A Pillion Ride

Walking through the crossroads amidst workday lunch traffic, actively blocking all the commotion around me. I made my way home after completing a long list of chores, on foot to avoid wasting time in vehicular humdrum, thinking of what is with all the rush, what is it with all the chaos, what is everyone chasing, if everyone is out on the streets then what about their homes??
Why is it that each day the crossroad near my house see’s the same rush; on weekdays its in blue and blacks while on weekends the same rush turns vibrant in colour, but its a chaos all the same.

Bickering to myself, trying to come up with reasons and then justifying them, and then looking for a better answer as that wasn’t satisfactory enough- I was stopped mid step. From the corner of my eyes I saw something, something that was out of place. My peripheral vision had been coloured neon and my hardwired and set-pattern expecting brain couldn’t understand why. While I was lost in a new confusion, me sense were flooded by a sound. The sound of a hearty laughter- the kind that just forms in your stomach, rolls up your throat and launches itself into the world like a contagious vibration. It made the hair on my neck stand, in a good way.

On turning back, I saw a child of 5 or 6. It was this child that was responsible for the disruption of a regular weekday afternoon. This child wore a neon coloured overall with the whitest of white shoes and held a pinwheels of fluorescent colours. The person responsible for this child rode a scooter, absolutely unaffected by this roar of a laughter. If he was struggling with navigating through the traffic, his face didn’t show it.

And just like that I realised that I had raised my free hand and was waving at the kid with a smile on my face. The child wasn’t just laughing but also waving at all the strangers that were passing by and had a chance to do so face-to-face as he sat with his back against his riders back. It was when the child and his rider were out of sight and out of my audible distance, I realised that his sound had gained out al the sounds that my surroundings were creating- the honking or motor vehicles, the sound of their engines, the telephone conversations, the barking of stray dogs.

Once again, bickering to myself, I entered my house wondering what the child was so happy about, how musical was his laughter and does looking at things in retrospect really make them easier to laugh about?

THEY, THE TEACHERS!

They are the world!

When the entire world celebrates teachers, I’ve decide to acknowledge and thank my constant teachers.
They don’t bare the title, they play the role. They are unrecognised, they are essential. There are no specific subjects and specialisations but they have all contributed in one way or another.

They taught me that age does not always decide the role.
They taught me that respect cannot be demanded- one has to earn it (age and relationship no bar).
They showed me that just because someone thinks differently than you, doesn’t always mean that either one of you is wrong.
They have respected my space when I wanted to stay alone without confusing me for a lonely person and forced their company upon me when they sensed my loneliness… the difference between being alone and being lonely makes a world of a difference.
They showed me that self worth must not come from grades, qualifications, pay cheques, material possessions, but from within.
They made me realise that forgiving is not easy but it isn’t impossible either.
They have shown me that learning has no age.
They taught me that sometimes proving to be the smartest in the room is the dumbest thing to do as you could be hurting someone with your ignorance of them.
They showed me that being sensitive is a strength and not a weakness, only if you believe it.
They taught me that being caring and understanding of others is a talent in itself and takes practice to become instinctive.
They taught me that it requires strength to say Yes or No, it requires smarts to choose between them and it takes courage to live up to the decision.
They made me realise that nature and our surroundings are our best teachers, only if we’re paying attention and filtering the noise actively.
They taught me that in a fix between two people of different age groups, there are no hard and fast rules regarding who initiates a solution. It is always the one with intent that goes first.
They showed me that the world doesn’t revolve around me and it is better that way.
They taught me that no problem is unique to only me, someone somewhere has been and is going through it with me.
They taught me that the physical distance has no capacity to put distance between two hearts. They will continue to stay connected irrespective of the time zones, with effort and trust.
They taught me that diversity is just that- diverse. Not everything is good or bad, worth or worthless.
They showed me that most priceless things are qualitative and cannot be en-cashed.
They taught me that food feeds your stomach, money feeds your ego and Travel feeds your soul- and we need ALL of them. 

On a daily basis I don’t show gratitude to their contribution as I’m busy in my quest to conquer everything else. 
They are the wheels to my chariot, often un-noticed but the essence of my functioning. They usually come in as small blessings when I am least expecting them and leave with no charade, with no claim for applause.

