Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dear Sad Self



Dear Sad Self,

Just a letter from a little pensive self. What kind of sad are you today? Is it the garden variety you're sick and there's work and your head pounds? Give it two days and the world does not suck as much as you think. Oh, this letter doesn't romanticise pain or life but just thinks as it writes.
Is your pain due to something more serious then? Someone betrayed you or hurt you or doesn't love you as much as you thought they would? It's an extremely hurtful kind in a sense that people can understand it and empathize but no one can be you. I think about it a lot.. and my mind tells me it's the worst kind but it is not. Is it not wonderful that there is something you once cherished inside your mind? People can yes, relate or tell you it's going to be okay, but they can't ever blemish that part of your mind who remembers things exactly as you saw, no actually, remembers things exactly as you felt them. I think if you've had someone to love even for a bit in this big, wide and painfully slow life, you're lucky.
Oftentimes when I have crumbled I have recovered mostly because I could fall back - fall back on the good before, fall back on the good now.
Do you know when the world does suck as much as you think and you can't come out of it unscathed? It's when you are alone. When you're trapped and can't say but it's there and it feels just so damn heavy. There is still good now (to fall back on) but the flow from the heart to the mouth is scrambled and you are there but you're not. I think this is a different type of alone. To feel good and lucky about life again then takes a much longer time. You are a toddler throwing tantrums on the inside but that is exactly where it stays because it feels it would look just as silly, petty and dependant if it came on the outside.
Have I made sense upto now? This is not going to be much related to what I want to say next. It seems an obvious next step but I can't connect the why.
I guess what I am trying to say is.. good days are wonderful. Hold onto them. Really love them and try to remember every detail.
This is an achievement oriented marketplace and these good days save you from seeing yourself as numbers. They remind you you're not data sets, you're not mediocre or you're not an outlier. No. You're just you. Maybe someone smiled at you or maybe your parent said they were proud of you or your best friend says she misses you or maybe it was just a normal day with people you liked: at least that is most of what my good days are made up of. (The most revolutionary yet quiet kind of good day is the realization you have one day that you're recovering, where your bruises are lightening and your functioning seems like it's normalizing). They serve to put things in perspective. They remind you that you're liked or loved not because of something you did, but because of who you are. You're messed up and boring and irritating but there is a place for you. People who care enough about being important to you that they come to check on you and ask you and smile with you on their stupid jokes.
I say real-life sucks. But what do I think real life is? It's just life minus the reminder (and/or regular occurrence) of good days.
These days you're going to think that you have to fight your battles alone and you will have to actually, can't sugar coat. It's just important to remember that there will always be someone, no matter who, wishing well for you or you wishing good things upon. I understand that I can say this because I am privileged. I often thank my lucky stars for that because I know exactly where I would be if I didn't have the privilege and pleasure of my good days.

PS - Today was a good day.

Signing off and waiting for tomorrow,
Pensive self.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pick Me Up's

I am a big fan of pick-me-ups. Hence, I like to provide people with them all the time. Little good things. Every single person needs to have a reservoir of these to dip into. All right, not everyone needs it, but it's.. nice.
It was also a little relieving to see zero views after a long time. No, it's not to say that people should stop reading nice things by me, but it reminded me of 2014. Just a random lost girl, processing things, in an old town, misunderstanding people. If I try, I can remember one or two scenes as they happened 'verbatim' if I may. I am happily alone in all of them.
Inside jokes are pretty good pick-me-ups. Oh wow, it took me 10 minutes to realize how the term pick-me-ups also could be used for trash talking.
Ever wonder how we are all going to die? Uh, enoughof that, switching topics.
Started 13 Reasons Why 2. Seemed disappointing after the first season. Would probably show different perspectives but has started off as a weird revenge thing which keeps you guessing more about who did it than the story. Fair warning: only 1.5 episodes in.
Watching a lot of Parks and Recreation lately. Leslie Knope is amazing. Such a good heroine figure for all young girls! As a career woman and even as a person. Sometimes annoying but are not all of us that? Some more than others. Haha.
I think I consciously hurt someone today. Not hurt, made life a little difficult for 2 minutes. Yes, it was "revenge" for something done in innocence (mostly).
What's unfair is not paying someone for their labour and being a miser. If you don't pay for something, don't make excuses and get it done on somebody else's money. Complaining as well, bare minimum of it please.
Guess what I have been thinking about lately? Well, good posture! The only time I have it is when I am meditating. Spine, stomachs all need to buck up real fast.
This place is hot and suddenly there are too many powercuts.
I haven't been able to bring myself to write poetry for a very long time. Completely miss the process.
The YouTube comments on certain songs are so endearing! I don't want to tell you which song I am listening to right now but people there had so many stories to tell.
Battery is low. I shall take thy leave.
Good night. :)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Last day of the fifth month of the year

