So much on my plate!

Another episode with my (fictional) grandpa (i.e., myself) where I’m worried about how to fit in all the variety of dishes available at a dinner party buffet in my single, limited spaced plate…

… …

I was on an unknown dinner party with people my family knew. I hated to meet those people as none of them really cared about my presence but still all of then would definitely ask me a series of question, almost predictable series, which I hate to answer.

So, I skipped through all the introduction and socializing hush-bush, and directly went for the reason I went there – dinner. I don’t really remember the occasion for which party was organized.

I was skipping through the tiles, jumping on the pattern, while ignoring all the people I’d bump into. I had hoped that they would just ignore me, consider me a psycho and would avoid talking to me. And till now, it had worked.

But then, my own Grandpa came to me and expressed a desire to talk.

Over the dinner, we talked about random topics from my life and he gave me advices in each one of them. I don’t actually remember any of those as they were not practical. They required me to be active, strong minded and willing to perform in my life, which was exactly the opposite kinda guy of what the school had made out of me.

The dinner was being served by the caterers and often a well-dressed waiter would come up and serve my plate with things that I didn’t want. Before I could say anything, he would just throw it all onto my plate. And then I’d be left staring at those things, thinking where to hide all this stash…

My Grandpa said “What happened, son? You look weird today… Not liking the food, are we?”

Me: *Shaking my head* “Nah… Nothing… No problem. I’m… I’m fine.”

“You don’t look like that, definitely…” And Grandpa resumed his dinner.

After a while, another waiter came and put things in my plate, and it was too late when I noticed that. He had already left.

“Would you mind? I hope not…” Grandpa said while putting a few bites from his plate to mine.

I shouted “No! I DO mind! My plate’s already full and you pushing things off your plate to me! No way I’m gonna complete this plate!”

Grandpa simply smiled.

I couldn’t bear it any longer and asked “Come on… Speak!”

Grandpa spoke with a bigger smile “Why is your plate full?”

“Because that waiter is serving out things without first confirming with me…”

“No.” Grandpa snapped in between.

“Yes! You look… Just in a minute. He’ll come back and put things in my plate without asking me anything! He’s just…” I tried to explain myself, rather poorly.

“You can always say ‘NO’… But for that you’d require to pay attention for his arrival” Grandpa explained.

He went on “Look son… In life, we are often bombarded with work, responsibilities and expectations. And sometimes, we feel that we are being pounded at from all the directions and that we cannot take it any longer. We wanna quit, we wanna leave the plate half-eaten. But that’s when you should understand – we can always foresee those servings and can always be ready to say NO to them.”

I looked at him, mouth half-opened. He found way of giving me life advice even at this diner!!

“But what if I couldn’t foresee the serving, and am left with extra food on my plate?” having a habit to argue at every point, I gave a poor defensive tilt.

Grandpa looked at me for a while and said “Is your plate really full then?”

Our dinner was complete, mine was a mess, but I had better things to do. I had to think upon my conversation with Grandpa, first of all understand what he meant by that last remark, and then use it in my daily life, where I always think that I am being barraged by tasks and that my plate is always full.

