Don’t Let Anger Be

It seems to me that what we most lack in, is vocabulary. And if you did not know this, vocabulary also has a GQ (a Glamour Quotient.) There are some words that are more glamorous than others. And then, there are words that are just right. But they aren’t as famous or as glamorous. They are often the best and most relevant, and they make sense; but they are pedestrian. They have no GQ. Often, we want to adorn our emotions with glamour. It gives us a sense of identity. With a celebrity word. That association!

Mostly, we are not angry. Mostly we are not depressed. (Add your GQ words here).

Mostly, when a difficult event presents and sits on the seat across you – we have to listen; without demonstrating the spectrum of emotions that surround ‘anger.’

Anger is a swimming pool – which covers the height, width, and the depth of the pool. That encompasses a few thousand emotions. Not related to anger. Not a sub-strand of anger. And not even related to anger.

Think freedom. Think your ideas. Think all that you could not.

Think Future – that vision that your peripheral vision has denied you all this while.

Nineteen Years

That’s how long this blog has been around. Can’t say that it has been active for that long. The last two-three years especially have been ever so silent.

Blame it on the pandemic, a writer’s block, or lack of time, or any of the dozen excuses that I could muster, fact remains: there has been a fog of silence for a while. Of the dozen excuses, the one that often jumps the queue – the lack of an experience or a thought worth sharing. In the pandemic years, every day was the same as yesterday, and the tomorrow promised nothing but the same as today.

Let the fog clear.

The next anniversary is a marker of sorts (our obsession with round figures continues), let’s hope for reasons to celebrate.

Happy 19th to me!

A City Found Me

I went in search,
for the soul of a city.
I found mine instead,
and the city smiled at me.

The People

Do the people of a city constitute its soul? Their moods, their behaviour. Is the soul of a city the sum (or the average or the product) of their happiness, their fear, their agreement, and their anger? Is it also of their busy-ness or their ennui?

Does the soul of the city reside in that simmering cauldron of all the emotions of the citizens that are stirred slowly by a giant ladle of time? If it is that, then how do you taste the the soul, what discerning palete do I need to know the ingredients and weigh their proportion? Perhaps we are not to judge each ingredient; for this potion has been cooking for a while, now.

That while is that city’s history.

The History

Is the history of the city its soul then? Is that what constitutes the soul of a city? The long braided thread of events and experiences and memories? Some documented, some redacted. Some etched on stone, some on withered leaves. Does the soul reside in the mystery? Of the history? Stories of love and betrayal, valour and cowardice, victories and defeat? Is it a cauldron of all this?

Is the city just a story? And the monuments and buildings and places, just props – on which the story stands? And if it is just a story, then where does it start and where does it end? Does it end? Every moment you are in the present, is history in your next moment. These moments set stage for the character of the city.

These moments define the city’s future.

The Future

Does the future; the potential of a city define its soul? Rising from its history, serving the citizen’s soup from that emotional cauldron, in a shivering uncertain plate of its stories: but aspirational nonetheless. Accepting all emotions, accepting all that has been documented and redacted: building a commerce and culture to be proud of; worthy of the city.

That must be a city’s soul, right? All of it together. People, emotions, actions, monuments, growth, behaviour, culture, commerce. The one big cauldron!

The shared dream of every entity in the city!


But I returned mostly empty-handed, with just a few crumbs to feed my thoughts. As I drove back the long and lonely kilometres across sugarcane fields, rivers, mountains, tunnels, and bridges, the crumbs nourished me with this thought: I had a sense of the city. Just a sense.


Shaking hands gives a good sense.

To know the soul, I’ll have to live there. I will have to be part of the cauldrons of the city.

I will have to be an ingredient.

Without Friends

Needless to say, the title is a bit provocative. This is what happens when you have been just consuming on Twitter. But, that’s not the intent of this post. And it has nothing to do with friends, as such.

