Author Archives: Arpit

How to delay the D-day?

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Do you feel stuck in your career? Are you financially broke? Have people given up on you? Are you heartbroken and turning asexual? In short, is your life approaching the great apocalypse?

Well, worry not. This quick fix guide will just delay the D-day and help you have a little fun till it lasts.

Tip#1- Drink it out!
Do you remember the last time you got sloshed? If not, then this is the perfect time to relive such memories! Shake your booty and puke till you can. Let the good time roll because soberness is just too passé when your world is about to end.

Tip#2 – Smoke it out!
Do you have green fingers? Did you ever think of putting them to use by becoming a professional cannabis gardener? If not, think about it. Maybe this would make you a little happy with your career and finances while you smoke your way to make the world a better place!

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Tip#3 – Flex it out!
So you thought you found that ‘special’ someone who would turn your ‘Netflix and Chill’ days into ‘Mills and Boon’ days? And now you are left with none? Well, the sky is anyways going to fall on you soon, so be a little selfish – don’t share your popcorn and get back to practicing your pelvic moves!

Tip#4 – Block it out!
Do you feel trolled by fellow humans? Do you feel you are judged all the time? Well then, maybe it’s time to block the trolls and adopt a dog. At least he wouldn’t give up on you when you will need him the most.

Tip#5 – Cleanse it out!
Have you been trying to drown yourself in a bucket of water in the hope to attain nirvana? Maybe you owe yourself something bigger than just a bucket to have survived through it. Why not book a beach resort and try drowning yourself in a 20 x 40 pool? Or maybe try the ocean and watch a gorgeous sunset before you submerge yourself?

P.S. – I thought turning a year older would bring me a little more wisdom. I just realized that this time it came packed in the form of humor.

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Chanel, Fendi, Expectation(?), Gucci!

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Last month, while waiting at the airport to check in my luggage, I felt a sharp pain in my back. The pain was so bad that I had to move out of the queue immediately and look for a place to sit. I realized that my 10 kg backpack had started hurting my back and if I didn’t get rid of it immediately, I might end up with a sprained back before the start of the vacations. Moreover I was already attracting a lot of glances from the fellow travellers as I looked like a walking luggage store. Apart from the backpack, I was also dragging along a 15 kg suitcase with my left hand, a shoe bag in my right hand and another small backpack snuggled to my chest which was enough to suffocate me to death.

As I struggled to find a place to sit in the waiting lounge, I went completely breathless with the pain feeling like a scorpion sting now. Thankfully, I spotted two empty seats next to a Filipino couple who confusedly smiled at me. I could not figure out if that smile was out of empathy or courtesy. But nevertheless I was more concerned about releasing the weight from my shoulders for now.

The moment I had put the backpack to rest on one seat and parked my suitcase along with it, I could feel the pain had reduced considerably. I took a deep breath, stretched a bit and sipped some water. Then I realized that I could not travel with so much weight in my backpack, so I started making some space in my already stuffed suitcase now. But as I had expected, I could reshuffle to shed only 2 kg from my backpack. It was at this moment, I was suddenly reminded of a conversation I had with a friend a couple of weeks before. We were discussing about how life could become easy if only we were able to reduce the baggage of our expectations.

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As I repacked my suitcase and again braved my way to the counter, I was hooked to the thought if life could be really a breeze if we kept our expectations to bare minimum. Can we really eliminate the pain of expectation and if not, what is the optimal weight of expectations we can carry effortlessly? I realized that I had enough food for thought for the four hours journey.

As I began thinking deeper about expectations, I realized that this baggage comes in two forms. One is beautifully knitted in different colors of dreams by our parents, family, friends, better half, and society. It is swiftly put on our right shoulder the moment we take the first few little steps. We cannot fiddle with the design because it would disappoint the designers of the creation. Just the way the design is patented to them, they also have the right to add weight to this bag as we move through different stages of life. As much as we might want to shriek with pain, we still have to put a weary smile every day and carry the ever-increasing weight till our last breath.

The other baggage is secretly handcrafted by us to our whims and fancies as we silently hang it on our left shoulder. We are not supposed to flaunt this and have to keep it hidden away like a treasured childhood toy. We can secretly play with the design and adjust its weight to our comfort as we grow through the years in our career and relationships. We can  choose to destroy our own creation if we start detesting it and can start all over again. Or we can even choose not to have a new bag at all.

As I grow up, I have realized that as a free minded and independent adult, it is our exclusive right to decide which bag we like and can carry effortlessly.  Not only this, we also have the discretion to become baggage-less at some point. But this may seem impractical unless you are a super human being who has mastered the art of controlling emotions and people.

