A Letter to my 15-year-old Self

Dear 15-year-old me,

I promise I’ll try to avoid spoilers which could ruin the fun of future for you.

You’re probably busy juggling reading, writing, studies and what you’ll later consider to be your first meaningful relationship. Trust me, you’re doing a great job.

I know you aren’t too nervous about the exams, but in case you’re wondering, you’re going to do just fine this time. You won’t really get what you were hoping for, but that’s not going to bother you much. You’re going to work when it counts (which is in your last year of school) and that’s good enough. Have fun while you can, girl; you’re not going to be a teenager forever! On that note, I strongly suggest you stop dreaming of being all grown-up. Even at 25 (which is an acceptable age for your standard grown-ups), you aren’t going to be too sure what “being grown-up” really means. Also, it’s not as fun as you think it is.

I’d have loved to give you a peek into my present life, just to dispel the foolish thought that you have your future all planned out. Don’t believe me? What if I told you that, by this time, next year, you’ll have decided to completely change the career path you’ve chosen for yourself? Or that it will shift again, by the time you’re in college, and then again when you’re out of college? You won’t regret most of these decisions, except the ones which you were forced into. But then, life has this strange but incredible way of somehow getting you where you’re supposed to be. So, maybe those weren’t necessarily bad situations even though they weren’t of your choice.

You are going to have fun with your career (atleast until 25, for sure)! You’ll get to dabble with a couple of jobs before you decide what you want. While every profession will have its ups and downs, you’re going to be relatively happy with most of it. Enjoy while it lasts, and if you’re ever confused, just go with the flow and follow your heart (yes, I know that sounds cliché and cheesy, although you won’t realise it at 15). One serious piece of advice for your work life: no job is worth killing yourself over.

That relationship you’re so crazy about in school? Well, you’re going to fall out of love in another year or so. You will learn to love again, in ways more than one (including an all-consuming relationship that’s going to change you to a great extent). Which also means you will go through heartbreaks (yes, you’ll have more than one. Or two.) and have dawn-nature-sunset-womansome really fucked up experiences (half of which will take years to make sense to you). I know what you’ve been through and I truly wish I could say it gets better. But it doesn’t. Unless you do something about it, of course. The single most powerful advice I can give you, which could possibly change your life, would be – learn to say NO when you have to. Don’t keep blaming yourself, kid. Not everything that happens is your fault. I couldn’t stress this enough, but it’s going to take another ten years before someone gets that drilled into your head.

Don’t be afraid of falling or making mistakes. Because there will be a lot of it. But you’ll have people to help you up, most important of them being your family and your best friend from school (oh yes, that bitch is going to stick around for longer than you thought). Meanwhile, keep reading, be open to new authors and different genres. Almost half of who you are and your perceptions will be because of the books you1321e-stipula_fountain_pen read. I still don’t know how you began writing but it’s going to stay with you for life from the looks of it. Find your voice, experiment and explore, but whatever you do, keep at it. While I have nothing to substantiate this claim yet, I’m sure your dream of becoming a writer will come true. Also, you’re going to start a blog soon. Please try not to abandon it every now and then.

Have faith in yourself. You are and will continue to be stronger than you think, overcoming life’s nasty (and not-so-nasty) twists bravely. Don’t worry so much about the meaning of life, try to figure out who you are and want to be, because you shouldn’t get lost in the crowd when you have to face the world in a couple of years. I could go on and on with this, but then what’s the fun in life, right? So, I’ll let you discover the rest of it for yourself. 🙂 Oh, and by the way, you don’t stay skinny all your life.

Lots of love,

Your wiser and awesomer 25-year-old self.

PS: As much as I wish I could somehow get this to you for real, that’s not happening, unfortunately. Even though a decade sounds like a long enough time span, time travel is still pretty much a fantasy. You’re going to have to wait till you’re 25 to know all this for yourself and write this letter. Sorry about that. And, no, post-scripts aren’t supposed to be so long. I just tend to rant. But I’ll stop. Now. This was fun.

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Happy. Thank you. More Please!

