Tag Archives: healthy lifestyle

How to keep your hobbies alive, or, how to keep being who you used to be?

A big part of growing up (read graduating college and joining the workforce) is learning that we are very different people that we thought we were. Or, coming to terms with the fact that we could be very different person a year from now. In a way, I guess a lot of us feel that there is something eternal about us, something unchanging.

I’ll give an example: growing up, I had been an avid reader. I used to be among those bookworm kids who hid storybooks behind their coursebooks and got caught and chided by their parents. I used to gobbles books by the day!

Cut to mid 2017 – I have been working for almost two years. Work pressure is high. I am struggling with relationship issues, poor sleeping habits (I had always been a morning person, and just can’t figure out, how on earth my sleeping patterns changed). I rarely read books – can’t remember when was the last time I visited GoodReads or reviewed a book there or on this blog. Only in 2015, I had promised myself I would read a lot, and in turn focus on publishing my own books. Na-da! Nothing of that sort is happening.

So, what filled the gaps of time in 2017? I watched a lot of TV series, some movies. That seemed like an easier way to entertain myself. Investing myself to go back to reading was hard: it is just so easy to see things when a motion picture is playing in front of you. So hard to imagine stuff when you have to make out all the motions from reading words! I could not remember that part of myself who used to stay up in the nights to read books. Did that person really exist? Who had I become?

This resulted in a bunch of guilt trips, and did not help with my depression. Not being able to identify with yourself, struggling with an identity crisis, is probably the hardest of all struggles. In your mind, there is a person telling you non-stop that you are not living your life the right way, the way that you have always known as right. You should do something about it, but somehow, you are not sure how and where, you lost that element of willpower which made you do things in the past. What is the cause? Is it work? Is it the pressure of dealing with adult life: living alone, interacting with strangers every day without having any family to go back to? Could be.

Yet, it could also be that what you are going through is a phase. People evolve. Most often when we say so-and-so has changed, we mean it in a bad manner. As if, people are always supposed to remain the same person who we knew. Our cells grow, die and new cells regenerate – that is the law of nature. We change our habitats, adjust to new surroundings. So, it is quite natural that our emotional and mental evolution will be impacted as well. There will be years in which we won’t be able to find ourselves. But the good news is, a small part of us which makes us us, never really dies. It might be sleeping for a while, trying to cope with all the changes that we impose on it, but it is always there.

So, if you really loved painting, really loved reciting poems, chances are, after this rough patch is over, you will get back to it. You just have to wait it out. And what should you do meanwhile? Explore other things in life, go out with people, watch some great movies, or maybe just sleep! Do whatever your current situation needs you to do. Maybe, one of them will become a new hobby! The key is to live life guilt-free. If you cannot spend time doing the thing you loved most right now, it is likely that there are a thousand other things which needs your attention at the moment. Have faith that, this phase will be over too – there will come a time when you have learned to manage those thousand things within reasonable amount of time, and there will be a glorious slice of ten minutes in which you have nothing to do: well, pick up that book lying on your coffee table and read it!

It is 2018 and I am again back to reading and reviewing books. Maybe my routine does not permit it to be as frequent as it used to be, but guess what, this is what life is all about: making way for new things while sustaining the good habits of the past. There has to be some compromise, somewhere!

The past that lingers on…

I am in my hometown, Durgapur, on a break for a week. It is the month of monsoon, and what greeted me first was the all-encompassing greenery and the damp weather. Durgapur primarily has a tropical climate: hot, sweaty, sticky. For the most of Summers the city is brown, but with the advent of monsoons, the shrubs and bushes and the trees claim the land – it is no short of an invasion. The bright, rich green is unashamed in its exploitation, and claims every inch of the land it can touch. It has a raw quality to it which soothes the eye and makes me remember the years in which human beings lived in jungles.

