Taking stock : 2017

Hey ya folks! We’re into mid-2017.

I had updated my Facebook profile for a life event ‘Made peace with time.’ in mid-May, because I wasn’t freaking out about the time that has passed or is passing and things that are pending. I am glad the life event seems to be a permanent change in my temperament, because I still ain’t freaking out while I go through my resolution list made in Jan 2017.

Here we go:

Here are the resolutions :

  1. Win a medal.

    Well, I made it to the Nationals by qualifying in the Pre-Nationals held in Mumbai, this June. The margin was appreciable. I needed 352/400 to qualify. I shot a 358/400 in a pressure situation. I am now training at Level 6 in GFG, which happens to be the highest level of training that they presently offer. So yeah, winning is on cards, the season is progressing well.

  2. Earn money blogging.

    Why do I do this to me?!

  3. Code using SWIFT and also develop an end-to-end iOS app with cloud hosting and web services.

    Have not started. Am not sure.

  4. Write a tech blog.

    Same as above.

  5. Write a shooting blog.

    This is possible. Need to start.

  6. Write actively on thedamsel.in.

    I am not sure about the blog. I have been posting on Instagram, but it is very directionless.

  7. Read 100 books.

    Like last year, I have subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. I am even more disappointed with their collection. I have read a few thrillers and a few man-eater series from Kenneth Anderson and Jim Corbett. Right now, I have finished Shashi Kapoor’s Biography and am reading Shammi Kapoor’s. If you have any Kindle Unlimited recommendations, please suggest.

  8. Write short stories and creative pieces.

    A poem about my dead cat counts?

  9. Complete April A-Z Challenge and February Ramblings.

    Gee…

  10. Eat right, exercise and get a fit body. Participate in at least one marathon.

    Exercising. Not enough. Need to work.

Erm… I am happy I posted on the blog even if it is ‘taking stock’. Hope you’re having a good year too!

To my dead Cat

Chunky, my dear pet.
(Oh how you hated the vet!)

You were but a week or two,
when Mom found you,
licking the cauldron of ghee
in adorable kittenish glee…

Before you, I never had a ‘real’ pet
All came, and went away or were sent away pat * 🙁
But you were different
Oh you were so adamant!

To you, I was introduced –
when I came back from the tuition. Boy, I was so very deuced!
You were hiding in the farthest corner under the ‘computer room’s’ bed,
Oh hello, little one…I bent and said.

All squiggly and wiggly, you walked to me.
As I sat down, you purred and circled me.
You were so delicate, but boy, did your purring motor race!
For the first time in my life…a fur-ball had me scare(d)!

They let me keep you,
rather, they themselves kept you!
You were soon family,
The house’s youngest member, officially!

Then you unleashed your childhood.
You were a fussy eater – miss puss-in-boots.
Milk, you drank.
From bread, you shrank.
Buttermilk, sometimes.
The shake incidence, we still narrate at family story times!****

In the living room, you had your own cat-home.
A large metal cage, with a pretty dome.
By the day, the grounds you’d roam,
at night, you had no choice, but to stay home.

Then the hunter in you showed up.
At your sight, the birds would warily chirrup.
You chased insects, who did not heed you at all
One bit your nose. Since then, you ran at the sight of all!

You left behind your childhood garb goofy,
and after teenage, you turned into a celebrated beauty.
You made me an insecure Mom,
when you went out with that tall-dark-handsome Tom!

I soon realized there’s more than food in your tummy,
My God! My li’l Chunky was now a soon-to-be Mummy!
You rested in my lap,
And I watched you nap…

Days went by, and that summer, we had new babies,
I am thankful, you didn’t make me change their nappies 😛
What a joy it was, to see you transform –
from a helpless kitten, to a hands-on cat-Mom.

The rest, my dear, is history.
Far and wide, you and your clan spread your glory.
One day, just like you had appeared,
you disappeared.

I never had a chance,
to give you another glance.
Our meetings had become so rare,
after I was off to College, I had little home-time to spare.

