I’ve got ‘COVID FOMO’. Have you?

Let’s talk about COVID-19 induced FOMO today.

FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out is defined as social anxiety stemmed from the belief that others might be having fun while you are not present. It is usually attributed to social media, and in better, less stressful times has to do with wanting to live a life as happening as everyone else’s seems.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic though, what I am talking about is very different but is still, per se, fear of missing out. Take University for example. I am in the final year of my undergraduate degree, which is fully online, as of now. This unprecedented circumstance has brought with itself a myriad of fears and anxieties that all sit and chitchat under the “FOMO” umbrella.

Half the time, I am convinced there is a class or an assignment that I forgot or am missing out on. I also feel very out of the loop with things that I take for granted, like knowing about how the placement season is going, when events are scheduled or even just gossip you can’t help but overhear like who is friends/not friends with who, who is going to whose party, you know, very pointless things that I used to usually scoff at. This anxiety of just missing out on the most mundane idiosyncrasies of my regular life has been a hard adjustment that 6 months hence, I am yet to fully adapt to.

I don’t, however, think, it’s just an issue those who are “Back to (online) School/College” are facing. I can imagine that it probably extends to those who are working from home as well. Maybe they are afraid of missing out on deadlines, meetings or just regular water-cooler talk. Maybe it isn’t such a widespread issue, feel free to correct me, I swear, I won’t mind.

You always hear, “Man is a social animal”, but nothing quite drives the idea home-like difficult times like these. Our innate need to have connections is so strong and so fundamental, that take them away and we feel unsettled and try to reach out to even those who we haven’t spoken to in many years. (Yes, here’s looking at you, having family reunions or childhood friend catch-ups on Zoom all of a sudden, I love it, keep ’em going.)

For me personally, as someone who is going through placements in the middle of a pandemic and will most probably be graduating in one too, this fear also extends to my future. All my future plans have been thrown for a lurch, and I’m living suspended in uncertainty. I have anxieties about how I might be missing on options or paths because of the current situation and how this pandemic might end up being why I miss out on a future I wanted and have worked towards.

I understand quite well that for me, this is not an earth-shattering problem. I am privileged enough to come out at the other end of this just fine and I fully acknowledge that. It is just that I am sitting at the cusp of growing up, of being independent, of building the life of my dreams, ready to spread my wings and soar, and the sky that seemed so clear before is now foggy and ridden with obstacles.

I am a dreamer, to a fault. I had and still continue to have, against hope, so many dreams and ambitions for what I want to do, where I want to go. With each passing day spent watching the Coronavirus case count rise, those dreams seem to go further away from me and it becomes hard to not feel afraid that I would never be able to achieve any of them.

As depressing as this has been, I am also an unflinching optimist at my very core. (Verrrrry deep inside.) I always believe that at the end of the day, I will be okay. Things will be okay. I will be happy. And it is with this belief I forge ahead, in the face of my FOMO, which is still very present but I am getting better at handling with each passing day. I don’t expect it to be gone but I do hope that we can come to a peacefully coexistent negotiation, mostly for my sake. Wish me luck.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you faced or are facing ‘COVID FOMO’?How are you dealing with it? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

A Changing Sense of Time During Lockdown.

Let’s talk about the concept of time during the COVID19 pandemic today.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

The opening lines of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities really capture how I feel about the lockdown during the current coronavirus pandemic. The reasons to dislike it are obvious and many; I can’t go outside, can’t meet my friends, can’t go to college, the economy is being ruined, so many livelihoods are affected and obviously, so many people are getting ill and dying, the aforementioned worst of times. I have been privileged enough to, however, find some nice things about it too; a whole lot of gratitude for what I had taken for granted before, all this time to spend doing things I love, how I have been able to work on my blog and have a transformed outlook on living every day to the fullest, not the best but very special times. (As of today, I am still very much in the thick of the pandemic, so the day I get back out there is a bit far for now)

I have talked about the coronavirus pandemic, its impact on the world and most majorly, its impact on my world in two of my posts before, which you can find here and here. In both of these posts, I talked more of the immediate reaction to suddenly finding myself in the middle of this pandemic and stuck at home, than the effects of being on lockdown for what is now the majority of 2020 and the contemplations that come with it. In this post, I’m getting into that aspect of life through a pandemic. (And I admit that this is through my undoubtedly privileged lens)

One thing I have noticed and have actually discussed with a few people is that time seems to be standing still and whizzing ahead at the same time. Like, how I for one feel like I have just been living the same day over and over and have not registered the passing of the months after March. (How is it literally almost August?) But also, there is the fact is that somehow 4 almost 5 months have passed and my 21st-year in life and 4th(and last) year in University are just passing me by, without me having registered it.

