Break the Jinx – Recommence

free_writing

The last two months have been singularly the most uninspirational time of my life as far as writing is concerned. And the ‘lack’ of inspiration wasn’t the only worry. It was in fact much scarier: I felt a sudden and overwhelming indifference that was developing within me towards writing as a craft. The growing perception of the futility of my writing ambitions. I stopped hitting the keypad completely – terrified all the time. Confused at the new state of affairs in my mind.

All this while I knew that even if an amazing idea popped up in my head, I was not going to catch it. Totally opposite to my general approach. Usually, I would not let go of anything that’s worth expressing. In the rare events when I find my life is laden with disappointments and defeats, I would write about conquering them, or facing them, or just about them as they are. But not writing at all – was new, to say the least.

This episode provided me the longest stretch I have had without posting a word. And I can only regret it now. But it wasn’t without a lesson. Rather a sweet reminder of the fact that writing, irrespective of how much you love it, is simply a habit. You might feel you are effortless and natural, and can’t do without it. But it still isn’t self sustaining. Try resting one week, for any reason you can conjecture, you will find it harder to come back. The next week will present a much more compelling case for not sitting and stringing together words. Listen to yourself in such times, and it wouldn’t be long before your so dearly maintained blog is defunct. Interestingly you tend to somehow convince yourself that it is for good – that you never really meant to write that often anyway. That you already have a job which is providing for you and your family, and a blog was a waste of time.

To state the fact: No, it was not, and it will not be, whether you harbor ambitions to be an author some day or not. Writing is an outlet. It is Freedom. A friend, and the best one at that. Just as writing or winning or anything good is a habit, and works wonders for you if done regularly, not writing is a habit too. And as you must be aware that unlike writing, its avoidance is much more effortless. So please pick up the pen again. Read your earlier works once more if you need reassurance, as you might after a gap, and write. Break the jinx by writing anything, but don’t just give in yet. You know you are full of potential that only you are aware of. It requires honing, sharpening, and years of hard work, but you are ready for it. Then persist, and remind yourself the inspiration that forced you to take pains to understand how a blog works.

Happy writing!

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Drunk on my love for writing. Are you too?

I had a first after many days today. I had a bottle of beer with my father. I mean not exactly with my father truly; I kind of snatched one away from his kitty, and went into my own room on a date with solitude. I had these two episodes of Game of Thrones season 6 downloaded, and begging to be watched, but something was missing. And bang, my father enters my room asking for something to eat with beer. Up till now, he wasn’t even completely sure that I allow myself having alcohol; “occasionally”, I promised him with the most innocent look I could bring my features to conjure. It has taken me years of hard work to make my parents believe that I still am the good boy they raised. Now a couple of bottles of beer may sound routine to some; for me, having it under the same roof as my father’s was nothing short of magic. Chilled beer in this hot weather plus my favourite show. I couldn’t have asked for more.

A very well known writer once said, write drunk, edit sober. I know some of you reading machines have already got the name, but I can’t remember, I am drunk! I will make sure that I forget to edit afterwards. I will lose my flow. Jokes apart. Writing in itself is more immersing than alcohol can ever be (not for all though, you know who I am addressing). Anything that you love is, for that matter. A piece of writing is nothing less than a peek into the soul of the writer. You can’t write about something you don’t believe in. You can always write against something you don’t believe in though.

When I got initiated into the world of writing I so strongly believed that writing should be sacred. I have read too much to believe that now. Writing instead should be honest. You might touch upon some subjects considered to be taboo, but it still will be honest. You are one unique human being, absolutely unmatched in anything. Why should you be forced to see something as ‘some particular thing’? Everyone has his own perspective. That’s what makes us all interesting. Stop brooding about the good things others have. Count your own. It is simple – if it pleases you, it’s good. Believe me. Until of course, it involves hurting others. Everything has boundaries. Don’t be literally drunk! You don’t have to be a hero, but don’t be a villain either.

In the lives of working professionals, a Saturday is perhaps the most loved day. To start with, the word itself has a pleasant ring to it. The fact that it is followed by something as awaited as Sunday, pulls it ahead of all other days in the race – we all agree that something that has a Monday at the end of its tail can’t be all that good. So make the most of it, not by drowning yourself under the weight of alcohol, but by engaging in a real activity, something constructive. Something creative.

