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.

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.

Day 25 : Think of any word. Search it on google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image.

The word I searched is ‘Success’.635939176359096238-1005869204_success
I had heard them say, it is lonely at the top.
But it’s only because, they are a jealous lot!
I am at the pinnacle,
my life’s now a spectacle.
I have achieved my goals,
is this the end of the roads?
No, I pause a bit here,
to address my fear –
Am I really alone?
Oh am I really alone?
I sacrificed a lot,
that’s what my kids I taught –
let go of things and people, that get in your way,
those who make your decisions sway.
Will they now leave me too one day?!
I always did what I wanted to do,
Why, that didn’t stop me from wooing the girl I knew!
I married her, and now there are four of us,
Going our own ways, but bound by trust.
I stand at the top of the mountain,
devouring a never stopping fountain,
of intoxicating inspiration…
Am I really alone?
Oh am I really alone?
Are my wife and kids gone,
In their own quests for their unknown?
Nay, you ditherers.
Nay! You distracters!
I’ll tell you what is success –
It ain’t lonely, it ain’t alone – it grants you access,
to your soul’s innermost recess.
It is mine, still too theirs.
My people, they are all on their respective stairs.
One day they’ll bask in their hard earned glory,
and to all they’ll tell our story,
Us who survived,
the distracters myriad.
We found our own serene, our own tranquil,
We are not alone, we don’t need a common anvil
And for the mundane cast iron, we do not toil,
We make our own tools!
We think of us as wolves!
Together, but alone,
we trudge our paths, worn.
And thus, our travails have borne
us, sweet success to call our own.
We look alone,
But we are not alone!

Day 23 : A letter to someone, anyone.

This letter is to my inner critic.

Hello Critic,

I will not give you the privilege of addressing you as my inner editor. No. You are the critic in me. You are a perfectionist. At least, you think you are.

They say writer’s block happens because of you; because you think I do not have anything worthwhile to write on. They say the only way to deal with you is to write to you and overcome the fear of facing you. Alright, here I am.

I am here to tell you – judge me all you want! I am not afraid to face you anymore. I have gone through my earlier blog posts, my journal entries, my short stories, my poems, my tweets and even my Facebook posts several times. I have never felt that I don’t write anything worthwhile. I have seen Ratatouille and know what critics can do to an artist. I am not letting you get to me like Anton Ego.

You are a good fellow. However, you are not well read. How do I know? Because I am not well read! Ha! Well, I won’t hinder your progress, now that I have decided to focus on reading too. Do not think this is to give you more ammunition to blast my works before they find their way to paper. It is to boost my confidence in my capabilities as a writer. So be prepared to be surprised by the quality of my work.

It’s not that I can do away with you entirely. Even if on most days you are the nemesis of my work, I need you to keep me grounded. If I know that you are not there to screen my work, I’d think I am perfect and won’t feel the need to write. I need you to motivate me to write, to prove to you that I can and I will! I need you like Buck from Ice Age 3 needs Rudy.

So we make an open pact, eh? You don’t rubbish my work before it is written and I don’t ignore your critique after it is given. After all, to survive any longer, you too need writers like me to laud or trash.

Here’s to constructive criticism.

Your writer self,
Meta Wordcoiner.

