Word of the Week #108:

Volition

So, yesterday, I tried on a new pair of shoes, for the first time. Good shoes, objectively speaking. They just seem a little more tough, I would say. The sole is somewhat harder.

And as I played wearing them, I could feel the subtle difference under my feet. I could feel the few extra fractions of a second I gained in my air time, as well as the slight additional strain that accumulated each time I landed.

It was, as most things in life are, a trade off.

In its essence, that is what life is, right? The cumulative consequence of all our choices…

You choose a sugary drink over the risk of dehydration? An additional inch of tummy over the week should not be a surprise.

You choose to repair your old vehicle instead of buying a new one? Well, it may just break down again in a month or two.

Choose to follow your passion instead of seeking an ordinary, though reliable job? That is not exactly the path to financial stability, is it?

Yes, life is all about choice… Choices which we are forced to make without sufficient understanding of the consequences.

Sounds cruel, one might say. And I’m not the only one…

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

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Word of the Week #106:

Interlude

Okay, we did have something interesting, and also quite important, to discuss today, as I mentioned last week. However, it looks like we would not be able to get to that just yet, as a little news has popped up that made us want to take a quick break.

You see, the good folks over at WordPress were kind enough to inform us that we have now complete two whole years online. Now, I have no reason to doubt them, but it is odd how 106 weekly posts seem to amount to two years.

Nevertheless, we thought it might be interesting to pause for a moment, and take a look back at the old hits. There have been some pretty good one, haven’t there?

#1: Procrastinate

After all, we never forget our first, do we?

#11: Culture

Oh, this one remains one of my personal favourites.

#16: Conformity

“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong.”

— Ernie, Sesame Street

 

#29: Fortitude

Sometimes, the short ones are the strongest, you know.

#32: Pinata

Damn! This one went really wrong really fast, eh?

#34: Mitigation

This might have been the only time when I willingly and publicly praised the actions of our government. After all, credit where credit is due, right?

#37: Resurgence

A first-hand account of our trials and eventual triumph at the Delhi Comic Con, ’16.

 

#41: Eerie

This was our immediate reaction to the unusually creepy season finale of Sherlock.

#50: Matrimony

“Do you swear to keep mocking this ancient, outdated tradition till death sets you free?”
“I do!”

#60: Morbid

You know what? There are moments like these when I will creep even myself out…

#73: Ornithology

Who here doesn’t occasionally indulge in bird watching, right?

#74: Blitzkrieg

Well, this was the end of an era, to be quite honest. Book Two, Baby!

#77: Credit

You know, the time we discussed whether I get loans…

#80: Monster [Guest Post]

Not taking any names, but I know for a fact that some readers actually cried reading this one…

#81: Scavenger

If you see something, say something. Get it?

#83: Cataclysm

Every heart-touching story can use a sprinkling of some wordplay, right?

#86: Caesura

This talks about the night poetry touched me… You know, in the good way…

#89: Contraceptive

Well, even if the government does not want to talk about it, we will.

#105: Nuance

Yeah, I do believe this last one was quite special.


Of course, if you have any other ones on your mind, do let us know…

We will be back next week…

Word of the Week #105:

Nuance

Tonight, as I was ordering my dinner, I had many thoughts running through my head. You know, as usual…

At the foreground of my mind, I am scanning through the several menus, considering the several options. Unfortunately, all the food I saw could be easily divided into two major groups: Extremely Unhealthy and Extremely Boring.

After having worked quite hard to lose my tummy, and intent on keeping it at bay for as long as I could, I was somewhat leaning towards the latter group. After all, I have other means of entertainment. Food being purely sustenance to the body, while an alien thought to me, still seemed rational.

Then, in the deeper layer of my internal monologue popped a question, one that a friend had earlier asked me in passing and I had earlier disregarded, “Are you anorexic?

Well, I had disregarded it once, but this time, knowing quite well that I had lost almost an eight of my body weight in a span of four months, I decided to consider it.

Now, let me begin by saying that the symptoms associated with anorexia are rather vague, and also vaguely applicable to me.

  • Rapid Weight Loss: Well, that can happen, in life…
  • Fear of Gaining Weight: Isn’t that fairly normal? Some people are protective of their cars or bikes or homes or what not. I am protective of my abs. What is wrong with that?
  • Food restriction: Well, that is just relative, right? If only more people practised moderation…
  • Excessive Exercising: I have goals, but not the corresponding patience. Sue me.
  • Dry skin and hair: Yeah, swimming does that to you. I guess I should moisturise better.
  • Intolerance to cold: I’ve had this one for quite a while, okay?
  • Solitude: Okay, now you’re just picking on me…

Now, this raises a couple of questions. Let us consider one of them, and we could think about the other one later.

Okay, so the question being: “Am I anorexic?

Now, I am far from an expert, but I would like to hazard a guess and say, “No, I quite certainly am not.”

I am a smart kid. I have sufficient experience of sports and exercise and food. I know what my body needs.

