Letter to my younger self

Dear Arpita of college days,

How are you? This is your older self writing to you. I know you would love if you could get to know what the future holds for you. So here I am, giving you a sneak-peek into the future. Maybe it will make your Saturday a little better.

The first thing that I want to tell you is ¬†life is going to look up in a few years, so CHILL! I know you avoid going on the random trips that your friends plan (this is not going to change that much that soon), and I respect you for doing it – for sacrificing the small joys in order to have a better future. But that said, I know the biggest thing that looms large on your mind is the student loans. You are worried how you will ever pay it back and how soon. You are a very driven individual. Once you have set your mind to do something, you do get it done – you just have to understand that. You’ll spend your early work years aggressively paying off the loan and it will be over soon, so there is no point in worrying about it now. It’s not like the loan will get paid if you worry over it! ūüėÄ

Okay, now that your biggest worry is off the table, let’s talk about the next big thing: your relationship. You have found support and love after a long time, and you need to cherish it. The thing about life is nothing is permanent. Things change, people change. The nagging thought that you have at the back of your mind: whether this relationship will work out to marriage – well, I don’t have a definite answer to that, but in all probability it won’t. But again, when it ends, you will find yourself much more mature and stronger to deal with it. You need to stop feeling like you don’t deserve any better, because you do. You’re beautiful even with the tiny white patches of vitiligo on your skin. When you meet the right man, it won’t stop him from loving you.

I know you spend a lot of time being mad at your parents. Your sole complaint is why they can’t provide you the things that your friends’ parents are able to provide them. You hate that you don’t have as many nice clothes to wear, as much money to go out with your friends. Really, you need to give your parents a break. I am glad that you’ll eventually grow out of this mental frame and forgive your parents and feel bad for how you’ve treated them when you were feeling low. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Some of us have to carve our own paths and build our own queendoms. Tell me, isn’t it cooler to buy that wrist watch with your own money rather than begging your parents for it? I know the self-respecting part of you says a big YES to this, but your only worry is whether you’ll be capable enough to actually buy it someday. Well, you will! And when you are, you’ll actually be thinking more about giving back to your family than your own fulfillment. Yes, you will be that person!

So relax a little, keep up that wide smile and walk a lot more on the peaceful roads of Salt Lake while you can. You’re going to miss it much.

A big thanks to you for reading this. I want you to know how grateful I am to you for being who you are: you have a good heart and a beautiful mind. I’m proud to be the older you!

Until later,

Yours,

Older Arpita


 

Jamie Wharton from http://www.earnest.com approached me to write this letter. Earnest provides a better way for students & grads to refinance student loans. As part of this blogging project, their aim is share advice for current college students on what we wish we knew when we were in college and also allow us to reflect on some of the best times of our life. 

Thanks Jamie for inviting me to be a part of this!

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sapiens – Where are we headed?

The last couple of days, I have been reading Prof. Harari’s book, Sapiens. The book has a bold agenda: to hold the history of mankind within mere hundreds of pages. From my reading so far I feel it is a great narrative.

The trigger for my interest in human history rose with the recent policy changes in the company with respect to timings and food, etc. It is amazing how corporations can change rules without the consent of the majority/any of employees. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that private companies are merely tools of profit-making. We are living in a capitalist world where profit-making drives our economy. So much so that it has had detrimental effect on the society time and again. That got me to thinking, what are world leaders and thinkers thinking about capitalism: where does it stand today? Are we gonna move away from the clutches of capitalism anytime soon? Are there any alternatives for the global socio-politico-economic system?

In general, when we seek answers, we look back in the past for explanations. That seemed like the natural course for me too. I had been watching multiple videos on Youtube, which led me to Prof. Harari.

From my reading so far, my key takeaways have been:

  1. There are no fixed natural rules that apply to man/Sapiens – I have often heard how men are meant to be polygamous by nature. It is not true. Homo sapiens have evolved across multiple continents, in various tribes and bands. They have evolved in multiple ways where each chose a way of living, a culture to co-exist together. These variations are so many that we cannot possibly posit that there are only certain (right/natural) behaviors that a man can exhibit.
  2. Human beings have had detrimental effect on biological ecosystem even in ancient history, so the 19th-21st century mankind are not the only generation to be blamed for climate change or diminishing flora and fauna. If Harari is to be believed, humans had a distinctive role to play in the extinction of the Australian megafauna, which contained many marsupials that are not walking the continent today. Similar was the case in America
  3. It is our stories that has made mankind the potent super species in the world – The day human beings started to spin stories (which might have started as gossip between two people) is the day when humans rose from just another species in the ecosystem to a formidable one. You don’t expect a dog to talk behind another dog. Or, tell tales about some god that has a dog’s body (and maybe a human face?). That is because probably man is the only one who can create imagined reality. It is this quality that drives millions of men and women to fight for a common cause and create a big impact. Imagine any other species being able to do so; it will be utter chaos.

