I Suck At Being Productive

What’s the best way to be productive and get work done? Probably not the way I get things done. The way I get work done is a trademarked method involving tons of procrastination, lots of general incompetence and an obsessive attention to detail that actually gets in the way of completion of said task.

Everyone seems to like pictures of desks with laptops and journals in productivity essays.

I’ve grappled with motivation issues for as long as I can remember; completing assignments on time was never my strong suit, unless my parents were behind me ready to whoop my ass. My phone is littered with dead drafts that never got to see the light of day only because I either lose interest and/or motivation halfway or my internal editor kicks in right when I’m writing.
It’s like another personality inside me that pops up occasionally, but I can’t seem to tune it out. Talk about demonic possessions! Maybe I should see someone about it. Which usually means I won’t.

Now that we’re talking about demonic possessions, I’m proud (and ashamed) to announce that I’m addicted to The Black Tapes Podcast. I’ll admit I’m incredibly late to this party, two seasons too late, and to literally every party I get invited to, which is not much. The Black Tapes is a fictional docu-drama about a reporter who investigates paranormal cases. I won’t spoil the whole thing for you, but binge-listening to podcasts is another reason I haven’t been diligent with regards to my work.

This has always been one on my weaknesses, if you discount the crippling social anxiety, depression, addiction to dank memes and my pathetic athletic abilities ,that is. Any time I’m flooded with work, I indulge myself completely in something totally unrelated, like getting drunk and paying a visit to the coastline. In this case, it was podcasts. Lots and lots of it. Enough to justify me purchasing Pocket Casts.

Anyway, while I was powering through entire seasons of different shows, my work load increased and languished in obscurity. Come to think of it, this whole post is another way for me to avoid thinking of all the work that’s pending. All this is not to say that I a complete mess, I’m not one yet. I do manage to get things done at the last moment, like a true procrastinator. The quality of work that I set upon myself at the outset is miles above the quality of the final product, but I beat myself up so much by the end, that any work done seems good enough.

This is how I look like when I’m trying to get my work done a week after it was due.

I’ll let you in on a little bit of a secret now. This post has been in my drafts for a long long time. But it took me just 30 minutes to get past 50 words and publish this, quality be dammed. 😅
Image: Bram Naus on Unsplash


If you’ve somehow managed to reach this point and not fall asleep, consider liking my Facebook page. You won’t find any memes or funny videos, but you will find occasional updates and links to all my posts.

Counting Stars While Drunk

Times flies fast when you’re having fun. Or when you’re in shitty situations. Here’s what I’ve been upto of late.

Times aren’t exactly the best right now. Some days depression just ends up getting the best of you, and there isn’t much you can do except wish you were dead. Or in a coma.

What could make it better would be a friend to talk to, someone who can understand you without judging you. Someone who’s there to listen to you, even if they can’t do anything to help you out. I actually prefer people who don’t help me out, but listen to me. The problems I face are entirely my own, and I don’t want anyone else to have to share any part of it. What I do like is someone who puts in the effort to actually listen to me. Is that too much to ask for?

I sometimes hate the fact that I try to look detached from everything around me, but I am in fact very affected by what happens. Maybe I am a pussy after all, and I don’t have what it takes to actually follow the tenets of Buddhism; detachment from everything.

I know I’m incredibly late to the party, but I’ve finally completed listening to S-Town, the new spinoff podcast from Serial and This American Life. Following the void and existential crisis that follows the ending of a show/podcast, I’ve travelled further into the abyss, by adding even more podcasts to my list. Of particular interest, are The Message and Lif-e.af/ter, two fiction podcasts from GE Podcast Theatre and Panoply. The story-telling and narration, along with the sound editing are just off the charts and truly shows the possibilities that podcasts afford in journalism and storytelling. The quality of the sound and the importance they’ve given it remind me of Twenty Thousand Hertz – a podcast inspired by 99% Invisible – which is completely about the different sounds around us and the unseen (and unheard) world behind them.

