Why I Dislike Macy’s (Herald Square)

 

Well, I’m not too much of a shopaholic; I think I barely fall in the category, to tell you the truth. However, I do need to go and buy stuff occasionally, as we all do. So, I landed up at Macy’s the other day to buy some outerwear (winter approaches *brrrr*) and literally had a headache-inducing time. Here’s why:-

Macy's (Herald Square)

1. Macy’s is undergoing some sort of renovation – ALL HELL HATH BREAK LOOSE!! Half the display shelf cabinets are locked and one can’t even see most of the products or touch the and inspect them while browsing. In case one wants to see the product up-close, the utterly snobby Macy’s staff take their own sweet time in a) Noticing the customer b) Acknowledging the customer’s request and, c) Actually opening the God-damned cabinets! As if this weren’t taxing enough, the customers (due to lack of space) crowd around the area like they’re at a fish market and don’t let people pass by! (In hindsight, the customers’ may be milling around the area because someone has finally opened the coveted cabinets!)

Due to the renovation, half the escalators are not working and none of the elevators are working. Restrooms have been relocated to the BASEMENT and the MUTHAFUKIN’ SEVENTH FLOOR!!!

2. The Sales’ Reps are downright rude and do not pay any attention to the shoppers. Why are they hired? To lounge about and sample the stupid perfume strips they ought to be handing out to all the customers? No one’s at the changing room section to assist, either?!

3. The unfriendly folk at the counters not only behave unprofessionally with the customers, there is utter un-professionalism in the conversations between employees as well! A Mexican rep was yelling from one end of one of the sections to someone over at the other end, “HEYYYY!!! WHERE YOU AT?!” repeatedly while others were getting startled. If one wants to get a glimpse of the ghettos, one may come to this Macy’s.

In one of the sections, cashiers were chatting away with other staff members while doe-eyed tourist customers stood around, waiting confusedly.

Such things have happened earlier as well at this Macy’s but, the recent experience at the store has left a bitter taste in my mouth. And a headache. The management ought to seriously consider HR training for the staff and treating their customers well.

 

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Titanic’s Fabulous Five

Well, a century old shipwreck is being celebrated today. Titanic stood for size, grandeur, luxury, speed, technology, ambition, hubris, achievement, even mythology. Well, a friend and I went to see the eponymous movie and here’s a list of the five things I liked in the movie (Oh, I saw the 3D version, it was well worth it!) :-

1. Leo and Kate: LOVE the young actors, the freshness sparkles through!

2. Billy Zane‘s Unintentional Comedic Presence: He’s funny in his own way, there’s a certain sarcastic streak in his dialogue delivery and just the right amount of buffoonery in his actions and expressions.

3. The Ship: The set Cameron and his guys designed was immense, glamorous and opulent. The attention to detail is amazing, everything is perfectly imperfect, wow.

4. Dialogue: The dialogues are poignant, pithy and perfectly delivered. My favorite one being Rose’s silent cry, “Outwardly I was everything a well brought up girl should be. Inside, I was screaming.

5. Preciseness: I love the scientific and logical way in which the movie’s been made. It’s technical, not unlike a NASA space mission. The angle of the ship tilt, the slide of the china, the path of the water, all of it is methodically researched and implemented.

But, most of all, I loved the authenticity in the movie – the characters, the situations, the love, the hate, the pain, the empathy, the affluence, the reminiscence, the emancipation and the realization that binds the movie together and binds the movie to the viewer is as true as truth. Perhaps that’s why it’s timeless, just as the ship. After all, this is the stuff of legends and classics, isn’t it?

Normal is What Fairytales Are Made of

Let’s start by making a simple graph to test how normal you are. Oh, wait. What determines the axes of the normalcy quotient? Where does the scale begin and end? Which group ought to be the control batch? What is normal? Who is? Who decides the parameters for normalcy? Not sure? In that case, let’s take a poll instead:-

As per Psychology, one free of any mental illness is considered normal. Alternatively,  a person’s conformity to routine pattern is considered normal. However, Psychology also states that every person suffers from one or more mental disorders, although variation in degree separates one from the other. In a world where the island continent celebrates Christmas, the festival of ‘Winter Wonder’, in beachwear, what is ‘routine pattern’?