I knew you were gone,
but my heart would have of that none.
You met me in my dreams,
leaving clues, muffled screams…

Of where you’d be,
Of where I should see…
Were you in your old spots where you’d hide
as a kitten, when you didn’t want to be grounded at night?
Speak to me,
I want to rescue you, my child…

And then I woke up,
all shaken up.
I was positive you were in danger,
and I could do nothing but hanker.

One day, you met me in dreams again,
we were at home, and you came hopping in like a mad man.
I screamed. This time with joy,
Come ‘ere, that’s my dear boy!

You played with me, to both our heart’s content,
that’s when I realised, you still seemed distant.
Almost heavenly.
That’s when it hit me.
The way you looked at me,
Even in my dreams, I knew, this is the last I’d see.
Of you, my dear Chunky,
you dear dear cat spunky.

You bid me adieu,
didn’t you?
‘Cos since then,
I haven’t seen you.

Not even in my dreams…
And now, there are no silent screams.
Looks like you’ve found your peace.
Although you were never the one for it, you tease!

Last week, I saw a movie,**
in which there was a playful doggie.
He came back to meet his human friend,
After 50+ years end…

Somehow I know you, you dead cat.
You are planning something…tell me what you’re at!
Are you gonna come back to me, when I am tired and old,
to meet ‘him’ too? He was there, back then too you know – why, that’d be gold!***

If you’d only say, and oh if you’d said it sooner,
I’d have spared that emotional shower,
when I cried my heart out, a year after you did disappear…
Yeah, I took my time until you told me that you’re dead, you heart-breaker 🙂

Now be a gem, and say you’ll be back, even if it’s for the rat(s)!
You nut, you crazy crazy whippersnapper, you smug li’l brat!

* We had a lot of rescue kittens, dogs and birds. We nursed them and set them free wherever they were found. So we had a lot of animals over, but they never stayed as pets.
** A dog’s purpose
*** Reference from A Dog’s Purpose : Ethan’s girlfriend had met Bailey, his Red Retriever dog. After reincarnation, the trio meet again. When Chunky came to live with us, Abhijeet was in town too! He hasn’t met her though. Till now that is… 😛 Ok, I am not crazy, I am just trying to make this poem as good a tearjerker as the movie.
**** Quite a story…saving it for other times…
So this is how 2 week old kittens look. Chunky was found exactly at this age –

Day 7 – Consistency

NaBloPoMo November 2016

I am uber talented. In everything I take up.

Something always prevents me from making it to the top. Even if I do make it, there is a nagging feeling of being unaccomplished. Why?

I do everything in bursts, not streaks. Example : I started NaBloPoMo and fizzled out on Day 3.

Streaks happen when the doer is consistent. Here’s a piece I wrote in January about how being consistent can bring about a major change.

As I mentioned before, I am preparing for pre-nationals in 10m  Air Pistol to be held in mid-November. Our coach has started a new program where we train in group. First he gives us individual targets (e.g- Shoot 46 in 5 shots, each shot has a maximum value of 10 points). Then we are divided into teams and have to shoot the given number of shots to the best of our capacity.

One day, I consistently shot well and won a tie-breaker by scoring a perfect 10 (bullseye). Our team won. Next day, barring some problem with the weapon, I shot okay-ish. The highlight was – a perfect 10, which I followed up with a measly 6. A 6! At this level, I should not be going beyond 8 and this was in the white-space. Anyhoo, our team won one round and next round – we at least did not end up in the bottom.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because despite having all the potential and skill required for a certain task, I often fall short of giving my best to it (forget doing best). And the reason of falling short is – not giving enough time daily to the activity. Be it shooting, writing or my in-pipeline start-up – everything needs chunks of time DAILY from my routine. Instead, I end up doing stupid mundane things like doing the dishes, making food or organising the closet. Or in extreme cases of escapist moods – I can be found dozing off or reading. Grrr…

Coach’s advice : Do not belittle yourself. Pat your back every time you do well. You have to practice daily to achieve a certain level of confidence. But, if you are not coming to practice regularly, you can still shoot well if you believe in whatever training you have managed to do.

Bottomline : You can get away with being irregular, if you manage to do the required thing on time and with quality. To do this, you have to believe in yourself. Because (and I realise this at this precise moment) regularity or repetitions are different from being consistent. Consistency is performing well regardless of how regularly you do the activity. There is a shadow of doubt though – can you really be consistent without DAILY practice? Of course, there is a bare minimum level you need to attain first. After that, you can be fairly good, even great, if you have ‘just enough’ practice and a truck load of confidence (not over confidence).

