Friday, December 2, 2011

The side effects of studying psychology!

Ever since I became a psych grad student, I think several times before I write anything. I guess this is because I have begun to look at statistical significance of everything I wish to write about. After spending close to a semester reading articles on various topics in psychology, now, when I look through archives of my old blog posts, I feel that I have just made some claims in my posts merely based on my past experiences. However a psychologist would look at my posts and say that my claims are probably not generalizable to a larger population and that my sample size is too small, considering that my sample includes just me. Now when I think of writing about anything, I start to think if I have data to back up what I say. The results of this post indicate that this is a side effect of studying psychology. Future research in this regard should focus on keeping a personal blog and scientific research separate. In essence the abstract of this post is just that studying psychology has some serious side effects including appearing weird and crazy, thinking several times before writing or saying anything, getting excited for awkward things, questioning anything and everything! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Memories and Experience

Our memories can ruin our experience or make them better. Inspired by Kahneman's TED talk which I heard a year and a half back and again couple of days back, I can say, I have so many examples in my life where my experience of an event has been completely ruined by my memories. As Kahneman points out - the experiencing self and the remembering self are two different ways we may be thinking of ourselves. The experiencing self is all about the present, the current experience which is going on, but the remembering self is how the mind forms memories about our current experience. What happens in present may feel great at the moment, but a little unpleasant memory of the current experience can ruin the entire experience when we recall it later. For instance, in psychology, when we do research work, we always have to take into account a possible limitation in experiments - the recall bias. The recall bias is when we ask participants of our research to recall an old incident. The remembering self is very much likely to affect the way they talk about the incident.

If we make conscious attempts to cut negative associations that the remembering self makes with an experience and make positive associations like remembering the better moments of an experience, our lives would be so much happier. I often hear from people about living this moment as is, enjoying each minute etc. Truth is, our experiencing self does this by itself anyways, but what we could play with is our remembering self. Why not give it a shot?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Love Delusion!

What would you call falling in love with somebody - a delusion, illusion, hallucination, assumption or imagination? 

Just like the whole god delusion, I feel there is something called love delusion. If you really think about it, romantic love is everything mentioned above. Consider a one - sided love affair. At various points since meeting someone till you supposedly decide that these grapes are sour, I guess you go through phases of delusion, illusion, hallucination, assumption and imagination. 

The story begins with seeing someone and getting a liking for them for some god forsaken reason. Our minds are trained to be vulnerable to emotions for the most part. I would call this 'love at first sight' sort of thing as an illusion as, in most cases it really is an optical illusion and your eyes get tricked.  By some way we get to talk to them and then start the remaining tricky things. 

We begin assuming that they like us based on their responses and reactions to us and conveniently begin to overlook the possibilities that the other person is just being normal and being nice to you and is not necessarily into you. This is a classic example of what we call 'confirmation bias' in psychology. We create a mental hypothesis that we and the other person are actually in love and are going to end up together. We tend to seek out evidence to prove this hypothesis of ours, sometimes so much that we ignore that in actuality; there could be evidence to totally disprove our hypothesis. 

Then we go to the next step, where we start further fooling ourselves. We begin imagining the other person thinking about us or calling out to us or looking at us even when in reality they might not really be doing it with any particular romantic interest  in us. Who knows they might be staring at us, thinking how funny we look. From there we begin justifying every stupid thing that they do to fit our perceptions about their feelings for us. This leads to sweet hallucinations, where everything seems to be the best in the world, because we slowly begin to drift into a beautiful world which is full of love and happiness. 

Then comes the worst part, the love delusion. We begin to totally believe that the other person is into us and loves us and would do everything to be with us. The whole justifying every action of theirs goes higher and higher. We now have a firm belief that the other person is in love with us and that's when we begin to look to refute any evidence which others point out to us, or we ourselves subconsciously begin to note that probably is disproving our hypothesis i.e. which nicely shows us that the other person is not really into us. This is what is called 'disconfirmation bias' in psychology, wherein our outlooks are based more on our beliefs than actual data. Having gone through all this, one fine day, we wake up to harsh reality that our hypothesis was completely wrong and that everything was just a mirage and nothing even close to reality. This happens both when we assume that the other person likes us and also when we allow the other person to exploit us and fool us with false indications. 

