A50. Home Without a House

Scene 1:

The sky is getting dark and everyone is returning to their house.

He’s sitting on the edge of the road, facing me, oblivious or perhaps least bothered of the danger he’s in: a vehicle can run into him at any moment. He has a packet of food in front of him. I’m sitting outside a café, with a friend, having coffee and a conversation which seems to be shifting from one topic to another. As I see this man, in clothes which are torn and dirty, owning the space he’s sitting in, I wonder if he thinks that he’s sitting in the dining room of his house; he certainly is behaving that way.

He is having his meal with ease, taking his time, cherishing every bite of the food that he’s having. I do not see concern in his eyes for what people around him would think of him. He seems happy and content. He’s probably a homeless man. However, from where I can see him, he’s a man without a house but he has found a home in the space he’s sitting in.

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Scene 2:

I’m taking a walk, late in the evening, trying to organize the thoughts on my mind.

I see a group of children sitting on the pavement around a small screen. It appears to be a TV and the children are seeing a Bollywood movie on it. A woman is sitting just inches away from these children, preparing a meal for her family. She’s probably the mother of these children. It appears to be a scene of a regular household: the children appear to be in the living room of their house and the mother appears to be cooking in the kitchen.

As I walk a few steps, I see a group of women sitting on the pavement around another small screen. They seem to be watching a Bollywood movie or perhaps a TV soap. If we put bricks around them, this would probably look like a scene of a living room of a joint family or a neighborhood where everyone gathers at an individual’s house to watch TV and socialize.

Scene 3:

I’m in an auto rickshaw with a friend, waiting for the signal to go green, heading towards the railway station to board a train.

As I look out of the auto rickshaw, I see a woman lifting her child from a cradle. She’s on the pavement and the cradle is but a piece of cloth tied to the railing on the pavement. I see two kids running around the woman, wanting to play with the baby. As they see that their mother is busy with the baby, they climb onto the railing and into the cradle to swing on it.

They appear to be a happy family, engaged in the regular affairs of their day, oblivious of the onlookers. If a house does not require bricks and walls then this seems to be a scene of a family in their living room or bedroom. From where I can see, this is a family without a house but they seem to have found a home on the pavement.

 

Every time I play these scenes in my head, I can see a thick line between the word house and home. I’m fascinated by how these people have been able to create a home without having the luxury of a house. While house is materialistic, home is a feeling. One can be in a house and yet, not feel at home. One can be without a house and yet, feel at home. One can feel at home with a certain person or group of people. One can feel at home even when he/she is without a house and alone.

The people who live on the roads and sleep on the footpath are referred to as homeless, however, when I think of these people that I mentioned in the three scenes above, I wonder what I should refer to them as: homeless or houseless?

 

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FYI: I take no credit for the picture in this blog post. I found the picture on the internet and I chose to use it to help the readers of this blog relate to the content of the post.

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A49. Sugar Leads to Agreement and Consent

I’ve been thinking about whether sugar can influence the probability of giving consent or agreement. I believe that sugar can increase the chances of giving consent or agreement. It’s highly probable! However, it still is a working theory and I’ll have to conduct a few experiments to prove it.

This question of whether sugar can influence the probability of giving consent or agreement first popped up in my mind when I was tossing and turning in my bed in the middle of the night of January 29. I immediately got out of bed to note down the question in a journal that I usually keep beside my bed. The word ‘usually’ is rather misleading; I’ve recently started keeping a journal beside my bed to note down any ideas that would pop up in my mind when I’d be tossing and turning in my bed in the middle of the night. Anyway, the answer to this question came to me when I was taking a shower on the afternoon of January 30. The answer was dopamine and its effect on our thinking process.

I think that the release of dopamine on the intake of sugar makes the System 2 of our mind take a backseat. System 2 is a term used by Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow to refer to a system that’s responsible for the thinking process of our mind that’s slow but rational. System 2 is a lazy critic.

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I’ll have to further study the impact of dopamine on the thinking process of the human mind to understand if it actually influences the probability of giving consent or agreement. If I ever meet you in person, please do not be surprised if I offer you sweets when we have an argument.

