Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 'Hate' Word

Before I begin to write, I affirm that I am going to proofread my post again before publishing. I have done it for some posts and for some I haven't. Nevertheless when I happen to read any of my post and find any small error, I 'hate' it. So hate is what I am going to talk about on this post. Oh by the way, I am not well today and am typing this on my iPad. I went to a doctor sometime back and much to my dismay, he gave me an injection and my immediate thought - I hate injections, I hate falling ill. Soon after the thought, I remembered something my friend Ed used to tell me, back during Deloitte Days. Anytime I would say hate, he would say, "don't use the 'hate' word, use something more subtle like dislike." He would follow that with,"Hate is a very strong word, it doesn't allow you to let-go of something you are trying to cling on to knowingly or unknowingly. Hate is as strong an emotion as love and using the word would mean that you are still being emotionally attached to a certain thing you claim to be hating."

Needless to say, I have not given up using the word completely, but when I do use it, I remember what he said. Considering that lately I 'hate' a lot of people, I attempt to replace the hate word with dislike. This has actually led me into thinking about long term memory and emotional attachment. I have seen people including me having a lot of hatred and grudge for some people and things. In very simple words, I guess it is fair enough to say that these people are unable to both forget and to forgive. So unconsciously they remain attached to these things they supposedly hate and find it impossible to forget the reasons for the hatred in the first place. I personally would like to research more on this topic. But nevertheless for the purposes of this post, I would say, it is worth giving a shot -replacing hate with something more subtle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Other!

On my blog, so far, I have never posted anything that didn't come straight out of my head. But today for a change, I want to paste, something which came out of my memory. Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. The following a story I have taken directly from his book - " By the River Piedra I sat down and wept". Significance of the story? I keep getting reminded of this story every time I feel overwhelmingly anxious about things I am not doing or not doing right. Nevertheless here it is...

A man runs into an old friend who had somehow never been able to make it in life. "I should give him some money," he thinks. But instead he learns that his old friend has grown rich and is actually seeking him out to repay the debts he had run up over the years. They go to a bar they used to frequent together, and the friend buys drinks for everyone there. When they ask him how he became so successful, he answers that until only a few days ago, he had been living the role of the "Other."

"What is the Other?" they ask.

"The Other is the one who taught me what I should be like, but not what I am. The Other believes that it is our obligation to spend our entire life thinking about how to get our hands on as much money as possible so that we will not die of hunger when we are old. So we think so much about money and our plans for acquiring it that we discover we are alive only when our days on earth are practically done. And then it's too late."

"And you? Who are you?"

"I am just like everyone else who listens to their heart: a person who is enchanted by the mystery of life. Who is open to miracles, who experiences joy and enthusiasm for what they do. It's just that the Other, afraid of disappointment, kept me from taking action."

"But there is suffering in life," one of the listeners said.

"And there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggle for your dreams than to be defeated without ever even knowing what you're fighting for."

"That's it?" another listener asked.

"Yes, that's it. When I learned this, I resolved to become the person I had always wanted to be. The Other stood there in the corner of my room, watching me, but I will never let the Other into myself again even though it has already tried to frighten me, warning me that it's risky not to think about the future. From the moment that I ousted the Other from my life, the Divine Energy began to perform its miracles."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The greatest enemy of a woman is another woman!

There is a saying in Tamil which when translated goes like this - "A woman's enemy is another woman". So very true...I was watching the usual talk show Neeya Naana the other day. The debate was between feminists and women against feminism. It was a pretty hot debate with women on both sides screaming. Surprisingly more noise came from the non-suffragist side. They portrayed the part of the society which I hate the most. Before I proceed, I have to make it clear that I am a big time feminist and a proponent of men-women equality. I also want to put a little disclaimer here - Most of what I am writing in this blog post would perfectly fit Indian society, culture,women and might/ might not be suitable with respect to women of other countries, cultures etc mostly because of my limited knowledge of the lives and statuses of women in other countries. So getting back to where I was. The women against feminism reminded me of most women in our society who in my opinion are the biggest enemies of other women. These women are advocates of family and children are more important than self for a woman. Women should cater to the needs of husbands and family and should make that their priority. According them women should almost have no dreams and aspirations except those which do not come as a hindrance to their family or husband or even parents' wishes in some cases and that they should go ahead to fulfill these dreams when their families or husbands allow them to. In their opinion, sacrifice, adjustment, compromise are trademarks of women and define who women are. These women themselves have been brought up by their parents constantly telling them that they are girls and that they should be ready to make sacrifices and should consider everything but themselves more important than themselves and that men are gods on earth etc. And these women carry the legacy forward by passing them forward to their daughters. The kind I am mentioning here includes not only downtrodden and uneducated women but also women from some well-off and educated families. In the eyes of these women, feminism is a disgrace to women community. They fail to understand that it is because of feminists that their conditions in society have improved atleast a little. It is very easy to portray feminist women as the kind who just give up their families and bring disgrace to their families instead and that these women way more than ultra modern women who could give up anything even their own dignity to do anything. Even as I write this, I am made with rage. Feminists only advocate something which is going to bring equality to all. But the non-feminist women ruin not just their own lives, but the lives of other women as well. A 'good woman' in our society is one who can is the epitome of self sacrifice, who doesn't do anything against the wish of her family, who agrees and even advocates that men are superior and better, who talks, acts, dresses up in a manner approved by the society, family etc. Non- feminists make sure they fall into the category of 'good woman' and are more concerned about how society looks at them. While feminists care more about what they feel is right and fair enough, this does not mean that they bring a disgrace to everyone or that they are incapable of care and affection towards family and friends or that their intentions are only to insult the society. Feminists prefer to be themselves as opposed to being something other want them to be. Anyways, the whole point about women being enemies of women is close to indisputable. Non - feminist women who keep advocating directly or indirectly that men are better are enemies of women, mother-in-laws who think their daughter in laws are witches who snatch away their sons from them are enemies of women, women who because of jealousy or any other reason talk as badly as possible about other women are enemies of women, women who keep emotionally instilling a sort of guilt in other women of being not- good when they do not completely follow society's so called norms are enemies of women. As much as many men try to suppress women, in my opinion, more than that, it is some women who suppress other women. Why should a woman be another woman's enemy, aren't they supposed to support each other? Aren't they supposed to stand united for the equality of men and women?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bas ek pal!

बस एक पल बचपन का,
बस एक पल बीते हुए कल का,
बस एक पल आसमान को छूने का,
बस एक पल आज़ादी की,
बस एक पल यकीन का,
बस एक पल चांदनी रात की,
बस एक पल ख़ामोशी की,
बस एक पल बेखबरी की,
बस एक पल प्यार का,
बस एक पल जीने का,
बस एक पल ख़ुशी की |


Saturday, November 13, 2010

A disarray of impressions!