I can't help saying that in most cases, unless it happens mutually, the whole vague concept of love is nothing but something misleading and does more bad than good. As much as it is advised to use intuition as compared to scientific methods to find out if a person is into you, or is cheating on you or whatever; sometimes, it is not foolish to consider data being easily available to decide. Though you do need to strike a firm balance between both. Paradoxically, love just 'happens'. But if it is not mutual, it just nicely 'breaks'. I am the last person who should talking about this, but then as much as our reality is distorted by our idealism, imagination and perception, at the end reality is what really matters.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Don't you forget about me!

I still am in my creative void phase, but nevertheless here is a song which has always touched my heart. I love Enrique.

They say love is just a game
They say time can heal the pain
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose
And I guess I?m just a fool, I keep holding on to you

I told you once you were the one
You know that I?d die for you
Although it hurts to see you go
Oh, this time you should know, I won't try to stop you

Don?t you forget about me, baby
Don?t you forget about me now
Some day you'll turn around and ask me
Why did I let you go?

So you try to fake a smile
You don?t wanna break my heart
I can see that you're afraid
[- From : -]
But baby it?s to late, ?coz I?m already dying

Don?t you forget about me, baby
Don?t you forget about me now
Some day you'll turn around and ask me
Why did I let you go?

Don?t you forget about me, baby
Don?t you forget about me now
Some day you'll turn around and ask me
Why did I let you go?
Why did I let you go?

Don?t you forget about me, baby
No, don?t you forget about me now
Some day you'll turn around and ask me
Why did I let you go?
Why did I let you go?

Wherever I go, I won?t forget about you, no, no, no
Wherever you go, don?t you forget about me

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Girl, are you old enough to get married?

          I happened to see a really old friend of mine. Well technically this girl is like 4 years younger to me. So she must be what around 21-22 now. I was shocked to learn last year that she had gotten married, because left to me, I would call it a child marriage. ha... This year I am even more shocked to learn that she is expecting soon. I don't know why but I am still shocked and not able to go meet her in person, partly because I might laugh at her and partly because who knows she might laugh at me. In India there is this whole stigma about age of marriage. I do know it is getting better nowadays. But I have to mention the changes are not way too much to get excited about. That said, some people in India typically very old people tell me that I am going to be 27 and that I am getting late by each my moment in getting married. Personally if you ask me, I would say that is pretty much BS. But respecting what elders say, I just asked some of these people who mentioned about age as to what do they think the right age for marriage for a girl should be. And they tell me, 24ish. What came out of my mouth right away was, how can you ruin some precious years of life in marriage so soon. :P. Not sure if I was right or wrong, but I said it nevertheless. Part of the reason why they were mentioning this age was that they really thought that it is an ideal age and also partly because they wanted to convince me saying that I am already late. Either way, I am not completely convinced. If you tell me that for health reasons a girl should try to get married pretty much by her early 30's it would make a little sense. Though if you see females in the US for example, so many get married much later. 

          All this said, the thought about this girl came back to my mind. She probably just finished a 3 year Bachelor's degree and right away got married as soon her final exams were done. I was surprised to learn about several other girls, including couple of own cousins think the same way, even though their parents are very well educated. But from parents' side they think they have to get over with their responsibility of getting their daughter married, because their idea of settling down is getting married, which I am not completely blaming. From the daughters' side, some of them like the ones I mentioned above typically have their mind set for marriage right after they are done with a basic Bachelors degree. Some of these girls would have even completed their Engineering and might still think the same. I would not be too surprised if these girls supposedly fell in love with a great guy and got married. But most of these get married to some guy through an arranged marriage, some guy who is most likely to be atleast 4-5 years elder to them. These girls are more than happy to get married and be home or just go work in some company. I think it is their idea of settling down in life. Again, I am no one to blame them or appreciate them. There is also another extreme of girls in India. Girls who raise their expectations about marriage and guys really high and keep pushing their marriage talks away and care more about their career, which again I think is fair enough. Again I am no one to blame or appreciate them. 

