Not My Intention

#FlashFiction

“Get out of my life; get on with your life; just calm down and get a move on; Work hard; Focus more so to achieve more; Get a new job”

Those words reverberated over and over again like a rhythmic heartbeat. At a point of time it was so, that these insults and advices caught up like a tune, that I hummed like a playful song. It wasn’t me that caught onto my innocent yet weird habit, but the little girl in the elevator, who stuck out her lollypop just to ask, “Which artist’s song is this” It pained me to tell her that the rap of expletives was a wrathful tale about my divorce, my poor work life, my social life; essentially everything about my life. She wasn’t there yet, but I had a feeling that her wrathful song was just about to be written.

Hi I am jack, and this is my story.

I am a man of unusual habits, a rather calm demeanor with a countenance to etch an everlasting impression on you that will last, not in positive way. I get distracted so much that my 3 year old niece sleeps off out of frustration than because of my melodic voice reading out bed time stories. Sometimes I pander about topics and adorn a sagely fixture, to disguise my lack of creativity and subjectivity in life by a false illusion of wisdom. For me, life is a game of options, wherein my decisions are largely contemplated as a result of ‘easy options being the right ones’ mantra. Hence, I am stuck in a dead end job, in a dead end industry with a motivation level matching that of a Wall Street broker tying a noose round his neck, swiveling over a crooked chair. If life really is a race, I am the guy who hands out bananas and water bottles by stretching his hands out to runners, sometimes brushed aside and sometimes plainly ignored. Nobody really values my intention.

Life has funny ways of turning and twisting around. It started with a crying baby, followed by an indignant kid, a reticent teenager and a foolhardy youth whose aim in life revolved around getting laid. After short term aims subsided to make way for something better, my life wasn’t my own and I was expected to take upon the challenge of matrimony in life. It involved me getting hitched to a girl that I may have fancied a little, but there being no time and no room for doubt, parental pressure just caught on. The idea was to live happily ever after, had her legs not fancied being in the air for others around too. Like a bolt out of the blue, it struck me hard and thus began my passive journey into oblivion. I would have liked to start it off with a few days of unshaven living, trapped in the basement of my own house, probably cooking meth if I could, but then life catches on. So, from an ‘Into the Wild’ mindset I moved back into the ‘Back to the Cubicle’ mindset. It wasn’t fun to start off again, as life seemed different. As I would crane my neck about the cubicle like a radar trying to pick up signs of life, I would see robotic minds at work. That really bothered me. I didn’t have any obligations now and just didn’t care for the money so much. At work, I was losing focus and barely knew of what went around. So one day, I just lost it all. In a video conference meeting involving a foreign client, I walked in my tracks, as nonchalant as ever. Though my inputs weren’t really required, just to break the ice, I went on a self-deprecation spree, breaking the façade of my company’s make believe reputation layer by layer. That was my last day in the office. Again, my intent was right, but execution was wrong.

Coming back to the elevator, where I now stood, I can say it was a breather after so many days. I had been there the entire day, surviving off a burger which consumed my food quota of 2 days. I didn’t have any electricity at home anymore, nor any money or an AC, so I spent my time wandering in the air conditioned mall. Drooling about the food court for a slice of bread and festering off like a predator from one place to another, my life had certainly come to a really bad phase. My timeline of thoughts has drastically reduced, and now my major concern isn’t about another promotion or another social obligation to deal with, but how to go about another meal. It’s been six months since my ouster from the company, and I now it’s time to go back to that life or rather ‘lie’. This is my life’s unwanted intention.

 

Instant Gratification

“You have completely lost it.” the rapacious December Playboy issue on my desk spoke out loud.
“You need to get things back in control man, its high time you do” the TV remote control added on.

“Yeah. That also means that you need to stay away from that girl, she seems to be an awful distraction to your life. ” came a sound from  nowhere.

As I looked around to check the source, the JBL Pulse flinched. It then stretched out its hand shyly, and pointed to the computer. The Computer was rather rampant in defending itself, and gyrated about to shake itself out of screen saver. The culprit taking a jab at my girlfriend was in sight, FACEBOOK.

