Fiction, non-fiction, Choices, etc

There was a time when I wanted to read all the “classics” (fiction) before I die. I also wanted to watch a lot of acclaimed movies. Of course, I enjoy reading and watching movies, but there was also FOMO. This FOMO drove me to read some classics and watch some highly acclaimed movies. I also tried to write fiction and failed miserably.

In recent times though, I have realized that I love non-fiction and that it gives me immense joy. Of course, there are always some fiction books and acclaimed movies that I read and watch every now and then, but I think I know what I like (atleast for the time being).
It breaks my heart to think that I might never read Game Of Thrones or complete the Harry Potter series. I might not belong to the amazing worlds that science fiction writers create. I might miss out on great cinema. I might not root for any fictional character. I might not cry for or laugh with a fictional character. My FOMO is quite high but somewhere you have to accept yourself. We are here for a limited amount of time and trying to do something that you don’t fully enjoy takes away precious moments from us. If you are like me, you might feel ecstatic after reading an obscure and ridiculous book about the way this universe works. If you are like me, you might miss out on reading Nobel Prize winning authors. But life is all about making choices. We all are different and we simply don’t have the time to DO EVERYTHING in life.
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Kya kare kya na kare yeh kaisi mushkil hai!

If a girl wears a short dress.

Society: Where are your sanskaars?
If a boy harasses the girl wearing the short dress.
Society: She was asking for it.
If a girl who was harassed complains immediately.
Society: You look like a slut (as if “slut” is an insult), you were asking for it.
If a girl who was harassed gathers courage and speaks up after a long time.
Society: Why didn’t you speak up earlier?
If a girl who was harassed doesn’t complain
Society: See, it is your fault!
If the girl who was harassed is “attractive” and was wearing Western attire
Society: You are a slut. You were asking for it.
If the girl who was harassed is “ugly” and was wearing traditional clothes.
Society: You are a behenji. Who would harass YOU?
If a girl leaves the office early
Colleagues: I wish I were a girl! I would have left early too.
If a girl stays at office for work till late night
Society: If something happens to you, it’s your fault!
If a girl talks too much
Society: We can’t stand girls because they talk too much
If a girl doesn’t talk much
Society: Hey, why are you so quiet? Women are supposed to talk a lot! Be feminine!
If a girl wants to become a homemaker
Society: Tu toh pati ke paiso pe jeeti hai.
If a girl wants to be financially independent.
Society: You are selfish.
If girls demand separate ladies compartment
Society: You want equality and yet you want special privileges
If girls share the compartment with guys and if a guy harasses a girl
Society: It’s her fault! Girls should sit at home.
If a girl dresses up to impress boys
Society: If something happens to you, it’s your fault!
If a girl doesn’t dress up
Society: Girls MUST impress boys. That is the reason why you are alive!
If a girl dresses up for herself
Society: You are so selfish!
If a girl obsesses about her looks
Society: Girls are so self-obsessed!
If a girl doesn’t obsess about her looks
Society: Be feminine! Act like a girl! You have to impress guys.
If girls are against girls
Society: Girls can’t stand together!
If girls support girls
Society: Feminazis!
P.S. Girls, no matter what you do/what you wear, there is absolutely NO ESCAPE. As you can see, society gives contradictory messages to us, so that we are forever stressed about some IDEAL, which cannot exist (as it is full of contradictions). Doing what you love is difficult and stressful but listening to these endless contradictory messages is injurious to health!

A message to the quiet ones…

A lot of people think that quiet people are not intelligent. There will be times when some people/authority figures at your workplace or college or school overlook you and pay attention to that charming and bubbly person. Don’t worry because talent, sincerity, passion and commitment are quite loud…if you are a sincere and dedicated person then eventually people will start paying attention to your work. Just have some patience.

There will be times when you will feel like an outcast because of your ideas and opinions. Don’t worry…someday, you will find your tribe. Just have some patience.

There will be times when you will be afraid that you won’t be able to make friends. There will be times when you will think that your friend will start hanging out with that outgoing person and leave you behind. Remember that even if your friend starts hanging out with that outgoing person, you will always have your own unique gifts to offer.

Don’t start disliking that charming and the bubbly person. Instead of trying to change them and yourself, complement them. Society wants each and everyone to have the same personality but having personalities that complement each other is one of the most beautiful things in the world.

Remember that sometimes, you have to move out of your comfort zone. If the reason why you are pushing yourself is important, then go for it!

Beware of FOMO. Remember that the grass always looks greener on the other side.

Why Ranveer Singh’s dressing style is revolutionary

I have never understood the fixed notion of ‘gender’. In my teenage, I wondered why women can wear pants but men cannot wear skirts? I never dared to share these thoughts with my friends or family because I didn’t want to be mocked for having such weird thoughts.

Most men are afraid of associating themselves with anything feminine because in a patriarchal society, femininity is inferior to masculinity. In a culture where people say stuff like “Ladki hai kya? Mard ban, be a man!” or “Haath mein chudi pehenke rakha hai kya”. it is difficult to find men who embrace feminine things like nose rings or skirts. It takes guts for a mainstream Bollywood actor to be associated with feminine stuff. It takes guts for a mainstream Bollywood actor to say in his interview that he is hyper-sensitive.

