Silent Treatment, Day 1

Ever since I read the Emily Yoffe’s article, I always wanted to try an experimental vow of silence – the “maun vrat”. But just like my every other plan, this too came unplanned. I just saw Abhineet off (who, by the way, seemed to be okay, but I believe in the depths of insider stories rather than ripples of surface courtesy) and was coming back from Madhuban Chowk when I suddenly, inexplicably realised –  the moment had come.

I had always imagined it to be a surreal experience. We people are so used to broadcast ourselves that we have stopped to actually listen to people around us. They have reduced to mere springboards for our own echo. And I didn’t want any of it – I wanted be like a cool, calm, hip Buddha under the tree. So, I thought I’ll be this sponge which will absorb all the knowledge, good or bad, without my own bias filtering through.

But I guess dreams should remain dreams. Ironically and as a separate concern, I had all kinds of (actual) scary dreams even before I could witness the first sun of my “silent” week. In all of them, I was in various places, mostly with Megha and laughing with her how the idea was stupid and how I had broken my vow. Mind you, it was just 4 hours since I tied my tongue.

When I woke up to realise they were silly, funny dreams, I laughed (silently). But then to my utter horror, I realised a bigger truth, that my sub-conscious didn’t believe in me to just shut up. And I have to concede, that part of my brain knows me well enough.

It is very difficult not to talk. You may think to see is far more important but trust me when I tell you one just can’t live without a voice. Even when people don’t have audible voice – they develop a gesture based language; when they can’t be seen, they develop a written language. It is a basic need for humans to communicate. I learned it the hard way.

I was sitting with Mummy in the morning when she was talking about random things. But I couldn’t get myself interested because I was feeling no better than a piece of furniture. And I couldn’t even communicate how her talk was only infuriating rather than exciting me; she blissfully unaware of the turmoil inside me briefed me about the recent Ramdev saga and tabla. I had to finally type her a message (Rulebreak#1). She read, laughed and went on about her business. As she was going out, Surbhi called. I handed the call to Mummy and explained to her in sign language that I couldn’t talk due to Maun Vrat. She passed on the message to Surbhi on the line. When I met Surbhi downstairs, I handed her the things she needed and when finally parting, I had to gesture so that she could know Mummy was not joking. Her eyes went big in surprise and she went away laughing. I came back.

After Mummy and Papa had gone to office I was alone. For the next 7 hours, I was simply feeding myself with recent MS news and Joss. In-between I forgot my silent vow. I instructed Nancy to not irritate me (Rulebreak#2). And then Vishu came to give some prasad from their recent visit. I started chatting (!) and laughing with her, when I just hushed myself (Rulebreak#3). I gestured so she could know I couldn’t speak. I decided to be more careful.

But I had no reason to be. Until about 7 pm, I had no contact whatsoever with the outside world. But then came Mummy and I was doing well when Megha’s SOS message came to fetch her from bus stop. I  asked Mummy, amid the hurry to rush out, to give Rs 100 (Rulebreak#4). In my defense, it was better this time around. I had caught myself mid-sentence. Getting better!

When I reached bus stop Megha was not there. Wow. When a hero goes to the rescue  of a damsel-in-distress who in turn keeps him waiting, disappointment is not the only feeling possible, anger is also imminent. I was burning and imagining all kinds of retorts when after about five minutes I spotted Megha. She was beaming at me and updated me on how her exams went (she has got a surefire bach, by the way). Since she was expecting no kind of feedback she told me about many general things on the way back home. In no time, my anger ebbed away and I was genuinely interested in her ramblings (This served an important lesson to me – the first one from this experiment –  but I’ll serve the results of my experiences as a sum total at the end of the week alongwith many others over the period).

It was on the mobile recharge shop that things got interesting. I had to somehow tell Megha that I wanted a 49 Voda message card without actually telling. But I relaxed the rules for the moment and tried to play sign language with her until she made me type ‘49’ on the cell. And when he asked for my phone number, I fumbled for my cell as I couldn’t tell him my number. He showed sympathy and offered calculator to type in my number. But he remained professional like nothing odd was going on. Nice!

Well, I came home and was helping Mummy with some chores in the kitchen. When she asked me how many chapatis I wanted for dinner, I was already feeling quite guilty and reckless for my behaviour since the afternoon. Thus I simply gestured I don’t know. But she needed a clear number and (rightfully) was irate that I was selfish enough to ask for money just minutes earlier but couldn’t blurt a single letter now. When Megha came to me for my bit on this infuriating oddity of mine, I explained how I beamed a sign of two, but Mummy must have missed it (my gesture for her was a combination of a surprise and a two made by fingers; don’t underestimate the power of sign language). It was enough to cool people down, but the murky details lie with me which I have confessed here so you can see how difficult it is to play by the rules when you are the one who makes them. You just don’t know whether to relax them and when. Anything can go wrong. And thus I made them clearer – no talking, no lipsing, no texting, no communication except rudimentary gestures.

Everyone was settling in their beds by now, and I spent another 2-3 hours searching for more MS news (Xbox just got a Metro update. Yay!). And just now, I was trying to explain to Papa how Nancy found sitting on my bed doesn’t equate my explicit permission but only passive ignorance. I committed a grave mistake in the process, unfortunately (Rulebreak#5).

The pattern here is I’m more prone to my forgetfulness after prolonged periods of being alone. Have to be careful tomorrow!

