Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Worst that can happen

Someone yesterday asked me how to deal with a new task at her job. This particular thing was filling her with anxiety and stress.

My response was to think of the worst possible long term scenario with that thing, and then realize that she won't reach that bad a state. Basically, this is thinking what is the worst that can happen?

My friend appreciated this thought. But come to think of this, there are many fields where this is normal. For example, in the construction business, the strength etc. of structures is usually measured in terms of loads of up to ten times the normal load they are expected to handle. In computer programming, the complexity for doing something is mostly discussed in terms of the worst-case complexity.

Another friend once told me that when under stress, he just tries to think of the benefit of stressing, which turns out to zero. He then goes on with the task at hand as if it was not stressful at all. I tried it, and it turned out to be harder than what my friend promised. An alternate explanation is that this friend might be more mature or intelligent, but I seriously would not like to entertain that train of thought :-)

Other than the worst-case, what are some of coping mechanisms/thoughts that you employ when under stress or anxiety?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How Unlikely

I have spent my childhood in a few different places. Not a lot, but enough to not let people identify where I am from just by my style of speaking.

At present, my parents and brother live in City A and I work in City B, shuttling to City A almost every weekend.

A few times, not more than 3 or 4, people have asked me if I am from City A or another city near to it. This comes as a mild surprise.

But today, I was in City A, and a person I was talking to asked me if I am from City B!

This totally blew me off. Not that I will actually try and calculate it, but what are the odds?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Thank you, Nestle!

I have been trying to improve my eating habits for some time now. I have been successful for the most part, with minor setbacks.

Of course, I won't go to a dietician until it is absolutely necessary. Mostly because I have other ways to waste my money.

One of the most important things that fit people and the internet tell me is that natural foods are the best and (factory) processed ones are the worst. Home cooked food comes somewhere in between.

But the heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart yearns for eating out and eating packaged stuff. The yearning has lessened somewhat, but it is still there.

This current Nestle issue is great for me because it reminds me that packaged food is not only unhealthy, it might also be outright dangerous. While I do not think I will consume Maggi Noodles in this life again, avoiding other packaged stuff will become a bit easy as well.

I do have a half kilo packet of Nestle powered milk that I will go through, though.

I would love to know what you have done recently to improve your eating, sleeping, exercise or overall happiness related habits.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

For granted when present, conspicuous by absence

Many times we take things and people for granted, only to be reminded of their importance when we do not have these things, people or privileges any more.  There are not a lot of exceptions, other than our parents and pets, and a few close friends.

Sometimes it takes another person's misery to actually notice how lucky we are.

This is just like salt in our food. We are not even aware of it until there is no salt and everything is tasteless.

Unfortunately, each one of us is the salt in someone's life. It is great on one side, because at least there are a few people who can count on us. But it sucks because we are taken for granted.

This great salt analogy was pointed out by one Purnima Gautam when we were talking about a common friend, Mr. Munna. This blog post will be pointed out to Sh. Munna in some time, after the dust has settled :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Wedding Trousseau and Other Short Stories

Ankita from humming words has written a collection of short stories. I read it and found it a great read. It is available on Amazon and on Buy Books. Some thoughts that I experienced while reading it follow.

What does it feel like not having anyone believe you? Or people putting you down just to feel good for themselves? Or someone blaming you for doing something when in fact someone else is to blame? Bad, of course.
... The woman, pleased at his quiet servility, smiled discretely that made the corners of her painted lips move up just a little and basking in the glory of her authority with an air of royalty, reclined slowly. Adjusting the fall of her golden-black silk sari vibrantly contrasting against her soft pink skin, she looked at her son and began, "Look at him! He cannot even imagine eating such wholesome food," and pointed towards the frail boy humbly standing in front of them.
In my experience, tragedy and comedy exist together. Ankita's stories are no exception.
"Then come and get married! Now!! We provide trusted Indian solution for everything: off-beam-haywire hormones, sordid heart attacks, lonely dates, hopeless life, chronic depressions, loose screws, addictions, phobias, manias and even bad karma," they screamed in chorus. "This time-tested panacea comes in attractive package with free home delivery!? added the old, one-eyed punditjee, smiling nastly, who appeared suddenly and the entire brigade leapt towards me ferociously!
There is the question of perfection in life. Rightly so, perfection keeps shifting like a mirage.
Finally, Rahul took a deep breath and began, "See, this dog is lame, one ear is cut but otherwise  it is fine." "Fine? We want a perfect dog, you fool!" cried his sister, flapping the dog's cut marked ear.
Jealousy is a great human feeling, but the feeling of having someone feel jealous of you is even more intense.
"Does she deserve him? No way!" resentful girls were seen whispering to each other. "Swine has struck gold!" another whispered with a frown. However, these nasty remarks, whenever they reached her, were music to the ears.
Some say the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. I have to agree.
She would pass all the day waiting for him, in anticipation that his return would bring a cheer to her otherwise banal life and the day would come alive but it hardly happened. Most of the messages and calls often went unanswered. 
Desperation, or frustration, or both, can lead one to do really illogical things. Sometimes, because of these very feelings,  it becomes difficult to see who the real villain is.
"What are you supposed to do when you become from your hospital night shift and catch your delinquent wife in bed with a filthy rich bastard? She just kept on blowing money on those darned horses. I loved my kids ... a lot. So, one night I just took the axe and... still people blame me... why me ....," he said somberly and pulled his collar down to show a deep red scar.
Sometimes we ask ourselves why some people even exist. I am not talking about some random medieval king or queen, but innocuous-looking people who will happily give you the time of the day.
"Stock... file... with pictures... I mean the collection," he replied, taken aback with this sudden change. "These are children, not pets or some made-to-order pieces of handicraft," Sir Thomas growled, taking his glasses off. "You are not getting us; we are donating a good sum. Don't we deserve a good choice? Today, your stock is not what we li..." 
Then of course, when it comes to bosses, everybody loves a bit of humour  .
... He sits on a high chair and has a peculiar habit of scanning every staff member from head to toe from behind his gold-rimmed glasses as if he could detect cocaine hidden in someone's tummy more surely than a trained sniffer dog.
Short story collections are like music albums: you really, really like one or two stories. Then there are a few stories everyone likes. Then there are one or two stories that everyone else likes. Pointing favourites might ruin it for you.

I hope the book does really well, and that Ankita goes on to write a lot more books.