          In an ideal scenario, we would be allowed to date and find our right guy and we could get married whenever we want to. But of course, considering that this is India, for the most part this may or may not be possible. I don't want to really talk about moving in together etc here because this post is more about age of marriage for women than anything else. In my personal opinion, if you would let me decide, which in my case, I do get to decide, more than age, I believe a goodness of fit between me and my potential partner matters more than my age when I would get married. But also contradicting my own statement, I am giving a shot to all this marriage stuff only for a while. After which I would completely focus on what I wish to do than on marriage, mostly because even otherwise, marriage has never been a top priority for me. Either ways, in general as well, if one is not convinced that their marriage would be a happy extension of their life, and that it would be able to accommodate most of their aspirations with some adjustments here and there; getting married would be utterly foolish. Most of all, a girl who is not financially independent or not educated enough to be financially independent should think twice before getting married. It is totally upto an individual to decide on all this. Yet, the idea is to not regret later in life that you just got married, had kids and raised them and lived a very usual and kind of boring life where you didn't really achieve much (though some women would claim that they success in getting married, raising kids and making them successful). I do agree there are always tradeoffs when it comes to goals and marriage life. Having goals and trying to see if marriage would support or affect them, is one thing, but not having a goal at all, except the goal of living a very ordinary life ( I mean an ordinary life in my opinion, where you depend on your husband for each and everything) is in my honest opinion pretty stupid. All said, marriage is a big risk anyways, why not take the risk carefully. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Counseling centers in colleges in India

The term counseling is often very confusing. It majorly is a guidance to cope up with a situation or to make choices, an advice system which could help you make decisions or take a certain course of action. So I was reading in a local newspaper about the attempts to set up counseling centers, in Indian universities.According the universities in India, the whole point of doing this is the typical reason for helping out college students deal with their transition from high school to college and to help them deal with various kinds of stresses that they could face.

I completely agree with setting up counseling centers in universities. But in a country like India, counseling, depression, therapy and even psychology are all seen more as a social stigma than as something helpful. That said, anyone going for therapy or taking something as much as an anti depressant is looked upon with eyes of pity, or eyes of curiosity about their inability to handle their problems. As long as there is going to be this sort of social stigma, chances of children coming forward with their problems to the counselors are going to be really sleek. Several people cope with their issues and come out strong after struggles, but the whole awareness of setting up counseling centers has come about after college students have committed suicides.

Let me give a simple example. Again, this is purely based on my understanding. When Indian parents do eventually take a step of sending their kid to a shrink, they have all sorts of anxieties and apprehensions. Firstly they want an objective answer as to how long a therapy would continue. They are of the constant fear that a simple counseling and therapy could become a big problem in the future. Part of the fear is about any occurrence of future psychological issues, but the bigger part of the fear is concerned with the social stamping their kid might get on them, which could hinder relationships like marriages etc in the future. Note that there is a difference between a psychological fear and a social fear here.

All this said, setting up of counseling centers in Indian universities is definitely a positive step, but how effective it would be is still is big unanswered question. People need to be made aware that a therapy or medications for psychological disorders and several of the psychological disorders themselves are not really a social stigma, but are just like other genuine issues which could be solved. As long as psychological problems are seen as social disgrace, or as hardcore mental health issues, psychological treatments or counseling centers etc are going to be difficult to be made useful for people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Somewhere I belong!

          Feeling of belonging is a very important concept. Consider being in a relationship, where you feel like an alien most of the time or working a job which makes you feel all the time that it is just not what you want to do or, living in a place where you feel you are a stranger and are hardly able to relate yourself with anyone or anything there. These were a few examples of what I feel are the feeling of 'not belonging'. Some associated concepts are cultural shock, which is essentially a feeling of not belonging to a certain culture and place; identity crisis which is essentially a feeling of not belonging anywhere in life among peers, among elders etc etc.

          It is convenient to say that all this lies in our mind. If you were a proponent of humanistic psychology, you would notice Maslow's theory of Needs (Please use google to study the theory :P), which specifies as one of the needs - the feeling of belonging and acceptance, love etc. Feeling of belonging is a very fundamental need at various stages of life and not just during childhood and young adulthood. In my opinion there is a paradox here. At first you don't have a feeling of belonging and you tend to be on the quest for somewhere to belong and try to reach out to sources which offered you sense of belonging atleast during childhood. On the contrary, there are people who just adapt themselves to situations and bring in a sense of belonging for themselves, which can probably be summed up as being a Roman in Rome. As we have evolved as humans, we have adapted ourselves to the environment and learnt to improve our lives. Even though it is hard to say how the need for belonging was fulfilled, in my opinion the need for belonging was superimposed by a more important need which was of mere survival.

