Death and Suffering: A fear of the Unknown

There is this really old lady who loiters about an area near my current residence. She’s a pathetic thing – unwashed, uncaring. Most of the time I see her sleeping on the sidewalk.

Update: Having looked at this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge, I decided to make this post my submission, with the idea that considerations of age often lead to considerations of death and impermanence.

Morbid title, isn’t it?

There is this really old lady who loiters about an area near my current residence. She’s a pathetic thing – unwashed, uncaring. Most of the time I see her sleeping on the sidewalk. The day I started writing this, I saw her bite something, not sure if it was fruit or bread, and immediately lay down, back to her usual stupor. Also, I once saw her sleep through some brats annoying her, pulling on her blouse etc. She is the inspiration for this post.

Death is a saddening event, right? The thought of a loved one not being available to interact with ever again is depressing indeed. Death is therefore, a countdown timer that haunts every living being incessantly, at least unconsciously, if not consciously. It scares us, which is why we have what is called survival instinct – the switch from unconscious fear of death to conscious fear of death. The concept of death influences everyone eventually, at very fundamental levels. But is death really that bad?

Continue reading “Death and Suffering: A fear of the Unknown”

Coming Up

Hi guys,

So it’s been near two weeks since I wrote something. Such a shame, because the blog was just starting to pick up. 😛

I’ve been insanely busy though, what with wrapping up college projects and laboratory records and whatnot, and trying to find time with friends and make grand gestures of nostalgic camaraderie. :/
Anyway, I’m sorry for the slack, and this is a short piece to tell you about stuff that I’ll put up soon.

I recently bought a new phone (and with my own money no less), and I love it, so I might put up an end-user review here. The device in question is the Motorola Moto G.

There’s a grand gesture of nostalgic camaraderie coming up tomorrow (postponed from today), so I will document it and put it up soon, hopefully by Saturday evening (IST).

I also loved the Weekly Writing Challenge and the concept of imagesets of 3, so I will probably write something in that capacity soon.

I have about 20 ideas and drafts for Assorted Essays, but I doubt you’ll see any of those this week. Sorry. 🙂

Meanwhile, you could read these three recommended posts:

Let Me Reintroduce You

The Wooden Walking Stick

5 Reasons we Feel The Need to Hate

Alright, back to feeling suicidal over my college project. See you guys soon! 🙂

The Wooden Walking Stick: Dangers of Getting Comfortable with Comfort

What could possibly be wrong with fixing your own schedule around a flexible and comfortable deadline, and having the freedom to do whatever else you want? Let me tell you.

I was thinking of this topic today morning (at 9; It’s still morning here as I write this), and I had formed the basis and structure in my head. The word ‘atrophy’ was buzzing around. As I sat down to write, I saw an e-mail from The Daily Post: The Weekly Writing Challenge.

Intrigued because I had never done one before, I looked at it, and I made an immediate connection with this post. For anyone who has watched House M.D., you know about Dr. Gregory House’s atrophied leg and his iconic walking stick (not just the flame-print one, but also the classic polished wooden stick).

In case you don't, here.
In case you don’t, here.

This post is about the dangers of getting too comfortable with things that we do or people that we meet, lest we atrophy in a similar manner. To get a clearer idea of what I’m talking about, read on.

The Plight of the Stand-Along

This thought originated from this post from Thought Catalog

At some point in their lives, many people encounter a phase where nothing goes right. Everything is bad, or dull, or boring and uninteresting, or unappealing. It’s a terrible feeling, because I’ve had several tastes of these phases, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

A friend of mine is currently suffering from something of this sort. S/he (henceforth referred to as she) shared some of he/r feelings with me recently, and that was my motivation to write this. I don’t know if she is feeling hopelessness, but from what she has told me, I feel she has had a rough few months, and by extension, a rough couple of years at her workplace. And I feel helpless because I want to help her, but I do not know how to do it. I don’t know how open I can be with her, since we’ve had our ups and downs, and it hinders me a little. And that is my topic for today – The plight of the stand-along; my plight, as I feel helpless for my friend; the plight of all friends who see their loved one go through something difficult and feel that they are not helping enough.

