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…
A series of stories of a bird who leaves his parents’ nest and moves on to live his life in his own way.
After leaving the house of his parents, the bird had set foot in the world of opportunities, which could both help him fly high or dump him right on the ground. While juggling his world with arranging his new nest and the new life, the bird feels the need of a companion, for the first time.
Previous posts under this series:
He had just returned from his morning flight. He loved flying over the town in the morning, just when the first ray of light touched the highest trees on the ground. All other birds would wake up after the sun was up enough to splash its sunlight on the ground. By that time, he used to make his trip.
He felt something he couldn’t explain in words, when the morning cold breeze and the new-born sunlight used to touch his feathers. He would just close his eyes, spread his wings fully apart and just go with the wind. And when he reached the end of his town, he would open his eyes and see the naked beauty of the sun, no buildings or man-made aesthetics to blur its beauty.
He cleaned his nest with a flap of his huge wings and settled back the twigs for the next night. Soon it will be time for going for the morning ritual – food, work, food, work and food, before it would be time for taking rest again. He watched other birds in the nearby nests. They had started to wake up.
He loved watching them wake up. It was half the reason for his early rise from his sleep. The birds around his nest used to wake each other up. Those staying alone used to show off their place and strength, in order to attract females and keep other males at bay. While some notorious ones used to invade other’s privacy by flying into other’s marked spaces. And it was just seconds that a fight would start between the owner and the encroacher.
But he didn’t like watching all that. He enjoyed watching the couples wake-up. It was an amazing sight, funny sometimes, and adorable too. One of them would wake-up and slowly caress, gently stroke the other’s head with its beak. The other would slowly open its eyes and the first thing it will see in the morning would be the his love in the eyes of its loved one. And then they would entwine themselves in the rickety ride of beak-lock, entangling their beaks and pushing each other up and down.
Gross! It used to be his first reaction to such acts of other birds. Rumbling inside other’s beak without the morning gargle! But then he felt something else too watching them. His heart used to slow down watching the scene. And a strange crunch would start out of nowhere in his stomach. Probably, he missed all this in his life.
During the day, he would think about how his life would be like if he also had a companion in his life. His early months after he left the house of his parents were hard. And he felt this dire need of being with someone. But he always pushed away those feelings thinking that he had to make his life first, and this was only temporary reaction of his mind upon leaving his parents. But then, those thoughts never stopped after more than a year from that time now.
He had met several people on his way to this town, before he finally settled at his current space in the corner of the balcony of an abandoned man-house. But none of them made him feel weak at heart. None of them were compatible to him. And he moved on easily from all the occasional beak-locks and making out times with some, he didn’t care enough to remember. But he was waiting for someone whom he would never let go. And that made him feel incomplete everyday.
In the evening, when he would return from his long flight of searching for food, having fought several fights with some annoying birds on the way, and finding his purpose of life, living his dreams, he would see the sunset, alone. He would sit on the chimney of the house, and watch the sun burn the last rays of light. He would extend his wings to touch the light as it would slowly rise towards the sky, leaving the ground to embrace the darkness and wait for another day, another morning when they will meet again. Although the sunset is always beautiful, he would feel low at heart having to watch it without someone by his side.
At night, he would arrange his extra twigs to form a structure of another bird, a portion around his side, and would close his eyes, letting his feathers feel the touch of another warm being, imaginary companion by his side. It was the only time during the day, other than the morning escapes, when he would actually smile without a reason…
After-all, the truth was harsh and he knew it. Life wasn’t all generous all the time. He understood he had to accept how things were in his case. Due to his nature, no one was ever gonna be with him forever. He wouldn’t let that happen…
A man was admiring the beauty of nature while standing in the balcony of his house, thinking about his life, the world and the end of everything. Just when he is fully enliven, kinda, by various topics, he gets ready to do something, this time perfectly.
He was in his balcony, watching the rain make spiral shapes on the water flowing on the ground, and the rain water again breaking them with more drops. He watched the water move, glide over the concrete floor, washing the impurities which there were lying since ages. At least this time, there would be a clean spot around him, he thought.
He saw some people gathered near the gate, talking in a peculiar loud tone, but unclear. He had never liked them. And after how they had handled him the last time, it made him hate them more. They weren’t even careful with the spatter that had spoiled his shirt.