P.s.: Do tell if you happen to understand my grandpa’s advice…

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The Great Indian Mall

A visit to the Shopping Mall… No it is not an essay that I was supposed to write at School. It was a visit that I was supposed to take. … … I call myself a weekender. Or at least I pretend to call myself that. Because a true one travels during the weekends to new places, while I sit at my place and let my mind travel to new places. But weekends are different when your parents visit you, especially your mother. It all starts, in my case at least, with your mother and your neighbor, Mrs. Someone, talking to each other about a new mall built at some place. And then, they see you slumped on the couch, watching a series, and an idea sprouts… “Hey beta! You’re not doing anything… Why don’t we all go to the mall?!!” someone will announce. And that will be the start of doom for your weekend. Hardly it is the other way that we visit the mall because we actually have a list of things to buy there. My first question to this announcement is always “What do you want to buy?” to which their absurd reply is “We’ll see what’s available there…” And I’m like ‘Every thing’s available there!!’ But that expression doesn’t count very well to them. This made me think about it that why the malls have been an instant success, replacing the local specialized shops in the market? And to find this answer, I took them to the mall, to let my observation out in the open to let it do what it does best. The structure of a good mall is very clear and organized. Each category of products is clearly separated and stacked so that one can easily find items of their choices. So one would generally look for the category and walk in that direction to find their item. This way, our purchase would be organized, even when we have a properly crafted shopping list. However, this is not the way people actually shop. They enter the mall and start analyzing the first item they see in the first category nearest to the main door. Then they move on to the next item, and the next category, unless it is the end of the mall. If you think about it, the mall has almost killed the concept of ‘a shopping list’. People no longer look for the item they intend to buy, they look at the item and decide their intention to buy. And we are often very bad at making such decisions, resulting in overbuying. Then there are some people who just love to look at different available products. It is a fun time for them. They just go through the whole list of items available in the mall and look at the size, ingredients, material, tags, price, quality, brand, discounts, design, etc. for all of them. Although, they want to purchase none of them, still window-shopping, as they call it, is fun, at least for them. And for people like me, who are there only to drag the shopping cart around them are the most traumatized victims of this approach. And that day when I was accompanying my mother and my neighbor to shopping, I was one of those victims. I used to ask her before that what quantity of products is she going to buy, so that I can decide whether to take the cart or just the hand-basket. But with my experience, I know their answer is always an under-estimate for both the quantity of items bought and the time taken overall. The mall’s tag line is ‘We have something for everyone!’ Something for everyone… Be it kids, teenagers, adults, love-birds, newly weds, newly parents, workers, artists, elderly people or aliens. The mall has something for all of us. Isn’t it cool? No… Not for people like me! I got past the security check faster than the ladies I was accompanying. So I went ahead of them and walked around the mall. The entrance of the mall had two sides, one for groceries and consumables, the other side was household plastics and utility-wares section. I skipped both of them and moved on. At the kids’ section, several little devils were playing with stuffed toys and different sized balls. It was a mayhem, but no one cared. This section was not built for shopping, this was so that the kids allowed their parents to shop in peace. I saw a little boy, dressed in adorable baby suit and baby trousers, bring a red-plastic-rose from somewhere and present it to a little girl, dressed in black frock. She accepted it and smiled at the boy. While the boy went zooming around the area, dancing and skipping on his way, the girl gave the rose to another boy sitting next to her, who rejected it by throwing away the rose. The girl sat there in despair, while another boy picked up the rose from the floor and presented it to an adult girl in her twenties. She awed at him and kissed him on his cheeks, to which I felt really jealous of. Moving on to the next section, fashion and accessories, I saw people of all age group seriously analyzing the items on display. While everyone liked what they saw, but half of them were in dilemma that the things won’t look as good on them as they look on the dummy doll with chiseled abs and perfect muscles. I saw an elderly couple looking at new trends in fashion. The elderly man was trying to convince his wife that the tees would look nice on her on their Goa trip, and that she shouldn’t wear a saree on the beach. But it seemed he was having a hard time convincing her. In the books and magazines section, I found all kinds of weird people. Some were so engrossed in the covers of the books that I thought of selling just the covers to them and give away the books to actual readers. While some were just scanning first page of the book to decide on their buying, some people just turned all the pages of a book, probably looking for pictures. I wondered when will motion pictures will be the new books of this age. In the household corridor, I saw several newly web couples trying, pathetically, to accord on a particular design of the crockery that will best match their home. While, a bachelor group of guys just picked up things nearest to their hand’s stretch in less than a second. They even made a poorly portrayed sexual joke on the round handle-less bowls. While a particular area was filled with several ladies, resulting in a jam. Each one of them was examining a particular product, its price and other attributes, probably detailing it to the molecular level of metal. Then I reached the upholstery section, where long and maze like shelves covered both the sides of the path. One could easily hide in these sections, and it was the least crowded area of the mall at that time. I turned at the end of a shelf and bumped into love-birds. They were roving through the tall display galleries, playing their games of brisk touches and teased eye-contacts. I let them play at peace and moved on. After several other sections and such observations, I reached back at the starting of the mall. It would be a bewilderment for me if I had not been accustomed to this, but it was not. I casually parked my cart just behind where my mother and her friends were looking at some plastic alternative of some household product. I had walked around the whole mall, while they were still stuck at the very first shelf of the very first section of the mall. I sighed. But then mother looked happy, so I let them take their time. God bless me, I said… of course in my head. 😛