Published in: on 7 Jun '11 at 2 pm  Comments (2)  

Live Like You’re Dying, Task Two: CUT!

Ah! My frequent bursts of laziness! Kept me away from WordPress for so long. But I do bother to check it every now and then. And today I decided to liven up the dormant section of ‘Live Like You’re Dying’. It is not like I have actually ignored my blog. I wrote many entries – many, many entries – but never managed to publish them. Second thoughts are never good for productivity, I must say.

Aim – To get a decent haircut. Simple.

DifficultyEasy

Why – People just don’t take me seriously anymore. It’s natural since I hardly look like someone living in a modern society. So I have decided, I just have to take myself seriously first and the world will follow suit. And my mother has stopped loving me… she calls me a bear!

Hairy Scary!

Plan – I just have to go to Flicks’n’Cuts and then I have to do nothing. Get sleepy in the chair. Yep! That this the thing I have to be guarded against, otherwise they just experiment with my hair. And the most important thing, I have to communicate properly. I have a knack of saying some mumbo jumbo that is far from what I want. Don’t know why but I just get overwhelmed at a salon.

Yay! Finally I’ll look like a decent man. That will set me up just right for some future explorations. ;)

Published in: on 16 Apr '11 at 2 am  Comments (5)  

Retrospection is funny!

I always like this vague idea of keeping my audience so interested, they will be coming back for more. And only once in my life this was coming out to be true. But I am the destructor of my own fortune (the more people are close to me, greater is the probability they have told me this, at least once).

Actually I saw my post, *DiNG*. I thought it would be a summary of my life. But it was a one post wonder, wonder in the sense I do wonder – whenever I see that post I wonder what I was thinking when I wrote it. But then I finally nailed today what my initial motto was – it was just to be a open journal of sort. And ironically, it is. A blank piece of paper lying around like a step child which no one cares about, whether it cries or hoots. Just like my future. Nothing is written in stone, clay or sand. Heck, I don’t even try to write my future in water. I just can’t follow a deadline. Forget about creating one.

Another motivation for this fault-finding mission is a just concluded (an hour ago) phone call with my friend. She asked me what backtracking meant in the shortest path algo. Don’t bother with details, it’s just that tomorrow is our exam so this talk makes sense. And I asked, what? what is backtracking? When she asked what I was doing, I told her I was checking Quora. Heck, this was a golden opportunity to try out the site. She wanted an answer, a thoughtful and well meaning answer that too in a short time – exactly what Quora is pitching itself as. Not exactly, but it is what people want it to do. But she refused to explain the question to me. And simply asked me if I had already done… some chapter… (I don’t remember the name). The thing is, I had not even heard of it. She tried to tell me it was a little like calculus, and I was sincerely confused. Calculus in discrete maths (the paper I’m going to sit in tomorrow)? And I have forgot it an hour later. What’s the probability I’ll be doing it? A big fat Zero.

And that is the problem with everything in my life – full of promise but half baked (I sound like Google). Actually I have done half the syllabus, and will be doing it later in the night, just don’t ask when (my future is a blank paper, don’t be a Ghajini now). But it’s just that I don’t feel like shooting for the moon. It needs effort and Discrete Mathematics is not the thing that I want to waste my time for, however much I like sets and relations. Facebook isn’t it either, nor is it Quora for that matter. It is another distant dream, which I feel will take over the world. It takes effort but it is in nature to keep my calm and swim with the flow. Maybe it is an excuse, but the thing is, I am not exactly pursuing the strategy of following my dreams.

And that’s exactly why I started a new series of ‘Live like you’re Dying’ – where I’ll explore things I always wanted to do. And how I’ll get about doing them. Just hope it doesn’t go down the path of those DOA *DiNG*s. Because it is one thing I actually want to happen… :)

Published in: on 5 Jan '11 at 8 pm  Comments (2)  

Live Like You’re Dying, Day One: Studying Like Never Before

Well this is the third day of the year, and I already don’t know what to do with the remaining 363 days. So, I’ve decided to transform this blog into a record of my intended activities that I don’t take up either due to laziness or due to lack of will. I wished more people would have read my blog coz this simply means I’ll be more responsible towards what I say. Therefore, I’ve started to publish the posts on FB also. So, here I begin what I want to do.

I have decided to start a series ‘Live Like You’re Dying’ – where I would simply take up something I want to do before my imminent demise. There are many things I ought to do, I need to do and I want to do. But they always been on the backburner due to more immediate concerns.

 

AimTo study for a minimum of 15 hours before I sit in the exam tomorrow. Only the time actually devoted to learning will be counted.

DifficultyMedium

Why – It’s my exam tomorrow and I have not taken it seriously. FB is the culprit, and so is my Lappie. But no more. I’ll do it – 1) because I need it, and 2) because it means I can achieve unrealistic targets, as I have never in my life studied for more than 10 hours, even in the direst of situations.

Plan – I’ll get my cell and charge it fully. Coz it will be my constant companion in this life-critical mission. It will serve as a timer-cum-alarm-cum-clock for me. I’ll say no-no to Lappie completely. Let’s see where can I dump it for a day. But hey! It’s my Java exam and I need to do programming. So, I’ll hide my ethernet wire somewhere. And have to collect all my books, pen, food, water, pillow et al in one place to minimise wastage of time.

 

Wish me good luck, as this is my debut adventure. Don’t want to fail at the start line.

Published in: on 3 Jan '11 at 12 am  Leave a Comment