He thought about the world and about the life and all that heavy stuff. He always would think about all this before trying on another attempt. He thought about how people are different in every way and how he could never understand them! In all of his interactions with other people, he always had behaved how they had expected him to behave. And when he thought about it, he always wanted to behave in the opposite manner. That explained it to him that he was totally unlike anyone else. Humanly feelings and care for others were a bit different in him. He would care for people but would never let them know. He would feel for others but would never express it to them. He thought that was the pure way of doing that. Because telling it to others what he feels or cares just corrodes the whole point of it.
How that turned out for you? He smiled a smirk. And then started laughing. He admired his minds sarcasm. He himself had to think a bit before he could get it. And his life probably loved it too. It gave him all the reasons that he didn’t have any second thoughts before doing it, even when he did it the first time. And since then, he had been doing this every year on the same date, and sometimes randomly just when he felt like doing it. And each time, he tried to do it better, more towards perfection.
He was obsessed with perfection. So much that he chose this life, attempting his imperfection, over a perfect rest. He stood there analyzing the wind direction, the altitude and the law of gravity, combining with other physics laws and the biological facts. It all made sense and his calculations were perfect, but then why could he never achieve a perfect fall so far!?
But this time, he was so confident that this time his fall will be perfect. He will fall exactly how he had anticipated, exactly where he envisions, within that white border of foam forming in the polluted rain.
The main door opened and the owner to the house entered. The new owner. He watched the new owner throw his things on the sofa and loosen up like a child returning from school that never enjoyed going to the school. The owner turned on the TV and kept it loud. He hated the loud noise. But the new owner kept it and he couldn’t impose his wants on him, yet. It was only for sound. It made the new owner think that he wasn’t alone after-all. But he didn’t care. It was still time to get into his mind. He wasn’t miserable enough to influence. And till that time, he could just wait. And attempt his grand free-fall.
The last one was much much weaker and entertaining than this one. This one is just bored of his life. The last one loathed his life. He never cared for his life and felt miserable for everything that happened in his life. It was easy to get into his head. It was easy to play with him.
He reverted to his calculations and speculations about the jump. It was his 17th try at jumping off from his balcony, and 5th after he did it with the previous owner. He got himself ready, took some deep breaths and got on to the fence. But he slipped and fell off in the balcony itself.
The new owner heard a thud behind him. He got up to check what it was. He slid open the french door and went outside. The balcony was empty. But there was something peculiar about it. There was a different feeling in the balcony altogether, a saddening kind of feeling. The new owner never liked to go in the balcony. He avoided as much as he could. One more reason was that the previous owner had jumped off the same balcony a few years ago. And the new owner had also heard some weird stories about this house that many of its previous owners died in some strange way. But he stayed nevertheless. Better a weird home than none, he had thought.
The new owner went back inside and he took a great deep breath. He didn’t want them to meet that way, when he was lying there on the floor like a dead pigeon. He stood up and looked down from the balcony. The foam was gone. The rain had stopped. And the time for his jump had passed. He will have to wait for the next time now. Probably, by that time the new owner will be miserable enough to give him company in his suicide, he thought.
He climbed up on the ceiling of the balcony and slept there on the ceiling wall, upside down. He thought why he had failed at falling every time at the perfect spot. May be because he always wanted to go back while he was falling. May be because he did have second thoughts, but not quick enough before jumping off. Or may be he needed it done one more time. Probably this time, it will be better. This time it will be perfect.
The new owner went to his bed and thought about his life. How much more of it was still left? He immediately opened his eyes and shook off that thought from his head. He shouldn’t be thinking about such things! It was just a phase. It will go. Things will turn better for him. Definitely. This was no reason for taking such extreme steps! He shouldn’t be thinking about this…
In the balcony, he smiled in his sleep. It has finally started. Soon…. A few more months now.
After a long time since the new owner came in, he had a peaceful sleep that night. He dreamt of a perfect fall, finally he did it.
The Curious Case of my Sister
Last night, I came to know that my cousin sister was suffering from depression. When my aunt narrated the whole case to me, I felt anger, worry and disgust at the same time for various things and people.
She is in her junior high school final year. Her final exams are going to decide her fate for high school admissions. Apart from the fact that those exams were necessary for her further studies, they got her into clinical depression. However, the exams were not the only reason for her illness. There were other reasons involved too.