          For me a sense of belonging is extremely important. The point I am trying to make here is that at any point, implicitly or explicitly a feeling of belonging is inevitable. If you are trying to connect with people on very professional level, sometimes you do that only for the sake of getting your work done or for so-called networking. But even then, your comfort level with people increases when there is a mutual effort to make conversations slightly on a personal level of course within certain bounds. As an example, in my opinion when you address people with their names more often during conversations, it makes the other person more comfortable. Similarly on a personal level, when a person individually tries to adapt to the society, the culture, the place he lives in, the people around him, a sense of belonging becomes a supreme need, the lack of which affects the day to day life of the person.

          Overall, summing the whole thing up, there is a quest in people to find out where they belong, until which nothing really makes them feel satisfied in life. As for me, I am still searching where I really belong and hoping that there is somewhere I do belong and that I would find it soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Myths about therapy!

This post talks about the myths and misconceptions about therapy. In places like India where therapy is still not very popular, anyone who goes for a therapy is looked upon slightly with eyes of suspicion that the person could be crazy atleast to some extent. Nevertheless, things are improving. I want to put a link here to a part of a research conducted by Cornell University, USA. Although the myths and misconceptions are mentioned here as being suitable for self injurious behavior, but in my opinion several of the myths and misconceptions mentioned here are applicable for anyone going for therapy and others in general.

Let me know if the link doesn't work.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Ugly Truth 3 - Tears for people who don't care about you are worthless!

" No one is worth your tears and the one who is won't make you cry "

          A very true line for the most part. Someone who loves you will almost never be able to make you cry and even if they do by any chance, their heart would ache to see you shedding even a single tear. Several of us would feel bad when we see someone crying in front of us, except if we are sadists or a nut cases. However what I am referring to over here, is seeing a loved one cry. There have been people in my life whose tears that I have witnessed still hurt me when I think of them. If by any chance it is my mom, I go completely paranoid, though she almost never cries. 
          Of course there is this other side to tears - False tears. Some people will shed false tears and get whatever they need. In my opinion the biggest betrayal is by someone who comes and sheds false tears in front of you, makes you emotionally vulnerable and gets whatever they want. Ideally when you see a loved one crying, you will feel really really sad and will want to do everything you can to console the other person. But it is ridiculous when someone exploits you with tears. 
          Now coming to cry for others. While it is common for people to cry over breakups or friends not talking to them or any such thing and people eventually do move on, but someone who is directly responsible for making you cry isn't a great person to have in your life. Some strong people try to control showing out their tears, but deep inside there is someone who is crying in their head. I have seen people who have made me cry and never bothered to do anything about it. It just made me shed more tears in the beginning and  then realize eventually that such people are just not worth my tears. However I also have some people who totally shower me with their love and affection and can never ever see me shed a single tear. It is these people, I have realized are the ones who really care. Bottom line is when you give someone more importance than what they deserve, you are bound to cry externally or internally, which is just not worth it. Shedding tears for someone who really cares for you and who is in extreme pain means something. I used to be of the opinion that when you truly love someone, irrespective of how they treat you, seeing them in pain should bring tears on to your eyes. May be it is still true, may be somewhere in my heart I still feel so. But sometimes it is just totally pointless and worthless. Essentially I try not make anyone cry even by mistake, and try to make sure people don't really make me cry and eventually if I do shed tears for people I love and care about, I have learnt to try my best to forget those tears. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How good is good?

          What is the definition of good? There are as many as 44 definitions of the word 'good' in dictionary. But one of the most common definition of the word good is to do with something desirable, suitable etc. Talking of 'good' in this context leads me to think that the idea of good is highly relative in most cases and is often based on perceptions than on real facts. Even if we find something to be supposedly good, something better always shows up. In my opinion even something best doesn't remain best forever. For example, iPhone 2G was 'good' and soon was replaced by iPhone 3G then by 3GS and then iPhone 4. This is typically based on mass opinion, the sales of the product etc that it was easy to conclude the goodness of the product. 

          But talking about people - If there are some presidential candidates, each one of them are going to be good in their own way. But it is based on their actions that people are going to perceive them as good or bad. Something looks good till something better comes along. As a matter of fact when something better comes along even the 'good' looks close to ordinary. All this is fine as long as you are talking about a celebrity being good or better or even best. But when you are talking about interpersonal relationships. Good is often not good enough. Most people don't have a definition of good, which in my opinion would be highly idealistic; though I feel a fair idea of what one considers good makes sense. But there are additional factors which affect definition of good - previous experiences, situations, moods etc. So it is very human to overlook good and keep looking for better and best. When you fail to see 'good' how do you think you will find better and leave alone best. It is like - kissing several frogs to find a prince who probably doesn't even exist or who you just missed out constantly looking for better. Good is good enough as long as you are able to see through the goodness. 