The concept of normalcy is relative at best! To the unique, normalcy is a myth! In all frankness, normal is nothing but a kind substitute for commonplace. Someone who is average in most capacities. Someone who is normal, just is. Why do most people aim to be normal then? To be at par with the other? If so, why is the constant need to put one another down? Why have the concept of excelling at all if society’s aim is to ‘fit in’ in the first place? If you aim to be normal average, average you will be. Your life will be average, your aspirations will be average, your failures will be average but, so will your victories. Not only will you strive to be average, you will subconsciously try to make others conform. The ones you can’t control, you will detest. You will despise them and jealousy driven passion will set in. And you all know where that leads – nowhere.

Of course, you think you’re setting an example by being prim and ‘propah’. Nope. Your sole achievement by being common is giving the unique ones a better chance to rise up. So, thanks for that. In the slightest chance that this has given you a hint of perspective, come join the few who’re brave enough to be weird. It’s a wonderful world, one where you can breathe freely and nobody judges you on what you wear, how you eat or how you sleep. For the unique only care about your uniqueness, what makes you special, what makes you ‘YOU’.

Marilyn, Marilyn

Ten reasons I adore Marilyn Monroe:-

1. She owned it. She really did.

2. She was proud of her curves. She flaunted her sexuality. Her sensuality was never cheap.

3. She was as graceful as the Princess of Morocco but, she wore her grace with ease and never let it overshadow her desires.

4. She threw caution to the winds on her quest for happiness.

5. She understood life. She was a go-getter. She believed.

6. She never gave up.

7. She was a smart brunette, smart enough to pull off being ‘blonde’.

8. She was much more than a pretty face. Her wit was biting. Her thoughts, deep.

9. She looked divine. Even when her heart wept from inside. Even when her soul crushed her spirit. Because she was beautiful from within. Despite heartache, despite heartbreak.

10. She died so young yet, she lived a million lives that someone who lived a thousand years may not have dreamt of in their wildest dreams.

My top three Marilyn Monroe quotes:-

“We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

‘Til next time, then!

What’s on Your Mind

Hey guys!
A friend (AM) and I were discussing myriad stuff and we started talking about why some people think so much and others, well, don’t bother too much with things, in general. Of course, the context we discussed ‘thinking’ in was more regarding worrisome pondering but as I was returning home, I thought about ‘people and thought’ in general. How many of us sit and think about the thoughts and ideas lurking in the crevices of our minds?
I was surprised to find that there was not one article online on ‘What most people think about’ or ‘What occupies most peoples’ minds’ (I tried several different keywords – nada! OMFG!! GOOGLE DON’T HASZ ALL *LE ANSWERS*!) Yes, I know, it’s commonly agreed upon that most people think about sex most of the time but, I’m going to let that slide for obvious reasons.

We spend at least eighteen hours a day using our minds. It’s a powerful tool, ain’t it!? We crunch data, generate or process ideas and memorize everything from formulae to grocery lists in our minds daily. We use our mind’s analytic ability to solve complex Integral Calculus problems, we use the mind’s eye to visualize scenarios, we use our mind to get us out of tricky situations, we even use our mind to remember that juicy tidbit of gossip about the girl at work who wears short, tight skirts without stockings – besharmi ki haddh ho gayi (The limits of shamelessness have been reached)!

But, this is where most people stop contemplating. At a superficial level which holds no true purpose. Rote tasks engulf us to such an extent that we hardly take out time to enrich our minds with introspection and extrospection although, a few of us do indulge in occasional retrospection.

My scant observations regarding society lead me to conclude that the few who do occasionally introspect and extrospect rarely do so with the intention or objective of finding ‘oneself’ or a solution to an issue. This mulling generally pertains to trivial issues such as:-

Introspection, WTF? :-

Female: Do these bangles make my hands look chubby? I wish I were thinner! That Binno from three doors down has lost so much weight! I wonder how she did it? And, whatte bitch she is, na! I asked her so many times (Madam would’ve asked Binno once – cattily.) and she just gave some excuse and ran off! Hmph! Must be bulimic… humein kya (I don’t care)!