Day 18 : Post 30 facts about yourself

  1. I will turn 30 this October. I was plagued by worry since I turned 26, but now I am rather looking forward to 30s. My Dad says nature gives humans the right thoughts for the age that they are, to control any regrets or disappointments. I kinda agree now.
  2. I topped my town’s SSC exams (amongst girls). I am not very proud of it when I have to mention my percentage. The only matter of pride is – I topped the exams without copying. Which is a big deal because our town has a lot of copying going on in every board exams.I copied a verbal problem in Chemistry in HSC. The supervisor put me up to it – to boost my percentage. I never copied in Engineering. I never ever solved a verbal problem after Chemistry paper. I got 64 in Physics because I left 20+20 marks verbal problems simply because it bored me to solve maths. My college Principal noticed me when I got to 4th year and told me publicly – Well,done! For the one who doesn’t like maths, you have made it throughout to the last semester. I flushed.
  3. I love language. Especially English.
  4. I am a cat person. Dogs, I like, but not as much as cats. IMHO, dogs are too gullible.
  5. I am trying to be a morning person since about 2 decades.
  6. I have encyclopaedic knowledge about trivia related to movies, series I watch.
  7. I am judgemental. I see a person for who he is, make my conclusions and can still be cordial with that person even if I don’t quite like him/her. In other instances, I understand they are different people and like to get to know their POVs.
  8. Everybody always thinks I am lying, even if I am telling the truth. There’s something about my face. Also outrageous things happen to me. Have you ever been bitten by a mangoose inside your house, by the shoe stand and have had to explain to the science teacher that you did not go to tuition the other day because you were getting a rabies shot because a kid mangoose bit you in the middle of civilisation? Have you ever seen vultures encircling a cow’s skull in your school playground – after school? Have you ever submitted a different subject file with only the index for the subject you are submitting for (by mistake) and gotten away by replacing it the next day? Have you ever written ‘Please smell the paper’ in your science exam, just because you wrote with a scented pen? Have you ever fallen to the hard ground *with* a tree branch in your hand, from about a 2-storey high ‘mountain’ of cotton seed and escaped unhurt and told everyone years after the incident happened? Have you ever rubbed a whole pencil-written answer because you wrote the answer to the 5th question in place of the 4th one (not in a printed quiz, but in your own notebook) and wrote the correct answer for both again and the teacher postpones checking for some reason, you are made to take the notebook home and then the next day you are accused of correcting (how presumptuous that I could have written a wrong answer) the answer at home – because she says – why did you not just switch the numbers?! (I have a mild OCD, for God’s sake!) Nobody believes me!
  9. I am a confrontation avoider. I will never argue a case or voice a different opinion if it serves to make the scene ugly. My folks say I argue a lot. So did my teachers say about me. These are two diametrically opposite things – make your own conclusions about me.
  10. I don’t swear. I don’t have aversion to other people swearing. I have often wondered if any of my characters would swear. Why, of course they would, if they are such people who swear. It’s not that I am afraid of swearing, I never felt the need for it.
  11. Most people have never seen me angry. Close family and friends who have seen me angry at times are surprised that I have that kinda emotion in me. When I am angry, I vent out in English (not writing…I speak my heart out in English.). I also alliterate when angry.
  12. I can spend an entire day just thinking. I often end up with the result ‘INTP’ in personality type test.
  13. I have tried a busy life and a lazy life. Both have not given me peace of mind. I am in the process of finding a middle ground.
  14. In my head, I have a model’s body, a movie star’s body language. I have written several books and head a successful organisation. My closet is rich and organized. I am working towards the goals each day.
  15. I start new things, expand ideas and often miss following them through. I think it has a lot to do with me being the INTP type.
  16. I like to experiment with my hair.
  17. I am an outdoor person who never steps out of home. Beat that.
  18. I have a very few real friends. The kind of friends who do not expect anything from me and are there to hear out my fantasies and ventings. I exploit them a lot.
  19. I am the kind of friend who will sometimes entertain your idiosyncrasies throughout the day and sometimes just shut you out even though you are speaking to me. As long as I know you are in no serious trouble, I can be like that. If you are in trouble or have an event in your life, I will be there hands and feet, waiting on you and shielding you from unnecessary stress coming your way.
  20. I like getting gifts. I like giving gifts. Sometimes I have already given the gift in my mind, so you don’t get anything from me on your weddings, birthdays, or when you have children.
  21. I do not belong to the world around me. At times I feel difficult to breathe thinking my life will be spent doing the mundane.
  22. Once, I wanted to change the world. Not anymore. Now I want to make myself the best work of my life.
  23. I start skin care routines and never follow through. Same with medicines. I just see the doctor and feel I have been cured.
  24. I feel an urgent need to stop time. At other times, I happily while away days reading for hours on end.
  25. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, a scientist, an astronomer, a RAW agent and a politician.
  26. I want to start public speaking, debating and video blogging. Someone at the Dubai International Film Festival told me I am a natural at speaking into the camera…whatever that means.
  27. I am never tired of self-flattery. I am a boaster (miya-mithoo, if you may) and I know it.
  28. I seldom get to eat the food I like. I never consciously think about food.
  29. I like cartoons much. I have not been in touch with the latest cartoons and comics for the last 10+ years.
  30. Some days I feel the world is a hype and I am at peace in my cocoon. Some days I feel I am not at pace with the world. I revel in wistfulness I guess.