My Friend, Loneliness

An essay on my friend, loneliness, who cares for me enough that it agrees to lets me go, and whom I love enough to not accept to let go.

… …

Our favorite topic for essay writing as a child used to be ‘My Best Friend’. No other topic used to appeal us that much as this particular topic, as we could just write what we felt instead of searching for words. We used to write all the things we could remember about that one person, nonetheless that might be a very few things to remember at that time.

As a child, I did not have that privilege of having a best friend. Whenever such a topic was tossed at me, I used to choose other options instead. And the word barely made any sense to me. Even now, I do not understand the superlative degree assigned to it. ‘Best’ means better than ‘better’, and even better than ‘good’. Superlative degree implies that it tends to stay highest in the category. But then superlative also means ‘exaggeration’, which made me wonder – is ‘Best friend’ an overinflated relation in our life?

Anyway, leaving the language disarray aside, in my childhood, I used to write this essay on my friend, Loneliness.

Loneliness has been the only constant thing in my life since childhood. It has been there with me in good times and in bad times. It tried to sneak away from the back door once or twice, allowing someone to swoop in into my life. But somehow in the end, things always led us to be together. And to be honest, I liked being with it.

Unlike my endeavors with other ‘Best friends’, our relationship has stayed intact after having sailed through the tough times that any relationship passes through. It allowed me to reorganize my life after the mayhem the storm left. It stayed, holding hands with me, when I needed it the most.

Apart from the mutual feeling of belongingness for each other, we shared a lot of common things – me and loneliness. It had two faces – one where it spread gloom and dismay wherever it went, and the other where it spread the light of hope and jump-started the brain to work towards betterment. I had similar bipolar symptoms. I used to be utmost boring at times, converting even the most happening event an excuse of melancholy And at times, the spark in me could light up a dull and regretful talk into a happening, fun ride.

We were great together. And I had always found peace while being with it. But recently, I thing something has jinxed our relationship. The sparking part of our relationship has dried out and we spend most of our time in quiet. Something’s not right about it, something’s missing – it keeps on saying to me. It keeps on looking outside the window, waiting for something to happen. And I wonder what wrong did I do to it, what mistake did I make, how did I hurt it, that even the loneliness is seeking to leave me!

I asked it what could I do to make it feel better, to bring back the spark between us, just like the good-old-times. But it doesn’t answer my question. It never did. It has always been like that, keeping to itself, peaceful. But somehow, things had always worked out between us. We both used to communicate despite our persistent silence. But now, I speak and I wish it spoke back to me. I wish it would tell me the reason before the final moment of dismay.

As this is how it has always been. This is how my life always turns up after a long story, not a happy ending. And I have always marked it as a beginning of another chapter instead of an end of the story. But without my best friend, without loneliness, and without anyone else being there for my support, I wonder how things will turn out…

The Looping Sun

A fictional world, which is flat and without gravity Center. And the sun revolves the world, not around it but inside it.

… …

There was a world which was a sphere, but there were no galaxies and no universe outside the sphere. Yet its size was unfathomable. It was spread across a huge distance of soil, solid ground, which was surrounded by a large bowl of water. The water bowl formed the lower hemisphere of the globe, and the upper hemisphere was nothing but sky. All of it was confined in a big, round, sphere, which was the world in its totality.

There was a moving source of light, the only one. People used to call it ‘The Sun’. And it moved around the outer boundary of the sphere, in the sky all day, until it finally sank at the edge of the water bowl, spreading its shine inside the water world.

