Sunny Side Up vs. Broken Eggs

My only lame joke in life is, that I refer to love as L’oeuf, aka the egg. And whilst this post is somewhat ‘scrambled’ in its articulation, I hope it will still provide clarity as to what constitutes the perfect egg, with that golden-orange yolk, all molten and viscous, running deliciously into the shining whiteness enclosing it, oh the beauty! Let’s get started.

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The Wall of Love Theory

I have this theory about love. I believe that we have a finite amount of love within us for any given person. What really happens when we fall in love is, not that we are constantly falling deeper in love – we are simply recognizing and acknowledging it as it reveals itself.

Bear with me here, while I think up an analogy. Continue reading

How to stop worrying and love the moment

A weird feeling in the belly, dry mouth, slightly furrowed brow, a low-volume current coursing through fingers, arms, shoulders, back, and legs, tightening everything. Only deep breathing relieves it. But only those who are aware that they are anxious even bother to breathe deep. The rest simply carry on worrying because they are so used to it – they don’t realize this negative feedback loop destroying them, is not actually the default setting.

Revisiting occurrences from the past produces the exact same symptoms as when it actually happened, be that hours, weeks, years, or decades ago. Regret-filled memories flood the system with the same hormones as during the events and functionality is impaired at almost the same level – sometimes more than when it was actually happening – because one is alone in their private bubble and doesn’t need to keep up their public face.

Fretting about stuff that is yet to occur, impairs one’s ability to perform or enjoy what one is doing (even if it’s just sitting around or lying about) right now. The cruddy feeling produced by anxiety-causing what-ifs colors the entire day. Wallowing in the down-pull of future events that – based upon previous life-stats – are almost guaranteed to happen as ‘feared’, impairs one’s ability to take rational steps towards realizing a positive version of that future. Instead, it distracts us from actively building the present, here and now, upon which the desired future could base itself. And it does exacerbate the humors (sorry, couldn’t resist).

So you have to ask yourself – is it useful? Continue reading

Good Reading if not Good Writing!

Last night, I read ‘The Gioconda Smile’ by Aldous Huxley and then for dessert ‘The Curfew Tolls’ Stephen Vincent Benét and felt ‘completely’ happy.

It has been years since I felt that from reading something. And then two titles in a row!

It must have been a magic night.

In both cases, I pretty much knew the ending halfway in. However, as we all know, it’s almost always true that it’s not the story but the telling of it that makes it ‘wondrous and fascinating’.

If you haven’t read ‘The Gioconda Smile’, do yourself a favor and read it right away. It’s just fantastically well-written and if I could just write one story that acquaints us with the characters as this one does…

I read both in Milton Crane’s ’50 Great Short Stories’, but you can get them anywhere I guess.

Translation of ‘Blauer Himmel’ by Gustavo Sack

Since none of my blog posts will allow me to finish them of late, I decided to do some translation to pass the time. My rules are: it should be short and sweet, and there cannot exist a translation that brings me to my knees in sweet liberating humility, and it has to be in German (or possibly Hindi, I suppose).

For my first one, I picked ‘Blauer Himmel’ by Gustav Sack, a poem from the early 20th century. Continue reading

Not caring vs. apathy

People think that not caring and being apathetic are the same thing. Obviously, I beg to differ.

To have apathy is turn oneself off. It means, one decides that they are no more than flotsam in the ocean, with no power or urge to choose how to behave and where to go, be it with or against the current below the waves. It means one is blind and deaf, and in the course of time, mute – because what would the point of speaking up be?

To stop caring, however, is to stop worrying, if something will happen or not, if a desire will be fulfilled or not, if  and if only cease to exist! This extremely liberating mental attitude lets one notice things like viscous egg-yolks in the early evening sky, smudged on the edges and bleeding playfully into the grey-blue wash, just the perfect shade of orange. And the light thrown on the side of a beautiful red-brick church, pulling into focus its lower facade, covered by irregularly-shaped stones, russet, brown, and grey, snuggled into each other’s eccentricities in uncomplaining harmony.

Not-caring makes one feel lucky. All the time.

“Just Friends” vs. “Just More”

People always say, “we’re just friends”, as though it somehow ranked lower than a romance.

A good (platonic) friend is worth your weight in gold. You can discuss anything with them, or just talk about mundane things (but it clears your head), and you enjoy the time you spend with them, and you make time just to get a small dose of them, because you always walk away feeling better in life.

And a good friend is one who you’d make time for even when there wasn’t any tangible or material benefit whatsoever from knowing them. That is how great a good platonic friendship can be.

Now, the difference between apes and humans is about 2 chromosomes pairs from 23.