Some days are just the worst and it’s in those days that you realise the true enemy of us humans is stress. You keep worrying about how things can go south and you start making contingency plans for when shit hits the fan. But then, shit does hit the fan in a completely different way and you have no idea what to do, except maybe take the punches as they come in. The stress and the worrying is like being in a slow pressure cooker, you literally feel your life being wasted away, as you’re crushed by the weight of everything that’s on your mind, you feel your mind turn to mush like an over-boiled potato.

Nothing kills a mind faster than stress, but the true perfection in stress is that nothing shows on the outside, and the actual effects see the light of day long after they’ve manifested in the mind. But enough of this negativity, I guess.

A visit to the beach sure is an escape from the bland reality of the mundane existence we’ve eked out for ourselves on this little planet. It really takes your mind off the fact that every second of your life is slipping past you, never to be recovered or experienced again; that you’re slowly inching towards death, that final sleep that all of us try to avoid and not think about, but which comes for us all. So there I was, on a Sunday evening, long after the sun had set, with six friends of mine. It must have been a glorious sight to behold: seven slightly-drunk 20-somethings, semi nude and playing around in the waves at night.

After a while, I got tired and just sat there at the shore, waves nearly covering me whole, while I counted the stars up in the sky. It’s actually been a long time since I’ve seen some real, literal stars, and it felt great. The whole experience was humbling and relaxing in an eerie way. I was instantly reminded of how small and puny I was in this Universe, but I was also overjoyed by the fact that I had the opportunity to gaze up at this canvas of infinite beauty that no human mind could have conjured up; at least not the minds that I know of.

This wasn’t exactly how it looked like.

At this point I realised that my problems weren’t that big of a deal anyway. They were puny little inconveniences in the greater scheme of things. None of my problems and worries would exist after I die, and none of them would ever matter to the vast infinite void of the Universe, even when I’m alive. So to hell with my problems, I’ve got to life to live. Of course, this feeling only lasted till I reached back home and then the feeling of dread and anxiety and worry all came running back to me, like pet dogs greeting their master after a long day. Conversely, it was at this point that I realised these things are my siblings, with Depression being my conjoined twin.
Anyway, though I haven’t really done anything all month, I’ve been incredibly busy with random things that have popped up on the way. That’s one of the things about being busy – you’re not being productive. But enough of this productivity bullshit, let’s get down to movies. I found Dust, a channel that features great sci-fi short films with amazing visuals, from emerging story writers and directors. There’s loads of short films on the channel, making Dust a binge-watcheable delight. One of the movies I saw was The Decelators

I don’t want to go into much detail and spoil it for you, but the film involves a group of people who feel life is moving too fast, that they’re losing their time. So they try different methods to slow down time and finally create a machine that captures them in one moment. A single moment that they thought was perfect, running in a loop over and over again. That got me thinking, if you were in a moment that made you happy, would you know it? What if there would be a happier moment in your future? You wouldn’t know it and you’d be forever stuck in the single moment. Personally, I’d rather prefer living out my whole life, in hopes that there’d be a more perfect moment in the future, than have a machine that lets me slow or pause time.
Well that’s about it really. It’s been a hectic month and these are all the stupid thoughts I’ve had in the course of that month. If you’ve somehow managed to reach this point and not fall asleep, consider liking my Facebook page. You won’t find any memes or funny videos, but you will find occasional updates and links to all my posts.

Image courtesy: SnapwireSnaps on Pixabay

Being Abnormally Shy

As I read Nicole Sundays’ (Is that even her real last name? 😜) experience of running to catch a premiere of ‘Moonlight’, I found myself admitting a truth I knew all too well, out loud. I’m not into running. Or any sort of physical activity. Or social interactions. I’ll tell you what I am into. Being abnormally shy.

Involve me in any conversation and you’ll see first-hand my uncanny ability to transform even the most mundane of interactions into an awkward mess. It’s something I can’t help, I just have no conscious knowledge that I’m wrecking the conversation. Combine that with the rookie mistake my parents made by enrolling me in a boys only school during my early years and you can begin to understand the trainwreck that is me talking to the other sex.