The Sun wasn’t biased to any of the two worlds – the sky world and the water world. It divided its time equally between the sky and the water bowl, thereby giving both the worlds the benefit of embracing its light.

It would rise from the water world, slowly spreading its light across the sky, brightening up the sky with its yellowish-orange light. The world would wake up to welcome the Sun and its glory. The day would begin for the world to write another page of the story.

As the evening came closer, the Sun would start to pull together its light, slowly approaching towards the edge of the water bowl. When it has gathered all of its light in its hands, the Sun will start to sink inside the water bowl. That would be the time when only light in the sky world would be around the submersing Sun. Slowly the Sun would soon be gone, and the sky world would be left in darkness, only till the time the Sun rises again the next day from the other end of the bowl.

Then it would rise and spread its light inside the water bowl, illuminating the water world with now its bluish-green light, the time when elsewhere it is night but inside the water world, it is called sunrise. For the whole day, it had enlightened the world while burning on the semi-circular path at the edge of the sky. And now, it would swirl inside the water world, releasing crystalline light while moving on its semi-circular path, scooping the bottom of the bowl.

This was the world, where both the half-worlds inside the spherical world stayed in peace, each lightened by the same lucent source for an equal time. The creatures residing in both the worlds were totally different, yet they shared the qualities of life, living, sharing, and loving and giving. The cyclical task of the Sun will continue till the end of time, as they say. At the end of time, the bowl of life will break into nothingness, spilling the water world out of the bowl and drowning the sky world into emptiness. The Sun will let go of its light, and slowly will turn into a blank spot in the world, where things live in the death forever.

But that is at the end of the time. And the time had just begun. There were a lot of days before one could face the end of the time. Till then, the Sun will continue to serve both the worlds, painting the sky with bright colors and whirling the water with shiny crystal-bubbles.

I was not the part of any one particular world. I moved too, behind the Sun, watching it, trailing it, both when it rose high in the sky, and when it sank to the depths of the water bowl. I loved watching Sun from my world, and wondered if someday, it would take me with it on its journey traveling round both the worlds… I’m darkness.

Catching the Butterfly

An epilogue on my encounter with a butterfly, symbolizing a lost opportunity, or a deemed opportunity, may be a false perception… Taking a permanent place in my dreams.

The water molecules were colliding with each other. The electricity in the clouds charged up the molecules and after continuous colliding, a drop of water was formed from all the vapour collected in the clouds. That drop was carried in the clouds in the form of semi-liquid vapour and when the clouds could no longer hold on to the water drop, and the wind couldn’t carry the clouds further, the drop bade goodbye to the clouds and left out on a long journey to meet its mother earth…

On the earth, there was a creature resting on a flower-bed. It woke up and flapped its wings up and down to welcome the beautiful morning. The creature was a beautiful butterfly…

Just when the butterfly got up from its flower-bed, the drop that was falling from the sky fell on its wings with a splash and few tiny drops from the whole drop flew on to the butterfly and watered its face. The butterfly turned its face away from it in surprise and then smiled at the nature’s Good Morning Wish…

The butterfly got up and took a high flight in the sky. It felt the sky, the wind, the sun and the environment. It was so fresh and overwhelmingly beautiful. As the butterfly cherished the nature’s gifts in its way, other creatures on earth enjoyed watching the butterfly! One among those creature was a me…

I was watching the butterfly so keenly that I forgot all my time and commitments. It flew just by me not even noticing me, may be noticing but not making any difference… It was all lost in its own world! It was enjoying the nature and the environment; frequently stopping by other places that it might have been attracted to. I was jealous…

I tried to move closure to it. I wanted to see it closely. I wanted to hold it in my hands, not to trap but to show it my affection. I tried several times, but my efforts were wasted. As it didn’t trust me and found me just like other humans who wanted nothing but to trap it and put it in a box. It couldn’t see my feelings so it just started flying away from me.

