furies just a day before getting back to work on a weekday. You can let it all out and only blame work. Or you’d get so mad with work, you’d sort of forget about the original anger situation.
14) And don’t waste time blogging. And if you’ve done that already, don’t let it go to waste by shoving it into “Drafts”. And no, there are no funny scribbles, comics kinda things going with this one. Take it or leave it.
15) And lastly, if you are mildly sleepy, forget all the crap about not taking anger to bed. Just take it and go flat on it. Don’t waste time thinking, blogging, reading, listening to music, watching stuff, talking etc. Just sleep. That’s probably the best thing to do. Apart from burning your lungs and killing the germs inside with some well turned out ethanol. But, never mind.

>How to get over Writer’s Block.

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We all suffer from this one. Well not all of us, only those of us who claim to be writers, or just write and when we are completely bamboozled as to what we can write that would amuse or mildly entertain us we transfer all the blame to this overused apology for lack of any creative brilliance called Writer’s Block.

So what do we do to combat this illness?

Wake up and brush and take a shower. Turn off the TV and get off the couch. Get a pet guniea pig. Go walk the dog. Walk and get over the block.

Go green and stop eating for a day or two. Make resolution to write a page every day.

Go bungee jumping. Do aventure and extreme sports. Dabble in the occult. Learn fang-shui and tarot and crystal-ball reading.

Participate in a reality show or a talent hunt. Sign up to enter a secret military intelligence gathering agency.

Drink soup. Or liquor. Anything, just drink. Something’s bound to get you worked up and if you remember what you did, probably you can just pen it down and it may turn out to be not that bad for a start.

If these don’t work, watch a movie or read a book. You might get suddenly inspired and produce a imitation or a review or either disguised under the other.

In case you are worried you might get influenced, albeit subconsciously, by the perusal of such iterms, then just stare. Have a good look at the world around you. Stare at the ceiling fan and think about the cycle of life and its futilty ( Try keeping images of people hanging from the ceiling out of your mind here). Look outside the window, see how people rush about their daily lives and for once, get over yourself and try, try really hard to weave a story about those random strangers walking in front of you. If nothing fails to grab your attention, look harder and find someone really good looking and just stare. This may lead you to two things- you might just find your muse and a story henceforth or you might end up being reported to the cops on grounds of harrassment and hell, that might be some experience to write about!!

For those who seek inspiraton within, stare at your diary with a pen stuck in your mouth, fingers tapping to some tuneless rhythm while you are drooling on the page. You may go back a fifty odd pages and find something to read and wonder why in the world would you bother to write something so trivial in your diary, and that too in such detail. Then you’d come back again to the blank page st taring back at you. Here you might want to doodle and scribble and draw tiny hearts or smileys or stars or you might just sign your name again and again till you move on to another fresh page. Do a small recap and think of all that has happened to you in the recent past- would you want to put down your encounter with the dentist or your seventy seventh failed attempt to start gymming into words and seal them for posterity and private use? If you are a person with feelings and emotions and acknowledgement of the same, you might as well pour out all that you feel, wanted to feel or think you could have felt. You can garnish this with some help from your pocket dictionary and voila! you have a heart warming account of whatever monumental event that occured in your life.

But for those handicapped by the very prospect of having to use pen and paper for writing, well, boot up! Stare at your screen, with that cursor blinking on that white background and resist the urge to do the following things:
*Open other old files and just read them.
*Watch sitcoms ( Those addictive things are pure evil, but more about them later)
*Go online on pretext of using reference or online dictionary, because once you are there you might get tempted to do these :

– Look up stuff for reference and one thing leads to another and you end up reading Lindsay Lohan’s latest blog post about new shoes.
– Chat up with the never-ending list of online friends and you go on talking about what flavour of ice cream you had for dinner last night.
– Visit Facebook and check out photo-albums and upload some more photos and this goes on for days!!!
– Dabble in the piracy debate with someone while downloading movies and music by the dozen.
– Just “surf” (rather cruise) the internet and amuse yourself into boredom.

So there, once you have been staring at the cursor for more than eight minutes, let your fingers dance away on the keyboard and just type. Practise typing if you may, just type. You are bound to form comprehensible words and meaningful sentences after a while.

Ok, these are the standard issue methods. For the ones ready to go that extra mile here’s what to do.

Talk to friends, foes and strangers. Go to cafes and work the coffee and conversation formula. Just talk, and discuss and argue and talk some more. Share, listen, laugh, cry, give all the appropriate expressions with the aaah, hmmm, oooh, yeah? and chat up with people. Engage youself in a conversation with someone who speaks a language completely foreign. Act like a journalist, complete with notepad and pen, and interview people. Pretend and lie and become another person and talk. Talk to shady characters, to indifferent ones, to the bold and beautiful and allow yourself to be bothered enough to take an interest in their lives. Steal away their small glories and convert them into magnificient tales.

Fall in love. Fall, go all the way and mess yourself up. Go through all those feelings and emotions capable of mention in your all time favorite phil collins or lionel richie song. Listen to all those love songs, sit and day-dream under the sun. Abandon work and lie in bed all day, doing nothing. Talk for hours and smile a lot. Fight and cry, a lot. Sing and scream. Make up and make out. Forgive and forget and reminisce. Walk the bed of nails and tread the carpet of roses. Wait and let go. Possess and permit. Give away and take it back. Take away and return the favour. Wear red.

If you possess a full pocket to finance trips and expenses or passion for places, travel. Go exploring. Venture into uncharted territories. Board a bus, train or a flight, hitch-hike a ride, hop on to a boat, go to unmarked destinations. Visit the seven wonders of the world. Swim the deep waters and scale the great heights. Live in suitcases and tents, in student hostels or luxury hotels. In the name of cuisine, experiment with local delicacies. Do a hula dance. Fall sick with food poisoning. Get frost-bite. Try living in the desert with one single flask of water for five days. Go without a raincoat or umbrella where it never stops raining. Go to a sunny beach without sunscreen. Cycle across countries. Swim across the English Channel. Go Natgeo!

All these methods can be adopted in different permutations and combinations, as deemed fit by your inner wrting advisor. And if you find time from executing all these magic tircks, you can sit down and just write and get over that uninvited guest of a writer’s block.