What is My Voice Worth?

A short piece about finding my voice and content, and getting my fears and insecurities out.

There are hundreds of things that can be said, thousands of things to write about, a million stories, a unique voice. Yet, I find myself without even one, as a lack of confidence prevents me from committing to a narrative. Continue reading “What is My Voice Worth?”

April: New Month, Same Blocks

April comes around, and what does that mean for you? I continue to struggle with mental blocks and look to other places for motivation.

It’s very hard to be consistent. It’s very hard to commit to your goals without external motivation. You need coherent, consistent effort to do so. This is a bit of rambling about that.

Happy April, reader. What will you be doing this month? Continue reading “April: New Month, Same Blocks”

How to Do Simple Priming to Keep Yourself Motivated

Your brain is wired to constantly make connections.. Use this to your advantage with the priming effect – controlling the associations you make.

This past weekend, my roommate Jester was out of town. While leaving on Friday, he innocuously said, “Make good decisions.” Aware of how up and down my mood and performance has been over the last few months, he probably meant it as simple motivation.

It worked. Continue reading “How to Do Simple Priming to Keep Yourself Motivated”

Anxiety – My Attempt to Understand and Accept It

I describe a panic attack, and understanding why I get anxiety episodes and how we can work around them.

I had my fifth ever panic attack yesterday.

I’ve noticed a trend within these anxiety episodes – all five of them had a baseline of negativity that was racing through my head during the event. During each attack, these were the singular thoughts that underlined everything going on: Continue reading “Anxiety – My Attempt to Understand and Accept It”

My Experience with Antidepressants

The story of my depression, part 3. A suicidal episode led me to being prescribed antidepressants, and eventually, resolution.

The stigma around psychological disorders is so strong that the moment you mention ‘mental illness‘ or ‘antidepressants‘ to someone, they become uncomfortable, imagining crazy, shouting people in straitjackets and “nice men in white coats”. Continue reading “My Experience with Antidepressants”

The Matchbox

The story of my depression, part 2. I lived in a tiny apartment for 9 months that I named The Matchbox. It was a time of revelations and confrontations.

The matchbox was unknowingly claustrophobic. I wasn’t aware of the walls shrinking even as my person was pushing out from the confine of my skin, forcing me to grow, even if I didn’t want to. Continue reading “The Matchbox”

Freedom of Direction

The story of my depression, part 1. When I graduated, I didn’t realize how intimidating freedom is. For the first time, I didn’t have an overarching goal.

I didn’t know that I didn’t want freedom.

Rather, I wasn’t yet ready to handle the magnitude of being free. When I was unshackled from the outer inhibitors of freedom, I was yet to remove the inner ones. Continue reading “Freedom of Direction”

Speech CC1 – The Showman Breathes

Toastmasters CC1 – The Showman Breathes. I’ve recently joined Toastmasters International and this is the video and transcript of my first prepared speech.

As I’ve mentioned in Letters to Myself over the past few weeks, I’ve joined Toastmasters International, which is an international leadership and public speaking organization. As part of the club development programme, I’m required to give prepared speeches periodically with increasingly difficult objectives. This helps me develop writing and speaking skills, as well as focus on body language, message delivery, audience captivation, and voice strengthening.

This past Thursday, I delivered my first prepared speech, which required me to introduce myself. What follows is the speech script I wrote, as well as a video of my performance.

Continue reading “Speech CC1 – The Showman Breathes”

A Hybrid Generation

While India is still classist, there is a hybrid generation of Indians rising who combine the best aspects of Indian and world culture.

Context: A friend shared a blog post by well-known Indian author Chetan Bhagat. I found it very good and I wanted to share it on Facebook with some of my own comments on the matter. My comments became too big for a Facebook post aesthetic so I moved it here.

Please read Mr. Bhagat’s post first. It talks about how the new-age Indian liberal is a classist in sheep’s clothing – one who has pirated the word ‘liberal’ to suit an agenda of insecurity and ego.

Link to Chetan Bhagat’s Blog Post

Barring the ugly and embarrassing clickbait title from IndiaTimes – it is short and pertinent, without any sort of crude insults. Most importantly, it hits home with the idea that even all of us in the upper middle class, not just those from international schools or high affluent backgrounds, do look down upon the Hindi language, or any other Indian language for that matter. We deem inferior, with great prejudice, all Indian ideas and ideals, mannerisms and manufacturers, products and paradigms.

It stems from the old adage – “The grass is greener on the other side.” World culture is more inaccessible and hence more exotic. Indian culture is readily available and hence more droll. When you’re bombarded with “Dada ektu adjust korun” in between uncovered coughs on a regular basis, you don’t feel like reflecting on the vast musical background of Bengali culture.

While I usually stay away from political matters, I want to throw an idea out there. With the way we’re progressing currently, we WILL see the rise and coming-of-age of a class of young Indians who seamlessly blend the best of Indian culture with good aspects* of world culture – a hybrid culture. We already see it forming, near the corners of our eyes – the occasional example of Sharma uncle ka beta. Being sanskari is becoming cool again, slowly but surely.

*(I can’t claim the best aspects, because it’s a subjective matter.)

Since fashion is the most volatile and capricious, you can already see this class rising there – people in my age group are fashionistas blending elements of traditional Indian wear with elements of other cultures and creating hybrid outfits.

While fashion is easier to reform than principles, the current generation is capable of doing so. We currently have a fantastic generation of working-class people who are highly motivated to do two things:
1. Find independence (alternative careers, entrepreneurship)
2. Impress their parents/idols (ingrained ideals from film culture, not a bad thing)

We’ll not have to wait long to see men and women melding RSS self-discipline with organized English literature. We already see yoga combined with calisthenics, and kushti and kabbadi are gaining steam in international wrestling. We celebrate the Indian CEOs of big, multinational companies.

Cultural expectancies change every so often. What’s cool changes based on what people didn’t like about the previous time. A career-related example:

  • The ’70s were a time of exploring indulgence, love, drugs and not bowing to “The Machine”.
  • The ’90s saw the rise of the pure, clean salaryman who stood on his own feet, who worked in Infosys or Wipro.
  • We see the 2010s being the age of the alternative career, with people exploring their passions in artistic domains such as photography, design, event management, and entrepreneurship.

Expect the next 20 years to be the time of the hybrid Indian.

Fallible

I talk about the need to embrace weakness and not be afraid to be fallible. This is the final blog post of a 3-part series.

This is part 3 of a 3 part series. Read parts 1 and 2 here – Effigy, Growth and Individuality.

In an effort to fuel constant profit and benefit and progress and other buzzwords, each of us has been taught and conditioned right from the very outset that failure and weakness are bad. Even when a child is told that failure is a stepping stone to success, a caveat is added – the child should never repeat the mistake, as if that mistake is now used up on a list of mistakes you are allowed to make. Continue reading “Fallible”