From Backpack to Backache

image

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?”

——–

image

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

image

image

.

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
http://www.diygenius.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/truth-about-sitting-down-infographic.jpg
2. Article showing statistical data for sitting
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/21/health/sitting-will-kill-you/

Advertisements

Dancing with (Un)known

image

It was last evening of Year 2015. I was sitting in my office and was waiting for the call from my friend about the confirmation for the night’s plan. My friend had invited me to join his group for the new year party.

He called and confirmed about the time, place and people invited. I knew no one except my friend. I agreed anyway…

It felt like ages since I had been happy or had lived my life fully after completing my studies and have joined the race of earning money. So, even if I had to join a group of complete strangers, I would not have resisted that night.

When we reached the spot, they recognized me; probably my friend would have told them about me. We introduced each other. I tried to get their names, but the music was too loud… 😛 I couldn’t think about anything else but to go inside and start jumping (my form of dancing :D)

I was about to dance on DJ music – something that I hadn’t done publicly since junior school. Incidents from past life had made me so that I couldn’t be myself in front of anyone…

With little hesitation in the beginning, I started dancing to the beats. It was easy to dance (which I am very bad at) in front of these people as I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t care what they will think about me. I didn’t care if they laugh at my bad steps. I didn’t care about anything but just letting myself go crazy. The beats created rhythmic waves inside me and I couldn’t stop enjoying myself. Oh yes I missed this…!

Soon the strangers turned out to be great friends and it never felt like we were meeting for the first time that night.

While I was dancing, a person from my behind nagged me. I turned around and she said “Can you dance away from me? You’re hitting me constantly!” in a language crude than this.

I apologized and switched places with one of our group member on the opposite side of our circle. After some time, I felt that hits again from my behind. When I looked back, it was the same girl with that same group. They moved all the way from one end to the other of our 12 people circle…! And not only that accused me for touching her, twice!!!

I switched place again. And inside I felt totally vulnerable. There was no one who would trust me that I didn’t do anything to her! Only my friends trusted me as they saw what happened. But what about others? Everyone around me would have thought that I was the bad person. Being a male, it was so easy to get accused of something (as everyone would have assumed that), and so difficult to accuse someone in the opposite gender (as no one would believe that such a thing can happen)! I wondered about women empowerment for a while and then continued dancing…

The night continued till early dawn. It had brought me thrill, laughter, silent smiles, understanding nods, shouts and shocks, chilly winter winds and satisfaction of the night. But above all, it brought me freedom from the fake self that I had build around me. It helped me come out of that closed box and live my life fully, without considering anything about people around me… It helped me overcome the fear of “What will others think?”.

As the countdown began, I rejoiced the change in me…

Truly, a ‘New’ Year for me… This year of mine is dedicated to breaking the rules that I made in my life, to breaking the boundaries created around me.

Happy New Year folks. 🙂

A Year of Papyrophobia

image

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…

image

What to do on your birthday?

image

Here are some ways to celebrate that not-so-grand-but-heavily-overrated-celebrationBirthday.

Social Way:
Go and explore your surroundings, you’d find various social causes to which you can contribute in some way.

For example, old age houses, orphanage, place for disabled (I prefer calling them specially abled), etc.

Those people would love to celebrate your birthday. Just go to them with balloons, cake and stuff, if you can, or just empty handed with a big smile on your face. I tell you, you’ll remember that day for whole of your life…

If you can’t find anything, donate blood. Probably cheapest way to help the society.

Nature-Lover Way:
Rise up early and go out to some point where you can clearly see the sun rise up from the ground (literary). See the birds flying, the fresh air and the smell of wet grass.

Go visit some village, if you are not there already. In India, we are blessed with so many naturally beautiful villages which are not taken over by Concrete Monsters :O (Yes, I love cartoons 😛)

Thanksgiving Way:
Celebrate your birthday by giving chocolates/sweets to people who help you in everyday life, like, watchman, laundry guy, garbage collector, milkman, etc etc.

Emotional Way:
Go spend time with your family, especially your mum. This was the day she first saw you 🙂

Geek Way:
Go online and search the history to get what all happened on your birthday in past.

Bookworm Way:
Keep reading your books, buddy…

Lazy Way:
Keep watching that fan above your head spin round and round whole day long… 😉

Food Lover Way:
Give yourself a treat mahn! Go eat out in some amazing and unique place you have never been to… Eat… Drink… Yummmm! 😉

Cool (but outdated) Way:
Celebrate it with your friends and family… Go party hard.