Will go to Hazaribag again in a week and then home. :)
I just let the drafts, which were sitting imperfectly, be published. I am never getting around to writing it out perfectly.

<Insert old spiel about a lot has changed in this much time>

But it has. :)

Work life has me a little discouraged tbh. It's okay. :)
Some people are such food thieves. Dum-dums.

A friend asked me if I were the same as 3 years ago and I didn't know how to answer that. I wouldn't even have remembered who/why I was that long ago had I not been writing. Over 4 years now, can you imagine? When I was still a teen..

The roommate who had just enetered college when I was leaving - seen her behave exactly like me in some ways (trying to maintain grades and doing things) - even she's left college now. I still haven't stopped giving her free advice. Friends have weddings lined up. You make your peace with the world on most days.

Course correct. A lot.

Think about planning. A lot.

Be more human.

Think about how much you hate the term 'networking'. A lot. (Someone told me a way around it and I haven't even done that bit).

I live in an unhealthy, polluted place. Parks and Rec for the win.

A lot of random things are coming to me right now but let it pass. :)

I tried going back to the past but felt so Debbie Downer when I was at the very brink of it! This sentence structure is wrong but it's just too exhausting to think.
Hakuna Matata.
Bye.

"Learnings"

Unobjectivity - can you only do your best if you're unattached to people, outcomes etc.?

Social skills>cognitive skills/any skill at all
Know when to be lax = as important as getting things done
Small talk v v v imp

Full stories = fair judgement

Wonder how will I do in corporate - never slogged 12 hours at a stretch

Long haul v v v v imp

People are what they are, their working styles are what they are. Less time you spend cribbing about it, more time you have to figure out how to get around it

People take you only as seriously you take yourslf. take charge. Worrying about things that are not now, doesn't help. Hopefully you cross bridges when you come to them.

Communication is key to avoid conflicts, work better/faster (especially in terms of delegating work - to be indispensable, be dispensable so that YOUR work is in the important non-urgent zone) and to bounce off ideas.

respect!=like

Be aware about what you're giving your attention and time to

Switch off

Good management = genuine care? Or is that being a good human? Maybe there is no clear demarcation. Conventional management advice doesn't hold when there are no career advancement plans (seemingly) and money not being the *only* incentive.

Think
Act
Record/reflect
Sometimes the first two even interchangibly!













Field Visits

District office was very disappointing. So many systems and processes and too much adherence to them and no incentives. More worryingly, 0 knowledge. The district officer asked me to see the data and shoo-ed me away as quickly as he could to the next desk.
About the data from the next desk: he said the data will not give you an accurate idea. That sometimes people exist just on paper. Qualitative information is something I shouldn't expect from them in the first place. After all, they sit in air-conditioned offices.

Visited the block office today, the BDO was not in office. Met the second in command who also could just give me anecdotal evidence. The IEC material from the districts is supposed to reach these offices but he said he'd never gotten them. Such is life. The political manager of that area then took me to the Birhor area. It was Poor Economics in real life - TVs (made easily possible because of free electricity) co-existing with holes in brick walls for new mothers to go in and out of the house.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wonder!

[Scene : in my head.
Two ladies having a conversation in shrill, excited voices.
1: What? She's back with the abstract again?
2: Umm, when did she even stop?]

This sense of wonder has so often served as my island of sanity when things have gone to shit. Wonder gets through when nothing else can.
It comes in unexpected places.

Like when you're pre-occupied with how you're just going to fail your paper or not reach on time or how the metro is so slow (well, Kolkata - this was back during college) and then you would see this really old person trying out the escalator for the first time. Scared yet excited, holding the railing strip. I still don't know if wonder is the right word, but it just feels happy. People's first time escalator trips always make me glad and sometimes make me question privileges.

