Word of the Week #222:

Primacy

Looking at people’s response to the current pandemic has made me realise a few things, two of which being especially paramount.

1. If this crisis has not caused a significant long-term damage to your life, you are extremely privileged.

Honestly, I’ll include myself in that group.

I’m not rich, but I’m definitely not poor either.

My work has suffered a little, and it will take a few months for me to recover. Significant? Perhaps, but I wouldn’t call that long-term. 

My savings have taken a major hit, but at least I did have savings to begin with.

Of course, the most annoying thing has been the fact that some of our other privileges like going out, eating in restaurants and traveling have been curtailed. But that’s what these are: privileges. A temporary rescission of our privileges is a small price to pay to survive a global health crisis.

If we can’t even handle that… I don’t even want to finish that sentence. 

2. If this crisis has led you to see an improvement in your life, you have been squandering your privileges.

This is the part that irks me more.

“Oh, who would’ve known that a pandemic that has killed half a million people and shattered the lives of millions more was exactly the kind of blessing in disguise I needed to spend more time with the people I love and read and write and paint and cook and exercise and do all this stuff that I never had a chance to do. Thank you, Corona. You have changed my life.”

Huh…

I can’t even…

Just, do better. 

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

—Luke 12:48

Word of the Week #221:

Contrition

People often ask me what I do all day.

Okay, not often. More like, occasionally.

Anyway, I don’t usually have a real answer. I don’t have a schedule, per se. I just do what I like.

Still, what does a day look like in my life?

Well, let’s take a look.

12:00 PM

Awaken by a call. Client asks if I can take a new project and complete it in 24 hours.
“Of course, I can! Sure thing!”

12:02 PM

Go back to sleep.

4:14 PM

Actually wake up.

4:16 PM

Send confirmation to client without actually reading the whole email or checking the attachments.

4:20 PM

Freshen up.

4:40 PM

Think about working out.

5:30 PM

Actually start working out.

6:15 PM

Finish working out.

6:30 PM

Finally catch your breath.

6:31 PM

Think about taking a shower before getting distracted by a text.

6:56 PM

Actually shower.

7:13 PM

Walk out of the shower.

7:20 PM

Have dinner. 
“Dinner”? “Lunch”? Whatever.

7:40 PM

Consider getting started on the project.

7:41 PM

Decide to start at 8:00

7:42 PM

Chat.

8:00 PM

Realise you don’t want to start working yet. 

Reconsider.

8:03 PM

Decide to really start at 9:00.

8:04 PM

Continue chatting.

9:00 PM

Check the attachment in the email and realise you are not going to enjoy this project.
Whine.
“Nah! I don’t wanna do this!”

9:08 PM

Play video games for an hour.

11:20 PM

Realise it has been more than an hour.

11:21 PM

Decide to really, really start at midnight.

11:22 PM

Tell everyone you have decided to really, really start at midnight.

12:00 AM

Play video games for an hour.

5:28 AM

“Is that sunlight? Son of a—”

5:30 AM

Open a 98 page document.

5:40 AM

Finish reading the 98 page document.

5:41 AM

Get started on your task.

5:55 AM

Finish your task.

6:00 AM

Check once and submit.

6:01 AM

Go down for breakfast.
“Breakfast”? “Dinner”? Whatever.

6:02 AM

Realise that society’s definitions have no hold on you.

6:08 AM

Eat scrambled eggs.

6:11 AM

Lie in bed and watch anime.

10:00 AM

Turn the laptop off and go to bed with zero regrets.

That’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it…

Du du du du du du du du du… Du du du du du du du du du… 

 

Word of the Week #217:

Torrid

Often, I love having this outlet for some of the relatively lukewarm issues I encounter on a daily—or maybe weekly—basis.

It is good to have such outlets. It can be cathartic.

Writing always helps me control the chaos. 

However, if things escalate beyond a certain level, I feel uncomfortable talking about them, which further makes it more difficult to handle an already difficult situation.

And, instead, I shift the conversation to something more mundane, something easier to discuss.

Something like the weather.

Speaking of which, it has been pretty warm, lately. I am not unfamiliar with such heat, but not am I comfortable with it.

I hope it rains soon.

I have no real reason to believe that it will, but a man can hope, right?

After all, it has to rain, right? Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but soon.

Till it does, I just need to survive, right?

Lying under the searing sun, alone, I await the rain. 

Word of the Week #215:

Drone

This world is full of some rather annoying things, right?

Like people, and mosquitoes, and lizards that come running across the walls of your room and freak you out for no good reason. Bloody lizards…

But, more than anything, the one thing that has been annoying me the most over these past few weeks is the dull, throbbing, constant pain that accompanies the rise of a wisdom tooth.

Now, I am no stranger to pain. I get hurt more often in any given month than most people probably would over years. I have had to endure several nagging chronic injuries too.

However, this pain is different. 

It just does not stop.

No matter what else I try to do, it is always there, always making its presence known.

Short of taking powerful painkillers every few hours—something I would refuse to do—there is no way to find any respite from this uninterrupted torment.

I wonder if this is the price for wisdom.

I wonder if this is worth it.

Word of the Week #214:

Analogue

For the past several months, the world has been trying to deal with a major pandemic. We have seen mixed results, but at least we are—on the most part—making a consorted effort to fix the problem, right?

With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder if we can use what we have learned from this active disease to arm ourselves in our fight against other diseases that are not always as flagrant—though they often are—but are all the most pervasive, contagious, and highly devastating.

These include diseases like misogyny, homophobia, racism, casteism, and really all kinds of hateful prejudices that have plagued humanity since, presumably, the birth  of humanity.