While I feel proud that for humankind, (I am someone who is a strong proponent of science and technology), I cannot but feel sorry for what we have done to this Earth. Today, we are worried about AI and robots rupturing economies taking away jobs. We are making fast progress in making our machines smarter, to the point that we don’t know how it will affect us in the next 20 years. When I think about it, I see a clear parallel in what happened in the world thousands of years ago as Homo sapiens came to rule to planet. Human beings got smarter than any of the living creatures on Earth, and the ecosystem had no time to adjust itself to the same. Similarly, we are on a fast track of development and we probably have no control over what our creations will do to us in the recent future.

As scary as the future is, I am glad I was born in a time that will evidence this change. I am proud of what we have achieved and what we can achieve more, and I hope that a large part of it will go towards undoing all the bad things we have done to the Earth.

What do you think? Does the future scare you? Are you glad you are living on the Earth in this century? If given a chance, which time period in history would you like to be born in?

Until later,

‚̧

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What have we done to each other?

The barren Earth, with its greys and browns, devoid of greens, looked at the tiny human beings swarming across her body. Her eyes were full of pain and a sense of helpless hatred. As the mother, she was supposed to protect her children: the plants, the animals and the men alike. Yet, millions of years after holding the first life form, she was now steadily walking towards Annihilation. When did the men become so powerful that they started poking bigger and bigger wounds on her flesh?

The first time human beings made the primitive wheel, Earth was amused. She was proud of the humans Рor pro-humans, at the time. This species seemed to have an intelligence that allowed it to not depend on Earth for its own amusements Рits was an independent species that required little motherly care, except the bare necessities. So Earth paid more attention to the other species. Some of the older species she slowly eradicated, bringing its their place stronger, more beautiful, more powerful species.

By the time she woke up to the dangers that human beings posed, it was already too late. The air and the seas were toxic. The forests were cut down. Sadly, nobody in Earth’s creative world was able to challenge the superiority of the humans. Earth grew more and more desperate with each passing year/

In her desperate attempts to control the disease, started the storms and the droughts and the epidemics, hoping the humans would read into the signs. They did. Some of the smart men and women did read into it. But sadly, these men were few in number and their powers were limited. They spoke to their fellow humans, urging them, reasoning with them, bickering with them to understand what they had done to Earth. Earth listened to their demonstrations with a furiously beating heart, hoping something would change.

But, as the great Creator had once told Earth, “Beware of beauty, O Earth! For what makes you beautiful, will one day cause your downfall. Everything that you do to undo it will fall short.”

So now, Earth sat silently, counting the days of Annihilation. She wondered what would the last day be like, the last day when she would not have to be mother anymore. Would the gravitational pull cease to exist? Or would she miss her path and straight fall into the burning sun? Or would it be nothing as dramatic, but only humans trying out another of their lethal weapons, wiping out entire life system?

 

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why relationships are so crucial?

As a kid, my parents dictated who I made friends with. They were not very enthusiastic about me going out with friends. I used to play in the neighborhood playground until a certain age. At any rate, girls my age were few in number and the boys were always playing cricket, so as I grew up I started to stay indoors. I believe that is what ruined my ability to form relationships.

At school, I was close to couple of people. We used to play, talk, laugh, have fun. Those were simple days. Then after tenth standard examinations, I went to a different, all-girls’ school. The next two years were a busy time, when everyone was preparing for entrance examinations to different colleges. Nobody had the time to sit around and chat. I also lost contact with my previous school friends. As a result, I became more and more isolated.

In college again, I made some friends, but by this time around, I had learnt not to depend on anyone. I was independent and could manage most things myself. This gave me a false sense of relationships not being important. I thought relationships were overrated. I did have a boyfriend for major part of college, but there was never any need in that relationship.

From what I have seen so far, relationships thrive on need. Two people could be independent, great when they are single, but there has to be something that they see in each other through which they bond and become dependent on each other. Unless there is a sense of need, the relationship becomes fragile and once you put some distance, it breaks.

Trust me, I do not like drama in a relationship. I am not someone who likes to call up every five minutes to check on anyone. I enjoy having meaningful conversations ranging from stars in the sky to incredible progress of science and technology that is enabling to write this post. However, in my quest of being independent, I never learnt how to feel need for a person.

Two years into work life, isolated from my family, out of any romantic relationship, I realize how lonely it is to not have anyone to discuss your day with. Maybe, everyday you do not need to talk about stars in the sky or marvels of technology. Maybe, some days are about bitching about work and being pissed off and being able to share that with someone. But for someone who never learnt how to depend, how do I trust anyone with the crumbles of my heart?

Until later.

‚̧

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Why planning is important

As I mentioned in my last post, at office we are moving to a new timing: 1 PM to 10 PM IST. Like I also mentioned, the change evoked mixed reactions on the floors (much like any other change).

On the supposedly-bright side, meals for three times would be free. And that was what was worrying me the most. Dinner time is from 9.30 PM to 11.00 PM. Given everyone will be done with work at the same time almost, you can only imagine the rush in cafeteria. Last night I went to have dinner at 10.30, most of the food was finished, and the one place where they were still giving food there was such a huge queue that I came back and had a meager meal at home.

