Catharsis

This is a guest post by Rafaa Dalvi who blogs at www.rafaadalvi.blogspot.in and tweets at @TheWittyKid
PS:It’s a short story!

Silence.

Pitch black darkness.

Except for a circle of blinding light in the middle of the room. And at the centre of illumination a man, chained to a platform, with electrodes all over his body.

He is naked. Stripped off all clothes.

He has ‘The Fringe’ haircut.

The silence is shattered by the steps of heavy boots as a figure steps into the light from out of the shadows. Dressed in a black cloak, he leans forward and smiles at the prisoner.

“Good evening. You can call me The Shadow. And you are looking at your downfall.”

The prisoner looks up and can see anger and hate in his eyes of his captor.

Holding up a newspaper The Shadow reads:

If you are sick and tired of watching Justin Bieber all over the place, then beware you are suffering from Bieber Fever.
So get set to learn music form the Justin Bieber School of Music, wear your love for him by buying dresses from his clothing line, get a recording deal under his music label, spend quality time with your close ones at his chain of restaurants and pit your talent against others in his reality shows.
“Justin Bieber as a brand is a ‘cute and talented’ person and wants to work hard and continue to do so,” Bieber said.
His fashion label, designed along the lines of his songs, kicks off with T-shirts that will hit the local stores soon.
Bieber will also starting his own line of salons whose branches will be opened in all the major countries.

The Shadow stares straight into the eyes of his captive.

“So Bieber, why don’t you start by telling me about this Bieber Fever— this huge conspiracy to corrupt the youth of the world? You think I don’t know that when a man or a woman buys a Bieber Tshirt, they actually sell away their souls to you? You think I am unaware that you are trying to start a new cult? That these so-called Schools of Music are nothing but devious churches whose only job is to preach that there is only one true saviour— the ‘cute and talented’ Justin Bieber? What were you going to call your followers? Your Biebs?

The prisoner tries to turn his face away as The Shadow’s words and spit hits him square in the eye.

The Shadow gives a humourless and cruel laugh.

“I am sick and I am tired of you, Bieber. Turn on the TV and it’s you. Go to any part of the world and I can hear your music blaring. I see ladies wearing revealing “One Less Lonely Girl” tops and all the rowdy low lives flirting with them singing ”Love Me”.”

Bieber smirks.

“You are a disease, Bieber. And you need to be eradicated.”

Bieber knows that The Shadow has stripped him naked and shorn him off his dignity. He realizes that his manhood (seriously?) is being silently mocked.

The smell of fear invades the room.

Bieber remains silent.

The Shadow whispers “I don’t think you understand what sort of trouble you are in, Bieber. Trust me, when I say I will send 440 volts of electricity through your “Eenie Meenie” if you continue to remain silent.”

Bieber finally breaks his silence.

“You have made a big mistake and now you will suffer for it. You have chained my hands, my legs and wired my entire body. You have even wired up my “Eenie Meenie”. However, you forgot one simple thing.”

“What the hell are you talking about? Everything has been planned meticulously by me. You are looking at your downfall.”

“No, you are. You forgot to gag me.”

Before The Shadow can react, the prisoner unleashes a blood-curdling “Baaaaaabbbbbbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy“. The Shadow is flung away. Glass and wood splinter fly all over. Tongues of blue electricity leap outwards. The prisoner sings “Ohhhhhhh Baaabbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” drowning out the metallic voice in the background:

“Level 5 security breach. Facility lockdown. Quarantine process activated. Biohazard uncontained and dangerous.”

The Shadow clutches his ears in pain. His ear drums have been blasted to pieces. Blood trickles down his body.

As he drifts away into the darkness, the last thing he sees is the naked figure of ‘The Fringe’ haircut Bieber flying into freedom.

Epilogue:

The Shadow awakes. A golden gate lies ahead. A light blue cloudless sky all around. A gentle breeze. And he feels peace.
An old kind man comes upto him and says:
“My son, welcome to heaven. Peace be with you.”
The man has ‘The Fringe’ haircut. And his white gown says “Never Say Never”.

Image

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Consuming Love

This is a guest post by Vaisakhi Mishra who blogs at  http://vaisakhimishra.blogspot.in and tweets at @vishvaisakhi

In her own words, here’s who she is:

Cynic blatant but a total happy go lucky person who loves exploring various shades of colours on the canvas of life. I am an engineer who loves poems, painting, singing and photography – which currently seems to be the trend everywhere. I believe in accepting what ever life throws at me and accepting its challenges with a “watch me” attitude and guess everyday finds a new me.

She has composed a special poem as Valentine’s day nears.Here it goes

A Poem By Vaisakhi Mishra


My cold heart whimpers
For it can’t feel the glow
It’s a cracked piece of metal
For all that I know
Where lies turn to truth
It sacrificed just itself
You blamed it to be frozen
And now it has no silver help
But rosier days await you somewhere
And it flutters with the thought
Silently it sings to self
The lullaby of consuming love.
Why love can’t be simple,
Why its castle of glass falls?
What choices can we make-
When we are forced to let go.
Emptiness fills the sorrow pools
Where light mirages memories
Truly said, light is not accredited
If challenged not by darkness always.

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Of K.F.C and Kids,A Day I Smiled

This is a guest post by Sridevi Nayak who is fondly called Sridu.She’s a bookworm like moi and is from Karnataka.She’s currently pursuing MA in Mass Communication.You can find her blog here . Also,here’s his Twitter handle @sridu_n (https://twitter.com/sridu_n)

Recently, I had visited K.F.C. restaurant with my 17-year-old sister. As usual, I asked her to place the order since there were many people in waiting line for their turn to come up. The restaurant was swarmed with the people. Whilst my sister was busy panning her eyes in the bulletin menu that hung up right in front of the customers, I was lost in thoughts to the engagements that needed my attention soon after we feed our stomach. Suddenly, my thoughts were disturbed by a small kid who nudged me and went ahead to join his father who was in the reception counter to place their order. I assumed he must have felt intimidated with huge number of people. The little boy with red shirt printed with the cartoon of Sponge Bob, went to his father to enquire about status and availability of the chicken wings and his favorite beverage. He spoke to his dad as if he was mad at him for not getting back to the table with the order. Later he looked at me adjusting his spectacles and apologized for rushing towards me before. I smiled and accepted his apology. I held his tiny hands with mine and asked for his name and his school that he attend. He took a deep breath and with a serious tone, he replied his name, which I have forgotten now and he studies from the school which is well known in my hometown. He studies in the same school where I studied and he put me into a nostalgic mode. I started reminiscing my school days and was wondering how small the world is. We meet people and somewhere we might be connected, and this connection helps us in smiling. In the meanwhile, my sister was done with the order at the reception counter and I had to bid a farewell to the kid. He obliged saying it was a pleasure for us to meet. I was stunned to see such mannerism from a little notorious boy. He later rushed towards his seat, hugged a girl, and planted a kiss on a girl’s cheek who I presumed to be his sister. I continued with my sister narrating the whole event that just happened a while ago. We both later returned home but I was still enthralled with the way the kid spoke to me at the end of our conversation because I have never interacted with any kids except him in such manner. Usually kids run when you say bye but this kid was different, he spoke like a gentleman speaks. I am sure, when he grows up, he will surely be a fine man for his behavior. With this assurance, I slipped into a deep sleep to conquer another day filled with more surprises to come on my way.

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Things Puberty Teaches You And Things It Really Doesn’t

This is a guest post by Alaric Moras or commonly known by his pen name, The Observant Lefty.Now I asked him to write a bio for himself,and well the result was hilariously awesome!Here it goes


“Alaric Moras is a 17 year old writer who has interned at Youth Incorporated Magazine and The Times of India. He is the owner of the blog:http://observantlefty.wordpress.com/ and is presently completing his Second Year of Junior College, (SYJC- ARTS) in Saint Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He is most known for his writing, and lack of any other talents thereof. When he isn’t glued to his computer screen, he spends his time reading and studying, (the last activity performed three days or fewer before upcoming examinations).

Alaric chooses to speak in a dialect of his own creation, consisting of Hindi, English and Konkani melded together, with the suffix, ‘ness’ added to most verbs. He also writes for The Xavier’s College Xpress. His highest aspiration is to an editor at a world renowned magazine. He presently resides in Santacruz, Mumbai, India.”
You can find his blog here . Also,here’s his Twitter handle @alaricmoras (https://twitter.com/alaricmoras)

I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to write for The Standing Coin’s one year anniversary and that SidG would think of me as one of the writers he knew who could perform this task in the first place. The Standing Coin has won numerous blogger awards, been mentioned in countless magazines and newspapers and is probably one of the most viewed blogs in Mumbai today. To me, it has become a sort of entity in itself, even managing to capture my rabbit like attention span and wielding an enormous following. Therefore, having my thoughts set against the shadow of such a giant is a hard task, but I will try my best.

Since I was told that I could write about anything that suited me, I choose to write about things that I feel I’ve learnt over the course of my teenage life. Here are some of the insights I’ve gained that I want to share with you all.

THINGS PUBERTY TEACH YOU:-

1.) Kissing does not make babies. It can, however, lead to chapped and sore lips and a variety of blemishes across your face. None of which I’ve experienced. Forever Alone is fun.

2.) Saying “yo” every three seconds will get you laughed at. Inventing your own words and using them freely however, doesn’t. “Me-ness” and being yourself is always fully and completely appreciated. Plus, it’s fun to be crazy.

3.)Being treated like a child by your parents never gets old. Relish the moment and know that for those two people, whatever you do will never make them hate you. Unless, ofcourse, you don’t clean your room and wash behind your ears.

4.) Relationships are like glass. When you break them, they… Well, they break. And someone will get hurt. Chocolate and peanut butter, however aren’t glass-like at all. Indulge and let yourself go. And most importantly, they will always love you in return.

5.) Touching members of the opposite sex is permitted. Not a lot. In moderation, of course. Like alcohol. Try keeping it at once or twice every 30 minutes or so. Safe zones are the non smooth areas. Just saying.
6.) Fitting in with the crowd makes you fade into the background. Always try and be yourself. Unless you like tasting human flesh. Then, try and be something a bit more normal.

7.) It’s called an ’embarrassing itch’ for a reason. But that’s where powder comes in. Jai ho, Johnson’s Baby Powder! No, seriously. Don’t leave without it.
8.) Don’t idealize things, relationships and people. Take everything as it comes and realize that life doesn’t always have to be structured and defined. Everything can just BE.

THINGS YOU THINK PUBERTY TEACHES YOU BUT REALLY DOESN’T:-

1.) Tying your shoe laces. I kid you not. When you’re twelve, this seems like some great new insight that turning thirteen will automatically impart to you. You learn it like everything else.

2.) Resisting bubble wrap. Face it, people: You are, and you always will be addicted to the goodness of bursting that little air pocket.

3.) How to say “no” when aunties bring out the sweets. When faced with gulab jamuns, rasgullas and jalebis, do not EVER think maturity will set in. In the face of oily loveliness, all of us are reduced to children.

4.) How to eat chips decently. Lays, Pringles, banana chips, whatever they maybe, we will always be animals when we consume them.

5.) How to wink cheekily without looking like a rapist. You thing growing a bit taller and having fuzz on your upper lip gives you swag? Sorry to burst your bubble; it really doesn’t. You will still look like you are a wild sex offender if you wink randomly at the ladies. Unless you are George Clooney.

6.) Grow the parts of yourself you want to and in the right order. No matter how hard you stare in the mirror, screw up your face and try to grow the parts of you that you want to grow in the right order, it will not happen. Trust me. I speak through lots of experience.

7.) Get rid of the imaginary talking voices. You kids out there who’ve watched Foster’s Home and lived with Imaginary Friends, don’t worry. They’ll never leave you, mainly because they fade into a host of annoying and whiny annoying voices in the back of your mind. And they have names. Shut UP, Charlie, I’m trying to concentrate here, God!

8.) Be the star of everything, always. No matter how cliched this sounds, you will always be popular among your own friends and you never need to work to be a people pleaser. You’re a great person, just the crazy, insane way you are.

Grinningly yous,

The Observant Lefty.

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Don’t Try To Discover Your Passion!

This is a guest post by Deepak Mehra fondly called Nicky.Deepak Bhaiya is simply put,a rockstar.I have never had the opportunity to show him off, so today I will.He’s one of the coolest guys I know.He works at Citibank and is married to another of one of our guest post writer today,Moushmi Mehra.All my life,I have looked up to him and he and his family,actually it’s even my family, has always been there for me.So,cheers to my mentor and the real superhero!Also,here’s his Twitter handle @nickymehra (https://twitter.com/nickymehra)


Don’t try to discover your passion


Wait, what!? That’s crazy! Should Sachin Tendulkar have been a banker? Lata Mangeshkar a marketing executive?

God no, but I’m not saying don’t follow your passion. By all means, please do. If you already know what lights your fire, then you might as well stop reading this post, as may those who don’t believe in the concept of following your passion to begin with.

But read on if you are like I was (and scores of others I know). Frustrated and disillusioned because you’re worried you’re in the wrong train altogether. Acutely aware there are those blessed souls who know there isn’t another train they could even think of boarding.

What passion discovery process is not
Nobody is born with a special gene that pre-determines passion right at birth. False are the beliefs that our ‘true calling’ definitely is out there; close by, yet unseen by us, just waiting to be discovered… we just don’t know how to see it.

Passion is discovered thanks to (one or many of) a curious mind, willingness to do your best in whatever you’re doing (which opens doors you’d never even known existed), a visit to a museum, chance meeting of an excellent coach and mentor at Shivaji Park during childhood, or perhaps while watching a show on Discovery Channel. To be sure, exceptions to the genetics rule do exist (somewhat). Lata Mangeshkar probably wouldn’t have made it to the pinnacle of her profession without being blessed with that voice to begin with. But again, not every person with a good voice is a great singer or even passionate about singing.

The potent formula of discovering passion
The ‘true calling’ of the Sachins and Latas of this world poses as ‘inevitability’ and ‘prescience’ in our minds – taking them away from the reach of us commoners. In reality this ‘true calling’ is a fortuitous yet potent combination of

  • luck in something you really care about,
  • while being ready to seize the opportunity when it matters and
  • having the courage to follow it and persist, even if the going gets tough.

Poetic untruth or boring truth?
An adage that’s always served me well is ‘don’t seek a complicated explanation when a simple one exists’. We’re too prone to creating dramatic, coherent yet untrue stories in our minds from sparse data points. Instead, take a few moments to think things through and come up with a comprehensive picture which stands up to scrutiny.

It is very tempting to say Sachin met coach Achrekar because he was simply destined to become a great cricketer and leave it at that. Where’s the intriguing story (initially at least) in saying he was just lucky to meet a coach who just took a keen interest in a promising youngster? Where’s the drama in saying putting in those hours and hours toiling under the sun, perfecting his technique made him ready to seize the opportunity when it came knocking? And finally in acknowledging that it was just his courage to follow his passion and persist in the face of a society so punishing towards an individual trying to pursue sports (acutely more so back when he debuted) which completed the potent formula?

Fatalist not
If luck has such a big part to play, am I saying I advocate fatalism and trying to discover our passion is completely beyond our control? Absolutely not! There’s still a lot that we can and should do. Among several others: maintain a curious mind, be ready to visit new places, meet new people, expose ourselves to diverse perspectives, read good books… Basically, create as many valuable experiences for ourselves as possible. In doing so, we maximize our chances of becoming aware of our interests (easier said than done), while making ourselves ready to seize opportunities as they arise – and they do for everybody. Combine this with courage, and we have a winner!

Don’t worry, be happy
So stop fretting over discovering your passion, wasting precious time and depleting vital energy. Start living a million diverse, enriching experiences instead, so that fortune may be allowed to do its magic on somebody ready to discover his passion!


This post was inspired by an article from HBR, which can be found here.

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Sacred Sorcery

This is a guest post by Paloma Sharma.She’s one of the most wittiest,sarcastic,political and satire loving blogger I’ve ever met.She’s one hell of a writer and blogs at her own blog Going Bananas(LINK)(LINK TO THIS POST). Also,here’s her Twitter handle @PalomaSharma(https://twitter.com/PalomaSharma)

Ensnared am I
By the midnight locks,
Tangled in their luminous darkness,
And tighter and tighter
When they close around my neck,
That is when I truly breathe.

Appalled am I,
Filled with aching wonderment,
Of such cruelty disguised
Under honey colored eyes,
And their heartless enchantment
Leaves me to fend for myself.

“Do not mock me so!”
“Do not plague me so!”
Unheard, vexed and tantalized
This slovenly wordsmith must realize,
That you are the idea,
That I am enslaved to.

Colorless, the world is,
Its naïviety is surprising,
It has turned dull and repulsive
Out of jealous despair,
That it couldn’t compare
To you.

What might you be?
An incubus? A dream?
A product of sacred sorcery
Arisen from ash and rosary?
This infidel’s sanctity
Lies below your pedestal.

Who am I
To malign your halo
And liken your name
To that which is wordly and cheap?
Yet, the fault is not mine,
It is you who remains peerless.

“Do not possess me so!”
So ruthlessly do not mesmerize,
The mightier you are, the smaller am I –
An illusion spawned by my mind,
So I cut loose to salvage my pride,
My actions, so futile.

Lost am I,
Bound by the leash of my ego,
Seeking separation from my source,
But where am I to go?
How do I remove me from your entirety?
Alas! I am imprisoned.

Yet, nothing contains you,
Nothing controls you,
Nothing else liberates me,
Be kind
Have mercy
Do not undo my bonds.

That light you are,
That blazing glory at the other end
Of the dark tunnel I’m running in,
This unending black passage,
Perhaps I will never cross it,
Perhaps I will never burn in the flame.

Yet, I run,
I try,
Desperate to make it
At the cost of everything.
Why?

Because:
I kneel,
I bow,
I submit, I submit, I submit.

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The Pursuit Of HappYness

This is a guest post by Moushmi Mehra .Moushmi Bhabhi is married to one of our guest post writers today,Deepak Mehra.She’s the most recent member of one of the families I love the most,but she,like all of them is simply AWESOME.Beside all other things,I love her for one particular thing.She gifted me one of her favourite books,which has now joined my list as well.The book taught me a lot,change me and made me whatever I am. In fact,it continues to do so.The book was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand(LINK). So here is an enthralling post by the person who changed my life,simply with a book. Also,here’s his Twitter handle @MoushmiMehra (https://twitter.com/MoushmiMehra)

I recently quit working at a software company. Reason? I fortunately realized that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I would have wanted to after all. Thought of using the time at hand now to begin a long-postponed quest – answers to my questions about a rather elusive, much hyped topic Happiness! No I don’t wish to emulate Gautam Buddha, Mahavir and the likes.. well just yet.. but have struggled with these questions way too long for my comfort. My priorities so far, albeit mistaken priorities, allowed an at-best half-hearted attempt to find these answers. The result, quite obvious, I struggle to date.

They say, don’t seek a complicated explanation when a simple one exists! How very true! I began my search by looking for books, articles, people.. anything under the sun that would give me even the slightest hint to what happiness really is? Of course I would need a lot of material to really understand the concept of Happiness I thought. And how wrong was I!

I was lucky to stumble upon a series of talks by an organization called ‘Brahmakumaris’. I occasionally listen to them on TV, mainly one Brahmakumari (BK) Sister Shivani who I personally think is a wonderful orator. Lucky for me, this series was by her.

I remember the first time I saw her on TV. Her attire gave me the impression that this is yet another Swamini giving hard to follow talks on morals, ethics.. all those heavy topics I have hated listening to. But hearing her speak just once changed my impression completely. She had me glued to the television and how? By speaking in extremely simple language, yes, but more importantly, talking sense; sharing thoughts and ideas to deal with situations that are extremely easy to digest and seem to be doable by laymen. So anyway.. with a lot of hope I started listening to all the lectures one after the other and boy was I shocked to hear what I did.