I recently went on a #SoloTrip. Let me explain what #SoloTrip means, to me. In the past – I have travelled alone many times. In all those travels, there was a destination where I would meet a friend or family. And often, I would travel back alone, from the destination, with memories of good times with good people. Travelling to a place alone, staying there alone, and returning alone – is what a solo trip is, for me. Sure, you will meet people, you will interact, you will have fun, you will have interesting or awkward conversations – with people you do not know. And most of all – come any time of the day – morning, afternoon, evening or night – somewhere, somehow, there will be a painful pang of missing someone. And that someone does not have a face or name – it will just be someone. (That’s just conditioning)

I drove from Mumbai to Guhagar coastally (if that’s a word – along the coast i.e.) and returned via the mountains. It wasn’t a smooth ride: potholes and broken roads kept interrupting my drive, just as events keep interrupting my life. And, there was a reality check. A road I once knew well – the most romantic and pleasant drive ever – is now becoming a slave to concrete and speed. I am not a heretic; I support progress, yet I can’t but ask – at what cost? Why is it either/or?

In a solo trip – conversations are most difficult. After you have done keeping yourself busy for the day; in your room alone, in the quiet of a village which retires a hundred hours before you will sleep – in that silence – your conversations with yourself are deafening. No word is spoken, not one is heard, but it is loud. There’s good food, and you have to enjoy it without saying a word; there’s no one to listen to what you have to say. After dinner, you sit on the steps; in the city — you would still be working. The hills, clouds, and the half-moon are dancing – you have no one to share it with. There’s no dependable internet. No photos to share, so no photos you take. You stare at the dance, maybe a smile emanates – but you will never know: there is no record.

In a solo trip – (the first one, at least) fear rules. Driving along a two-metre wide road in a jungle to get to a lighthouse scares you, much. What-if, what-if, what-if takes centre stage. A vehicle-breakdown, wild animals, snakes, hostile people and such. None of it is real, but the absence of someone, makes it real. Hasty photographs at the site – just so that I’d leave the place, while there was still light. The heart-beat slows down when you see a familiar city-like, or a town-like environment — familiarity!

I did a solo trip, because all the trips I planned with friends, didn’t work out. Date clash, distance, availability, and such. Therefore the title of this post.

I did not prepare well for this solo-trip. I planned for everything that was possible. That’s where I had this mixed bag of emotions with my solo trip. My next solo-trip will be better. My solo-trip wasn’t a failure by any standard. I am now well-prepared to have more solo-trips, actually. And it’s not about planning.

It’s about purpose.

Conversations, fear, loneliness, familiarity, sound, and silence notwithstanding, I am looking forward to more solo-trips. I didn’t pay attention to my conversations with me, that happened in between my concerns. I want to listen to that conversation again.

There will be more; and I will have more to say.

In The Yonder

The anniversary that I mentioned in my previous post came and went as quietly as I expected. Perhaps quieter than I expected. And the So? question that I was just wondering about – was asked. I smiled faintly, gave a familiar shrug, and that was my answer. And a scary thought snaked its way to the fore. What if I was asked Now what? The familiar shrug and the faint smile would not work. My automatic response would be stone-cold stiffness. And when I would recover from this freeze, I’d just say Who knows! and walk away.

It has been (relatively) easy to find solutions for technical and transactional problems. A well-framed question is simpler to work with, especially if the question stays within the realm of your knowledge. It’s the questions that …


Words are failing me, or perhaps I am failing my words; to lovingly gather them all and make sense of what I sense. The thought-pipes are rusty, much, and need quite a clean up.


Its the questions that are so profound that your entire knowledge seems but a speck of nothingness, to even begin to fathom the question, leave alone trying to answer it. Not that I’d like anything to keep me awake at night — sleep is loved; sleep is precious — but if anything has to keep me awake, let it be such a question. These kind of questions: that ask me to move beyond the narrow realm of just knowledge; beyond facts, theories, numbers, concepts, formulas, structures, memory, and the ilk. And what’s beyond these? I have no idea – I have never ventured there. But, I’d like to.

Surely, the real adventures must be after we cross these known mountains.

On the way to Munnar

And for sure, it will be a long trek, leaving all these mountains; all that is known – behind. Like a fingerprint, all these mountains are unique: and what lies in the yonder, may be the place where neither questions exist, nor answers.

Post-Pandemic Schizophrenia

I am not making a claim of ‘being back’ – it’s been a while since I learnt not to make such long & tall claims. I am here for now, and that should suffice (for me).


