Of Conscious Mistakes

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It was a Wednesday. The lecture before lunch. With a rumbling stomach and motivation that I had quite frankly exhausted on Monday itself, I oscillated between indifference and exasperation.
The only upside to sitting in class was that time had stopped (I kid you not – apparently even time looses motivation to move forward on Wednesdays) and I was beginning to finally comprehend Einstein’s theory of relativity. It’s a different matter that as an MBA student the theories I had to be appreciating were of a different sort but never mind that.
Somewhere between my fantasies of food and sleep, passive hearing transitioned to listening. I caught the professor offering an anecdote that took my fancy. Perhaps my brain decided to latch onto this nugget of wisdom because it had nothing to do with the subject. Oh by the way, meet Brain – Brain is immune to information of any practical importance – Brain lives in a universe conjectured to amuse itself. In other words, if I were stuck in a burning building… it’s my reflexes I’d count on to get me out of there, not Brain.
“If you’re going to make mistakes, at least make conscious ones”,said the prof. I liked the sound of that. Mistakes, I have made plenty. And a sundry assortment of them at that – conscious, unconscious, whatever. Sadly there are only so many mistakes I can attribute to my butter fingers and cheesy toes. Plethora of bruises to remind that I have a long way to go before I master the art of coordinating my limbs.
If I stretch my imagination and get a little crafty, I can share the blame of at least some of these mistakes on other poor unassuming souls. Okay, so if I decide to drive to the nearest grocery store instead of using my excellent motor skills to walk, it’s fair to say that Karl Benz is to share some of the blame for my poor decision. Going about inventing cars without factoring in the lazy ones like me. Reckless. Absolutely reckless.
But even after all the disingenuous justifications, I am left with a set of mistakes that are mine. Actually no. Sadly, they aren’t mine at all. The compulsive, unconscious ones that choose you instead of the other way around. The only mistakes you ever live to regret but in all honesty are the ones you have no control over. Primal, visceral and impulsive. The kind that gets the heart pumping while the head decides to vacation? If you haven’t already caught the drift, I was referring to caffeine. When my heart took to it like moth to a flame, what say did poor Brain have.
But who knows? Maybe someday Brain will decide to step in and envelope a couple of my unconscious mistakes into it’s conscious realm. Goddamn thing consumes a fifth of all I eat, high time I see the fruits of all it’s free loading. So until then prof… matters of the heart, vagaries of the mood, and of course, fluctuations in body temperature are unconscious mistakes that we’ll just have to make peace with.

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Intractable Insinuations

Dear Readers,

Gosh! I really flatter myself when i assume that there will be more than one reader for my article. Anyway, it’s 11:39 p.m and am mulling over philosophy. Usually, I allow my mind to trail off into philosophical conjectures only when am driving or in an office meeting. Perfectly acceptable, I know. Well readers, let me tell you one thing, give a person a challenging situation and an internet connection and they will get through at least 5 self-help articles before they come up with their own brew. Their unique philosophy of life that they will probably feel compelled to force upon the world… much like what am putting you guys through *insert smug smile*.

Anyway, if you’ve made it through the first paragraph, let me just tell you what’s been bugging me. Recently, during an ugly spat with a friend, I said nasty things in reaction to nasty things that were said to me. Or were nasty things said to me because I said nasty things first? Hmmm, probably the latter this time around. Readers, perhaps I should give you some more context. Well, it so happens that this was not the first time nastiness was exchanged between said friend and me. Now usually, I take a lot of pride in saying that I am very patient and tolerant of human companionship. On most days anyway! However, with said person I had fallen into a pattern of nasty exchanges. I am not proud of this. But I guess once you form a habit, to come out it, requires you to give more than a damn. And I was invested in this relationship only three-quarters of a damn. Of all the nasty things that were said, there was one snide remark made by “friend” (now acquaintance) that really disturbed me. “You are what you are”. WHAT?! It annoyed me because I realised it was an insult but could not gauge its value on the Richter scale of insults. In any combat, verbal or otherwise, to craft a response one must be able to calibrate the opponents insinuations. I am what I am? An unstable combination of the five elements? Possibly what he meant. A feline-loving, reptile-hating homo sapien? Maybe. A confused 24 year who can’t decide if my skin tone is better suited for a wine red lipstick or a nude-brown shade. Most likely meant this…