Perhaps, you can take sweets with you to board meetings or the next time you want to have a conversation with your boss for a raise in your salary? FYI: I’m proposing that sugar increases the probability of agreement or consent. I hope that you understand the difference between what’s probable and what’s certain. In other words, sugar does not guarantee agreement or consent.

 

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A48. The Actual Definition of Introvert & Extrovert.

Our society is coming up with so many labels lately that it’s become difficult to keep up with them. As a result, we often confuse one label with another and sometimes, we mix the definitions of two or more labels. Sometimes, when we’re been labelled as a certain type, we limit our behaviour to that type and intentionally or unintentionally fit ourselves into the general image of that type. Also, Stereotypes often become identities of a group. Now, though stereotypes are often true, they’re not always true.

Introvert and extrovert are two of the most misunderstood labels. The stereotypical image of an introvert and an extrovert have become their identity and as a result, these stereotypical images have ended up becoming definitions of these terms.

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An introvert is considered to be a person who’s shy and is not really good at small talks. Introverts are considered to be avid readers and they’re either considered to be geeks or individuals who are good at arts. Introverts are expected to be in a library or book stores or in the corner of a café. At a social gathering, an introvert is assumed to be where they’d get little or no attention.

An extrovert is considered to be confident and great at small talks. Extroverts are considered to be energetic and adventurous. Many people think that extroverts love attention. Some think that extroverts are jack of all trades, master of none. Extroverts are expected to be at social events/gatherings, pubs, and places full of people. At a social gathering, an extrovert is expected to be where he/she would get as much attention as he/she possibly could get.

Let’s keep the stereotypical images of introverts and extroverts aside for a while. An introvert likes to spend time with himself/herself; he/she prefers being alone over spending time with others. An extrovert likes to spend time with people; he/she prefers spending time with people over being alone. Everything other than this that you know about introverts and extroverts should either be forgotten or be detached from the definition of these two terms. Introverts can be confident and extroverts can be shy. An introvert can be good at small talks and an extrovert may like to read.

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Now, this blog post is not merely about the actual meaning of the words introvert and extrovert. Like I said in the first paragraph of this blog post, “Sometimes, when we’re been labelled as a certain type, we limit our behaviour to that type and intentionally or unintentionally fit ourselves into the general image of that type.” I do not like to label myself as an introvert or an extrovert. I can be either of them but I’m going to be neither of the two forever. These labels may define me in a moment but they’re not going to be my permanent characteristics. Dare you call me an ambivert!

An extrovert would sometime like to be alone and spend time with himself/herself to get to know himself/herself. An introvert would have times when he/she would like being in the company of other people. Let’s not treat these labels as definite characteristics.

We humans have started putting ourselves in boxes to better understand ourselves and each other; that’s what we always do to make things comprehensible. But in the attempt of doing that, we’re limiting ourselves to certain characteristics. We’re not one thing; we’re numerous things. We’re numerous things, sometimes all at once and sometimes one thing at a time. We may be a particular label for once and we may be a particular label over and over again. What am I trying to say? Okay, let me put this in a nutshell: We’re limitless; we can be whoever we want to be.

 

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A47. To Writer, From Paper

Dear Writer,

I know that if I’d ask you now if you still consider me your friend, you’d say “yes”. However, I wonder if you’d be lying because you do not hang out with me anymore. I’m sure that you’d tell me that you miss me but I do not see you making any attempt to reach out to me and to spend time with me.

I miss you dearly and I’ve made a few attempts to reach out to you but whenever I come to you, you ignore me and give all your attention to your new friend: the one that you now prefer over me. I’m not jealous of your new friend though because I understand that he’s just a new interest of yours like I once was.

You know, I’ve been through this numerous times already. People come to me because I’m a good listener, they tell me everything that they’ve in their mind. I do not interrupt people when they’re talking with me and I never judge them. Actually, most of the people talk at me instead of with or to me. But I allow people to open their heart to me and feel light.