Male: I wish I had more money. I wish I had more money. I  wish I had more money. I wish I had more money. *Random female passes by* Hey, she looks hot!

Extrospection, WTF? :-

Female: Just look at those two, making out in McDonald’s! *Gasp* Aajkal toh sabhi log videshi chezon se influence ho rahein hain (Nowadays, most people are influenced by western culture).

Male: How did he become so rich? Zaroor ‘black’ ka paisa hoga (How did he become so rich. This is definitely ‘Black money’).

Most people today “think” rarely and when they do, they stop pushing themselves to speculate beyond nugatory nuances. Our ‘idle mind-time’ (New term coined!) is exhausted thinking about other people or around material possessions.
Most of our free time is spent in gossiping, revisiting grudges, envying the neighbor(s) and judging everyone from here to the Moon. In social gatherings corruption, crime and economy may be discussed with frivolity over flutes of Moët and hors d’oeuvres. But, that’s pretty much where most people’s thought process and any semblance of meaningful discussion on such topics shrivels up and dies. By dinner time, most let out a sigh of disdain and go, “What to do? *pout*” and start discussing something inane like Brangelina, Saifeena, Geneitalia (Genelia and Riteish, for the uninitiated) and the like.

Which brings me back to introspection because, you really can’t extrospect without introspection. Not many people really sit and think about themselves. I mean, really, really think about themselves in all their goodness and wretchedness. Not many people willingly look at themselves holistically, spiritually and detachedly. Few sit and ascertain their spiritual SWOT analysis. These exercises are painful but, necessary. Yes, they involve looking a oneself sans rose-tinted glasses and accepting some very hard, cold facts about oneself.

For instance, I happen to be a ‘Class I Asshole’. I had to figure it out the hard way (When is it ever easy, anyway? – It’s worth it, yes.) but, I think it’s really helped me in more ways than one. Such pursuits bring clarity and makes one cognizant of oneself. Introspection of the purest kind makes one a better, more secure person.

On the other hand, extrospection is equally important. We need to be in-tune with the world around us. Not superficially, though. One needs to look at an issue analytically as well as empathetically and think of the root causes, the undercurrents, visualize, rationalize, find solutions, implement them (Yes, thought sets the wheel in motion for actual physical execution).

For instance, one may think that such-and-such person is a hardcore snotty bitch and her only concern in life is to look good and put others down. But, is it really? So, this such-and-such lady is hoity-toity, to say the least. She obviously has a trust fund and enjoys her baubles and she definitely is sarcastic and aloof to 99% of the people she meets. Most people will end their line of thought about such-and-such here and start thinking about what a mean person she is, how curdled society is, how bad and unwelcome they felt after or while talking to such-and-such.

Why don’t we think what’s really happening over here with the stuck-up girl in question? Maybe she’s insecure and putting others down is her way of dealing with it (This doesn’t validate her behavior, we’re merely attempting to understand what’s going on.). Perhaps her family is going through a rough patch and she prefers to be aloof? Maybe something is gnawing at her, maybe she’s not happy about something at work, what if she just got dumped, could it be possible that she’s really stressed out about the future and doesn’t know how to deal with all these emotions?

How many of us empathize with and extrospect about a random such-and-such person? Most would say, “Why should I?” The answer is, to understand. To figure it out. To find a solution. To help. To heal. This is how we help each other and grow ourselves in the process. This is how we build a better world. All the brouhaha about positive thinking and Rhonda Byrne’s 35 editions of ‘The Secret’ render useless if cracks in our minds such as these are not sealed. There are a million issues out there to be tackled and we need every single mind to get to work if we want some positive energy in this world.
People don’t think much, they seldom postulate and sparingly grasp what is really happening around them. They’ve have come to a halt at a comfortable junction in their own minds where they are snug in the gray area regarding most matters. Most are insufficiently bothered and sufficiently unfazed at the same time. This tiresome limbo is sickening to say the least. Why is everyone settling? Can’t you see we are stagnating?
It is essential for one to comprehend the chaos within and elsewhere. It is a fundamental that we must all grasp. A lot rides on what goes on in the 1.5 kg mass in our Craniums. I am unsure whether people fathom the sheer energy here, there and everywhere. I mean, seriously – there’s cosmic energy humming and vibrations all around us just swathing our bodies, minds and souls in gossamer-light pulses, binding us to each other and to everything everywhere! This is the stuff that matters! These are the invisible threads of the Universe – all around us, for us, with us, within each one of us!