When you're gasping for breath because the air is so polluted but there will be some dog around happily chasing it's tail or a girl asking you for a 'ticket' to enter your own lane. Also, red leaves lying about.

Wonder about how time passes and good things seem to come to you, wonder how you made it through the bad.
Wonder when you see someone upset and realize how many struggles you are yet to face and even then how you're so content and invincible in that moment.

Sometimes, it's as simple as walking down the road and having a thought about how this universe is way bigger than your story (but never feels that way). To be more precise, 7 billion stories as unique as fingerprints and tongue prints and DNA. Stories struggling to be heard, to merely exist. How DNA (all strands of all cells when put together would cover twice the diameter of the Solar System) fits into your body and how something so tiny can be so big at the same time so as to provide you identity.

On that same road, a labourer cycles a big cart filled above capacity with just..bottles! Plain, empty, plastic bottles. It's probably for recycling but there's just too many for them at once.
Assorted colourful toys being ferried about on scooters and lunas on a bridge above a river. Wonder where he's coming from and where he's going and if his life is as difficult as it looks. Blue and white boats dot the river below: on which you took rides and when you reached that bridge, you shouted just to hear your voice echo back. Strange place for an echo!

Wonder comes when you go to a library and think about the collective knowledge across centuries that books contain. How some of it was permanently lost to wars and basic human carelessness.
That you'll never read all of them. Even if you did, it wouldn't be half as fruitful if you didn't know how to read people.

Those parts of the world you'll never get to go.

That a wise old man is still a novice.

My all-time favourite - the sky that I keep referring to - how it looks blue but it isn't. That when we look at stars, we're standing in the present looking at history.

About people! How they manage to do what they do, be how they are. How some of them turn out to be so perfect and when (as it happens with most heroes) the illusions shatter, you wonder how they made it to your pedestal in the first place. The ones who still remain perfect after you know them? They're all that. Wonder that one day you might find yourself there.

Wonder about people who've gone to another place. If they still exist in any form or if they still think about you or if they would want to tell you something or if they would be proud of you or most importantly, if they're happy now. Funny to think about their pride.. when their boasting about you precisely because of their pride was such a source of embarrassment. I think it would still be cringey!

Wonder sounds naive and simplistic but it's one of the few fresh things we got.

Also, pretty sure I mixed up two different kinds of wonder in here.

[1: Was this a trick to go down the memory lane?
2: I wonder.
1: Is she making stupid jokes about herself, by herself?
2: .....]

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

On Value Judgements

This post is a result of reflection on the 2 months of 2018 that have passed by. It's the gradual seeping in of the realization that value judgments ruin everything. The intense, almost critical need to label everything has led to a grave lack of objectivity that is dangerous.
There are multiple scenarios where these judgements could prove to be griveous.
I have been thinking that these judgments are how comparisons start - when you're busy trying to grade activities that have happened/are happening in other peoples' lives. You start with calling it good, bad or important even but inherently you're doing this in comparison with what you have. It's easier to go off-track because these activities are happening in a context completely unrelated to your own life.
Value judgements lead you to be believe that you *know* what the outcome of things are going to be; hence you try selectively. With people, this proves to be a hindrance in forming new partnerships or trying to change the existing dynamics. In this case too, you're guessing what will happen when you're going to move out of your comfort zone and is a thought trap of sorts.
Most commonly, this will lead you to judge people because they don't fit in with your line of thinking when to really understand the complexity that a human is, you need to be able to process a multitude of perspectives.
These judgements cause you to lose your patience when you feel like you know what would be the best thing for everyone around you as well. You start prescribing which is convenient in the short run but teaching a person how to think benefits them for a lifetime.
Of course this is not to deny that sometimes these also hold the key to making suitable life choices. In my arrogance and inexperience, however, I think I have committed all of the above fallacies; I still continue to make them. I doubt that I have been able to soften these tendencies to the point where I could undo them or apologize for them but recognition has been key. It's an important gift to be able to see facts as just facts and the aim is to cultivate that practice.

PS - Realized that even this piece has judgements!