Thursday, August 25, 2016

Anxiety and Distractions



A state of chronic anxiety and despair is one of the scariest things to manifest itself on anyone. It's your mind getting in your own way. You get anxious and lose your appetite and sleep. Next you get even more anxious because you're can't stop being anxious. You get mad at your own silliness. Thus begins a vicious feedback loop.


You try to distract yourself. With work, going out, maybe partying a little. And it's successful, but then you have to go back to being with yourself. Trying to find distractions to get away from your own mind never works because you cannot ever travel without it, and sooner or later you're back to where you started.

You devote your time to feeling busy, and feel extremely uncomfortable with silence. Being alone with yourself. A compulsive habit of thinking and overthinking things. So you go back to trying to find more distractions, without focusing on the problem of thinking too much.

Why do we start going back to all our cringiest and awkwardest experiences just before we sleep. Overthinking things that happened, and making plans about what needs doing and how you'll totally do it when morning arrives. It's because all day we're doing something or the other. Finding distractions, running away from thinking about problems. And as soon as the mind gets some time to be truly alone, it starts working, almost like clockwork.


And when you give your mind some time to be alone, when you don't try to find distractions to run away, then the mind will quiet itself. Just like you cannot turn a tumultuous river calm by splashning it, instead of forcing your mind to stop thinking, you have to let it meander into different directions first. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

An Open Letter To You



You call it being blunt. Painfully honest. A no-care attitude. In fact, you care so little that you don't miss a chance to tell others how little you care. Because caring is inherently weak, and your cold, detached self wouldn't like to be seen being intimate with people.
You're just teaching people what life will teach them inevitably anyway. And you promise to be much fairer than life, although not any less harsh. In reality, it's a facade to hide your fragile, rigid composure. After all, if you think you're superior to them you don't have to face them or their moronic lies that keep them happy.

Control is an illusion. They're deluding themselves and you're their savior. Wielding a blade of honesty and a shield of practical logic, you attack the insufferable monster that is tact and sensitive diplomacy. Fight too long the monster, and you become one yourself. Honesty without compassion is little more than a bunch of cruel words strung together as a poor substitute for credibility, masquerading as the truth.

You make fun of others you deem stupid. A word with a multitude of crude, arbitrary definitions that can be easily molded and remolded endlessly to fit your needs because you want them to. Whoever can't take it is a coward, a buzzkill. But when they get offended, things should slide easily, because it's you and they should expect it by now. But no one expects you to be an asshole. They don't expect you to be a jerk, even if they know it's who you are. Acceptance of that fact doesn't bring forward forgiveness unless you change. Forgiving and forgetting doesn't make you weak any more than hopelessly clinging on to a false image of you does.

You think that the only truth that matters is the truth that can be measured. Good intentions don't count. What's in your heart doesn't count. But a man's life can be measured by how many tears are shed when he dies. Just because you can't measure them, just because you don't want to measure them, doesn't mean it's not real.

You demand leeway with how society judges you, but you allow it to judge you nonetheless. A living specimen of contradicting hypocrisy. You pretend to rage against the system, pretend to play a different game entirely. But all you do is replace the system's rules with yours and claim they're the axiom of undeniable truth. You fight the mainstream by pretending to be obscure, until that obscurity becomes too mainstream only for you to fight all over again. You break the law, but you follow the rules. You're not a rebel. You're not unplugged, you just replaced the power chord.

You try to corrupt people with your cynicism and skepticism, all the while being intrigued and secretly happy for those who stay unwavering to their humble modesty and niceties. People are not nice or polite because they're dense idiots who don't know any better. They do it because it keeps them happy. Sane. They're polite because that's what decent people do. And because they know they aren't infallible. You can mock their lifestyle from a distance with a cold sneer, but the tinge of envy that lingers is felt by you just as hard. Control is an illusion. But sometimes you need an illusion to get back control.


Yours Affectionately,
You.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Life of Stress



A lobster is born with a shell but its shell doesn't grow with it. Pretty soon the shell is too tight and the lobster feels uncomfortable with it, so the lobster goes under a rock naked and vulnerable and grows itself another shell.