Who are they, you wonder?

Even I don’t know for sure. 
They are my family members. They are my friends. They are strangers on a street. They are my colleagues. They are the house help. They are bystanders.
They are the world!

To everyone out there…

You need not trust blindly, just show that you’re interested.

The world will tell you there are things you cannot be.
You will speak up and you will be told to keep it down because it isn’t ladylike for a woman to be loud, this daring, this outspoken.
When this day comes, I hope you will tell them, better yet, I hope you show them how you were born with enough fire inside you to set the whole sky in flames.
When you do this, you’ll see how there’s nothing that scares them as much as a woman who is not afraid to use her voice.
But listen, be that woman anyways, because if there’s one thing I never want you to forget is that you can be anything you want to be.


To My Daughter by F.E. Marie

While F.E. Marie used these words to talk to the woman, I think every one deserves to have at least one voice that speaks to them this way. Be that voice to someone and mean it. Stand there, you don’t need to deliver grand gestures, just be there and hear them out. You need not trust blindly, just show that you’re interested.

Why am I asking for it?
Well, remember when I told you that I’m exploring my new religion (My Religion, My Resolution)?
Yeah, so I’m adding this to my list of humanity.
There are so many people who have potential but lack the support and courage to follow and execute their dream. Whether one succeeds or not, I believe everyone deserves a chance to at least TRY.

So here’s me, putting the word out in the universe and hoping it hits the right ears, knocks the correct doors and creates an upwards spiral!
Here’s also me, asking you to hear the voice in the humdrum noise.

My Kerosene Lantern & My Flies

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person that you are”
– Kurt Cobain

Have you ever seen a kerosene lantern?
Have you noticed it burn?
When you light the wick, it glows with a warmth so strong. The glow attracts hoards of flies and moths like kids around a candy cart; they crowd around, buzzing and dancing as if in an a-cappella. The flame moves like an enchantress at the heart of a party. As the enchantress puts in the hours, the gathering begins to dull down and the insects scatter. A dark blanket covers the enchantress that continues to glow, as if unaware of her lost grip.
The lantern is blamed for being a possessive lover who hides away her spirit, refusing to share her with the rest of the world. This love story is, however, one of melancholy.

So busy entertaining and enjoying, the enchantress never realises that the sooth that envelopes her is her own creation.


The lantern is my physical being. The glowing wick is my spirit. The flies, bees and moths are all the people that have come and gone; the ones that have been around.
What’s the sooth then, I wondered?
It is the only proof that stands witness to all the effort, burning and wear and tear that has gone into the process of being me.

Do I like who I am today? Of course I do!
Am I the perfect version of who I wish to be? Well I am the version that I wanted to be sometime ago. Now my plans have evolved.
I once read somewhere:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; Remember what you now have was among the things you only hoped for.

-Epicurus

Why is it then that the work that was put in to make me- me, shows itself in the form of a layer that also sometimes suffocates my light?

I’ve always been a people person and yet it burns me out from time to time. For the first time I recently heard myself ask a friend, “Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe Social Media is just Media. There is more to my everyday than what I choose to put out there?” While it did give me a false momentary celebrity air, but it spiralled down on me just as fast. I realised that I was losing touch with myself and becoming irritable. I realised that the line between my primary and secondaries was getting blurred.

To my own surprise I was at ease on realising that I had been pushing myself. The road to this realisation had un-timely outbursts and un-necessary emotional breakdowns for over a week with highly confusing actions, the realisation itself came as a moment of comfort. As if my body was showing signs, like the sooth in the lantern, that I’d burnt myself well and needed some cleaning.

What followed was pretty much me pampering myself to comfort through music, food, sleep and everything else. I spent a couple of days being everything that I needed, un-bothering by the social code of conduct.
Took a day off work with no other plans for the day. Got into bed a little early and stay there a little longer. Stood under the shower and let it all out. Painted my toes an electric purple and spent time moisturising. Didn’t indulge in small talk or conversations that weren’t helping me. Looked at the moon and tried counting the stars till my neck hurt. Ate by myself. Played with the strays. Watched movies in languages that I don’t understand. Played dress up in the middle of the night. Re-read parts of books, just because. Said ‘No’ to polite tasks. Listened to groovy dance music at the crack of dawn. Ran alone. Called up friends whom I’ve not heard from in a while. Laughed until my eyes spilled. Wrapped fairy lights around my body and sat with a tub of my favourite ice cream to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. re-runs.