“You of all the people talk about distraction” I asked it.
“C’mon, the onus lies on you. I wasn’t the one who dragged you onto me, and had you slay over and over, viciously clambering over the lives of others.” said FB
“First of all, that just sounds wrong. Second, you are due for deactivation now”

Such was my irritation, that in a sudden blip, the screen went off . I didn’t want to listen to it anymore, and then power cord was just a plug away

Another interview, and another rejection. They weren’t mutually exclusive events anymore, but buddies who seemed to be too pally. Poor academics and a pathetic ECA seemed to add-on to the already near abysmal existence.

Except for the JBL, the rest of the folks had all seen me grow up, and now were concerned about the way things were in my life. It was only in the past few years that I had befriended these wretched souls, who were otherwise stationery pieces of the living room set. From an ace student to a grace student,what had gone wrong in the past couple of years, was I not good enough or was I too scared to deal with the increasing pressure. I no more juggled between assignments and commitments, rather left them all than just choose one. I have lost my capability to slug it out for hours and hours, to practice and to improve. 

The TV remote is right, I do need to take things in control. But where exactly am I going wrong?

I don’t think I have to think too hard along these lines. The reason sits right there on my face as I write this article, patience and instant gratification. I lack the patience to give words to my ideas and I want immediate results in the form of quality and good reviews. Patience is a virtue, when exercised reaps benefits, when abhorred leads to loss. In my case, my patience in pursuit of goals, combined with my love for instant gratification seemed to have swayed me on a different line altogether. My efforts are diluted in quality and quantity, my goals are utterly vague since I have no means to believe that I can do better. Since I no more believe in myself, I am here surrounded my bunch of unnecessary distractions which offer no potent solution to any issue in life. It’s like delayed reaction to problems as a means of instant gratification. Defer the problem now, enjoy the moment and who knows, something might magically work out in the future.

TV, computer and mobile are my best friends, while the books bite dust in the corner of the room.I remember reading that the TVs are like lullabies, which force the mental activity to zero down. In contrast, reading a book is more challenging, since it involves observing, contemplating and inferring. Like panda on streak, I have been scratching off work off my list, and making room for more pleasure than working towards a better future. That’s the disease of instant gratification

 

 

 

Complacency in being competent

Like the wayfarer who stretches out to a journey of fulfillment, my inclination while in college wasn’t to the static environment within the classrooms, but to the liveliness that seemed to befall the environs outside of it.Thus, my presence was rather limited in the classrooms, as I spent more time wandering about. Passing through college like it hardly mattered, for I was a firm believer that it was the experience in life that mattered much more in life than sticking around a bunch of books, so I tried a lot of different things. It had dividends, but not worth living for. I was getting by, scarping through rather, not gliding by, which I would have wanted. From school to college, my life had seen a transformation wherein the priorities of life had changed drastically and I wasn’t the person I once had been. The ace student in me had been taken over by the nasty frivolous casual wacko who escaped things in the pretext of “not my passion , not my thing”.

It’s a curse to dwell in complacency and call it perfection. The mind fools us and affects our understanding of the reality as it allows us to dwell in complacency. I know this, since at a point of time in life, I allowed myself to be dragged in such banality, that to revert back to normality was not a choice but a necessity. While the ideals of experience that I believed in were not momentary surge of blithe disregard for strenuous efforts , I felt that this had to be complimented with commitment in every sphere of life. This learning wasn’t overnight, neither were the results. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you kick around with life, life kicks you back. Some people understand this in theory and swearing to their mortal existence don’t play around with the wishes of fate, while few like me sometimes choose to expand horizons out of a sense of daredevilry and play with life.

I remember after having scored wonderfully in school and having made it to the best college in India, I was on the moon. That seemed to be the highlight of my life and everything seemed too sublime. I suddenly found myself as the center of attraction, being the topic of discussion and an adviser to all. Then came college which was pretty cool. But then, while everyone saw this as just the beginning of the rat race, and were all geared up, I was standing by the side watching people smack each other through it. As people tried different things, I chose not to do different things, and let that be the difference between me and the rest. That was a rather skewed logic, since the first year me was pretty foolish. So, I screwed up my academics. From 90s to 60s was the graph that I was drawing, and worst of all, I played it cool. I do have to accept, a part of me told me, that this is the level you get to be at and no where beyond. Back in those days I would get intimidated by one and all, and believe that I didn’t have what it takes to be the best of the best. So without being in the middle, I evaded the stress involved in competing with the crowd.