In some time, even that shell becomes too small and the lobster feels uncomfortable. Again it does under a rock, creates a new shell and comes back.

This happens again and again, and keeps happening until the day the lobster dies.

Now if the lobster could go to a doctor and get some pills to not feel uncomfortable and in duress, it would never grow into what it could if it had tried using that strain to its benefit. You need to be under stress and feel uncomfortable to actually make changes.

Most of the daily stress we face isn't related to survival anymore, and yet that's how we respond to them. By going into overdrive, overthinking the situation and obsessing over it. This is the threat response to stress. It makes you choke up inside, a sense of impending doom shrouds your body and you feel unable to relax in any scenario.

But there's another response to stress. One that makes you more focused, streamlines your thought processes. Your heart pounds ever so loudly, but instead of increasing paranoia and dread, it embiggens your blood vessels so there's a more even blood flow. This is the challenge response to stress and it basically makes you smarter under duress.

Unless it's a crazy specific situation where survival is of the umpteenth importance, a threat response doesn't help us any more than hyperventilating helps during a panic attack. But to transform our response from threat to challenge, we need to understand which one our body instinctually goes to. Instead of sweeping everything under the rug and trying to distract ourselves as much as possible, a brief moment of confrontation and planning against the stress does more good.

If you feel your heart starting to pound faster, and your breath getting shallower by each passing drag, instead of focusing on trying to calm down and pretending to be okay, accepting that you are stressed out turns the threat response to a challenge one. And sometimes, the best way to deal with it is to not think about it. Not the fact that you're stressed, but the more probable scenario that the cause isn't all that powerful.



Stress isn't good or bad for you, the response to it is. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What You Learn After Being In A Car Accident



Recently, I was in a car accident while going on a trip to ease off from the exams season. We never got to that place and were instead accosted by a straight journey to the hospital, which, I wouldn't lie, looks and feels like a good hotel with crappy service(It has Haldirams and CCD inside it for crying out loud!). Anyway, I'm getting distracted. Here are a few things I learnt from the accident. Since this is going to be a long post, I've added how the accident happened at the end.

Instinct takes over

Being in the passenger seat, I could see the accident happening 2-3 seconds before the aftermath. And those 2-3 seconds felt longer than any other 2-3 seconds in my life, or maybe it's the way mind remembers it. You revisit the memory so often and so frequently later on that you pick apart every tiny detail about how it could have been avoided or minimised. But in those couple of seconds, it matters naught. 

However, once you crash-land, your adrenaline pumped body looks up to assess the damage and what needs to be done. In my case it was finding a way out of the car since gravity had the pleasure of parking it sideways. My door didn't open because of that, and that's when a bit of panic sunk in. I saw mum, who had fallen from the back of the seat to the windshield, we shared a look. I called out to dad who wasn't conscious and not replying to the cries asking him if he was okay. All this while looking for a way out. All of these things seemed to happen simultaneously, and at the same time took forever to pass. But ask a coke junkie what adrenaline can't do. I kicked the driver side window open (which was already cracked) to let mum out, then out came the driver. I then tried to wake dad up by tugging at his cheeks but that did nothing more than grow the dread.

By then a few good samaritans had climbed down to see what had happened. I didn't mind their morbid curiosity as long as they were helping. We forced the car upright, lowered the driver seat and pulled out dad. All of this happened within half an hour, but I can only remember glimpses of it all. Pulling dad, making sure mum was okay, calling the police, calling the ambulance. I know I did these things, but in which order?

The Chaos is Smooth

Everything after that was chaos. Dad lying down on the ground, barely conscious and crying out in pain. Mum unable to walk. Driver mumbling and walking around like a zombie. Losing my glasses in the rubble meant that I had no way of distinguishing faces from afar. I secured the car papers, took the important stuff out, got the numbers of a few kind samaritans and the police officer, went inside the ambulance, came out, went inside the government hospital with parents one by one, came out, another ambulance to Delhi.