Not that I’m complaining though. Sometimes I do say something funny, a random quip here and there, that gives me a +5 Interesting-ness buff for a short time. So yeah, sometimes I’m funny, and most of the times I’m plain boring. Just like every other human out there.

And though the odds are stacked against me, what with the shyness bordering on crazy and my lack of athletic skills, the greatest pleasures in life lie in facing these challenges. And afternoon siestas after a hearty meal. And writing that tries to be funny, but really isn’t.

Despite being a 22 year old man-child with nada on his resumé, I tend to blush at the slightest provocation. Hard. Lots of people tell me it somehow makes me more endearing. And cute. I try to brush it off as a sympathetic compliment from them, but I know for a fact that it is true. Innocent no more, eh? 😂

Edit History: A Haiku

All the things I’ve done

That embarass me, I wish

I could undo them.

Like almost every other human on this planet, there are several traits of ‘past me‘ that I wish I could edit. Moments where I’ve embarrassed myself, moments of cringe and situations where I couldn’t reply with an awesome comeback.

It is moments like this that make me wish that my life is just the dream of a toddler. The moment I die, I wake up and realise that my whole life just flashed before me in a dream. So I can avoid all the stupid mistakes I’ve done. And all the embarrassing situations. All the shit I’ve done that made me wish life had an ‘Edit’ feature.

And thus, I can lead a perfect life. Or so I think. Anyway, being aware of my whole life before it even begins, or having an option to edit events would be a great addition. I can undo the stupid things I’ve done.

I can avoid embarrassing situations that will haunt me at 3 AM seven years after they happened if I already know how my life will turn out to be.

I’ve always been like this. Stuff happens. And I say something dumb or say nothing at all and look like a total dweeb loser to people. 3 hours later, I’m thinking up interesting, sarcastic, funny, badass replies to the situation. And screaming at myself, “You should have said this. You should have said that!”

Fast forward seven years, and my fucking brain decides it’s time to go through memories, at 3 AM.
And it shows me the embarrassing moments. I lie there, cringing so hard I can barely breathe. Almost wishing I could kill past me, because seriously, what a loser he was!!

The thing is, everyone has made mistakes in their life. Almost everyone has flashbacks of embarrassing moments at the most inappropriate of times. The thing is to not let your mistakes dictate the rest of your life. To take risks and fail hard, but to make sure that you don’t end up making silly mistakes that you can never reverse. And I think that’s exactly what Abby is talking about.

What are some stupid mistakes you’ve made that you wish you could reverse? Let me know in the comments!

On A Lighter Note: Replacing My Usual Writing With Humour

If I am going to write, I might as well make it funny.

There’s something wrong with everything I write. An air of seriousness, as if it’s a grim story of an unloved grumpy old man nearing his life. As if my life is a movie of perpetual seriousness, with no comedy in it. But I digress. There is nothing wrong with having humor in your writing; everybody loves a bit of color in their lives after all.

Most of the time I keep telling myself, maybe the topics I’ve chosen to write about are serious as fuck and not funny, by default. Dart your eyes around, and you’ll see “Technology. Thoughts. Fiction.” scrawled at the top. Pretty dour indeed. Oh, who am I kidding? The only considerable effort I’ve put in writing resulted in a posts about life and its spectrum of emotions, depression included. Happiness sold separately. As if I’m some whiny emo kid who only notices the shadows on a bright sunny day. I still have to remind myself periodically that no topic exists which couldn’t have a funny side to it.

So screw my style of writing. No seriously. If I am going to write, I might as well make it funny. But how?

After much pondering, I’ve realised that the answer to that lies outside the digital realms of our devices, in the real world, where there are no zeroes or ones to worry about. Instead, we have bad cholestrol, climate change and Donald Trump to worry about. Oh, and that bit about pondering to come up with the answer? It didn’t take too much time, I just made that bit up.