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This realisation that time stops for no one, not even a crippling,world-stopping pandemic, is not a new one. We choose not to think of it but even so, we do sometimes realise this in regular life too, as we look back and think, “Oh, I was just in school!”, “I just became a teenager!”, “Didn’t I just get my driver’s license?” and many more such quips, but never as acutely as now. This has been bothering me since at least May when I realised my third year of college was effectively over, abrupt as it was. This worry has only grown since and thus, obviously, I have done a lot of (over)thinking about it.

All this thinking has brought me to conclude that we, as a society, as human beings, measure the passage of time through milestones, through events, through watching the world around us change. Being stuck at home means that the big occasions; the birthdays, weddings, graduations look quite different or are cancelled. Not getting to go outside means that we don’t get to watch the seasons change, through the trees and the sky, not properly, so we miss out on nature’s signs that time has passed. We tend to make plans for the next few months and countdown to them and in such uncertainty, all plans have been thrown for a wrench. We can no longer plan vacations, parties or even, going to college far from home. With nothing to look forward to, we don’t quite feel the months as they pass us by.

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As depressing as that sounds, I also came to realise that the best way to handle lockdown is to live one day at a time, even if it is the same day over and over, try to find something new to do every day, to do things that make you happy, to socially distance but not emotionally distance and to use this crazy time to come out better at the end of it. With that thought, before I go, I’d love to wish you good luck for the rest of the year and take this opportunity to say that I really hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe. Please take care!

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you felt like time is going by too fast during the lockdown or do you think it is going too slow? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

What I Wanted to be Growing Up

Let’s talk about all the jobs I have wanted to have today.

When I was 5 years old and anyone asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always said, without skipping a beat, “A pilot!” I’d promise to take them around the world on the aeroplanes I flew, I was absolutely certain and I just knew I had made my decision. Then, one day, I watched a movie with my family in which, a plane crashed and the pilot died. The next morning, I knew only one thing: I did not want to become a pilot.k-125-m-356

When I was 7 years old and I was asked, “What is your dream job?” I said, without a  thought, “A teacher!” I loved all my teachers, I loved pretending to teach all my stuffed toys(and my then, 2-year-old sister) and I just thought, this would be so fun. Soon I realised, however, how difficult it really is and how little respect is afforded to teachers(The biggest tragedy of our time, really) Thus, I drifted away from this dream of mine.kisspng-drawing-royalty-free-illustration-a-little-teacher-who-lectures-5a9ad6afc716a8.4707962715200969438155

When I was 9 years old and someone asked, “What do you want to be when you’re an adult?” I answered, quite excitedly, “A scientist!” Science was my favourite subject in school(Apart from English, of course) and if you ask my parents, I was born far too curious and with the need to know everything there is to know about the world, which made this seem like the job for me.320-3202517_little-girl-scientist-clipart-scrappin-doodles-clipart-science

When I was 11 years old and anyone asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I said, as someone who had recently come to that decision, “An astronaut!” We had recently learnt about space and the universe in school. Traversing galaxies and planets, seemed like an upgrade from being a scientist, so astronaut it was. ee7734dd87fef70eb1e639c3f43f33a3

When I was 13 years old and I was asked, “What is your dream job?” I answered, a bit nervously, “An author!” I had always been someone who used words and writing to deal with situations but this was when I was realising that people thought my words were good and wanted to read them. As someone who read a lot myself, I saw nothing better to do. And then, I grew up.depositphotos_61857307-stock-video-little-girl-typing-on-a

When I was 16 years old and someone asked, “What do you wish to be when you’re an adult?” I said, as someone who had discovered something to be passionate about after years, “A blogger!” I had recently made this blog and I had been quite successful from the get-go thanks to the wonderful community here. It had saved me from the abyss I seemed to be falling into, with the last two years of high school being probably the toughest years of my admittedly, very short and barely lived life. And then, I grew up some more.preview

When I was 18 years old and everyone asked, “What do you plan to be in the future?” I said, in a resigned tone,” I don’t know.” I was finally the adult who all these plans had been made for, over the years, but when I actually got there, I couldn’t see any of them materialising, for they were too imaginative, too frivolous, too idealistic and just, too impossible.4XTFNGL

Today, I am 21 years old and I still do not have the fixed, permanent answer to what I want to be when I grow up. Not in the way 5-year old I had it.As far as where I am? I am going to be a Computer Science engineer next year, in what I hope, will be a post COVID world, emerging after facing unprecedented circumstances.

I am at a place where I find myself going back to many of my dreams, like how I’m really interested in research, so being a scientist sounds great. Being a teacher, or more specifically, a college lecturer is something that I can be along with being a scientist so that interests me too. If someone gives me a chance to go to space, I promise you that there is no way I’m saying no. It is still one of my biggest dreams and a major item on my bucket list, to write a book and get it published. As far as being a blogger is concerned, it’s quite simple really, I’ve been doing writing on this blog for the last 4 years, which means I already am a blogger. (I just don’t make money off it, which I am okay with)

There are so many possibilities, so much I can do, just so much I want to be and I don’t want to limit myself to just the one I decide on. Pardon me because while I may have become more practical compared to my childhood self, I am still far more imaginative than the average adult so I can now, somewhat naively, find some pride in my answer of “I don’t know” because honestly, isn’t it just lovely, there’s just so many places I could go!