While I think I am no super human and I like to flaunt and carry the weight of my own creation, it is also important to ensure that I do not hurt my back again just like I did at the airport. And when in doubt about the weight,  I need to play around till I become comfortable. In worst case, I can always check in the extra weight or simply go by the words of someone I met during this journey – ‘don’t think too much, don’t expect too much’. 🙂

PS –This vacation validated my belief that I am a beach baby who is in dire need of his annual beach therapy now! 🙂

The ‘F’ word

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It’s been close to six months since I finished my MBA studies. However, a lot of people still ask me if an MBA is worth the time, effort, and money. While I do not have a black and white answer, I think it was a journey of self-discovery for me in many different ways. The most important being coming to terms with my fears – some inherent and some imposed. But in this process of discovering and conquering fears, I have countlessly questioned the reasons for the very existence of them. What force of land gave birth to my fears? Or for that matter, why all of us at some point in life are marred by fears to the extent that we are left on the verge of losing ourselves? Have our fears really dethroned the four letter ‘F’ word that our generation knows so well?

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During the MBA program, for the very first time in my life I came across the fear of not being able to get a job in a foreign land. I had sleepless nights thinking of what would become of me if I did not secure a job? Will I be forced to work in India again? Will I be forced to the same career that left for MBA? Every single day, I was plagued with these questions to the extent that at times I was left mentally exhausted. But I could still not diagnose the reason for this recurring fear for months till the very end of the program. May be I was trying to find a cure to a disease with an unknown origin.

Today, as I look back at the past one year of survival and cure, I realize that all of us at different stages of life encounter fear in its two distinct form – an inherent fear and an imposed fear. An inherent fear comes naturally to us. It may be as basic as fear of heights or fear of spiders. But an imposed fear arises from the belief that one’s action will be judged by people and society in general. Think of an unprepared couple who is pressurized to have a child to avert being labeled as ‘impotent’ by the society. A gifted pianist born into a family of doctors is pressurized to study medicine to avoid being judged as ‘misfit’. A bruised wife is advised not to seek divorce to protect the dignity of the ‘family name’. And hence there is a mounting pressure to conform one’s action to the expectation of society to avoid a backlash. When I think of it more, I realize that our world is full of imposed fears and we struggle each day to live up to the standards out of the sheer fear of being treated as an outcast.

With so many instances in hindsight, I realized that even my fear was nothing but an imposed fear. Fear of being judged if I did not get a job, if I moved back to India and if I restart my career from where I left it. While an inherent fear may not be curable, but there does exist an elixir for imposed fear that I fortunately discovered at the end of the program  in the form of growing up wisdom that has made me unshakable and fearless of being judged. After all, there is no one who can judge us as better as ourselves! 🙂

PS – I am still afraid of heights and spiders.

How fair are fairy tales?

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While cleaning my bookshelf yesterday, I laid my hands on the very first fairy tale I had read as a kid. Its blue cover shined back at me just like it did 20 years back.  It was so precious to me, that even today I have kept it safely secured. The pages are still as fresh as the childhood fantasies of flying to Neverland. But when I reflect back on time, I realize that real life is so different from a fairy tale – there are no super heroes, no fairies, and no forever after’s. In fact, the entire life seems to play on the pirate ship of deadly Captain James Hook who cannot wait to knock you off the ship and see you become a feast for the white sharks.

Thinking about the havoc fairy tales can play in real life for people who believe in them, I could not help but wonder how fair are fairy tales? Should we stop believing in them and if so, then why were they ever recited to us when we were kids? In fact, recently one of my friends mentioned that how fed up she is with people who keep telling her that real life is not a fairy tale. Of course she knows this very well just like every 26 year old adult would, but why is it that at different stages of life, we have to be reminded about it? Or is it that the people who have such high disregard for fairy tales have never personally experienced a magical moment in real life themselves that they fail to realize the power of fairy tales?

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When I think about fairness, fairy tales have never failed to portray that life is not at all hunky-dory. The protagonists are riddled with problems in their life – be it a damsel in distress waiting for her prince charming to rescue her from her wicked uncle or the prince turned frog waiting for a kiss from her beloved to break the curse.  Every protagonist undergoes years of suffering before they experience happiness in life. So in true sense, this closely relates to real life. All of us encounter problems every day in different form – sometimes at workplace and sometimes in relationships. But does that mean we give up on our problems easily? No. We always try to work out a solution even in situations where we know that even hoping for a miracle may be futile. But  just like Rapunzel or Wendy, we never give up on hope. And maybe that is when we unknowingly practice the lessons that fairy tales impart – there is always a solution to a problem and we should never give up.

Unfortunately, fairy tales need to have an end after 50 pages. But life is a little longer and hence it turns up into an ensemble of  fairy tales – one ends and the other begins. So the truth is just as fair a fairy tale can be in a fantasy world, it is equally fair in real life- the only difference being that life runs into years than a few pages and we are our own Peter Pan fighting against the crooked Hook.  And maybe this is the reason why such fantasy tales were recited to us as children. It was a way of giving a glimpse of life of an adult that is full of highs and lows. But more importantly, it was meant to teach us that we should never give up our hopes, dreams and aspiration because that is what drives us all the way.

PS – To my friend who is often reminded that life is not a fairy tale, you now know it is a blatant lie. We are all in fact the protagonist of our own fairy tales working towards completing our story! And you too will have great one 🙂

Quarter life crisis – a new epidemic?