Why the fuck don’t you think about the good stuff? Maybe you do but, you rarely make an attempt to even think of setting things right? Or do you think of setting things right but, don’t do it, anyway? Do you not want to?

Could that be it?

I wouldn’t know, I can’t think for you.

Only you can do that.

Mass-Produced Mentality

I was reading a piece on Dhirubhai Ambani recently. His flight to glory and prosperity is commendable and his attitude was (and is) as well. The Late Ambani Sr. was a keen observer of human society and an assiduous student of human psychology in practical life. I was particularly struck by one of his observations on ‘broadening one’s mind’.

“Suppose you and I go to the Taj to have drinks,” he [Dhirubhai Ambani] explained once.  “One bloody drink costs sixty-five rupees.  But all the same we have a few drinks and come out as if nothing has happened.  If a person from my village comes to know that I have spent five hundred rupees on just a few drinks, he’ll be shocked.  He’ll say this fellow has gone mad, saala company ka diwala nikaal deyga.  What I am trying to say is that I have developed a broadness of mind which my friends in the village cannot think of having.”‘ – ‘Business Maharajas‘, Dr. Gita Piramal.

This observation makes sense. However, I think narrow-mindedness is not limited to villagers. Prejudice, narrow-mindedness and conformity are rife in society, particularly Indian society. I have always wondered why most people are so petty and close-minded about the smallest of issues. I think it is safe to say that most people today are guided blindly through life by the dogmas prevalent in society. A fervent desire nay, need to ‘fit in’, be ‘normal’ and do the ‘right’ thing makes people bow down and accept things as dictated by societal norms. This didactic system leading to sartorial compliance sickens me. Even in metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities, societal narrow-mindedness far exceeds personal freedom. The judgmental approach opted by most in modern day society not only limits personal freedom but, hinders societal progress as well!

Parents often encourage their children to go in for Science or Commerce related fields as opposed to the Arts. Why is that? You may say, professional degrees offer stability in one’s career. However, actors and singers also make good money. Your rebuttal may be that that sort of income is limited to the fortunate few. Most people in such industries have a hand-to-mouth lifestyle. I’d like to point out that it is only a few M.B.A.s and Ph.D.s who can actually afford jets and yachts. Most ‘professional degree‘ holders are struggling today with Rs. 3.12 lpa packages and 18 hour long work days. The probability of a person prospering hardly alters depending on the degree s/he holds.

Most families are so mind-numbingly conformed that they hardly look at the educational and career prospects awaiting their children. Either the kids are pushed into pursuing the family-run business or hounded to choose ‘stable’ professional career tracks. India churns out 3.5 lac engineers every year (data includes engineering diploma holders). Most are frustrated and refer to themselves as ‘farjee’ or ‘ghanta’ engineers and slave in low-to-mid level jobs. The ingenious few find a way to nurture their talents and at least pursue them at some level.

Those who are successful are almost always the ones who go after what they are passionate about, period. For instance, Ms. Kiran Majumdar-Shaw, founder and CEO of Biocon is neither an engineer from IIT-*Insert city-appropriate alphabet* nor does she hold an M.B.A. from Yale. She is, however, deeply passionate about brewing. This, plus the fact that her parents encouraged her to enter into a male dominated bastion without crumbling to social norms gave Majumdar-Shaw the conviction to pursue her dreams.

Which brings me to my second point: societal norm – based prejudice and bias.

Boys are encouraged to explore, experiment and are given the chance to make decisions early in life. This inculcates a sense of confidence in them and they learn to gauge the risks involved in a situations through trial and error. Also, a lot of pressure is put on boys to excel in academics.