And just like that, with a little effort and time, the glow of my lantern has begun to return. The weight of the sooth is lifting and I feel more at ease with myself. Finally able to feel my thoughts flowing and more in tandem with my surroundings. Ready to be with people and feel entertained by the buzz of it all.
It is a small amount of time invested in cleaning which is going to last me quite a while and has also earned me some added comfort. If I had to do the math, I’d say I’m looking at some great returns on investment.

Don’t waste another minute thinking that you’re failing when really all you’re doing is growing.

-Chani Nicholas

Hey!
The last few days for me have been all about thinking, re-thinking and sometimes over analysing. I wouldn’t say it was all dull, grey and dark but there sure have been showers of gloom. It was this period of looking at myself that had me sharing this piece.
If you’ve read it till the end and felt like you understood what I’ve been upto, then maybe you have been there, are headed there or are there right now. Treat it like a cleanse, it makes you dirty and uncomfortable but you only get out better; so hang in there!

I’m Just Choosing

I wish to fly 
I’m unloading 
I’m not insensitive 
I’m just choosing 


It’s just another week.
It’s been a regular month.
It’s an ordinary weather.
It’s an average list of chores.
It’s the daily hum-drum.
It’s the same faces around.
But,
But I’m making the most of it.
I’m trying to make my state-of-mind extraordinary.
I’m day dreaming travel and researching hostels.
I’m considering my options and being hopeful for the long weekends.
I’m sprinkling plans and I know some are about to stick.
I’m making me.
I’m making myself happy.
I’m being more than just my immediate surroundings.
I wish to try
I’m learning
I’m not incoherent
I’m just choosing
Am I delusional, you may wonder.
I’m childish and dreamy you might say.
I’m unreliable you might believe.
But I’m happy Is all that I care.
I’m trying is all I know.
I’ll get my tickets stamped, is all that I need to believe.
Sure you wish I saw the reality that you see
I understand that you are uncomfortable with my antiques
You do genuinely try to make me normal
Everyone’s wishful for me to adhere and conform
But I’ve seen people cry under the happy masks
I’ve heard the gloomy silence behind your crackling laughter
I’ve felt the burden of the unshed tears
And I know they weigh me down
I wish to fly
I’m unloading
I’m not insensitive
I’m just choosing

IGNORANCE

“Not engaging in Ignorance is Wisdom”

The concept of Ignorance and its usage in life has always felt like a cross-roads situation to me. Certain questions such as: Whether to ignore or not, How much to ignore (in terms of quantity and percentage), Until when to ignore, Where to draw the line, For whom to draw the line, How to judge the eligibility of the situation and person in question, etc., etc… have lead to confusion and lack of clarity that has in turn led to further complications.

And the most commonly used and referred to quotes have done next to nothing in order to help me with it:

“Ignorance is Bliss”
&
“If you think education is expensive, then try Ignorance” -Derek Bok


I mean, I’m sure they are words of
great wisdom that have been spoken and written with great insights, but I wish they came with a booklet of instructions!

Think of a situation where you are at a market place (age no bar), and you over hear two friends having a conversation about a third person (who is not present at the site). Now lets assume that this third person is a public figure. With no intent of eavesdropping, you do hear a remark that is the opposite of the opinion that you hold about this public figure, who according to you is an influence in society (positive or negative).
So, do you try to get involved in their conversation or do you continue doing your own work-because BLISS!

In an alternative situation, lets say, you have no opinion because you are not familiar with this personality and their work in society and the world. Then do you let it pass or try and remember the name in order to educate yourself about them? Because for all you know, this person could be running for the Presidential elections of your country in the near future or be involved in the biggest scandal of the century or could just be dating your sibling in the future?

