How NOT to get into a Premier Institution Of Your Nation

 

In all my years of existence, the Indian dream is one I’ve failed and whether or not I know you, you are allowed to judge me based on that fact. The Indian Dream, if you are blissfully oblivious, is the fact that most successful and lucrative careers in India come out of incubation centres known as IITs (which more often than not requires traumatic, painful maternity wards for the actual birth) so every parent wishes for his children the success that going to an IIT entitles them to. There’s a whole thriving and cut throat industry for entry into these incubation centres which creates a suitable environment for the foetus to grow strong (if you’re already healthy and preferably already crawling and talking) and provide little to no care to the foetus that may have some complications in the birthing process, leaving them weaker and flailing when they need to enter the competition for the incubators.

Bad, uncomfortable analogies aside, let me tell you how to NOT get into an IIT because if anything, I learned from the coaching centre I chose to go to and how I spent the past 2 years of my life, it’s this.

 

  1. GET FREAKED OUT BY THE LEVEL OF COMPETITION BEFORE YOU EVEN BEGIN TO LEARN

  This is the most frightening aspect of the competition into the IITs. I remember the first day I went for coaching, there was group of guys in the last benches that would answer questions based on concepts I had never heard of before in my life- before the question was posed to the class completely. I was impressed at first but this began to happen in every single class for every single subject (it got so annoying I can’t even find it funny to date how desperate they were to show off) and this kept me from even trying to understand some concepts because I was disheartened within a single month of the coaching. I had only 23 months left to fail. Yay! Read more

On Identity and Insecurities

 

In case you missed it, I have certain reservations about my writing and that’s because I’m no expert at anything and that fact steeps me in so much insecurity, I’d but almost given this(typing) up. I also have little readership that will be significantly affected if I stop writing but it would’ve given me some other fact to be insecure about- that I failed at blogging (but at least I tried, right? Wrong.).

Okay, my preliminary insecurities aside so that you can’t call me out later on, what about other people?

I just spent today morning watching one of the many that call themselves YouTubers talking about how he’d given up opportunities to do really cool projects because he felt he looked fat. I can’t explain how terrible I felt to hear him talk about his insecurity with his weight issues so openly because all his regular videos are usually taking on a more sarcastic side of his being fat and gross and un-funny. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. He said he’d lost his sense of security when he wasn’t controlling the camera because he’d be called fat for being reasonably healthy and that gave him extreme anxiety- but nearly every other video of his is him being all jovial and confident about those very topics and roasting himself in front of his fans. Worse still, in any metric of “success”, he seems like a perfect candidate- he has 2 published books, millions of viewers, short films and a successful podcast. I felt personally very, very sorry for him because this seemed very out of character for him but then I realized the confidence could be a part of his personal YouTube persona and it wasn’t really all him and the anxious, scared and insecure part was a lot of him off screen and that cost me some time wondering how much of our identities are made up and how much of it was dictated by our insecurities. I don’t know your answer to this, I’m not you and neither am I on Facebook or Instagram or any other photo sharing apps because of my insecurity based on how I look. I don’t need to go through the judgement and self deprecation I might face on seeing ugly (read all) pictures of myself on the interweb.

I have insecurities, admittedly.

I wonder why though? Read more

Helplessness

Have you ever read the news about terror attacks and famines and disease outbreaks all over the world and just felt so powerless and helpless because you can’t do anything about it at all? I have, and for a while that stopped me from reading any sort of news at all and then I realized the news wasn’t altogether avoidable.

Then it struck me that I couldn’t run and hide from depressing news forever. The news was what is going on in the world and I could either turn my back and hide from it or learn more and try to understand why so much disastrous news even existed in the first place.

Then, slowly, I started reading, for my own understanding as to why. The reading didn’t clarify too many things to me either- it might have actually raised more confusion in my mind, some which I didn’t have answers to and some I didn’t want answers to because I felt nauseated at the fact that the powerful took little action or advice when they should have. Worse still, history has been cruel to the hapless and innocent far more than it has to the powerful. Read more

Talking about Gender Roles

 

Everyone knows society right? Those pervasive and loud voices that dictate, often, what people are supposed to do and not in their lives because it’s deemed decent or right. This could mean little to a whole lot based on what your social background is and that of the people you interact with is, which is why I have had some pretty weird exchanges in my little social life.

