Just Gym Things

A future famous personality, “You can judge a person by the way he/she behaves in the gym.” This quote is true on many levels. There are all kinds of gym goers. Starting from the ones who blame the season (no matter which) for not waking up regularly or because of their busy schedule, can’t make time for the gym. This is, of course, after paying for a full year membership in the excitement of the New Year. Then there are the OCD ones who reach gym at the same 7:59 AM every single day. But it’s interesting to see how the Gym unfolds, the curious gym politics.
I’m not sure if there’s a research done about it but it is safe to assume that treadmill is the most loved gym equipment. It keeps everyone distracted, at least in the cardio section. The ones doing the warm-up have their one hawk eye fixed on few of the treadmills and a clock keeps ticking inside their mind. If even by chance, they see that the person on the treadmill is slowing down, they expedite their warm up like a machine in the factory. The person on the cycle and elliptical are also in the same pursuit. Sadly, this pursuit is not of getting the ultimate happiness because the person on the treadmill is not happy either. He/she will keep a constant tab on their neighbours, “Is he running faster than me?” “Oh, you want me to show you stamina. See, see.” Their auras converse with each other.

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When Being Mediocre is Okay

There is a pendulum between being excellence and mediocrity, in which we all are swinging. Our films (remember Three Idiots), our leaders, our entrepreneurs- inspire us to run towards ‘excellence’, and very rightly so. We must strive towards excellence. But what until then? ‘Being Mediocre’ or ‘Mediocrity’ is shameful.

In our aspirational (and imaginary) race, we forget that mediocrity is very subjective. For most of us, mediocrity is a third party perspective. “Do people consider me mediocre?”  “A mediocre student became a doctor and now works in his village.” He could be a student who cleared MBBS from the city but decided to go back to his roots, to serve his people. (I actually know someone like that.)

For example: “A mediocre student became a doctor and now works in his village.” In reality, he could be an average student who cleared MBBS from the city but decided to go back to his roots, to serve his people. Someone who wanted to study further, could not, and had to manage his father’s business or someone who wanted to run away from home but could not because there was a house to manage. Someone, who could write the ‘commercial’ kind of writing but lived their writing style. Someone who did good design work but did not get the credit.

For a comedian, a ‘9 to 9 job person’ from an ‘average’ company would look like a ‘mediocre’. To a popular comedian, the struggling comedian might look like a  mediocre. A commercial actor might think of a struggling theatre actor as mediocre (and vice versa). To an entrepreneur, an employee in an MNC might look like a ‘corporate slave’. A corporate employee might see an entrepreneur as ‘wasting time’.

How are we to make a truce with these two things? The truth is, there’s no right or wrong because:

“Do people consider me mediocre?”  is very different from “Am I mediocre?” If the person is fulfilling their primary motivation in the current situation, whether it is livelihood to take care of their families or pursuing their passion; it is in its own sense extraordinary. There is nothing mediocre in doing what you are supposed to do.

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When Unemployment Tries to Kill You

Be fired, get the axe, get sacked, pink slip, put out to pasture, call it quits, resign, retire, stand down, give in, hand a notice, vacate and bow out- all mean the same thing eventually. The market that it is right now, we have a lot of people around us- either they quit on their own or they were made to quit. Whether it is for a month for six months, there is a waiting period before you get into the next thing. And even though there is nothing shameful about it, we feel ashamed. Endless scrolls on the social media which were once a normal thing now become a pain in the ass. Everyone seems to be moving ahead, having a vacation, finding happiness, getting engaged or married or going on an international honeymoon- everyone, but you. And the worst part about it is that we let it become a big question mark.

Am I good enough?

Will I ever get a job?

What will I tell people?

Do I deserve this?

What did I do wrong here?

Why did this happen to only me?

How could they do this to ME?

While a little bit of contemplation on these questions is only natural and necessary but overthinking is dangerous. It makes you lazy, under confident, sad, under confident, regretful, under confident, aloof, attention seeking, etc.