Understand that you can’t put a price on something that generates happiness within you. It is a rare commodity. People may come harsh upon you and tell you that such an activity is forbidden. But then, forbidden is pleasurable as well as achievable. Don’t go overboard though. Excess of everything has repercussions we can’t digest. That’s why they are called bad.

Talking about freedom of writing, I come across so many ingenious writers everyday on internet, that I wonder why aren’t they published yet? But then getting published is not everyone’s aim. I read bloggers that are just incredibly talented and thorough. They are so prepared. They are meticulous and impeccable. I bow in front of them. I learn from them. Even though they do the honours of liking what I write, I know where they stand. And I have a lot to learn from them. It is only their humility that they appreciate others. That is what is amazing in the blogging world. We encourage one another. We appreciate novelty of thoughts, and honesty of expression.

Each one of you is my inspiration. People from all walks of life. Committed to writing. Sharing their lives, and ready to read that of others. Words are music to us writers. Keep creating symphonies. We are here to hear you. Be loud and original enough to reach our ears though, as there is so much of noise around. Once you separate yourself, we will catch you and listen to you. However, don’t just be loud for the sake of it. Put your feelings into your words, and rest assured we will hear, as we are all trying to be heard.

What to choose, what not to?

I was reading a book this morning, completely lost in the words when a back-stretch seemed necessary. With that I lost the focus for a split second, and the problems that I had been avoiding thinking about stormed back into my head. These are the real life problems, the ones we all have to face and deal with even if we don’t want to. And each one of them demands resolving. Think about them logically, choose the best solution as you can, and they will at least stop throbbing your head. Try avoiding them, and they will make sure to seep in at the slightest crack of opportunity.

It is true that life is all about making choices. I belong to a part of the world where parents take care of their children for as long as it is possible. In fact, unless the children leave them, they are more than happy to spend their whole lives with them. Though the world even here is moving towards nuclear families, the first choice is to stay together. And to the surprise of many, I still live with mine. My father is still the main guy at home. For these reasons, choosing for my own self came pretty late as per the standards of the developed world. And now when I have to do it on my own, I realise how difficult this is. My father has made some very big decisions in his life, and I can’t help but respect him, even more now that I understand.

Dealing with people everyday and saying the right things at the right time is the most difficult part of my job, as I feel. For some it is a cakewalk though. Now that may send out the message that I am a reserved person. Actually I am not. It is just the pretentiousness and formal engagements that I dislike. Give me freedom to talk, and I can compete with the people with three bottles of beer down their throats. But now I have finally chosen to be myself after all, and I talk the way I do, and that seems to be working as well.

People from management often tell me to be a little more strict with the team, a little less open with them, and a lot less considerate. I might not win favours with my supervisor, but my team likes me. And that makes my day at work a little less of an ordeal. I like a frequent laugh, and that keeps me fresh.

Having said that I have almost decided not to continue my job. Putting data into excel sheets, and making sense of the numbers don’t excite me any more. This is a tough decision. Another choice I have to make. And somewhere deep inside I am very very afraid. I wish my father could make that choice for me and tell me what I should do. But his choice is so predictable – the job. So I can’t entrust him with this responsibility. Too bad, life would have been so easy. But the universal truth is that only I know what I like or don’t – no one else does.

But this is a problem, and it has to be resolved quickly. I know what I want but the logic, the bloody logic jumps in the way uninvited, too often for my liking. Thank God I have this blog to transfer my thoughts to.

Uncertainty – Scary yet Exciting

Few people dare venture into the world of uncertainty, especially when their current position is pretty secure – howsoever unsatisfying it may be, but security brings peace of mind. A mere deep rooted desire seems inadequate to stir a man free of the clutches he himself has grown around him. So many people around me, working tirelessly for a livelihood, don’t want to do what they are doing. But they don’t know what they want to do either, so they will continue till the end of their lives. And they are fairly safe. Unsatisfied they may be, they will always have the money to meet their ends. A passionate man, someone who wants to do something else and knows what it is, is a danger to himself. He might ruin himself in his pursuit of happiness. Worse if he only knows what he wants but not how he will achieve that.

