The Suffocating Effect of Guests That Makes You Question Your Existence

Guests are an obligation much like a loan, except it is not as voluntary a decision.

When guests come to my house, it is like other-imposed Hotel California-ness. Once they come, it’s like something supernatural prevents them from leaving.

The problem is not so much of shared space, because be it our trains, buses or Marine Drive, sharing space has never been a problem for Mumbaikars.

Then, the problem with guests come down to two aspects: The ownership they show around things that they do not belong to them (they often belong to me), and the judgment with which they view me and my choices.

They often voice vile and judgmental opinions, but the world is an exhausting space and all I want to do is find the nearest blanket to cuddle. But then, while I am trying my best to ignore what is being said, they then go out of their way to question MY judgement and opinions.. I mean, the nerve!

8-29-08BadGuestsRGB

And I do not really need to elaborate on the sense of ownership part, do I? They simply pick up and use stuff that is not theirs because they took ‘apna hi ghar samjho’ quite literally – whereas we, or at least I, never said it.

While I grow weary defending my belongings and my opinions, there have been moments of doubt – not that I thought I was wrong, no, but I did think whether I should have gone with the easier choice of just agreeing with them on their face, to make life easy for everyone.

But the answer has been a loud and resounding NO. How can I agree when they say Hell will be filled with women because they deserve it? While they condemn us before we can commit sins or good acts? How can I sit by and let them be unjust to each and every marginalized group imaginable? How can I sit while they pretend to be nice and abuse our hospitality? How can I pretend to agree while they perpetuate unjust stereotypes and systems?

While the tenure of guests is definitely overrun in this country, I think my doubts have helped me to not only sharpen my arguments but also to develop a thick skin when needed. Sometimes, even I am surprised at how, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

3 Tips To Choose The Right Career Direction

Wrote this for the company blog.. do check it out!

Metaphors of The Mind

Written by Sadaf Vidha, Psychologist at Type a Thought

It’s Result time and all boards like CBSE, ICSE and SSC are putting out their results. youngsters are now rushing from college to college, at least virtually, to secure admission.. it’s a highly competitive atmosphere right now, and all the fun had during vacations seems washed away!

We get many students on our online counseling website where we provide a free first session and career counseling, and they do seem very confused about what career direction to take! Everyone imaginable is giving them advice, be it 10th std or 12th std students. In fact, one of my co-counselors drew a parallel between the plight of our students and people who look for a change in career around the 30s. Regardless of whenever you want to decide a career direction, these three golden career rules can help you:

Skills and Interests: The…

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The solution to fundamentalism, wastage and mediocrity is the same.

Why are we wasting water despite the draught in Maharashtra?

Why do we continue to live in outdated ways that are eating up our environment?

Why do we keep becoming fundamentalists, and keep funding fundamentalism?

The answer is that because we are using our mind, our thinking capacities all wrong. Those aspects of us, like belief and the ability to ignore when needed, as well as to conform to social rules to help avoid crimes and chaos – we are using all of these qualities to turn a blind eye to prevalent problems, and to not change our ways. We grew up this way – don’t question, just cover your own interests, you are too small to matter in any way.

When you socialize the child in this way, and beat out all sorts of divergent thinking patterns in schools and other institutions as he or she grows, are you surprised that so many people take to fundamentalism, because it finally allows them to feel passion again? Or many become mediocre products of society just buying the mass products created by it’s markets? Or has such a hard time imagining anything without a video in front of it, that it can’t imagine the shambles that the world is coming to?

To save the pitfalls of the mind, which were twisted for various reasons to shut out voices of dissent, we have to develop two basic skills, and we totally have to cultivate in our children with urgen fervour – these are two skills more important than teaching language, math or science.

These two skills are: Critical Thinking and Empathy.

Recently, there was a mention of ‘a case against empathy’ because it marrs clear thinking. That’s more than a little stupid because humans are complex and so they can surely think critcally, and be empathetic, both together. We are not so droll as to be able to do only one at a time.

Critical thinking would help us question the logic of strange statements thrown at us, so that belief does not get the better of us and perpetuate a faulty decision. And empathy is required for basic human connection, which would be the motivating factor for any good change, for a person going out of the way to change a convenient habit, because it harms someone.

For example, if I child was taught critical thinking and empathy right from birth and it was just more enhanced in school, he would not buy it if someone told him, that his religion asks him to kill people of another religion. His empathy would help him understand the plight of those who are facing a draught, so he would change his ways to save whatever water he can. These two qualities would ensure that he makes people accountable for environmental damage. Imagination, an offshoot of empathy, would help him visualise an uninhabiltable world, socially and environmentally, and that would help him take all the steps needed to address these situations, without feeling robbed of ‘comforts’.

While some of us do manage to see things a different way, and develop these skills, even our efforts at convincing others will fizzle out if we socially reinforce all the wrong traits. We just need to correct what we are teaching and okaying. The real things need to matter now.

7 Whacky Ways to Control Cravings

I’ve written this one for my company blog:)

Metaphors of The Mind

All of us have struggled to keep off certain food – either we are watching our weight, or due to some health condition, or because our profession demands it. But it gets hard if we are surrounded by tasty looking food, doesn’t it?

Studies suggest that there is more than just one ‘type’ of eating. There are actually three types. There is emotional eating, external eating and biological eating.

As you guessed, emotional eating happens due to extreme emotions of sadness, happiness, guilt, anger and so on. External eating happens because in a situation, certain foods are consumed and so our environment gives us eating cues, even when we are not hungry. For example, having popcorn along with movies is such a classic that going without that is kind of unimaginable.

The Psychology of Eating (1)

So, what do you do when you get such sticky cravings? Here are some refreshingly new ways to manage…

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The solution to a fucked-up world: nicer kids

Wrote this for a co-blog. Do check it out!

Thought Puddlers

Teach our children to have empathy, through story-telling

Written by Sadaf Vidha

The children of today live in a challenging world. While the cruelty and bad news may not be more than the centuries before, we do have an ultra-focused world thatODs on sensational news. You have an app on the market each day which gives you the shortest version of the news in the fastest amount of time.
The difference then, lies in the way we perceive the world. Earlier, in the times of war, there was violence enough in the world, and no politician or new agency would want to dare add to the polarity at such times. Now however, with the problems being lesser and people’s lives busier and also people being easily influencial through media, encouraging polarity can happen easily, can be highly justified as people do not have the time for in-depth investigation and…

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Love from the road #2

It is the early hours of the morning. I am sitting by the side of a flowing stream. Apart from the birds, the rustling leaves, the sound of gently gurgling water and the scratching noise of my pen against paper, there is no other sound. With such silence, the voices inside me become a lot more clear and loud.

Maybe this is why city life is so full of noises? Because we cannot bear to listen what our inner voice is saying?

You know, I was weeping last night. No, don’t worry, I’m all right. It’s just that when I lost dad, being the elder son, I just pushed it all in and stored it away to deal with it later. As I saw the funeral pyre burn, I thought the rites would give me the outlet I require.

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But yesterday, I saw a parent bird teach it’s offspring the tricks of survival. I could not control the burst of tears. I thought of all the good times with dad. I thought of all the time I wanted to spend with him, all the things I wanted to say, ‘when I got the time’. But the time, never comes, does it?

We push away our grief to deal with later, and enter the push on and work or push on and party mode. But later never happens, and all our sorrow and longing grows like rust inside.

I don’t want to lose time with you. I want to tell you over and over that I love you. I miss you each step of my journey, and while I am discovering myself with each passing mile, I can’t wait to get back and rediscover you again.