Bachelorhood – Good Neighbors

A bachelor’s perspective on the benefits and troubles of having good neighbors.

… …

As bachelors, we stay either inside our house too much, or outside it most of the times. But we do not care anything about around the house. Sometimes, we don’t even bother to see what’s going on in the opposite house, unless there’s a potential subject of interest for us. 😉

We go through the painful trouble of finding a suitable place to stay, meet several crooked and disturbed minds on the way, that we no longer care about anyone but us in the new society. And that’s how they call us ‘bachelors’… Not the marital status.

But sometimes, when Mr. Fate is very generous upon you, he will shower you with really great neighbors. And that is another heaven altogether on Earth, if you are gifted the company of amazing neighbors. But there are both benefits and troubles of having good neighbors, and we don’t wanna let them know about any of the two.

Neighbors Chat (too much)

Neighbors are basically for socializing, for not letting us get bored and for keeping us company in difficult and needy times. They are our last resort on weekends when all of our friends have ditched us for others.

But sometimes, we bachelors just do not want any of that. We just want to be left alone, not cared for and ignored both virtually and physically. But that is not possible when you have good neighbors. They will come and talk to you no matter what. You may have come home after a long, tiresome day, or late at night, or with a date (the worst case), but they would want to talk to you. And that will go on and on, unless you find a way to stop that.

Neighbors Talk (to your mom too)

Neighbors have all the senses given by God. So, they see, hear, smell, understand and even talk. They will talk internally with other neighbors, and also with your mom. (Yes, they have a direct line connection with your mother.)

They will keep a sharp watch at your house, to save you from probable perils of the society. But in that process, they sometimes watch too much, things that we bachelors don’t want anyone to see.

And yes, they remember, very well. They will remember what days you came late, what days you brought over your friends, what days you didn’t come home at all. Well, this helps, if you forget to note your daily time sheet, you can ask them, not otherwise.

But when all is noted, they blabber it all out in front of your mother, pressing the matter when someone of opposite gender had turned up at your house – forget what relation.

And forget about giving your mum a surprise… She already knows.

Neighbors Share (occasionally)

Staying in a neighborhood is great as our family just expands beyond the walls of our home. We live together and share all of the great moments with everyone to increase their intensity exponentially.

When there’s a birthday, people will pull over from all around to wish them. People will share any new (or rare) dish prepared at their home. And that is the heaven for us bachelors – we just love when someone gives us food.

But at times, we have more than one good neighbors, and they all want to share. And then, that increases our work – we have to remember which plate was of which neighbour, we have to fix dates for them so that they do not clash, we have to even manage our hangouts with their dates. And sometimes, we just do not want it from them as we don’t like it. But can we say that to them? No… Just gracefully accept it and throw it all away.

Neighbors Help (and interfere)

Neighbors are great as they are our first place to go-to when we need some help. And as a bachelor, we often face difficulties in our day-to-day lives. That time, their help is all we need.

But at times, help is often misunderstood. Help is generally initiated by one who needs it and then acted upon by one to whom it was asked. But being good neighbors, they sometimes act upon help themselves, without being initiated by us.

They help us with their opinions and their contacts, which we may not be willing to accept or approve. But being good neighbors, we cannot just decline their offer. We have to mend our ways and include their help in our work, without their help helping us.

Neighbors Expect (unreasonably at times)

Being good neighbors, they do good things with us, they take care of us and be there when we have a dire need of someone. In return, you be good to them. You respect the elderly, you play with the ones of your age and take care of the younger ones.

In doing that, neighbors build a blueprint of your behavior and expect you to be like that all the time. Once in a while, you would move out of that behavior which you did just as a return for them being good, they will not like you anymore. They might even get offended. They might even stop being good to you.

So working with good neighbors is a tough job, heavy expectations to meet, especially when you try to be something you’re not. (Obviously, that’s the reason they are good to you… We never show who we are to the older generation, as they won’t like it that way.)

P.s.: It is definitely good to have good neighbors around your home. But it is like marriage. The benefits often weigh more than the problems. For some at least…

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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. 😛

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…”

Sorry.. Who are you?!