An anniversary is due soon. And while I am sure I will celebrate it, it’s gnawing at my soul. It’s a landmark anniversary of sorts, but not the popular ones that is a Hallmark event. I doubt if they (used to) make greeting cards for this. It’s an anniversary of that silently screams a question. So? The question is so wide, it has to ensnare answers from every possible quarter and direction. And that’s all there is to it. I am just filling up a basket of answers that the wide question may ask.


Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard
Live in northern California once but leave before it makes you soft

~ Everybody’s Free (Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann


I need to unstiff these fingers. Clear the pathways.

All’s Well; Halfway There

Those who have been following this blog for while know what this post is about. Having said that, the ‘halfway there‘ is somewhat a misrepresentation, since we never know the measure of the full way. Unless you know the full, you’ll never know the half. Such are some mysteries of life.

All those decisions (and indecisions); the risks and the safeties; the hiding and the showing up, the declining and accepting has lead me here, and the only way these choices can inform me, is how I use it all for the days to come. Each day now seeks to be measured, each moment desires calculation, every ounce of energy is demanding; so much seems to have gone to waste. But, no – nothing goes to waste, really. It all just smiles back at us, philosophically.  It asks no questions, it demands no answers. Even that which has been wasted has contributed in getting us here. Been there; Done that; but there’s more to do.

All’s well.

I’ll Retire

Oh yes, I’ll retire. By itself, to retire is quite obvious. Typically, this implies a government-mandated age at which you stop having/doing a job. I do choose my words carefully: I didn’t say – you stop working; I said – stop having/doing a job. And that is what, often, retirement implies. No more a place to work, no more meeting colleagues five days a week, no more a commute.  Work and job are entirely two different things. A job is a work-bond. And while work may mean a job, it is not necessarily a bond. And it goes on…

Make a two column list: Job/Work, and you will discover the many differences between these two. No, I am not going to help you make that list.


Whether you choose to have a job or to work, the one thing common is: purpose. Whatever the purpose may be. The purpose of a job may be at a cross-purpose of why you work, but it’s still a purpose. Perhaps temporary. Perhaps circumstantial. Work, however is governed not by these worldly concerns. Work’s purpose emanates from your self; blessed are those few, when the work’s purpose aligns with the purpose of their job. For the rest, it is about doing one thing to gather all that we can to do the other; and therein lies the trap (for a few).  The means rule and the end is lost, making it an endless journey of means without an end. There is no universal number which is a stop sign, so we just plod along.

Perhaps the marker of that endless journey is not a number, it is a date, irrespective of the number. And because I have mastered the art of stating the obvious, I can tell you – there is no way to know, if we have reached the number or the date.


Working Hands

Who is to say that someone should retire at 38, 48, 58 or 68? There is no basis for it (apart from a generalised average), apart from casting aspersions on an age group. These numbers, depending on where you live, are just assumptions that you can no more do your job. They are not indicators of, if you can work.


Jobs have limits; work does not.

Don’t Kill the Conversation

Pay It Forward (2000) was it. That was the movie we were going to see that evening. We didn’t choose that movie. That was the movie that conveniently playing near a theatre where we were. We wanted to experience cinema-going in Singapore. Twenty-one years ago, we thought of Kevin Spacey only as a good actor. We did not know anything else.

Movie-going rules and etiquettes differ by country, and that is what we were experiencing. We were early, and ended up being in the theatre long before the movie started. A conversation about the genres of Rock music ensued. Acid, Metal, Classic, Grunge, and such. My friend patiently explained to me the nuances of rock music. On his behest, I had heard a few songs of the different genres, So I asked him a few questions. I wasn’t impressed by what little I had heard of Acid. I heard him attentively. Tried and understand the nuances. The origin; the emotion. The technical aspects; the theory. At the end of the 15 minutes, I still did not like Acid. Or Grunge.

The movie started.

One thing, I clearly remember – at the end of the conversation and for a long time after that. I have never been angry with Acid Rock or Grunge Rock. I have never hated that genre. I was indifferent. I just did not listen to it. This friend of mine exposed me to quite a few things that would have otherwise never entered my realm of acknowledgement. I am grateful for that. Some of those things have become an integral part of my life; some have been considered and ignored, and forgotten.