My dilemma being, how do you accept ignorance and agree to ignore acceptance. And is ignorance all about ignoring or more about accepting ignorance?

Hope all of you have an interesting week ahead!
I will be dwelling on my confusion for some time now, and will update you on my progress sooner than later.

PROCRASTINATION

This one is special. It is an act that I often rely on. I’m not sure where it stands on the B&W scale, but it has helped me sometimes.

This one is special.

It is an act that I heavily rely on; is it a good thing, I’m not sure.

PROCRASTINATION

‘the action of delaying or postponing something’

it is a habitual and/or intentional delay of tasks despite its side-effects…

This means, to ignore doing things until the last minute or just avoiding them altogether. The idea of putting away a to-do list until the very last minute, giving task the chance to move from important to urgent before executing them.

Why is this word important?

Well, I procrastinated on writing the weekly post. I had known from a while that the fourth week of the current month was going to be tightly packed and also the fact that I am expected to give WW4.

And instead of attending to this important task when I had the time, I let it sit until the last minute aka I procrastinated. And here I am, now writing it when its developed a sense of urgency, instead of just importance.

This word is important to me because I’m acknowledging a behavioral pattern that I have and trying to address it. For me, the act of admitting to ones fault is the first sign of growth (In my head I’m hearing each reader say “More power to you!”… that’s me hoping)

While it seems all bad because I tend to sometimes under-perform in comparison to my potential. I miss out on time that could be used to improve the presentation and save me some last minute sprints. But, I’ve realized that procrastinating has its own small benefits. I don’t spend too much time planning the smaller things and don’t get the chance to sweat them either. It makes me a fast thinker who usually opts creativity to deal with the time deficit. It makes me live in the moment.

Guess then, I just need to learn to segregate tasks on which I can and cannot procrastinate!

Do you procrastinate as well?

Please do share your experiences and hacks of dealing with it.

Bonus: There are people who identify themselves as PROCAFFEINATORS.

These are the people who cannot get started with their day, work or life without first having their caffeine fix. Its a dependence of sorts.

PS: WW= Weekly Word

Asking

Thrive as a lone wolf or bloom in a pack, it is a matter of choice…

Its one week into the New Year and I’m feeling the energy of my resolution germinate into something new. But this something new is coming with its own challenges. The first and foremost being that this is a One Man Page- which means a single person’s point of view, creativity, ability and time.

While I’m aware that that’s what a personal blog means! I’m also beginning to realize that the only reason we “Sapiens” have out-lived our counterparts as chimpanzees and evolved into the phenomenal beings that we are today, is because of our ability to co-exist among hundreds of mutually exclusive groups. What’s more fascinating is that we have the ability to forge connections while continuing to remain exclusive.

All this is pleasing to hear and further affirms our position on the top of the food chain; what bugs me is my ability to ask.
There are many a times when I’m faced with a choice. A choice to be the lone wolf and complete the task at hand with an average or above average performance. Or to have other people pool in and make the result extra-ordinary, in comparison to my lone job.

Its a situation that has me in knots pretty easily. And in retrospect I’ve often found these knots rather laugh worthy.
Think about it… I’m uncomfortable asking for something that I know, in most cases, improves and even amplifies my experience. And to be rational in the face of the fear-of-asking to make oneself understand that I’m not afraid of the help, I’m just afraid of being rejected on asking. Think if a baby thought that way?
We could as well be crawling our way into old age with no real civilized skill-sets, but just scavengering, hoarding, splattering.. AKA back to being a Chimp!

And since its not a rant, I’m now getting to the point.

A few days ago, I texted a bunch of people who I’d love to get insights from and asked them for Help in writing a piece based on their area of interest and/or expertise….*knots*….*knots*…*knots*…. And then something happened!
Most of them replied with “That sounds like fun, lets plan something”… “I’m looking forward to collaborating with you”…. “I’ll be happy to contribute”.
And now I’m super excited to plan, schedule, collaborate, work and create things that are more than just me.

While this isn’t a post like the ones thus far, but it’s something I couldn’t not share.
Also, its like a re-instated belief in humanity (remember, that’s the religion/ lens that I’m re-discovering my world with?). There are downs but none without ups. There will be rejections but there is acceptance too; but neither will exist if I don’t ask!