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Yes, that was a Dr.Seuss reference, very much in line with this post’s theme of growing up.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: What all did you want to be when you grow up? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Visiting World Wonders: The Dawki River

Let’s talk about the Dawki River today.

For the previous post in the series, click here.

Hello everyone! Today’s world wonder is a natural one and a pretty obscure one at that! I seriously doubt that you would have heard about this place before reading this post unless I told you or you have been there yourself. If you have, kudos, you’re a chosen one. Pick up your prize on your way out. I am proud to take you, virtually to the magical and mystical Dawki River, about 82 km. away from Shillong, the capital of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, in India. What is so magical about this place, you ask? Join me and read on, as we go together to this gorgeous river in north-east India.

I first saw a picture of the Dawki river on a travel Instagram account in 2018. It was a photo taken by a drone and it made it look as though a boat was floating on nothing, literally and it was just suspended mid-air. Me being quite the cynic was convinced it had to be edited. There simply was no way this place was real. Then I googled it and saw many more similar photos, still not fully convinced but closer to convinced than not. Then I spoke with my parents about this seemingly, incredible place and one thing led to another and we ended up planning a vacation to North East India for the winter holidays of December 2018.

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December finally came and we here in Shillong at last, after a long day of travel. We were finally going to Dawki! Northeast India is very beautiful, but nothing had me as excited as this fantastical place that I had only seen photos of. We drove out of Shillong and soon our driver told us that we were here and we had to climb down from the road to the valley where the river was through stone stairs. I still couldn’t see it, not properly with all the greenery and thus began climbing down, almost jumping in excitement. Suddenly, the trees parted and in my line of sight, in a very storybook moment, were the emerald green waters of the Dawki River and a tiny boat floating on nothing, looking every bit as breathtaking as I had imagined and then some.

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The Dawki River is smack dab on the India-Bangladesh border. One bank of the river is in India and the other in Bangladesh so tourists from both countries visit it. It is still kind of unknown and is not a widely renowned place, which may be why its beauty is so well preserved and relatively untouched. It is very clean, so much so, that you can see the rocks at the bottom of the river i.e. about 15 ft. deep down, as though they are right next to you. The sunlight bounces off the water, making it look clear as air and the water reflects the green on the mountains around it, making it look the gorgeous emerald green colour that we see. There are tiny wooden colourful boats available to take a ride around the river and these add to the beauty and charm of the place.

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We also ended up taking a boat ride which was a wonderful, unimaginable, breathtaking experience which I mostly spent marvelling at the beauty that I was blessed to be witnessing and awed by the grandeur of the place. It was the best experience of my vacation, one of the best experiences of my life and for once, no words are enough to express just how entrancing and magical it was and is. I hope that the pictures I am sharing speak a thousand words, and speak the right ones because god knows I am not talented enough to do that. I absolutely recommend visiting this extraordinary river in the northeast corner of India to be humbled by the magnificence of nature and to be reminded of the magical world we live in.

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THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you been to any place that you thought was ‘magical’? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

The Tale of my “Hermione Complex”

Let’s talk about my “Hermione Complex” today.

Hi, before we get into the post itself, here’s an update from the last post(The Dance of Hobbies Lost.) If you follow me on Instagram you already know but for the blog-only followers here we go. The update on my re-learning Odissi i promised you. I am pleased to report that Manglacharan is coming along nicely and I am actually done with re-memorising the steps of the whole thing and am now cleaning and polishing it! It was surprising how much came back to me when I started to try to learn it. If that doesn’t inspire you to pick up your lost hobbies, I don’t know what will! Now, let’s hop out of the old one and back into this post.

Since I have been a kid, I’ve been a very curious child. I would ask A LOT of questions about everything(Think everything ranging from why the sky is blue to why can’t cars run on nitrogen) and in hindsight I might have been a very annoying child. I was also obsessed with knowing little tidbits or facts about EVERYTHING and could not be stopped from announcing said facts if the topic arose, which again seems to be making me a very annoying kid. My parents bless them, mostly encouraged my behaviour, which I really appreciate now, it must have been hard.

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The blue sky due to scattering of different wavelengths of sunlight, of course!

To fulfil my apparently bottomless thirst for facts, I used the many encyclopedias I hoarded and was absolutely besotten with, other people’s encyclopedias that I borrowed, eventually, the internet and in a move that was probably not appreciated a lot, adults around me. I also had a loyal subscription to many magazines that were essentially mini encyclopedias or factbooks, like Manorama’s Tell Me Why. I still have some of my encyclopaedias with me which I sometimes glance through, although tragically my younger sister never quite learned to love facts the way I did.