Durgapur is where I grew up, went to school, played with friends. It is a well planned city, with mostly good, wide roads lined with trees. The neigborhoods are calm and silent. Traditionally, people used to work in the steel plant that Durgapur is famous for. Nowadays, kids study and move out of the city all the time, settling down in different parts of the country, and sometimes, even the world. Durgapur has a few good schools which lay the foundation for good careers. Today, while I was on my morning walk, I saw schoolkids in variety of uniforms, in buses, pool cars, on parents’ scooters and bikes, rushing towards school. One of the girls was behind her father on the scooter and she had a bunch of papers in her hand that she was studying; probably for a test at school. This took me back to my school days, when I used to climb onto the school bus, and find myself a seat next to the window and go over the copies one more time before we reached school. The world has changed a lot since I graduated from schools: I did not own a mobile phone until I went to college. But to see that still some things remained same – some kids to this day are as studious that I used to be – was weirdly satisfying. Note that now that I am grown up and have seen how professional life works, I realize that the number of hours put in studying is not always proportional to professional success and I would probably not encourage my kids to study while we were dropping them to school, but nonetheless, it is interesting to see that my hometown to this day remains similar to how I saw it growing up.

On my morning walks, I also walk beside the fair ground which hosts the Annual Rath Yatra to celebrate Lord Jagannath’s visit to his aunt’s house. In my childhood, this ground used to be a place of wonders: lots of snacks places, shops which sold cheap jewellery: necklaces and rings with shiny stones, toy shops which sold trains and cars and dolls and tiny houses. There was also a book fair, which was my favorite haunt. I used to wait for the entire year to buy one book at the book fair and read it many times in the coming months, over a bowl of muri and samosas. Today, when I walk through the narrow lanes of the fair ground, all I can see is the amount of dirt on the sides of the road and the crowd. It bothers me, even though as a child I looked forward to it. Today, I feel more at peace at home, enjoying the silence of the rooms I grew up in, sometimes going through the diaries I kept when I was younger.

Every time I come home now, I discover a piece of myself in those old notes in the diaries; I understand the things which drove me as a child, the things which made me happy. I miss the prayer ceremonies at school, where all the school kids stood in lines, as per their classes and in order of their heights, singing songs that glorified the country and the state and the mother tongue. I miss the ceremonies we used to host in the school where I played the role of an anchor, guiding the ceremony to a successful end. I miss standing on the stage to make a speech (even though it was something that made me immensely uncomfortable). I miss dressing up in sarees and bangles and wearing make-up and flowers in the hair for the occasional dance performance. These things are no longer there in my life – somewhere, I have lost the creative influence that surrounded my childhood likes clouds around a snow-capped mountain. I miss it and I crave it and I want to become part of something similar again.

In all my writing, I have realized, there is a craving for the past, of something that exists in my memory (sometimes in the vague, muddy manner that is characteristic of dreams). It feels strange that I have lived through my childhood and it is really over, for in my heart, I somehow never grew up.

Because humor is the best remedy…

Hey guys,

Been a while since I posted a nice conversational post. I was travelling during the first half of February, to home, so wasn’t using WordPress as much. But it was a great trip, I am back totally recharged and feeling fresh.

Anyways, getting back to the point: I have started watching a lot of comedy videos on YouTube recently. I have my favorites: Zakir, Kanan, Biswa. Watching these videos make my solitary life worthwhile. Seriously. I know you might think it’s sad that I have to watch YouTube videos to make my life happening, but there are some beautiful lessons in these comedies.

I have been fortunate enough to know some people who use humor to get over difficult situations in life. And these comedians reinstate the same values. It’s amazing how easily things can be solved if you can put a smile on other people’s faces.

Growing up, I feel I have been way more mature for my age. I have, if I may so say, I have always been more philosophical than anything. I was always over-analyzing and trying to use logic in every scenario. My arguments were always well thought out and planned. But what I have learned with experience is, a laughter goes a longer way in winning hearts compared to sound logic. Because, people are more emotional than logical. In fact, try it in your own lives: in case you are in a fight, pause for a while, find a meme on your phone and read it out for both of you. Even better, enact it! I know it may sound ludicrous, but it really works.

So, now, my aim in life is to spread a smile, some laughter. I tried the same with my last post and also today’s video on my YouTube channel. So if comedy is your thing, I invite you to check out both the content and share your thoughts. Also, it’s a little tough genre to crack, so critical feedback is very much appreciated, especially in case of the video. Will be waiting to hear from you guys!

Love,

Arpita