Really, I just want to be the “stand-along” – the handhold in the storm that she can confidently grab without fear of abandonment if she wants to. I want to hold her hand and lead her out of her doldrums, and bring freshness and rejuvenation into her life, if she would have me.

Here is my problem. How do you know when you are helping a friend and when you are patronising them? How and where do you draw a line between respect and child-like care and spoon-feeding? How do you know that the choices you suggest aren’t toxic by themselves? And most importantly, how do you know when to leave your friend alone, and when to super-glue their arm to yours?

If you, dear reader, have gone through something of this nature, or know someone who has – could you please help me? That’s the question of the day. Please help me get started, and I am confident I can handle the rest.

I have deliberately been vague because I want to keep my friend anonymous. If necessary, I can divulge a few more details in private.

I eagerly await your responses. Thank you for reading my post.


Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FUN.

I really like this prompt. I’ll switch it up today with image galleries instead of a regular written post today.

Amusement Park trip – Would love to go again and again, but only if the right people are there. 😀

A little drawing and stuff – It’s rare, but I enjoy it.

Clay work 😀

And then there was this. My girlfriend and I made this, and I love doing stuff like this.

And then, of course, there is this. Welcome, WordPressers to my most liked Facebook photos.

So there, that’s my ideal day. Just pepper it with a lot of sleep, since I am quite deprived.

So here is today’s question:

Thank you for reading my post. Here’s all the others if you want –> All Posts.

If you liked this post, please leave a rating, a like and/or a comment below. If you really liked it, share it with your friends and I will love you forever. <3 😀

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This is the absolute FPiTS!

EDIT: I looked at the weekly challenge, and it actually fits this post because I had been hesitant to write about it. Hence I “broke my silence”. 🙂

I had been debating whether to write this piece for many months now, because I had thought it would seem silly to everyone else. But today, it got very real very quick, and I felt it had enough gravity to warrant finally telling you guys about it.

FPiTS is a name I made up for something that makes me very, very uncomfortable and generally makes me squeamish and unhappy. It stands for “Fat People in Trouble Syndrome”, and I have wanted to write about it for a long, long time now.

This uneasy feeling stems from a lifetime of cartoons where a character eats too much food, gains a bulging belly and is too indisposed to do anything but lie there…

Ate Too Much - Collection
Along these lines

…and from my father’s incessant prodding about weight-gain (He started doing it to everybody after he had been working out for a year). His heart’s in the right place, but he doesn’t know how to filter or when to quit it.

Nevertheless, those cartoon characters who moan and lie there, unable to help themselves and struggled to get something done always made me shudder. I think it was always scary for me because I never wanted to be in that situation – feeling so helpless that all I could do was let out an incoherent groan of despair – and this feeling still gets to me. Suddenly finding an overweight dog on the street, or seeing a large person sitting alone at a restaurant, gets me down. I’m not saying it’s wrong for someone to eat alone, but I cannot help feeling both scared and terrible about finding myself in a situation where I alienate myself from everything and get stuck in a loop of food addiction. This is part of the reason I don’t smoke or drink or do drugs – I fear losing control of myself.

Now, I have a number of friends who are/were very large, and who are very comfortable in their skin. I also admire Gabriel Iglesias, the comedian (who defines 5 levels of fatness – Big, Healthy, Husky, Fluffy and DAMN!, and a sixth – OH HELL NO!).

And this BAMF.

And these people have helped me curb this insane fear to a large extent. But this fear of losing control is very much part of my life, and it haunts me when I, say, get on a scale and find that I am 73 kg (161 lb), because I don’t forget easily, and all these images and words from my father come rushing back and intimidate and paralyze me.

I mentioned at the beginning how real this fear got today. I was at a restaurant with one of my roommates for dinner, and while we were waiting for our food, I looked around at other customers. I saw a slightly healthy couple (they were fine really) eating, and just the sight of the lady (she was quite pretty actually even if slightly plump) led me to notice them chewing, and I couldn’t stop noticing all the other customers chewing, and it kick-started this feeling as if I was chewing all that food, and I immediately started squirming. I couldn’t keep still, and I was wringing my hands tightly trying to stop myself, and I just wanted to cancel my order, run the 750m-odd distance home and just go to sleep. Fortunately, my roommate declared another bit of important news which distracted me, and I was able to work with that to proceed normally again.

