Return of the Saucepan

It’s my first post after a really long time. And it’s been a very, very heavy month, so far. So people who know me must be wondering… “Really, Ga…(okay can’t give away my name) Parmeniac, your first post after so long, and you’re writing about saucepans?” 

To which I’d like to say, that I don’t exactly know the best way to eloquently express what has been going on, and at this point, I can’t give it full justice. So let’s ponder over relatively mundane things for now. There’s a life lesson in everything! 

Now this is a rather dumb event that happened in the past week. I’ve been stressed out at work. But one of my roommates has been particularly free, because she’s doing a mostly disappointing MBA course here at university, so her semester wrapped up a month before mine. Since then, she has become housewife (or the gender neutral homemaker, as they call it here). Which is a polite way of saying, she has no job (not that she contributes to household chores either, so technically homemaker is wrong too). Her good friend has also started frequenting way more often than I’d like a mere acquaintance of mine to frequent my house. I call him househusband (or the gender neutral… err… homemaker). Two many homemakers spoil the broth and make it a boiling pot of increasing inconvenience. 

Speaking of which, housewife happened to give away my saucepan to househusband without even asking me. Why? Because she wanted to support him in his homemaking skills. 

Apparently there exists a category of entitled people who think they can get anything they want, giving no regard to the people around them.  

And so far, I really had been letting it slide. Small things. But not my saucepan! You can’t take tea-making equipment from a tea addict! Specially during her peak tea consumption regime due to previously alluded to stress factors. 

And so, it came to a mild confrontation. I had to ask her about the whereabouts of my saucepan. And I had to push her into giving it back to me, which was also tough because she made it look like a case in which we couldn’t deprive househusband of basic privileges like having a saucepan. Here’s an idea. Maybe buy him one? 

I’ll excuse myself before the stupidity quotient of this post falls below my tolerance limit. So if you’re looking for the life lesson here, here it goes: sometimes in life, you have to fight for things that are rightfully yours. No, I’m not talking about people here. You don’t own people. But things, situations, experiences. So don’t hold back from seizing your happiness. Even if it’s just a saucepan. Carpe diem! 

Persistence : A take

What is persistence? 

Persistence is when your roommate sleeps right through an alarm that rings for 2 minutes straight, waking you up but not her. 

Persistence is when Iowa weather refrains from stabilising and staying constant for more than 2 days at a stretch. 

Persistence is when Paul, the check-out guy at Hyvee always has something randomly ordinary yet amusing to share during his extremely late night shift. 

Persistence is when the old veteran with the shaky hand, who rides the Cyride bus service, manages to make small talk with every bus driver, while travelling back and forth across campus everyday. 

Persistence is when one looks forward to sharing the events of even a mundane day, with someone special. 

Persistence is how I end up missing multiple buses, in spite of checking the bus schedule several times. 

Persistence is how I insert a pun into every article I write. 

Persistence is when I continue writing a list on persistence. 

Maybe persistence is just a force of habit. And maybe all the one needs, to persist, is to form that habit. 

Brookside Park – Part 7 : Finale

***Read part 6 here.***

“A very Good morning, Londoners. Specially the one straying around Brookside Park at this early hour!”, Aria greeted her audience. “We have an interesting discussion lined up for today, so stay tuned, for some madness!”

The phone rings.

“We have our first call already!”

Aria picks up the call.

“Good morning, RJ Arkaya. This is Miss Lost-These-Days.”

“Good morning! So why do you feel so lost these days?” , Aria asked the caller.

“I tried to make what seemed like a good decision for myself, and I’m quite convinced I did. But I can’t figure out this hollow feeling within me.”

“So what was this decision that you had to make?”

“Letting go of someone who wasn’t right for me.”

“Does that make you feel bad?”

“No. I think both he and I are better off, without each other in our lives.”

“Then what is it that you feel hollow about?”

“I’m really finding it hard to figure that out.”

“Do you feel wronged?”

“I do. Constantly.”

“Did you ever express that sentiment?”

“I did.”

“So what’s more to this than just that? You decided to end the story. You expressed all that you had to. I don’t see what’s left.”

“Exactly. Nothing is. That’s the point though, isn’t it? You give something so much importance at some point in your life. Only to realize months later, that it doesn’t work. All of your efforts were useless. That’s not a good feeling.”

“So you can’t cope with failure?”

“It’s a mix of a lot of things. Yeah, it sucks to fail. It sucks to not have people around that you thought you could rely on. It sucks to realize that you need to rely on people in the first place.

“Maybe you shouldn’t rely on people then.”

“I’m not an asocial person. I don’t like not having anyone around. Yeah, I open up in front of very few people. And if I do, I usually want them around. That’s how most human beings work, don’t they? That’s why people have friends.”

“I agree, that is how most human beings work. Socializing is good for you and your mental health.”

“So I guess I do feel sad about that.”

