An Open Letter

If you’re constantly stuck with your eyes glued to your smartphone- liking, sharing videos, dank memes and swallowing all the new information pouring into your feed all at once, this letter is addressed to you.

 

What’s the worth of your time?

 

Is the question too vague? Let me construct it better.

 

What are 30 minutes of your time worth?

 

Is it one episode of your favorite show?

Five levels on an online game?

One thousand posts on your feed?

What are 30 minutes of your time worth and how do you measure it?

 

All the content you see on social media and other websites- the cute puppy videos, the heart churning stories about an incident two thousand miles away, the memes- are all curated and created by professionals to illicit an emotion from you. The algorithm understands what captures your attention every time you like or share and then gives you more content tailored to your interests. Professionals look at the trends and manufacture structured information to keep you hooked.

“So what?”, you might ask, “I get all that content for free. I’m not spending my own money.”

 

But at what cost?

 

Your time? Your peace of mind?

Losing control of yourself to the addiction of social media is reducing the value of every second you spend on it.

 

So what’s the worth of your time? How do we measure it?

 

Let’s design a better world where ‘community’ isn’t just a hollow word redefined by social media.

Let’s build a world that really cares for us and what we really need as opposed to what we want.

A world that works to increase the value of our time.

If you’re like-minded and would like to know more/ start a conversation. Drop in a message/ email so I get a chance to know more about your ideas as opposed to a ‘like’ that’s devoid of any opinion.

What are you looking for?

 

What do we look for in our everyday lives? That small fleeting glance of the little something we search for even with our eyes closed? Trying to keep track of what we did, what we ate in the last few hours when we don’t even remember the day anymore. Looking for a piece of ourselves to hold on to as our bodies start to float aimlessly with the warm summer breeze that reminds us of a faint melody from a song someone played one summer day when the earth seemed to stand still. When your life perfects sums up in an indie playlist that reminds you of your teenage years. The space between your warm sheets and the chill of the early morning. All the times you look away hoping to find yourself in the middle of a generic conversation with another person. Feel yourself leave your body and stare back at you- learning about yourself all over again. Urging yourself that life’s worth it and looking for reasons why. Everything- even your memories- look like old leaves forgotten in yellow pages years ago. Remembering what sober feels like when you’re so drunk on your own feelings. When you feed your body like clockwork- only to keep to the schedule you’ve tied yourself to as a price for one constant in your dizzy life. What do you stay awake for when the first thing you want to do when you wake up is to go back into your sheets. Watching days go by like a in state of dreamless sleep. Why does every trail of thought lead us back to the same truth- we’re social creatures and we always will be. In search of a heart to share your love with would you sell your soul?

Who decides where your destiny’s meant to be? And when you realise you’re the captain of the ship, who do you have to blame your misfortunes on?

Youth, I’ve decided, is one colossal quicksand that you live in where existential crisis is one of the most natural things to happen to you. That blur in your memory you can’t replace in your head because as you grow, you define it in your own sweet way. It makes you who you are and you come to embrace it, like that phantom limb you’ve come to love; with it’s flavour spreading throughout your body as you relish in the familiar feeling coursing through your veins.

We shed a part of our memory everyday just like we shed our skin, naturally, to make space for the person we’ve become today. It’s bittersweet and as we grow each day, we come to learn and love the little things that bring a smile on our faces. The pleasure and the pain- we welcome with our arms open like we’re greeting a long lost friend we’ve been searching for in our hearts to make up for all the stolen summer kisses on a rainy day and just like that, we embrace our past, live in the present and let the future reveal itself in it’s own sweet pace.

Why the Bangalore incident scares me

I’m so sick and tired of hearing about degenerate leaders of insignificant religious, political groups spouting nonsense about fashion and how it influences indecent behaviour. I’ve been interning in Bangalore for about four weeks now and daily my girlfriends and I have new stories to tell each other about our commute. We’ve seen men lech at us, follow us and shamelessly check us out every day even though our clothes cover our entire bodies (Hear that, Mr Azmi?). The Bangalore incident has only brought to light the murky underbelly of the world we live in filled with pervy men we see around all the time. My PG is an unsafe area where after it’s 8.30, you won’t even see many women on the road, just creepy local men watching your every move as you quickly make your way back. I have walked on the road with my friend in broad daylight to witness men on bikes whizz past me close enough to almost touch me only to quickly change lanes before I can see their number plate. The walk to the bus stop and the commute to our offices is an uncomfortable ordeal because we see men lech at us and there’s nowhere to go to escape their eyes.