We’ve never necessarily agreed on everything. Yet, we have never ceased to expose each other about our learning and discoveries. We’ve had serious differences in opinion over the years. And every difference has resulted in just more conversation.

All this preamble, only to set stage for two things.

One: I quite miss intelligent conversations and intelligent arguments from many of my friends. There is no dearth of intelligent people, for sure. They have just become difficult to access.

Two: there is too much hatred governing any discourse these days. Hatred is essentially blinding. As humans we are apt to judge, and judge we must, else we will consume anything and everything that is served to us. It is a facility available to us that allows us to discern, discriminate; it’s a survival instinct. Hatred is when we focus on that which does not make sense to us. Hatred is when we are consumed less by what we like, and more by what what we dislike.

I have (tried to and with some success) stopped using the word “hate” in written and oral language for a long time now. It helps me direct my dislike or my indifference.

Everyone is angry. But, not for the same reason. Anger, you would think is a primary emotion (I don’t know this for a fact) – but even anger has become subservient to hatred.

“I will be angry only of those things that I hate. Even if there are other things, that I should truly be angry about, but because I do not hate them, I will not be angry about them. Let me focus my anger on things that I hate”

That’s where the conversation dies.

We need time to have fruitful conversations, time to seriously consider other PoVs. Time to churn our thoughts. A mind filled with hatred is a blind mind; it refuses to see.

I am an Adult Blog

I am 18 today.

Depending on where you are in the world I can/cannot: join the armed forces, marry, drink, vote, and such. But that’s for you humans – I am just a blog that has been around for eighteen years. I’d love to tell you the story of my life; getting to this stage. But then, if you have been following me for a while, you already know. And if not, there’s too much of a story, and this post is about my birthday; my 18th birthday.

The last few years, I haven’t said much. My author has had good excuses for the last couple of years, but for the few years before, the excuses are quite lame. Wasteful consumption is so much easier than creation. In this year alone, I have posted just about a decimal more than a post per month. There I go talking of stats. Doesn’t matter. Does the granularity of consistency matter? Or does the granularity also need to have a consistency? While I have been not consistent for a while – I have not given up hope. My author’s fatigue is artificial, borrowed, and somewhat imposed. I am young, in my teens, (an adult, sort of) – but when my author’s fatigue is natural, owned, and accepted, I guess, that will be the death of me. The fact that my birthday was almost forgotten, yet, here we are celebrating it, gives me hope that I can look forward to life.

As an adult, life ahead may look very different, and as long as we publish, it will be a life.

I look forward to it! Happy 18th to me!


In our mind, we have a version of right and wrong. People around us, who know us, have their version. The world has its own understanding. And then, you have the universe — that’s a different version altogether. Us, them, and the universe. These are the three layers. Looking at events in our lives, each layer throws up a different answer; a different suggestion.

I use the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ broadly and loosely; it could well mean should/shouldn’t or deserved/undeserved or fair/unfair, and such pairs. Mostly, its about “fair/unfair.”

The universe doesn’t give you any more than what you deserve, and no earlier than you deserve it.

Adages, like the above, keep us grounded, and temper our sense of right and wrong. Whether the adages are “right or wrong” we will never know, because our sense of “right/wrong” is very personal; very contextual — it’s not universal.

The laws of man are difficult to follow (but we must, for they are the only tangibles) but they contradict with our personal sense of right and wrong. The laws of the universe are difficult to comprehend; even if they seem pacifying and are philosophically sane.


Back at my blog after a long time. Happy to be here [HUGS]

A Post for All Ages

How do you write a post about age without giving away your age? Let this post be an example. Of success or failure. (I have a feeling, it will fail — and give away my age. Not that I am trying to hide it; but you will know soon, after you finish reading it.)

Age is a number, age is an attitude, age is such and such. We have read enough about age. The good, the bad, the ugly; some we have happily ignored, some we took to heart. For me, age is all about what the person in front of you sees. Irrespective of your age on the calendar – we live multiple “ages” in a day or a week. We all are literally all ages. At the same time. It is all about participation.