That is about the same difference between good friends and a romantic pair. Continue reading

Expat or not?

Fantastic. Finally. I recall when two women, one Australian and the other from somewhere in Western Europe (OK, so two white women, if we must),  were discussing how they are both expats here in Germany and I said, “well that makes 3 of us then” and they looked at me like I’d grown a second head. The subconscious head-shaking and “wha..?” look never fails to both amuse and shock me at the same time.

The European woman then proceeded to complain about how her last trip to India was markedly different from her trip 30 years ago, because she encountered 6-lane highways and all the usual 20th century stuff and shook her head while saying, “Tch, this is not India!”.

I retorted that “I guess Indians should continue to be half-naked and starving and never improve their lives, so that you the Westerner can take some nice photos, huh”.

As half-expected, the reaction was snarling rage and a desperate attempt to hold on to that ‘mask’ all these types wear.

It never fails to both shock and amuse me.

and ugh.

Great related article and about time someone wrote it.

GRATITUDE – a short story

Andrew turned slowly. Myrtle sat still, her body crushed, her mouth half open, frozen in time.

His nostrils flared from the acrid odor of slowly swirling cornstarch powder and he flinched from the sporadically pirouetting snowflakes.

He turned his head back forward slowly, neck bobbing as cold air slapped his face. He could feel the backs of his eyes.

Andrew drew in a ragged breath, sensing the cacophony as it competed with a throbbing ribcage trying to blindly escape his chest.

He shakily touched his face, the backs of his fingers resisting the inflated airbag pushing up against them. Below the airbag his right foot slowly moved up and down his left calf, then in reverse.

All OK. Continue reading

Judgement vs. Assessment

Judgement is a symptom of a lack of an intelligent thought process.

Assessment takes time and critical-thinking skills.

Judgement is a knee-jerk reaction based on a superficial scan of limited information. It leads to drawing half-baked assumptions and worse, acting as though those assumptions were true.

Persons who tend towards judgement are usually those who 1) have led relatively insular lives and carefully keep it that way, for fear of the unknown and 2) tend not to clarify their assumptions, instead preferring to seek – any – validation, however flimsy, to support their half-baked assumptions thus maintaining their preferred illusions. Negative questions are posed, if at all, such as, “you don’t like punk rock, do you?”, forcing the person being asked to have to ‘defend’ themselves against a whole slew of pre-conceived notions, regardless of whether their answer to the negative question is yes or no.

Assessment, on the other hand is the intake of information and the setting aside of it, until more information is presented or can be drawn out by way of posing positive questions. If the same question is asked positively i.e. “do you like punk rock”, the person being asked can simply answer with the facts. They don’t feel judged or feel like they have to ‘explain’ their answer because it doesn’t match the answer the questioner was expecting. Careful that the positive questions aren’t asked with squinted eyes and changed voice-modulations, because then, despite the wording, they end up being a negative question.

To assess i.e. to be patient, to cross-reference, to accept that others have life-experiences that are beyond your own imaginings and that the permutations and combinations are endless, and that someone may be having a bad day (or life) and that their odd behavior has nothing to do with you, to avoid presuming to ‘know’ someone and making assumptions – and should any crop up – to first clarify them with honest positive questions and communication, is to be mature, intelligent and quite frankly, more civilized.

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Forgiveness and that.

You can’t go back and change the past. What is done is done.

It is now, as it now is. Tat Sat. That which is, is.

How to forgive yourself:
Face it. Trace it. Erase it. Don’t repeat that thought / word / action. But if you find yourself repeating it, forgive yourself, and continue to not repeat it. Self-awareness is the trick here, just be aware of you what you are thinking, as opposed to blindly thinking it and as a result blindly speaking or acting along the same vein.

Face it and Trace it: Name what you did without sugarcoating. Then just go through what you did, step by step, without judgement. Face the beast within you. This is the hardest part. The shame of looking in the mirror and acknowledging the beast within us can have us bent over in physical pain. To know we are the same in our own eyes as the persons we normally decry is e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y hard. Continue reading

Illustrations of WW1

Somehow I totally missed that the Great War began this year, a hundred years ago, in 1914.

Here are some drawings by a fellow called Otto Dix depicting some realities of war. It hasn’t gotten any prettier even a hundred years later has it? I think all the romance and glorification in the movies comes from the fact that in a way for a lot of people it’s like being snowed in, or having to  (getting to) stay home from school due to a complete solar eclipse, or a week-long power blackout – despite the poverty and uncertainty, people interact more, become more symbiotic in their attitudes, and eventually get sick of being worried sick and sing and dance and make love a lot 🙂

Anyway, here is the uglier side of war: