Category Archives: self help

A Fluttering Life

The phone buzzes,

A crying voice makes my heart heavy,

Memories flash before my eyes,

Times I saw you smile,

Times I saw you cry,

Someone who always fought for me,

Unbend, unyielding,

Yet somehow today you gave up,

Was it a mask I saw everyday? 

Hiding the war underneath,

Did my voice die away in the battle cry? 

If I screamed louder, 

Would things have been different?

The despair and guilt eat me away,

Like a vulture gnawing my heart,

The storm brews around me,

Rain and thunder inside me,

Your voice brings me back,

Finally gone crazy, I think,

But I see a white figure,

Beautiful, elegant and ephemeral,

It is you, from the heavens above,

Your kiss, a breath of life,

I feel my tensions fade away,

“You are free now from your burden”

I hear as I wake up with eyes wide open,

Now with a fire in my soul,

I walk to face the new day.

Our Grading System

Anytime we write exams which were subjective in nature, we have tried showing the important steps/points in the solution to the problem asked. It has been taught to us as kids that, steps have to be shown as it is the basis on which marks will be given. One step might carry 1 mark another 2. This distribution is often fixed throughout all schools. During our final exams, the teacher who set the paper would share a model solution showing how much the different steps weigh by doing so there is a standard by which everyone is evaluated. But in real life, we all evaluate friendships differently. We all judge and feel happiness differently. There is no standard for these things.

We all have different tick boxes for friendship. These criteria and their importance vary from person to person. This can be considered a form of weighted average. Their importance is based on our individual personalities and past experiences. For someone initiating a conversation is a big thing as it is not something they do normally but for others it can be trivial as it is something that is the basic requirement of a friendship. For someone, telling their everyday life along with trivial details is important while for someone having deep, intelligent conversation is important. That is why rarely friendships are on the same level for both. We all have different needs and requirements, if these are fulfilled we are happy else we wont be fully content.

In all situations, there is a fine line where good turns bad or stupid. How should one differentiate trying constantly and a fool’s errand? No one knows. There is no standard time period. It all depends on the person’s capabilities and tenacity. If they will keep trying no matter what but they dont possess the necessary skills, this becomes a fool’s errand but if you do possess such skills but dont have confidence in yourself or you cannot wait for too long a period (again subjective, varies from person to person) you would give it up, does this mean that you are a fool for giving up? Some will say yes, others would say no. We all have different perceptions and depending on them we decide to draw that fine line.

Even in today’s world with corruption, nationalism people are forgetting the fine lines. Nowadays nationalism is being synonymous to patriotism. Both being very much different in meaning. One believes in values nad beliefs, the other in cultural background and heritage. George Orwell said that “Nationalism is the worst enemy of peace” but still many of us follow nationalism in the name of patriotism. Where do you draw the line. In America, where a single person could change everything in 4 years and his present policies are almost similar to dictatorship. A similar situation is taking place in India, where words have taken over the minds of many people. Religion is being forced on ordinary citizen and secularism is shown in the form of removing a certain religion from the country itself. Where does one draw the line. Some people already feel this is against everything what their countries stand for while others feel this is a step in the right direction. But who is deciding what is the right direction? Unfortunately we dont have models to show that.

We all have our different thresholds and back stories that make us who we are. But sometimes when we give advice to others, we take our thresholds as an input which we shouldn’t. The other person isnt us. They might have gone through something more challenging or less, making their limitations different from ours. We have to keep in mind the weighted average and try understanding what the other person feels. It is only by following this path can we understand and help each other. 

The Contradictions We Live

We have been living in societies since ages. We are social beings afterall. We have evolved over time. We have become sophisticated, as some would say. If look at the kids today they are much smarter than us, when we were at that same age. What makes us different from animals, is our mind and thinking. We possess immense thinking capabilities. It only through our brain and curiosity that today we are so technologically advanced. But this increased capability has come with its own share of cons. We no longer possess a simple mind set. We arent restricted to simple emotions anymore. We experience complex emotions. Greed, Lust, Pride, Gluttony, Wrath, Sloth, Envy – These are 7 deadly sins, as put forth by Christianity. We all possess them. We dont exercise them all the time but sometimes we do exercise them with reason and sometimes with no reason. Animals on the other hand are free from them. They never over eat, never show unwanted aggression. They only have sexual encounters to keep their species alive. But we do everything in excess sometimes to the point that it is a waste.