 

I remember during a few family get togethers that all the men would get together and discuss politics and economics and the women would always be separately discussing their friends and their children’s lives and sometimes food and clothes and as kids, we’d not be interested in either discussion. Later on, as we wanted something more playing than board games, we’d go and try to join either discussions but I remember that the topic would promptly change as my cousins and I walked into one room to something like academics and subtle comparisons between my cousins and I but it was still better than the change of conversation in the other room where all the elders would compare us with the number of accolades we’d recently earned, how socially proper we could be and basically anything that could go onto a resume which reflected directly on our mother’s capabilities. I bring this up because after a point, the conversations stopped being dictated by if we were in earshot to being dictated in the most obscure of ways- by the majority gender that was present. If I’d entered the guy’s domain with my male cousins, I’d be subjected to the best kind of banter about driving vehicles, business and sometimes, politics and exercise and sports. In the female dominated room, I’d be made to hear about weddings and clothes and household chores and scandalous gossip on love marriages and weight- because that’s what females did, right?

This article (here) just reiterates what I experience.

I detest(ed) this, and thus defer from choosing tables or rooms if I can avoid it. Read more

The Fallacy In Success

 

 

So I remember how all through high school we’d be forced to write short essays on Success and the factors affecting people’s success stories and I don’t believe how silly, almost just paraphrased all our write-ups would be (because that was what was expected of us then- a simple sense of correct grammar with a smattering of vocabulary was enough to fetch you the mark you thought you deserved, regardless of if the essay was plagiarised or not). All my reservations regarding the education system aside, there’s a huge issue I find in the problem of analyzing success and glorifying the mother of all abstract concepts- there can never be one single statutory definition of success and that in itself disqualifies the right of failure being such an issue in our lives. All our lives we do things we’re assuredly good at or are meant to be good at so we can avoid failure but doesn’t  failure just become moot when there is a big logical gap in what success is and hence, what you consider as failure?

Read more

On (Being A Part Of Organising) Events

 

Now, all my life, I’ve felt somewhat inadequate by myself and somehow being part of something bigger than me and disjoint from my own selfishness gives me a sense of purpose I haven’t felt otherwise.

It’s not to say that I was instrumental to any events till date, I was but a mere volunteer (for both in the past week), assisting as my skills and eagerness would allow me to but being just an inconsequential part in the larger scheme of the event itself was a very freeing experience for me.

It’s a weird feeling, because I myself am ambitious in most situations, to be able to be content with a nameless role in teams where I am just the bottom most rung and one among many nameless volunteers like me, unrecognisable from one another because of the work we do. I, however, was content- more so than when I’m chasing after something for my own personal benefit- and that came to me as the best surprise this year.

Read more

On My Need To Disconnect

 

 

I couldn’t bring myself to do this, but I know I must. There’s a fine line between using technology and being dependent on it (I know because I’m studying technology (apparently) and there’s no question of confusion in that respect because I specifically use technology to get me a degree) and I crossed that fine line so many times it’s a Robin Thicke song now (Blurred Lines, icymi (in case you missed it, icymi)).

I know it’s ironic that I’m talking about disconnection on a wired platform but, well, I’m writing this for myself and I have no readership, so what the hell. Recently, well, more recently than ever, I’ve been so glued to my devices that I can’t imagine my day without them. The first thing I do in the morning, after untangling myself from a slew of wires, is check my phone because that’s something that demands my attention more than, maybe the simple fact of being alive does each morning.

My high key addiction to technology, I do accept. The first step to recovery is, after all, accepting that there’s a problem right? (I’m not even sure if that’s legitimate).

Read more

The Cruelty In Comfort

This article I have honestly tried to write 6 times before and kept scrapping it on account of how badly I was explaining myself.
By the 3rd attempt I tried questioning the validity of my stance itself.
Due to lack of a better platform and time, I’m going to try and reassure myself why I think comfort is the single most abused concept today and why I wanted everyone to know it here.
So we all do something in life, right? Whether or not we know what we’re doing, we’ve been told why by society ages ago, when we were set on the path of formal education. To get a job that provides us with the means to live comfortably.
Now, I do not question the relationship between living comfortably and wealth, nor entirely the relationship between a job and wealth, but I question deeply what living in comfort really is. REALLY.