We always think of revolution as something ‘big’. But revolution is also about the small choices that we make everyday. By choosing to embrace things that are associated with women, Ranveer Singh is changing the world, one outfit at a time.

Pride

Since childhood, Indians have been taught to take pride in OTHERS’ achievements and that’s the root of so many problems. It is okay to take pride in your religion and your culture but unfortunately, we have been taught to feel an unhealthy sense of pride in OTHERS’ achievements. That’s why some of us are so fanatical about religion, cricket and our on-screen ‘heroes’. I wish we were taught to feel a healthy sense of pride that comes from overcoming life’s challenges. A person with a healthy sense of pride won’t burn down cricketer’s effigies because he/she has already a lot of things from his/her own life to feel proud of! Unfortunately, a lot of Indians are taught to run AWAY from challenges (“Engineering kar le, future secure rahega”, “Shaadi karle varna log kya kahenge”) and hence, there is nothing to feel proud of!

Giving up illegal downloads

We want artists to make good art but we forget that they need to make a living. We crib about lack of quality in mainstream movies  but we download indie films illegally. We also forget that every time we download a movie or a book or a song illegally, we are making it difficult for an artist to to survive.

Since a decade, I have downloaded illegal books, movies and songs. Even after I started working, the first thing I did while I was searching for a book/movie/song was to see if can get it for free. This year though, I have decided to stop doing it. I’m not judging those who download stuff illegally because that’s their choice and I am sure they have their reasons. Honestly, I have the privilege and I understand that not everyone can afford to do this.
Working in the creative field, I know the kind of effort that goes into making something creative and if I want to make a living out in a creative field, I would have to “walk the talk” i.e. I cannot expect others to pay for my creativity if I don’t pay for others’ creative work.
I am kind of worried because I would have to think a lot before buying something. But somewhere, I trust the universe :).

Introversion and FOMO

Being an introvert can be challenging…especially when you have to attend office parties. I had to attend one before Christmas and I was dreading it all along. It started with a few games, one of which I played. As the evening progressed, people started drinking and dancing. Few colleagues dragged me to the dance floor and asked me to dance…I ran away (I’m too shy!). After an hour, I slowly sneaked out of the office.I was the first person to leave the office (I do understand that some introverts like partying, dancing, etc)

At the year-end, there is tremendous pressure “to have fun”. Unfortunately, the idea of fun is defined by few people who mock those who have a different idea of fun. If you are an introvert, don’t feel ashamed/sad of your quiet plans. Maybe you want to spend your New Year’s Eve reading or maybe you want to discuss Philosophy with your friend/sibling. You don’t have to compare yourself with others and feel disheartened. Just do what makes you happy :).

Standardized food

It seems that most restaurants/cake-shops have standard recipes. The people who serve them also say/behave in the same way. Maybe, most people think that knowing the tried-and-tested formula is enough. But food, no matter how perfectly you know the formula, is nothing without passion. And passion is not a one-sided affair, the person who eats also needs to be passionate as well.
 You can get a pizza in 30 minutes but there is a pleasure in searching for an obscure eatery, driving through the traffic to the other side of town and finding a hidden gem where the people who make pizzas like an artist and those who serve them have a twinkle in their eyes. According to Geoff Moore’s idea diffusion curve, the people who passionately strive to make unique products are innovators while those who invest/buy such obscure stuff are early adapters. These early adapters are leaders because they search for unique products/services and put their money into them. The rest of the crowd are early majority, late majority and laggards who realize how good the product and service is, after the early adapters. I feel that once the majority finds out about these unique products/services, other restaurants/bakeries start using the same formula that worked for the innovator and the result is the standardized and bland food that you find everywhere.

Who are the people whose opinions matter so much to us?

We always worry about what people will think about us but we hardly think about who these “people” actually are. If we analyze deeply, we will find that we are mostly, subconsciously/unconsciously trying to impress white, heterosexual men. We might say that we want to impress our neighborhood aunty but let’s analyze: What if this aunty has a dark skin color and what if she is fat? What if she  is “unattractive”? What if she had body hair? What if she is a lesbian? Will her opinion matter so much to us? Now notice how the beauty standards are constructed. A conventionally beautiful woman is thin, fair-skinned, has no body hair, etc. So we are not looking at the neighborhood aunty for who she is…we are actually looking at her from the beauty constructs of white, heterosexual men.

F.O.M.O

His Holiness The Dalai Lama will be giving a speech at KJ Somaiya College tomorrow. When I heard about it, my first reaction was, “I cannot miss this at any cost!” But my second reaction was: I’m just too tired to change two trains and travel. My third reaction was, “Come on! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!” but my fourth reaction was, ” I am just too stressed out! I just want to curl up in my blanket and read a book.” So I finally decided that I will not go. My first reaction after this decision was, “Shit I am missing out something really awesome” but I will stand by my decision despite all the F.O.M.O.

As human beings with limited life span, we want to have as many experiences as we can. But at some point we have to understand our personality and make choices accordingly. As an introvert, I find it extremely taxing to be in a social setting (which I do everyday at workplace). Adding to that, the traveling makes things worse. Weekend is the time when I want to be in my little world, read and write. This might seem like a bad decision but doing this re-energizes me and keeps me sane. So for my mental health’s sake, I have decided to let go of some opportunities.At the end of the day, doing something out of fear is not enjoyable and the sooner we understand this, the better!