          But coming back to how good is good. Well it completely depends on the person, their perception and opinion. Someone or something may look good to me, but may look really bad to you. So good has to do completely with how you look at something. Forget axiomatic and absolute stuff, they don't exist all the time. But 'good' is a very relative term and there is no correct definition of the word in my opinion. I want to finish by saying that since 'good' is more of an opinion/perception, don't get carried away when someone calls you bad. You are good as long as you consider yourself good. Since for some people nothing is good enough, its ok for products to be constantly redesigned and remodeled for people to like them, but for humans, it is completely worthless to constantly change yourself to please someone who themselves are not good enough but consider you as being 'not good enough.' So it is completely sensible to be yourself and not giving importance to someone who doesn't deserve it. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Audacity of being Yourself!

          Do you have the audacity to be yourself? Even if we really want to be ourselves, how many times are we actually able to do it? There is no denying the fact that often we have to wear a social mask in order to mingle with the society. But I have come to realize that a lot of times it is really the social mask that the society appreciates and cares about. The 'real' you, a 'frank' you is most likely to be rejected or mocked at. Most people fall in love with a perception of you and find it hard to replace the perception with reality when they do not match. Though this is not the case with everyone, I have come across a lot of people of this kind.
            Many of us do things we don’t want to do, act the way we don’t want to due to societal pressures and the fear of what others might think of us.  I think as long as it doesn’t intentionally hurt anyone, there is just nothing wrong in being yourself and doing what you like. What is the point in studying something or working a dissatisfactory job (exceptions are there of course) because it will make you look successful in the society? What is the point in marrying someone who is supposedly successful in the society or in their career but treat you like an object? What is the point in doing things which you hate but do only because it will make you look good in the society or amidst your family and friends? What is the point in following rituals and traditions which you hardly believe in, but do so to look like the perfect person who doesn’t give up their traditional values? You can always come up with excuses for these and some of these excuses could be genuinely issues. But for the most part these are mere excuses and you are not being true to yourself. I have always avoided being ashamed of any bad relationship that I have had or any mistake of mine, because I have learnt through experience that it is not really worth feeling bad about yourself based on other’s perspectives about you. A good friend used to say, don’t let someone run you through a guilt trip. Nobody is perfect and very few people have the audacity to accept that. Obviously you are bound to make mistakes, but isn’t that how life is, you make mistakes and learn from them. But of course being yourself does not mean that you never attempt to change anything about yourself. It is just that you don’t need to change yourself based on your assumptions about how people think of you. In my opinion I have learnt this from experience as well, that it is better to portray your true self to people than to later surprise them.
             But of course there is the flip side to this as well. Being myself has not done me good all the time. It has gotten me a lot of haters as well.  I have been called an egomaniac, arrogant, selfish etc etc. Not that I care about it. As a matter of fact, who is not selfish or don’t bother about their egos? How many of us are saints? And of course I don’t mean to say that I am completely perfect, but, atleast most of the time I have the satisfaction of having been myself. I have never gone around and intentionally attempted to hurt people or anything, in fact I have always showered people I really like with unconditional affection. However, I have my own limitations, my problems, my attitudes etc. And similarly I know what I am doing, what my responsibilities are, how I behave and my intentions as well. What is the point in trying to prove to people that you are not someone others have perceived you to be? If people cannot accept the person I am; I have learnt this over years in my life that it really is their problem not mine. You can please others only so much. In the name of love or affection or respect, we could attempt to please others, not that it is wrong, but in the end who are you trying to fool? Yourself, isn’t it? Truth is whether you like it or not, society and people around you love only the social masks and those who actually like the 'real' you, never make you feel that you need a social mask. Have the audacity to be yourself, even if many do not want to face the real ‘you’ most of the time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Feminism and Female Chauvinism

