Monday, May 07, 2018

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger shows us that the key to being stronger, happier people is to handle adversity better and stop trying to be “positive” all the time.

For the past few years, Mark Manson—via his wildly popular blog—has been working on correcting our delusional expectations for ourselves and for the world. He now brings his hard-fought wisdom to this groundbreaking book. 

Manson makes the argument that human beings are flawed and limited. As he writes, “not everybody can be extraordinary—there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them—this, he says, is the real source of empowerment. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties—once we stop running from and avoiding, and start confronting painful truths—we can begin to find the courage and confidence we desperately seek.

“In life, we have a limited amount of f*cks to give. So you must choose your f*cks wisely.” Manson brings a much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eyes moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor. This manifesto is a refreshing slap in the face for all of us, so that we can start to lead more contented, grounded lives.
(Review is from Amazon)

Friday, May 04, 2018

Shit academics shouldn't do

There are a lot of things that academics do. Not all of them are cool. Here are a few advises for academics. For a better academic, for a better world.
Image Credits
  1. Have a bath at least once a day.
  2. If you don't have a bath everyday, don't go and sit in public places where others are bound to go. Example, your laboratory. You are making your lab mates' life hell by sitting next to him/her emanating your stench. He/she can't or won't tell you that you stink. But be sensitive and wash yourself for god's or devil's sake!
  3. Learn how to use the washroom. All humans poop and pee. But all of us who live with others must learn to flush and make sure that your shit doesn't antagonize others. If you can't do that, what bloody research are you capable of doing? Grow up!
  4. Learn and respect traffic rules. You are part of a law abiding society. So you ought to abide by some rules. For example, if someone is crossing the road, you need to stop and wait. If there is no space, you ought to wait before overtaking. If you want to die, please do. But don't kill someone else with your carelessness on the road.
  5. No one will scold you for being introvert and spending time alone. Therefore, if you can't brush your teeth, do not get too close to people to share your intellectual gems. Realise that your mouth stinks.
  6. Please respect public property. This includes water, furniture, infrastructure, electricity and food. You don't get extra credits on your score card for leaving an open tap in the toilet or running air conditioner in the laboratory. Conserving energy makes you feel good. Try it. 
Overall, be nice to others.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Late Every evening

Every evening our maid comes late for work. So my wife is pissed off every evening. She is supposed to arrive at 6 pm. But she comes at 6.30 or 6.45 pm. One day she decided to scold the maid. 
Image from here
The designated scolding-day arrived. That day also she came late for work.  45 bloody minutes late. We were supposed to go out for shopping after the maid left. Now we had to cancel our plans as shops would be closed by the time the maid left. Here is what happened later.
‘‘Krrrrrrr Krrrrrrrr’’. The doorbell. My wife waits for about 30 seconds before opening the door. During these 30 seconds, she gathered all the anger she could. Then she opened the door and let the maid enter. She decided to scold the maid in a creative manner so that she never forgets this lesson.
With a very serious face, in a very serious tone, my wife asks: ‘Savitri, do you have a watch or a mobile phone where you can see time?’
Maid: ‘Yes deedi. I have a mobile phone’. She hoisted her mobile phone up in the air with a smile.
My wife (about to explode in anger): ‘Tell me what is time on the phone now.’
Maid: ‘Deedi, I can’t read. I will ask my husband and tell you.’ She went on to dial her husband’s number and ask him what time it was!
My wife stood there watching the maid make this phone call. The anger she amassed disappeared. While she was comprehending the fact that the maid could not read, or did not have any sense of time, the maid finished her conversation over phone.
With a smile, she said: “Deedi, it is 6.45 now.
I could hear a distinct ‘Pling’ sound emanating from my wife’s face and filling the entire house. At that moment, she decided to accept the simple maid as she was. Let her come for work when her 6 pm arrived.
Then there was peace in the house. For a few days.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What is your muse?

Boredom if the parent of art.

You may disagree with the statement above. You may. But the question here is, is the muse or inspiration limited to 'beautiful' and 'charming' things/ideas? Can boredom, ugliness, despair and lack of interest be one's muse?

In my opinion, anything could be your muse. The other day I was sitting at my desk not interested in doing my work. There were a piece of paper and a black pen on the desk. I took them and started drawing. In about 20 minutes, I had a beautiful drawing. Lack of interest in work was my muse.

Often, we disregard inspirations because we think they are not worthy of being your muse. Who would look at a fallen flower and write a poem? Some do. And they turn out to be classic poems. The little things that surround us are in fact a lot more meaningful than the larger-than-life inspirations we look for. The ordinary that surrounds us has sufficient inspirations for us to change the world. We could find them; but only if we look.

So, what is your muse?

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Lesson on How to Stand in a Queue from Kanpur

This morning, at the petrol pump inside IIT Kanpur.

I joined the 'queue' to fill petrol in my bike. (Queue means a group of people crowding around the pump. The sequence of priority doesn't exist- might is right!

Image from Here (representational image only)
One fellow pulls up and squeezed his way through the queue and positions himself in front of my bike!

I said to him in stern, serious voice: "Please stand in the queue."

He looked at me as if I said something in Greek and said: "Ye jagah apka hi hai." (This place is yours.)

I remained quiet since he sounded apologetic. But when my turn to fill petrol came, he just squeezed in and filled petrol!

Now, what should I have said? According to Kanpur Style Manual (latest edition), I should have abused him verbally and thrashed him if I had time. But me being a Malayali kept quiet and mentally lamented about the yogi-run state's lack of respect for the other.

Here in Kanpur, you are elite if you can squeeze your way through the rush. You are considered respectable if you can kick others' asses and be the first in the queue. You are a heroine/hero if you can abuse someone louder and dirtier than your rival. Yes what the yogi said is right. We Malalayees need to learn a lot from UP: from how to run schools, hospitals and governments, to how to stand in a queue!