Who are all those people who come rushing and buzzing towards us when we find some happiness in our life, like a honeybee attracted to the fresh flower pollen…?!

… …

There was smile spread across my face, and was probably gonna stretch out of the boundaries of my cheeks. But I didn’t care. I was happy and that was all it. I strode, and strutted, almost hopped and skipped. When I entered and got a glimpse of my new car shinning in the morning sunlight, I stood there admiring its shapes and curves – the only shapes and curves that I admire after you know who’s.

“Ah! You brought a new car…! But you brought it so plain!”

I turned around and found a person from my neighborhood, I didn’t know his name or nothing for that sake. My expressions probably said a big, confused “What?”, so he repeated.

“You brought your car in a very plain, vanilla fashion.”

This time I said out-loud “What?”

“You bought a new car, but brought it in a very non-festive style. No observance, no fete, parade…”

Okay he didn’t use these many synonyms, he just repeated his earlier sentence again, but this time I understood him. By plain he meant that I brought a new car home without “sharing my happiness with others”.

So whenever we find a new happiness in our lives, people of this species pop-up out of nowhere and stand before us. Eyes popped-out of their sockets, weary, like a zombie, looking directly at us; their twisted hands, with bones tearing out of their sordid skin, extended towards us, not in attack, but in anticipation, which is almost similar to an attack; their body bent towards us, not in respect, but as their spines have corroded in expecting things from everyone. They come to us dragging their feet, brushing the dirt on the ground, with their saliva-leaking mouth open, trying to say something while spilling all their gluttony for parties all over us, which will emulsify a stink on to your body and soul…

They are like leeches who feed on people’s happiness.

You can’t run away from them. They will hunt you down even with their perverted legs. You have to face them and choose either to be good or bad, in their ever-judging eyes. You choose to be bad, they will not rest till they are able to spread various kinds of rumors about you everywhere. Some of them might even manoeuvre an evil ambush upon your pride possessions or your newly achieved happiness. You choose to be good, they will disappear almost instantly, if you’re lucky.

Some of them are so hard-skinned, they might even keep sucking out of us even after we have been good to them. They will come with questions, inquiries and desires, more expectations, which will take the toll out of you.

It is said that sharing happiness increases it exponentially. But that doesn’t mean we go sharing our happiness with everyone in this world. That’s just a poor implementation of a good thought.

Our immediate family and friends and others, whom we love and like to be around are the people we want our happiness to be shared. We can also share our happiness with people who have silently helped us in various ways. If we want to share our happiness in monetary or material form, we should choose people wisely. And if you aren’t sure about it, share it with people who don’t expect from you this sharing, but will be more than just happy if you share it with them. They will actually wish good luck for you, unlike those other species of parasites who will almost instantly disappear once they have reaped the benefits out of you.

He came close enough to me, I almost got scared of him attached his suckers upon me, I backed off.

“Let’s see. We will do some celebration once my parents, my friends come visit me. (And I am definitely not calling you in that!” I snubbed his aghast expressions and moved on to leaving from there. He started giving out his precious advises as to how I can park my car and other details, which I half- no- fully unheard.

Why should I share it with my neighborhood, colleagues or those so-called friends, who don’t care a dime about me? Unless you are gonna help me pay the EMI or clean my car every weekend, why should I give a party to you? My dealers terms didn’t mention anything about you earning a right to free food and drinks upon my car purchase…

While moving out, a kid in his skates went past me looking at my car and then shouted “Nice car, uncle.”

I smiled and yelled thanks. Then I re-heard his statement, noted the “uncle” in it, and frowned. Moving on to the gate, I saw the security old guy who keeps a watch at our possessions. I celebrated with him about my new car and he beamed of happiness, giving his blessings out to me. Yes, they were some people I could share my happiness with, not that scrounger!

To him, I should’ve just said “Sorry.. Who are you?!”

​When they say ‘Why’, Ask them ‘How’

A series of Office Psychology discussions about how people behave at your workplace and how you can handle those situations.

This particular discussion is about those cases where your superior starts getting upset about your particular decision (say unplanned leave or even planned leave in some cases).

… …

Many a times, at our workplace we find that other people start getting upset with our particular official decision. When we communicate that decision to them, they get scared, start making different types of arguments and conclusions and get us scared too.