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In fact, this habit of mine was bad enough that I got a reputation in our friends and family of being a know-it-all. If something has come up, Arushi definitely already knows something about it. If we went to a vacation, I seemed to announce facts right off the bat, often from what I read on the little info boards no one bothers to read, if we were eating something new I announced facts about its country of origin or whatnot, if we were looking at the sky I announced facts about stars and as I am writing this I realise I haven’t changed that much, and so I should probably take this moment to say sorry to everyone who has had to suffer through my fact-telling. All that has changed is that I’ve learnt to tell my facts to people who actually love me or truthfully can’t escape them, that is, my closest friends and immediate family.

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A gorgeous shot of the Milky Way which, did you know, is never still and is always rotating?

At first, I was quite affronted with this reputation I didn’t want to be treated differently because I knew stuff about stuff. Eventually, I embraced it and realised that all my role models like Matilda from Matilda and Hermione from the Harry Potter series were huge know-it-alls, I loved them for it and should be happy to join this club. However, embracing it meant that as I grew older and lived and loved the “Matilda” life I also got really good at knowing very little about something and being able to convince people I knew much more, which is you know, bad. But my fact-knowing self loved being the go-to person for knowing stuff and wanted to be the most knowledgable person at all times which is, obviously not possible.

This habit of mine extended everywhere but as I grew into a teenager surrounded by the pressure to fit in and be on top of all the latest trends, it applied most notoriously to pop culture. I was effectively toeing the line between what was true and untrue(Not properly lying because I never said I knew a lot about that thing or that I had watched that entire show or movie) but I was faking it and honestly, although it isn’t something to be proud of, I was also getting away with it. Only my best friend has ever really caught me on this but getting caught triggered me realising that I had a problem and had developed, as I called it, a “Hermione Complex”.

Realisation is the first step in recovery and I knew it. I needed to get better. Over the years, as I have grown out of(thankfully)the joys of my insecure teens and into a more confident adult, I have actively checked myself and tried to stop pretending I know things I know very little about. I can admit to Pop culture blanks of knowledge or even regular blanks of knowledge. I still have a Hermione Complex, a much calmer, tamer version of the same. I don’t think I will be outgrowing it and honestly, I hope not. I want to have random knowledge about British royalty and the production process of Gouda cheese. I am still the person who knows a lot about everything, is your girl for trivia quizzes, is some of my friends’ pop culture dictionary, will knock down Buzzfeed quizzes about random knowledge and am still a lot of people’s go-to person when they want facts on something new or random.

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Told ya!

I still spout facts about vacation spots, but in a good way, leading to fun experiences, like when our tour guide at the Vatican loved me because I knew so much about the art and the sculptures that we ended up chatting away and bonding. She really was the sweetest soul and told me I would grow up to be a very wise person, the best kind of person and that I reminded her of her dad, who I suspect was another “Hermione complex” affected individual. That is something I really appreciated hearing and value, from a complete stranger. Lastly, the important thing to note about the Hermione complex is that while it is named for one of our favourite female know-it-alls, it is gender-neutral. Anyone can have it and it is not something to be scared of if you have it or if someone around you does because, as annoyed as we pretend to be, we all need people in our lives who will tell us about how moon dust tastes, on-demand. (like, gunpowder, according to the astronauts on Apollo 17)

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THIS POST’S QUESTION: Do you have the “Hermione Complex” or know someone who has it? Did you out-grow it? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

The Dance of Hobbies Lost.

Let’s talk about lost hobbies and my neglected relationship with Classical dance today.

These days, with being shut in the house, with nowhere to go, not much to do and always being inches away from driving each other insane, social media is the obvious respite. So, as I scrolled through Instagram and saw everyone else bake, cook, make art, play instruments and develop new hobbies I went down the rabbit hole of my thoughts and realised that I was no longer the person with a million hobbies as I had been for most of my life. I had, somewhere along the years, lost my many hobbies. But how, did I get here?

I was a pretty hyperactive kid, on an almost clinical level. My parents knowingly, or unknowingly cracked how to deal with all my pent up energy: Activity classes. I was always in a billion activity classes. You name it, I’ve taken a class for it. Be it arts and crafts, piano lessons, abacus classes, dance lessons, karate, roller skating, I’ve done it all. I left all classes over the years for various reasons ranging from  I was simply getting busier with school and couldn’t keep up with all my classes, I just really sucked and it was a waste of time and money and the ultimate, me or some other kid was injured and it scared our moms into pulling us out of the class.

I don’t regret having lost touch with most of them. Obviously, the ones I was terrible at or didn’t engage with for too long I hardly miss, but I do have some form of sadness attached to the ones I was good at. It comes down to two but majorly one, really. When I was 9-10ish(I think) I had to choose between piano and dance because I no longer had time for both and I chose dance. After all, at the time it seemed obvious, I had invested more time in it, I was better at it, I was giving exams in it and it seemed the only choice but sometimes, just sometimes and in times of lockdown, I wonder what could have been, where I might be if I should have chosen the other way around, maybe I could have played the piano and been happier now. Ah well, can’t change the past, can we?