It was utter chaos, I had no idea what papers to sign or what things to check. At that time if the devil had handed me the papers to sell my soul, I would've promptly signed it as well. The title wouldn't be valid since it doesn't belong to me, but that's another thing. 

The chaos felt fluid, everything was getting done partly for me, partly by me. There wasn't a hitch to derail this chain of events.


Balancing the good and the bad 

Once the dust had settled, so to speak, and we were in the ambulance bound to Delhi. It was time to finally assess the damage. Mum couldn't walk. Dad couldn't move his legs. I was unharmed. Looking at the pics I had taken for insurance purposes, I was relieved and a bit surprised that we'd made it alive. Just as hope was ushering out, dad called back in pain. It was unmanageable, he wanted to end it then. Get it over with. Finding words of hope in that time when you're so devoid of it yourself isn't very easy, to put it lightly. 

We were alive.
Dad didn't want to be.
They were conscious.
They were in extreme pain. 
I was okay. 
They were not. 

At that time it seemed like the longest journey, but looking back at it I have no idea where time went. 


Friends are invaluable

By the time we reached the hospital, I had told a few friends about it. They knew what to say, when to say it. And what not to say. Held me together when nothing seemed to be going my way. Even now, they have been wonderful. Good friends are hard to come by and too far apart, but when something like this happens, you know why they're your friends. It is not an easy task to help someone out without being there, and yet they did. And not just friends, quite a lot of people in the time of duress make the right call and choose to be good men and women when they can so easily choose to walk away. 



Future is uncertain, hope is alive

Everything brings us to now. I won't claim to know what will happen hereafter. But everything till now has been managed. Things might not be looking up, but they aren't going down either. 
Shit happens. And then you deal with it. 



The Accident: We left for Dehradun at 5AM and nearing 7:30, the driver lost control of the car on the highway and crashing into the trees to the left. Inertia from the sharp left turned the car sideways and it landed on the driver side almost perpendicular to the ground. I can say with some confidence that it was the seat belt that saved the driver's and my life. If anything is to be learnt, on long journeys even the back passengers really should buckle up. 



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Monday, May 23, 2016

God is Dead, We Killed Him




People think I'm a perennial skeptic and a cynic. They're right, I am. But that doesn't stop someone from clinging to optimism and hope from time to time. And that's what hurts the most, seeing the last shred of hope you didn't even know you had, get crushed.

When Nietzsche proclaimed 'God is dead, we killed him', he didn't mean that god is dead in the literal sense or that we were the cause of his demise. What he meant was that the values and morals put forward by God' are not a credible source anymore. Humans are no longer able to believe in any such cosmic order since they themselves no longer recognize it. That's what life is, a cosmic order that remains unknown to us.

The world isn't fair. It's not unfair either. It's indifferent to your opinions and wishes. It allows you to exist when your self interests align with its gears. But as soon as that changes, it comes down on you harder than being curb stomped by Hagrid.  As Andy Dufresne put it, you get busy living, or you get busy dying.

People who think life is unfair miss out on the most basic fact of living, you don't get things for free. And if you do, you pay the price later. It's a morbid perspective certainly, thinking that no happy thing comes free, or that no good deed goes unpunished. But time and time again, it has proven to be true. Do people get lucky? Yes. Do they usually? Almost never. It's like hearing about someone winning a lottery and making the buying of lottery tickets your job.

Almost everyone lives in a bubble. A bubble of similar opinions, a bubble of disillusion, a bubble of friends who keep you safe. Not all bubbles are bad, but they restrict your exposure to new things. To new people. Then again, what lies beyond their bubble is not for the faint of heart.

It's easy to think that life takes some innate pleasure in ruining your happiness, punishing you for it. Then again, we seldom notice that it was the same life that made us happy. Life is a collection of memories and experiences, and nothing can take away from that. Not even life itself.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Telling Victims To Grow Up - Is Stephen Fry Correct?