What would you do when you are suddenly overwhelmed by the feeling that everything you have achieved so far feels like nothing and that you have to start all over again? What would you do when you suddenly feel you are stuck in a quagmire? You started out with the feeling that all that have you achieved so far will help you go to the next level but now you are often pinched by a sense of irritation which tells you - whatever you have achieved so far is just not good enough; and then the feeling that follows is that you yourself are not good enough. You had set out thinking that a particular track is the right one to follow and just as you tried to step on that track, your mind showed you another track and then a third and so on. You find yourself in a mess where you are unable to choose any one of the tracks and give in your best to any of these. You reach out to people and each one tells you a different thing altogether confusing you all the more. As if this is not enough, the critical voice in your head screams at you all the different things you presumably did wrong. You are at the peak of confusion and not sure of what you can do. You are full of fear of what will happen if you are not successful in taking your next step. You beg your head to stop thinking so many random thoughts but it doesn't stop. Adding fuel to the fire is a killer named perfection. As it is you are messed up and on top of it, your seeking of perfection in every small thing towards your next step instead of helping you is actually impeding you from working towards your next step and pulls you from moving forward. Every other person who is working towards the same next step as you, seems better to you than yourself. During your slightly high moods you feel positive and feel confident that you can actually get through to the next step and that you and your achievements are not that bad afterall. But it doesn't take you long to fall back into abyss of fear and negativity. There is an internal battle in your head between the crests of the mental waves - telling you that you can get through and the troughs - telling you that you are dumb and everything is going to fail miserably. I think all this happens to you when you are already in an unfathomable and weird state of mind  and in this condition are working on applying to grad schools for higher studies. So what do you do then? Since you have come so far in life, why not just give this thing one fair shot as well? Who knows you might just succeed eventually....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Result Oriented Outlook

I have noticed or rather realized that most of us are completely result oriented. Be it decision making, be it faith, be it being happy or anything for that matter. I am not saying everyone has this attitude, though I know of a lot of people and that definitely includes me, who have this attitude. I was having a discussion about decision making with my shrink yesterday and how I feel that we give merit to a decision and our own decision making ability when the  outcome of our decision is in favor of what we have wanted, and how we call ourselves losers when our decisions don't yield the right outcome. We keep ruing about our foolish decision. My shrink said something that I didn't quite think of. She mentioned that we are too preoccupied with the repercussions. But, when we made our decision earlier, we would have of course made it based on the facts and figures we had available at that time and we were not quite sure about the outcome. However now that we know what the upshot is, we are conveniently going back and making an analysis of our decision. If only we were to go back in time and retake that decision all over again; based on the facts and figures and our feelings at that time, our decision might not have been drastically different than what we had taken earlier and hence there is no point in going back and trying to criticize your decision making ability. I liked her outlook towards this. Bottomline is that we base the rightness/wrongness of decisions based on the repercussions of the decision and not based on the nature of the decision itself. A decision intrinsically stupid would have still be appreciated if the eventual outcome was 'good', meanwhile a logically correct decision could still be called fatally wrong based on it outcome. There is no denying the fact that our lives are often shaped by the decisions we make, but unless we don't make a wrong decision, there would be no learning.

If we were to believe in god completely and believe that everything happens for good, in my opinion, we would not quite rue about our decision making or anything bad that happened in the past. This brings me to my point about faith also being result oriented. Most of us have little faith, our level of faith rises slightly when we get favorable outcomes and the moment we see one unfavorable outcome, our faith literally vanishes until things become so called fine again. Let me quote a line from the book 'By the river piedra I sat down and wept' by Paulo Coelho - "Faith as tiny as a grain of sand allows us to move mountains." Even the Gita says, don't focus on results, just do what you need to do. There are several contradictions in my satanic mind to all this, yet, if only we have a little faith in our own abilities or in god per se, we would neither worry about the results nor criticize our attempts just because the outcome was not quite to our favor. The result oriented focus could be very well be veneered by naming it determination to attain one's goal, but more than the result the attempts that we make are what really matter, though sometimes, they might end up being fruitless for the time being. I am not saying though that we could do things utterly foolish and claim that attempts are what that matter, what I mean to say is that, I think it is smarter to focus your attention on the right attempts than on  the results.

That said, lack of faith and outcome based outlook is what in my opinion snatches our happiness away from us. We try to base our happiness on outcome, telling ourselves that we will be happy when we get a desired outcome. Some of the pessimists amongst us have the tendency to postpone their happiness based on results. To explain this, let me take the example of a student. At first he wants to get into excel in school, he successfully achieves it, instead of being happy with it, he postpones his happiness thinking about the next thing he needs to achieve and fools himself that he will be happy once he achieves the next thing and this keeps happening endless. The whole cupidity for achievements steals our happy moments from us. But all this being said, if we are not going to be focused, we are still going to end up being sad. Either we could all become sages and treat happiness and sadness the same way.  Or, we could continue our result oriented outcome, but at the same time, not let the outcomes get on to our nerves to the point of driving ourselves crazy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hard work vs Luck

Everyone would give their vote to either hard work or luck based on their experiences and on what they have been taught to believe all through their life. Why, up until some days back, I was always in unbiased favor of hard work and one's own actions. But today I have been feeling, though irrationally, that probably luck is all that really matters in order to achieve, without it even hard work won't pay off. There is this whole war going in my mind about who should be the winner. My experiences are confusing me more than ever. Keeping one parameter common – relevant hard work ( note that I said, relevant hardwork - if you work really hard on something not relevant to what you are trying to attain, you are not going to see much success), I have successfully achieved at times as well as failed at other times despite hard work. What do I attribute the failures to? Is it that I didn't work hard enough, which is what a part of my mind tells me, but I do know I work really hard, so then it could be luck and fate couldn't it? I think it is convenient to attribute all successes to hard work and all failures to fate and bad luck, or even more convenient to think like some people who have completely surrendered to fate and believe in fate and luck's role in both successes and failures. However I will continue to believe one thing. Hard work pays, and never goes waste, though sometimes, its fruits will not be apparent right way, but someday they will. I am however unable to draw a conclusion as to which one should I believe in – hard work or luck. If fate and luck were what every achiever in history had believed in, then probably they would not have achieved. I am compelled to favor hard work, and I can’t stop thinking that fate and luck are two scapegoats people use to prevent some of the self – blame and thereby depression. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Choices - boon or bane!

Nice to be back here after a hiatus.  These respites, though undesirable somehow become inevitable owing to my losing my mind most of the time, slothfulness, creative void etc etc. For quite sometime, I have been thinking about what to write and a lot of times, I would get some mediocre topic to ramble about, but I would be discouraged when the thought of some of my friends saying - you can blog, but you can't talk to me, come to my mind, considering my shutting off from social communications altogether because of reasons I am unable to make people understand. So I decided to write about depression. I even managed to write a really long article on depression, but I could not bring myself to posting it here. So, then I said to myself, what the heck, I feel like writing today and I am just going to do it. Anyway that concludes my bullshit of excuses for not writing for quite sometime and below is what I really wanted to write about.

I have been meaning to write about choices for a long time. But a video on TED.com ignited my figment of imagination today. Choices - There has always been a prevalent school of thought about how choices are boons. Now as we are getting richer and developing more and more, the choices we are enjoying in our lives are increasing as well. Choices are a mark of the freedom we enjoy. Be it anything, the people we choose to be with, jobs, the clothes we wear etc to even the type of trash bags we want to use, we have so many number of choices. We could make choices and live a better life, a life we probably would be really happy about because we choose what we liked and if we feel we didn't, we choose something else. Choices bring us the flexibility to do what we like the way we want. Choices help us get the best. They make us feel powerful and boosts our ego. 

However, this is not really true. There are several demerits of choices. Choices bring with them a lot of confusion. With more choices, we have more difficulty in decision making. With so many choices that we have, we get overwhelmed, while one moment we choose something and then at some point, we regret the choice and try to go for the next choice. But I think the biggest problem with choices is the fact that it raises expectations. However we have to keep in mind that there are still parts of the world where there are almost no choices just like olden times. Anyway considering people who have a lot of choices - they slowly begin expecting more. More expectations lead to less satisfaction which leads to depression eventually. So take the example of astrologers. We expect to know everything about the future, so we could supposedly conquer it. We go to one astrologer and he tells us something, and then we don't get satisfied enough, so we go to another one and then yet another and just yet another. Similarly, we switch jobs because of lack of job satisfaction and I can go on with several other examples. Besides this, when we make wrong choices, we are saddened by consequences of the wrong choices and begin ruing over them. The high expectations that choices instill into us make it difficult to accept failures and we tend to blame ourselves for the failure caused by the wrong choice we made which makes sense but doesn't really help us. Our quest for perfection leaves us completely dissatisfied with ourselves as we become more and more cupid and the quest never ends. 

