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 […]

That time of that year

March 8th, which happened to be Women’s day was supposed to be that one day in the year that people, internationally, celebrate womanhood. I “celebrate” mine once every month, so I’m honestly confused about what is so special and what the celebration entails. But I won’t talk about the significance of women’s day in this post. That’s a serious topic that deserves a lot of critical thought. Let me, however, introduce you to the story of my first period. Yup, things got icky real fast, didn’t they?

So I was about 11 or 12, was when it first happened. I suppose I hit adolescence way sooner than other girls; I was way taller, physically and I also “developed” sooner. Which meant that we hadn’t solved the mystery of the blue-liquid soaking miniature diapers, in school yet. We had a “session” a few months later, when all the girls were confined to a lecture hall and we had to watch a full wall-sized screening of the sanitary pad ads that we had anyway watched, unquestioningly a thousand times on TV. But more on that, later.

So when it happened, I was of course, horrified. I was bleeding, with pain milder than expected, and I couldn’t remember injuring myself in that region, so it didn’t make sense at all. When I told my mom about it, she just told me that it’s a period, something girls get, once in a while and handed me a sanitary pad. All that with a straight face. That’s it! No details. No answers.

School days, for me, were anyway mortifying, being the shy kid that I was. So when the dreaded periods would arrive, I was not equipped with enough info on how often I needed to change pads. I was also a sports kid, but contrary to what they show in the advertisements, I don’t think it’s the best idea to go galloping around the city, doing ballet, horse-riding, etc. when you’re down. Needless to say, my clothes would need constant washing. I also came up with ingenious ways to glide along the walls and corners of rooms, and sneak in and out stealthily, to hide the stains on my clothes. As a kid, I was very adept at attracting absolutely no attention towards myself.

As I grew, of course, we learnt about reproduction in our biology class and I used the internet to understand things they didn’t teach in class and that’s when my life started making sense again. I also had to come to terms with a newer reality of my life, which was that those very periods would haunt me for most of my life, till I hit menopause.

It was also around this time that we had to attend the “session” where “experts” would introduce us to what periods were and would answer all of our questions related to them. At that point, a very small minority of us had had them by then, so it probably sounded very alien to the others.

While it was pretty awkward for us, I’m pretty sure the “experts” from Whisper/Stayfree (I don’t remember which one of them had come), were gleaming with hopes of rocketing sales from their target audience. The bigger revelation was, however, that they weren’t that aware of what they were talking about. You see, we had a question and answer session, where, to save us of further embarrassment, they had handed us small chits of paper where we could write out our questions and pass them secretly to the organizers. You know, to preserve our perceived innocence in front of others, and yet keep the spark of curiosity alive. Most of the initial questions were things I already knew or had figured out, so being the nerd that I was (and still am), I wanted to ask the best question.

The answers that the experts gave were generic enough, and all ended with “Don’t worry. This is perfectly normal”. My question, however, received just that, and nothing else. They basically didn’t know the answer and I was extremely disappointed in the experts. Maybe they weren’t experts at all. I would find out the answer to that later anyway (thank you Google), but I believe that many of us continue to be under-educated about a phenomenon that happens so regularly to half the population. I strongly believe that we need to change this.

Also, I was let down that they didn’t give us free samples after having tortured us through an hour long endorsement deal. Just kidding.

And that kids, is the story of how I met my first period.

Funded!

We did it! I usually don’t post status updates, but this is beyond cool. We, the data science reading group, at university had applied for funding from the GPSS and we were granted your budget requirements, as requested. Definitely a big enough step towards taking our aims and ambitions higher!

Hormoine

A friend happened to mention that there can’t be a female stand-up comedian, who can go too long without making jokes on periods or vaginas. Probably. But hey, I’m not trying to be a stand-up comic here. Also, let me assure you, nothing about periods is funny, when they happen. It’s only funny in retrospect.

If you’re wondering what the title of this blog post is all about, it’s a quirky portmanteau of the words “Hormones” and “Hermione”; the later, someone I have always idolized and the former, something that leaves me idle-ized. So addressing the elephant in the room, which might as well be me cause I’m bloated: I am hormonal and warming up to welcome the dreaded period monster. Capisce?

Being hormonal is such a normal thing for girls, it’s almost a a synecdoche of our existence. It’s not exactly a bad thing. It just makes it very hard for us to control our emotions, sometimes. Specially when the body is already being terrorized by a plethora of physically painful manifestations. Ah well!

I think I could very well write a rule-book on how to function like a sane person during these monthly occurrences. But taking a leaf out of anyone’s book, at such times, means literally ripping pages apart, either out of sheer agitation, or desperation to learn how to assuage the badgering fiend that resides in the non-pregnant uterus.

So how do I work out a truce?

In a series of tongue-in-cheek posts deliberating on how life would be without the ever-contracting damsel in distress. So, watch me attempt a true friendship with Cruella, queen of reproductory pain. More posts to follow!