               There is a fine line of difference between feminism and female chauvinism. Feminism is what suffragists basically work for - parity of genders, equality between men and women i.e.  equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for men and women. Meanwhile female chauvinism is very similar to male chauvinism, i.e. excessive and blind patriotism towards female community and rights, undue partiality or attachment to female community and finally an attitude of superiority towards men. But it is very easy to get confused between both these concepts. A feminist need not be a female chauvinist and a female chauvinist could very well be nuts. In my opinion, in a country like US, feminism for the most part has gradually gone on to become female chauvinism. This is not really surprising considering the independence people have and comparatively individualistic society. 
             However, in a country like India, there has been a rise in suffragists advocating and fighting for women rights. Yet, here, there is still a male dominance in the society and female chauvinism is not likely to be witnessed much. But there are people who do not clearly understand the difference between feminism and female chauvinism and conveniently assume that feminists are/likely to become female chauvinists. A movie like 'Fire' very well portrayed female chauvinism. However, that is not as common in India as yet as it is in Western countries. But here, feminism itself is seen with negative eyes. The moment you call yourself a feminist, you are looked upon as a female who has no family values and who does not respect tradition and in short, you are not a typical woman who will give up certain things for the so-called sake of family. Though younger generation definitely is getting better in treating women. Yet, female equality still has problems to face. As an example lets take an IT organization where a female gets promoted sooner than other peers. Even if the female is a geek, chances are really high that the women is going to be called arrogant, overbearing, bootlicker and has asskissed her way up. All this, just because men find it difficult to accept that a woman has just shown that she is capable of getting a promotion sooner than her peers by means of hardwork. Similarly, I read on another blog which talks about history and how hindu women were treated back in olden days according to so - called Manu Smruti and other such books or whatever. A religious leader with whom the author of that blog had interacted in person multiple times has been quoted saying that if women are allowed more reservations and more freedom, it would be the beginning of chaos and destruction and women would become uncontrollable. Again I am not surprised. I have heard more than a million times from different men that women should not be given equal rights. First off, in my opinion this just goes to show how much of freaks such men are as they are scared they may lose their self assumed powerful positions in the society. There is no denying the fact that things with respect to parity between men and women are changing. Yet certain aspects of it are yet to change. As I had talked about in another post of mine that women themselves let other women down in several scenarios. 
             Coming back to feminism and female chauvinism. I think female chauvinism gets triggered when there is excessive male chauvinism. After all we are all human beings. But feminists being misunderstood to be female chauvinists is completely unfair. Is it wrong if a woman prefers to be herself, prefers to have her own identity and not to change her identity after a so-called marriage, prefers to have dreams, goals, ambitions and to work towards them, prefers to be treated fairly. Feminists advocate equality of men and women not superiority of women over men. But I feel that society puts more and more pressure on feminists and they feel compelled to turn towards female chauvinism. I mean if for a woman, standing up for herself against atrocities and retaliating back is going to considered female chauvinism, which by the way it is really not, then women are better off being female chauvinists. If on a social network profile, I were to put that I am a feminist, all I would mean is that I want to be treated equally as a human being and that I don't want to beg for rights from men, I just want to take them anyways. Feminists do not aim at putting men down, but they like to live their lives as they want of course keeping in mind their responsibilities just like men. Feminists do not want to be treated inferior because of being women. I want to end this post with just this much. I can go on and on on this topic and I do have the audacity to write much more with respect to how annoyed I feel about being an Indian woman, but I would like to reserve that for another separate post. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year - New Beginning

New Year marks a new beginning and we should give up all old sorrows, worries and look forward to the new days coming up. As for me, last year began in the worst possible way and on new year, I wrote a pretty apologetic post. The beginning of the year was pretty much a mess. Well it is fair enough to say that my life has been a mess more than once, but I manage to have everything in control, for the most part ;). As the year proceeded, several events took place...moving to CA, quitting my job, getting back to India, getting a new pinky vaio, an ipad :D etc etc..phew!!!...Nevertheless, once I was back home, I believe things started improving and I think that's what happens when you are around family :). There were tons of things on the back of my mind, lots of pressures, feeling of being in a deadlock, but thanks to my parents, brother, bff, and all my other friends who understood me and did not get mad at my isolating myself and building a wall around myself, I have been able to and I am still managing to fight my emotional setbacks.I must say, it has been one hell of a year, a lot of laughter, tons of tears, tense days, hectic days, but all is well in the end. Having said that, I hope the new year brings joy and peace to not just myself, but to everyone on planet earth. resolutions for the new year - well, I have not really thought of any big time resolution except to keep my life more organized and disciplined. There is one thing to definitely look forward to this year - admits to universities and flying back to the US. Apart from that, things would keep happening, lets see what is in store. So here is wishing everyone a happy new year again...lets look put our pasts behind us and look forward to better tomorrows. And as several of my friends tell me - keep smiling, it is very important. :)