So while choices give us the freedom to choose what we like, choices also bring confusion and increased expectations leading to dissatisfaction and sadness eventually. Think of people who don't have any choices, they are going to try to make the best out of what they have. They would possess the gift of being able to be happy with what they have and get, instead of going on a quest for happiness. I don't mean to say that we should not have any choices at all. I think we should have enough choices to keep us happy and that we have gone past the point where we have those enough number of choices and instead we are flooded with choices.  Choices are definitely challenging our decision making abilities. I would write in another blog post about choices again but in a slightly different context.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Tight Slap!

            Rajesh was packing his bag with alacrity. It was his last day of college before winter break. He was going to take a bus from Pune to Bombay where his parents were living. He had been waiting for this break ever since his previous holidays. It was already 8 pm and his bus was going to leave in an hour and he was hurriedly reaching out for shoes, he had to walk to the bus stop from where he would catch a bus to the bus depot where buses to Pune depart from. He managed to get on the bus to Bombay before time. He was seated in a window seat and next to him, a middle aged women sat down. He had bought himself some stuff to munch on the way during his 5 hour bus ride. He started munching his chips and flipped through a copy of reader’s digest he had bought some time back. He become engrossed in reading the magazine and meanwhile the bus had already left the bus depot. He didn’t realize that the bus had travelled about a third of the distance until the conductor announced a dinner break coming up in about thirty minutes. He started staring outside the window, in darkness outside there was very less he could see, thanks to the lack of or actually no street lights on that road, the only light on the road was the moonlight. He assumed the bus was crossing some rustic area.
A few minutes passed by and the bus came to a sudden stop. Rajesh and the other passengers wondered what had happened. His next seat neighbor was still fast asleep. People in the bus started enquiring the conductor as to what had happened. The conductor informed them that the driver was looking into the problem and the bus would leave in few minutes. Some of the passengers got down from the bus. Rajesh who was getting bored and hungry got down to get some fresh air and a little walk. He decided to saunter a little bit under moonlight. He walked a little distance trying and turned back every now and then to ensure he had not moved a lot away from his bus. At a distance, he saw something like a woman like structure in a distance. He turned back to see if his bus was still there and to his surprise this time, he could only see darkness and what seemed like an empty road. Slow and steady fear started gripping him. He tried to run back to where he thought his bus was but he found nothing on the road, not even any oncoming vehicle.
              Terrified, Rajesh remembered the woman like structure and decided to walk towards that thinking he would find some place, some human contact. His fear was increasing with every second. His head was also scaring him about trying to go find the woman like structure. Nevertheless, his legs were pushing him in the direction where he saw a woman like structure walking. He told himself, that it must have been some real woman and she might have family and home around and they would be able to help him. Full of fright, as Rajesh started walking further, suddenly he feels a hand on his shoulder and it completely startles him. He turns back and next to him standing is an old village man, who asks him as to what he was doing alone here. With fear and a slight relief he explains to the old man about getting down from his bus and his bus vanishing. As Rajesh was talking, suddenly, he felt some insect moving over his feet, trying to see what was it, he looked down at his feet and incidentally his eyes fall on the old man and Rajesh realizes the old man had no legs. Almost nerve wracked, he looked up to see no one standing there. He is scared to death and starts running away from there, turning back not even once. He fearfully moves ahead in search of some oncoming vehicle or some real human. He was running as fast as he could and sees a river like body towards his right. Having run for a long time, he was really thirsty and with fear, he decides, he could drink a little water and might come across boat in the water body. He goes to the river and bends down to drink some water and suddenly a hand pops out from inside the water ,he feels a chill in his spine again and without even drinking the water, he starts running away as far as he could from the river. He runs faster and keeps running. After several minutes of running, he sees light at a distance. This time he is scared of going towards the light, but nevertheless, his fear drags him towards the light. Slowly he sees a huge bell and realizes, the light was coming from a temple. His joy knew no bounds as he now got the confidence of seeing some real human and if not anything else, his heart was telling him that god would help him.
                He is so overjoyed seeing god’s idol that he goes and hugs the idol. Suddenly he feels a tight slap on his face. Startled he opens his eyes wondering why god slapped him, only to find the woman sitting next to him on the bus glaring at him. It was then that he realized that all this while he had been dreaming and thinking it was god, he had hugged the woman sitting next to him who promptly slapped him on his face.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If I had a time machine

Me when I was 3-4 years old
What would I do if I had a time machine? Obviously I would travel in time, either in the future or in the past. I am still often skeptical about the ability of time machines to travel back in time, as much as I am skeptical about time machines themselves. Either ways, assuming time machines work and that I am in possession of a time machine, I would choose to travel back in time as opposed to traveling in the future. I like the present for several reasons which compels me too as believe that future would be great too. Unlike several human beings, I am not too inquisitive about knowing the future. Future is going to show up anyways. Instead I would rather go back in time and re-enjoy some lovely moments. I wish I could go back to the age of four where I was loved by one and all, not that people hate me now, but, those days as I hear from stories from parents and other relatives, were awesome. I was the apple of not just my parents’ eyes, but of most people in the family. I used to be extremely talkative. People in my family still remember those days. I used to even sing out aloud and needless to say, it used to sound disgusting even then J, but I had an aplomb during those days, which I very much miss. I never had a care in the world as to what others would think of me. I was able to talk to anyone and everyone, I was able to sing, jump around. Probably most children do it, but my parents had made recordings of all my talks during those days and when I hear them, I really wish I remained younger. I could always run around my parents with no responsibilities, no bounds on my thoughts or my talks or my actions. I had to study but not work; often my parents would feed me with delicious food. I was surrounded by people all the time, sometimes just because they wanted to amuse themselves talking to me. When I was bored, I could go out and play as opposed to breaking my head with a laptop. Above all, I didn’t have to use my brain too much and there was relaxation all in the air, no tension of insomnia, no tension of having to wake up soon in the morning, no stress of loneliness, no anxiety, no voices in the head. One thing I enjoyed the most about being a kid was the relief from stress of being atleast near to perfect. As I grew up, I have always had a stress about perfection. So given a time machine, I would go 22 years back in time when my life was so much more exciting and so much more interesting. Where in time would you go?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Celebrate Independence!

While today may just merely be a national holiday for some, for most Indians, today means a lot. This day marks the independence of our nation and the independence that we enjoy. While we keep taking from the nation, there is very little we give back to our nation. In all cases, I don't think it is fair on my part writing about giving back to the nation, because I am also one of those several irresponsible Indians who don't care much about giving back to the nation. But talking about independence, independence of nation was struggle by several freedom fighters and we succeeded. Meanwhile independence of our minds is still a constant struggle for most of us. We are bound by so many things in life. Take this for instance, I would like to study fine arts. But then the reason, I took up engineering and then Masters in Engineering Management and then the job with Deloitte was only because I wanted to make money and wanted to get myself a name in this so- called society. I was very well bound by my own thoughts and paradigms. So many us become lawyers, doctors because we either think that is the right thing to survive in this society, or because our parents wanted us to become lawyers. But few of us have independent thoughts and allow them their thoughts to remain so and follow their hearts and go on to do what they love to do in life. While I do understand that several of us are bound by situations like poverty, family issues etc where money is more important than our thoughts, but for all those people for whom it is possible to follow their hearts, independence of mind should be no struggle. While part of me feels I have taken the necessary steps towards following my heart by quitting my job and getting back to India, yet, I personally feel that I still have a long way to go and I would not forget the gratitude I should have for several good things in my life, including great parents and god of course because of whom, I can follow my heart and do things I love as opposed to doing things for society, for others etc. So many of us possess so many talents inside us and fail to nourish them because of a complacency within ourselves or because of the fear of being different or because of unforeseen circumstances. Parents and family play a major role in independence of our thoughts. For instance, several parents have paradigms that their kids' academic performance alone is an indicator of how good their kid is compared to other kids in the society and also feel it is an indicator of how good parents, they themselves are that they have provided great education to their kids. Some parents however instead of trying to find their own successes in their kids allow their kids to think independently and act accordingly. Independence definitely comes with responsibilities. Obviously if in the name of independent thoughts we know we are marching towards our own destruction, then there is no point in claiming any independence. So it is time to nourish, nurture and celebrate independence of both our nation and our minds.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A New Beginning!