But slowly some people are understanding their flaws and try to be a better self. We see online pictures saying to be always truthful. We say “Tell me the truth, dont lie to me” But in reality, we cannot handle the truth. Truth is and always will be bitter. If someone criticises you, our first immediate response is to prove them wrong and probably abuse them. Maybe after some time we see our flaws and try to not continue doing them. But eventually we all into the same loop. We tell our friends and family “I will change, give me some time” But it is very rare for the change to become a constant.

When we are at our lowest point we are open to the greatest change- Avatar Aang

Once we are back to normal and are criticised again, we just bypass the whole conversation by saying that we tried. Somehow trying, in this case, means it is ok if dont change. Can we say when we promise to someone that we will change, we are giving hope to someone. When we dont fulfil our promise, we are betraying someone. If someone were to betray our trust or not deliver what we promised, we would stop believing that person and be angry with them. We would probably look for someone who can keep their promises. But if someone were to replace us, we would speak ill of that person even antagonise them in front of other people. We ourselves sometimes cannot criticise others because of the fear if the above mentioned thing will happen with us. We speak of having proper etiquettes while sometimes we dont even have the bare minimum

We speak of equality among all races, religion, sex etc. But there is not really a proper sense of equality anywhere. Initially there was “All whites are superior” But over the course of time, this ideology was reduced. There was a time when black people were treated like slaves and objects. But by the help of various international figures, this idea was abolished. But now we are free of that idea or are we? We still face racism in some parts. No idea can ever be destroyed completely. If someone would cast the black guy in a minor role or would show him as a bad guy while the rest of the crew is white and are good people, this is racism and bad. But if we “exchange the colours” here, suddenly it isnt racist. If the black guy is given an antagonistic role in a movie, the critic might point out that it was racist in doing so. But by doing so, isnt the critic himself being a racist where he expects the black guy to land all the nice roles.

In India, there are various reservations for various castes and tribes in education and jobs. Yes, it was imperative initially when they weren’t given enough chances but now it isnt the same case. Now it is the finances that has come into picture. Somehow being in the general category has become a curse. A kid with 4 GPA isnt given admission into college but a 3 GPA kid is. Why? Because the later belongs to a Scheduled caste. It doesn’t matter evenif the former’s family is just above the poverty line and latter kid has a iPhone and car just for him. Corruption has been a big problem. Everyone will say it is wrong but at the same time, someone will be bribing someone.

Teachers also take part in a double standard lifestyle. They expect the students to be sincere but their wrong doings are never punished properly. If a teacher does punish them, they regarded as evil, mean and “khadoos”. But we ourselves make it our life’s agenda to punish someone for their wrong doing. Trump has been in the headlines ever since he became the president. He promised to make more jobs for Americans. Everyone has slammed him for this. Has anyone given a second thought to his actions? Maybe what he is doing is for his own countrymen. In America a large chunk of jobs are taken by immigrants. We wont understand their dilemma as our jobs arent exactly being snatched up by people from other countries. An example that some would understand is China’s control over production of various goods. Almost everything is manufactured there. The whole market is flooded with cheaper models. It is after all natural to buy something cheaper. Who would by 1000 rupees ear pods for a 350 rupees china headphones. Even though the ear pods may work for maybe 3/4 months extra but still the person is able to save money.

All of us are inside this loop. We cant empathise properly with anyone. We all believe in something but do something different. We have mother in laws who prefer a grandson over a granddaughter. People in the upper strata that perform such heinous acts that makes you question the whole society. Hopefully with time, we will be able to see beyond the black and white. We could let go of the dualistic thinking. Afterall with this intelligence, we see not only the black and white but also the shades between them.

Can I Taste It ?? 