Somewhere down the line, It took on small event to trigger a response, a feeling which made me question things. A personal tragedy changed my perspective in life. I can’t say what it was, but it made me feel again, and feel that I mattered just like the rest and I deserved better. The crowd that I refrained myself from getting engaged with was no more a point of concern. In fact, they weren’t even the point of congruity in my life anymore. What other did with their lives wasn’t my business, hence how well they did wasn’t my concern either. I let them be, and focused on myself. I remember setting up a list of things that I had been missing out on, and set of a bucket list of personal goals to be attained. It didn’t matter if they were to be accomplished just then, or in a few months or a few years, as long as I tried. So, then I set out participating in things,attending lectures and finally getting to know my classmates.My academics improved, my confidence and personality improved, so did my health. The world wasn’t conniving to make my life a miserable hell after all, and my willingness to try was reinforcing that belief. I did well eventually, but the journey is still on. Everyday is spent in constant amazement as I stop less and do much more, keeping myself busy and relishing the fact that we should take on life to move ahead,since side stepping and watching the game just doesn’t make the cut.

Enslaved by habits

On the epitaph of a noble soul, read the lines

“Herein lies the soul of the one who couldn’t get up at 5, and hence life pushed him into eternal darkness”

Well, that is what the world will put up on my grave. No matter how much I try, I can’t gather myself to wake up at 5. It’s like a curse that seems to stick, with no likeliness of ebbing away. Bad habits are hard to get rid off. No matter how much you try, they catch onto you regardless of what you do. Like a bad case of drug addiction, you initially try , but later when things get hard, you find yourself justifying to why having it is boon than bane. Here are a few tips to avoid bad habits and inculcate good ones :-

The dreaded 5’O clock club

I keep coming across articles which aim to summarise the ideal way to success, and there always lies the point “Be a part of the 5’O clock club”. It seems appalling and in simple ways, absurd to think that the only thing between me and a six figure salary is an alarm clock which doesn’t work that well. Well, this is just me trying to justify things. I am lazy and I know that. I usually get up at 10 on a holiday, with no sense of shame for the lost time. While I was sleeping, the so called 5’O clock club must have already jogged through the entirety of Dwarka(Suburban Delhi), taken a bath, had breakfast and probably in the middle of a movie when the sleepy me walks in on them , smudging my eyes. Well, that basically a scene featuring me and my parents.

Its a shame that I waste my time sleeping, when I can do something productive like writing this article, which btw is being written at 9 pm IST, and not in the morning as planned. If you are like me, and end up sleeping a lot not because you love sleeping, but because its usually dark outside at 5 in the morning, and you don’t like the idea of running in the dark, then high-five.

Post-its 

Again from the diaries of wannabe Bill Gates and Zuckerbergs, the need to manage your tasks is a crucial point. One idea is to maintain a list of what you want to do, a TO DO LIST. Its hard to manage one, and I don’t say that writing it on any piece of paper will help you with achieving it, but then its a necessary step. I as of now, have a piece of paper pasted on the wall right next to my bed. It carries the schedule that I have to adopt during the course of the day. Unfortunately, the schedule starts of at 5:30, hence impossible to achieve. But there is one good thing that comes by it, I do wake up even before my alarm goes off. Call it magic or I am a genuine freak of nature, but ever since I have pasted that schedule next to my bed, I do wake up at around 5:30, lie awake for about an hour wondering whether it would be a good decision to head out in the dark and cold. This deliberation doesn’t help me much with getting out of bed, but certainly exhausts me enough to fall back to sleep.

Avoid ego-depletion 

Well, this term isn’t what you think it is. No, I don’t mean to validate your behavior of being snobbish or acting haughty in front on strangers who don’t know you well enough to see who you really are. Ego depletion is a psychological term and is used to refer to a state wherein we exhaust our will power. If you are wondering how the hell does one deplete their will power. Its not a fuel or food, but just a state of mind. Well, think clearly then.