I managed to reach India and quenched my sleep thirst too. After a long time, I was able to sit quietly and reflect upon how my life has been in the last couple of years and how I should I take it from here on. I had ample time back in the US too, to do this, but I could never even successfully attempt it, thanks to the million thoughts and voices that would flood my mind and make me lose it. Here in serenity, I was able to placidly think about what I am going to do in life going forward. While there is a lot of anxiety involved, this activity is definitely better than working in an office and feeling stuck and not being able to do anything about it. I was sitting and discussing my various thought out options with my mom today. I also looked for some volunteering opportunities so I could do some volunteer work to both feel good and also to while away some time with a sense of having done something worthwhile. While I have not yet completely decided what my future plans exactly are, yet, I am weighing my options carefully this time and I really want to do things which will make me happy and peaceful in the long run, unlike giving me a lot of money but stealing my peace of mind from me. That being said, I am off now to calculate my options for a new beginning.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Acme!

Today marked a pinnacle point in my life. I submitted my resignation at work this afternoon. While I could go into details of what provoked me into quitting my job suddenly today, I personally don't want to discuss about my well my ex- firm here. I always felt that I was not the employment material, probably because of my very nature and the type of person I am. I am more of the person who would rather do something which is all mine, like run my own business or conduct research or may be sit and counsel people but not fit for being employed by somebody and working under them. I am not the strongest self these days and did cry this afternoon following the submission of the resignation email, but I feel much better since evening. I got inspired to write this blog post  from a blog buddy's blog post (http://kaushiknarasimhan.blogspot.com/2008/11/flight-to-freedom.html) which upon reading, made me feel was written for me, considering my present state of mind. I am soon on my way to catching the flight to my freedom. While this resignation may not really be an end of US forever for me, however for the time being it definitely is, even if I am coming back to the in coming years. As of now, I want to go back home and rejuvenate myself and fill up my creative well again and enjoy my freedom. I am tired of losing my mind and losing my sense of self and reality, my confidence and several of my abilities. It may be unfair to put all the blame for my emotional unhealthiness on the US, but for the time being it is convenient for me. I have been away from home for almost 8 years now, but my life changed completely after coming to the US. I came here chasing my dreams of higher studies, completed it successfully. Then I wanted a job with an H1B visa, and I was one of the first few in my class during Masters to get a job and that too with one of the Big Four Consulting firm. But none of these probably gave me peace of mind or a sense of satisfaction and as a matter of fact the effects on me were only depressing. The sense of freedom I had while I was a student since I loved studies and loved what I was doing was almost never there. There was of course a lot of money, but that was overwhelming too, and all I did was throwing around money extravagantly. Money is an important part of life, but I have lived, experienced and now totally believe my thoughts which I have always had, that money is not going to bring you happiness, money is not going to take your loneliness away from you, money is not going to shower you with love and support when you need it. I am sure this is a marking a new beginning in my life. My ticket to freedom is now just a day away.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cough and depression

I am in a total rambling mood right now and planning to BS all over this blog post.There is already sufficient depression in my life and adding fuel to the fire is cold I caught in Harrisburg over the weekend, I don't know how. Theraflu, NyQuil , DayQuil, Tylenol Extra Strength and what not, nothing really seems to be helping though. Life sucks in the US, not that I don't catch cold in India. I have a defective nose - a deviated septum and sinusitis too and no wonder, catching cold takes less than seconds for me, but it takes sometimes weeks together to get rid of it. But coming back to catching cold in India. Doctors are definitely more accessible and easy to get to as compared to the US and I am sure people living in the US would agree. You have to call a doctor and wait for an appointment even if your illness is being very difficult to manage. Meanwhile in India, as much as we criticize the huge queues of people waiting in the doctors' clinics, there is always access to a doctor when you need it. I began this blog post by connecting depression and cold. I would be a great candidate to discuss depression in detail, infact I might be able to dedicate one whole blog to it, but that is not the point here. When you have a cold, you feel stuck and you feel low, particularly because you are not sick to the core of being bedridden, but at the sametime normal functioning becomes really difficult which is what happens when you are depressed too. You keep hoping for things to be fine one day just like you wait to get rid of the cold soon. When I have a cold, I find everything gloomy, dull and sad completely similar to how I feel when I am depressed. I feel like doing nothing, but at the same time, I find it difficult to sleep or speak. There are outbursts in the form of sneezes which can be compared to emotional outbursts and there could be constant coughing which can be compared to periods of constant crying in depression. I guess I  am rambling endlessly about cold and depression because right now, I am stuck up with both depression and cold. Cold is being helped by medicines and as for depression, I have found a good solution for it, which will be implemented soon and I will post about it on my blog. I am moving closer to my road of freedom.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Morning after rain!

                  Some years back when I was in the first year of my engineering, during an English class we were asked to do creative writing and the topic was 'The Morning after rain". Since it was a creative writing assignment, I knew I could associate the topic to anything that came to my mind when I read out the topic aloud and start writing, which is exactly what I did. May be it was a homesickness season or may be it is that I am always homesick when I am all alone and away from home, whatever it was, 'The Morning after rain' reminded me of my tears when I was leaving New Delhi to go to Engineering College in Thanjavur. Needless to say, that was the first time I was going away from home, away from my mom :(. As I was leaving for the airport with my dad who was accompanying me to Chennai and then to the college, both me and my mom couldn't control over tears and burst out literally pouring a rain of tears. I knew my mom would have been crying all that day too, as for me, I was crying all through my flight. It was an evening flight and I reached Chennai, where I was again crying and my mouth didn't bother tasting even a single morsel of food served as dinner and I was busy crying. It was just tears all over the place. I cried all night and somehow my eyes got dead tired at one point and I slept off unknowingly at some point. It was like it had rained all night and the next morning, there was no rain anymore, I was calm and my eyes had gotten drained and no more tears were coming. I was all quiet and my eyes were hurting thanks to all the crying the previous night and my eyes felt like the ground which was exhausted of putting up with all the downpour of rain over it all night. I didn't cry beyond that point, but my mind was like a barren land, and after that slowly my mind got trained to be like that barren land which would get some rain in the form of my tears and but despite the rain never had any greenery what so ever. Somehow I got used to living away from home. 
                Then it was time to come to the US, I had ambitions to fulfill and they were the only thing on my mind and homesickness was stowed away in some corner. But over the last year, I have come to realize that I have been pretty much fooling myself like so many of us, avoiding thoughts of homesickness and loneliness. India trip was a huge catalyst in making me realize how lonely I am in the US, with boyfriend living far off and parents living far off and me having everyone, yet feeling lonely. After coming back from India, I seem to be once again coming back to the same situation I was in the first semester of Engineering where I used to cry because of loneliness. May be having a lot of friends helps people live away from home, but a reserved person that I am, I have limited number of friends. But even then deep inside, people living away from home obviously miss home a lot. Some people manage to live away from home, like I have been doing for almost 7 years now, but there is a difference, homesickness being more manageable when you have some ambitions to look to, or having a lot of friends and spending time with them. But US has made me such a loner that the only people I talk to are parents, boyfriend, three-four close friends. Ever since I returned from my India trip, I am still waiting for that morning after rain.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Religionism annoys me!