“It’s only human to grieve the loss of someone’s presence in your life. But you need to remember that as a social being, you need to make new associations when old ones disengage. And closing yourself off doesn’t help with that.”

“I agree.”

“So let me tell you about this young bloke that I met in the morning today. Right before I came to work.”

“Brookside park has a new explorer?”

“Yeah. His name rhymes with Not-so-well.”

“That’s odd.”

“Seems like he took your advice.”

“Did he explain why he was that rude?”

“It’s got to do with the girl that broke his heart.”

“I see.”

“I asked him to tune into today’s show. We might have a new young follower to our show. So let’s give him and a few others a chance to speak, shall we? Till then, do you have any song requests?”

“I want it that way, by Backstreet Boys”

“That’s such a 90s kid song to request. But before I play that, I have a new call.”

“Hi, I just listened to the story of our new community member and I think she has an amazing voice. Is she a singer? Greetings from Always-up-for-a-Cup-of-Tea”

“That’s cute! I’m sure Miss Lost-These-Days is listening.”

The phone rings again.

“Wow, we sure have a lot of air traffic today. Good morning, welcome to PerSonic.”

“Hi, Arkaya, I wanted to tell Miss Lost-These-Days that the fried chicken in the new corner shop is just amazing. She should come by if she’s hoping to bump into Food-Hogger.”

“Okay, community folks, that’s it for trying to cheer up our peer. I’m sure she needs nothing more than some tea and fried chicken while humming the tune to “I want it that way”. And if that doesn’t work, she knows where she can find me!”

Brookside Park – Part 6

*** Read part 5 here. ***

“Great, we’ve got our first call. Do you want to take this one?”

“You have an option?”, Gul inquired, being the radio newb that she was.

“One ALWAYS has options, in life… and at the radio! You don’t need to pick up every phone-call that life throws at you! Sometimes letting them go to the “missed” tab just saves you of a lot of headache!”

“And possibly makes the caller really mad”, Gul stated, matter-of-factly.

“Well, you can’t please everyone”, Aria shrugged.

“But it’s probably a good idea to at least keep the audience who listens to you drone on for hours, happy.”

The phone stops ringing.

“And that’s how you miss a perfectly harmless call. Just spend enough time contemplating. How does this make you any different from me?”

“Sadly, it doesn’t.”

“Don’t be too sad, we have another call and I presume that you’d like to pick it up.”

“I’ll do it for the audience…”, Gul said, dully.

“Hi, is this radio PerSonic?”

“Good morning, you’re on PerSonic and how is it going Mr….?”, Aria ratted out.

“Not so well, I guess.”

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Not-so-well. What’s your real name though?”, Aria asked, passively.

“I guess I’m going to stick to Not-so-well.”

“So what brings you to this state?”

“There’s this girl…”

“Let me guess, she broke up with you?”, Aria piped in.

“Yeah. I can’t get her out of my head”, the anonymous caller replied.

“Would you like to help with this, Gul?”

“Well, I guess you could engage in some hobbies… I’ve heard that Brookside Park is a great place to roam around in the mornings!”, Gul advised, excitedly.

“Yeah, she really does think so.”

“Okay thanks. Gotta go.”

“That was abrupt!” Gul sounded offended.

“Don’t think about it. They’re usually disturbed and don’t take kindly to any advice.”

“Wow this job is tougher than I thought it to be.”

“Next call!”

“Hi this is Not-too-bad.”

“I guess the theme of today’s show is Not-that-great! But good to know. Do you have a song request?”, Aria asked the caller.

“Yeah, I do. For the poor bloke who just hung up on you guys. Give him “Here comes the sun” by Beatles. Just step outside, soak in some Vitamin D for the serotonin rush, Mr. Not-so-well!”

“That’s an all time favorite of mine! Great choice! Have a not-too-bad day young man!”

Aria cues up the music for the listener. The mics are off.

“Wow. That was weird! And sweet!”, said Gul, amused.

“It’s a community, Gul. We’ve all been through mental issues some time or another. It’s totally fine to embrace that side of yourself and help out another in need.”

“So that’s what this is? A community of people with mental issues?”

“Why do you single them out like they’re different?”

“I mean, I guess we need to talk to them more sensitively, if they have issues going on.”

“Well, a feigned sensitivity can just feel isolating and very foreign to the person. What helps more is just talking like a friend would. More sense of inclusivity and normalcy.”

“I see.”

There’s a long pause.

“You’ve had issues too, I’m sure. I don’t think you’re over your break-up yet”, Aria nudged.

“Well, I just try to push any thoughts related to it, aside.”

“It’s probably not the best idea to ignore it.”

“What can I say about it though, Aria? There’s nothing I can do to fix things. I don’t want to be with him. Period.”

“That’s not what’s bugging you. Are you telling me that you’d wake up at 5am in the morning for weeks straight, if you didn’t have stuff going on?”