So, how do you fight a pandemic?

Educate:

Let people know about the disease. 

  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Modes of Transmission
  • Risks
  • Prevention

The more you know about the disease, the better you can fight it, right?

Find and promote the right sources of information.

Listen to the experts, and comply with the authorities.

Listen and learn. 

Identify and Isolate:

As with any infectious disease, it is vital to identify those showing signs of the disease and isolate them from the general public.

This helps us:

  1. Give the diseased individual a chance at treatment
  2. Protect the public from further spread of the disease

If you or anyone you know shows symptoms of the disease, inform the authorities.

Find A Cure:

Does a cure exist? I couldn’t really say for sure. But a cure can be found, I am confident. 

All we need to do is invest our time, money, effort, and attention into finding it.

Elect Better Leaders:

It is easier to comply with the authorities when said authorities are conscientious and competent.

Like with any other problem, having better leadership will be a major factor.


I think it is a good plan. Now, all we need is a consorted effort to execute it.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Word of the Week #213:

Dissonance

There is a certain plot-line that is ubiquitous in certain genres of movies.

  • There are two characters, A and B.
  • A is nice and sweet, though a little weird. B is pretty and mean.
  • For almost 80% of the story, A will love B and be nice and sweet and everything. B, of course, will always be obnoxious and mean and hurtful to A.
  • Then, suddenly, in a major event, A will realise that B is mean, and B will realise that A is kinda pretty.
  • Then, B will make a big gesture—usually something obnoxious and creepy and over the top—and A will be convinced that B can be kinda nice.
  • And they shall will happily ever after.

I’m sure at least a couple of movies leapt to your mind.

It is a popular story, after all. But is it a good story?

I have noticed this happen in real life too.

We often look for blemishes in good people. Within a lifetime of good behaviour, their one flaw can often ruin their reputations and legacies forever.

With bad people, on the other hand, we look for redeeming qualities. 

Why? Expectation.

We expect good people to do good things. If they meet our expectations, that is the least they could do. If they don’t, they have disappointed us.

With bad people, we wouldn’t expect much to begin with, and while few of them can sink even lower, few others will occasionally do something good that exceeds our expectations.

Meeting expectations is dull and ordinary. Exceeding expectations is fascinating.

It is odd, yeah.

Word of the Week #212:

Lucre

So, I have this habit where I like to throw money at my problems.

More often than not, it ends up working fine, too.

Don’t feel like cooking? Throw some money at it.
Don’t want to wait an extra day for a delivery? Throw some money at it.
Don’t want to walk in the heat? Throw some money at it.

Normally, this tends to work out fine, largely because I don’t have to face as many problems in this world as some other people might.

Lucky, I know.

There is, however, a big problem looming at the horizon that I can’t fix as easily:
I don’t have much money.

Now, I could start being frugal, but what’s the fun in that, right?

No, what I really want is enough money to throw at whatever problems I see. That would be so much more fun.

So… Give me money, Universe. 

Word of the Week #211:

Preface

Now, I’m not one to indulge in shameless self-promotion… Or maybe I am. I don’t know. I can be moody.

Still, I want to talk about a book I recently published. Kindle link, for those interested. 

Locked at home with little else to do, I ended up writing, editing, and publishing this collection of four short stories within ten days.

How did this come about?

I decided to use the space and time this sudden shutdown gave me to experiment with my writing style.

Normally, I prefer writing long, complex stories involving multiple intertwining character arcs and shifting narrative perspectives. It helps me explore the events from multiple angles and create a wide universe that the reader can explore at length.

It’s a good style, or at least I think it is.

Still, it is not suitable for every story.

Sometimes, you do not need shifting narrative perspectives. Sometimes, you need one immersive narrative style that can drive the entire story.

With that in mind, I experimented.

Each of the short stories employ slightly varying narrative styles and tones, meant to sound like four phases or moods of a single character inserted in four different sets of circumstances.

Plus, I did want to write something light and cute and sweet that readers could pick up in these weird, crazy times and hopefully feel a little better reading it.

Overall, I think I am satisfied with the results of my experiment, which is why I decided to publish it.

Let’s see how people like it.

Word of the Week #210:

Pulverise

Sometimes, I feel like I am made of sand.

“How much more can you break me?” I ask.

“Just a little more,” Life replies.

“How much more till I turn to dust?” I ask.

“Just a little more.”

Word of the Week #209:

Substratum

I just realised! We have just completed four years of uninterrupted posts! Woohoo!

That’s pretty impressive, I think. This streak has already lasted longer than any of my romantic relationships. Does that mean the streak is long or that relationships aren’t long enough, I wonder…

The purpose of this blog has evolved so much over these years.

Originally, this was supposed to help me sell my books. Yeah, I have literally no idea how that would have worked, but that’s what I was told.

I soon started posting a lot of—at least in my opinion—rich content, but it got too taxing and I could not keep up. I had to pause and strip it down to the bare minimum. After all, isn’t that how I like it?

Then, for a while, I thought I could monetise the blog to earn some extra money. Of course, that never came to be.

Then I thought I could use my words to change the world. Now, of course, I have not run out of words, but nor have I changed the world. Let’s see how that goes.

Eventually, this blog has become an anchor, and I say that in the best way possible. It ensures that, no matter what happens in the real, no matter what else shuts down, I will always be here every Tuesday night, doing what I do… best? I actually don’t know if that is entirely true, but, you get what I mean, right?

This small, simple activity gives my life just a hint of structure around which I can build the foundation of my life.

After all, my life is still just beginning.