Recently, Stephen Fry said something extremely offensive and detrimental to the countless people who've been victims of abuse. It shocks me that something like that can be allowed on national television. And now the media is in uproar over his remarks for sex abuse victims to "grow up and get over it"

Let's read what this grotesque monster said in The Rubin Report

You get some of my sympathy but your self-pity gets none of my sympathy because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity.

 How dare he say something so offensive and invalidat-wait, that doesn't sound very offensive to me. Then what is all the SJW uproar about? He goes on to say

Get rid of it because no one's going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself. The irony is we'll feel sorry for you if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Grow up

I can't help but feel that media has lied to me. His words, pretty tame in themselves, are words of truth and wisdom. It's hard to say you don't agree with the victim in today's politically correct culture, but take a long moment and think if this is the culture we should be propagating.
Self pity is a disastrous thing. It is a blackhole that consumes everything around it, except itself. It destroys relationships, lives, but more than anything, it destroys the  respect in yourself. And that is an enormous disservice to yourself. Don't throw a big man tantrum hoping to get what you want, even if it works sometimes.

Telling someone to grow up isn't invalidating their experiences, it is telling them to move past things that are not important enough to keep looming over. Like stopping yourself from  picking a scab isn't disbelieving the existence of the wound. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You pick yourself up, and you keep going

You cannot allow yourself to fall into a feedback loop where you feel sorry for yourself, get down, and feel sorry for yourself for being down. I believe that while everyone is busy missing the point of Fry's words, smarter people can listen to his real advice and in return, improve their lives.

Grow up. Confront your past. Defeat your demons.


You can watch the entire interview here:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Motivation Vs. Discipline



Who hasn't hit the bed at night after an unproductive day and thought - "Tomorrow will be different". Of course, it never is. Motivation is fleeting and inconsistent, discipline is unyielding. It is immune to changing circumstances. Motivation is the cold splash of water that wakes you up at night, discipline is the will that keeps you awake long enough to do something about it.

Humans have the frightening ability to stand in a waterfall of inspiration and not absorb a single drop. No one can inspire you of their own volition. Pretty words on pretty pictures are as saccharine and banal as astrological signs. There's a visible disconnect between the half-hearted intent, and the actual effect.

It worries me that I may not be living up to my full potential. It worries me even more that maybe I am. Motivation works on the assumption that we need a specific state of mind to function at optimal levels, discipline, by contrast forces our hand to perform when there are reasons not to.

This is the faulty thinking that results in countless reiterations of the same logic - "If you don't do something you love as work, then you will remain frustrated and dissatisfied".
I disagree. In the world we live in, we are expected to do things that no one in their right mind would be enthusiastic about. This doesn't mean that you don't do them. Of course, people try to drum up fake motivation but to me, that's not only delusional, but a form of self inflicted hypomania. It leaves you burnt out after short spurts of elation.

Motivation is turning a lever to open the figurative door. Discipline is automating that process. Waiting till you feel like doing something is a self feeding procrastination loop that creates an un-fillable void.

It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it everyday, that's the hard part.

But it does get easier.



Saturday, March 12, 2016

An open letter to everyone: Humanity is Awesome



I don't know what it is about me that screams sarcasm to people. Maybe it's because I use irony to mock people. Regardless, I continue to remain clueless. Another thing that is attributed to me is the distaste for humanity. Nothing could be more wrong. Well, maybe something could be, but this is somewhere near the top of that list. This post has absolutely no reason to go on for longer than one paragraph, which means it almost certainly will be longer than one paragraph. Take it as an open letter of sorts addressed to everyone(~6 people who're reading this).

I love humanity, and it's not some constrained love either, I do not profess to like one aspect of it while completely disregarding most of it. Yes, I like some elements more than others and even dislike some, but that does not mean humanity isn't amazing. Of course, seeing as I belong to it may skew my perspective a bit. I however, stand unmoved, humanity is awesome.                                                         

No one can narrow the spectrums that humanity exists on, it is like a layered cake you're viewing sideways. Even so, I dislike quite a few people. Oh yes, disliking some people is not something I deny and there is
quite a lot of hate for people so few in number. Just because I like humans doesn't mean I like someone specifically. Flaws exist in everything and that is the basis for it to continue to better itself.

