Help Needed |How to Adult?

Hello WordPress family,

Hope you all are doing well! I’m writing this post to get some quick tips from you all. Let me explain:

As I’m getting into the later half of my twenties and generally learning to figure out how to handle life like a boss, whether be at the personal or professional front, I have been wondering what changes I could possibly make in my day-to-day life to live a more meaningful life.

Hence, this post is an open-invitation to all of you to chip in your two cents on the little things that help you live life more happily and comfortably. It could be something as dry as reading about the stocks to improve personal finance or maybe taking half an hour in the day to call a friend with whom you have lost touch or watching a TV show which can actually help improve negotiation skills.

Any takers?

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City Animals and Bangalore Traffic

Have you observed how the animal kingdom adapts to our city life?

I remember reading a story about City Mouse, Country Mouse when I was very young. To the best of the memory, that story was about how the country mouse, initially in awe of city life, finally comes to realize that his country life is much better than the cut-throat pace of the city, where you can be run over by a vehicle before you know it.

Sometimes, when I am on my way home from office (fortunately, a walk-able distance in the crazy Bangalore traffic), I feel trapped like a country mouse. There are days when I wait for minutes before I find a narrow scope to cross the super-busy ITPL Main Road. The incoming traffic never stops, you just have to wait for the right gap between scores of vehicles of all forms and shapes and run for your life when the opportunity opens up. Just like you have to wait as you search for jobs, or when you want to buy that newly-launched mobile phone available exclusively on Flipkart or Amazon. Imagine my frustration when I hear from my friends settled in America how the traffic stops should a pedestrian be spotted on the pavement. In India, pedestrians belong to the least important category in human race, almost at par with the city animals.

Anyways, coming back to the topic, last couple of days, incidentally, I ended up crossing the road with a fellow four-legged pedestrian. I watched closely as the dog kept a watch on the incoming traffic, and at the first signal of thinning traffic, he sped up. And guess what, I ended up following the dog’s lead as I crossed the road!

It’s curious how the structures of human existence impact the animal kingdom. As the city dogs and cats become more adept at crossing roads, perhaps new nerve connections form in their brains, enabling them to get better at surviving this. Which makes me think, should there be a re-enactment of City Mouse, Country Mouse story in real life, would the story still stay intact? What do you guys think? Comment and let me know! 🙂

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The Duchess by Danielle Steel | Book Review

The Duchess by Danielle Steele is the first book that I have read of the author. It was recommended to me by a colleague. She said if I enjoyed any feminist work, I’d like this book.

The truth is, I am ambivalent towards feminism. But once in a while it makes sense to read books referred by others, if only to expose yourself to different types of writing. And I haven’t been reading a lot lately.

The Duchess is a coming-of-age tale of a teenaged girl. Set in an era in England where women did not inherit their parents’ money or properties, even if they were duchesses, this is a story of Angelique, who gets thrown out of her house when her step-brother Tristan steps in as the new duke, after the death of her father. It is the story of how she gets forced into a life of service, and eventually, due to the cruel turn of events, ends up running a high-end brothel in Paris. She does find the love of her life and her happy ending, but none of them come easy.

What I liked best about this book is how Danielle keeps the story real. At no point does it feel that Angelique has it easy. Her life is hard. She has no family, and no one to take care of. She finds herself in difficult situations but she tries to make the best of what life deals at her. She does not give in, and she never pities herself. She accepts her fate and tries to deal with it in a manner which she finds befitting herself. The writing is easy to read and relatable, and it becomes easier for the reader to sink into the story.

The only thing that I don’t like about this story is how it keeps repeating itself – especially in the first hundred odd pages where the author keeps reiterating Angelique’s pain in losing her father and her brother’s cruelty. It becomes unbearable after a point. Also, for a book which is about a woman, it is surprising how it paints many of the other women characters in a shallow manner, and never tries to give a voice to women who choose to love their parties and their frivolities over caring for their children. Even with a protagonist who ends up running a brothel and fighting to give a better life to the prostitutes, this book in many places just end up reiterating what’s traditionally acceptable for a woman, and shows little tolerance for women who don’t care to have a blazing mission in life.

Be it as it may, it’s been a while since I read a work of fiction and this one made me want to get back to my reading. Maybe, we’ll see more book reviews on the blog in future.

Until later!

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Adulting

Being an adult is not an easy task. Of course, when you are a kid, you don’t even think about it. You think about what you want and the fact that you want to achieve them. But the older you grow, you learn that getting what you want to get comes with its price tag. You have to make compromises, you have to make decisions. Decisions which are always not black and white. It’s a constant dilemma of weighing pros and cons of every decision. If nothing, you end up feeling like a weighing machine! 😛

When you are an adult, you realize sleep is the best thing that can happen to you. Sleep is magical. When you sleep, the biological fairy waves her magic wand and wounds heal and tissues repair. And you wake up brand new, fresh, ready to take on any challenge that the adult world throws at you.