India trip particularly the 1 week visit to Chennai has been pretty exhaustive, but not too bad considering that I am not a huge fan of Chennai. As I have been growing up, my idea of god has changed quite a lot. I was at the Srirangam temple day before yesterday morning and something caught my attention inside the premises - the line " Only Hindus allowed beyond this point." The very first voice in my head exclaimed that the line was so racist. May be that was not perfectly said, but I meant to say that we claim that god is one and we openly practice religionism to the highest degree. Choices and beliefs are personal to people as I always say. People may choose to marry people of the religion they choose and may choose to follow religious practices and cultural beliefs based on their wishes. But to me, religious places should be accessible and allow the entry of any person irrespective of their race, color, caste, creed, religion and what not. As they taught us in school, when animals enter such places, we don't really throw them out or restrict their entry based on their religion or caste, then why not treat humans equally. I keep hearing from people in India about how people now are getting more and more broadminded and caste-ism, religionism, etc are slowly seeing extinction. But I don't think I would agree completely. No matter how much we claim, that these things don't exist anymore, yet, these are pretty much existent though in a smaller degree. I am not a lot into sociology, but from a layman perspective religionism exists everywhere. One morning in US, I was on a call with my mom and suddenly there was a knock on the door and I was hesitant but still went ahead and opened the door. A family of three was at the door. These people asked me some useless questions and voices in my head were screaming, " come to the point now!". Then the female says she wants to introduce me to Christianity and about me me converting into a Christian. I was completely annoyed. I mean why force people to convert to a different religion? It sucks completely. Meanwhile in India, people still are losing their minds over religions.  It is hard sometimes for masses to accept that ultimately we are still human beings. May be because we have a so- called sixth sense and since we are humans and each one of us different in our own ways; we tend to segregate ourselves based on religion. It is pretty much human nature to associate and categorize ourselves, but excessive zealousness towards one particular category which kind of portrays an addiction isn't good for the very human existence. As we move forward in time, aren't we supposed to develop ourselves and improve anything currently existent? Shouldn't we be moving towards broadmindedness? Shouldn't institutions which some people blindly follow, teach people better things? Shouldn't these teach people that god is one, and that religion is just a mere categorization and doesn't necessarily portray people as being different as in some high and some low. There has to be a realization that all this is not going to bring any good to anybody and there has to be a change in the mindset of people. Ignorance may be bliss but not for these kind of social issues.   

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The God and the Satan in me!

I am not a believer of idol worship. But I am not an atheist either. When I feel sane, I believe in a supreme force who I call god and I talk to him sometimes, make wishes, and consider him my guardian angel who resides inside me who will take care of me when I am in utmost need. This is not an area of expertise for me, but if Newton's third law is applied not just on verbs but on nouns as well, for a good force there has to be an opposing negative or bad force. Different religions call these negative forces differently. But for my convenience and ease, I am going to call it the Satan. (Thanks to several novels I have read :P). Sometimes I feel, I am slowly being dominated by the Satan in me. The god in me hasn't really vanished, but is probably now becoming dormant inside me. But the satan in me, is beginning to be more prominent in my attitude several times. Much too often, I feel this wrath of rage inside me, keeps popping out every now and then, particularly when people talk non stop and that too about me growing up and about the fact that I should get married, or when I feel someone is treating someone badly, or when I feel an air of unnecessary fear, tension around me and so many more things, some of them utterly silly. Yes, it is true that many a times I am way too hard on myself, and I don't know why. Anyways coming back to the Satan. I don't feel like killing people or like biting them or anything, but yes, I get mad with rage sometimes. May be I should conveniently blame it on the society. I am probably mad at several social norms. I lose my mind when people talk about women as being inferior even in the faintest of matters, or when people drive me nuts with some of the ridiculous superstitious beliefs. I agree a belief is something personal but I don't think it makes sense to impose one's beliefs on others, if they don't like it. My preference towards less talk and to do what I like, as fair as possible though, is defined as arrogance, my confidence comes across as cocky. Satan in me doesn't care about what others think, but the left over god in me sometimes feels that I am losing control over my temper and my tongue and doesn't like my perception of what the society or in a smaller scale, relatives think of me. But then coming to think of it, if I were arrogant, I wouldn't be writing about this here and if I were perfect there wouldn't have been a need to write about this in the first place. Well that sounded like some justification I am giving to myself. As I am writing this and reading it back, I feel it all comes down to perception, because according to me good, bad are both relative. These days, every time I feel overwhelmed that I am filled with Satan, I ask myself about the intentions of my rage within or some of my actions or words. The answer is clear- my intention is not to harm or hurt anyone. I try not to fool myself by trying to be nice, when I don't feel good about something. It's a matter of sheer low tolerance or may be just being open about how I feel. I am still not sure if the Satan is dominant or the god is dominant, I am just doing what I feel. That being said, I have decided to work a little on my tolerance and good or bad, I think it is fair enough to do what makes you happy but only if it really makes you happy.                

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Wisdom Teeth

            I was at a dentist's the other day and as she was checking out my teeth, she suddenly said, where did this wisdom come from? For a minute, I felt she was a shrink and not a dentist. And then she says, she was referring to my wisdom tooth which was coming out. I was wondering why the wisdom teeth are called wisdom teeth indeed. There are probably multiple theories for wisdom teeth. But from my understanding biologically, I dont feel, wisdom teeth can be associated with any wisdom, but actually can be associated with pain and irritation.Wisdom teeth in most people either impacts the teeth surrounding it or impacts itself or the gums and what not. To me, wisdom teeth are like uninvited guests who just show up even when you don't want them around. And my understanding is that extraction process of these teeth is also a pretty painful affair.  
           So then why associate this with wisdom? I dont even think it makes sense. No teeth is going to bring in wisdom into us. One of the theories about wisdom teeth is that these appear at a point or age of our lives when we get wisdom. This theory is much more sensible than other theories about the same. But to  be honest, this theory in its own way is stupid. Wisdom psychologically doesn't come just with age, but with experience and more exposure to knowledge and tough life situations, and as a matter of fact, research  (Univ of Cal) suggests that wisdom is associated with more than one brain center getting activated, depending upon the situations your brain faces. Meanwhile philosophers associate wisdom with spirituality and intuition. Intuition itself according to me comes from experience and is not something completely innate. Some of the terms coined for things are completely misleading and we as humans always try to categorize things and always have a need to associate everything with something or the other. So our forefathers probably had to associate these teeth which forcefully grow at an age when we think all our permanent teeth have grown completely and they associated these with age and maturity that begins to emerge higher at around this age. It could also be an indication to tell you that you are no more a kid and that you have to grow up now.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Creative Void!

Off late, I have been having a creative void. As a matter of fact, for over a year now, I often feel that I have lost my creativity. I used to be able to draw, paint, do craft work, write essays, make scrapbooks etc etc etc. I have been consoling myself by reminding myself of the stress I have been through, the busy schedules I have been having. However, not sure if that is the reason for this creative void. I have lost my creativity in blogging too. So I have been try to creatively think for the past couple of days as to why people could have a creative void. Probably it is a lack of motivation, or may be it is the height of boredom, or may be it is depression or may be it is a latent stress because of procrastinating too many things whatever the reason is, a creative void feels pretty difficult to overcome.

There are some psychological techniques to increase one's creativity. As soon as a creative idea or thought strikes our mind, it is a great idea to capture that in a diary, or a journal or a piece of paper. The next thing would be to challenge the mind by trying to do new things, trying to solve new, different problems. Beyond both of these, our environments and surroundings majorly help increase our creativity. As much as I have put down some ways to help increase creativity, that much I have to admit that I am unable to overcome my creative void. May be this effort to write about creative void would kindle back my creativity.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I hate backbiting!

Anytime I am asked to write about my pet hates, be it in any social networking site, I always mention that something that I hate the most is backbiting. Believe it or not, there is almost no place without at least some degree of backbiting; in schools, in corporate environments, and even among family relatives. As I grew up, I always thought, as I would grow up, the encounters I would have with backbiters will reduce. I used to somehow associate backbiting with immaturity and thought that older people don’t talk behind people’s backs. I have been taught by several experiences that my thought was absolutely wrong. As I grew up, the backbiting I encountered only increased more.