“I haven’t been able to sleep properly”, Gul admitted.

“You shouldn’t hesitate to speak about your issues.”

“Well, I can’t. The person that I’d like to talk to about this, doesn’t exist in my life any more. There are all of these after-effects, but I’ve removed the root cause from my life. And now I don’t know what to do with the off-shoots.”

“I think you need to make a call.”

“What if he doesn’t pick up?”

“Well then he’s probably saving himself of a huge headache. But I meant PerSonic.”

“Okay then. Tomorrow, same time. Different place.”

“So, I guess I won’t see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah. But you’ll hear from me.”

***Read part 7 here***

How to Operate with a Humanoid: Part 6

The robo-researcher consortium.

A recent conversation with a fellow researcher-humanoid reaffirmed my suspicions: perhaps being a humanoid is more advantageous than being a mere human. A hybrid is ideal. Why are humanoids so awesome then?

The first humanoid that I came across, ever, was this cutie often called Drake, who is now my boyfriend. Over the past few years, he developed emotions, like Eva (Eve?) from Wall-e. But at the core, he’s still a humanoid. Which means he can work at almost optimal efficiency even in extremely unfavorable working conditions. So much, that he recently got a much-deserved promotion at his place of work: he’s a super-humanoid now. And I’m super-proud!

I also have an extremely unoriginal friend here, who is so mainly due to the fact that he is programmed to be this way. He also happens to be a humanoid with the humor and sarcasm settings cranked up to a 200% setting, which is just a 60% honest way of saying that he gets 100% annoying about 50% of the time. He’s a cool kid to hang out with the rest of the time though.

And of course, there is the most robotic of them all humanoid, who also resides back in my home planet like Drake, who has a full fledged operating manual for himself. He happened to be the only person who was, ironically, human enough to me, when life was hell for me last year.

So what kind of humanoids can be a part of the robo-researcher consortium? We humanoids aren’t mere humans. We strive to make the world a better place by furthering science and technology. Not that we’re unemotional; we just aim to be adept at managing our emotions well, so that they don’t obstruct us from serving humanity.

Join the army and win a special chance to feature in part 7!

All the eggs in one Easter basket

A short disclaimer to anyone expecting an Easter themed blog post: This isn’t one of those. I just very desperately wanted to make that pun!

What it is about, is me trying to depart from my own lackadaisical self of the past few weeks, but before we get to that, let’s understand how it got to that.

I’m a firm believer in the teachings of the OCD. It’s a power that resides in my mind and it dictates things in my life to be in a certain, extremely specific way. If the orders of the OCD aren’t taken seriously, calamity strikes and moods can go haywire.

Okay! I’ll come clean! OCD is not a religion. It’s not even a way of life. It’s something that I think I’m highly likely to have, though I’ve never taken an actual medical opinion on the same. So I tend to take extreme amounts of anxiety and stress related to almost every activity I perform, because I want things to go perfectly. Now when things would seem to go out of control, I’d rely very heavily on binge-eating to calm my nerves. However, I realized that it’s extremely unhealthy, so I decided to diet and start exercising as a way for stress release. But being the OCD person that I am, that just made me obsess over food and exercise. So now I just can’t stop reading nutrition labels or logging the calories I intake or expend. Something that was supposed to lower my stress, just increased it! I did lose weight though!

If my previous tendencies of having too much on my plate literally weren’t bad enough, that’s metaphorically also a very typical state of mine. These days, I have this constant irrational fear that I am not capable of publishing anything in a technical journal or conference, because of my previous failures to do so. So I overburden myself into slogging so hard that I just keep working day in day out. Just to prove my past wrong.

So yeah. I guess a lot of the stress is due to my obsessive behaviors and also the fact that I give a small fraction of things way too much importance. All eggs in one basket. But hey, it’s not all bad, and I don’t really hate that part of me. I am a dreamer and I envision a few things for myself. And I do end up putting a lot of effort into making them a reality. Have I been succeeding? Yeah, definitely! I won’t complain. Bigger dreams will take longer to materialize, but they will, in due course of time.

And so, that’s what’s been going on. How do I get myself out of this? For one thing, it’s a shame that I watched a movie yesterday after almost 4 months. I’ve barely watched an episode or two of any sitcom this semester. I’ve just been watching random videos on YouTube, and that too between work breaks. Note to self: DO MORE FUN STUFF. Prescribed: At least one movie a month, a new TV show to get hooked to, and a book a week to get my money’s worth for splurging on a Paperwhite. Side-effects to include taking self less seriously.

Also. Don’t keep staring at the shelves in the supermarket, just buy the Easter egg! 

Spring time

Spring is usually associated with joy and new opportunities and the close of winter. But spring has never really been cheerful for me. So this time, last year and the year before that, were exceptionally difficult for me, for varied reasons. Both times were extremely painful and emotionally scarring. And so some of the associated […]