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Of these 26 years of existence, my 20s continue to be the most eventful phase of life. While I have enjoyed my share of highs, I have experienced the lows too. And when I think about lows, I am reminded of a term I first came across in 2007 when I had just started my blog. A fellow blogger had shared a post about “Quarter Life Crisis” and how this devil had left her mentally and emotionally drained. As I recollect my memory, I remember having a very insensitive reaction to her post despite having very little understanding of this term. I must confess I stopped visiting her blog thinking that her writing was depressing and reflected her negative approach towards life. Unfortunately, for someone who has lived in a glass world, a little rub with reality seemed like a threat to break the glass walls. However, little did I knew that ten years later, I will be eventually writing about it.

Quarter-life-crisisWhile I am sure a lot of readers might be well versed with this phase, but for the ease of understanding of all, Wikipedia defines quarter life crisis as a “period ranging from 20s to 30s in which a person begins to feel doubtful about his life brought on by the stress of becoming an adult”. While our parent’s generation may not have substantially experienced it, but today when I talk to so many people of my age, I realize it has become an epidemic that impacts all alike – the sorted and the messed.

I see young people confused and struggling on their way to accept adulthood in different ways. We desire love and companionship, but we do not know if we are grown up enough to handle it sensitively. We want money, but we are still confused between passion and profession. We want freedom to make our choices, but we are not strong enough to own up to its consequences. In short, we are stuck right in the middle of the bridge that wobbles as we take a step every day to become an adult in true sense.

While most of us would usually assimilate this phase in our life and would cross the bridge with ease, however, there would some of us who would be plagued by the very idea of becoming an adult. And it is this lot that would slip, fall, and slip again till they accept that they cannot stand on the bridge forever. But till the time this realization would dawn, they will continue to struggle. They would want to seek help but would hesitate to reach out due to the fear of being judged. And thus the struggle would be prolonged in the form of bouts of depression, anxiety attacks and a constant feeling of insecurity.

While I wouldn’t share my own personal story of survival as it is painted all over my blog, but having been there and done that, I have realized that it is important to shun the fear of being judged and to shamelessly reach out for help. And trust me, as Dumbledore said ‘Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it’, so the moment you will open up yourself to someone who can understand you, that is the time you will effortlessly cross the bridge.

PS- If you are someone stuck on the bridge and still hesitant to ask for help, just remember everyone is buried in the same shit – only the quantity and quality may differ. Hope this will ease your struggle 🙂

R&H – The Forbidden Fruit

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A couple of days ago while sorting out my email box I came across a folder named ‘R&H’ in the archive section. The flash of the folder stirred the same excitement when I would see the collection of my old childhood photographs. The only difference being that this folder contained memories that I may not like to relive again. But I succumbed to the excitement of discovering the forbidden fruit and ended up taking a bite of it.

The moment I took the first bite, a message popped up “Thank you for attending the interview with XYZ Consulting. We enjoyed having a conversation with you and appreciate the interest you have expressed. Unfortunately, on this occasion, based on the discussions with you and within our team, we are unable to match your skills/experience with the specific opportunity. Once again, thank you for your interest in XYZ Consulting and we wish you all the very best in your future endeavors’. Before I could even digest the message that came with the first bite, I went on to take another bite. The fruit tasted ridiculously bad but I could not resist it and with the second bite, another message popped up. “Our Admissions Committee has reviewed your application with careful consideration.  In view of the very keen competition, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a place in our Full-time MBA class for intake 2016. We have received more applications from qualified candidates than our capacity allows us to accept, thus we have had to turn down a number of admirable applicants. Thank you again for your interest in our MBA program and we wish you every success in your future endeavors!”.

Well, this didn’t end here and I spent an entire afternoon finishing the forbidden fruit and uncovering the skeletons of my efforts. The same day after sorting out the email box and discovering the forbidden folder, I began to think about Rejections and the customary Heartache. Why are rejections looked down upon in general? Why do we feel sad when we are rejected? Can this ‘R’ someday bring a smile to our face like the childhood photographs?

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As I pondered over these questions, I realized that this problem roots to our perception. In fact, there could be two schools of thoughts. The first one may categorize rejection as a reflection of our vices and shortcomings in life. It would invoke nothing but a feeling of misery and deep sadness. But then there is another school of thought that may categorize rejection as a blessing and an indication that one has to knock many wrong doors before the right one opens up. May be, there is really a paradise called “true match” which would take tireless efforts before one can finally dive in its cold oasis. But unfortunately, our human emotions always push us towards the former thought process when we face a rejection in life. We tend to belittle ourselves and try to find  faults in our abilities and personality till we feel a pinch of heartache. While we can effortlessly stick to this painful experience, but it takes efforts equivalent to moving mountains when we try to justify the latter thought process and take on the journey to discover the paradise. May be, this is the reason that ‘R’ is never associated with a sense of joy and pride.

In these years, I have learnt that while rejections are not in our hand, however the power to pair it with Happiness or Heartache will always remain with us . And may be choosing happiness cannot reverse a rejection, but it can at least ease out the journey to paradise.

PS – After sorting out my email box, I renamed the folder from “R&H” to “Rejection & Happiness”.

PS Again – If you believed in my story of the email box, feel free to message or drop in your comments. I will pat myself for becoming a good storyteller 😛