Will power is a potent force that can make a cripple walk and in your case, help you get your daily chores done. Its all psychological, since what you think on the inside is what you manifest outside. If you think that you can do something, you tend to become happy rather than being distraught and this in turn releases a set of hormones in your body which eases the bodily function and provides impetus to your efforts. So it is necessary that we preserve our will power and don’t go about exerting ourselves over everything and anything that comes across. It would be a shame that you have to exert yourself to get your ass of the bed on sundays to get the grocery from the nearby market. You have to make a habit of things, where deliberation is to be killed, and initiative is to be weighed upon.

So learn to make a habit of things than to force yourself. Will power is exhaustive and should be utilized when the situation requires it.

Delayed Gratification

I am a commerce grad, and recently while learning about financial management, I came across this phrase stating that shareholders of a company may prefer dividends now than in the future. This is inspite of the fact that the company invested in may have a growth potential and may utilize these very funds for capital appreciation. This is true in all the other cases as well. Everything is for now, a job now, money now, pleasure now and nothing for later. Rationality is too obscure an idea, when gratification is involved. Its like being a fly, too enticed by the light emitting mosquito killer. You see the other flies dying as they near it, but then who cares, that white light is so cool.

Whenever we aim to do something it involves a level of hardwork, lot of pain and sweat. You do so with a hope that maybe what you do now, will reap greater dividends in the future. Delayed gratification helps you maintain a level of momentum in life, an inertia which helps you sail through hardships. Its upto you whether you want small bits of gratification, which amount to nothing, or wait and work enough for it to become big enough.

 

Follow the mantra if you want to wriggle out of the quagmire boring life, or you can choose to bash on regardless.

The 25th hour of the Day

Good news — another hour has just been added to every 24-hour day (don’t ask us how. We have powers). How do you use those extra sixty minutes?

The Daily Prompt carried this unique notion or rather a possibility of an added hour and to how one would utilize this time. I recently watched the movie “Haider”, a bollywood film, which unlike many is a very idealistic adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In one of its scenes, the lead is seen digging up a hole in the graveyard. As he does that, he digs up the skull of a rather small child and holds it up.

The kid accompanying the hero then asks him,” Why do the dead always seem to smile” grimacing at the sight of a head.

To this the hero replies that  “it is only when you are dead, you realise that you didn’t live when you were alive, and now in spite of being dead, you can’t survive.”

He goes on to that whether it was Akbar, Hitler or Gandhi, everyone had to make their maker eventually. With their death, their remains dissolved into the sands, and their mortal existence ceased.

The reason that I have gone on to reiterate these lines is because if i had an extra hour everyday, I would make sure that those lines aren’t my life. I don’t want my skull to be the one laughing hysterically in my grave, wondering how life could have been had I had the courage to take that job, or work a little harder to make it through that cut-off.

I would basically use my extra hour like any other hour, and that would ideally be using it fruitfully. Say no to procrastination, and making excuses, Should there come a situation in life wherein you ultimately find yourself lying to yourself, and finding excuses for your failures, you will know that that extra hour is something worth having. Maybe, you can compensate somewhere to down the line. That 25th hour maybe your hour to shake out of the banal existence and be cherished life long.

Condition the Mind-Nail that interview

Placement season is up at the college, and everyone seems busy as a bee, trying to sort things out and enter the rat race for the fancy job.I have been subjugated to my own share of rat racing without any conscious intention of being a part of it. It is more of peer pressure as I haven’t got a clue to what I want to do, so I do things anyways. With placements comes a baggage of other goodies such as GDs and interviews.

So, I am sure people get very psyched by the idea of having to sit in front of someone and rant about their lives and understanding of concepts, which they didn’t know of until that very moment.Now, out of sheer respect for the decorum of an interview, you choose not to spike your inquisitiveness and ask about it there and then. But, interviews are overall very fun.

But to respond in line to the DAILY PROMPT, if you get all jittery about the D-Day and don’t know how or what might soothe your nerves, try fooling your mind. Life is all about a power play between what we believe in and what we end up doing. Sometimes it’s hard not to freak out, but then, probably the major detrimental factor for that job is for you to not freak out. So, just ask yourself, do your really want the job?

As you get things clear in your head, it helps draw in rationality and wipe out the blur. You need to know that being presentable in a interview is important, seeming classy and intelligent is also useful, but the most important factor is that you should plan to be just you. Let the company want you for you, rather than  going in with a list of attributes that would seem ideal for the profile.