Sure, I have lost some weight, but that is not all there is to it. I am smart enough to realise that I was ill far a certain period during that span, and that I ended up losing a significant amount of muscle mass as a result. Therefore, I need to regain some muscle, and I still have fat to spare. Both of these require an apt combination diet and exercise.

So, no, I am not starving myself to death. I am working towards a healthier being. This is not a disorder. This is a lifestyle, and a pretty healthy one at that.

I know I have wavered in the past few months, but as long as I can find the right balance and then continue to maintain it, I should be quite fine.

I will admit, though… Reading about it did give me a momentary scare.

Self-diagnosis over the internet is so not a good idea.

Word of the Week #104:

Denounce

Ever since I can remember, I have always heard how cricket was supposed to be a gentlemen’s game. Playing the sport for all of my childhood, the concept of sportsmanship had been etched deep into my mind.

It is partly because of these memories that the events of this week about the details of the state of the sport, and the attitudes of those who practise and govern it, have left me quite disheartened.

Now, of course, I am not talking about the allegations of corruption surrounding DDCA. No, today, we talk about the rot at the very top.

Today, we talk about what is increasingly being referred to as the Sandpaper Gate.

Sure, enough has been said about the players who were caught in the act, and were thus forced to confess. But what about the men sitting high up in the governing council, who thought a one-match ban would suffice for the mastermind, while the actual culprit gets away with little more than a slap on the knuckles?

To put this in perspective, back in 2008, when Australia was visiting India, Gautam Gambhir received a one-match ban for seemingly elbowing a Shane Watson who was quite obviously impeding the batsman’s natural running motion and was clearly in the wrong. You cannot jump in the path of a moving vehicle and then blame your injuries on the driver, can you? Well, apparently you can.

This was not an isolated instance, of course. Many players from the subcontinent have faced punishments disproportionate to their infractions, while Australian and English players seem to get away conveniently.

I wonder what the reason might be…

 

Word of the Week #100:

Centenary

There was a time when I was quite serious about cricket. Playing professionally was not a far-fetched dream.

10 years have passed since then, and as one would expect, my life has changed a lot. Regardless, everything that I learned during that span is still fresh on my mind, and is still applicable to the challenges I face in my life.

One of the things I learned was the art of building your innings. I never got to apply it in cricket itself because, well, I’d hardly ever last long enough.

Regardless, let us take a quick look:

  • 1 – 15: This is the toughest phase. Try to get through this without doing anything stupid.
  • 16 – 40: This is where things get easier. You begin to understand yourself and the conditions around you.
  • 41 – 60: This can be a bit of a transition period. The ball is no longer new, the pace of the game has changed. You either adjust, or you fall.
  • 61 – 80: Everything seems to flow perfectly. This is when most of highlight shots come.
  • 81 – 99: This is the treacherous part of the path. Fatigue and complacency are your biggest enemies, and you just want to trudge along out of sheer persistence.
  • 100: Finally… This is the realm where only a chosen few can tread. Take off your helmet, look to the crowds. Take a moment for yourself.
  • 101 and beyond: Just keep moving forward.

Word of the Week #99:

Lambent

So, if you were to take a quick look at the events that transpired throughout the past week, you might end up feeling quite dejected, or you might just stop feeling altogether.

Yeah, it has been that kind of a week, where we feel let down by the world around us.

I talk about the real world, of course. My world is still pretty cool, and that is what keeps me inoculated from everything real. And this is a part of art that we do not seem to discuss nearly as much as we ought to.

You see, in today’s world, art is too often evaluated by the impact it is supposed to have on the world around it.

Black Panther released last weekend, and its portrayal of minorities and women is the discussion that seems to dominate the media.

Last weekend was also the NBA All Star weekend, and an initial part of the proceedings was usurped by reactions to some Fox News anchor’s racially insensitive, extremely demeaning, and frankly quite stupid comments about the greatest basketball player of our generation.

It is gladdening, of course, to see artists and athletes using their platforms to try to change the world for the better. Their excellence grants them this prerogative.

However, that is not where we begin, right?

Art is not always a beacon that guides the entire world.
Sometimes, it is just a flickering candle that illuminates a single soul…
And sometimes, that is enough.

Word of the Week #98:

Conundrum

So, I’ve lost quite some weight over the past few months. 

Okay, I don’t know if ‘weight’ is what I lost, considering that I may have gained enough muscle to compensate for the lost fats.

But, anyway, I have gotten leaner. Appparently, playing basketball for ten hours a week will do that for you.

It sounds like a great thing, right? Well, it is not, and for a ridiculous but real reason: My clothes don’t fit anymore…

This may seem like an exaggeration, but I literally cannot walk down the stairs without having my jeans dangle around my knees. Now, some young men may prefer their jeans that way, but I am definitely not one of them.

Also, of course I do own a belt, but I keep it downstairs. Just saying…

Now, I could use this as an opportunity to overhaul my entire wardrobe, but that sounds like an expensive proposition, and there is always the risk that I’d pudge out sometime in the near future.

On the other hand, I cannot really go on like this, you know.

I think this decision could very well define the kind of man I will be.

I also think I can overthink things, at times…