I am what I am.. I am what I am.. I am what I am.. it is around this point that I fell asleep while my brain chugged along trying to find a resolution to this statement.. after a few hours of sleep.. I wake up feeling inspired! I’ve figured it out!! What said acquaintance meant.. it was a typo! He meant to say – “You are what you eat.” One part protein, one part carbs, one part fibre, half-part minerals and vitamins and ten parts nutella. Wow… that’s a shady, nasty remark even by the standards to said acquaintance. Well guess what acquaintance (now a blob of matter) you are what you eat too. Equal parts bitter, sour and bland. Humph.

Yours – forever distasteful of open-ended insults,

Panya.

Humanity – The Sum of Two Parts??

Dear Readers,

After much thought and grave contemplation, I have come to a premature albeit insightful conclusion – the world can essentially be divided into two distinct groups of people. And no, I am not referring to Trump vs. the rest of humanity. That is a discussion for another time. Readers, I can assure you that I made my observations in a state of complete mental vigilance. The fact that it is a lazy Saturday afternoon and I am feeling a little drowsy after a meagre meal of chapati, lemon rice, daal, sabji, curd and kalakand sweet has compromised my research capabilities by a maximum of 30% , the rest 80% of me is committed to the cause of providing you with perfectly standard and mediocre content. I have crafted this article with state of the art tools at my disposal – a comfy bed, a blank wall to stare at and my laptop (so that I can intermittently watch cute animal videos). Some of you may wonder- what makes me a subject expert on human behaviour. Rest assured, I am qualified enough. I have been a fully functioning human for the past 23 years, haven’t I? Geez. Tough audience.

So who are these distinct types of people? And which one are you?

Well, I think the first group of people can be labeled as “The Elon Musks“. Extremely committed. Excruciatingly hard working. The ones that spend their days leading and scaling their flourishing businesses and their nights saving the world from the impending dooms of climate change, poverty and diseases. This lot comes with inbuilt clocks in their systems that ensures that they make the most of every second. Am fairly sure that the terms “multi-tasking” and “maximum efficiency”  were coined by them. It makes me wonder – what were to happen to this bunch if they were forcefully made to cease all activity? To quote Ebenezer Scrooge, they’d probably feel like an “undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato.” Hey, his charming words, not mine. However, jokes aside, I believe that it is rare to find people fuelled by such a potent and innate sense of purpose. Legends and torch-bearers are made of such tenacious fibre. If you are still pondering over whether you belong to this productive subset of humanity, ask yourself this – do you feel that there could be a million other things that you could be doing instead of reading this compelling and brilliant :p article? If yes, then you’re it!

Right, onto the second group of people that I like to call “Europe minus Germany“. This lot is all about appreciating the finer things in life. They can spend an eternity enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee or ambling through art galleries contemplating brush strokes and colour palettes. Planning a holiday or holidaying – that’s just the way it goes. Some of their core values include “siesta”, ” work-life balance” and “Que sera sera”. There is a beautiful saying in French – “Joie de vivre” or the joy of living. These people truly celebrate the exuberance of life in all its’ flavours. Let’s face it, their engagement and indulgence in life is probably what the journey is all about.

After seizing up the rest of humanity, I ruminated about my own inclinations. Damn it, so much for my extensive research! I clearly fall under the dubious third category – I too will make my mark in this world… right after I catch a nap and enjoy a steaming cup of filter kaapi.

Are there any more categories that I should add to the thesis? Comment below and let me know. 🙂

Yours in moments of dedication and somnolence,

Panya.