Real Cool Way:
Do something new, you have never done before in your life, on each of your birthday… It can be anything, just anything, but it should be new and unique on each birthday. Cool, ain’t it!!! 😀

My way:
Wake up real late,
Don’t go to school/office or any such boring place,
Switch off your phone and dump all your responsibilities in the garbage box,
Don’t listen to anyone telling you to do anything,
My own manipulated version of ‘Real Cool Way’ stated above, (I won’t tell you what’s that :P)
Play guitar, sing all your heart out, beat those drums real hard,
Take out your Xbox and play Need for Speed like a maniac! 😀
(Yes, I’m a Music and Games lover too…)

Continue reading

The Concrete Jungle

image

Sun was shining bright and it was a hot day. Bathing in my sweat, I was somehow managing to ride my bike in sunlight. I missed my childhood days when I could ride my bike in day time even. Now it is impossible to peddle in such temperature!

I reached my destination and entered the parking lot. It was an open area parking just besides the building. Lost in the song that was playing, I left behind the spot I park my bike at everyday. There are very few places in the parking lot that have tree shade on the vehicle. I had managed to find one such place which was ignored by all and left unoccupied everyday…

I rode back but hey.. I couldn’t find the place. Oh! The music takes me to some other world! I tried searching the place again and again but that place was gone. How can that be possible?

But then I got it… The tree was gone and not the place. I parked my bike in sunlight half-heartedly. And my day continued thereafter as usual.

Next day, again the same burning temperature and that search for a shaded parking space. But, failure repeated and so was half-hearted parking.

Day in day out, I observed parking lot was getting bigger view. And trees were reducing everyday. I enquired with the security personnel who informed me that they were cutting down the trees for increasing the parking area… (And they were actually cutting and not uprooting and planting back somewhere else.!)

That day, I saw a big article in the magazine about droughts in states which were once filled with water. On my way home, I saw school kids discussing about ‘Global Warming and its effects’, supposedly there school project, which was going to fetch them some marks. At home, when I read my evening newspaper, I saw news relating to water drainage problem in a city, criticizing the hardened authority which took no steps for it. Later at night, I watched a movie, a Sci-Fi on Earth and its destruction due to climatic change…

I wondered if everywhere the topic is on buzz… The people are well aware of the situation, the consequences and the measures to be taken… The kids are taught well in advance at the junior level itself about the global warming… Even the entertainment media is making presentations with some social and environmental message… Then why on earth, why are we not doing what we are supposed to do..?

Especially in our country, we make buildings, roads, bridges and all sorts of infrastructure using concrete and steel. So much of unused space, so much of unnecessary construction of huge buildings.. The wastage of space which could have been used to either plant more trees or to accommodate the needy in our country’s ever multiplying population…

Tree plantation programmed are launched every now and then. Thousands of trees are planted. But then they are left at nature’s care. Even we don’t know if those spaces declared for tree plantation is sold and converted into a shopping complex!

Building huge homes, office buildings with great open space, a gigantic shopping complex that can facilitate thousands of shoppers together.. And what’s the use? These buildings are double the size the humans actually need to accommodate themselves!

Instead just build a structure with reasonable space us and use the other area for making our planet green AGAIN… Unnecessary allocation of land for parking should be stopped and engineers, architects should come up with alternatives… Even the public in general should reduce using individual transportation and switch over to public transportation or pooling techniques; which again calls for government to be less corrupt and give proper ‘facility’ in the facility they say of providing!

I wish I don’t have to take birth as a human again…

P.s.: Saying Sorry to our Earth…

image

Lights.. Camera.. and A.. Cut!!

Lights.. Camera.. And a.. Cut
Lights.. Camera.. And a.. Cut

 

“Lights Camera Action” is what we normally hear. But I’m gonna say “Lights Camera And Cut”…

Just recently, I was watching one my favourite movies in horror genre. After the experience in the theatre, watching it over TV is, well, not quite satisfying. But you have no other choice, unless you happen to own a multiplex, do you?

So, the intro started, there was the prologue, the name of the movie and I was all “yayyyy” ready on my couch with the popcorn bucket and a drink…

I knew what was gonna happen in the movie. In a few minutes, there was going to be the intro of horror element in the movie. I was very eager to see that. But then, the scene just got cut!! 😯

And similar cuts were made every time there was some element of horror displayed in the movie. As I had seen it before, I could make out that in just 30 minutes of the movie, there were around 4 cuts, all censoring the horror element.🙁

I changed the channel instantly. My mood was totally spoiled after that.

I switched over to a family drama. The movie went on normally – two characters meet, talk, go out, entry of a bad guy, bad guy abducting the girl, trying to rape the girl, trying to kill the sister of the hero, trying to take over his property… It showed all of it. But in between that, there was a scene when the hero met the girl and they were going to kiss, when suddenly the scene got cut.😕

And then over a few days, I observed that almost each and every TV channel here, censored the horror scenes from horror movies, love scenes from romantic movies, blood scenes from murder / thriller / action movies, death scenes from final destination movies, and so on…

But none of them removed any cheeky unexplained (item) dance sequence in between the movies or rape scenes or smoking scenes or villiany planning or such bad scenes showing social evils like atrocity over wives, treating women as inferior or showing lies and crimes as a way of life.

If kids are going to get bad influence from love scenes and are going to get afraid of horror scenes, what influence are you making on them by showing above mentioned social evils openly?

Movies do come with parental guidance or rating certificates. But do we take that into account before letting our kids watch that? Do we give him proper education (not schooling) that would teach him the difference between good and bad?

And wouldn’t censoring horror scenes from a horror movie at 11 in the night drops the whole purpose of a horror movie? Deleting death scenes from final destination leaves nothing but a scrap non-understandable disorganized clips, not a movie.

Watching these censorship over TV, my 10 year old neighbor asks me “How does kissing scene influences bad on me and smoking or drinking or rape scene don’t? I’m not a grown-up that I’ll make mistakes even after knowing what is good or bad!” Kid said something very serious…🤔

We ourselves are building a society which is so prejudiced that our precautions in turn stimulates illicit activities.

These scenes or movies do not set a bad example in minds of young generation. But our failure in teaching them what’s good and what’s bad, in explaining them the difference between life and fiction makes them vulnerable.

Those who twitch their faces on hearing the word sex are bad people. Not those who openly give sex education to their kids.

Restricting them from learning these things makes a small kid vulnerable to physical abuse or stimulates a kid to speak lie and watch porn in secrecy.

The channels don’t do this on their own. It is us who give our prejudiced views on its content and force them to do such censorship. It is those Orthodox regulators who make such rules. And those of us, who understand that it is wrong, do not speak a word…

There are many evils in our society. If we are not able to fight them, at least let us not create some more!

A visit to a school

image

Everything was normal that day. The sun was up from the east, the sky was all blue, wind bowing at normal speed… I woke up rubbing my eyes like a small kid who wanted to sleep five more minutes 😉 When I came out of my house, my mind didn’t even have a slightest guess that what was going to happen today. I thought it to be a normal day as we have everyday…

I was walking on the road to my workplace, thinking about something I don’t remember now… The road took a sharp turn to left. I walked forward, when all of a sudden a girl of an age around 12 came running from a building on my right. She was running as if she was running away from something, or from someone. While running she slipped and fall on her back…

I ran towards her, helped her up, and asked her if she was hurt. She looked at me and I felt a weird sensation in my belly, as if something was moving inside me. Ignoring that, I asked her again while she kept looking at me. Finally she replied a no by shaking her head left-right.

I glanced at the building from where she was running. It was a school. I asked her “Why were you running away from the school?”

She replied “I’m afraid…”

“Of what?” I asked back.

“Of the people there…” She said with her head down.

I was confused. I myself hated the people at my school who loved to spoil my childhood with exams and rules. But I never ran from them, instead I gave them a challenge to teach me. 😉

I held out a hand for her, which she took. We walked back to school. Then she abruptly stopped and looked at me. She was frightened, literally! I consoled her by saying “Don’t worry! I’m there with you. I won’t let you get hurt. You trust me?”

She nodded and after a while said “So you are my friend?”

I smiled and said “Yes.”

When we entered the school, she held my hand very tight. I wondered what scared her so much…

The school was good. I mean the infrastructure. There was a huge round water-pumping artificial tree. On my left there was parking lot and on my right there was a security office. The entrance was glorified with architectural design and the name of the school highlighted on the wall. There was a pole with our national flag hoisted on it (For a second I looked at it with pride)…

The school was so silent that even our footsteps could be heard clearly. I asked her about her class. She was in 6th class. I looked around, trying to find her room. I was feeling totally nostalgic being there. Those friends, those pranks, teasing the teachers, punishments, walking out of the class as if we had won a battle! 😀 Bunking the theory classes, sleeping on the last seat, watching out of the window, those quick glances at our crush…

“I don’t want to go there! Let’s go to the play room. You play with me… Please!” She said in her most persuading manner. I smiled and then agreed. (I myself wanted to go back to that time) We played games for some time, even other students there joined us. Then all of a sudden there was a long trrriiinng, indicating that it was recess time. From everywhere around me, kids dressed in similar uniform but dissimilar shapes and sizes came running. Some with their food and others with glaring expression of happiness to have successfully completed that one hour torture. 😛

She pulled my hand and took me to meet her friends. She introduced me to everyone of her friends saying that I am her new best friend and that I helped her life. (By helping her get up on the road 😀 Kids are so innocent…!)

I had few chocolates in my bag which I distributed amongst them. They fought like soldiers to get a grab on those, which made me laugh so much. I told them stories, they told me theirs; one girl asked me whether I had any girl friend, upon which another girl squawked at her that she got no chance. Already I was occupied with my little friends. 😀 I wondered how these little angels learn all this!

Playing games is the most interesting part in recess. They played all kinds of classical, modern and self-made games. While few played I don’t know which game by different sized balls. 😀 They argued with each other about the rules, which were changed everyday as per convenience! And then one over powering boy would announce rule of the day. But then few rebels opposed him. I wondered how these skills vanish as these kids grow up, that they have to take up classes for improving their skills.

The break was over. It was again time for so called studies… But people around me didn’t go to their classes. Instead I heard a big thump somewhere and everyone around me started running towards the ground. I looked with confusion on my face towards my little friend. She was looking at me, already…

“Don’t worry! Nothing will happen to you. No one has come here for ages! People seemed to have ignored us totally. But today you brought happiness in this school. For years we had waited that someone would come and play with us. Someone would feel for us, someone would offer us friendship. But no one came. Today you have brought peace to these people. Even I would be at peace now that all of my friends are finally happy and not scared…”

I was looking at her dumbstruck. What was she talking about! I had lost her completely…

She smiled at me and started walking reverse from me, as if teasing me to catch her. I went towards her and she started running. I followed her. She took a turn at one of the doors and when I reached there, I was horrified at the view! There was nothing there. The room, where there were a few dozen kids, was completely empty. The furniture was totally damaged, as if it was burned or blasted. I turned around to look at the main hall and couldn’t walk any further. I fell there on the floor with my mouth full open.

The school had turned into a ravaged building. There was nothing there. All the trees and plants that I had seen there before were no more. The walls which were of light blue color were now painted with black ash, with red blots all over it.

Fear crept in me. I shouted with all my might for help. Where was I? How a school building turned into a desolated and despoiled structure! Where were all the kids? Was I dreaming? I slapped me on my face and nothing happened.

I ran here and there. I called for my little friend. I came to the main entrance of the school and was shocked to see that the gate through which I had entered was no more there. It had fallen on the ground. I turned around and cried in shock. My little friend was standing in front of me. There was a big bulge on her head. Blood was flowing from that…

“What happened to you? … How did you get hurt? … Tell me! Why are you not speaking anything!”

She raised her hand and said “Come with me. I’ll show you what happened here.”

She took my hand and pulled me inside the school again. I chocked to see there were bodies of hundreds of kids all around me. But they were not dead (Maybe). They were looking right at me! All with the same expression-less faces… I looked at my little friend for some explanation.

She told me to close my eyes. I followed her instructions. I saw the school back to its original form. I heard a gun shot behind me. There were 7 gun men with masks on their faces. They shot the security at the gate and ran inside. The hall was filled with kids. It was probably the recess time. They came and took control over the school. They were probably fugitives. They were beating the kids, even shooting those who tried to escape out of the school. I looked at them flabbergasted…

One of them came running towards my little friend. She ran towards the stairs. I followed them. We soon reached the terrace. My little friend was standing on the edge of the terrace wall. When the fugitive tried to get her, she jumped from the wall. I shouted in pain and ran towards the edge. I looked over it and saw her lying on the floor, dead, blood flowing out of her head…

There was a huge explosion and the building started burning. I came back to the ground floor and saw there were several small human figures burning in fire. I sat there crying…

“Why God? Why let these kids die like this!? I can’t do anything to save them. God! Why?”

A hand patted me on my shoulder. I looked around and there was my little friend. She was crying too. Then she hugged me. I hugged her back… All the kids came to us too.

“For a moment, I thought you people as my family. I… I’m sorry guys. I… I just… I…” I was chocking with grief.

My little friend said “Don’t worry! You have given us your friendship. We always wanted a friend who would come and play with us.” She was smiling at me. And so were all other kids. “We will now rest in peace. Good bye bhaiya, you’re a good person.”

With that they all disappeared. I came out of the school building. I turned to look back at them. And saw my little friend waving at me. I waved back to her. She gestured me to smile. I tried to give her my best smile…

While walking towards my workplace, all I was thinking about was those kids, that school and those fugitives… What “mission” did they achieve by killing those young lives…!?

image

image