To be clear – I am not calling out anybody – whatever your age may be. As long as you are happy participating the way you are – all is well; e.g. 40s being 30s; 50s being 20s, 30s being 50s – whatever works for you, as long as you are happy. All our circumstances, all our choices are the reason where we are. Some circumstances were imposed, some choices weren’t even choices. And we are where we are. This combination of circumstance and choice: some we grudgingly accepted, some we ignored, some we resisted, some were thrusted, some we surrendered. We don’t always win. But win or lose – we’ve dragged the residue, all our life.

And in this surrender and resistance, we’ve found a life. An ageless life.

So, while the calendar can give us a number, our age is a summation of our experience with circumstance and choice. What will never be clear is the number that our age sums up to. Oh, he is just like he was when he was sixteen or She is proper fifty is just our way of responding to our circumstances and choices.

But circumstances and choices are personal; they are unique. And a calendar age as benchmark of behaviour is an incorrect benchmark. You get to a common calendar age, when you don’t have 3AM friends, of the same calendar age, and you get to an age where those who are awake at 3AM aren’t interested in being your 3AM friends. Sweet sixteen doesn’t always mean sweet sixty. In any case it is not about 3AM  – it is about 3PM, 6PM, 10AM, or whatever AM or PM you choose. Availability matters.

Age does not matter. The closest combination of circumstance, choice, and context matters. Being in school for two or ten years doesn’t matter, meeting someone for the first time does not matter, working together for ten years does not matter. Just one evening of respect matters. Just one evening of love matters. Just one evening of conversation matters.

We may look at the calendar and call ourselves and others young or old; but our true age will always be a factor of our response to circumstance and choice. And that’s how “old” we will always be.

The Terrain Should Change

Heard the writer’s block mentioned a while ago, after a long time. I am not stranger to the block having faced it many times before. I don’t have a writer’s block anymore. I don’t write anymore. No writing, no block.

Ironically, I have written quite a lot about the writer’s block. Go figure.

So I sent a few pictures along to a friend, which would serve as inspiration (a trigger, actually) that would get the thought-mill churning. I don’t know if it has worked; we’ll get to know in good time.

For me, a writer’s block is when you feel like writing something, but nothing spills on the paper (or screen, as the case may be). When you don’t feel like writing there isn’t a block. It’s just that — no will to write. It is a peaceful and a clean state of mind. You aren’t agitated about not writing, and you are not dishing out a senseless combination of half-baked thoughts and ideas — just to fill the pages or the bytes.

All this while that I have not been writing, I have become a voracious consumer of the written word. No, not books, but the social, shared word; the truncated thought that is almost our birthright. In recent times, however, I cannot make sense of the social word. Satire, sarcasm, facts, opinions, curses, and conflict have become the mainstay of the social word, indistinguishable from each other.

I still do read books, but just like my writing, I don’t really feel like it. (There are exceptions, of course). The hobby, had transformed from reading books, to accumulating books. Paper books, i.e. I took my mother’s advice (which, in retrospect sounded like a veiled threat; but was sage advice) that unless I complete reading three paper books, I wasn’t to buy a new one. I live in Mumbai. And in a city where people don’t have space to live, a thousand books should not take up space, any more than they should.

I continue to buy ebooks. (They have tendency not to occupy physical space and reveal themselves, to my Mom). And these ebooks are being read, of course, at a snail’s pace. And just like writing, I do not feel the need to complete them. I will of course. Someday.

At this stage a question may be creepily inching up – where is he going with this?

Well, nowhere, actually. Just like my reading or writing. Nowhere. While I didn’t plan it – I am enjoying the old adage – the journey is the destination. Enjoying the adage, not necessarily enjoying the journey; it feels thorny, barren, monotonous, and tiring. It’s been a while now, the terrain should be changing soon.

Perhaps, if I’d write more, read more…

If You Have Nothing Nice To Say…

This is a typical life-governance policy that some of us have inherited from our parents:

If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.

Some may refer to this as a part of the middle-class value commandments. Time passes. Parents who instilled these values are no more, or can no more force us to practice these values, and our general frustration and anger — starts finding a voice. Seeing those around us freely and easily voicing their opinions as they see fit; without any consideration of being nice; makes us question (and slowly discard) those values.

It may start with what looks like a timid response of disagreement, and slowly and surely – transforms into a not-so-nice response from us.