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I can see why you prefer your new friend over me. He can entertain you and he gives a lot of his attention to you. Excuse me for being blunt and straight but I think that your new friend is only spoiling you with all the attention that he’s showering on you. Your new friend is like caffeine or nicotine: you’re addicted to him and eventually you’ll regret being with him. You’d want to leave him for your own good but it’ll be really very difficult for you to live without him. I sound a bit jealous now, don’t I?

You know, Friendship Day is not very far. Let’s meet. You can bring your new friend with you: your gadgets.

Lots of Love.

Regards,

Paper (or, as you like to call me, the dead corpse of trees!)

 

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A46. What Should She Do?

She resides in a palace of illusions.

The crown that she wears is imaginary.

 

He breaks her glass walled Kingdom.

He’s extending his hand to invite her into a new world;

He’s asking her to step out of her comfort zone.

He’s calling her to a world where she shall have no identity;

Without an identity, she shall be free.

 

He’s inviting her to explore what she’s never explored.

A world in which her jewels shall be her scars instead of diamonds.

A world in which experiences shall be her teachers instead of books.

This world will amaze her just as much as it shall scare her.

Here, she’ll be closer to the truth than she’s ever been.

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She stands there, wondering if he can be trusted.

Her’s is a world she knows and thus, it does not excite her anymore.

If she stays in her world, she shall be safe.

He looks like an adventure she’s always read about in books.

Should she hold his hand and enter an unknown territory?

 

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PS: This is probably the worst poem that you would’ve ever read. I do not write poems. Why am I posting the poem online when I know that it’s not good? Ah, well, this is one of the few poems that I’ve ever written and thus, good or bad, I’m going to take pride in it anyway. 😉

A45. Stored in the Brain for Further Processing

“Atticus said that Jem was trying hard to forget something, but what he was really doing was storing it away for a while, until enough time passed. Then he would be able to think about it and sort things out. When he was able to think about it, Jem would be himself again.”

-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Most writers are good observers and therefore, they do observe a good bit about human behavior. I think that the above paragraph from the book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee says a good bit about human behavior. At least I can relate to it.

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When we’re overwhelmed by an event, we find it difficult to rationally process such event and perhaps therefore we distance ourselves from such event so that it does not interfere with our day-to-day routine and we can rationally process it when the time is right. While most of us do it unknowingly, some of us do it knowingly. It probably is one of the many coping mechanisms that our mind engages in.

I find this fascinating and therefore, I’m sharing it on my blog.

PS: Even Sherlock Holmes (or, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) says that we must not come to conclusions until we’ve all the data.

 

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A44. Who am I Becoming?

For the first time in my life, I’m unable to recognize the person that I’ve become. I feel like someone who’s seeing his reflection in a mirror after months and years! I cannot comprehend what’s happening to me. I’m not upset though. However, I’m scared and excited at the same time. I feel like I’m on a new adventure, walking on a strange road oblivious of where it’s going to lead me.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like nobody is able to understand me. But how can I expect others to understand me when I’m failing to understand myself? I’ve always been good at expressing my feelings but how can I express what I cannot even comprehend? I wonder if I should visit a psychiatrist.

I feel like I’m a cage and inside me is a being who’s trying hard to get out: to be free! I do not know who or how this being is. I can tell that he’s desperate to get out. He’s been mischievous lately. I think that he’s wild, very wild! I would let him free but is the world prepared for him? Will people around him be able to understand him? Above all, am I prepared for him and will I be able to understand him?

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I know that he’s going to get out somehow; he’s eventually going to overpower me. I’m not strong enough to keep him trapped forever and he’s only getting stronger! I also know that once he’s free, he cannot be trapped again. As a matter of fact, even though I’m fighting to keep him trapped, I want him to win this fight. If he gets out, he wouldn’t only be freeing himself, he’ll free me.

Why am I fighting him? I do not know. I think that I want to give him a tough fight. Maybe I want to feel the pleasure that I shall experience when the wild being in me shall be free after a long fight with me.

What if what’s in me is actually a monster? Maybe it’s a monster. But he has to get out of me. He needs to be free. He wants to roar in the open air, he’s willing to fight for his freedom!

However, what I do know is that what’s trying to get out of me is me; monster or not a monster, wild or not actually wild, good or bad, I need to be free.

 

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