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So, let us now get into the second but actually major hobby which requires a bit of a storytime about me. I have been dancing since I was a baby, as my mom would tell you but have trained in some Indian classical form from the ripe age of 3. From when I was 5 to when i was 16, I trained in the classical dance form of  Odissi and have given enough exams to be a trained Odissi dancer, at least on paper.

Most of you are probably wondering what Odissi is at this point so let us take a brief intermission to tell you a little bit about it. Odissi is an Indian classical dance form belonging to the state of Odisha and is the oldest surviving dance form of India and perhaps, one of the oldest in the world. It originated in the temples of ancient India and is considered to be one of the most difficult Indian dance forms due to the grace and technique involved and the subtle balance between masculinity and femininity each dancer has to maintain in every piece. This is not just my opinion, but obviously, I am a bit biased towards believing it.

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Now, getting back to me and Odissi, I’ve learnt it for 10+ years, had 2 teachers, given many exams, participated in some competitions, even won some, given even more performances and have lived and breathed the classical dance life, at least before I moved across the country and was entering 11th grade and could no longer keep up with it. It has been 5 years since then. In those 5 years, Odissi has helped me in little ways like being my unique identifier, how choreographing a little piece that got me into the (western) dance society of my college ensured dance stayed in my life, with my general posture and whatnot, but honestly and a very difficult thing for me to admit is that I’ve mostly lost touch with the dance form.

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One of my very few good dancing photos from the pre-good smartphone camera era

There are some factors to why. I really had to study during the last 2 years of high school and simply didn’t have time to practice. All my music was on primitive memory devices like cassette tapes or at maximum, a CD because that’s what most places where we performed or participated allowed. Thus, I can no longer access it and have lost quite a lot in the move too. I was not on social media when I moved as I was a kid and have lost touch with my dance classmates. Most importantly, I did not choose to prioritise it. Then suddenly, a few months ago I had the jarring realisation that my dancing style had changed from doing western over the last 3 years and I could barely remember any Odissi.

I was sad about it, but also, life was busy. I forgot. I was ready to give it up as one of the things I grew out of but then, this lockdown happened. Now, I was forced to confront how much I had neglected something I loved so much growing up and how much I regretted it. I knew it was time to fix the situation and to once again, bring Odissi back in my life. I tried looking up the music online, it didn’t work very well because there are many different kinds of music and I didn’t find the exact one I learnt on, so there was no chance of triggering some musical memory of mine.

I decided on trying to re-learn what is the most basic and simplest dance piece in Odissi, the Mangalacharan. It is a traditional invocatory item, usually dedicated to one Hindu God and having a Trikhandi Pranam,i.e. three salutations: salutation to god, the teacher or guru and the audience. I saw many videos and saved them and will now be embarking on this journey of trying to re-teach myself something I had been so good at and hoping to trigger some old recesses of my memory where all these pieces went and have hopefully survived the attacks of adulthood. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Do you have any lost hobbies you regret? Have you thought about picking them up again? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

What do I write to you?

Let’s talk about what should we talk about today.

I write to you today about my utter dilemma about what to write about. Good heavens, I am sorry, that’s quite the beginning to the post; just throwing you in the deep end, no easing, no warning, nothing. Please allow me to explain as I walk you through my predicament.

Perhaps, after months of nothing, since I am suddenly showing up here now (I have been somewhat around on my Instagram, so do follow me there if you’d like to not be surprised by my sudden and erratic posting:@musingsofawhimsicalsoul) I should talk about what i was up to in these past few months. Since  I last posted in November, that would be exams in December, a very gruelling college schedule January onwards, a concussion(from a kick in the head, so quite the story), all the pre-internship things and my first ever job interview(with Google!) in February, turning 21 in Corbett National Park on a family vacation in March to finally today, April 1st, my last day of (now, online) classes, which gives me the time to write to you.

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Me with my surprise birthday balloons on March 10, it is so crazy how much things have changed in such little time??

Or maybe, I can’t post anything without addressing the current climate and situation that we all are dealing with. The COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on our lives, the lives we have already lost, the brave souls in essential services fighting to make our lives easier on the frontlines and just how much it infuriates me to see people not taking this seriously. Should I be cautioning you and spreading awareness about flattening the curve? Should I talk numbers and how anxious they make me as we look at the rising numbers every day from the midst of a 21-day lockdown? Should I talk about the fact that even as I say all this, I am feeling so incredibly guilty for how comfortable I am to be in my home with my family and living life with not much of a hindrance? Should I be asking you to think of the less fortunate, the ones who are affected the most? Should I ask you to donate, if you can, to food banks or to government funds, to aid small businesses, to think of the people in your employ or the ones you take rent from?