If we do not handle that situation properly, possibility is that you may end up ruining your relations with that person or may end up canceling / reverting your decision, which is often disheartening to yourself and often your family.

And when you look back at your decision of reverting your decision in the past, you see it very clearly that there was no need to revert the decision and the situation could’ve been handled very easily, even with the decision that you made. That you got scared unnecessarily. That your colleague meddled with your mind in his fright.

So, what to do when we are in such situation?

The answer is simple – Ask questions. Yes, as simple as that.

Asking questions to your superior or questioning his conclusions is a good thing. Don’t get scared of him. And if he’s that type that he’ll make your office life hell if you raise your voice, why haven’t you left him already! You didn’t sign up for slavery, did you?

Let us discuss this with a very simple example – say taking a half-day / leaving office early than the usual time.

Obviously, your manager will get upset on hearing this 90% of the time. Sometimes, his getting upset would be valid, but still there’s hardly a possibility that your absence can’t be managed with other resources.

So when he starts telling you irresponsible on taking this decision or sharing your possibility of taking this decision with him, ask him questions. Ask him what are all the assignments which are due that day or in near future, and discuss with him how your absence for that period will affect those deliverables. Discuss the meaning of ‘Urgent’ status that they give to each and every assignment on hand. See to it that that urgent status is actually urgent, and not just superficially made by your boss.

Many a times, it will be the case that when you ask him the question, he will start faltering. He will lack on substantial evidence or explanation as to how your presence is actually required. He will not be able to justify his concern about your leave and thus, you’ll have your dilemma cleared to make that decision.

This is valid in various other scenarios, apart from taking a leave. Even in official decisions taken by you in your power can be questioned by your colleagues. The best way to tackle such oppositions is through asking questions without seeing their position.

After all, a lower rank on the grade doesn’t mean that you are dump compared to a higher rank person. The worst thing will be him giving out proper justification, and that will obviously teach you for good.

Go on, try this out in the next opportunity you get at your workplace.

Till then, hope you have fun working your but-t out.

Difficult Expressions: Love vs. Hate

There are tons of expressions that we can express through various gestures, signs and sounds. But expressing each of those expressions takes different level of confidence and inclination from our inside. If not found, we would find it difficult to express those expressions freely to that person.

So, which expression is difficult to express when compared to the other? The act of expressing should be to the person for whom that expression was made in the first place.

This battle is between two most felt feelings in the world – Love and Hate.

… …

Love. A feeling so strong that can be expressed in tons and tons of ways to the person for whom we feel so. Sometimes, it can even be expressed without doing anything. And the person for whom we feel so, often can feel or sense our feelings for them.

Hate. A feeling equally strong as love, again which can be expressed in several ways to the person we hate. And the other person mostly understands that we hate them unless we hide our feelings through fake expressions and false greetings.

Often love is difficult to hide from people, but the other person might not understand your feeling and can confuse it with something else.

Hate can be confused, though very rarely, with greed, selfish desires and a feature of our nature. But, it can be faked and kept hidden from the person we hate using acted expressions of care and gratitude.

Both expressions have their own definition and complexities, which when mixed with human desires and intentions, can create a compound, altogether a new feeling. But if all other factors are kept constant, and we talk only about expressing our love or our hate for the person to the person himself / herself, then we can compare which of the two expressions is difficult to express – generally speaking.

Often Love wins the battle and the title of being a difficult expression to express of the two expressions in question. It is easy for us to express our hate to the person we hate. Why so? Well, there are reasons, very clear.

Love is often misunderstood by us. A casual liking or a temporary attraction for someone is often labelled as Love. And for this reason, it is often failed expression or a feared one as we feel that our love might turn out to be something else or might be misunderstood.

As we love the person, we get scared about our expression not expressed properly. We don’t want our loved one to feel sad, or leave us, or hate us in turn. That’s why, we are more conscious and, thus, more scared.

On the other hand, hate is often expressed with disgust or anger in a surge. We don’t care for the person. We don’t care if the person understands us differently than the way we want. We don’t care if the person gets hurt by us or doesn’t talk to us ever… And that is why, we don’t carry burden while expressing hate to someone.