For girls, the societal laws and bylaws leave little or no room to breathe in. They are constantly pushed to learn how to cook, clean and groom. Even if they are bright and studious, it is preferable that girls opt out of professional degree courses and pursue degrees such as ‘Home Science’, ‘Nutrition’, ‘Fashion Designing‘, etcetera. They are conditioned to be religious and servile. They are hardly given a chance to explore the world or make their own decisions sublty, making them co-dependent. Girls are mostly kept indoors after dark, they have strict codes regarding attire and are discouraged from having too many male friends. I don’t endorse becoming a ‘hoochie mama’ but, if equality means having the freedom to go drinking with male buddies in tiny clothes (as long as one behaves responsibly), so be it.

Looking deeper, I realize that narrow-mindedness of this kind shows how insecure and untrustworthy people have become. It’s as if they don’t trust their own good sense and their loved ones’ choices! I remember when I was an Undergrad student, a girl’s dad stormed into a pub, slapped her in front of everyone and dragged her out by the ear reprimanding her lifestyle, behavior and – here’s the crucial bit – her disregard for what others would thinks. May I point out that the girl I mention was dancing with classmates (all girls) and was respectably dressed. My point is that her dad actually humiliated her in front of a crowd, not because she was in bad company or was indulging in substance abuse but, because he wanted himself and his family to look good by projecting a socially apt lifestyle. He didn’t want anyone to point a finger at him or become the laughing stock of society. Here’s a helpful hint uncle: Expecting people to respect you by becoming subservient to society prototypes is the mark of a coward and a fool. People effortlessly raise a finger toward the coward for they know s/he will not react and well, a fool is always laughed at.

Keeping up with the Jones’ takes up half of people’s time and keeping a toe in line occupies the rest. This juggling act results in self-doubt, half-baked opinions and an unfulfilled life. Alas, no one sits and contemplates the source of their misery. People divert their depressed selves from their sad boxed-in lives with gizmos and feel-good contraptions. They start becoming mean and petty. They indulge in gossip and spreading rumors. They revel in the misery of others while priding their own ‘spotless’ image in society. People start comparing. They compare everything and everyone in every fucking way, first by societal norms and then by their own personal yardstick – which is obviously the model belief system that everyone ought to follow as they are model citizens, righteous and pious as they come.

For instance, when I was in Grad school, I clearly remember this one incident when we had ordered pizza for dinner after our exams and I had ordered my favorite, Pepperoni pizza. In India pork, beef, venison – basically any meat other than chicken or lamb is frowned upon. As I ordered, the server authoritatively said, “It’s Pork, Ma’am” challenging me to order it once I knew what type of ‘predicament’ I was getting into – he apparently thought I didn’t know much about meat. Of course, Indore is a small town and a High School educated young chap can be forgiven for his lack of judgment at times (especially ‘coz I set him right with my famous narrow-eyed glare – patent pending – after that). Since I went to a respectable Grad School and my friends pride themselves on being forward and modern, no one jumped on me accusing me of being a ragamuffin or anything of that sort. But, one girl excitedly gesticulated, nudged and exclaimed to the others as I placed my order, “Look! Look! Yeh pig ka meat hai!” I saw the glee on her face as the others grimaced; As though she (and the others) was the embodiment of prudence and culture whereas I was some sort of barbaric monstrosity who ate flesh off swine and calf alike. In my defense, I consider meat as well, meat. I eat whatever I find appealing gastronomically. I don’t expect others to find my tastes palatable. Neither do I coax them to ape me or adhere to my beliefs. But, the incident made me realize how little a difference a ‘top’ Grad School education had made on such socially conformed people!

I’d like to point out the symbolism inherent in the aforementioned incident. People in the West eat meat of all kinds all the time. I’m not suggesting Indians emulate Westerners. I’m merely stating the fact that the bias that exists towards a non-issue such as meat in India stems from no logical reasoning. People don’t eat beef here as the cow is considered sacred. Pork is considered ‘dirty’ by Moslems, hence it is frowned upon as well.  By the way, Moslems eat beef and it is acceptable. You ask anyone why and pat comes the answer, “Yeh mussalmaan log aise hi hotey hain. Gande log hain yeh.” (Moslems are like that, they’re dirty people.) But, if a Hindu eats pork – which is actually not sacred or condemned in Hinduism, idiots not unlike this former batch-mate of mine are quick to label her/him uncultured. Why? Is there something more potent than religious or social sacrilege attached to this simple act of consuming pork or beef? If no, is it clinically proven that pork or beef makes one deranged, impotent or is it cancerous that it is ‘shunned meat’?

As far as religious compliance goes, there’s a lot to say. However, keeping with the theme of the post, I’d only like to state that religion and culture are two entirely different practices. They may appear to intersect at points but, they do not. In fact, the only reason the seem to do so is because religion is portrayed through culture. A simple analogy would be religion:culture::food:spoon. (If you didn’t get that, I suggest you go screw yourself.)

My point is that how many people bother to separate the two? Very few. Most are just spoon-fed (See what I did there?!) values and social convention. India, as a society, discourages people to probe – figuratively and literally, question and challenge orthodox beliefs. These manifest, brew and become tendencies. Religion, cultural practices and belief and Indians’ pride of tradition and legacy have pushed Indian society into a quagmire infested with prejudice, shortsightedness and intolerance. These mindless beliefs are contorted by the cunning to fleece the common man as well! Vote-bank politics is a classic example to illustrate this ugly truth prevalent in India.

Another more close-to-home example would be the ‘modern babes’ and ‘cool dudes’ spilling over every sidewalk in metros. You can hardly walk two feet without bumping into ‘Ed Hardy’ clad assholes playing ‘Angry Birds’ on their ‘iPhone – version 4.943’. These young guns look uber chic and sophisticated. Up until they open their mouths. I don’t mean they spout ‘Rapidex English’. (In all fairness, some of these mall-hoppers could benefit from such resources.) I imply that their outlook has not changed much. They may have started donning fancy labels but, that is where the transformation ends. When it comes to having a modern outlook, these people are still attempting to swim over from Quadrant IV (Refer: Co-ordinate Geometry). In fact, the only only reason most of ‘Gen X’ looks and behaves a certain way is in response to media induced pseudo-westernization. And because everyone around them dresses and speaks the same way. Since the neighbors have an LCD-TV, Mr. ABC must have one. Since 70% of the teenage girls in the neighborhood wear thirty-five different types of cosmetic products, so must you. Because society is trying to get a face-lift, overweight aunties are too.

Sheep. That is what people have become. To such people, I say: Fuck you, assholes for you know nothing on your own and have nothing of your own, you merely judge others on the basis of what society has fed you. You neither know what you think because, here’s the thing – you don’t think. You merely follow.

Rant aside, the more pressing issue here is how this sort of conformity makes one devoid of new ideas. Innovation is lost in the wake of generalization of thought and a guide-lined thought process is mere intonation of societal belief. I think what is really happening due to social conditioning is that restrictions are resulting in cookie-cutter ideas that are neither challenging nor revolutionary. They are merely repackaged socially approved doctrines. Spontaneity is being lost with every social canon which, by the way, is outdated today. Of what use is the knowledge we have acquired? Confucius said, “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” Similarly, education without application and following sans questioning the path is a futile and harmful exercise!

Moreover, restrictions due to ‘societal fundamentalism’, as I like to call it (Yes, I’m coining my own term again), result in stagnation or protest. Our parents have already taken the route of stagnation and it has not yielded well. Now, the youth is brimming with aspiration and is starting to rebel. It is time society reworked its rules and updated them to suit today’s youth’s needs. And I don’t mean superficial transformations where girls are allowed to wear short tees because Mrs. Mehra, Mrs. Taneja and Mrs. Fuckity-Fuck allow their daughters to do so. I mean real, institutional framework related metamorphosis which is built along the lines of equality and individual freedom of choice.  Because, at the end of the freakin’ day, I deserve to breathe. And, so do you.