Read more

Breakfast

 

I wake up with the most overwhelming feeling of tiredness and a groan that wakes a roommate up from her stupor. It’s not gone 8 yet and I have to be in class at 9. Correction- by 9, or those idiotic nerbs (newbie nerds) will have taken the best seats in class. It’s a crying shame that those with no real interest in the subject get in quickly just to prove a point. What point, I’d ask if I cared slightly more, but I’m the Verb(veteran nerb) here. I keep things in action.

I stayed up part of the night studying for a “surprise” test that most people don’t know about, I think. Thank god for over enthusiastic seniors who cannot wait to share their advice. My morning might go a little slower, but then again, what’s black coffee (illegally made because electric kettles are supposedly dangerous and divisive) for?

As I awaken, my first thought is the bathroom. I don’t understand the concept but there’s a huge line outside the bathrooms the days of our communications class with 100% of the girls bathing  their hair like it was a newborn child- gently, taking all the time they could possibly need.

The second is my breakfast. My mother, who has never been to a hostel before in her life doesn’t understand why I’ve got to skip breakfast everyday to fit in all my plans. Too bad there’s rarely anything edible for breakfast in here.

Worse still, this has been a very unexpected rock in our relationship. My mom and I were always close enough, never that much but since I left here, she feels the need to baby me- over BREAKFAST! Of all the reasons we disagree, she had to pick breakfast. In order to appease her, I try to get breakfast but there’s this bloody inconsiderate rule in hostel where they never serve breakfast beyond half eight. HALF EIGHT? THIS IS ABSURD. These mess handlers don’t understand how many girls are stuck in line for the bathrooms or need to pat dry their newly washed hair before that. Well, no breakfast is a habit here and something my mum can never understand.

I really need to talk to mother constructively though, to stay on in the holidays so I can help out on a research project my seniors are undertaking. She has to let me, this is huge. That it’s in the holiday period is absolutely the best advantage for me- or else hostel rules would make it an unfair game because girls are required to be locked inside hostel gates by 9. The guys I want to beat in research experience have no problem of this sort at all! Gah. Hence, I’ve got to make up all my hours on this project- I’ve got to get permission from my mum but before that the nasty breakfast issue has to be dealt with. I refuse to be unbathed before my presentation either, so 2 minutes after I wake up, I’m standing in a line with bucket and flannels in my hand, a toothbrush in my mouth and no breath at all, that’s how fast I needed to run.

The amount of time I spend irritably knocking the girls out of their dreamland could have definitely gone in revising my presentation points, but as you can see, I’m in a whiny mood. I emerge at 8.45am after a short and exemplary bath that should’ve been received by applause for efficiency, but all I get was a shove aside from a bucket and  a slosh of water on my jeans. Just what I needed.

Read more

The Case For Being Alone

Lonely Vs Alone:

Is there a difference in being lonely and alone?
In my experience, yes. Yes, there is. And it’s one heck of a difference.
Being alone is like finding a cute dress that could potentially not match with a new shoe you have at home, but wearing them anyway because the dress is cute AF.
Being lonely is purposely buying an ill fitting, awfully patterned dress to go with that shoe you have which you never should’ve bought in the first place.
 
Being alone is like the feeling of being in a roomful of people that know each other, you being the only stranger but partaking in the fun like you belong.
Being lonely, is that belittled feeling, that sense of insecurity that creeps in when you realise everyone’s acquainted with each other and feeling injured and a misfit so not bothering to mingle.
There’s so much difference, in my experience, that I need to tell you not to fear being alone.
                  landscape-man-person-night
Alone is my natural state of being. I don’t regret it.
Alone is a weird comfort- there’s nothing stopping you from interaction, it’s just as matter of choice that you refrain.
Alone is powerful. It’s a perch wherein you can observe freely, without external biases. Drama becomes deeply entertaining when you’re alone.
Alone is the tool I use to get away with all my weirdness, where I don’t have to think of who’s watching and who thinks what of me.
Alone, to me, is my personal saviour from the infinite chatter that the world is so good at producing but not escaping.
If being alone, however, leads to the hellhole called loneliness, then please up and run, ’cause you don’t want nothing to do with loneliness.
Loneliness is an embittering feeling.
It’s second to none at making you feeling crap about yourself.
It’s a one stop shop to zero self esteem and awkwardness in social situations and eventually losing your confidence and leading to a self effacing, vicious thought cycle rife  with pettiness, jealousy.
Doesn’t sound good, does it?
Spoiler alert- it isn’t.
Read more