And time for some NEWS: I’m usually scrolling down @Educated Unemployed Indian and human am I caught by your “Words have Power/ Word of the Day”! Love what you’re doing there.
So I’ve decided that I’m going to start something similar but just a tad bit different.
I’m going to pick a word every week (language no bar) and share it with all you fabulous readers with the meaning and a piece of my thoughts.
You are always welcome to suggest words from your own language!

Late Night Gratitude

I’m feeling good, particularly about nothing and yet about everything.

Lying in bed at the owl hours of winter night. Spread out like I’m making snow angels. Staring at the overhead fan, trying to count the number of rotations it makes in a minute and miserably failing each time. I laugh to myself and start over; there is no mad rush for doing something better. The strays on the streets have finished their scavenger patrols and the moon is glowing bright enough. It’s a strangely fulfilling feeling, to not be worried about wasting away time on mindless tasks.

It could be the weather or just the effect of watching multiple hallmark movies over the years. After having a full Wednesday and snoozing through most of it. But for now I’m just happy to be wrapped up in my washed-up comforter, wearing yoga pants from when I was two inches too short and a t-shirt I’m not sure how I procured. The night air is a bit chilly, but I’m just too comfortable to get up and reduce the speed of the fan.

Tomorrow is a workday, but for now I can only think of all the things that have been good and great. My mind is swell and humming a song I heard in an Italian movie with subtitles. I mean, we all have our days; I know I do. I have a range from Buttercups to Lisa Simpson, from Olive Oyl to Roadrunner, from Merida to Cinderella. But today, I’m just feeling good.

I’m feeling good, particularly about nothing and yet about everything.

On last new years’ eve I had made a resolution. It was to make sure that I’d try out all activities that have brought joy to me in the past. Why did I make it? I’m not sure; maybe I was just lazy to think of something new. Or maybe becauseI knew I would still find simple pleasure in some, if not all of them. And here I am, feeling content at the end of the year, making lists for the year to come and mostly feeling grateful.

If the past year were a book, its cover would be a vibrant blend of colours light and dark, all thrown together to create something abstract yet so beautiful. If it were a music piece it would have the music of a saxophone, electric guitar and a violin, all together. If it were a garden it would have grass in shades of green and brown, with some weeds and beautiful little flowers.

The opportunity to meet new people, from different places, has always interested me. I’m not big on socialising, but every once in a while I enjoy getting to know someone completely new and preferably very different from myself. I’ve had the privilege of befriending many people this time. Took a weeklong trip with strangers who became friends and some even influencers in their own way.  Took multiple weekend trips and re-connected with old friends and got introduced to some more. Travelled with family and had the chance to re-connect.

I took up many challenges, aced a few and failed a few, but tried all! Started the blog on the word of a stranger who is now a well-wisher. Tried to shrink the waistline, but that never panned out. Learned how to cook something new.Found some of my work targets unrealistic after having have dived headfirst. Defeated my sweet tooth and gained better control over my impulsive binges. Spent another year desperately wanting for a canine companion. Joined the management class and am actually enjoying it. Enjoyed some beautiful sunrises. Missed quite a few night outs and events. Lost my phone.  Ran the 10k I dreamt of. Read very little by comparison. Exploited netflix subscription. 

I found inspiration and admiration in nature. Learned to be more accepting of others. Struggled a bit with my self image. Mended some fences, lost track of some others. Indulged in self-care, gained some sunburns. Sprained my ankle. Developed better calf muscles. Started being more sensitive towards the environment. Dabbled in make-up. Cried till I couldn’t remember why. Laughed until I was doubled up with pain. Danced by letting it all go. Stayed hydrated through party nights. The year has been a ride, not a very smooth one for sure. But today when I look back at all that has passed and everything that I’ve learnt, I know it’s been a beautiful one.

Taking stock of everything that’s putting an aimless smile on my face sure feels good. While the fan continued to reel over-head, I can’t be bothered by the ramblings of the world. For once I’m not in a hurry to fall asleep or do anything else,because right here everything seems to be comfortable.