Today has shown me that I’m in fact a very insecure person, in at least some capacity, and I feel I may never cross my self-inflicted barriers – both this and others. I could probably work with it and use it as motivation for my otherwise lazy self, but I feel that the strong unpleasant and sometimes downright rotten feeling is not worth the payoff of a healthier lifestyle. These barriers are effective because they are self-inflicted. I believe I know myself pretty well, and so I know what works against me. It’s messed up, isn’t it?

So today’s question is this – Do you have any self-inflicted barriers? What are your fears and how do you deal with them?

Thank you for reading my post, and I would deeply appreciate your thoughts and comments. I would also appreciate if you would read through my other posts, which are all categorized here –> All Posts.

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How To Start Your Day Just Right

It’s 7:30 AM right now where I am, and I need to start dressing for college. Nevertheless, I read my mail and I see two new posts from Blogs that I follow:
Forgiveness is Hard – A post that reflects many of my own thoughts, and gives me hope that people from all religions and those choosing not to be religious can get along quite easily. Thank you for your post, Ms. Vida – I read your blog to prove to myself that I am secular, and I walk away with wisdom and validation.

Five Proven Methods for Interstellar High-Fives – A post so perfect, that it appeals to both the bro generation and to the Doctor Who fan in me. Bring together all my fandoms, Ms. Laura Palmer and please continue your fantastic writings. They are a pleasure to read.

Reading stuff like this early in the morning evokes all sorts of positive feelings, and then you top it off with breakfast!

Self-Made Breakfast
The best thing ever!

And yes, that is me on the mug – It’s something I got for my birthday in 2012, and I refuse to drink stuff from anything else. 🙂

So, I’m having a great morning *touchwood*, and hopefully this continues into the rest of the day. Wish you all a great morning too! 🙂

Question: Leave a comment on what you think is a great morning, or a description of the best morning you have ever had.

I would also appreciate if you would read through my other posts, which are all categorized on my Welcome Page.

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The Hubris Debacle

So The Daily Post does this cool thing where they post a prompt everyday for writers who are stuck with no ideas.
Today’s prompt states thus:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us YOU.

I felt like taking it up in a short piece, which follows immediately.

A reputation is a dangerous thing to have. It not only causes people to presume your demeanour, but also tends to have your public character pigeonholed into a tight, often unyeilding, mold. In other words, that all-important first impression of you has already been made by your reputation. It is made before you might even have an opportunity to present yourself for who you think you really are.

I do have a reputation. I know this because I have this practice where I periodically identify a person who is relatively new to me, but has in a short span of time, become a dear friend to me. I then privately ask this person to appraise my character. After the inevitable silly jokes and well-meant slander, I ask them to get serious and they do. Over the course of 7 years, I think I’ve done this 4-6 times (maybe more, I’m not sure), each time with a different person. I then look for patterns in their answers – stuff that other people have told me, and general inclinations that you pick up in conversations.

I think I’ve alluded to this practice in an earlier post. If it seems interesting to you, please feel free to use it in your own life. Come back and tell me about it, if you like! I’d love feedback.

There have been several patterns to notice, and the two that I notice most are that I am:

  • A very helpful/nice person
  • A sometimes arrogant person (I highlight “sometimes” because the political correctness amuses me)

I will be addressing the arrogance part here. The next part of the question asks me to ascertain the origin of this reputation. I think I discovered the grapevine, if I remember correctly, with “[me] bragging everyday about [my] mother’s cooking. [his] mother’s cooking was great too but you didn’t see [him] talking about it”. It seems so silly in hindsight, but I guess it mattered to children barely into middle school. The whole “arrogance” thing has been with me ever since, in every social group I ever entered.