Closed Windows, Punjab, India

What happens when someone says something that is wrong, incorrect? Do you still keep quiet? Because often, to correct someone is usually considered impolite. What if it is feedback? How someone receives criticism is unpredictable. And how they respond to criticism or feedback, may make you question yourself.

The next question that arises is, whether everything that is said in this world needs correction and feedback? Especially, if unsolicited. The struggle is real! From lame WhatsApp forwards to serious articles by well-known think-tanks, the struggle is real.

At different times in my life, I have “pendulumed” to both extremes; neither extreme has provided me the answer to whether I should stick to my inherited values or to discard them.

And I have decided, the the answer lies in understanding the hierarchy of value that you inherit or adopt. In this case, the governing value for “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” is “Pick your battles.”

Because if you do not “pick your battles,” then “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” is just a blunt and ineffective strategy of response.

Pick your battles. Respond only to those that you choose.

Enough, Enough Now: Part 2

Happiness is a choice.


That sentence is easy to state. Easily stated by the person who thought of that. It is definitely a choice, but you should need to make the choice to be happy. Else, that sentence is just a collection of sequenced words. For some, the meaning of that sentence is obvious; we can relate to to it; and we can make it our own. For others, it’s a process: of discovery.

For some it may be a straight road; for others it is a convoluted journey over mountains, through rivers, and across valleys, discovering what choices we have. Choices are seldom evident. Choices don’t always present themselves as choices. They often take the garb of experiences, and then it is not just a job of choosing. You have to live through the experiences. Only then we realise what that camouflaged choice means. We run the risk of romancing the experience – and then, it is no more a choice.


Deeper and deeper in the experience we go. We become the experience and the experience becomes us. And somewhere, in this, the top stops spinning. (Shout out to Inception (2010)). Whether you exit, depends on whether you see it stop, or not.


I have seen the top stop and tumble on the table. And I am ready to exit. I have been happy before. And I wasn’t for a while. Because I was exploring choices. And therein I tumbled into experiences. Specific experiences. Was excited at those experiences, lived a life around them, but I wasn’t happy. I was angry. I was upset. And it took me a while to realise that there was no matter to the anger. It was empty. Anger is as good an energy as any other emotion. That energy kept me going. But, I said: Enough, enough now. Whatever be the nature of the experiences, I am choosing to be happy. I know now, I do not want to dwell there.

I have just started on this journey, so, I have no evidence of how it works and where it ends. I can tell you for sure, though, that those angry experiences have been left behind.


Happiness is a choice. All those angry experiences have helped me choose better. And I have chosen happiness.

Don’t Hate

A few years ago, I chose to remove the word “hate” from my usable vocabulary. Which instantly raised the question – how I would express that extreme emotion. So I invented phrases that were equivalent, while not using the h-word. Well, not invented – they were always up for grabs and in vogue.

Sort of. Intense dislike; utter disgust; absolute abhorrence, and such. Using these phrases allowed me, or so I imagined, to qualify my degree of disagreement. That is what “hate” is actually. It is a degree of disagreement — the extreme degree of disagreement.

Hate is blinding. And, while quantifying adjectives may just seem to be an exercise in creative writing, I prefer that. Because there is no adjective that ever qualifies hate. It’s extreme, it is absolute. Hate is point of no return.

Hate is like standing at the edge of a cliff and refusing to turn back. Refusing to look at anything other than the drop. Qualified adjectives may give you a chance to turn around, look for options. Hate does not. It may seem like an exercise in word-smithery, but it is not.

I hate the way hate consumes us (OK, yes, for effect, I am using the h-word). It shuts our mind to possibilities. To options. To Truth, that we may not have experienced before; to Truth that was no available to us. Hate extends. From one thing to one person, to one concept, to a thought. Hate is a dark, sticky envelope. Ever-ready to engulf.

Love is not hate’s ‘necessary’ or ‘automatic’ antonym or antidote. Love/hate are not obvious antonyms — if you take the time to think about it. Proper, relevant, and topical adjectives, paired with appropriate synonyms of disagreement is what will bring us back from the abyss (or cliff; #YouPrefer)

Disagree till the cows come home; be disgusted vehemently.

But don’t hate.