I’m home (read: RAK) for two weeks! I have been reading, talking to my bratty sister, devouring mom’s awesome food and, well, having a good time! In short, I am happy. It sounds almost surreal to say that. But I actually am happy. For now, atleast. Anyway, so, I have also been watching quite a lot of movies. Last day, I happened to watch one that I really, badly wanted to blog about. So, here I am. Sometimes, amidst the flurry of superhero, horror, thriller, comedy, drama and romance movies, you come across something refreshing. Predictable yet different. Happythankyoumoreplease (2010) was one such movie for me. It’s a romance-comedy-drama film that I stumbled upon while checking out some other flick in IMDB. The synopsis seemed interesting and I added it to my to-watch list. For the past 3-4 months, it had been gathering virtual dust in my laptop, until I decided to watch it yesterday. And I’m glad I did! There are three parallel stories in the film, told seamlessly, delving into the lives, relationships and problems of a handful of characters. Sam (Josh Radnor, who is also the director-writer) is a struggling writer who develops a complicated friendship with a lost child. His best friend, Annie (Malin Akerman), an Alopecia patient, tries to fix her messed up self-image and, in turn, her love life. Sam’s cousin, Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and her boyfriend face certain problems in their relationship. Also in the picture is Mississippi (Kate Mara) – a charming, young waitress with issues of her own – who Sam falls for. OK, so, I know it sounds completely cliché. I agree, it is. And yet, I absolutely loved it. It felt like a breath of fresh air to me with its simple premise and extremely likeable, not to mention relatable, characters. I really don’t know why I found it so good. Maybe it just happened at the right time, like, I probably needed something light after the bout of “heavy” movies I had been watching. Perhaps, it’s because I found a genuinely feel-good movie after a long time. Or, maybe, it’s truly as awesome as I think it is! Whatever be the reason, it doesn’t really matter. Because the bottom line is: I loved the movie! It’s refreshing, light, happy, warm and…(the best part) even uplifting, in some ways. I think I could see bits and pieces of myself in the characters and their difficulties. The dialogues are another aspect I really liked. Sample this: “I realized the problem. You write short stories… and I think you like living short stories, but I’m kinda ready for the novel.” I was also quite taken by the music; some of the songs had really interesting lyrics. By the time the end credits were rolling, I was feeling quite happy in a way I can’t seem to explain. Probably because  it’s not usual for me to feel that way after a movie. This one, inspite of being predictable, had a lot more sense and warmth than many other rom-com-dramas. It’s not even about that, to be honest. You don’t always come across a light-hearted movie which actually lifts your mood, even makes you feel…inspired-happy, for lack of a better word. That’s the effect Happythankyoumoreplease had on me. And I can’t remember the last time a movie made me feel so good! So there! I think I’m done with the gushing. Your turn! Oh, that reminds me. I hate the “like” option WordPress has enabled for comments. Maybe I am overreacting, but I suppose I can still have my say. Earlier, the only way to respond to a comment was by, well, replying to it. The plain old reply in words thing. Now, you have the option of merely “liking” the comment, offering the gesture as a possible response. I hate that! It cuts off conversation! I suppose it might be Facebook-inspired. But then, it’s fine in FB, because you can conveniently end an unnecessary comment thread by just clicking the ‘like’ button (I do that all the time!). I don’t think it is required on a platform like WordPress where bloggers actually intend to communicate. And, that marks the end of my rant. For now!

Have you seen the movie? Let me know what you think. And, while you’re at it, I’d love to know what you think about the “like” option for comments, as well. 🙂

Why I Loved ‘The Rule of Four’

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

“Published over 500 years ago, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is one of the most treasured and least understood books of early Western printing. Coded in seven languages, it is an intricate mathematical mystery and a tale of love and arcane brutality that has baffled scholars since 1499.”

The first time I read about it was when I came across an article about a novel that was based on interpreting the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Probably around 3-4 years ago. And, obviously, I found it interesting. I had read all of Dan Brown‘s books and was impressed by the writing style, the suspense, pretty much everything, in fact. And when I read about this book which seemed to be in the same genre – a perfect blend of suspense, mystery, secret codes, history and much more – I

immediately put it down in my to-read list. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason.

The book, basically, revolves around how two friends, about to graduate from Princeton, are on the verge of of solving the codes in the Hypnerotomachia and the sudden murder of a fellow researcher makes them realize they are in danger.

Well, I got to read the book recently. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was worth the wait. Most reviews compare it positively to the Da Vinci Code, some say it is a mixture of Dan Brown and Umberto Eco. Personally, if you ask me, I’d say: a Dan Brown fan would like the book, definitely. But the Rule of Four is no Da Vinci Code. The latter was about secret codes, symbology, secret societies, religion with elements like suspense, murder, fast-paced action…you know what I’m talking about. If you notice, the Da Vinci Code does not dwell too much on emotional aspects, relationships and the like.