You and I are privileged enough to be able to avoid situations like these by taking private modes of transport and living in safer, upscale areas but this isn’t about you or me. What about the innumerable women living out there who can’t afford it? Who have to live all their lives afraid of their own shadow?

The Bangalore police commissioner Praveen Sood said that the police checked camera footage from 45-60 CCTVs that night and found no evidence of the mass molestation while here I am, sitting in my office listening to my friend talk about how he was at Brigade road and MG road that night and saw so many unruly men grope and push women around right in front of his eyes and he yet, he was helpless because he couldn’t even move in the crowd. The density of people in that area was so high that you couldn’t stand still even for a second, the crowd would move you along with them. My colleagues and his friends lost their shoes in the crowd, unable to make the slightest effort to bend down and pick it up because they were sandwiched between so many other people in that small space but sadly, many women lost more than that- their faith in the system and their safety in this country we call progressive.

I’ve had so many people advice me to keep a pepper spray or a knife handy for my safety but what I do when I feel so disgusted when I catch a man leering at me? Can I use the knife to gouge his eyeballs out? because I really wish I could do that. I know you’ll probably tell me that some colourful words ought to put him in his place but am I wrong to feel scared to do that because I’m afraid the consequences could lead him and his friends to stalk me to my Pg and take revenge when I’m at my most vulnerable?

The Bangalore Molestation incident you’ve been reading about in the newspapers and watching on news channels happened in the same area where I’m working at right now. Just a few meters away.

My colleagues tell me that they’ve heard of so many incidences like these but they’re just inconspicuously brushed under the carpet so no one gets to hear of them.
These cases don’t happen to everyone, we might still argue that it’s a small percentage of these incidences occurring- An average of 6 rapes and 15 molestations daily but anyone could become a statistic and that’s a scary reality we have to live with.

Daily Musings

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Keeping in mind the high tension on the border, PM Narendra Modi has launched a special campaign for indian soldiers, called ‘Sandesh to Soldiers’ TODAY for the Diwali Festival through which people can send their Diwali greetings and messages to soldiers who are guarding us on borders. All of us can send messages on the Narendra Modi App, through MyGov.in, and also through All India Radio.

Here’s to the real heroes staying up all night at the border so we can sleep peacefully in our homes. You are not alone. Wishing our jawans and their families a very happy, safe and prosperous diwali. #Sandesh2Soldiers

Daily Musings

Say Hello

Here’s something I’m reading right now.

It’s an interesting article trying to establish that plants have a conscience too and that it isn’t quite different from ours.

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Currently I’m home since the holidays began and every time I’ve switched on the television (which happens very rarely,I might add, only when I’m restless and my fingers get twitchy) I’ve come across a dozen food channels or shows about food while browsing.

It is interesting how much the food industry has boomed in the recent years. I still remember sitting with my mother on sunday mornings watching Sanjeev Kapoor’s cooking show on TV. The only show of the kind back in those days. It was a sunday morning ritual predominant in every household.

Slowly there were more shows and then Masterchef happened to our lives. I have never learnt as as much about the cuisines around the world as I have through this masterpiece in tellyland. The concept and the format of the show  food show is compelling enough to make anyone fall in love with cooking.

This made me happy because the platform made a lot of closet chefs come out and follow their passion and start their own ventures in the food industry. It wasn’t a penniless business investment nor was it taboo anymore.

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Coming back to the present, with the current senario, I feel a sadness creep in when I think about what it’s come to. We shouldn’t live to eat. Atleast not let food dictate our lives 24*7 and these days our existence seems to revolve around it.

You might argue that as a primal instinct we need to eat food to survive but that’s the thing, we’re not primal beings anymore. We are evolving to satisfy our needs so we can explore ourselves and our environment more so we can attain a higher level of knowledge.