A Social-Media Experiment Unravels

This post is premature. By a day. But, I’ll allow it. The advantage of having your own blog! Rules assume the garb of guidelines, when you want them to.

I have ranted often of what I am now writing about, today. The topic is not new, the emotion has been experienced often. The content, perhaps has a fresh flavour or a tantalising twist.

As of tomorrow, I have been away from three social networks that I used to indulge in, regularly — for a working month. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I was mostly a consumer on all three, while creating some content on Facebook and Twitter. YT was pure consumption.


Little over a month ago, I finished reading Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport — I was amused by the directness of a Chapter Title — “Quit Social Media” — but I read it nevertheless. This post is not a review of the book, nor do I want it to be. After a while you pick and choose your battles — like writing a review of a book. A star rating is enough to describe where you stand.

Of the many reasons mentioned in “Quit Social Media” – the one that intrigued me the most was the question: how many people (of the few hundred friends you have) will miss you, if you do not post. YT didn’t fall in that category, because I never created any content on YT.

Twitter also did not matter much, because a decent percentage of my followers started following me, because of a random tweet in a timeline of years, which appealed to them. They stayed followed, but never ever interacted after that one tweet. Most Twitter connections (other than my actual friends) are connections of convenience.

Facebook was the one I really wanted to put to the test of: how many people (of the few hundred friends you have) will miss actually know all (ah, ok, most!) of my connections on FB. In recent years, I was never a prolific poster – but I was irregularly regular. What would happen if I stop? Armed with a commandment from Cal Newport’s book, I took the step. Changed my profile picture — showing my back, looking away, to all my FB friends. Changed my cover photo to a metaphorical chain (smart, eh?). And just stopped posting.

For ten days since that day, I religiously did not open any of the three sites, web or mobile. But, what if Cal was wrong? What if in the ten days gone by, people were missing me? So, I did some soft cheating; I did not post anything still, but went and checked who was missing me.

Zilch on Twitter; Zilch on Facebook.


The mobile phone innovation came to us in the late 90s. Even before that – basic telephony was costly and cumbersome. It was cheaper to meet-in-person according to convenience. 50p and 1Re coins jingled in our pockets. In 2021 coins have almost gone out of circulation, and 1Re coins cant get you anything worthwhile. We used to make 3-min calls, without any niceties, conforming time, place, and Plan B’s.

For me a phone has always been about name, place, and time. Most of friends and relatives do not understand; I have a low tolerance for conversation on a phone. The real engagement happened when I met the named person at a time in a place that we we had planned for. Face to Face.


So, some people had liked my profile picture, with my back turned to them. No comments, no questions. Cal Newport was winning. On Twitter there was one mention, purely circumstantial; work-related. I didn’t even bother about YT.

I developed a 10-day-itch, so I continued to soft-cheat every ten days.

Zilch on Twitter; Zilch on Facebook.

(One day, I liked a photo that a cousin had posted; sheer muscle memory. #FAIL) #Sigh! I totally OUCHed myself!

In just a month long social-media rehab, I feel cured; or at least on the way to a cure.

For sure, however, not a cure from friends. For Sure. It’s a cure from the network. It’s like mistaking the map for the territory; or forest for the trees. Something like that. Specifically, it is a cure from the compulsions of the network. A networked connection does not automatically mean friendship. Not every network enables conversations (if they would, they would have greater opportunities of data mining and targeted advertising!)

[Damn! I should not have given them that idea. But, chances are, they have already exploited it.]

I have not lost touch with my friends because of my absence on social networks. In fact, I am speaking with them more often. On a mobile phone that does not weigh as much as a construction brick. Pandemic and all, that is the best we can do today. I no longer feel the need to post my crappy humour, unoriginal ideas, ill-formed opinions, and angry rants on these social networks anymore. I have not lost the feeling; I just do not feel a need to post it. (WhatsApp/Other IMs are an exception, because they are more intimate; but I think I shall conquer that, in good time)

Finally, this post; about social networks and social media – is not a rant. It’s a happy experience of not experiencing everything that is fed to you.


As an early-70s kid, it has brought back a happiness that I knew and related to.


Life’s better when it is small and full; rather than being big and empty.

A Musical Schizophrenia

There’s always one song — a crass, inelegant one. The genre doesn’t matter, the period does. Almost always this will be a song from when you were young. Perhaps in your early college days; a little more than three decades ago. (Needless to say, if you are still in college, or if you are just out; this won’t make sense to you.)

It is your favourite song. Still.

30 years ago, people around you, agreed with you. It was the best, they echoed. 30 years later, you dare not say it loud: I love this song. Most of us mature in our taste of music; some of us do not. It’s not something to apologise for. It is however, something not worth advertising.


I may have said this before. I lost my iPod Classic during travel, a few years ago; it’s been a while. Since then, the music experience has never been the same. Music, movies, books, have to be possessed – the cloud does not cut it. Imagine painstakingly tagging over seven thousand songs in your own way, and not being able to access your music in the way that you want to.

Discontinuing the iPod Classic is the worst thing that Apple did. Not that they care, but I will never forgive them for that.


I’ve lost my religion. I have to get back to Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel. True salvation lies in their words and their strings. For me. I do not know about you.


Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them.
Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed.
I am certain that priceless wealth is in thee, and that thou art my best friend, but I have not the heart to sweep away the tinsel that fills my room.
The shroud that covers me is a shroud of dust and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love.
My debts are large, my failures great, my shame secret and heavy; yet when I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted.

~ Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore




My life’s so common it disappears
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears


Of Tools and Skills

Advertisers are really smart people.


Calligraphy pens, circular saws, digital pencils, 4-wheel drive vehicles, to-do apps, are a few examples I can think of. All of these tools and widgets are easily available to most of us today. One or four clicks on a website and they are available to us. We see the advertisement for it, and we want it. Because the advertisement shows how easy it is to use any of these tools. Of course, the advertisers don’t say that you will need some sort of a skill before you can use this tool.

Possessing a tool does not a craftsman make.

The tool doesn’t assure skill. It enables a skill. It will help you hone a skill; you have to have the basic skill, however.

Calligraphy pens don’t enable good handwriting. If you have the patience, focus, and ability to write well, a calligraphy pen will help your handwriting look artistic — perhaps even elevate your handwriting. If you do not have an understanding of brush-strokes, colour — using a digital pencil in a digital drawing app isn’t going to enable you to create a masterpiece. What use is a 4WD vehicle for you, if you do not know how and when to engage the front or the back wheels (Transmission?)  (Pardon me on the vehicle example, I really have no idea how a 4WD vehicle works.) But indulge me for a moment – isn’t it glorious to imagine taking a vehicle off-road, over rocky and rough places and feeling the rush of an adventure of driving on a surface that isn’t a road?

That’s why advertisers are smart people. They know what you feel; they zero in on that. They have 30 seconds to tell you the story, so, they have to edit – and tell you the most important things. About the tool. Advertisers are in the business of selling ‘tools’. The skill: you have to acquire yourself. They do not get the time to tell you, that if you do not know basic carpentry – there’s nothing worthwhile you can do with a circular saw.

Let it be known, I do not bemoan advertisers, at all. For those of us who have the skill to use these tools, advertisers do us a service of letting us know of the ways and means of honing our skill. It takes months, if not years to even acquire a skill, forget mastering it. It is up to us to decide which tool serves us the best, at what time, and for what purpose.

“The tool can do only as much as the skill allows. The skill can be honed, only as much as the mind can train. The mind can train only as much as the heart believes.” 

From an Old Post

Acquisition of a tool is not acquisition of a skill.

All’s Well: The Intersection

Something that I had once said, came true today. I am happy, because I was/am right. I am sad, because I did not want it to be right.

Not all intersections are indicators of long and shared journeys. Intersections are opportunities; but some are just that: intersections. We may believe that an intersection may make me change my direction and walk with you, or an intersection may make you change your direction and walk with me. It may happen even; but not always, and not at every intersection. Sometimes intersections are only intersections. Enjoy them, and move along your path. An intersection is only a milestone of what was lost or what we let go.

Your opportunity may be waiting at the next intersection. Or not.

BWSL Mumbai

And intersections are lively. They are fun, they are entertaining. But we have to be on and away on our journey. An intersection is a stop; the opposite of a journey. Every intersection prolongs your journey; so be wary of intersections.

As long as you keep walking, all’s well.