The Questions That Keep Us Going

I think everyone would agree on the fact that one of the most fascinating things about homo sapiens is their ability to be skeptical- ask questions without directly accepting anything that comes by. We ask so many questions- in class, at home, maybe something catches our eye and we end up Googling it.. Just notice for yourself- doesn’t every other incident or a situation rise a lot of questions? And most that you cannot answer?

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” -Walt Disney

I think its a good thing- not knowing the answers. Because then that will lead you to search and explore. And in turn, this exploration will produce another set of questions. In fact, life would be so boring if we just ‘knew it all’!

“When people don’t have any curiosity about themselves, that is always a bad sign.” -Irvin D. Yalom

But the real question is, is the current education system equipped enough to cater to such kind of curiosity? Is a structured, confined and limited syllabus good enough for young minds that question the limitations of every subject area possible?

This system, that mainly tests the memory of an individual, leaves out other numerous aspects and judges their capability based on their ability to recollect ideas learnt from text books and the way they are produced on paper.

“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” -Albert Einstein

Development and progress will only happen if current systems are questioned. Because in the end, it is these questions that keep us going.

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Shopping- (Un)therapeutic?

Had a long day? Exams just got over? Get your credit card out then, and let’s go spend some money!

Go to a mall, a store, or anything, and in case you happen to come across something you love, and that fits you well, has the right colour, and even better- the right price, aha! You thank heavens, and you walk away a happy person.

But what happens when you don’t?
Frustration, anxiety, anger, annoyance.
I’m a very fussy shopper. I cannot get myself to go from place to place, searching for the ‘right’ dress. I want to go at one place, search my ass off, if I find what I’m looking for, hurray, wonderful, yay! But if I don’t, I just want to maybe try at one more place and then just go back home. Try another day.

The former sounds good, but the latter just bores a hole into my brain and gets me very frustrated. Which, according to experience, happens 80% of the time. Well, it’s not that I don’t find what I like, I do, but it’s either too lose, too tight, the wrong colour, and/or too pricey.

Something else that really is a worry comes as an inevitable result of being the 2nd most populated country in the world- people. Lots of them. Everywhere.

We all must have read the effects of crowding at some point. The same applies here too. All the bazaars in India are always filled with people. Especially on weekends (well, for obvious reasons).

Summers in India are, technically, hot. Like, very hot. Basically, you don’t want to step out of your house after 11 am, till at least 4 pm in the evening. You just don’t. However, the awesome weather that Bangalore has, you know it’s probably going to rain after 4. It’s a Sunday, the only day you get to relax. So, you decide to do some buying.
Let’s just consider you got what you were looking for. But at what cost? I don’t think I need to explain that.

So you come home all worn out, tired, frustrated. But you know that you at least got something. Although, now when you come to think about it, maybe you felt somewhat obligated to buy it because you didn’t want to go through all the suffering for nothing!

Don’t worry, there’s more- I came across a book by Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice- Why More is Less. In this book, Schwartz talks about how more choices around us actually produce an effect contrary to the assumed- confusion, stress, and even tyranny. I have read his book, subsequent articles, the critics’ opinions- and I think the man has a point! I did actually talk about the same in my previous blog posts, check it out if you are curious!

Here’s the link:

https://teenytinyways.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/the-paradox-of-choice/?preview=true

Online shopping might just be the answer to all this- little time, no travel expenses (save the delivery charges), NO PEOPLE and no worries about the weather! But that brings with it its own set of pros and cons.

Not to mention the confusing faces we all make while trying to see if the product delivered, in any angle, matches with the product images from the online shopping website.

If this freaked you out, well, don’t worry. Yet. As long as your shopping bills don’t cost you a lifetime, you are good to go. Cheers!

Homesick

A cold, indifferent wind
to me that speaks it’s mind.
This world, oh this blue world,
The only ‘one-of-its kind’.

“Break your bubble” they say
“You’ll know what’s really out there!”
But am I ready? Or is it too soon?
Because love, I don’t have a spare.

New places, people, new languages,
make me feel surrounded, but alone..
Roaming bravely; exploring curiously,
while homesickness slowly curls on.

Searching for something domestic,
searching for something known.
Something that brings me memories,
something that makes me feel home.

“It’s just a matter of time,
all things will be alright..
Turn some leaves over,
and, my friend, there will be the light.”

Embellish Yourself

It might seem too much at once
For too fast do things now go
To wait, oh why wait?
For we’ve delayed enough

It’s a question, something to wonder about
Wait for the right time,
Or make the time right?
Seems to be at all times, a huge dilemma

Learning with experience
Or the mould that shapes you
Go ahead, make mistakes
And do it all over again

Go with the flow,
Let your thoughts guide you
Intuition being the master
And reality your leader

Responsibilities, worries, will keep pouring in
Live the present, forget the past
And you will see, my friend,
Future will embellish itself.

Log Kya Kahenge- The Deep Rooted Issue

Courses that come under the umbrella of Humanities, especially Psychology, aren’t considered very ‘demanding’ subjects in India. All parents expect their kids to either become an engineer or a doctor; or if not, contribute to the family business. When I broke it to my parents that I wanted to take up arts (humanities/social sciences), they weren’t excatly supportive of it. Their point was that when I had enough grades to get myself through any science course, why in the world was I opting for a humanities combination. Along with this came the obvious and most loved line, ‘log kya kahenge?’

However, unlike my other friends, I didn’t have to go through any family drama to convince them- partly because they knew I’d do what I want no matter what they said. Everything seemed to be well and fine for a while. But once the news spread, I had friends and neighbours looking at me with their eyes and mouth wide open. In fact, my interviewer for college had a hard time accepting the fact that I was applying for a humanities course with those grades.

Many a times I was ridiculed by family, relatives and friends, for the choices I made- and I don’t know if that was because of the self-confidence, or the college environment that led me to believe that I hadn’t made the wrong choice after all, none of that really got to me. All my friends got into colleges that provided science combinations, and aspired to be doctors/engineers. Here I’ll give you one fun fact- if you do visit India and decide to take a walk anywhere, it is highly possible that every 5th person you run into is either a doctor or an engineer, or a student who is studying medicine or training to become an engineer. And I’m not exaggerating one bit.

Considering the stigma that is prevalent in India regarding mental health and disorders related to it, it leaves very little space for anyone pursuing Psychology to really get the right amount of exposure, training or practise. In fact I remember this one time I was talking to a Psychologist working in an infertility clinic. Surprisingly, while entering, I saw the ‘Counsellor’ sign on her door instead of the usual ‘Psychologist’ sign. On enquiring, I got to know that she had to remove the initial sign that read ‘Psychologist’ and change it to ‘Counsellor’ because no one would agree to talk to her then, thinking that they’re not ‘mad’ or ‘insane’ to be doing so.

While the opportunities for students studying Psychology are slowly opening up in India, they’re still very limited and confined to the fields immediately related to the natural sciences, like Clinical Psychology. What one needs to realise is, just like physical health, mental health too, is an important aspect of an individual’s wellbeing, and that it’s totally okay to talk to someone and seek help when needed. However, something completely opposite to this is observed- people condemn such talks, call them ‘crazy’ and ‘insane’ and think that the illness is the result of a demonic possession occurring due to their bad karmas. Those suffering are locked down in their houses and are advised to not tell anyone about it. Others lean towards traditional healing practices, which, now-a-days, go far from being anywhere near spiritual, or even ‘healing’. This goes along with the recent statistics showing a huge increase in mental health issues in both urban and rural communities in India. This gives a slight hint at the possibility that the distinction between Psychology and religion, which might date back to the Greeks, might just have been existing in theory, and not in practise.

This whole picture surely seems to be saddening. However, recent developments and research in this field are working at opening up a whole new set of choices to individuals who wish to pursue Psychology in India. Nonetheless, it is important that awareness regarding metal health is prioritised and people are encouraged to seek help when needed. Although it has taken India far longer than the West, such a movement is finally heading to a start in this subcontinent, and I’m so glad that I can be a part of it. People are finally coming to realise ki logon ka kaam hai bolna. Because at the end of the day, it’s really our choice to make, and no one else’s.

Randomness #2

How easy really, is it, to get tired of life?

Difficult question to ask?

Actually, it’s pretty darn easy. Just try to remember the number of times you would have said ‘my life sucks’, or ‘why is my life like this’ or all related sentences till this point in your life. Or every time you’ve frowned at the thought of it.

I myself do it all the time. And then I think all deeply about how I should do something meaningful in life, continue all my hobbies, spend time with people, etcetera, etcetera.

But then, something comes up and I’m all busy again.

Well, I think, it’s actually pretty easy to find meaning in life.

You really don’t have to do it at all! Just let it go, think of the most random things in this world, distract yourself, and you’ll finally get to it somehow!
I haven’t had any sort of experience that made me appreciate life, no such insightful discussions with someone, near death experiences, or people’s lives that inspired me that much… Well, not yet.

However, just small walks on the terrace of my apartment early in the morning are enough to remind me of the complexity of this world, of how simple it is that makes it so complex in itself.

But, when you think about it, how can anything be simple to a level that makes it so complex? And yet, here we are, living in this bundle of simply complex world, whose horizons are knowingly unknown to us.

We look for answers everywhere- we want to know everything in such a small span of time. We want to know how, why, when, and where everything happens. And in this hurry of answering all these complex questions, we forget to look straight and appreciate this mysteriously beautiful place that has now become home to us.

It’s very difficult to wake myself up early in the morning every Sunday. But when I do, I don’t regret it one bit. Just one walk on the terrace, and there is this whole new refreshing wind running through my hair. There’s all these birds flying in the sky, squirrels running around, carrying nuts, or pigeons pecking at the small grains kept on the terrace by someone. And how they instantly fly with your one move. I always end up giggling at that.
How innocent and cheerful everything looks, sounds, and feels.

And to think that the next day I’ll have to get up earlier, go to ‘learn’ and ‘educate’ myself, and do things completely opposite of this just makes me get all cranky.

Why can’t we learn by exploring the world? Why isn’t reflection and articulation and appreciation a part of our curriculum?

What kind of knowledge is this, anyway?

Well, life really sucks, doesn’t it?

Hobby or passion?

I was interning as a content writer in college since the past few months, and it all initially seemed so interesting and exciting to me. The thought that I would now be pursuing my favourite hobby and would probably turn it into something big only excited me more. And this was the time I would get to know how it would work out for me, I really looked forward to it and I can’t tell you how optimistic I was about it.
Well, I was wrong.
After about a month, I realised that it wasn’t really working out. It was a shock though, because I was doing what I loved, right? This was something that I had been dreaming of, and I was so happy that I could work as a content writer.
I guess I figured out what went wrong.
When I write, I like to write about any random thing I saw while walking, or write a poetry about some random thoughts that popped up in my head, and I really love doing that, even though there are little or no rewards that I get in return. It’s just something I love to do and just doing it makes me happy enough to continue writing. But the fact that I had to limit myself to the topics that not just interested me, but those that interested my superior. Dealing with deadlines, trying to impress other people, letting them judge everything I wrote was a definite pain. In the end, I realised that I was writing to please someone else, which I couldn’t do, and that was the bottom line.
Clearly, this internship did not really look appealing to me anymore. But I wouldn’t say that it was a complete waste. I did learn a very important thing: things that you love to do, that come to you intrinsically, when combined with extrinsic motivation like rewards, or certain guidelines, sure have an impact on your work. That could be for the good as well, but certainly it didn’t turn out that way for me.
I still do love to write, but I like it even better when I get nothing in return, when there are no barriers, no word limits, no guidelines, no pleasing anyone, and no deadlines. I can write when I want, about what I want and still get no appreciation, and I would be perfectly happy with that!
I know now not to mix my hobbies with my profession. But I don’t know if it’s the right thing, and I guess I have enough time to try more things and figure it out for myself.