Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Whenever I am stuck for things to write, I think of things I sneer at. Things that I feel others are doing wrong or are not seeing that I, in my supreme wisdom and clarity, am able to see. And then the words flow. For this post, I am trying to write about the quotidian and the wondrous and see if I can drum up 10.
1. Nature isnt just transformative experiences and polar bears. Its also the aggressive cancer that sneaks up on your liver, its the rodent that invades your kitchen, its the bug that you ingest, that drains you so much that you need to crawl to the loo. ( Inspired by Kathleen Jamie- Sightlines)
2. Whenever we see a video or hear an audio of ourselves we are so appalled- I thought I moved faster than that on the court, I didnt realise how fat I was, Is that really how I sound, etc etc. Then why is introspection so hyped? Surely we dont know anything about ourselves? Isnt it better to ask people who are observing us?
3. Most statements made are not fully true. By which I dont mean they are lies, but that they dont apply all the time, to everyone, across all situations. For ex in point 2- obviously some people benefit by introspection, some problems may be solved by introspection- thats not the point. The point is asking other people ( friends , family etc) in a purposeful way.
4. Have recently been fascinated by navigation without technology- the way people earlier used to navigate by stars, by birds, by natural landmarks- not that I need to go anywhere anyway. Or that I will be able to follow a star and reach the office or my friends house. But only in my current house have I noticed that the place of the sun set varies with the seasons and the stars move around the sky quicker than I had imagined. When we move to a new place we quickly learn the landscape, where is the nearest grocery store, the hospital and we orient ourselves in the new place fully. The sky and the stars which are with us always, we barely have any clue of. But I can hear you saying we need the grocery store and the hospital , we dont need the stars.
5. I hate cats. I respect them a lot though, because it feels like they understand that I hate them. They make angry eye contact before slinking away. They are graceful and regal, but somehow I dont like them at all. Not even kittens.
6. A small streak of unhappy can color your otherwise happy day, but a small streak of happy rarely brightens up an otherwise harried day. Does 2 mins of mindfulness counter the rest of the stressed, distracted state?
7. What do birds do all day? Just chill? We have a few birds that diligently wake up from their spots in our Eucalyptus tree and come back around 5:30-6. Curious where they go and what their day job involves.
8. Am so jealous of people living in Britain, Ireland, Scotland etc- anyone who is not living in cities. They have access to so much wilderness, so much trails and woods to get lost in. Those of us in cities especially some of us unfortunate enough to be living in dusty Indian cities can only sigh in longing.
9. As someone who is by herself a lot of the time, I didnt think reading horror would be a big deal. When I have lived by myself in the past, I have watched horror movies and not had a problem sleeping alone. The Haunting of Hill house was a slightly different matter. I began to wonder if the house I am currently in is evil and the general sounds and silences outside took on a rather sinister aura. But am glad that it didnt interfere in my sleep.
10. I cant stand Anne Helen Petersen's whining. I read an article called "Should we be working during a coup" and I found it to be the most whiny, entitled post ever. She seems to believe that no one except millenials has any problems in life and all millenial problems involve over working. This post in particular spoke about how a lot of people were forced to continue working on the day of the Capitol protests even though they felt anxious and distracted. She also tells that a lot of the bosses asked people to take it light on that day, so I am not sure what exactly her problem is. People exercised, people fed their kids and made meals and had them on that day, so why would you not be expected to work? All over the world when there are things happening politically in the country, that work day is colored by that. But everyone knows that and adjusts their expectations accordingly. AHP instead writes a whiny essay.
Point 10 is cynical, but it was something gnawing on me so I had to get it out.
Friday, February 5, 2021
1) Looking at the horrid unkempt mess our lawn has become, I wonder how the original forests even had a chance to flourish. How is the Amazon forest not just a jumble of weeds? Every single useful plant in our lawn has either been eaten by aphids, overtaken by weeds or dried out ( the last one is my fault :D)
2) For all the discussion and encouragement about getting out of your comfort zone, I realised what a comfort zone slut I am. I didnt move from my comfortable sofa even when the sun was shining bright (the spot was much cosier in the winter, the summer sun is obviously not as gentle) and ended up with a headache. I felt the headache coming on, yet didnt move.
3) My time and attention are being pulled apart in a 100 directions from external requirements but the biggest enemy of my concentration is still my own mind. Am so appalled at my phone stats- I would rather reveal my weight before revealing the number of hours I spent on my phone or the number of times I clicked on apps
4) Spending time in nature is the only time the hedonic treadmill fails. I can never get used to it.
5) The only forward that I have ever received that has been helpful is a one-liner from my friend - Procrastination doesnt make it go away. Doing it makes it go away. So simple, yet sooo powerful.
6)Its Feb 2021 already. Surprised at how far I have come, without having achieved anything.
7) I should be experiencing a strong mid-life crisis, but maybe I am too distracted to have one.
8) Digital detox one day wont work- Its like eating healthy one day while bingeing on junk the other 6 days.
9) I dont know if its the nature of my job, or its what I have become but I dont remember the last time I thought hard and came up with a solution. Everything has mostly been superficial problem solving ( picking one from a list of possible solutions) or firefighting.
10) Most books that are about A year I spent living in rural France, or how I moved out of Silicon valley to start a yoga retreat in Brazil have something inherently deceptive. The authors make it seem like they did all of this and then decided the experience was valuable enough for them to write a book about it. The fact however is that its clear from the book that they were preparing to write the book all along. How else do you remember how exactly you felt standing at the SFO airport? Or your description of your co-passengers? Its absolutely OK to have been taking notes that you one day hope becomes a book, so why cant you just say that upfront? You may ask how it matters- But when you note down feelings for a journal its more real than when you note down feelings for a possible future book. You are in some sense performing it for an audience.