I sensed that it was no use trying too much towards the butterfly, because I knew that it was way far my reach. But still, my heart thumped for its beauty, I could never stop admiring it. In a way, it won’t see me gazing at it…

After some time, as I had gone into a complete motion-less posture, it came close to me… May be it didn’t see me or may be it wanted to play with me more and taunt me that it was not within my reach… Or may be it felt my emotions and was considering befriending me… ‘May be’s were many. But I ignored all my instincts and gave it its space. Not to mention that my eyes always found ways to take little glimpses of that beautiful creation of nature and give an image to my retina with an instruction to make a permanent portrait of it in my mind…

The beauty of its wings and the amazing contouring design swept me from my feet. I had seen nothing like this in my whole life. The shape it had and the patterns on its wings, its big black eyes and those two hairy antennas – were all so amazingly stunning!  I again started to try running behind it. But soon as I tried, it swiftly and elegantly went far from me.

I sat down in disappointment. I consoled myself that it was just a butterfly. And I would see many such butterflies in my life…

At night, I closed my eyes, thinking may be get some sleep tonight. As soon as I closed my eyes, I saw vivid colors forming different patterns and different designs, all a stunning blend of colors and shapes turning into its face, its body, its way of flying, and everything about it.

The color patterns that were forming due to a sudden change in light in the room, were a delight for my eyes. I enjoyed making them, watching them. It continued for a while then slowly the saturation started dropping. The colors were now blurred and less bright from how they had started to be. Then slowly the darkness overpowered them…

As the darkness grew over the colors, the patterns formed a ‘B’ like shape and just them the ‘B’ shape cloned itself into a reverse ‘B’ shape. Both the ‘B’ shapes merged and formed a big oval-like shape, filled with beautiful color patterns. A thin line, cutting the oval in equal half, started to grow bigger and the two sides of the ovals started moving in a carousel way…

All of the Phosphenes and Entoptic Hallucinations that I was seeing were nothing but the beautiful structure of the butterfly! I dared not to open my eyes and face the darkness surrounding me…

I hope that some day, the butterfly will come stay with me. I wish to see that butterfly, forever, by my side! (I went to sleep with that wish, as that’s the only place my wishes come true…)

I’m an Addict

A speech by an addict, admitting his addiction in a self-help group.

… …

*An awkward moment of silence on stage before the speech*

“Hi, I’m … *Thinks of a name* … Bob. And I’m an addict. *Makes a gullible face*

I live upon, have always lived upon my addiction. I’ve never been able to successfully get rid of it. Although I’ve had convinced myself for a long time that I don’t have any addiction and am a perfectly normal human being. Misleading pretense.

The mornings are said to be the best time to start anything. So I’d start with my addiction. I’d wake up and fall for my dark urges, for doing them, for giving up other things against my addiction. It won’t even go away after the shower. Sometimes, its intensity increases after that!

I know what it does to me. I know that it’s doing me bad. That it will… *Thinks for the perfect word, but couldn’t remember any* stain my life, forever haunting me and to all those around me. I know these black urges, these sinister impulses will give me a hard time, but… It’s my addiction.

Till now, I couldn’t admit to anyone, not even to myself, of having an addiction. I would just shut up anyone pointing it out for me. This is the first time that I am actually professing this in front of y’all. I suppose it the first step to get over your addiction – accept that you have it.

We all have our addictions. Whatever it is, it takes over us. It comes slowly, urging us to fall into its trap. Then when it has a slight hold on to our minds, we start to lose our nous. We fall prey to the very thing we were fighting so hard to avoid. How many of we here have done this? Slowly giving up on our routine, just one time, just this time, one more time won’t hurt that much, and so on we yield to our addiction.

You know how it feels when our addiction takes over us, when that itch presses on us with its tempting endeavor giving us a cheering caprice. If we do not give in to it, it has various ways to persecute us. First it will strike on our concentration. That’s the base to all our determination and all our efforts. Without our power to concentrate in something, we won’t stand a chance against its malefic calls. It slyly hives off all our attention towards our addiction, by the time we know about it, it snipes on our will power. It makes us weak from inside and plants a false assurance in our minds that giving in to it will somehow make things better. That surrendering to it will burn all our suffering. And finally, when we are at our lowest, it strikes its final, but strongest blow on our body. We are already feeble from the inside. But it won’t stop till it is able to infirm us from the outside also.