Audacious Glory

Chutzpah. That essential factor in creating something everlasting. Most would be quick to disagree and argue citing talent, hard work & fortitude as the keys to success. However, that is my point exactly. The degree of separation between success and everlasting glory is spelled out in these five letters – N.E.R.V.E.

All over the world are bright, sharp individuals leading lives of prosperity and oozing intellectualism (You may be one of them as well!). They are, without a doubt, classified as successful. But, here are the real questions – How many of these will go down in history? How many of these successful people will be remembered by those other than their close ones? How many of these intellectuals will create something that will earn them a place in the hallowed corridors of history alongside the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte, Jane Austen, George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, Elvis Presley and other such ‘game changers’? How many of us will come as close to immortality as humanly possible?

In a society where the unique are oppressed to conform, it takes more than copious amounts of courage to express oneself truly and openly. This journey is not an easy one. Firstly, the constant discipline a child faces from parents, teachers, supervisors and peers as well makes one conform subconsciously in ways more than one. Peer pressure is a real and tangible force which molds kids from the time they can discern and anyone who appears different is either shunned, mocked and teased till s/he behaves appropriately. If the person resists, s/he is ridiculed and ostracized. Having a strong backbone, keeping it real and being true to oneself during these years and times is possibly the hardest thing to achieve. If I may say so, I myself am ridiculed and mocked for being my own person. I’m often referred to as crazy, stupid, irrational, a daydreamer, a person who thinks too much, a loner, among a slew of nicknames. As far as I can remember, I have always enjoyed the fruit of solitude. I find my thoughts and fantasies far more exhilarating and exhaustive than a million TV soaps and movies put together. My viewpoint on even the tiniest of issue has been known to be radically different, even obtuse. I would be happy to read and pen my thoughts on a plethora of affairs, if I had my way as of now. In all honesty, that is what I aim to do in the long run, anyway. That, however, is another blog post all together!

Once one is able to hold her/his ground with temerity, comes the part where this uniqueness is nurtured and it grows so as to provide the strength to be unleashed unabashedly to one and all. This comes through sheer honing of skill which must be achieved through rigorous practice and deep contemplation. In essence, it comes back to the base truth that if you believe in it, don’t let go, keep fighting, keep struggling, keep learning. Immensely talented people have given up because after a point they just breakdown and conform. Though they don’t conform due to peer pressure, they conform due to the dwindling belief in their own capabilities. Also, it takes endurance of a different kind to go on sans support, appreciation and at times, even basic amenities due to lack of funds.

Luxury is a cunning bitch; she woos you and comforts you into her trappings such that you start losing sight of your goals so as to inch closer to her lap. In my opinion, humble or not, anyone who has ever achieved anything or hopes to, must embrace a spartan way of life. This not only brings one closer to reality but, it also gives one the ability and time to ponder deeply. I do not say that those living comfortably are unable to grasp reality and exhaustively opine on issues but, somebody who has truly experienced the hard knocks of life will always be able to make better analogies than a mere observer can.

Finally, it takes brazenness to express yourself in front of the whole world every day, irrespective of the bouquets or brickbats hurled your way. Criticism can make or break a person – and I imply both kinds of criticisms here. Negative criticism can obviously affect a person and result in dampening one’s spirit thus, making one hesitant in the future. On the other hand, positive criticism can also have negative effects. It can inflate egos, make one extremely sensitive to negative criticism or, the worst (in my opinion) could happen – the person becomes lackadaisical in attitude and thus, begins the fall from glory. This type of laziness is often masked by arrogance and turning a blind eye to sore spots, which anyone with a keen eye would notice. A person of repute who falls into the quagmire of commonality after this attitude shall surely sink into a deep depression of self loathe, self pity and anger against the masses. However, if one harnesses any criticism constructively and believes in herself/himself, it will only propel her/him to greater heights which will eventually lead to an everlasting trail into the annals of history!

Ideas and people come and go. What stays is the legacy you leave behind. A legacy is, ironically also creaed by ideas and people. Where lies the difference?

It’s simple – at least in theory – really,

All it takes is nerve.

That’s it for now, folks!