I know it is human tendency to love to gossip and talk about others more than about them except some narcissists, of course. In fact it is almost impossible not to talk about others if you want to have so- called pleasing conversations with several people. Most people who talk about something academic or philosophical etc are considered ‘boring’, while people who can talk non- stop bullshit about others are definitely found interesting by most. There might be people who might refute what I just said, but I can’t help feeling that this is how much of the society works. How in the world would something called ‘trust’ ever develop between people when backbiting prevails in such a great degree? Naturally, people are tempted to isolate from people around them and instead go pay a shrink to talk to. But what hurts more is when you don’t talk behind people’s back, and yet people assume that you spoke ill of them behind them and then move away from you. I have had experiences where I would come to know later that people who I considered as really good friends had actually spoken ill of me or leaked out secrets of mine or worst still, said false things about me behind my back. I learnt most of my lessons in backbiting during my undergrad days. There was a certain period in my life back during my undergrad days, where I felt I could not trust anyone and was scared of talking to anyone of the fear that they might misuse anything I speak against me. I don’t think I can ever get over that fear completely, but I have slowly learnt my ways of dealing with such situations though mostly there is nothing much one can do once the damage has been done.

It is inevitable to bitch about people you don’t like and in some cases you can’t complain of someone bothering you, say a boss or a professor or a celebrity right in front of them, and I am sure others do that about you too. But I don’t think it is fair enough to talk ill about someone and ruin their lives in any way. Think of being a victim of someone’s backbiting where you are at a loss; honestly it is not very pleasing. I feel strongly that you don’t necessarily have to do good for everyone surrounding you, but you can definitely make sure that you are not doing any bad to anyone around you and at the least not talk to everyone about things people told you because they trusted you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fairy Tales

         Most of us would have read at least one fairy tale during our lives. Reading a fairy tale before going to sleep at night relaxes me and actually helps me fall asleep. As children most of us tend to believe that fairy tales, fictional characters etc are all real. Our lives are typically happy. Because we don't add a pinch of practicality to every single thing and our minds hardly feel stressed. We go to the extent of imagining ourselves as those fictional characters.

         As we grow up, life situations, society and everything around us force us to learn to add practicality into our thoughts. At first the child in us tends to think that any problem we face would mellow down and eventually would vanish, that something magical would happen and things would change radically, or that some angel or may be god himself will bestow upon a boon or two in our favor and we would suddenly become the richest or the happiest person or what not. But the more experiences we have, particularly negative experiences, the more the adult in us immediately thinks practically and says to himself, that no such fairies or angels or magical moments exist in real life and that is exactly what we call as reality striking itself to us. This adult in us gets cultivated more through parents, teachers and other adults in our lives along with experiences than through formal education. It is however a different issue that education does influence, how well this adult gets groomed as an individual.

          Even as grown ups most of us don't give up the fairy tale thoughts. While it would be silly to just quote cliche movie examples where people wait for their dream guy or girl to show up in their lives, but in someways it is fair enough an example. We have grown smart enough to realize that kissing a frog is not going to turn the frog into a prince, but several of us are ready to take the chance of trying to kiss several frogs in the hope of finding the prince soon.

          It is as simple as this, each of us have the perspective of looking at ourselves as the main central character in our life story and that everything around us is just associated/disassociated with us, the central character. It is not uncommon for anyone of us to be thinking that we are the central character of our life story, so everything good will happen to us and that an angel could enter into our lives someday. But even as our mind gets a little preoccupied with such a thought, just as in all fairy tales, there are always some witches and demons around who will remind us that the angel we are waiting isn't really anywhere to be seen and that we have fight our battle ourselves. Despite these hardships, I think it is fine to a certain extent to believe that angels, magical moments will occur, if these angels are being compared to positive outlook, hope and faith.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Profile Writing 001

          I do crazy things everyday and for today's quota, I was looking  at profiles of girls in a matrimony website. I am not looking for girls, god, I am straight. But, I have been meaning to do this for quite sometime following a conversation with a friend of mine. Basically in our conversation, we started with talking about what kind of expectations girls have and guys have when trying to look for their partner for marriage or even dating for that matter. These choices don't always line up, oh by the way I am referring to expectations from a potential date and expectations from a potential wife/hubby. Nevertheless, that is a separate blog topic and I will write about that soon after completing a little bit more of my homework for that. Coming back to what I was saying. After my conversation consisting of accusations, few defenses, and eventually hell lot of laughter, I decided to look at the profiles of girls in a popular matrimony site. I didn't bother taking a look at dating websites for the same. Since my discussion was pretty much focused on Indian girls, I looked up on an Indian Matrimony website. It is of no surprise that my own profile as well exists on that website. 

          Remembering my conversation with my buddy, I laughed at a few profiles, and totally shameless that I am, I have laughed at some mens' profiles too in the past. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to laugh at the people themselves. I mean that is not fair enough and my intention is never to laugh at anyone. I respect people's opinions, choices and what not. But some profiles were funny and I am sorry, I could not control my laughter. Anyways, on a serious note, most mens' profiles that I have seen say that they would like the girl to be traditional yet modern, who should have high family values and should be able to gel with their family as hers. They would like the girl to be tall, fair, beautiful and homely and fun loving etc etc etc. So today when I looked at profiles of girls,for many of them, parts of their 'about me' sections are pretty much like answers to these requirements from men. I don't really blame that. But there is one point which always has stuck in my mind, 'The traditional yet modern' thing. May be I am in ignorance, but I don't understand how these two could go hand in hand. Other funny thing is that a lot of guys' partner preference section says, knowledge of carnatic music is preferred, and if I were to write in tamil, my thoughts, that come to my mind as soon as I read that, I would be breaking a decent ethical code of writing that I have been following in my blogs. Anyways, as I looked at the girls' profiles, I found a lot of girls whose about me section say that they have knowledge of carnatic music and dance etc. Now coming to the partner preferences of girls. As my buddy was mentioning the other day, almost all girls are looking for a tall guy, smart, handsome, intelligent with a sense of humor. But their focus is more along the lines of education, secure jobs. As my friend was making fun, that every girl wants a tall guy, and that means all the medium height guys are left out. :P. There is so much more I wish to write here and comment on, but atleast for now I dont want to do it, and the day my profile is deleted from the matrimony website, I will very happily write and laugh at those points.


          Anyways, bottomline is that your profile is like your resume. You have to market yourself at first using your profile. That being said, its a separate argument as to what level of honesty is needed when writing your profile information. But remember you are not trying to (get hired/ ) hire someone for a job, so writing stern requirements in terms of partner preferences doesnt seem very appealing to me atleast. I am not sure what point I have tried to make in this blog post. I think all I want to say is that, reading profiles of other people seems like a nice hobby ;)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Getting ahead of yourself

           The concept of getting ahead of yourself was taught to me in school by my hindi textbook. I tell this to people all the time, guess because this funny story stuck in my head. Of course, the exact story may not have stuck with me, but the moral of the story definitely did. Long story considerably short not super short goes like this, there is this funny character called shekhchilli, who is walking, carrying some milk. As he is walking, he starts thinking about making some butter out of the milk and then selling the butter, using that money to buy more milk, making butter, selling that for profit to I guess buying a cow and then going on and on that, as he keeps building castles in the air, he suddenly slips and falls down dropping down all the milk he had and his little dream castle gets demolished in a minute. As I said, the story may not be exactly what I read in my school hindi book, yet, I think all smart readers of my blogpost by now would have gotten the moral of the story and that is not to get ahead of yourself or in other words, 'don't count your chickens before they hatch'.