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The coronavirus curve we need to flatten, found on the CDC website.

Should I acknowledge my privilege in being able to sit down and write all this down for you? Or, should I talk about how scared I am of the uncertainty regarding our future, where the world we would be after this is over? I am scared of the economy I would be inheriting. How, as someone who is supposed to find a job in the upcoming year and has no idea what will happen with my internship the economic ruination this will bring terrifies me. Or perhaps, my hope that we all are kinder and value each other and just appreciate the little things much more?

Simply put, should I be talking about my fears for our present or the future? Or mundane things like how I am going to pass time now that my college is over? Perhaps, I should be distracting you from all this uncertainty and negativity, bring you my regular scheduled(Yes, I see the irony here.) content. Maybe you’ve had enough of all the negativity and just want to escape. So today, after 4 months of nothing, in the middle of a global pandemic, I ask you, What do I write to you?

THIS POST’S QUESTION: This is a unique post,the entire post itself is a question,so please,tell me,What content do you want to see from me? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

Growing up: Roaring 20’s

Let’s talk growing up this March, as I officially bid adieu to teenage. It’s finally D-Day today.

Hello everyone. Today, the 10th Of March 2019 is my 20th birthday. I have now existed for at least 2 decades,240 months,7300 days,175200 hours,10512000 minutes and 630720000 seconds. That is a long, long time. Today’s post is for all intents and purposes, my birthday post, where I look back, look ahead and at now, as well. Let’s begin.

20 years ago, I was a tiny, crying, very red baby just fresh into the world. It was still a whole another century and the world sat on the cusp of the 21st century with many hopes and dreams for the wave of modernity it represented. It was still the 90’s, the era of good television, great music and even better clothing. The 2000s were almost upon us, with their nightmare-inducing fashion choices, still good television and still decent music. It was a much simpler time.

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20 years hence, I am not-so-tiny, still crying, red no longer, very much an adult and already a little bit over the world. We are nearly 2 decades into the 21st century, which is running at such a pace that each decade feels like a century in itself. The world is, in some ways a better place but still, a work in progress with so much left to fix. It is a very complicated time.

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Not much has changed.

In these 20 years, I have learned and experienced so much. I have learned to talk and walk and eat and jump and run and so much more. I have completed 15 years of schooling,2 years of college and am so much wiser. (Questionable)I have trained in dance for 12 years and I’m still dancing. I have been to 9 countries,2 continents and have travelled to and seen a sizeable(yet tiny) chunk of the world. I have read and watched beautiful stories. I have opinions and thoughts and likes and dislikes. In these 20 years, that very red baby has become a person.

Turning 20 is a monumental birthday. It signals the end of another decade as well as of adolescence. I have grown a lot in this decade as well as my teenage years(Perhaps not in height but mentally yes) but I am honestly delighted to say goodbye to my teenage and all the ‘joys’ that puberty brings. I can, however, no longer blame my hormones for my behaviour, which is a tragedy. Thank you teenage, for making me the strong-willed woman I am today.

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20 for me is a birthday full of hope. I am finally entering my 20’s, the peak of my youth, the beginning of the years in which I find the life I will live henceforth. I have no idea where I will end up and this is the starting point. I will finish my formal education( Education itself is lifelong, only formally will I be done), I will get my first actual job(I have actually had a non-paid writing job for a not-for-profit organisation already), I will live in my first house, I may even get engaged and/or married!  How crazy is it that all these milestones of my life happen in just these 10 years!

All these are such “grown-up” things in my head and hence I find myself struggling a little with the concept of growing up around this birthday. I am no longer a “barely-adult” adult, now I am a real one even if I don’t necessarily feel like one. I want to take my 20 years of existing, take the best out of them and take it with me as I enter this phase of my life. I would like some more optimism, as the pressure of adulthood, as well my teenage rebellion, has taken quite a lot of it away already. I would like to know it’s okay to depend on people sometimes, okay to miss people and so great to feel love and be loved. I want to hope and have childlike imagination with responsibility and courage. With all this and much more, I launch into my roaring 20’s, here I come!

THIS POST’S QUESTION:  Are you going to/have turned 20? What did/are you feel(ing) like? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

My Love For Mythology.

Let’s talk about my relationship with mythology today.

Hi! Today I will talk about one of the great loves of my life that I don’t believe I have addressed on here in a manner it deserves (Read: aside from a few references to it here and there I haven’t talked about it all) It is actually quite surprising and shocking that I haven’t addressed it on here yet and it has been almost three years since I started sharing my thoughts with you. So, today I share with you one of the bigger pieces of me: my love for mythology.