When you are an adult, you learn to look at the impact of your decisions in the light of how it impacts others. It’s not easy to do, because even though it means you are more sensitive to the needs of others, sometimes it also means choking the throat of your own desires. When you are an adult, there is no time to think about your deepest desires, because the world may not consider them proper.

But having said that, in an adult world, you live in waves of possibilities. You could be an influencer. You can find the best of both worlds. You can be a great weighing machine. When you are an adult, you have a choice. You have a choice of weighing the pros and cons, and you have the capacity to identify the pros and cons. When you are an adult, you are not at the beck and call of anyone.

The world is your canvas, and as an adult, you can paint anything you want in it.

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In the quest of developing style…

In the quest of developing style, we often look back in history. We often look at what the masters have done.

The last few weeks have been creatively fulfilling for me. Before this, I was making videos, I was writing blog posts. I was living life, experiencing all sorts of emotions. And then suddenly, there was this shift. This Holi (Mar 2019), in Mu Sigma they held this event where we were given paints and papers to have fun and paint something. While I was in the cafeteria that day, toying with acrylic colors, I realized how much I loved colors. How much I liked manipulating colors into forms and shapes. And thus was unleashed a new course of creativity.

I started making paintings. My experience with the camera had taught me that I needed to observe the world lot more than I was doing. That underscored the need to paint. When you paint, you need to pay closer attention to the game of light and shadows; to how colors blend into each other; to the lines, shapes and forms of the natural world.

As I am working to make my paintings better, I am focusing on researching about the art movements of the past. I have been watching videos on Impressionism, Van Gogh, Matisse. Today, I watched a documentary on Picasso. Frankly speaking, I had known Picasso only for his jarring modern art, and until I watched this video, I used to think of the art he created as grotesque, and gibberish which a child could do. My general understanding of modern art, until the last few weeks, was that people who could not paint realistic painting just sought resort in modern art. I did not understand modern art. In fact, a lot us don’t understand modern art.

My notions have been changing as I have been learning more about the art movements. But I think it became clearer as I learnt about Picasso today. He was perfectly capable of drawing realistic traditional art as early as 16 years of age. When you look from his perspective, of flattening things out, bringing multiple perspectives in 2D plane, you realize that it must not have been easy to do that. It’s not about painting a deformed nose that a child could also paint. It is about painting the nose that way while being aware why it fits the genre, the style of the painting. It was deliberate, and it was ground-breaking. Finding a genre is not easy. Inspiring generations of artists is not easy.

And hence, in my journey of finding style, I am getting to meet the masters who found their style through hard work, meticulous deliberation and extreme experimentation. Maybe, I’ll find my voice too. But before that happens, I gotta put in those hours.

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The Dichotomy of Creators | An Essay

You know there comes this phase in life for all creative people where they are trying to discover their styles? That point you don’t know where your ground lies, what is it that you are trying to express and what is the right medium to express yourself?

When a plant is born from a seed, does it know what it is meant to grow for?

I’m kind of going through that phase. We are alive in a century when anything and everything seems possible. There are so many ways today to express yourself. You could write, you could paint. You could take pictures, you could tattoo your body black. You could cook and make your dishes look beautiful. You could make movies, produce songs, produce music. You could just talk, become a speaker. You could write poems, you could perform your poetry. You can act, you can dance. You can be a digital artist, you can make animation, you can make cartoon or magic worlds. The possibilities are endless.

When the seed pushes against the soil, the soft, gradual push of the tissues, does it know that it’d come to see a world of sunlight, a world of the pleasant monsoon breeze?

As far as I can remember, I have expressed myself creatively through my writing. I have a special bond with the pen/pencil/keyboard. That’s something that I have perfected over the years. When back in 2011, I was on writing.com, I came across so many different styles of poetry, so many different styles of prose. “Baby shoes. For Sale. Never Worn.” And even to this day, writing remains my primary form of thinking (unless of course, when I am walking and thinking to myself, or talking to someone and thinking out loud). But over the years, I have come to realize that sometimes I want to express myself through something more than writing. Something more visual, something more auditory (auricular). So, I bought a camera and I clicked photos and made videos. I added sounds to the videos and I found my peace. For a while.

How does the first wisp of breeze feel on a newly born leaf?