But, even hate can be tricky to express, if hate is mixed with other factors such as our nature to be likable with everyone around us, or hate mixed with care for the person, or gratitude towards other person’s good nature against our hate… All this can make expressing hate complicated.

If you have any such incident where you had difficulties expressing your love or hate, share with me…

According to you, which feeling is difficult to express for you? Love? Or Hate?

“I want my life to be like a movie!”

A small chat with (fictional) grandpa, and an advice about living life we ought not forget.

… …

xgikdy

I was sitting on my couch with TV remote in one hand and an expression on my face saying that I hated my life.

My Grandpa came in the room and sat on his chair. He watched me change the channel frequently which was almost every minute. Then he got up and went back to his room.

I was relieved thinking that another opportunity of talking with him was avoided. Phewww… I was bored already, spare me from yet another long lecture.

Soon after, he came out with his regular diary and started scribbling down.

I watched him for a while. He kept on scribbling something in his decade old diary. He did that a lot. And by a lot, trust me, a lot!

“Don’t you get bored doing that all the time?” I couldn’t resist myself from asking.

“Nope.” Said he without even looking up.

After another few minutes of changing the channels I asked him “How can you like your life when you have nothing exciting to do?”

He finished his last para without answering me anything. Then he kept his stuff aside and looked directly at me.

“It all depends on how you define excitement…”

I made a confused expression at him.

“Why do you think that there’s no excitement in my life?” he asked. His eyes behind his round glasses showed excitement already.

“All you do is roam around the house with no work to do. Half the times you keep on humming your old songs, which I don’t understand, and at times you write those stories and stuff in your diary. There’s no wow moment in your day or any shock moment at all. Sometimes you fall asleep sitting in your chair, which gets me so scared at times. Where’s excitement in all this?” I blabbered out.

“Is your life exciting enough for you?” he asked a question, keeping all my questions aside. I hated when he did that, but he will weave everything together I knew it.

“Nope. And that annoys me a lot. When I see in my past, there was lot of excitement all the time. New people to meet, new places to go, new things to learn… There was always something to look forward to. Now all I do is work all day long. There’s nothing to do on weekends but another kind of work. Nothing excites me. I miss da old times…” I said in a fashion, which felt weird afterwards.

He kept on looking at me for a while, then said “So how do you want your life to be like?”

I was waiting for this question. “I want my life to be filled with emotions and zest. I should not be having even a single second of boredom. One after other, there should be some or other adventure. Nothing should repeat in my life. Every new day should be a new episode of life. In a way, I want my life to be a movie…”

My eyes were gleaming with elation. My fantasies and dreams had rushed out of those tiny little imaginative eyes with a thrill on my face.

“Isn’t it already a movie?” he asked.

“No way! And even if it is, it is hell of a boring story!” I said.

“Hmm… You remember all of your days back in your past?” He asked.

“No. Just a few moments.” I answered.

“And why’s that?” he asked.

I wanted to say ‘How am I supposed to remember everything?’, but this was a trick question I knew it. So I just shrugged.

He continued “Your life is already a movie if you look at it. When you go back in your past, all you see is those moments which were extreme for you, be it anger, happiness or grief. You will remember only the best of episodes. And all the boring normal stuff will not come to your mind.”

“You feel bored in present. And fear that future will be more boring. You want twists and turns every minute in your life – like movies. But tell me one thing… How long is your favorite movie?”

“Around 3 hours…?” we both said together.

“And your life is stretched for more than 20 million times of that.”

He took a pause for letting me chew over that.

“You’ve not even reached intermission in your life. And you think that it’s boring already? If you scale down your whole life to 3 hours time, see how excitement fills up the empty spaces. It may not be as dramatic as an actual movie, but why don’t you make it that way?”

“My dear child, each one of us here… has a life like a movie story. Only the genre is decided by us. You like comedy, comedy it is. You like action movie, action it is. But if you stretch a movie to 70 years long life, there are bound to be empty spaces, boring frames in between. Accept that boredom and live on… Make the movie worth the ticket price.” 😉

He completed with a winking eye and went along humming his old song. I still couldn’t understand what he was singing, but yes, his words were engraved in my mind.