I was very very young when I had my first encounter with mythology and let me tell you, it was love at first sight. (Or encounter, in this case, but sight has more poetic charm now, doesn’t it?) Being born in a Hindu family, I was very small when I first heard the stories of Vishnu’s many incarnations, Shiva’s abode on the top of the Kailash, Ganesha’s many intellectual and food driven adventures and so many other stories. I heard these stories before I was capable of reading myself and they completely captured my imagination.

As I grew older, I was able to read these myself and reading and rereading the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which are very famous great epics from India was only the tip of the iceberg that was the world of Hindu mythology for me. The many gods with their many different forms and different powers, the sages with their curses, the Asuras or the demons, entirely fascinated me. It was great fuel to my very active imagination and it was only the start to a love that well, as of now, would last a lifetime.

Then, like many travellers of lands far away, I stumbled upon the Greeks. Greek mythology was and probably is my favourite mythology to date(With the Hindu mythology) The Big Three with their three realms, Zeus with the skies, Poseidon with the seas and Hades with the underworld, Persophone and her travels changing seasons, Medusa’s fixating stare and monsters like the Minotaur or the Hydra were incredible stories to my 7-year-old brain. I also loved it more because of just how similar it is to Hindu mythology. The same many gods, the god of thunder, rain and lightning as king of the gods, the whole big three business, the similarities are endless and can be a post themselves.

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A picture of the council of gods I found at http://maggiesemple.com/greek-mythology/

After the Greeks, I found their more disciplined and stricter descendants and neighbours, the Romans. The parallels with Greek mythology were obvious and established but the differences were what fascinated me. Poseidon’s might staying not as mighty as he becomes Neptune, the much higher reverence to Mars, the god of war because Rome fought a lot of wars, the importance of the beauty of the gods in Grecian tales versus the war generals of Rome, it was amazing to me that something born from the same place went two such different directions.

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I found this picture at https://www.realmofhistory.com/2018/03/20/15-roman-gods-goddesses-facts/

After that, I stumbled upon many very different mythologies, the Norse with the tales of Thor and Odin, the Egyptians with Ra, Osiris, the eye of Horus and Set’s wrath and even mythology associated with younger religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is a love that has only grown over the years and an interest that I am highly passionate about. Passionate enough that when I found a friend who loved mythology the way I do, we seriously discussed having a mythology youtube channel together. (It never happened because duh, that’s how most plans with your friends go)

I would be remiss to not mention the wonderful boon that Rick Riordan has been to the world of mythology. His books brought my favourite myths to life in the modern world in the most literal sense and I am so thankful for his books because they have not only popularised this obscure love of mine but also expanded upon my knowledge and love of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology. (I haven’t read his books on the Norse mythology yet but I’m sure they’ll have the same effect.)

In conclusion, this has been my ode to my love, mythology and I’m glad that you could join me on this nostalgic little journey where I profess my love for one of my biggest passions, mythology. Thank you.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Are you interested in mythology? What is your favourite mythology? Comment below with what you think about it, i’d love to here from you!

 

 

One Year Bullet Journaling Update: Will I continue in 2019?

Let’s talk about me completing a year Bullet Journaling and everything to do with it today.

Hi!  One year ago, I made my first post about starting my Bullet Journal for 2018 and have tried to keep you posted on my experience trying out this new activity and exploring the world of Bullet Journaling. This post is the conclusion of my adventure with Bullet Journaling in 2018, the final update as well as talking about my future plans, if any, with Bullet Journaling.

If you have seen my post about My Bullet Journal Essentials, you know what pages I chose to have. The plan right now is to go over each of those pages, give you a before and after (If they change at all) as well as the new pages and talk about how useful I found those pages.

The Cover Page(s)

Obviously, this isn’t there as much for the “planning” aspect of the journal but mostly for the aesthetic value. I still love it and I made the last page to go with it and to cap off my year, contained in the pages in between. Its not as beautiful or meticulously made and I will get into why that is later.

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A Calendar

I enjoyed making a physical calendar for ready reference in the journal so I could plan my days and months out. However, this calendar ended up making me realise how almost independent of physical calendars I have become after having the ready access f my cell phone’s calendar. I barely used it and honestly, I feel a little sad because as a child I used to love marking dates on my physical calendar. Technology really has changed me and this was clear evidence, even if its the littlest thing.

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Year In Pixels

Year In Pixels was a great idea but the issue is that’s what it was. Maybe it’s just me and how careless I am or maybe its just being human but I found myself missing days. I’d fill them in later but that’s not quite exactly the idea is it. Still, I like having a reference of how my year went. It makes me realise that most days are just okay(In red) a good (in green) or an amazing (orange ) day are rare to come by so I should cherish them and cherish them well. Here’s my year in pixels when I started versus now at the end of the year.

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Goals for 2018

I made a list of Goals at the beginning f the year which I wanted to achieve through the year. At the 6 month mark, I went back and looked at the list and made a part on how things are going with all my goals. ( You can find it in my Half Yearly Bullet Journal Update) At the end of the year, I did it again. This time, however, its a simple checklist. And I was happy to report that I somewhat achieved all my goals for the year though not all which I chalk up to being a mere mortal.