           Stories apart, one of the classic real life examples of where this happens with us human beings is mostly during relationships. We would start talking to someone, and have an instant liking for them, Few conversations and we foolishly start feeling that we know this person really well and this is the person we really like, this is the person have fallen in love with. We get so ahead of ourselves that we let our imaginations have fun and think far too ahead along the lines of spending our entire lives with that person. Think of it rationally, we might not even know that person really well and we are in love and thinking about spending all our life with them. With time, we slowly go to stage where we don't see beyond that person and try to interpret and analyze each word they speak to us. We get upset when they don't respond to us in the manner we expect them to. In the process we forget to look at the practicality of how right that person is for us. A similar example which Indian movies often show is the one where someone's flirtatious talk could be misunderstood for a romantic interest in us. It could end up like being fooled by a mirage. We start living in an illusion until reality strikes one day. People who call themselves mature might read this example and say, well this doesn't happen to everyone, it happens to people who are immature or people who don't think rationally. I am not saying this happens to everyone, but I do know all of us go through such an excitement atleast once in life. If you didn't, either you are really dumb or you are blatantly lying. Let me give another example. We often prepare for situations say for instance an interview which goes really well and we start getting ahead of ourselves and start making plans for after a getting the job, though we haven't even got the offer yet. We have all been shekhchillis atleast at some point in our life atleast for a few minutes. 

            Getting ahead of yourself has negative effects when you encounter experiences where you eventually met with a failure.  So you get a bad experience and then you slowly become cautious and then with another bad experience you become cynical. In such cases, we keep telling ourselves not to get ahead of ourselves and try to be very watchful. We could even end up being over cautious and afraid of taking risks in life. But  paradoxically, someone can come and ask us, 'a man can dream can't he?' . There is a fine line between dreaming and getting ahead of yourself. It is easy to confuse visualizing or envisioning a future and trying to take actions to reach them with trying to do something or plan for something which is not yet appropriate. So if I have an ambition of becoming a psychologist, taking steps and preparing to achieve that goal is something positive. But if I start thinking now itself about how many people I am going to counsel once I become a psychologist or how much money I will be making by open up a private practice, that is just when I am getting way ahead of myself. From a psychological perspective, getting ahead of yourself could lead to a chain or train of thoughts, but should not be confused with the monkey mind concept where your chain of thoughts could pretty much be disconnected and each thought in itself may be rational.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Self-fulfilling prophecy

           I once wrote a statement on the whiteboard on my officedesk which I recently had written on my status message on my google messenger too. It goes like this- " Mistrust and distrust are often self fulfilling prophecies. " A small thing here before I go on further, while I am not an expert in English, yet with the little knowledge that I have, I would like to differentiate between mistrust and distrust. While I 'distrust' something means that I dont trust that thing and I 'mistrust' something means that I find it wrong or incorrect to trust that thing. Anyways, my blog is not about trust but about self fulling prophecy and I am going to come back to my point. So this statement on the whiteboard, as people who passed by my desk reading this statement mentioned to me that they were thinking if anytime this statement was true for something in their lives. As I learn more and ponder about life, I feel, self fulfilling prophecy is prevelant in peoples' lives in different ways.

           I first learnt about the term self fulfilling prophecy when I was studying about experiments and experimental methods in psychology 101. So, what is self fulfilling prophecy in the first place? Self fulfilling prophecy is a false perception or interpretation of something which directly or indirectly causes the false conception to come true. This could be connected to self-perception theory too in a way. This whole topic is huge and can be taken into multiple directions. In this post, I am going to divide and conquer parts of this huge topic. I am going to share a few things learnt in books and then I am going to conclude with how I have seen this concept in real life.

           In psychology, placebo effect is one of the easiest to understand forms of self fulfilling prophecy. One simple form of placebo effect is when a subject of an experiment is given for example a drug which would treat some medical condition. But instead of giving them an actual medicine, they are given a dummy medicine called the placebo, but the subjects are not aware. In their mind, they still feel they are eating an actual medicine and due to a sort of positive feedback, the subjects see and experience a change though actually its just a little mind game being played with them. Another similar self fulfilling prophecy is the pygmalion effect which deals with the attitude of people. It goes along the lines of placing higher expectations on people to bring out better results from them and in some cases it works positively. The flip side also works, where the more negative or lower expectations you have from a person, the poorer they are likely to perform. This is particularly true in case of observer bias where experimenter expects certain results and tries to unknowingly influence the subjects or the conditions to get the result they expected. Even in case of kids, parents and teachers often have high expectations from certain kids and low expectations from certain kids, so in most cases, despite the kids' actual potential, they tend to unknowingly fulfil the high and low expectations. I dont want to go into a lot of details about the self fulfilling prophecy theoretically here.

           When I think about these, I think if I have encountered anything similar in my own life. Well I guess yes. Lot of people including me, tend to become very cynical after a few bad experiences. Cynical about not just others, but about themselves. In a way it is like a closed mindedness that you induce into yourself and somehow or the other your false perception eventually comes true. That is probably the reason, some people tend to appear to be making the same mistakes and have a string of failures be it in relationships, or work or in studies. One of the first classic examples of this is my own life is my fear of mathematics. As a kid I was always scared of maths. I am still confused as to how it started, was it because i disliked the subject and scored low or was it because I scored low that I started disliking the subject. But however it started, by my  5th grade, I used to be scared of maths and slowly began to dislike the subject too. I kept believing that I didnt have the aptitude and kept proving that right by scoring low in maths all the time which would affect my overal grades every year. On top of all this, I wanted to become an engineer and knew I could never escape mathematics no matter what. Thanks to god, I tried to stop thinking about liking or disliking the subject or about the fact that I am good or bad at the subject. I started studying because like other subjects I had to study this one too. By the time I got into Engineering college, I started getting better and confident about the subject. But similar things have happened to me, where few friends ditched me and slowly I began to believe that friends are people who will leave you and go and the more I began to believe that, more friends began to leave me,  and my defense mechanism for that, before they try to leave me, I try to leave myself. Funny and stupid as it sounds, it is very true.
                 
            Another classic example is astrological prediction. Some prediction could say that you are going to flunk your exam next semester, and there is a high possibility that you believe that prediction and unknowingly tend to do things which are going to make you make that prediction come true. Similarly, good prediction could work good for you too. While the prediction was just a mere statement, our perception could make it true eventually. Similarly, distrust is one biggest examples according to me, of self fulfilling prophecy. We tend to mistrust people slowly and steadily, it does become true and become a distrust altogether. I mean all this happens in the mind, what might have actually happened in reality may not exactly be in sync with our imaginations and thoughts. After watching "shutter island" yesterday night, I started exploring this concept in terms of self-perception theory and a glimpse of that can be summed up in one line, may be people can drive themselves crazy without their own knowledge. However that whole thing is a separate topic for another blogpost.




Friday, February 12, 2010

Commenting on blogs

Disclaimer for this post: I am not sure how other bloggers think, but this is just what I think.

Comments for blogs are always welcome and highly appreciated. But when you write comments, I would appreciate any comments, which could be critical or in support of what I wrote, however what hurts is when someone tries to comment on me as a person as a comment to one of my blogposts. I dont want comments on whether I am an expert on a topic or not, I dont consider myself an expert in anything for that matter. A comment appreciating my quality of writing or pointing out flaws in my writing would encourage me to write better. I strongly believe anyone who blogs just writes his/her ideas and uses this as medium to share it with others and not to hear judgemental comments about themselves. Once again, please comment on the content of someone's blogs, or their style of writing but not on the people they are.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Freedom to be free!