I think the truthfulness of this ‘accusation’, for lack of a better word is limited to these facts –

  • For all my amateur writing and speaking experience, I’m still a very inept and awkward conversationalist because I never know what is off-limits and I fail to filter. This plagues me to this day.
  • I tend to remember very specific moments of my life, where I felt strong emotions, especially embarrassment and this can happen at any time, even in the middle of a conversation. I never know what the trigger is. While it helps tone down the arrogance, it is, obviously, not a pleasant experience for me. This, coupled with the previous point, leads me into more and more awkward conversations, to the point that people start getting annoyed while talking to me.
  • These points are only valid when I am in an informal setting. I make a great formal impression, and I handle myself with as much professionalism as a corporate greenhorn can muster. Therefore, when I meet new people, I tend to at least try not to get too comfortable with them, because history has shown me far too few people who would willingly listen to and put up with what I say.
  • In a previous post, I may have alluded to a tumultuous time in my life when my closest friends at the time collectively decided to stop speaking with me. While the situation blew over eventually, it led me to form two things: A defense mechanism of absolute self-satisfaction to overcome a confrontational situation, and an attitude to choose my principles over the feelings and companionship of people. It was also partly responsible for my choice to be severely honest. Many people find this self-serving attitude arrogant, but the beauty of it is that the same attitude lets me not care. Que sera sera – I learnt long ago that not everyone deserves my love and attention.

My principles have been under the scrutiny of several people still apparently. I moved to B.Sc. (Honors) for my final year of study last year (I graduate in May this year), and as a result I got a lot of new classmates – people I had never met before. We danced the awkward dance of new beginnings, and eventually were able to engage in easy conversation. During one such group conversation, when the focus shifted to me, one of my new friends told me this:

Hey, why did all those people say you are not a good guy and I shouldn’t talk to you? You seem like a nice person. (paraphrased)

I won’t say any more on this topic, except that my reply was – “Well they didn’t have the courage to come tell me, did they? I am a nice guy.”

In summary, I have written about what I think my reputation is, and how I think it originated and has mutated beyond its original form. I’ve also written about how accurate I feel it is, and have rationalised and somewhat justified my side of the story.

That just leaves one last thing, and that is to ask you what you think. Thank you for reading my post, and I would deeply appreciate your thoughts and comments.

Question: Leave a comment on what you think about arrogance, and whether there are positives to having an arrogant attitude.

I would also appreciate if you would read through my other posts, which are all categorized on my Welcome Page.

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The Very Vicious Sleep Cycle

Why You Should Pay Attention

As a college student living away from my parents, I get to exercise free will to a much larger extent than most students in India get to do. And as every young adult who gets to exercise free will, I tend to abuse it.

I am a naturally heavy sleeper, and I thank the powers that be for that gift regularly. Having practised pulling all-nighters since the 8th grade, I have effectively limited the functioning capabilities of my body to a large extent, including a severe loss of stamina, “crash naps” and increased appetite, which has caused me to gain weight on multiple occasions, much to the chagrin of my father. These gains are in the vicinity of 10 pounds (4 kilograms), so while it is not earth-shattering (and neither am I *BaDumTss*), it is a large enough change for this issue to be serious.

Hence, I speak from experience of the physical and mental damage that shortage of sleep causes if kept up regularly.
In fact, here is a frankly-terrifying info-graphic from this Huffington Post article:
Sleep Deprivation Infographic

Dealing With Bad Sleep Habits

I don’t think I need to plug more details on these issues, and it seems tacky to me to possibly scare someone about something that they had probably been taking for granted. So I will rather share some methods of getting past this block, and share some tweets that people have put out regarding sleep and sleep issues.

Helpful Articles

Art of Manliness has a very nice article on the power of napping that you can find here. The author explains why it is easier and better to take a nap for 30 minutes a day, to temporarily boost productivity, and reduce the strain on the body.

Jason Fitzpatrick also writes from personal experience of LifeHacker on how to reboot your sleep cycle in what is a very beautiful and especially detailed article that you can find here. What I really like about this piece is that the author keeps it very real, stating that Sleep Deprivation is not a badge of honour and links to a piece that shows it is similar to intoxication. I learnt much from this article, including the debunking of the myth that I must make up my sleep hours minute-to-minute. The author hammers out both short-term goals to feel better and fresher, and long term goals to counter-act severe sleep deprivation. There’s a reason LifeHacker is a super-popular site. Statistics

So that’s it for this short piece.

Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you prefer this shorter, more digestible form of article with more links, or if you prefer my full opinion in a long structured article. This was definitely easier to post, but it was also out of my comfort zone because I felt haven’t contributed enough. Let me know in the comments or connect with me on