What I felt after reading the Rule of Four is that it is predominantly about friendship, love, family, emotions; about how the Hypnerotomachia affects the relationships of the protagonist. What the Da Vinci Code lacks in emotional aspects, the Rule of Four more than makes up for it. And I loved the book, especially because of that! The best part, I think, is that amidst all the emotions, the

Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

suspense never takes a backseat. Which is kind of difficult to maintain when you’re trying to juggle quite a few genres in a single novel. Even though some reviews I found online criticized this ‘juggling of genres’ as ineffective, I found it interesting and, to be honest, distinct for a novel that is basically categorized as suspense/thriller. Or maybe, it’s just me and my perspective. I expected to find a pure mystery and got something with more depth and emotions than a mere thriller. So, while some might think it was overrated, I’d say: I LOVED it!

Here’s a passage from it that I absolutely loved:

“…that the present is simply a reflection of the future. Imagine that we spend our whole lives staring into a mirror with the future at our backs, seeing it only in the reflection of what is here and now. Some of us would begin to believe that we could see tomorrow better by turning around to look at it directly. But, those who did, without even realizing it, would’ve lost the key to the perspective they once had. For the one thing they would never be able to see in it was themselves. By turning their backs on the mirror, they would become the one element of the future their eyes could never find.”

If you’ve read the book, do let me know what you think. Did you like it? 

5 Things I Love About My Work

I’ve just completed my third week at work. I had the same 5 points in my head for the past three weeks but never found the time and peace of mind to sit down and write it out. So, here I am, at the end of three weeks at work. And about to tell you 5 things I love about my work. I hope it doesn’t change, that I’ll always have enough and more reasons to love my work and be happy about it. Anyway, this is what I love right now. So, here goes.

1. The need to know more, be informed – I realized this right on the first day I joined. Being a person who knew next to nothing about happenings, business, corporate world and a lot of other stuff (ummm…make that everything!), I understood I would have to put in a lot of effort if I had to do anything in here. And I’ve been trying. Trying my best to know more. I keep pushing myself to know more. I’m surprised at the amount of information/knowledge I’ve gained over the past 3 weeks, even though not all of it maybe beneficial to me beyond the workplace. Anyway, it is something I love, nevertheless. I do what I can to know more, to get a deeper idea of what I’m doing. The best part? The learning never stops.

2. Involves thinking – I suppose all jobs require some amount of thinking. But what I’m talking about is creative thinking. As part of my work, I’m supposed to think about possible options, new ideas and come up with something that can get the desired end/result. I love that. I’m just getting into the groove of it, but I totally love the way I have to push myself to come up with better ideas & possibilities. I also love the fact that it keeps me busy (mostly, not always), does not give me time to dwell on trifles. Apart from this, I get to do some stuff for others, which helps me dabble in different areas.

3. People – This is something I’m truly happy about, more than anything else. I love the people I’m working with. I agree there maybe exceptions. People might turn out to be different, looks might turn out to be deceptive. Keeping aside all that, there are a few individuals I love talking to, being with and working with. People whom I can connect to, who are similar to me and (best part!!) who dare to think big and beyond. Because not everyone will be able to understand your dreams and perceptions. It’s always inspiring and motivating to be around individuals who have ambitions, who understand the need to have a greater purpose in life.

4. The Environment – The work environment is AWESOME. It’s what I have always wanted my workplace to be like. And I’m super-glad I ended up right where I wanted to be. The people are all very friendly and helpful (again, I’m leaving out the exceptional cases). Once I was through the initial settling-in phase, I got back to my usual self – alternating between bursts of sense and long bouts of nonsense. Like I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there is a lot of energy in the place. I’ve noticed that most of the other employees (who have been here for a while) share a very cordial relationship with each other, even with the directors (assuming I didn’t read it wrong). I had expected the work environment to be all formal and serious. But, well, I was wrong about this place. It’s anything but formal and serious!

5. Part of a bigger cause – OK, maybe not as big as I make it seem. But when I realize that all the work we (not just me) put in is for something greater, it gives me another reason to love my work. All these years, I’ve attended events or watched them on TV. And today, I’m working on them. I’m getting to know what goes into the making of an event, how the final event is put together, how that perfect D-Day is achieved. I’ve begun to realize there’s a lot of people and their effort behind it. On the day of the event, when you see people enjoying and appreciating it, and you realize your effort is an integral part of the success, that’s when you see the bigger cause that you were a part of. I haven’t got there yet, but I will, very soon. 🙂

So, that’s 5 things I love about my work. If I sound like I’m having this super-awesome time, work’s all great and no problems bothering me, then well…I think I must have been over-enthusiastic. That happens a lot. But who am I fooling? Don’t worry. I’m still on the same planet as the rest of you, where almost everything has a lot of good things and a hell lot of bad things about it. There are things I don’t like about my work, I admit. But, more on that later, in another post. 🙂

‘Trying to Figure Out Love’ OR ‘Love…WTF is it?’