If you can digest all these lines, you will realise that you are no more nervous. This is because the element of surprise is gone. You come to an understanding that whatever should happen in the interview shall happen, but what I need to do is to be me. When I am me, nobody can catch me off guard since I know ‘ me’ more than you know me.

DAILY PROMPT

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/big-day-ahead/

 

The lackadaisical Wallflower

“I will never drink again” was my remark upon waking up to a terrible hangover. A college initiation trip, supposedly meant to act as a bonding session between seniors and juniors seemed to have completely gone wrong. Being new to the idea of college, I had pretty much believed that the Travelers Society of the college would rise up to it’s name and go about masquerading through the misty environs of suburban Gurgaon. Well, that didn’t happen, instead tragedy struck the timid, reticent me. From being thrown around in an algae plaid pool, which would have made any sober person puke at the sight of it( So, it worked pretty well for us, thank you seniors), to dancing around a bonfire like a Red Indian doped sky high, the overnight trip was fabulous. Bonding became just an add-on to the trip because something else had happened, I had discovered myself.

Here is a thing about Wallflowers,they maybe shy but should you get them high, the barriers of social inhibitions fall away like dominoes, sublime and smooth.But if you aren’t a pertinent socialite with much tolerance for drunkards, you might just have to ease yourself to the nearest room and shut yourself in, for wallflowers might drain you out. They get crazy and rock the world around them. If you have seen the movie Charlie Bartlett, you might have noticed that young charlie too has issues wherein he finds it difficult to adjust and showcase his talents. It’s not approval but only appreciation that he seeks of those around him. His dream is to walk up on a stage and announce his name to the world. I don’t say that you should also sell drugs in your college to garner such attention, but if you are shy and miserable, you might consider finding that something that you are passionate about and use it to break out of your shell. It’s not easy, but then anything worth having in life is never easy,

Wallflowers exude such awesomeness, that they not only surprisingly strike you as unique and entertaining, but they also come out as original. This is because, they are volcanoes of ideas which are waiting to erupt. What triggers the reaction is not a pep talk, but a dose of motivation clad in the form of warm elixir of life which swings you high into inebriation. Usually what acts as a hindrance to such eruption, is lack of self-esteem and confidence to thrust your way to the top. If you can hammer this idea into their subconscious that you are genuinely amazing, you shall only rise in life. When you are already at rock bottom, it’s hard to dig down further. Wallflowers realise just that in a magical moment, and in that moment they cease being wallflowers, and become what they were destined to be; brilliant ,exuberant and plain awesome.

The Vindictive Approach

Success and failures are considered to be two sides of the same coin, though one is a little shiny and the other a little rusty. Everyone wishes for that shiny part, but do little to to achieve it. The reality of the matter is that, it’s not the shiny part you inherit, rather you smudge of the rustiness of the coin to make it shine. It’s failure that leads to success, without there being an absolute achievement of things being otherwise.

Being the fallible human beings, that we are, the failures sometimes plunge us into grim darkness. In such situations, it is up to us, whether we want to allured by the darkness or let our vision of the distant light guide us out of complacency. Sometimes the fear of failure reached disturbing level of magnitude, so not only to  ignore the light, but let the darkness clog our thinking.

I find myself in situation wherein I fail miserably yet don’t let myself become distraught. It’s not a facade of nonchalance, it’s just that to believe in the inevitability of things, and coming to terms with the consequences helps one wake up to the harsh truths in life. For a number of years, I have seen myself become a person whose competitiveness wasn’t restricted to the mental imagery of my victory, but equal happiness in other’s misery. It wasn’t a happy indulgence as it subconsciously blinded me so much, that I started basing my life as per the opinion of other people. Living in my own insecurities to find validation from others, was my chance at peace.

As you experience more and more in life, your perception undergoes transformation from being superficial to being profound. As you learn to weigh upon your own potential, you learn to care less of other’s opinions and everything isn’t a race anymore. From being vindictive, you become the exuberant being who is immune to trivia of life which immiserates you more. It’s not a fight to become the best so as when comparisons are drawn, you can stand there and smile. There is more to life than thinking about others ;think about yourself, but not in a selfish way, set personal goals, not career ones.