When I had last met her, she was doing her homework. Out of curiosity, I peeked into her work. She was writing word-to-word, punctuation-to-punctuation from the textbook into her notebook!
I asked her if she was given any punishment or what, that she was copying each letter out of the textbook.
She replied that this was the way they taught at her School. It was a general practice to write the whole chapter two times word-to-word from textbook. So that they could remember the whole text and answer any question they might ask in exams!
At that time, I had pointed out that it was not a correct approach and that she should work more on understanding the concept than on scoring marks in exams.
My sister replied that her School and her Board/University expects Students to write exactly the way the textbook prints. If they wanted a good score, they had to mug up the textbook to score good. Writing answers in their own way would only give them passing marks or even less. And if they don’t get good marks, they won’t get admission to reputed colleges/institutions. The degrees and certifications won’t be that valuable while competing for job in big companies, as they shortlist candidates based on their final score.
This highlights a serious problem with the education system in our country and the systems dependent on it.
While her teaching approach was as useless as her teachers, another thing that got her into depression was lack of rest. I got to know her daily schedule from her mother.
– Wake up at 5 am
– 7 am to 12 School
– 12 to 2 pm Extra Classes and Tests at School
– 3 pm Reach home for her first regular meal of the day
– 4 to 6 pm Tuitions
– Reach home and start working on homework (such as copying of whole textbook) from School and Tuitions till late night 11-12.
– Then go to sleep dreaming about tomorrow’s day at school, taunts from teachers when she’s not able to recite word-by-word from the textbook and the test.
And after this hectic schedule, she was not even able to understand the practical implications of what she was studying! Her teachers would first humiliate her in front of the whole class and then call her parents, if she didn’t complete her homework or couldn’t recite the textbook fluently. And her teacher wouldn’t accept any other answer or concept suggested by other authors, but only the things written in their textbook.
So the reasons that caused her depression were hectic schedule, pressure from teachers and school, pressure from society and future, illogical and orthodox educational and evaluation system and ignorance by parents.
I see our educational system going on a wrong direction of marks-based evaluation. Several tests, semesters and projects are loaded onto the over-occupied minds of students and then they are pressurized to score well. Competition among the students adds to the pressure and the silent support from parents serves as a multiplying factor.
So what can be done about it? Anything at all?
I parked my bike and went inside the rusty building. As soon as I entered through the front gate, the smell of hospital made me feel sick. I remembered the mild back pain, which I had since last two months. I had almost forgot that pain while driving.
I had a small backpack with me, which contained nothing but a few papers and a other usual accessories. But still that was a burden for me…
I jumped out of the School bus, skipping two steps at a time. I ran towards the entrance gate. I had to reach the first class on time and sit on the best bench possible besides a cool company. And for all that I had to reach the new class on time.
The heavy load, heavier than my own weight felt nothing to me. It was part of me at the school. Elders used to feel pity for us to have such a heavy load in our backpack, but I felt it was just a bag – with my favourite cartoon character on it.
I walked towards the doctor’s cabin and was feeling a little weird. A huge age difference was visible in front of me if I compared other patients with me. At the age of just 24, I was suffering from backache. I couldn’t ask for more, but my dad also recently had the same issue after sitting 40 years on a desk. And he laughed at me when I said that I am having this problem after sitting just 1 year, 9 months, 3 days behind my desk!
I wondered what went wrong! My lifestyle had not changed totally and I followed all the ergonomic guidelines at workplace. Further, I used to move around every hour. So what exactly went wrong…!?
It was a hectic day! My friend was miffed, my teacher caught my mischief and I didn’t get any thing in that day’s English lecture about some sort of poem. And that day breakfast was not so intriguing. So, in all the day wasn’t really good.
I entered the bus after everyone was inside. I sat on my favouite spot – just next to the driver. From there, I could see everyone in the bus, and it also made sure that I would get a sitting place. I talked driver into playing my favourite tracks, even when exams were going on. And I would watch him drive past different vehicles with ease.
That day, I saw her. She was sitting directly on the straight line drawn from me towards the end of the bus. She also glanced back at me at times. And then shied away. That made my day. 😛
I got off the bus and went home. My mother hugged me and then realized – “Where’s your backpack?”