The risk is that if you keep thinking, “I am useless”, you will internalise that thought and it will become a part of your mental framework. It kills you partly.

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When Parents Go Wrong

You only can give birth to a child. You can’t expect to own them when they become adults— their bodies, feelings, desires, dreams, consent— nope. I’m sorry if this hurts to know but those things are not yours to control. And that is, of course, in spite of all that you have sacrificed for them or for all the love you have given to them. Don’t put your love on a bargain to emotionally blackmail your adult child. Your ego must not weigh more than your child’s happiness.

This is not how it works. Neither logically nor legally. Perhaps you are worried about the culture or the society around you, what will they say, how will we answer? Well, then, think of the answers. Find the right answers, instead of taking the easy way out- do what everyone else is doing.

Who is this society? Is this one person or two people? Why are you so desperate to be a part of it? Is this society giving you birthday surprises or kissing you good morning every day or lovingly buying you clothes with their first salary? Does the society call you to ask if you’ve had lunch? Does the society come with you to the doctor when you’re sick? Does it pester you until you eat the medicines? Does it push you for the morning walk? How many times does the society give you a hug when you need it the most? How much will the society cry when you are dead? Continue reading “When Parents Go Wrong”

The Mango Thief

Ramlal was a vendor of seasonal fruits. The items kept changing every season but his favourite selling items were mangoes. It was the most profitable item and he was an expert in gauging the quality. Everyone wanted to learn from him but he would keep the secret buried in his chest. He had learnt the art from his father and he would only teach it to his son. Mango season was his favourite also because it’s the most luring fruit and it was costly.
Ramlal had a neighbour, Prayas, who would come to his laari (cart) every day in the market and spend at least five to ten minutes checking and smelling the mangoes. Then he would ask for the price of the mangoes. “100 rupees for 500 gm mangoes.” Prayas, without the slightest disappointment on his face, would smile and leave. This would happen every two or three days. This thing had started to annoy Ramlal.

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How Not To Be an Ass****

How Not To Be an Ass****
We had been really good friends for years. This one day, out of the blue, he calls, “Can we go out for lunch? I need to tell you something.” I replied without any thought, “Yes.” He looked visibly nervous that day. What followed was at least twenty minutes of random talk. When I finally lost my mind owing to the curiosity, I came forward from my seat with a clenched fist, and demanded, “Dude, will you tell me what’s the matter?”

 

He took a pause and said, “I need to tell you something. Please hear me out and promise that this won’t affect our friendship.” This could mean a thousand things or nothing at all. I said, “Nothing will affect our friendship, I promise. Tell me.”  And he said those three words.

 

“I am gay.”

 

I heard those three words, took a second of pause and said, “Okay…Great…(pause, smile)…But.. why would you think this would affect our friendship?”

 

A smile broke out on his face and the nervousness instantly vanished.

 

“What? What did you expect me to say to you when you’d say you are gay? Something like ‘dur ho jao meri nazron se’?
(Laughter)
“Yaar. I just didn’t want to lose you.”
“When did you first come to know?”
“It’s been around 1.5 years. I soooooooo wanted to tell you but could not.”
It felt like a dagger in my chest. Had I not been a good friend? Why did he have to hide it from me? I must have made him uncomfortable in some way.

 

“Did I ever make you feel that I would be disapproving of this?”
“You have been one of the nicest friends. And I have wanted to tell you all this while because you’d be such a support! But I remember this day we went to Zen and you had casually joked about someone around, “I think he’s gay.” It’s silly, I know. It was casual and not even shaming but I didn’t want to lose you for this.”
“Oh. When was this?”
“Around two years back. This was the time I was starting to face my sexuality.”

 

My head almost touched the ground. My hands on my face. I was ashamed of myself. I couldn’t believe that such a “small” thing could have such a big impact on someone. Just for that, my friend had gone through the struggle of dealing with this without me by his side.