11) My rant in previous point does not by any means make any of these books less enjoyable.
Monday, May 25, 2020
2) My interest in meditation is a result of my fascination with the brain. Not to attain Nirvana.
3) We are definitely in the dark or pre-enlightenment ages, when it comes to understanding the brain. And meditation is like a microscope, reveals what we suspected to be present but couldnt see.
4) Dont read books on meditation by fringe celebrities. They are simply trying to make themselves more relevant by jumping on the bandwagon. I mean, dont read it to understand meditation or what it does, you can of course read it as a fun memoir, if that sort of thing interests you
5) Who I want to follow, when it comes to meditation really depends on my mood. Sometimes its the atheists guided meditation that makes sense, sometimes its the religious one that I have grown up hearing.
6) Chanting, prayers etc are more accesible forms of meditation- you keep your focus and sort of think about one thing only. Those days people did a lot of things- fasting, chanting etc which are coming back as new-age hustle activities
7) Not sure if it is right to add meditation to any word- walking meditation, dishwashing meditation etc. Walking as an activity is interesting and worthy, without tacking on meditation to it, to look more attractive.
8) Its a free, healthy way to get high apparently. Dont think the effort is worth it.
9) I dont agree that meditation makes you a calmer self-content person, judging by the amount of meditation posts on LinkedIn. Maybe it does after 20 years of practise, but the first few, it probably gives you enough focus to write a LinkedIn post or a blog post- bragging about how much meditation has changed my life, and hey you lesser human being, you should perhaps try it too.
10) Nirvana isnt fun or a goal I aspire to. The process looks interesting- filled with good energy, high focus, calmness, less stress etc. I wish there was a way to arrest the development at that. Kind of like maintaining the pupa stage from metamorphosising into a full grown butterfly.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
2) You can understand a little more about someone by what they name something. I dont mean kids etc, but by what they name a extended family / friends whatsapp group they create. Some are straightforward and unimaginative like Gupta family or just family, while some call it Star parivaar. I do like looking at group names on other people's phones.
3) The previous point got me thinking about why I named this blog The Attic. Its traditionally not a place thats directly useful to the home and is mostly full of regular storage stuff or junk thats going to be thrown out. But as a kid I used to love sitting in our store room and going through stuff and discovering something interesting. So in a way I suppose thats what I try to do with this blog or writing overall- look for treasures amidst junk.
It also conjures up a cozy safe place , from Enid blyton type books I think. I dont know if I thought all of this subconsciously or if I am post rationalising.
4) Morning after rains is interesting. The trees look different- I suppose its their version of a good night (wink wink).
5) The biggest downside to moving from being close to family, to relying on friends ( who you spend your holidays, important moments and difficult times) is the fact that your friends are most likely your age. So we end up the wisdom that comes from having someone 15 years older, who has gone through something similar and can reassure you that this doesnt matter in the long run.
An older cousin who you trust cannot be replaced by the twitter friend of yours, when it comes to giving reassurance.
6) I think polygamy would have been helpful for wives in terms of company. If the jealousy/ competing for attention from the husband angle was somehow taken out ( or put up with, as has been the case with women throughout history) wives can be good company for each other ( See advice point above) and there is free babysitting , and perhaps actually having someone to listen to your woes.
Not supporting polygamy obviously , I cant figure out a way to overcome the jealousy point if I am applying it hypothetically to myself.
7) Diet, managing relationships, mental health, an appreciation of architecture, listening , learning to argue , learning to think , confidence, understanding oneself. Things I wish that were taught in school.
8) This is a half-assed hypothesis and I havent really confirmed this- but I think Murakami's wrtiting is surreal and relatable because he makes the locations conducive for that. The guy goes on a long journey in a suburban train at night and gets off at some obscure station, sits in a taxi for 20 minutes and enters a sort of nondescript abandoned building with what seems like a never ending corridor. He runs along the length and it bursts open into what appears to be a football field which is lit by moonlight. Are you even surprised something random happens after that? My theory is that with these descriptions he primes your brain for some kind of dreamy thing, so you are simultaneously able to relate while also finding it surreal.
His writings are like dreams- not entirely realistic but you somehow find it relatable. So what he does is do the setup just like a dream- real enough that you can perhaps imagine a location from memory but draw it out so that it starts becoming just a bit unbelievable.
9) Analyzing critical feedback and figuring which to take and which to discard is a very valuable skill. Because sometimes the feedback maybe right and perfectly reasonable from the point of view of the giver, and the intent may also have been noble, but it may not just work for you. For ex, if you are giving a presentation and someone tells you that they lost interest because it wasnt dramatic enough- but your objective is to build an image as someone serious- you could choose to ignore that piece of feedback. But its very easy to start thinking that maybe serious doesnt need to clash with dramatic- what if serious ends up meaning boring etc. I dont know what is the right thing to do and if there is a right way at all to process these things. I think the prolific creators have a better grasp on this.
10) LSD might become like coffee in the future- sure to alter your energy level, some people swear by it and others want to build a life without having a dependence on it.
I dont know if this style of smaller blocks is better than a single blog post- I dont think it is- in terms of going deeper on a subject, but for now I am enjoying the breadth of topics and there is no pressure.