DAY 21 : What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

It is difficult to pick only 3 lessons from the truck loads that occur to me every minute of the day. I shall prioritise though :

  1. Do not be bogged by the habit of procrastination. It can be overcome.
    Dear children, if you ever read this, you’ll know that this post was supposed to be written on 21 July 2015. Instead, it comes on 23 September 2016. Reason? Procrastination.
    I procrastinate for one or more of these reasons :

    1. Often, procrastination is a result of a deep desire for perfection. If you are old enough, you will understand what I am saying.
    2. I put off things which are important to me, but may seem unimportant to the family. I do this to accommodate the demands of the mundane. Postpone that painting I so want to finish, for the dishes that need to be done. This is my example, you will have yours.
    3. I am afraid of gratification. You may have heard of people who are too afraid to acknowledge that they are happy, fearing they will be plunged into deep sadness soon. This leads me to delay doing things I love to do. An equally possible reason I procrastinate is – I try to do the thing I want to do so earnestly, at the last – like a dessert.
    4. What about the things I don’t want to do but have to do? You’d think I procrastinate the most on them. Nope. Think hard and you’ll notice I put off things I love to do rather than have to do. One exception is workout. I know I have to workout, but put if off every morning and then every evening.

      Have I overcome all this? Well, not all at the moment that I am writing this. But I have overcome parts of it. I have let go of the heavy expectations of perfection from myself. I have realised that I can find time pockets if not hours on end to do things which I love to do – I read while waiting for the cab to arrive, I read while travelling in the cab. I am not afraid to be happy doing what I love to do – it doesn’t matter if my activity is termed useful or a waste of time by the family. I have learned to enjoy things I don’t want to do but have to do. If you do anything, even an unwanted chore with concentration, it gives you a peace of mind which will be useful when you do things you want to do. You will find that if you do the dishes well, you will enjoy your reading break more. Otherwise the reading will be harried.
      So yes, voluntary or involuntary procrastination is curable.

  2. Bullies will be there in every walk of life. Learn when to ignore and when to confront them.
    The first bullies come disguised in the form of friends. The second walk up to you in the form of authority. They can be people you can avoid and they can be people you cannot avoid at any cost. They may be temporary fixtures or permanent relations in your life. The worst bullies are those who pretend to be your well-wishers. The more tolerable are the ones who openly impose restrictions on you in schools, colleges, workplaces and your social circles.
    In my case, I am brought up to be sensible to the feelings of others, I unknowingly get bullied emotionally and confirm to others’ notions of life just to avoid confrontation. Physical bullying probably ends at school level and can be dealt with if you talk to your parents. However, emotional bullying is a bit complex. I have found a way to deal with it by shielding myself against the hurt expressed by the bully, at the risk of appearing cold and rude. This has to be done in moderation and you need to remember not to turn into an island by meting out the same treatment to your real well-wishers. The other kind of bullies – the authorities – believe you me – you just have to complain to the higher authority and/or stand your ground, look them in the eye and say, ‘Hey, dude, Sir/Madam, this ain’t gonna work on me. You will have to do the right thing, and by the book. And if you think of threatening me with consequences, well, I am ready to face them. At least I won’t have to submit to your bullying.’
    Now the best part of my advice – a very few bullies fall into ‘the ones to be taken seriously’ category. You can easily deal with the rest by just ignoring them. Learn that from me, I am perhaps the most skilled confrontation avoider you’ll ever meet.
  3. Be friends with nature and animals.
    You know children, as you grow up, you’d think the world becomes simpler, the exams stop, the pressure to do well in studies and sports is lessened, the money is easy and you are at liberty to stay up well past your bed-time and get up whenever you want to. This doesn’t happen. At least not in the way you might picture it. I longed to grow up so that I’d be taken seriously by others. Even that doesn’t happen. If it happens in your case, well and good. If not, you will be stressed more often than not and will need an outlet to vent out and calm down. The best place for this is anywhere close to nature. Even your balcony garden counts. You also need to understand and form bonds with animals around you (not only the humans) – so that you can retreat to them, talk to them and learn the art of life from them. Mark my words, when happy or sad, when elated or depressed, when rich or bankrupt – go close to nature and animals – your spirits will be grounded or uplifted – as per need. Great balancers, these.

This was all my advice for now. And I am positive you’ll find I do follow my own advice, when you will be reading this.

My first shooting match – MAWC

I played my first MAWC (in 10m Air Pistol) organised by the Maharashtra Rifle Association (MRA) this Saturday.

I learned shooting for 3 months last year. This June, I continued from where I had left.

As a novice, it was very difficult to find information about how to go about the match on the internet. Hence, I log my takeaways here for any shooter to find.

  1. The match is total 1.30 hrs, with sighting time. Make sure you reach at least an hour and a half beforehand.
  2. Take permissions for the smallest of things like changing cylinders. The range officers are very cooperative and will guide you throughout. However, this means that they will be strict too if you disobey the range/safety rules.
  3. Take care of hydration and make sure you eat before the match.
  4. It is totally easy to hit straight 10s if you calibrate your pistol right.
  5. Try to fill cylinders beforehand from the range you practice on, because there may or may not be availability of air pressure in the cylinders at the MRA.

If you have questions, please feel free to ask in the comments. Happy shooting!

Day 11 : Something that you always think “What if…” about

I haven’t had to think much about this. There are a very few events about which I think what if.

I was in school, probably not over 5th standard. My Grandpa used to drop me to school on our Kinetic Honda.

School always opened in the first week of June, which also marks (…err used to mark, now monsoon is too erratic) the beginning of monsoon. Because of the ‘kichad’ that covered the kaccha road to school up to 5-to-10 blocks, we had to park near another school and walk all the way to the gate.

Grandpa was so caring that he used to walk up to the school at leaving time. I never walked alone to the parked scooter. One such day, we were walking back from school and I noticed some puddles formed at the side of the road. I was tempted to step in them.

There was a big puddle, larger than the bucket-sized ones. I looked up at Grandpa and asked, “Should I jump in it?” He smiled and said, “Why not?”

We were some steps away from the puddle. I was wearing pristine white socks and jet black shoes (which weren’t that black anymore). A curious thought occurred to me. “What if Mom shouts that I got my socks dirty?”

Now that I look back, that thought seems to be triggered by Providence itself because I have never cared enough for Mom’s reprimands or the fact that she will have to wash soiled socks (yes, I feel bad). BUT, you get the point, right? That thought occurred to me, and half out of fear and half out of concern, I did not go through with my decision.

When we were about to reach the parked scooter, an acquaintance of Grandpa’s came up to him, they got talking and I was looking around me, utterly bored when only under a minute had passed. Suddenly my ears pricked at a sentence I heard – Only 3 days back, a child had fallen into one of the uncovered wells a few kms away. There is a growth in wells dug up and abandoned when they don’t hit water. People don’t build a boundary wall around them and unsuspecting children and animals fall in them. There’s one such well right behind you! See? Last week’s rains have filled it to the brim and now it looks like just another puddle…”

WHAAA? I stood with my mouth agape. My Grandpa finished the conversation and walked on as if nothing had happened. I looked up at him and asked, “What if I had jumped in the puddle, erm, well?” He smiled and said, “Nothing. I would have saved you.”

That was reassuring, as my Grandpa is a very skilled swimmer. But I still shudder at the thought of having put a foot in a puddle and stumbling into a well!

I know my writing style has deteriorated of late. Please bear.