There is a very thin line between a practical approach and a negative one. Negative thoughts are much more devastatingly powerful than positive ones. You have to make efforts to push good thoughts in, and more efforts to keep them there. Negative ones will always find their own ways inside through various routes you don’t even know exist. So when you decide to follow something you love, and there is a sacrifice involved – a big one like your current job, you tend to slip in and out of water frequently, drowning one moment and breathing the other. And if there is a family to support, you are bound to fall into the waters again and again.

Yet there are people who forcefully move ahead in the direction of their dreams. Leaving everything aside. Full with hopes and optimism. Keeping no backups. They don’t think backups are required – they believe they have no options. Only a single point to focus on. I often wonder whether they are made that way. Is this doggedness a constituent of their being? Whether acquiring these traits is at all possible if you don’t naturally feel that strong, but want to be.

We come across so many people who are making it big in the fields of their choice everyday. Everyone has his own story. The story of disappointments and triumphs. Many of them started from scratch to reach the tops and were not even known before they hit the height. Yet their lives have gone into reaching that line of vision. That final step brought them to our notice, the thousands before would have gone unnoticed if that one final step had not been taken. And there are many who fall from just below the pinnacle.

Considering the risks involved, is it advisable at all to go for something that uncertain? Why do books all around keep pushing us to try and reach our dreams? There is a certain excitement in doing what you love, I know. The excitement you have long forgotten. It was there when you were a child. You did things only when they excited you. Remember running around in muddy water under heavy rain playing football barefooted, or dancing behind closed doors to you favourite dance number? Cartoon shows, comic books, movies, taking cold showers, lying idle, early morning cricket, late night gossips, unexpected holidays from school, summer vacations. There was so much of action. We lived life. We had good days as well as bad. We reached highs as well as lows. But we never had dearth of excitement.

Monotony does more harm than we can think, unless that is what we love. Uncertainty has a kind of adventurous quality about it. I read it somewhere that we all fail in life at one point or the other; it’s better if we fail while pursuing something we love, we’ll still be a step closer and a notch happier.

Simplifying Life

The days of confusion and haziness are kind of over now. I have always believed it is easier to think about retiring than actually doing it. The moment I think of leaving the pleasures that a job brings, I would freeze with dread. The investments would stop, extravagance will have no chance, days will go back to where I used to think how much do I have before entering a shop, frugality will decide which are needs and which ones are just plain, avoidable desires. But then, life will be much simpler, no more daily commute to office, no slavery of the clients, no feelings of depression on Sundays. I just want to do what I like, whether it is going to make me rich, or a more likely pauper. Anyway, I have always felt that deep down I have never been inclined towards getting more. Having less but enough has brought about all the peace that I need to sleep at night. And fortunately I have just about enough to sustain.

Simplicity has always attracted me – in people as well as life. I immediately feel incongruous at a party if not surrounded by the people I like. I like having food at home than dining at a famous restaurant. I have a very small circle of friends. In fact it can’t really be called a circle. I have innumerable acquaintances, just like everyone else, but the people I can call friends – not many. And, I am happy. I know they will always stand by me. Help me.

Everyday at office, I encounter a dwindling focus on work. I used to be good at my work. I had the zeal to excel once. But no more. I keep thinking about my days in retirement. The books I will read – and a lot of them are in line. The topics I will write on. The things I will do. I don’t have any high expectations from life.

I want lesser number of people to say hello to, contact list in my phone to be small, no rush while having breakfast, or doing exercise. Not many things to deal with, for which I have to maintain a list everyday. No meetings to keep track of. No team to look after.

This still is a dream, though the difference is that I am ready now. I am not afraid any more. I don’t want to earn just for the sake of it. I will find something of my interest to do. Will educate myself in the field I love, not the one that fetches the biggest pay cheque. Will enhance my health to the highest levels. Keep my loved ones close by.

Worry Not..how?

I had quite a few topics on which I wanted to expand today, but then came in the way the most destructive mental activity – “worry”. I have always liked to stay out of worry’s way throughout my life. Now you would say everyone does. But, I beg to differ. I have seen people jumping directly into the puddle of tensions, fights, arguments, and just about anything noisy and violent, when they could have just be within themselves and enjoyed the music flowing through the earphones they were wearing. Some people handle bad situations in their lives well, so they don’t mind stepping into them every now and then. Though I have just read in a book that situations are what they are, neither bad, nor good – just situations. It’s your reaction to them that makes them good or bad for you or others.

I, on the other hand, tend to, so easily, get caught into the web of mental agony if something is worrying me. I just can’t throw it out. A heaviness clasps the back of my head, and it refuses to leave. That has been the primary reason I keep all my money invested in the most liquid assets, like bank deposits, mutual funds, bonds. Ask me to buy a piece of land, and I will freak out. I simply can’t bear the pain a big loan inflicts on a person’s mind, or the up-keeping of the land brings about. Likewise, if I have a task to be completed in the office the next day, I find it hard to enjoy ‘today’.

What should be done to pick the worry glands out of your brain? I know most of the times, the solution is right there, available, maybe just an hour away, possibly after the meeting, or the call, but the wait, the very wait kills me. Just for example I had this very beautiful poem all prepared and almost ready to be posted, but then came a phone call, and now I can’t look at the poem at all. I can’t even feel it let alone finalize it. The romance, the poetic thought process is all flushed out.

I have even tried finding a solution to the problem but it involves: first forgetting about it all tonight, and going to sleep (impossible!). Then, getting up early and setting off to a two-hour long journey, and meeting the cause (need to attend the office afterwards too). Behaving mature and all grown-up, when I actually want to slap the person (the cause of course is a human-being). But anger will only escalate the issue further, and again I’ll be left with an issue unresolved. And, that precisely is something I can’t tolerate. Unresolved issues. I have got to finish all of them to be able to relax. And there are too many of them everyday. And the bloody life is too long. Why can’t I simply write and read, sitting comfortably at home? Too much to wish.

Don’t you guys feel tensed about things? How do you tackle the pain worry causes to the head? How should one enjoy while a big, a humongous issue lies open somewhere, a place you can’t reach now – maybe tomorrow – but not now? It would help if I know there are people like me out there, or am I the only one so perturbed?

Have a life beyond work – don’t wait for retirement!

Sitting in the office cafeteria I was eloquently framing a picture of words to explain a friend why I wanted to leave my job. I was speaking with force and conviction about my favourite subject: chasing dreams. I realised, after a while, that he was no more interested in being my audience, but I went on; I didn’t really need an audience. I was doing it to help myself, not him. I wanted to be finally convinced before taking the plunge.

It is a decent, convenient and to some extent well paying job. Things can turn really messy with no financial certainty in life once it is gone. It might leave me a big failure in front of my family, and society. To make the matters worse, I haven’t even drawn any definitive steps I will take to achieve my dreams yet. On the other hand, if I don’t disturb the status quo, I am almost assured of a bright future.

I am aware that there are many people like me out there who dream of doing ‘something different’. Most of them enjoy saying that they will, one day, follow their passions. I have heard some of them detailing out their plans as well. And, the blueprint of their plans have the following common structural points:

  • Work till 40, 45 years of age, earn loads of money by that time – and interestingly, they will just stop there, refusing to accept money thereafter. Seriously?
  • Pursue doctorate in subjects like history, psychology, literature etc. to devote their remaining lives to academics – that’s noble! Only they don’t appear that noble while fighting to take credit away from one another in office.
  • Start a new venture after retirement (at 45) – and risk all the money they have earned and saved thus far. Things at stake at that time would be their children’s careers, their home loans, car loans, vacations etc. Easier said than done. 
  • Focus on health – only by that time, they will have to, if they aren’t doing it today already.
  • Reading and writing – if they didn’t read and write for 45 years, they aren’t really likely to leave their jobs to do that. Hard to digest.

Honestly, barring aside the proverbial exceptions, most of these people either are not passionate enough for anything, or they are too scared to pursue them. If they can’t do it at 30, they will have many more reasons not to do it fifteen years later.

They don’t all need to leave their jobs and take retirements to do what they love. Just have a life beyond office, particularly when you don’t very much like your job. There are people who read books non-stop, write blogs, play Badminton, T.T., Tennis, run half-marathons, publish books, and all that with their day jobs. How can something even be called a passion, if you can’t take an hour everyday to follow it. I urge they call such notions as fantasies. Passionate people take action.

One needs to keep alive ones’ interests. It really doesn’t take much time to do that every day. It only takes a desire. Maybe after fifteen years these small sparks would have acquired enough combustible energy to develop into a flame.