It annoys me that we could not plan for this better. Given the change, the logistics should have been planned so much better. Instead of ensuring employees work the scheduled time without fail, what we ended up doing is a mad rush of hungry people who have nothing but the pangs of hunger in mind.

I just don’t know where my life is headed right now. And unless a smart step is taken real soon, I don’t see how this is going to work.

 

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

If we were having coffee – 1

I haven’t quite blogged in some time now and didn’t know what to talk about as well. So, I decided to do a ‘coffee blog’ where I am gonna tell you things if we were having coffee right now. Here we go:

If we were having coffee, the first thing that I would tell you is I like my coffee better when it is cold – that’s literally the best coffee for me. We get this amazing cold coffee in the office cafeteria for just Rs. 30. Most days when my lunch is too dry, I’ll get myself and my friend Pooja a cup of the chilling, cold coffee.

If we were having coffee, I must tell you about the change in timing that will be implemented starting June 1 in my company. We are moving to the time 1 PM to 10 PM IST. It is supposed to ensure couple of things:

  1. Make sure everyone in the team starts and finishes together
  2. More overlap with clients

Mu Sigma, until now, was a company where there was no in time or out time. You could literally walk in or leave whenever you wanted. As nice as it sounds, most of the time, people ended up spending many more hours in office than the scheduled 9 hours work. I have known people who literally went to office one day and did not return home until the next day. Hopefully, these new timings should ease things like that out now. There are multiple thoughts and emotions on the floor because of this time change. The fact that it takes away the entire evening time is not something a lot of us are looking forward to. But the fact that we can sleep a little late into the morning and have the mornings to ourselves is definitely cheering us up.

If we were having coffee, I’d definitely tell you about me thinking about switching flats. I might end up getting a single home about 7 km from my workplace by end of July. It’s a nice society and I am looking forward to starting my life all over again over there. Over the last couple of months, my life has sort of become static. I watch TV series on the loop during the weekends. On the weekdays, I am too busy to do anything else. As such, I have moved farther and farther from my goals and passions. I am rarely blogging/writing/reading. I have also been sleeping late and waking up late. I want to press the reset button in my life and bring back some good habits. I am hoping moving to the new flat will make that happen for me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is really important to have clear, defined goals in life. When I was in school, the goal was to get into a good college. When I went to college, it became about getting into a good workplace. Now that I am working, I do not have any short term or long term goals that I had initially visualized. Now, I am planning to change the same. Eventually, I want to go back to the field of electronics, so I have decided to buy a study table and get started. For now, I am just taking a couple of tests for my promotion at work – at least that is keeping me slightly on schedule.

As the days pass,¬†I am also starting to having thoughts around settling down – marriage. As I have often talked about earlier, I had student loans and I do not plan to get married until and unless I have paid it off and made some savings. It’s becoming increasingly lonely to live among strangers and having no goal in life. Maybe, I’d be healthier if I were around people who would hold me accountable and who I’d be responsible for. Let’s see.

If you were having coffee with me right now, what would you tell me? What’s new in your life?

Until our next coffee date!

‚̧

 

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 28: Camp NaNo Winner

It’s 28th day of April and I am pleased to announce that I met my goal of 50K words today. I am a winner! Drumrolls!!

Camp-2017-Winner-Facebook-Cover

My book, however, is far from complete. I still have 30K odd words to write before I can call it a finished first draft, but this is the first time I have been able to complete at least 60% of my novelling goal.

Congratulations to all fellow Campers who took part in Camp NaNo this April. Whether or not you met you goal, I am sure you spend time thinking about your writing project. Maybe you didn’t end up writing anything/writing only a little in the end, but the fact that you signed up for Camp is proof that you’re one step closer to your writing goals. Keep the spirit of the Camp alive in your heart and keep writing! To all the others who met their goals, when is the book launch party?

Here are a couple of things that helped me reach my goal:

  • An week of outlining¬†– I was never someone who plotted before starting a project. I tried writing novels multiple times, but in the middle of a project, I wouldn’t know what to write anymore. Having an outline helped greatly. I spend the last week of March writing down the outline in a small pad. I didn’t follow it word by word, though – but in general, the theme remained same
  • A strong start – The fact that April 1 and 2 were weekends helped. I am not someone who writes everyday, so the two day warm up gave me a head start. I wrote around 5K on the first day itself. Once the habit formed, I found it easy to keep writing everyday
  • Writing almost everyday – I wrote for 25 out of 28 days in April. That is a big deal for someone who doesn’t write daily. I used to write in office every day after lunch – treating it as important as my other activities. I think once you get into the mode of writing daily, it is easy to keep up with the habit
  • Great cabin partners – As I have mentioned before, I was part of an amazing cabin this month. There were some really motivated people in there who kept going on towards their goal at an amazing pace. That boosted my writing like nothing else

That’s it for now. I guess I will go watch an episode of The Mentalist before I hit the bed. If you have some tips/learnings from your Camping experience, feel free to share in Comments below.

Until later!

‚̧

 

Posted in Journey of a Beginning Author, NaNoWriMo | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments