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Monthly Archives: January 2015

I shot this today. I think I can keep staring at it for a really long time. It is meditative.

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As much I understand the general negative point of view about “new years resolutions”, I fail to implement the idea myself. The rationale usually put forward is that people resolve to do things which they don’t end up doing, consequently getting disappointed with themselves. I don’t fear disappointment as much as I do the prospect of having no faith in people, experiences and one’s own self. Hope is motivating. A glimpse of the ‘better’ pushes me to work harder. I construct expectations for myself to live up to, all the time. What I am learning with time though, is how not to be unrealistic. But then again, my definition of ‘unreal’ may be very different from someone else’s.

Here’s my theory, the whole point of expectations is to preempt an action in our minds – so technically it is all fantastical anyway. One can never be sure if what they anticipated will ever truly happen, till they are in that moment in time. And if that be the case, why not expect an ideal course of events and work towards it? This can lend itself to a philosophical debate where one can argue about relativism and idealism versus realism, but the idea is to find a logic for one’s actions. I am a bit of a dreamer and my logic is this – if everything is in my imagination, I can aim for the stars and see where it takes me. Same with resolutions – I have elaborate ones. Even if I do half of what I aim for, I am still learning far more than what I know now.

And of course my resolutions:

1. Read a minimum 12 books in this year. One a month is just perfect. Last year I probably read just 2.
2. Learn a new musical instrument. I bought a Jews Harp for myself on my birthday in November 2014. I am hoping to learn that or something that can be a useful accompaniment to my Hindustani Classical Vocal classes.
3. Learn a new form of Marshal Arts and/or Work out regularly
4. Get an Intermediate Skiing Certificate
5. Resume Horse-Riding
6. Participate in a minimum of 5 design competitions
7. Do weekly exercises to learn & sharpen software skills
8. Write a daily journal
9. Learn how to surf
10. Do one extensive passion project and 12 tiny ones.
11. Move to a different city

Yes, this looks like a lot and I might add more stuff as the year progresses. I am willing to give this a shot…because why not!

 

“Fear can either be the thing that holds you back or that which pushes you forward.”

I read this somewhere today. I want to remember this every time I make a choice – not just the outcome of the decision, but the act of choosing itself.

I spent my new year in Hampi, a small village in North Karnataka. The site is an archaeological wonder. Once part of the Vijaynagar Empire, Hampi is also known for its religious structures that predate the empire. The scale of Vijaynagar’s architectural layout is overwhelming, set against a terrain that lends it the grandeur.
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In August 2014, I decided I want to pursue my masters in 2015. I found a course I love and I applied. The thing is they want to know what I want from life. To everyone that is curious about what it’s like to write your Statement of Purpose and to those who aren’t, I am going to put it out there anyway – Writing an SOP is like introspecting on a very disturbing level. On a serious note, however, the process of listing down what I want, how I want to attain it and why I deserve it has been a beautiful roller-coaster. For the past couple of months I have been writing, re-writing the draft to my statement of purpose.

Sometimes I find myself forgetting how I got to a certain point in life. Some journeys are not memorable but they are as important as the ones that stay with you. I have a feeling I will forget the process of writing my sop. This being an important memory, I am going to record it.

For as long as I can remember, I have practised introspection on a daily basis…as a hobby. I think about everything I read, everything I do, and why I do it, and how I do it, and what is the meaning of life? Not only do I practice this on myself, I also think about the lives of other people. I try to analyse their actions, the motivations behind them and how I would have reacted if I was in that situation. I learn from other peoples’ experiences as well as my own. As I began to write my personal statement I realised soon enough that this was going to be no joke. This wasn’t a piece of writing for a target audience. It is for me to recognise my desire. When I reflect on my life, I like to be free. I don’t restrict my thoughts or opinions based on norms and expectations. There’s a world I build inside my head. I think in random order and then connect it all. To put it simply, my mind is a messy room with piles of information, aspirations and ideas; and only I know how to get around. Writing the SOP was like cleaning up that room for anyone else to wander through.

It wasn’t the kind of introspection I was comfortable with. This was extreme and  organised. I normally think of my personal and professional life in separate strings of thought. Though my professional aspirations are driven by my personal ethics I never consciously analyse it as part of my daily “personal growth” introspection. As I began to pen down my story for someone else to read, I found parts that I never deeply connected to. They were just there – passing obsessions that were never weeded out. I had been holding onto false ambitions – some that have evolved with time, and some that had no real reason to exist in my mind to begin with. I had to take a step back and read the prose from another person’s perspective; I had to be truthful about what I saw. With every word I began to recognise my true aspirations and my ability to fulfill them. I was surprised at how much I had underestimated myself, and on occasions, overestimated too.

Am I who I am today, or am I who I want to be tomorrow, or am I who I was yesterday? This is a question that made me most anxious. Not because I don’t know the answer, but because I don’t know how this answer will manifest itself in my future. The process that began with me trying to be the perfect candidate for a particular course, ended with a discovery of my aspirations today and a motivation to move beyond what I discovered. And hence begins my new year with so much to look forward to.