When we go into an ice cream parlor, we see these wide range of flavours. Chocolate, chocolate nuts, American nuts, Cake and Caramel etc. You cant decide what you want and all seem delicious. So how do you solve this conundrum? You ask the guy “Can I taste this flavour?” After tasting all, you decide you want to go with Anjeer and honey (Not a bad flavour if anyone was wondering). When you decide to go for clothes shopping. Same scenario. Instead of eating them, you see in which set of shirts or tops you look amazing. It is by default that clothing outlets have change rooms for you try on the clothes. But for many things you cant check if it is what it sounds like. Packed food is a great example. Probably the schezwan flavour noodles have no flavour only when you eat them. Sometimes you go in a restaurant you see a lovely sounding dish, only to realise that it is not that great. Usually for such situations, we will order only one, taste it and order more. The most common example is life. In life you have to choose something and live with it for the rest of your life. This is the story with most of us. 

From childhood, we have to choose things and live with those consequences, good or bad. We plead, do tantrums for that one toy or chocolate. Our parents, give in looking at our puppy faces. They give us what we want but sometimes we dont like it. We say we want something else but our parents wont budge now. So we now live with our choice of toy. We are sad but a tad bit wiser. Sometimes we have to choose a future career at an age of 16. Teenage, what an age it is, the most confusing time of our entire life. Wondering where I am in my life, keeping myself fashionable so that my crush can notice me, the will to try new and daring things. At this age, we are asked to choose a path that we will have to follow for the rest of our lives. Sometimes we choose a right path but falter in the following choices. Sometimes it is a wrong path altogether. What happens if we choose a wrong path? Live with it or so the society has led us to believe. There is taboo with such things. Once you decide the path of “science” and spent 2 years only to realise that this isn’t what you want to do, people say you have to stay on “science” only. It is wrong to go to “arts” and try it. Those 2 years you already spent must mean something. Going to “arts” will make it worthless. “What will you tell people?” “This isn’t worth the risk” These are some thoughts that you have or your parents/friends/relatives put in your head. So what do we do? We just live with our choices, trying to hold on and grasping at whatever happiness we find in it.

Sometimes when we decide to opt for a specific job, we assume this is how my job will be. But what a surprise it comes when we start doing it. This is not what I thought it would be like. Majority of the time, it is in a negative way. Afterall 60% of people are unhappy at their jobs. But by this time, we are adults. We have various responsibilities. It seems too risky to change your job now. You are surrounded by these risk and reward systems. But usually the risk is somehow very high. We rather be unhappy at our jobs than take a leap of faith for a better and happier one. Sometimes the situations demand you to be chained to that job,like for financial stability you would suffer at that job. Very few people have the guts to change their jobs. Even fewer people are rewarded for this sadly. Like everyone on this earth, people ask the one question “Why be a cook/writer/banker after doing engineering/medicine?”  Somehow this thing comes off as they are doubting you. They doubt your abilities and decision making skills. Sometimes they really do, as i mentioned above, taboo it is to change a major decision. Evenif some do change their professions, sometimes it is too late. Many change it, when they are older and the risk has lessened. Their kid is older now. He doesn’t have to take care of his family now, since there is a new man in the house. It is now that they find peace, after years of sailing in uncharted waters.

These same things arise in relationships. Your friend or bestie or love patner. These things always start with trial and error. You like someone and most of the time they like you too. So how does the relationship become intimate? You open up from a bud to a flower with them and you wait to see if they also are opening up or no. Sometimes they do sometimes they dont. But if they dont, the relationship usually ends as it seems one sided. This whole thing, you cant predict. Unless you try it you wont know. And unfortunately this will stick with you. This might often affect your decision making skills. It is upto us how to take this in whether it a big chapter or a side  note. Sometimes your choice is right and you will find someone who is just amazing and no one can take the place they have created, just like kawai-sakura. Arranged marriages are examples where you have to live through them. Though nowadays people just tend to divorce sooner. It is just so simple to hear “We are different and incompatible”. But where do you decide where to stop trying to make it work?

It is so weird this world we live in. We have choices but we dont have the time to try them all out like we can in an ice cream parlor. It is a taboo to change a life decision and most often it is because of the type of situation we are in that makes us unable to do so. Maybe sometime down the line, we can make such decisions with ease and that make our lives better.