Do you have difficulty in being consistent or regular? How do you deal with it?

It’s okay if you tell me this is a pretty pointless post, but this self-talk at least makes me post the Day 7 NaBloPoMo post.

30s Gyaan

I am turning 30 this 6th October.

Though I have been feeling 30 since I was 26, the official event occurs next week.

This makes me want to share what I have known about life in these 3 decades.

As Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh says in Chhoti si Baat :

 “Ye ek art hai, kala hai. Ye meri 65 saal ki zindagi ka nichod hai.”

 

(In my case, ye meri 30 saal ki zindagi ka nichod hai.)

Since today is 29th, and I am still 29, this seems a good day to start my sermons.

Let me start by citing some facts about the age 30 (applicable to me, may or may not be applicable to others).

Fact #1

You don’t feel as old as you had thought you might. 

I had to write a composition in Sr.Kg. Essentially, it was a fill-in-the-blanks assignment titled ‘My Mother’. It read – My mother’s name is _____. My mother is _____ years old. And so on.

It was a homework assignment. My Mom used to take my studies. I filled her name. I asked her, what do I fill in the second sentence? She said, fill what age you think I am. I thought a lot, and thought, to be old enough to be my Mom, she has to be at least 30. So I wrote 30 and my Mom graciously let it be. (She was 28 then.)

And now I sit writing this, at the age I thought she was then!

Recently, when she turned 51, she told me, she doesn’t feel the age. I believe her now. My Grandma once told me, even when you turn 80, you’ll realise it only when you look into the mirror or your health starts failing you. I fantasise about turning 80 sometimes. And unlike the figure of 30, which has intimidated me since last 4 years, 80 doesn’t. Maybe, because it seems so far away…

Fact #2

People begin to take you seriously.

Try telling people you want to be a writer or an entrepreneur at 18 and try telling the same at 30. Odds are, the distractors will tear your dreams apart at 18, but find no points worth mentioning at 30. At least, that is what has happened to me.

Walk into a shop, take a cab, get the grocery – everywhere, if you have the personality to match the age, people will listen to you more seriously than they would a teen.Sad, but true. (I say teen because in my early 20s, I felt like a teen and in the late, like a 30 year old. I have not experienced the 20s mentally.)

Fact #3

You begin to live for yourself.

Aye, you have tried your best to put yourself above the demands of the mundane till now, but seldom succeeded. At 30, you gain the assertiveness to really put your foot down and start living. You can even successfully contradict a bossy grown-up!

Fact #4

You begin to form a wall around your emotional self.

Gone are the days when trivial remarks used to affect you. You learn to ignore what is not important to your personal life. You do not make time for negative people and surround yourself with friends, family and mentors who contribute to general well-being.

Fact #5

You are not afraid of failing.

3 decades are enough to show that no man is exempted from failure. Small or big failures have come your way, and have toughened you enough to not shy away from embarking on anything new. You take risks, but not like you did in the wild 20s. You know when to go forth and when to retreat. Giving up – you have learned. You no longer make it an ego point. But you have also learned what will work, and are not afraid of going after it.

Fact #6

You are more confident than your teen years and twenties.

From my experience, till you are in school, the focus of your life is pretty restricted. If you do well in studies and sports at a certain level, your confidence in yourself is unchallengeable. As you move out of school and are exposed to a bigger and real world, where people around you know things you don’t know yet, you begin to falter. It is the acceptance of the fact that there is so much to know that brings self-doubt. Which is good within limits; but if it crosses a certain level, it causes one to retreat into a shell for no apparent reason. This self-doubt can eat up decades altogether, till you learn that – everybody who excels at something, lags in other things. Also, even an expert cannot say that he knows everything! So, what you know, till now, counts for something and is not vain, if you do not consider yourself an expert in it.

30 in way, returns to you the confidence of your childhood.

These were my observations for today. I would like to know how valid these are, from those who have already been 30 or are approaching 30. 

 

 

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.