I knew this new phase and all the new experiences would mean a lot of new stuff to blog about. But I never expected I’d have so many new thoughts, that it would actually push me to come up with two posts in a day! 🙂 Well, so here I am. Remember the thought I had while brushing my teeth? Yeah, so I thought I’d get to that.

I was thinking about love (yeah, weird time to think about love, I suppose). Sometimes, the choices in life are odd, difficult. Hard to figure out. Hard to choose. Like, what would you choose if you had two versions of perfection before you (like, two perfect jobs, two perfect people, two perfect anything)? And, yes, you can choose only one. And…the worst part? You love both options! Especially when it comes to something as intricate as love, this kinda choice is sure to drive you mad.

But today morning, I was struck by a thought, something like an enlightenment, I guess. 🙂 While in college, during some programme, one of my favourite teachers mentioned about an article he had read. And he read out this line about love. I had written it down, tried to find it but couldn’t. Anyway, the gist of it is that: ‘Love is not about me, but about you; how I can enrich your life, how I can bring happiness into your life’. Something in those lines. The actual lines were so beautiful, I feel so bad for replacing destroying it with my stupid lines.

Anyway, the point is…love is something far above normal human emotions. Love takes on an entirely new (& true, I think) meaning when you think about someone else far more than you do about yourself. I’m not saying love means never thinking about yourself. You know this person is special, you would NEVER want him/her to be unhappy, you would do everything in your power to see them happy, even if the person is not someone you’re personally close to. Now, that is love, in its purest form. Just the need to see someone happy, smiling, alive. Isn’t that what we want for our loved ones? Above everything else? That is love. Simple, isn’t it? And when I put it in this perspective, I realized that it’s not really important whom you choose when you’re faced with a choice. Because love does not have rules, love would never force you to choose (and yeah, choosing one does not mean you completely stop loving the other). It doesn’t have limits, no conditions on how many people you can choose to love.

There are a lot of people I love; people I care about and for whom I would do anything! Anything to see them happy. Is that bad? So, basically, what I’m trying to do is…I’m trying to justify the situation wherein you might have to make a choice and yet have love for both!

Memoirs of a (Creatively Messy) Roommate

I know it’s been a few days since I wrote something. Janet (my younger sister) left on 6th. And I’ve been too emotionally distracted to actually sit down and write anything. I miss her a lot. I’ve noticed that when there’s someone with you for a while and then they leave, it feels so painful. And even though you maybe used to being alone, you still miss the person very badly, and the solitude hurts in ways you can’t explain. Anyway, I don’t think I should go into that right now.

Today, I read a post that gave some ideas on how not to let blogging take up too much of your time (that is, if you don’t seem to have time for anything else). Simple yet different and effective ideas. One was that once in a while, you could post a photo and write a paragraph about it. I loved the idea. And it inspired me to think of another one. We meet so many people in our daily lives…friends, strangers, so many people. And I’m sure there will be something about them (quality, habit, behaviour, anything) that comes to mind when we think of each person. Blog about that; do you like it, elaborate on the specific characteristic, how it affects you (if it does), so on. I’m going to put these ideas to use when I go blank and don’t know what to write about. Of course, there can never be a dearth of interesting people in your life! 😀

Last night, I was copying some numbers from my phone into a diary and Ann was sleepily reading through some book (for school). I came across a friend’s number…and that evoked a hell lot of memories. I spoke to Ann about this friend for a while and she shared a similar experience with me.

The person I’m talking about, she was my hostel roommate, while in college. For 2 years! We are shuffled every year, but sometimes, we might get one or two of our ex-roommates. And that’s how I got Jisha as my roommate twice, during the second and third years. Talking about Jisha, she isn’t exactly my type of person. We aren’t best friends; far from it, in fact. To be honest, during the first year as roommates, I used to get constantly irritated by her. She was (nearly) obsessed with everything being clean and…you know, I hate it when someone forces me to clean my space. Not that I’m untidy. Like I always say, I like my own creative order. And Jisha used to think it’s messy. So, we did have our tiffs initially.

But, eventually, as time passed, all 5 of us (roommates) got closer to each other. We used to have a lot of late-night talks, discussions on everything from movies to current affairs to the usual class gossips. And, with time, I got used to Jisha. There were certain things I disliked in her, but everyone has flaws. And her’s was nothing I couldn’t overlook. Because she has so many other positive qualities that I still admire. Apart from her amazing knowledge of current affairs and stuff, she is a very good person at heart. She is extremely helpful, goes out of her way to help people, compassionate beyond limits, patient, rational, capable of getting things done, quick at learning new stuff, hardworking and a lot more. In short, a very awesome person!