Firstly, what is happiness? Happiness, she says, is a state of being stable; not excited, not thrilled, not laughing all the time, not a temporary sense of pleasure; a state of being at peace with oneself; a state dependent only my own internal being; a state completely in one’s own control.

Our happiness is in our control? What really? That is not possible! Personally, I have always felt happy only let’s say when I achieve something.. be it a material possession, the great score on a test, when someone says something nice to me. But I don’t seem to play the central role in any of this; I don’t seen to be the do-er. These are all external events which may, may not happen. I therefore may, may not be happy. Isn’t it? It depends on my luck and fate?

She demystified her statement by saying that it is me who makes my happiness dependent on these events. I create a thought in my head, if event A will happen, then I will be happy. Fortunately if event A does happen, I will be happy. But for how long? This will be a temporary state because very soon I will decide to be happy next only when event B will happen.

Whoa! How very true! I began rushing with the lectures a bit. I was too intrigued by now. More and more questions started popping in my head. Why are we subjecting ourselves to such pockets of happiness? Can we actually be happy always?

This was answered in the very next talk. A very fresh perspective.. I am a happy person already she says; irrespective of the situations coming my way. We just chose otherwise.

For example, many of us have the tendency to blame others for our unhappiness. To this she said, we have no control over what others are doing but our reaction to it is our choice. If we give a person the power to hurt us, upset us then we need to take the responsibility for it because we are letting that person disturb our state of mind. Alternatively, if we decide to accept people around us with their fallacies and decide to not get affected by them, if we decide to be at peace anyway, we would retain complete control over our happiness.

This seemed very very comforting. Easier said than done I thought. But then it occurred to me. What if I repeat this to myself day in and day out.. I am a happy being. My happiness lies only in my hands. Is it possible that it will become part of my system? It is just about changing a deep rooted belief system at the end of the day, isn’t it? If so far we have convinced ourselves that happiness is external, can we spend the rest of our life convincing ourselves that it is in fact internal? I am sure it won’t take so long.. but even if it does, doesn’t the thought of moving in this direction itself contribute to our peace of mind?

I haven’t completed the series yet but picked up some huge pointers and tips already.

To be happy, be in the present moment. When I heard BK Shivani say this I was like.. not again!! To give you a background to this reaction, I have read quite a few self-help books (all in the attempt to find my answers mind you) and they all insist that one must be in the present; in the NOW. I never really understood why. But listening to these lectures I realized that I have convinced myself that I am unhappy in the present moment, well more often than not. A very natural outcome is that I start doing one of the following:

I fleet to the past. I start thinking of happier times when the situation was not like the current one. For some time this takes my mind off the present and gives me a sense of pleasure. But for how long? Very soon I am back seeing the present right in front of me.

Another reaction is to start imagining a future when the situation is not as bad as the current one. Again, for some time this takes my mind off the present and gives me a sense of pleasure. I am thinking of how life will be one day and I begin to feel very very “happy”? But for how long? Very soon I am back seeing the present right in front of me.

Let’s try a brand new outlook. What if I could look at reality right in the face, decide that it will not bog me down and deal with it like a man? Do whatever it takes to set things right NOW and be at peace, be stable, be happy NOW? Just take a moment here and think about this. Is it possible? Can we try and do this for lasting happiness instead of deceiving ourselves into temporary pleasures of the past and future?

I am convinced that this is not simple on the face of it but.. only because it is not a way of life for us yet. But the day it becomes? I think managing to do this even once will give us enough motivation, courage and strength for future trials and tribulations awaiting us. I see it this way, dealing successfully once with a tough situation at hand will build enough mettle in me for the next one down the road, similarly for the next situation and so on and so forth!

This seems like a technique to everlasting happiness to me and it seems too simple! Funny thing, just to be sure, I started second guessing this conclusion; I tried hard to see flaws in these deductions – a common attitude with my generation I guess. But couldn’t find any. Could you?

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