*Sees others reaction. God! This is going good!*

But this time I have decided, earnestly, to stand against all my urges. To fight back each time it comes back with another excuse. To decline all of its enticing offers. With the help of this support group and a good sponsor, I think I will be able to achieve a sufficiently long period of sobriety.

I’ve joined this support group with a goal in my mind to averse to my impulses. I promise to all of you that I’ll fight back to my addiction and will not let it get any heavier on me. I will not fall for its trammel, no matter how elaborate its traps are.

But in doing that, I’m secretly inviting my addiction here. See, I’m doing it right now. I’m using it right now, I’m giving in to it while talking about fighting it… You see it?

Yes, I’ve an addiction. And now I admit it. I’m addicted to being in my comfort zone. I’m addicted to procrastination. And I’ll try to be sober from tomorrow…”

Temporary Happiness

Life is a journey with many destinations. Some destinations make us happy while others don’t. And there’s always a cycle of happy and sad destinations. It is for us to decide where to stay a little longer. But one thing is for sure, we will have to leave every destination in some time.

Then why does the time happiness stays in our life look very small compared to the time sadness creeps in?

… …

On a particular morning, I woke up filled with boredom, resistance to wake-up and live another day of nothingness at office, and self-loath for this melancholic feeling. Then I decided to get ready a little quickly and go for a ride. With the turning off of the engine, the silence marks way for the sadness to crawl in again.

A long, lone, silent drive lifted up my spirit and I was willing again to fight the day, no matter how hard it might become.

Another morning, I woke up with similar somber tone of my mind. The tedium was like spikes growing up on insides of my mind, hurting every time I thought. I decided to cover it with freshness through watching some episodes of Friends, any random season. That series always lifted up my spirit, helped me turn happy, momentarily. Pressing the button to switch off the TV also turns open the door for sadness to come in, almost instantly.

Similar series of events happen just another night when I returned from a long boring day at home. I was unable to sleep as that meant waking up again the next morning and going over all of this again. But then I had to sleep, eventually. To make it more promising, I thought of listening to my favorite playlist. That always turned on the ‘happy switch’ in me. I slept peacefully, for almost few minutes of that night.

So then I thought about it, ‘bout happiness. It feels that happiness is momentary, temporary. It is fugitive, fleeting right out of us when we least expect it to. All the reasons for us to be happy, be them small or big enough to throw a party, they eventually turn sore and we tend to get sad again.

Sadness on the other hand is steady, unwavering. It has to come, it will come and we know it. It doesn’t scatter away due to a few moments of happiness, it stays – calm, patient, waiting – for happiness to pass, and then showing it’s slimy face again. We feel more sad after feeling a happiness, as now we miss it even more.

Sadness knows it that happiness makes us envy sadness more. And it takes all the gain our of happiness in our life by getting stronger and bolder.

Happiness is a kid. It doesn’t understand the schemes of sadness. It falls prey to the plots of trickery by sadness. It doesn’t keep relation with different lots of it and thus is weaker compared to sadness. It is able to drive away sadness almost instantly, but it is not able to mark a permanent place in our mind like that of sadness.

And whether we like it or not, happiness doesn’t care. It is too happy to think about sadness that follows happiness.

We, on the other hand, care. We think about it, sometimes too much, this post might be evident of it. We let sadness get stronger by thinking about it even in the moments of happiness. This we should avoid, debar strongly.

Although we know that sadness is going to come, now or in some time, we must not spoil our moments of happiness with it. When we are happy, we should only be happy and ignore the sadness just the way happiness does it.

But what can we do about the temporary nature of happiness? Can we do something about the sadness that always shows up like a rainbow after a rain? Can we do something to not let it in our lives once the happiness quotient drains out? Can we fight against it with the memories of happiness that we stash up in discreet corners of our mind? Can we make the temporary happiness to last a little longer, if not make it permanent?

Why does it feel like the sand in the hourglass runs faster on one side compared to the other upside down side…?