When we became roommates during the third year, both of us were really happy about it. She is one person I miss a lot, whenever I think of the times at hostel. Even though we weren’t close in a personal way, the two years had led us to grow comfortable with each other. We had got so comfortable and used to each other. She knew my habits, my likes and dislikes and I knew hers. She knew when I didn’t want to be disturbed, I knew when she didn’t want my constant barrage of questions. There are a LOT of other things I could tell you about our friendship (like the numerous memories that never fail to make me smile, or even laugh out loud!) . But, basically, what I wanted to put through is how we were never close yet knew each other and were comfortable with each other, almost like close friends.

Before I came to RAK, Jisha had called me. I was surprised, because I hadn’t expected her to call, honestly! Anyway, when she did, I was extremely happy and our conversation had an intimacy that I hadn’t noticed before. When I told Ann about my bond with Jisha, she said she has a similar friend – someone who isn’t personally close but knows her so well and is very comfortable with her. Sometimes, sharing space with someone for a certain period of time is enough to develop a strong bond, almost similar to the one between best friends. You grow so used to the other’s presence, his/her habits, likes, dislikes and quirks…and most importantly, sharing space will also mean you create a lot of memories together…like Jisha and I did. Memories that will live forever!

Have you ever had someone like that in your life? 

 

The Reader Appreciation Award – Just Made My Day!

[The following was written last night, actually yesterday early morning. In the end, I was so unhappy with it that I couldn’t bring myself to publish it. But these are thoughts I want to put across…so, here goes!] 

So, I’ve been staring at this empty space for quite a while, now. And I thought I should be writing something… It’s 1:00am. I’m not sleepy. But my little sister (who loves staying up with me) is already dozing off near me. I tried keeping her busy by giving her some  funny stuff to watch but that doesn’t seem to be working.

I guess I should just blog and be done with this, so that Ann and I can go sleep. 🙂 When I wrote the post about how I was feeling down, I mentioned a blog that had inspired me to write it out – hastywords. I was catching up on her posts, today. And I found another post that I could relate to so amazingly – My Heart The Traitor. Basically, it’s about how she discovered the source to her negativity and the way to destroy it. Beautiful post. And there were so many parts in it which touched me beyond words!

I loved her thought about positivity being all around us, how looking up at the stars and the miracles all around us can give us a sense of it. ‘From darkness…there is light.’ So so so true! It’s something I believe in but when it turns dark, I forget to remember that I’ll find light at the other end.

Anyway, I think I’m getting there…finally seeing light. Trying to break through the layer of darkness and see beyond, into the enlivening light. And go sailing in a small boat on the vast ocean…

Photography by Martin Vincent

I think I should get to sleep…or I’ll sleep-blog! 😛 By the way, it’s just past 2am and Ann’s already gone off to bed. [ Luckily, I stopped right here, or you would have had to read some of the nonsense I write when I’m on the verge of sleeping off!] 

A new day. And guess what? When I logged in to my WP account, I was in for a wonderful surprise. It just made my day! 🙂 Matt (aka theotherwatson) at Wanton Creation nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award!!!! 🙂 I can’t tell you how happy I was. Even though I know you love me so much, these awards are like an awesome extra-bit of appreciation! And it always feels great! But the best part, for me, is that these awards seem to come right when I need them. As in, when I’m going through a low-time or having writer’s block, I get nominated for an award and it completely changes my mood! 🙂 Thank you so so so much, Matt. You have no idea how happy I’m! 🙂

Like with every other award, this one comes with some rules. Apart from  linking back to the person who nominated me (check), including the image (check) and nominating 6 other bloggers, I’m supposed to say something about what I’ve been upto.

Well, I had been experiencing a down-time. But now, I’m almost out of it. I’ve been watching some movies, listening to a lot of music, reading some really lovely blogs, talking to and spending time with Ann and basically, just making most of my time here at the heaven I call ‘home’! Yesterday, Ann and I did some crazy stuff together. And yeah, I made her stay up while I was writing a post that I didn’t even publish! 😀 So, that’s what I’ve been upto!

Now, to pass on the award… Well, there are so many bloggers I like. And I’m going to choose 6 bloggers whom I haven’t nominated before. So, here goes:

emotional salad – Love her thoughts! 🙂

Live, Learn, Mature – My awesome blog-friend 🙂

kkeilly – I stumbled upon her blog one day. And it was love at first sight!

hastywords – She’s sort of an emotional soul-mate, as you might have understood by now!

Personal Concerns – Because I love the thought-provoking stuff he writes!

PIECES – Love his poems! 🙂

Check out their blogs, I’m sure you’ll find them super-awesome!

Love y’all! 🙂