But then, I realize that making videos has something very closely to do with the world around us. That world is peopled by peoples, by rules, by regulations, by fashion, by money, by trade, by technology. By history, by politics, by biology, by physics. By relationships. By reference systems. It is a complex world. It is a multi-dimensional world. I am thankful I have the five senses to grasp this world. But at any given point in time, can I truly grasp it in all the dimensions that it exists in? As-is? Simply grasp the world as it exists?

The baby plant continues to grow – by some prehistoric rule-set that dictates its growth, encoded in its DNA. It does not have the ability to think, to shape how it grows. It merely responds to the stimuli the world provides it. The direction of the sun, the kind of the soil.

Existing as a human in this world is complex, if not difficult. We are fighting to maintain status quo. We are fighting to destroy status quo. We are hungry to find a new world. We want to travel back in time and explore the era of corsets and kings and monarchs. We want to be free in choosing who we love. We want to be fit and not give in to the sedentary modern lifestyle. But if you are a creative person, sometimes, the world feels even more complex. Because you are not just trying to live it. You are trying to understand it.

And so… the plant can become a tree, without bothering to understand the world around it. It could be a dumb, blind witness to generations of life forms, and still be in a healthy state. 

And so, I envy the seed. I envy the plant. I envy the tree. I envy every simple life form that can exist without having the obligation to understand. To be understood. Yet, when I am feeling lucid and I can write what I exactly feel in the depths of my tissues (without knowing if it’s the heart, or the brain or the chemical reactions in the nervous system that allows me to do it), I feel grateful that I am a higher form of life. I am human. And that’s something to be grateful for.

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Kunti Betta Trek | First Trek Experience

It has always been my aim to travel more. Ever since I was a child. Ever since I got a job. Ever since I dreamed of switching to a better paid job. Those milestones have been achieved, but not so much the goal of travelling. But the last weekend of April (27-28th), one of the long-standing items in that ever-increasing wish-list was ticked off. I went on my maiden trek to Kunti Betta and boy, what an experience it was!

Kunti Betta is approx. 125 km away from Bangalore, making it an easy weekend destination for trekkers from the city. We booked our trip for Skandagiri from BookMyShow, but last minute the trek was changed to Kunti Betta (I’ll share another post where I talk about the trek organizers). The fact that Skandagiri is at least 50 km less far compared to Kunti Betta was attractive for me, because I wanted to reach home sooner after all that tiredness. However, in life, you can never be too rigid about plans, and so we jumped on the chance.

We started around 11.30 PM from Marathahalli, but due to the ineptness of the driver, we took almost 5 hours to reach to Kunti Betta. I have never done a trek before, let alone night trek. There was darkness all around, except for the pale moonlight. The path ahead was not visible unless we shone our torches. The giant rock formations was on all sides, and there was an eerie silence except our chatter, footsteps and the mewl for stray cats. In fact, as we walked on in the wilderness of nature where men’s laws do not apply, I expected to pretty much see a snake crawling out from the rocks.

One thing this trek taught me: I need to work hard on my stamina. I started panting within five minutes of the trek. Some of the rocks were too high for my five-foot high frame, so my friends and fellow trekkers had to help me up. It meant me placing faith in people who I knew little for moving forward. That requires trust-building. I was also feeling like I could perhaps not make it entirely up to the top, but I pushed myself to keep going. It’s not a nice experience to be left alone, all in the middle of wilderness where Google Maps struggles and wait out the night.

Reaching the top was a beautiful experience. I saw the black of the night turn into shades of blue (inspiration for a new painting). I saw the blue give way to the green and the daylight flooding us from all around. While as much as the scenic beauty is breathtaking, you know one wrong step and you can end up with your neck broken. So, you are on your edge, always alert even when you are inspired. Much like our early men who fought other animals for a space in the food pyramid.

The descent I expected to be harder, especially with the rocks that were too high and sloping for me to climb. But guess what, humans always find a way. I used the rocks as slides and happily slid down.

On the way back, we also did some kayaking – the very first time in my life. I think I am okay at it. I cannot possibly explain the joy I felt seeing so many mango trees at the Q Experiences resort (where the kayaking happened).

In spite of some of the rough experiences with the trek organizers, the joy that I got from this trek is priceless. I remember telling my friends while we were going to Kunti Betta, “If the trek is not worth it, seriously I am going to hate the day.” But when the cool breeze at the top dried away my sweat and I felt the freshest in many days, that’s not the thought that came to my mind. I felt peaceful and even called up my mother on video and showed her the pretty picture.

For those of you who prefer your visuals to your text, I have made a small video of the trek on my YouTube channel. Feel free to check it out:

Have you ever trekked before? Do you remember what it felt like, the first time you climbed up a mountain? Share your thoughts with me. Oh also, I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

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