 

It’s been years since this incident. Since then, I’ve had so many friends coming out to me. I’ve consciously resisted making even casual remarks about sensitive things. It still happens, but I try. And I’ve tried my best to be the most supportive, not freak out, not gossip or spread rumours. Coming out, sounds like a weird word, to begin with. Why does someone even have to come out? That’s something only the person who has had to suppress their sexuality will understand. For heterosexuals, it would help to imagine, what would it feel like to be told that what they are feeling for the opposite sex is unnatural?

 

We make very quick judgements about gender and sexuality. If a guy is a little effeminate, we label them as ‘gay’ (as if being gay is a bad thing). While they might really just be effeminate and not gay. If a girl appears to be a tomboy, we label them as ‘lesbians’. While they might really just be a tomboy. And what if they were even gays or lesbians. Anyone that is a part of nature, with consent, is natural.

 

Most people also confuse gender with sexual orientation. Gender is Male, Female. Sexual Orientation is Heterosexual, Homosexual, Asexual, etc. Facebook has introduced an option to select from 63 genders. It’s understood that this is quite confusing. But we live in a world that’s increasingly becoming complex because we are not ready to accept the people coming out. There are people who are GenderFluid: A gender fluid individual does not see themselves as male or female but may identify as one or the other depending on the day. There are people who are gender non-conforming: Gender Non-conforming is a person who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society. This identity goes along with a lot of the ones above. Learn More here.
 

How To React When Someone Comes Out to You

 

  1. Acknowledge: In a world that we live in, it is actually a big deal if someone comes out to you, especially if you not homosexual. There are a hundred fears attached to saying those three words, and when someone does that, the least you can do it, take a pause and acknowledge. Keep it a secret if they want to.
  2. Do Not Joke: It’s not funny. If you don’t understand how it feels, do not speak but try and not crack ugly jokes.
  3. Resist the Questions: You have heard different things and you have all sort of fantasies about homosexuality (how to you really have sex, how to get attracted, etc) but resist asking all sorts of questions right then.
  4. What to say: To begin with, say that you love them. Say that it doesn’t matter who they want to sleep with and it will not affect your love for them. The nicest thing to say is, “I’m glad you shared this with me. I just want you to know that I love you. And this doesn’t affect our friendship.”
  5. Do not Freak Out: When you freak out, you ask mean questions like, “Omg, what will you do now?” Would you say that to someone who’d say, “I am passionate about Math”? You won’t. It’s that simple. Nothing is to be done about it. The person is just sharing it with you.
  6. Do not be Awkward: There’s nothing awkward if the person if of the same sex as yours. They could be a friend/brother or sister. But you don’t need to creep out. Don’t think that they “like you that way” just because they are homosexual or queer. Just like every heterosexual person doesn’t like you! Do not run away from them.

The list is unlimited. It’s a sign of a really good person if someone comes out to you. It means that you made someone feel that comfortable that they could tell you such an intimate detail about their life. Yes, sexual orientation and gender are complex matters. But just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it is wrong. You don’t know how to fly a spaceship, do you? So, do not be an ass****.

Thy Childhood Was Funnier Than Thou

Thy Childhood Was Funnier Than Thou
We had already gotten a passive, aggressive wordless warning from Uncle; when he knocked into the room to check if everything was okay. We had our exams the next day and after two hours of play and endless chatter, when we finally sat to study, we were laughing about something like maniacs, curiously affected by some laughing gas in the room. Our laughter used to be very loud. I don’t remember what were we laughing about. Next, Pooja (my best friend) gets called downstairs for something and I see her walking towards the door. Some cartoon-like impulse, makes me get up and fake a kick at her. I wasn’t even thinking. Turns out, she wasn’t either. She pulls my raised leg in self-defense and in the next second, I fall flat on my back. “Dhaaaaaaaaaaad.”

 
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