A DISAPPOINTED FAN

Like a lot of other people, I was really excited about watching The Scorch Trials. As a huge fan of the Maze Runner Series (and James Dashner, of course!), I went into the theatre with high hopes. And after the movie, I pretty much walked out devastated. The whole plot of the story has been changed in the movie. It was kind of expected; since Maze Runner, the first movie was very different from the book too. However, I did not expect that the actual story of Scorch Trials would be torn apart and changed into something completely different. The characters, the plot twists, and not to mention- the way they die (shh..)- basically everything had gone through a lot of change.

Though, I must agree that some visualisations in the movie were just great- especially the way the ‘cranks’ are shown, and the whole fight between them has been portrayed perfectly- thanks to the director Wes Ball. Whereas certain parts of the movie are just disappointing- especially the way it ends. I’m sure everyone who went to watch the movie after reading the book series was very frustrated by the end. I understand that it’s not easy, if not impossible, to follow every single description as it is in the book, but it also doesn’t hurt that much to stick to the storyline.

Though I sure love that the movie carried on one important aspect from the book- it did not centre on and around the life events of just one individual, or the protagonist, Thomas; rather all characters in the book and movie were given their share of importance. And it’s emotional, yes. I couldn’t help but cry every time Thomas did- my mirror neurons just couldn’t stop firing so hard. And I sure loved the tiny bromantic scenes here and there.

Even though I’m highly disappointed, I still can’t wait to watch the next part (and then cry about that as well). As an advice, if you haven’t read the series, there’s a possibility that you’ll like the movie. But if you have, and you feel like punching someone so badly in the face right now- well, join the club! Don’t worry though, I’m not going to reveal any spoilers (which I badly want to), so I’m just going to stop before I put it up here.

Mindfulness Meditation

Several years ago, an experiment was done at Harvard University by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. Students were asked to watch a bunch of people passing a basketball to each other and they had to count the number of times the ball was passed. Meanwhile, a man dressed as gorilla would walk in towards those people, stand right in between them, perform some action and then walk out. This might sound pretty stupid, but I bet you wouldn’t think so when I told you that half of the subjects in the experiment DID NOT SEE THE GORILLA. Surprising, isn’t it? I mean, how can anyone miss something that obvious? How can anyone not notice a gorilla pass by? The gorilla spent 9 seconds on screen- that’s a pretty long time- and yet, 50% of the people did not even notice it.

Just this video is enough to show us that we miss out so much of what happens around us- even if it’s right in front of our eyes. This nature of our brain to filter out information that we do not need to focus on, the information that is unwanted, and to focus on what is needed- is termed as selective attention. It’s better in a way that we can give all our attention to attend to what’s important- while filtering out what isn’t. However at the same time, it’s fascinating to think how it would be if we could be aware of, and focus on every little thing that happened around us.

And for that, meditation has been found to be very helpful. Meditation is a mental culture through which one can train their mind to increase concentration and awareness of what is happening in their body. It is broadly of two types- concentration meditation, that focuses on enhancing concentration, and insight oriented meditation or, more popularly known as mindfulness meditation, that focuses on the here and now. Mindfulness meditation helps you in being aware of what is happening around you- and of things as they happen in their natural way. This way, one can increase their attention span and even focus on little details that tend to be filtered out.

This can be done by anyone, provided he/she meditates in a particular posture. Its important that the person is calm and relaxed; and the surroundings are peaceful and quiet. The posture should be in the form of Padmasana, which is important so you don’t sleep. Eyes and mouth should be closed and spine should be straight.

Meditation not only helps you increase your concentration and attention, it also helps you become a better person. And when you successfully learn this art, maybe somewhere far away, you’ll see Buddha smiling. And till then, happy meditating!

The Tiny Happy Place

I love to travel.

I love to travel, but not around the world; not to different countries, not to see the wonders of the world, not to physically move from one place to another. But I love to travel.

I love how I can travel and see every place possible within the four walls of my room. I can travel to the beautiful hut I have built for myself near a splendid lake, with greenery all around, a small swing set by the side, and a lawn as big as my city. Here, I can sleep how much ever I want, do what I want, listen to music, read as many books as I want, and eat what I want (without gaining any weight. Yeah baby!). It’s calm here, all the time. No disturbance, no responsibilities to fulfil. Here, I have no worries, no exams to give. This is the one place I love to travel to, whenever I feel sad or lonely- and it never fails to cheer me up. I can travel to this place whenever I want- during a boring lecture, while having lunch or even while listening to a friend’s life story. This is not just my happy place- it’s the place that makes me love life and to appreciate every bit of it. I wish I could stay there forever.

It’s just wishful thinking, and I know that it’s never going to happen. But just those few seconds are enough to calm me down completely and to make me love this world even more. It’s impossible that this place actually exists; however, I will never give up searching for it. Finding it will definitely be a dream come true. But if I don’t ever find it, I know I just have to close my eyes and it will be right there- just waiting for me.

THE LOST ART OF WRITING

The other day my mom was talking to me about how she and dad would send letters to each other while he was away and they had no phones or any such technology to use back then. She said that though she can talk to him anytime she wants now and does not have to wait a week for him to reply, she still misses those days when she would get so excited to see a postman ringing the doorbell, how my dad’s handwritten letter would bridge the gap between them, and how she would save them all and smile every time she re-read them.

Of course, now she has forgotten his handwriting, and deletes all his messages because of limited memory space in her phone. The love still exists, don’t worry about that.

Even though I have never really written a letter to anyone and waited weeks for their reply, I can still imagine how wonderful that would’ve been. Sure the wait is long enough to kill someone of suspense and curiosity, but the feeling of finally being able to touch the same paper your loved one wrote on would be just incredible. You know that the person has put all their thoughts and effort so they can say all they want in that mere sheet of paper. There’s so much meaning to it- and so much love. And when I compare that to the millions of text messages I send to people in a week, it starts to sound emotionless. The curiosity, the excitement, the suspense and love- with time, all their meanings have changed.

I’m aware of how easy the social networking sites have made it for people to communicate, but they are also, in some way, screwing up with our lives. It sure sucks when the person hasn’t been replying to your texts, and don’t even ask how bad it can get if he/she has seen the message, and yet doesn’t reply. You know when he/she is online, and you know when he/she last did. It’s like your life is no more yours- it’s public and open to all. Now compare it to this- you have no idea if he/she has read the letter, don’t know what the person is doing, don’t know when he/she would reply. It might just sound dull and depressing, but at least you wouldn’t fight over small silly things. No wonder, the relationships then lasted much longer than they do now- one reason why long distance relationships are such a pain to maintain!

Although technology has now made our lives much easier and comfortable, it has also pushed away a very important aspect of interpersonal relationships- the art of writing. It sure is the end of an era.