The song that I’ve been humming  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk8oSNMQ6xU

Churning Wheels: Needs

All humans have the same needs made unique by the combination and proportion in which we need them.

(This is the third and last article of the Churning Wheels series)

If we were to be absolutely honest with ourself, place our hand on our heart and admit. Admit to how often have have we measured ourself up against the world or others against ourself! And in doing so, we have all used accomplishments as the most handy tool for measuring and comparing. While its easy to quantify most successes and its easy to draw conclusions and arrive at results with numbers, have you wondered why?

Why are achievements the way to measure us and grade our abilities?

As one part of my two-fold plan was satisfied, I found myself at relative ease. There was one more view to explore and a decent amount of clarity on the topic if not the content. I began with what I already knew- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is one of the most often referred to theory for understanding any behaviour and growth related situation across fields.

According to a Mr. Maslow, human needs are of five kinds, arranged in a hierarchy from basic necessities to the ones concerning higher levels of the self. The hierarchy begins with:

  • Physiological Needs (food, water, sleep, sex)- at the bottom
  • Safety Needs (clothing, shelter, employment, health)
  • Love and Belonging Needs (family, friends, society, intimacy)
  • Esteem/ Ego Needs (respect, achievement)
  • Self-Actualisation (meaning, inner potential, creativity)- at the top
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On the basis of this theory, it was proposed (still holds true) that all living being, irrespective of their individual differences, have the same needs. My churning wheels liked this pyramid as it helped me answer the unasked questions. But somewhere I wanted more. Something beyond the philosophy of survival.

At this point, I’m not sure if I was curious for the over-achieving yet unhappy man. Or was I curious because even I have felt dissatisfied when I had no reason to be. By now, I had repeatedly asked myself if I was truly happy. And I instantly had known that my happiness wasn’t always honest, sometimes it was just an over joyed laughter that did not touch my eyes.

So while I read further I found that the five needs are often categorised by some, under something called the ‘Trio of Needs’; namely Power, Affiliation and Achievement.

  • Power: it is closely associated to the ego need of individuals. It is the boost in self-esteem when one exercises control over their surroundings or on the people around them
  • Affiliation: It is similar to Maslow’s social needs. It suggests that human behaviour is strongly influenced by their desire for acceptance and to conform. The need for belonging and companionship
  • Achievement: This can be related to Ego and Self-actualisation needs. It makes achievement or success feel like an end in itself.

Different people place different weightage on each of these needs; the ratio changes but rarely does anyone completely omit any. I noticed that the Trio was far more fitting for my situation because if doesn’t try to explain the basic physiological needs along with safety. It just gets to the point of where we make choices.

We do not choose whether we are hungry or sleep deprives, whether we need to feel safe or wish for a healthy functioning body; they are constant and unchanging. But we all, at multiple points, revise and rearrange our priorities. So maybe the question is about how we prioritise? Maybe it is as simple and important as asking ourselves how we feel, from time to time. And based on the answer to that we could create our ratios. The trio are the three parts of a see-saw, the centre is always the one keeping the other two ends in place and balanced.

So if I feel under-confident then temporarily I could place achievement at the centre, it will boost my self-image, improve my confidence and eventually increase my power quotient. When achievement alone stops satisfying me, I will have to ask myself again what I need, and it might be time to rearrange. When I fail to feel happiness inspite of all the success, it will be time to put achievement on the other end and let affiliations sooth me back.

And while I play see-saw, I will have to remember that my constant needs are the grass bed at the bottom- unassuming and easily taken for granted but also the one that catches me when I fall.

Have I arrived at the right answer? Do I have all the answers? Is this a go-to formula? Is it fool-proof?…. Well I’m going to find out sooner or later. Until then I’m going to ask myself about how I feel and try to remedy it as and when I feel discomfort.

References:

Philosophy and Psychology of Branding |Solomon Managament Consultants. (2014, April 23). Retrieved November 12, 2018, from http://www.solomon-mc.com/philosophy-and-psychology-of-branding/

Schiffman, L. G., Kanuk, L. L., & Kumar, S. R. (2010). Consumer motivation. In Consumer behaviour(10th ed., pp. 88-116). Dorling kindersley (india) pvt.