TIL #3

Sadly, I am not really doing “Today I learnt” posts everyday mainly because I don’t quite learn something interesting everyday. Even though I did learn things like: Whatsapp wasn’t working for 4 hours (on Sunday, 23rd Feb) driving everyone crazy; Facebook shutting down their email service, these don’t seem things you write down in TIL post. So for today, I learnt something about people. People don’t like to leave their comfort zone and sometimes that is an inconvenience to everyone. Some of us might think, this person is annoying because they don’t want to leave their comfort zone. But then, aren’t you lucky that you can? There is this quote by Darwin,

“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” 

Hence, what I learnt today is that I need to become adaptable to change and also, a little more understanding of those who are not. I like spontaneity and unexpected twists and turns but sometimes I forget that there is beauty is harmony and symmetry as well. I just wanted to remind myself of that today. 🙂

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TIL #2

Today I learnt a few things:
1. Displaced anger does not help anyone: You should never displace your anger onto those who are not at fault.

2. You cannot always want what others have because if you do, you never really enjoy what you have the fortune of having. True happiness comes only when envy disappear. As long as you think someone has gotten a sweeter deal in life than you, you can never truly be happy.

3. All human beings are bursting with potential and power like nothing other. It’s a shame that we sometimes forget that.

So yes, I didn’t learn anything scientifically relevant today, but this is at least something. Cheers!

Things I hate about being a grown up

So, recently I saw this video on youtube by the vlogbrothers about “How to become an adult” and one of the questions that John Green raises in that particular video is about when do you know that you are an adult. What is the right age? I remember that there was a Lizzie McGuire episode where one of the main characters makes a documentary about when boys start feeling like men. So, yes grudgingly or not people grow up. Here are a list of 10 things I hate about being a grown up:

10. Doing your own laundry: Whether you have a washing machine or one in your building, or whether you are just taking it to the cleaners. It is a headache. You never realize that you are running out of clothes but then, suddenly you have to do your own laundry and you realize that unless you want to wear smelly clothes you might not have your favourite jeans available to go for a party. You also need to plan when to launder your bedding to make sure you don’t have to sleep without a blanket.

9. Buying groceries: Yes, I know this should be somewhere more on top. But buying groceries is not that annoying. If you have to go to the vegetable market and wander around looking for avocado (yes, that is annoying) but I think it is still pretty much an acceptable act to me.

8. Managing groceries: That definitely is more annoying than buying the groceries. You need to make sure that what you buy doesn’t expire the next day. For example, bread usually just lasts a couple of days. Buying bread means, you are planning the next few meals. It sucks, I know. PS- If you are not living alone, this might be less of an issue I think.

7. Dishwashing: So, it’s all great if you have a dishwasher at home. If not, this I think is one of the most annoying things. My advice is: cleaning gloves and hopefully warm water (in winters). Also another piece of advice, do not put off doing dishes until the next day (dishes just are harder to clean). Also, don’t start cleaning while cooking (that’s as stupid).

6. Carrying money/valuables: When you are younger you don’t need to worry about carrying money because your parents will always have enough to take care of everything. However, once you are older you need to be careful all the time. Always thinking about where you put your phone, your money, your credit cards and then going out feels like work.

5. Paying bills/rent: The most annoying thing about this isn’t that you need to pay your bill. More so is that you need to keep track of the ones you have paid versus the ones you haven’t. This gets more complicated if you have several credit cards. The best way to do this is: Keep a reminder every month(on repeat) to make sure your bills are paid. Also, try making electronic transactions so even if you don’t remember your bank account(s) will.

4. Organizing parties/meetups: So, it’s your best friend’s birthday. Their parents are not responsible for throwing a party (but someone has to be) so.. it is you. You need to keep track of everything. From food, decorations, cake, number of people attending and to top it all, a perfect gift. A perfect gift every year. Sigh. Okay, so this one might not be so much annoying, just stressful. 😛

3. Doctor visits/getting sick: So, you are older. You don’t know how exactly but you got sick in the middle of the day and at work. You can’t even walk. So, what can you do? You need to either call someone or you need to get out of your building, catch a cab and get to the nearest clinic. The latter is always going to be a pain.

2. Bank: Funny thing about banks is, they work during working hours which funnily are YOUR WORKING HOURS as well. So when can you go to the bank? Maybe quickly before work (if the bank is very close to work, or your working hours are flexible) or during lunch. So you waste your lunch hour (which is already short) to go to the bank, stand in a looooong line (cos everyone only have time during lunch) and then get whatever needs to be done. An advice to banks: Why can’t you stay open a little past ordinary working hours?

So now for the big one, the thing I hate the most about being grown up:

1. Making decisions: From the amount of salt to put into pasta to whether you need a doctor. All these decisions and no one to help you make them. Even the simple ones like what to have for lunch are painful to make. There is a concept in economy called opportunity cost which simply said means that the cost of your best choice is the benefits of your second best choice.

Being an adult is about being responsible. Responsible for your own actions. Even though I have stated here about the things I hate about being a grown up, there are things I do enjoy as well. I will put that in another post though. For now, I hope you find a way to be a kid in your own way. That’s what will get you through most days.

TIL #1

So, here goes my first today I learned post. So, let’s do two things I learned today (1 fact and 1 divine epiphany[I have those quite often]):

Fact- Facebook is buying WhatsApp for 16B$. Okay so, maybe this is just news that I’m giving you but you know. The reason why I’m putting this in, is because I’m trying to understand business/company strategies. I mean Facebook is a pretty big company. Acquiring Whatsapp (which is almost as big) feels unconventional on some level. My only concern is about data safety and advertisements. For a while now, Facebook has ads, I am concerned that Whatsapp might soon as well. Another less interesting fact/news is that I just saw the promotion videos for Samsung gear(watch) where it’s been called the “next big thing”. So… maybe yes. I’m sure it’s a nice toy, but what other features does it have other than being over publicized in movies and as a result, being cool. I’m still waiting to be convinced by Samsung.

Thought of the day: So, my divine realization of the day is about food. You know, I really like a quote by Spike in Buffy the vampire slayer where he says, “Love isn’t brains children, it’s blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it” Oh I quoted this, cos I realize that blood is vampire’s food. Also, I love the quote. So, for food today, I was famished. And I went to a new place and bought food. It was quite bland and opposite of my taste buds and I ate most of it without any complaint. The thing I realized was, that as long as it was some food, I would have eaten it. That made me realize that all the time I spend thinking about good food, are the times when I don’t quite need food and even though, I’m somewhat of a foodie, I feel now that I might just be wasting my time.

Anyhow so those are pretty much about what I learned today. I will be back writing on what I will learn tomorrow.

Natural selection

Survival of the fittest is not just an evolutionary theory. It is also how we filter out talent in the world. Isn’t survival of the fittest the basis of all competition? Whether it is Olympics, International sports, dance competitions or even reality TV shows. The only thing all of these have in common is “survival of the fittest”. The fittest/best/most competent wins all of this. One could potentially argue that competition exists to filter out the less competent which is completely okay. I am not against the universal evolutionary theory. (As an aside though, human beings are not the fittest and yet we have survived. Even more so, we don’t actually promote survival of the fittest. For human beings, the fittest would be the most intelligent and yet dim witted and completely idiotic humans do exist. So, we are definitely not filtering well. Good intelligent men are not procreating with good intelligent women only, otherwise we would not have anyone who was even remotely stupid.) So like I was saying, survival of the fittest. 

All Ivy league schools or UCs are extremely difficult to get into. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. They want to train the best minds and they give the best education to the best people. So hence, competition is fair. I have noticed however, that no school (whether good or bad) likes to accept students with a GPA lower than 3.0. You cannot have any other redeeming quality which would make you desirable to a school and I wonder why schools follow survival of the fittest. All these universities which can only accept say 1000 students per batch or something and they get say over 50000 applications, they choose to reject you on face value. On the mere value of how much you scored in your last exam. What I keep thinking is, all these people who do excellent in exams and are exceptionally talented make like 1% of the world population or less. These are the students/humans who get accepted into all colleges. They are the ones who sit on top of companies and tell everyone else how to their jobs. I just keep wondering how this is shaping our society. 

I saw this recently which got me thinking that if you are not good at something, the society teaches you not to pursue it. If you are bad at singing, your friends and family will tell you that you suck and then you will never even try to learn. If you get bad grades in Science, you will be forced to learn some other subject because everyone around you think that you should hate everything that you are bad at. I have come to believe that people have this feeling that you should hate what you are bad at. You filter out all the things you are bad at so that all you have left is the one or two things you are adept at. You spend your whole life doing things you ARE already GOOD at. How will you ever learn then?

We are paved by the society around us. We are appreciated with compliments when we do something well and criticism when we do something badly. Behavioral Psychology has a theory of Reinforcement and punishment to help develop socially acceptable behavior in kids. Criticism and compliments also act as punishment and reinforcers respectively. If a kid can’t draw well, others laugh at them and soon the kid gives up drawing. If a kid is overweight, other kids would laugh at you until you develop serious self esteem issues by puberty leading to bulimia and depression. If a kid does not understand math well, teachers scold them, embarrass them and punish them by calling them “stupid” or “idiot” or “dumb”. Now this student might have just been a little slow, might have loved math but won’t this student end up hating it? The subject itself wasn’t causing the student as much pain as the people who were teaching it. 

Schools, institutions, workplaces and the entire fucking society brings you up believing that you should abandon anything you are not good at. They would also tell you that you can do anything you want in life but they forget to add the postscript that says: “as long as you are good at it”. I don’t think students are brought up with free will to do whatever they want. No, I don’t think the educational systems do a good job in filtering out students. But then, it is a difficult job and you can’t blame them for believing that if you are good at something you ought to enjoy it as well. The problem is, that this world doesn’t give chances to slow learners, to people who want to pursue things they don’t have an aptitude for. Maybe we are saving these people for future disappointments and failure or maybe we are just bringing them up to chain their dreams and find reality. To curb someone’s imagination today, to save them future suffering is that a fair trade off? I wonder..

The funeral

An atrocious number of people had shown up to honor her memory, people she didn’t really know and mostly people she didn’t really care about. A small group of people stood huddled in the corner and I assumed they were the ones who really knew her. None of them were crying. They didn’t look grief striken per se. They just simply stared into nothingness. I wondered if they were alright. I went to take a closer look and noticed two slightly older in the group whom I assumed to be her parents. The woman had a glazed look about her. Like she had not slept for days. And the man looked broken, like all life had been sucked out of him. And yet, they were not crying. They simply stood there while talk about her little child was being murmured all around them. Her friends also were also standing right there. Soon, they would learn how to deal with it and then move on from it. It was simple. You cannot brood forever. People die. That was the simple truth.
She had only been twenty three they told me. Such a young girl. She had had dreams. Things she had wanted to do, and yet she had one day lost all hope of doing them. One day, she had decided she didn’t want to do any of those things. She just didn’t want to live. And so her body would now be buried and whatever broken pieces of her life were left, they would be picked up and slowly forgotten over the years. I wondered if she wanted to be a mother, or if she wanted to be married, or have a house, or do gardening, or climb a mountain. All her dreams were gone with her, and there was nothing left. I wondered if she was in a better place now. A place where she could not feel any of it: the fear of death, of loss, or any sorrow, or happiness. The good and the bad were both snuffed out of her and I could not help but wonder if it was something she would have wanted.
I looked around for someone who would tell me everything about her. I burnt with a desire to know her. She was a book to me now. A completed book as her journey was over and her chapters were set. She can be remembered fondly or with spite, it did not matter. She could be forgotten even, but still it wouldn’t matter. I saw a small girl (she wouldn’t be more than 3 years old). I went and sat next to her, and she pointed at the photograph of her aunt and said “aunt”. I stared at her small hands as she pointed at the picture and did a come here movement with her hands. She was calling for her aunt. Her aunt was gone. This girl would not even remember her aunt once she is older. Then she pointed at her aunt and said “balloon” and I understood that they used to play with together.
I think that was all I needed to know about her. The fact that she was an aunt to this wonderful little child and at least today, as of this moment, she was missed by this little kid. Maybe she would be forgotten soon, or maybe never by her friends and family but what was true was that she is remembered today by this innocent creature. Whatever good or bad she did, she was loved purely by at least one being. I closed my eyes and said a small prayer for her soul and hoped she was in a better place.

Be more than social networks

The things that made you weird as a kid make you GREAT today

I have been inclined to persecute every single person who has led me to believe that I am wasting my life. It is true,I am wasting it. And the reason is not because I am working 10 hours/day on a job that brings me least amount of satisfaction. No, it is because I am not using the rest 14 hours of the day doing absolutely anything that could give me least bit of satisfaction.

In high school, college parties seemed fun and so did getting drunk and high. Those were at least fun things you thought you ought to do. In college, having your own apartment and earning your own money was an exciting possibility. Even shopping for groceries seemed motivational in life. The thing is, looking forward is the way of life. The only way of life should be looking forward. If you are young, and trying to look back thinking if it all makes sense, there is clearly something wrong.

If you don’t have skills, you learn them. It is still better than thinking why didn’t I learn how to play the piano when I was 8. You didn’t know you wanted to know how to play the piano. The funny part about life is, the only unacceptable and slowing down factor will be laziness. What if you decide you will not be lazy?

There are so many things(industries) in the world that are depending on your laziness to survive: television industry (the crappier shows), munchies (chips, cheese balls, all foods with no health value), instant foods and most importantly social networking. The question to ask yourself is: how many hours do you spend doing these things? When was the last time you didn’t spend time on these things but actually moved your ass to cook, meet actual friends, go to an event (not a movie), spent endless hours scrolling through your news feed on Facebook.

When you grow up, you primarily forget why you wanted to do it in the first place. It wasn’t about the fact that you wanted your mum off your back, neither was it so that you could watch endless tv shows one after the other all weekend long. No, the reason you wanted to grow up was so that you could go out on your own and discover the world. The question, therefore is simply are you really using your adulthood? When you get off work, do you go out and look around for interesting foods you could eat or do you simply go home and have another unhealthy instant noodle meal? You know you can very well cook yes?

I’m signing off with Steve Jobs famous quote,

Stay hungry, stay foolish.