Eat to live. Eating good food is essential, I don’t argue. There is enough to sustain us all so we don’t have to live our lives only thinking about the next meal. Need over greed,maybe?

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Just a little something I wanted to say.

See you in the next post!

The Power of Living in the Now

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We have constantly tried to work on changing a habit or implementing a recent thought of action that we think would take us closest to how we want ourselves to ideally be.

As a self admitted person obsessive person with a need to find order in my daily life, I have constantly tried hard to bring order by planning my day in detail to covering all my obligations to various aspects of my life in a journal which I would update as often as 5 times a day and as I am talking to you-  a mass of people completely diverse in your own way, I am sure some of you have done this too or at the least thought of doing it.

This is where we get lost. Our planning gives us the most satisfaction compared to when we complete the tasks and this is the absolute truth. We start dreaming of being in a space in time where we are our most capable self by having all the areas of our life in order and up to date but as we start working on it, we fall into the same cycle of procrastination and all else that hinders us to achieve that state so we start planning again. It’s a cycle of euphoria and a sudden drop which you try to overcome by doing the same thing that you’d done before to feel better again. We know from common sense that choosing to do the same thing over and over again would not give us a greatly varied result and yet we’d end up in the same place we started from. But how do we overcome this?

Japanese mountaineer Takako Arayama leads climbers on way  to top of Mount Everest

The best way to do this is to completely shut down your thinking faculties. Through language we try to reason with everything in our current environment and state of mind. Stop thinking. This might be the hardest thing to do at first but it’s the best thing you could be doing to yourself. Stop thinking and ask- What could I be doing right now to feel better? and while you ask this to yourself, control your thoughts and only allow the thoughts that are direct answers to your question.

What could I be doing right now to feel better?

I want to finish reading the book i’d started a couple of months back but never completed reading it.  Leave everything you’re doing and start reading.

While reading if you see yourself getting restless, ask again- What could I be doing right now to feel better?

I want to know everything about the origins of jazz music.  Stop reading the book and find out.

You could apply this anytime, anywhere.

You feel like running a marathon but you can’t do it at the time you feel like doing it? Just close your eyes and imagine what it would feel like. Imagine wearing your running shoes and warming up at the starting line with many other participants around. Hear the gunshot and imagine yourself pushing through the swarm of people as you run. Feel the sun on your skin and the wind on your face as you run to your heart’s content. Feel it and you’ll feel you’ve done it.

If you’ve missed out on a lot of work, you might even say to yourself, ‘i’ll feel a lot better if all my work was done’ and so you get down to doing it. It is only as hard as you make it for yourself.

You could talk to family, learn a new dance, catch up with an old friend. You could trek to the highest peak of the Himalayas, you could dive to the deepest corners of the Pacific ocean, you could join an ancient tribe in the amazon forest, hell,  you could swim to the moon and back, you could do all of this right now. The question is- Would you?

While you look for an answer, here’s a video of what the night sky looks like from the space station.

 

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The Age Of Consciousness

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Our history of evolution has been an interesting one. We entered stone age, moved on to the metal age, the age of industrialization, the atomic age and finally, the age of computers. We have evolved through exploration of the sciences over the years but have you ever wondered what’s next?

Having satisfied our materialistic needs and desires, our curiosity has led us to explore the planet we live in. We’re planning space travel, preparing to live in colonies on the moon if earth was ever declared inhabitable. Having traveled far and wide, we have learnt about the world around us, or have we?

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We live in a world where we know everything about other people’s lives instead of our own. We fight our misplaced feelings, inhibitions, self-judgement and crave to search for people who will make us feel good about our own self worth. Our ability to question is proving to be our own downfall, but there is an upside to this. After constantly running in circles and hitting mental roadblocks, we finally ask ourselves, how do we change the way we feel? How do we know what’s the truth after we realise ‘ourselves’ is really our ‘self’? How do explore the ‘self’?

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We’re slowly becoming self-aware, of ourselves and the world within us which we never really explored. The power of thought, the influence of our own actions, whether through self administered drugs or through persevered observance- We are slowly but surely entering the age of consciousness.

It is our primeval instinct as humans to be curious and we are hungry for knowledge.

I am hungry for knowledge.

Watch this space.