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Trackers

I made trackers for some of my broader goals to help me track my progress towards achieving them. They were:

1.A Book Tracker: A place for me to list all the books I read over the year. I am the most depressed to report that I got though ZERO entire books through the year and so my book tracker is as empty as it was the day I started it. It is my worst regret and I intend on making a post about my lost superhuman reading powers and just how much it bothers me. Here is before(and after) of my book tracker.

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2. A Movie Tracker: A place for me to list all the movies I watched over the year. I watched a total of 36 movies over the year and that roughly comes down to 1 movie every 10 days which are numbers I’m more than happy with. I have definitely made progress at movie watching (Which might seem like a stupid goal but I like stories and losing reading I needed to find a new way to get the required amount of stories to keep me and my imagination happy)and watched some great movies this year. Here is the before and after of my movie tracker.

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3. A T.V Show Tracker: A place for me to list all the TV shows I watched this year. I am honestly happier with the shows I watched viz a viz the movies because some of them are all-time favourites of mine that I binge watch often. I watched 5 shows over the year which may seem like a small number but, considering that it was 0 shows in 2017, it definitely is progress. Here is the before and after of my tv show tracker.

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4.A Blog Tracker: a place for me to record my blog-statistics related progress over the year. As you may have noticed from both my Half Yearly Bullet Journal Update. and the goal update in this post I didn’t meet a lot of my blog related goals. I just struggled with keeping up with my new life as a college student in the first half the year and in the second half I tried and had found a stride but my health gave up on me. So my statistics hardly look great if seen as separate one year apart statistics but individually I am quite proud of how much my teeny tiny little blog has grown. (Even if it is just an inch or two) Here is the before and after of my blog tracker.

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Monthly Spreads

I had a certain format that Ive discussed before in my Half Yearly Bullet Journal Update. I write the name of the month, a quote that resonated with me that month and hello to the month with the origin of its name n the left page. On the right page, I write the month number on the top right corner and always have a firsts box for all the new things I did that month and a countdown of the number of months left in the year. Other boxes like Blog updates, mid-term and end-term updates and updates on other goals make regular appearances. I am happy with my monthly spreads and I enjoyed finding out the origins of the names of all months as well as having a summary of my month a lot, however, I found them a big hassle to make towards the end. I’ll talk more about this later.

Exam Schedules

I would write my exam schedules in as checklists with the name of the subject, date and time of the exam for both my midterms and my end terms so I’ve made a total of 4 schedules,2 for midterms and 2 for end terms.  Checking these was very fun and I did find writing my schedules down helpful because then the dates had a greater chance of sticking around in my head.

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Birthday Page

Since my birthday is in the first half of the year you might have seen this in my post about it. basically, I wrote a letter to myself talking about my progress as well as shortcomings from the last year, my goals and aspirations for the upcoming year and a lot of positive affirmations. This was probably my favourite part of the BuJo and practise I plan to continue.

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Final Thoughts: Will I continue Bullet Journaling?

The simple answer is well, no. I am not the artistic kind and by the end of this putting all this time and energy into something that is supposed to help me plan my life more effectively was frustrating and a big hassle. It is obvious through the pages too, the first few are dine with patience and I sat down and beautifully did them whereas the last one I just rushed through because the truth is, I dont happen to have a lot of time in my day.

As i mentioned before, my Last page is nowhere near as pretty as my first one and this is the very simple reason for it. It might just be me, my lack of artistic prowess or maybe it is normal to feel so defeated about a bullet journal. I felt the pressure to keep it pretty, mostly self-imposed and i struggled with it. I would forget to fill in the year of pixels in some days, I’d be drawing two monthly spreads together, I’d keep notes to remember to write in the movies and tv shows I watched.

What I would like to carry forward from this experience is the organisation it brought to my planning. So essentially I want to have its planner aspect and thus am not opposed o the idea of using a planner. For now, I have embraced the technology boom i was born into and use the Notes app to set reminders, make lists and make notes and basically, plan. It has been working well for me so far but it’s only the first month, who knows?

Would I recommend this to someone? Absolutely. It was fun when I wasn’t time-pressed or just under pressure or stressed. If they are artistic and like planners, this is the thing of their dreams. They will enjoy it so much. It may not be for me but that doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy it.

Lastly, I end my last post about bullet journaling (for now, who knows what the future holds?) and offer my admiration and respect for people who bullet journal regularly and have been doing it for years. It’s a task and its hard work and while i have realised i cant keep doing it that in no way means I am imposing my opinion onto you. Enjoy the BuJo adventure, fellow journalers and au revoir!

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Do you Bullet Journal? Have you done it before or do you plan to? Comment below with what you think about it I’d love to hear from you!