I remembered this Shahrukh Khan featuring advertisement which used to always show up while I used to be watching cricket matches. It used to go as..."Freedom to be free, azaadi dil ki..", I guess it was Pepsi's advertisement. Well, as of now, I am living in country which is all about free will. Have you ever wondered about the freedom to be free? I always knew about freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom to life etc, but this is interesting enough. We are bound in so many ways, directly and indirectly in several of our actions. Thanks to culture, ethics, society, our upbringing and what not. My parents, friends and a lot of people around think that I am a very independent person. I probably am financially, economically independent. Mentally and physically too may be I am independent. Emotionally, I dont think anyone of us, including me is independent, atleast I am not. Freedom is never free, it is always accompanied by some constraints. For every freedom we enjoy, we do have some constraints and restrictions. As children, we have bounds created for us by parents, and schools etc. As we grow up, it doesnt really stop, it goes on and on and beyond a point in life, we start creating bounds ourselves. And think about it, even freedom of thought is not completely free, we have several self created blocks which prevent us from thinking beyond a certain point or atleast discussing openly about what we thought. Those who break free from these bounds in some cases make it big in life. 

Lately, often, I wish, I could be free, free with no bounds. Free to think as I like, free to make decisions as I want,  free from expectations, free from guilt, free from regret, free from feeling bad for others and for my ownself. As easy as all this sounds while writing, in real life, I know, getting to this would be like becoming a monk. Philosophically, Free Will is a concept used to refer to the belief that human behavior is not absolutely determined by external causes, but is the result of choices made by an act of will by the agent. Such choices are themselves not determined by external causes, but are determined by the motives and intentions of the agent, which themselves are not absolutely determined by external causes. In Devil's Advocate ( Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves movie) free will is preached by John Milton and Kevin Lomax shoots himself saying, free will and he could do as he wanted without feeling sorry for it. While all this is easy in a movie, in real life, it is far from possible for most sane people. So do we have the freedom to be free? I dont think we do. But there might be people who will argue with me saying that it depends what do you want to be free of. As far as I know, freedom doesnt come free, if you want emotional freedom, then I guess you have to become free of emotions, but that comes with its associated gains and losses. Everything has a cost, but I think we have to learn to make the smart tradeoffs such that we enjoy we can enjoy our freedom to the maximum possible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Experience

Is experience the name we give to every mistake which we realized we made in the first place? Is it something inevitable that happens in everyone’s life? These questions have often come to my mind, but I always conveniently told myself that, whatever the term experience is actually, one thing which is forever true if you believe in destiny, god etc is that every experience you have is designed to make you stronger and better. This statement would definitely make you feel better especially when you have just realized that you had a disgusting experience. But think about it, most experiences we have are a result of our own actions, mind you I am not talking about those unforeseen circumstances where there is nothing much you can do except face the situation and if you survive, name that situation an experience and move on. But what about several situations and problems we get into due to our own ignorance or carelessness or mistake? We still conveniently call them experiences.



I know I have myself mentioned the word experience in many of my blog posts. Experience is not just what I wrote above. If you were to look at definition for psychology, as I understand, it is a sort of learning our brain has undergone due to exposure to something. This is the definition which will help us when we are talking about being experienced in doing something, like in jobs, or technologies etc. Now here again, we could categorize experience into first-hand experience, second-hand experience and even third hand experience. In one line, first-hand experience is the experience you get when you are the direct subject of the experience; second hand experience is the experience you get when you are an indirect subject of the experience. However third hand experience is not the best, though it could still be put to good yes, provided you take it in the right spirit. This is the experience which we could get by reading or hearing or witnessing the experience that someone has gone through directly or indirectly, and where we had literally nothing to do. Example of this could be, like getting knowledge by reading autobiographies of people.



In terms of psychology, my knowledge about experience is pretty much limited. But from little knowledge I have, I believe, experiences we have could be physical or mental or emotional experiences. As such, though I have categorized experience into three categories, yet what we need to know is that either one of these experiences affects altogether. I mean to say for example a physical experience could affect us emotionally and mentally too.



No matter how much we categorize or define experiences. Like everything else, an experience can be put to good use in the future if we decide to, and should always be looked upon as a learning as opposed to sulking, rethinking and replaying the experience over and over with multiple different idealistic scenarios is going to lead us nowhere. By the look who is talking about this. I know I might not be the best person to talk about experience, but the fact that I am a human being gives me enough right to talk about this. Come on, even cave man became a civilized man through experience and not overnight.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who will cry when you die?

Everyone atleast at some point in life should think about this question "who will cry when I die?" When a person dies, all the people who loved him/her cry for them. It could include parents, children, significant others, friends and other relatives. While this is the common norm for most people. Some people die a pathetic death where not a single soul bothers. For some others' deaths the whole world cries. Who cries when you die determines a lot about the kind of life you have lived while you were alive. I was watching this movie called the Ghosts of the Girlfriends' past, where Matthew McConaughey is shown by a ghost of future how on his funeral not a single soul would show up. Similarly, in Christmas Carol, the ghost of future shows Scrooge that how most people are totally indifferent about his death. Death is inevitable and once we die, we might not really know who is celebrating it and who is crying over it. But someday when our life flashes before our eyes, it may or may not be worth watching. It is completely upto us to make it worth watching. It is not possible for everyone of us to become a saint, but we could atleast try to live a life where we have made a difference to atleast one person's life, where we brought happiness in atleast one person's life. I do agree that mostly when people die, it is really a resistance to the change that makes people cry, the change being the fact that the person who died will no more be a part of their lives. Live a life which is fulfilling for you in the first place but at the sametime, even if you cant make everyone happy, atleast don't ruin anyone's life while you are alive. Think about Mother Teresa, the day she died, along with the whole world, even the clouds cried and it rained. The whole idea here is that, live a meaningful life and you don't have to back in your life to start all over again, you can start making a difference starting this next moment.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

A letter to God!


This is my very first post this year. I would like to wish a happy New Year to everyone who takes the pain to read my scribblings here. I want to begin this new year with a letter to God. Of course this is not the most personal letter I would write to God. But still, I do want to attempt this, just for a personal satisfaction.

Dearest God,

I have been wanting to write a letter to you for a long time now. The last time I wrote to you was several months ago. So much has happened in my life over the last few years. I know life is full of changes, but I probably never paid much attention to these changes as long as I was in Delhi in my school. But ever since, I left home for further studies, I should say, I have been working hard to cope up with the different changes that life has been bestowing upon me. However, I am thankful to you god, for one thing, despite all odds, difficulties, you have always been there for me to steer me out of several vicious circles. Though it is fair enough to say, that you are the director and I am just a mere actor. I want to thank you god for giving me really caring parents who I look upon as you on the earth. There might be times, when I might have hurt them or might not have listened to what they have told me, but I do respect them and love them. I also want to thank you god for giving me a really understanding and caring brother, who I can always lean on at anytime in life. I want to thank you god for every friend of mine, but it would be unfair, if I dont mention my bff here for all the support, care and affection. I want to thank you god for every person who has touched my life in someway or the other. I know I have not been the best human being the world has seen so far, but at the same time, I never ever intended to hurt anyone or make anyone sad. I have not loved every human being I know at all times, but atleast I have been training myself to not hate anyone. A lot of people have left my life, I have left the lives of several people, but to you god, I want to confess, I have never done that to hurt or wreak vengeance. A smartass that I try to be :P, remaining confessions will be done more personally :). But now that I did make a confession, I beg your pardon and forgiveness god. Please forgive me for every sin I have committed knowingly or unknowingly, of course, more than anyone else you know my intentions are never to hurt or upset anyone. On behalf of every being that might have been hurt or affected because of me in anyway, god you please forgive me. That said, like every new year, this year, apart from some new resolutions, I want to make my usual annual resolution, that of becoming a better human being who would be nice to everyone around her and try not to hurt anyone even unintentionally, even if that would mean breaking my own heart. For this resolution god, I ask for strength both mental and emotional. May peace, health and happiness increase in everybody's life. Thank you god for everything and sorry god for every mistake of mine.