The answer lies in the real world. Think about your everyday life. I’m pretty sure it’s so routine for you now that your life is zipping past you at warp speed. Mine is, at any rate. Or am I not living life right? *Cue existential crisis.*

Everyday life is filled with situations and little ironies, things that we tend to miss out. I mean, how else do sitcom writers and standup comedians work, right? If most comedians are like Darth Vader of their fields, my writing, including this thinly-veiled attempt at inducing humor into my writing, is like young whiny Anakin Skywalker.

I might be rambling on at this point, but movies have got most things wrong. The people they show in movies, with bushy greasy beards and huge bellies and stinky T-shirts and couches littered with Cheetos? The quintessential “guy without a life”? Pffft, those people have a life. How do I know? I’m one of them.

I’m not the crisp, sassy guy that my profile picture might lead you to believe. I’m just a guy munching down fatty foods while channel-surfing. I don’t remember who it was, but I remember someone telling me adding in quotes to posts makes them more shareable.

I wish money grew on trees, so that deforestation wouldn’t actually be a thing.

There, I said it.

Now, all of this is a poor attempt at “being funny” and stereotyping certain things. Maybe even a replacement for my usual style of writing. But you get my point, even poor humor is acceptable. Keep looking for a bit of irony or comedy in your life and you’re bound to find it everywhere. Then, incorporate it into writing. I’ve just started my journey and there’s a million more ways to improve my writing.

Every time I insert a poorly written joke into my posts, I run the risk of it bombing. But it’s better to have one line in your article bomb than having to deal with the fallout of your post bombing from being too serious. As I put the cap back on my flow of words, I leave you with one question. Why so serious?

What are your suggestions for including a bit of humor in your writing? Let me know in the comments.

Recollections From December

December was a fast-paced, busy month for me, with semester finals and various other activities that expanded to fill all of my time. I’m really happy 2016 is behind us and I can’t wait to experience everything 2017 throws our way; after 2016, I’m pretty sure nothing can be worse than that. This post should have come out sooner and before the year ended, but it got sidelined due to my confession post. Here are a couple of thoughts I happened to write down and other things I’ve been upto in December. 
Certain days of the month, I wished to myself that I was better at consoling people and cheering them up, motivating them when they were down in the dumps. When we’re younger, we believed consoling needed to be done to make sure that those people forget the pain and misery. As we’ve grown up, however, I think we’ve realised that pain is an integral part of our lives, and now, we only console people to make them forget the pain temporarily. The pain and misery is still in them, hidden out of sight. For now.

December was also the month where I realised (for like the millionth time) that my impulse purchases are a bitch I have to learn to deal with. I spent a whole lot of money on things and activities I didn’t really need and later regretted them. This month made me realise I need to get my tendencies in order and not be such an asshole when it comes to money. And this is just the 4th of the month!

By the 5th, I’m basically hating myself for my spending spree. Self-loathing and what not. It certainly did look like my depressive episodes were about to make a comeback. Yet another thing that completely surprised me in this period was how unpredictable humans can be when it comes to reactions. Say one thing at a particular time and you get one reaction. Say the same thing at a different time and you get a totally unrelated reaction. The main obstacle I face in dealing with humans is that every word I utter is a ticking time bomb. I can never be sure which word of mine will trigger an avalanche of sorrow and sadness in others. Sometimes I just hate myself for having ruined someone’s perfect day and sometimes I hate having to interact with people in such a careful manner.

The rest of the month passed by, with a couple more cynical thoughts that are just too silly to share here. The highlight of the month was that I finally got to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a movie I’ve been waiting for since April. Without getting into much spoilers, I just absolutely loved the movie and the dark gritty tone it took, unlike the other Star Wars movies. Zack Syder, if you’re reading this, please do watch Rogue One, that’s how you make a good, gritty, dark movie. Whereas The Force Awakens had a sense of childish adventure in it, with Rey and Finn and introducing us to the new generation, Rogue One got right down into the war, in a very sombre way. The main challenge for Rogue One is that everyone knows the ending, by default. We have Episode IV, so we know the rebel spies manage to steal the Death Star plans. Where Rogue One shines is in the execution. It certainly did feel like the stakes were pretty high and there were certain points where I really doubted if they’d be able to pull it off anyway. The movie starts a bit slow and jumps a lot between planets but that’s just the first act. The other two acts are edge-of-your-seat action and great storytelling.

Diving deep into spoilers now, here’s what I loved about the movie.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

  • The movie showed us a glimpse of all the evil things the Rebel Alliance has done. It’s not a black and white Universe anymore, with the Empire being evil and the Rebellion pure good, as was conveyed in the Original Trilogy. The Rebel Alliance has done its share of morally questionable acts too. I loved it when Cassian killed his informant to prevent any information leaking to the Empire. He had no choice but to do it, for the greater good of the Rebel Alliance.
  • The diversity of the cast in the movie. A Mexican actor in the leading role, a female as the leader of the team, a much more inclusive team than in other movies. Now, I don’t fully embrace the idea of inclusion merely for the sake of diversity, but Rogue One did it in a subtle way that didn’t seem shoehorned in. The characters, their history, takes us away from the central storyline of the Skywalker family and introduces us to normal people, living in the Galaxy and shows us what the rebellion means to them, how it affects them. 
  • The Vader scene at the end. Hot damn, that scene made me squeal like a 12 year old girl. The scene could be considered fan service for all the fan boys out there, but I believe it is probably the best representation of Darth Vader on screen. It just shows how much of a badass killing machine he was. As thousands of people have noted before, the movie looked just like a horror slash-flick when Vader started slicing through Rebel scum like a hot knife through butter. Also, Disney, I wouldn’t mind paying for a solo Vader movie where it’s just two hours of Darth Vader slicing through Jedi and rebels and hunting them down. 
  • The characters being killed off at the end. Not many movies have the guts to kill off the entirety of its cast, but that’s exactly what Rogue One did. There they were, with no way to get out alive. They are now unsung heroes of the war, who might go down in history with no recognition or fame. They gave up their lives trying to steal the plans and transmitting it, in the hopes that someone might be able to destroy the Death Star. This gives a whole new meaning to the title of Episode IV. The sacrifices made by the rebels take on a whole new level of depth after you’ve watched Rogue One. 

To celebrate the end of the year and to welcome the new year, I did something pretty different. Instead of hanging around with a book and wishing everyone at the stroke of midnight, I went out to a New Year’s Eve party, with real people. Trying to overcome my social anxiety in this way, dancing to music and being in large crowds of people is a pretty new experience for me, and was kind of unsettling at first. But hey, it’s a new experience and I kind of liked it. We rung in the new year with great excitement and it felt good to have friends right next to me during and after the countdown.

Now, ringing in the new year means one thing: resolutions. I’m not really a resolutions kind of guy, and I subscribe to the idea that the best time to make changes is now. However, this year I’ve planned to read and write more. I’ve actually made a list of books I’d like to read and/or finish reading this year. 

  • 1984 by George Orwell. Yes, I began reading this back in July but I still haven’t completed it. 
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It… Every Time by Maria Konnikkova
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal 
  • Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
  • The Lonely City: Adventures In The Art Of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

There’s no guarantee that I might be able to finish this list, but that’s certainly what I’m hoping for. A couple of books have been on my list for quite a long time, but haven’t yet been purchased because book prices in India are just too high, even online marketplaces have stupidly high prices because they import books. The high prices of most books in India is the topic of another long post and I could go on and on about it. Public libraries aren’t an option either because they’re poorly funded, the selection of books isn’t that good either and the whole system of public libraries is pretty much in shambles in India. I don’t want to go off on a tangent here, so that’s pretty much my reading list for the year.

How was your December? How is the new year looking for you? We’re already 10 days into it, are your resolutions still holding up? Let me know in the comments below. 

Escaping Reality

​Regardless of what everyone might tell you, real life isn’t all that interesting. If it was, we wouldn’t have escapist media like movies and fantasy novels. Over time, the lush veneer of the exterior gives way to the dull, drab interior of mundane, monotonous existence. We get stuck in a rut and wish for an escape from this world where every day is the same.

I’m the kind of guy who daydreams. A lot. I also procrastinate a lot, so that mixed with the daydreams means that most of my days are spent in a semi-conscious haze of actual decisions and frantic work to meet deadlines. I used to be so addicted to dreaming of possible future scenarios and alternate timelines of my life that even the first piece of fiction I wrote involved daydreaming as its central plot point.

So what is it about reality that bores me and pushes me into daydream mode? Maybe it’s the fact that I am unsatisfied with my life and want one with more action and a better starting position, so to speak. Maybe it’s the fact that every day is kind of the same and the routines have lost their novelty. But that’s not what this post is about. I’ll admit, this is probably the most honest I’ve ever been when writing on this blog. So this is like a confession that I’m (kind of) ready to put out there.

I keep blabbering to people about how honest I am when it comes to uncomfortable truths and why they’re immature for finding it hard to accept them. Sure, I do blurt out uncomfortable truths without thinking, even in situations where convention dictates otherwise. The problem is that I lie to myself all the time. And that translates into lying to others subconsciously.

Over the years, I’ve carefully crafted an exterior which, to me, is close to perfection. Hard as a rock, calm even in the worst of situations, detached from everything and just a macho man who never cries. But my whole personality is built on these lies. I’m a soft crybaby inside and though it might look like I couldn’t care less about burning bridges, I am actually really affected by them inside. I don’t know if people can often see through the bullshit exterior personality I’ve created or not. Maybe they can, and just don’t bring it up. Who knows?

What’s more, I actually advise people to not conform to preconceived notions of how they should look and/or behave. I advocate a lifestyle that places importance on personal freedom and rights and not bending to society’s ever-shifting likes. And yet, here I am, moulding a fake personality that has everything people might expect from modern men. Unflinching in the face of crises, detached from negative emotions, never sad or in sorrow. So yeah, hello world, hypocrite here. 👋

Moving on, I always advise people (Yeah, I should stop doing that altogether. 😅) to look for the good in people. I believe in the fact that humans are neither black nor white, it’s a whole grey area. So despite the fact that humans are grey when it comes to morality and general goodness, I usually advice the people around me and proclaim that I only look at the good in people. Turns out, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I’m always doubtful, almost cynical, of the moves people make. Maybe a help here or there, or a favor without me asking for it. Stuff like that always brings out the skeptic in me. When people are kind towards me, I tend to act defensively and see it as a way to accomplish their own selfish needs. I try to find motives behind the kind acts of people around me and in my life, even when there are none. I think and overthink trying to come up with possible favors they might ask of me in the near future. I know I’m an asshole for doing this, but it’s just the way I am; this is the real me. I’ve been trying real hard to change, and progress has been slow and uncertain. This might seem pretty obvious to the people in my life, but it’s really hard to admit to myself that I’m a cynic.

Another thing that happens is that I often catch myself in between all this negative thinking and then get disgusted at myself. I beat myself down about it and that usually triggers my depression. And once that sets in, boy, there’s no coming back.

Before I close this confession and move back into myself to sob over what I have become (not really 😅), here’s a bonus point to in case I still haven’t managed to convince you. I’m such a hypocrite I actually write about how society is filled with hypocrites. Oh the irony! It took me the greater part of a month to come to terms with this and find the courage to sit down and actually write this. The experience hasn’t been easy, what with me facing all the negative traits in me that I’d usually hate in others, but I find myself trying in earnest now to change myself, to reach a state I’ve labelled simply as Not This.

I believed it was the experiences someone had that shaped his or her writing. For me, writing this post has had a similar, albeit reversed, effect; the writing is beginning to shape who I am as a person. As this shitty year comes to a close and a hopeful new year glimmers in the horizon, I hope this shitty part of my personality dies with 2016,and I’m a better person next year. Happy Holidays everyone!