‘Oops!’ was my reaction. 😀
Doctor said that there are many reasons that I got this backache at young age. The most probable being that I had a sitting job and that I was a little too thin for my height.
He gave me medication and suggested physical training to help ease the pain. I wanted to kick his ass, so I paid him and went away.
When I got the bill, all I saw for the next few days was that ‘Total’.
At such tender age, we start lifting huge backpacks and go to schools. Most of the schools in our country do not have locker system or promote education through screen. So heavy books were bound to make our backpacks heavy.
But those backpacks for 12 long years couldn’t give us any kind of backache or physical pain, which this office desk gave just in a year.
I wondered where was my life heading… I wondered how would be my life 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now. I wondered – “Am I living to die?”
Well, it is the truth. Sitting at your desk may earn you money right now, but it is surely gonna kill you painfully.
As they say it, “sitting is the new smoking“.
Doesn’t matter if you exercise, doesn’t matter if you follow the ergonomic guidelines, no matter what you do, it is killing you slowly.
So what is the solution?
Ditch the damn chair! … I’m serious.
There are many options:
1. Use combination of sitting chair and treadmill chair or cycling chair
2. Sit in proper position and then take a walk in a ratio of 1:5. That means every 10 minutes of sitting, take 50 minutes of physical activity during the day.
3. Avoid sitting with sloth, totally. (Like in the first image)
4. Use a combination of cardiovascular, stretching and weight exercises at home and at office too.
5. Eat healthy, if you can, at least try or fake it.
6. Kick that boss who tells you to sit all day and work.
7. Change that office policy which requires more sitting than doing work.
Can we do any of this?
See This for more info and stats:
1. Info-graphic showing illl-effects of chair
2. Article showing statistical data for sitting
After almost one year of booklessness, I started reading again…
Few years back, I was pursuing this professional course, which required a little too much reading on my part. By the time I had completed the course, I felt so much annoyed whenever I had to read anything on paper. Forget about reading a book, I couldn’t even read a newspaper. I had even stopped peaking in to what someone else’s reading while sitting in the bus. I switched over to my phone for all the reading that I needed. I had completely dumped all the papers from my life. You can even say that I had almost behaved like having Papyrophobia.
And then I got in to IT industry, which was almost paperless work. It took me almost a year to recover from that phobia and to accept reading books again.
Yesterday, I started reading a book, and guess what! All the memories started flooding in my mind. All the books that I had read, the feeling when you flip through those pages, trying to know more and more of what’s written inside and constantly thinking about what the author would serve you with on pages to come…
I remembered and practiced all my reading styles – sitting, sleeping, upside-down hanging, walking, above-the-cupboard reading, laying-on-the-grass reading, sitting-on-the-water-tank reading… (Yeah they will sound more than just weird, but that’s me… :P)
I read the book constantly for about an hour and then I realized how much I missed it. How much I wanted to read those books I had planned to read for all the time! How many books I had in my wishlist…!
Reading makes you think and interpret and try to guess what the author would’ve wanna say, and then think over it again and again. Reading gives you so much of new information, increases your vocabulary and even is a nice pass time – a minimal effort activity even. Reading is exploration, reading is imagination, reading is going beyond boundaries, reading is finding yourself… Reading is fun.
But when I thought over it, it was a little difficult to read now, after a long pause. Not due to the pause, but due to the way our lifestyle has changed over these years…
Earlier I used to charge my phone once in four-five days, and now I have to charge it twice a day – not that the battery is bad, but my usage has increased a lot. My idle time, which earlier was occupied with reading or writing some stuff, now goes wasted in checking people’s status updates online.
I used to love reading stories and used to read them (almost) over a go… But now, that is replaced with watching movies. I seldom “try” to read anything, b’cuz probably all of it is available either in verbal or visual form and I don’t want to put more efforts in getting the information.
So have you felt this way lately? Do you see a change overtaking us, a change in the pattern we spend our time? Apart from wasting it at office and sleeping, do we have started wasting it over those screens?
So I would suggest you people, put your smartphones aside and go out do something “real”… you might be surprised what you have had missed for all this time you were looking on that screen 😉
As they say, a phobia is only in our head. Just do it and the phobia is gone…