Let me tell you why I love humanity. The answer is not because humanity is 'beautiful' or how 'heartwarming' some people are. None of those bullshit vague answers that don't mean anything once you stop reading them. Humans are just as cruel as they are heartwarming. They're just as dark as they're beautiful.
 No, I find people to be the best thing ever. We are sentient, and therefore have the power to control and concentrate our thoughts. We are the only known species that can do this. That outright makes us special, but it is our minds that make us interesting.

Discovery, research, art and so many other fields, whenever there is something new to be found, we find it. And it never ends, one man's life span is merely a hindrance to humanity's quest.

We have always been constantly in conflict with our own limitations. The only way to escape the humdrum is to keep evolving, and goddamnit! aren't we the best at that?

People look for Heaven and Hell when everything to find is over here. We just have to discover it, and that is one of humanity's major selling points. Wherever you look, there's something new to find, something more exciting than anything else found before. And don't even get me started on humans. Everyone's unique. Every. Single. One. This does not mean they're all the same. Their uniqueness is not shared on a linear plane.
Whenever someone proclaims- 'we're all unique, so no one is', I secretly grind my teeth at the profound sounding load of crap. People are different to varying degrees in varying dimensions.

Not all of these people are good. Not many of these are outwardly interesting. But those who are, make it worth your while to go discover people. We have undiscoverable boundaries and yet so many choose to revel in this gift like it's a curse. The ability to understand people and their motivations is something special to us. My faith in humanity is not restored because it never subsided.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Touch of A Good Relationship



Drunk on the promise to forever stay in touch, you leave school. The establishment you've spent almost all your life in. Slowly, but surely, that flame flickers. Friends fade into acquaintances and then into people you used to know. You try to cling on to the good memories, who doesn't. But maintaning a balance between the past and the present while you move onto the future is like rollerblading backwards.

Not all relationships are permanent. And that's okay. You can be great friends during a particular phase of your life without having to regret leaving them behind as you transcend that phase. It's not easy to admit, or to accept. But some friends are borne out of the situation more than compatibility.

Trying desperately to keep in touch is like trying to stop an icecube from melting by holding it in your hands. The more you try, the harder it fails.

While I think loyalty is absolute and needs to be unwavering, drifting off isn't always abandoning someone. Once someone gets close enough to me, they know that they have my unquestioning loyalty. It doesn't mean that years down the road they can't call upon it(much like Vito Corleone), but it also doesn't mean that we need to be in constant contact all that while,

Loyalty doesn't mean you always try to help or interfere. Loyalty to me, means letting the person live their life however they want to, but with a promise to be there for them if all hell breaks loose. You don't need a backup parachute, until you do. Being loyal also doesn't mean compromising your integrity and being influenced by the person you're swearing fealty to. As Stephen Chbosky put it: "I'll die for you, but I won't live for you"

A good relationship when you're young is like fine wine when you're a teenager looking to get wasted. Only later do you appreciate your lucky good taste. Friendships forged in the clay of youth get cemented well into adulthood.

Just because losing touch is as natural as growing older, it doesn't mean that all your relationships are for naught. There will always be people that you'll remain entangled with. And don't forget, You only need one flicker of light, to erase the darkness.




Listen to this post: https://soundcloud.com/bored_inside/the-touch-of-a-good-relationship


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Concise Stories - Part4: 4 Words



4.
Image source: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/12/christmas_2009.html

Dyslexic man kills santa.
Image source: http://newnoisemagazine.com/album-review-flatliners-dead-language/

Dead anguagelay, Pig latin.


Image source: http://wurstwisdom.com/picsbehd/quotes-on-smoking-kills

Dad quit smoking. Forever.





Image source: http://bunnis.deviantart.com/art/Abandoned-childhood-52337766

Mother died, father drank.

Image source: https://stellagrasso.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/mirror-mirror/

Checked mirror. Reflection blinked


Two lives, murder-suicide.