Taking back control

For the longest time,

My life was going downhill.

D-O-W-N-H-I-L-L!

People around me were leaving,

By the day, I was becoming emptier.

The emotions and inspirations that drove me once,

No longer drove me.

I waited for things to happen.

For good things to happen.

For good news to come.

For something to make me feel happy again.

But well, for someone who likes to take control

My fate wasn’t quite forthcoming with taking control.

So darker it became.

Deep dark, as I waited for things to change.

As I drowned into the darkness,

I thrashed my arms and my legs – hoping to find something to hold on to in the viscous dark.

I meditated, but my mind was never at peace.

I took control of my breathing.

That is when I realized that as long as our body is in harmony with the natural elements that sustain it, everything fall back in place.

Slowly, I was getting back control.

It’s been almost a week now since I have been feeling better.

The walls that were once choking me are still strong,

but gradually, the walls are weakening.

And my resolve, is slowly growing stronger.

 

 

 

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Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

A big part of grown up life is about taking decisions. Starting from what to cook for dinner, whether or not to buy the phone you have always wanted to, whether to move to a new place, when to say no, how to talk and convince people and so on.

Some of these decisions are easy to make, while others are more complicated. As, I grow I also understand the biases that I have. For example, as a person, I have never been the kind who likes to ‘advertise’. But every day at work, I am told, verbally and non-verbally, that I need to be able to sell what I am producing – in my case, my analysis. I need to be able to own the impact I create and say it out loud in front of the client. Well, like I said, I was never that person. My problem with advertising was, is, more often than not, people end up packaging lies as niceties and win brownie points. I am someone who likes white more than grey, which is why I struggle to polish the impact we might have created and presented it in a way that it is a big deal.

But I am at a point in my career where I need to take a decision: whether to take the leap and let go of my inhibition that stops me from being an efficient salesperson or hold on to the misplaced ideals that have become the biases that drive me.

When I was a schoolgirl, I was looking towards a future which looked hopeful. In that future, I could have been anyone: a doctor, a storyteller, a pilot, a painter. In that future, I would have been someone who a lot of people would know and respect. In that future, people around me would be proud of me.

But now that I am living that future, I am not who I thought I would be. My popularity is much more limited than many people of my age. At this point, I don’t know if the people around me really respect me. Or if they even like the person that I am.

Yes, perhaps the aim is not to be liked by everyone. But sometimes, it matters what the people immediately around you make of you. What can you do to make these people happy? Who can you be that will bring a smile to people’s faces? Because no matter how much we say ‘I live for myself’, we are social animals who thrive amongst others.

Everyday, I find myself in two minds while taking decisions. Does it get any easier? I hope so.

Until later,

 

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FREE BOOK PROMOTION | Silhoutte of the Past

Sometimes it’s best to keep the past dead and buried……

A stormy day, a corpse and a group of suspects.

Three years after the death of Maribeth, seven people have gathered together at the same place for a business deal. Little do they know that they were about to witness another death at the Tiscayne Country Club. This time there is no ambiguity. It is murder! Unfortunately, Amber Levinson, who had gone to deliver the gardening supplies to the club on that stormy day, gets caught into the web of deceit of these powerful and influential people.

When Detective Myers points a finger of blame at Amber as his prime suspect, she has to figure out who the killer was. With the help of her assistant Dave and cousin Marlene, she starts digging into the secrets and motives of the people at the country club.

Can Amber unravel the mystery and solve the murder to prove her innocence?

Find out in this cozy mystery novella, The Silhouette of the Past.

FREE EBOOK DOWNLOAD THIS WEEKEND ONLY

Amazon

About the author

Shilpa NirajShilpa Niraj has been reading mysteries ever since she first discovered Nancy Drew. An ardent fan of mysteries, she can still go back and reread her favorite books of Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner. An avid reader and a blogger, she is now working on her third mystery.

Shilpa holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a master’s degree in Information Management from Mumbai University. She lives with her husband and son in Mumbai, India. When she is not writing, she is busy exploring new destinations.

Keep up with Shilpa: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Letter to my younger self

This post was inspired by Earnest, who provides a better way for students & grads to refinance student loans.


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! 😀

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

 

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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,

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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 – or pro-humans, at the time. This species seemed to have an intelligence that allowed it to not depend on Earth for its own amusements – its 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?

 

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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.

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