Why I started this blog

It’s a bleak, dreary Thursday afternoon. The reasons why I started this blog is exactly what you want to know today while you look at that little clock in the lower right corner of your computer screen yet another time, waiting to be free again. If you are however, that stay-at-home-mom/dad or that lucky gal/guy who has her/his dream job , feel free to get back to your perfect life now. You’re probably too busy to be reading this anyway. Just for the record, I hate you!

So.. <regains composure>, since the rest of you are dying to know, here are the reasons why I started this blog, without any further delay:

1. I lead a very quiet life. Can’t exactly pinpoint when it happened, but there was a period in my life when I went from being relatively talkative to being very quiet. Somehow, it seems to coincide with the move to the United States. I was a new mother with separation anxiety (from the family as well as from the baby who started going to daycare when we moved). Too much was going on within me that I thought others would not understand, and started keeping to myself. It did not help that I was part of a very small team with little to no interaction with anyone all day at work. There were times when the husband was out-of-town for work, when I would go without talking to any adult for days. It drove me crazy.

The separation anxiety has ended now (almost), but the introversion stayed. I have turned into a loner. Depending on who you are, you may or may not agree with that. For example, if you are my brother, you are probably shouting “Liar liar!!” by now. (By the way, if you are my brother reading this, call me right now and tell me what you think about this blog. And it better be good!).

So, since I could not talk to anyone about what I really wanted to talk about, I started writing. And it felt good. Like having an imaginary friend who would just listen to what I have to say, because sometimes I get so tired of listening and just want to talk!

2. The second reason behind this blog is, I am awkward as far as conversations go. Sometimes I say stuff I don’t really mean. A few times I have said something to an American friend/coworker and realized a year later that they may have found it rude or offensive. If you pass a witty comment, I will likely never know what to say and will just grin foolishly, until 38 minutes later when a witty reply flashes in my mind and I think ‘Oh! I should have said that!’. So you see, I’m not very smart as far as having a good conversation is concerned, especially with people I don’t know very well. That’s why this blog comes really handy. It allows me to think, edit, delete as much as I want before putting it out there. Problem solved!

3. I love languages. Hindi and English were my favorite subjects in school. One time in school, our English teacher gave us an assignment. It was a sentence. Something about how a train came to a halt. We all were supposed to write a story that started with that sentence. Everyone in the class wrote an essay to describe a scene at the railway station. I wrote about a train robbery. I still remember the proud look on the teacher’s face when I read it aloud. Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten how much I had loved reading and making stories up. This blog is an effort to remind me to not forget that again.

4. The last reason why I started this blog is that I simply enjoy observing the differences in cultures, how same things mean different things to different people. How there are not really any rights or wrongs. How at the very basic level, we are all just the same and sometimes despite all the differences, you find a way to connect to others that you never thought was possible.

Makes sense? To me neither. But I do feel better even though I spent my sick-and-came-home-early time in writing this instead of sleeping.


Five things I don’t understand

My resolution for February is to write short posts (relatively), stay on the topic and show my readers some mercy by not making them read long tirades about nothing. Seriously, I myself cannot make any sense of some of the old posts when I go through them now. I think I have a real talent for going on and on about stuff. Notice how I wrote a whole paragraph about using less words?

Anyway, without prolonging it any further, here are the five things I do not understand, in the order of my decreasing tolerance for them.

1. Vitamin water: How about drinking regular water and eating some fruit for vitamins? The best things in life don’t necessarily come in a bottle with an ingredient list.

2. Kindergarten graduations: I kind of understand this, because I am a parent myself and know how much even a small accomplishment of our children means to us parents. On the other hand, I don’t understand it because it is kindergarten for goodness sake! No one made even half as big a deal when I got my post-grad degree. No parties, no presents, no pictures; although my folks were really happy and proud that I actually finished it in the stipulated number of years. Not that I am begrudging these kindergarteners all the praise and acclaims they get that I did not get for slogging (insert sarcasm)through student life!

3. Indians and queues: Okay, what is it about these two things that they don’t mix? When abroad, we behave just fine (I hope) in day to day life, at work, in public places. As soon as we are surrounded by other fellow Indians, the rebellious streak comes out. You can see that even at an airport when you are boarding a flight to India. People start jumping lines, ignoring others ahead of them completely, head held high like it is their birth right to jump lines. Go to a buffet style wedding dinner in India and you will know what I mean. Worst still, go to a public place during rush hour and any delusions you had about right to your personal space will vanish in thin air.

4. The ‘Cry it Out’ method: For my Indian friends who don’t know what this is about – it’s a parenting technique (sarcasm intended) that basically involves parents letting a child (even a baby) “cry it out” and learn to soothe themselves, instead of running like it’s the end of the world to pick them up and soothe them.  I’m not even going to say anything about what I think of this method. Like a friend rightfully said – “when you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. (But then, if I truly followed those words, I wouldn’t be writing any of this, would I?)

5. Religion: Actually I do understand religion, and believe in it. What I don’t understand is how it can be so important to somebody that they can fight and even harm others over it. For me, religion is just something humans ‘invented’ to try to understand the bigger power that created us. To find something to rely on in trying times. Because we are not as strong as we think we are and are always looking for something or somebody we can follow. Even if it is just a book, someone we don’t even know, wrote thousands of years ago. Why is that book more important than the living people around us – that is what I don’t understand. Sorry if any of you find this offensive. These are just my thoughts and I am not talking about any one religion in particular here, just all of them in general.

Once again, thanks for reading this very short post. Feel free to comment and let me know if you loved it or hated it.

Something to think about

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone—“to relax,” I told myself—but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and eventually I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and working don’t mix, but I just couldn’t stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we do here?” I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, “Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, we’ll have to find someone else.” This gave me a lot to think about.

And at home things weren’t going so great either. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent the night at her mother’s. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Lamb chop,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…” “I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce.” “But Poopsie, surely it’s not that serious.” “It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as a college professor, and everyone knows college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep up this thinking then we won’t have any money!” “That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently as she began to cry. I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library!” I snarled, as I stomped out the door.

I drove to the library, PBS blaring on the radio, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors…and they didn’t open. The library closed?! To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground scrabbling at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye.

“Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked.

You probably recognize that line from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s III.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

Now I have a job and things are a lot better at home.

Life was just…easier, somehow, once I stopped thinking.

via Thinkers Anonymous.