August 10, 2012

A Wannabe Minimalist

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"
~Leonardo Da Vinci

When you don't take care, clutter builds up so easily in your life. More the clutter, more distraction, more stress, more waste of energy taking care of everything.

For past several months, I have been trying to simplify my life while trying to be a minimalist. Some of the steps taken, so far:
  • Got rid of unnecessary and dysfunctional electronic items, DVDs and other e-waste. And this was probably the most difficult step, because these stuffs I had bought from my own hard earned money.
  • Opened old trunks and wardrobe, took out all the old and outdated clothes and shoes of everyone in family and donated them.
  • Loads of books were found lying around unused. I don't like to throw away old books, so we tried to find good keepers, but some had to go to the rag-picker. Old Magazines and Newspapers are my favorite to get rid of.
  • Deleted a bunch of movies from system which have been sitting there for months in the hope they would be watched *someday*. The thing is when you are really excited about some movie or TV episode you watch it as soon as possible rather than waiting for *someday*. And when I have less choices, it's easier for me to pick and watch the next movie. 
  • Removed redundant software from the system. I no longer have to waste time choosing the right tool for the job as there is only one tool available. System also now feels a little faster!
  • Removed a dozen old and 'just-in-case' contacts from the phone contact list. I just know that I am not interested in contacting them anymore, nor will they do anytime soon.
  • Half a dozen FB friends were deleted, a bunch of twitter accounts were unfollowed. Just keeping those who are really important.
  • Removed a bunch of old and out-of-date bills and warranty cards. Now I am only left with a handful and I am pretty sure I am not going to need them either.
  • Removed most of the songs from my MP3 player. In any case, I listen to a limited number of them. Nowadays, I prefer listening to radio.
  • Cut short a bunch of blogs I followed. Now it contains only the essentials. Unfortunately I struggle to find time even for them.
  • Texting friend is a major activity I perform. Recently I identified about a dozen people out of almost 50, to text regularly. While others still receive texts but it has become 'occassionaly'. This has significantly reduced the stress of keeping contact with everyone and texting feels less of a chore now.
  • Threw away a great number of old documents related to self and family that were lying around just-in-case they are needed. That 'just-in-case' occasion never occurred in last one decade.
  • Have stopped wearing watch after 7 years of daily use. I now carry a mobile phone and it makes no sense to carry an extra weight on your wrist (I don't consider watches as fashion accessories).
  • Trashed a great number of 'unfinished' pieces and ideas for the blog because I felt they were not going anywhere and I didn't want to write just for the sake of writing.
  • Have started giving more attention to my writing and eliminating the non-essential (while getting full co-operation from my private editor!). The articles must be crisp and precise to read.
  • You might not have noticed but this blog has become a lot more clean than it started. All non-essential stuffs (twitter feed, tag cloud, email subscription, blogger follow gadget, the extra subheading of the blog) have been removed. All you see now is the content and the archives. And that's what matters. And now with the (temporary) Dynamic views set for blog interface has become even more simplified.
  • Resigned from the post of moderator/translator from Twitter. It was a very hard and painful decision but I had to do it because other obligations were not allowing me to do justice to the post.
And I must say that this is not the end of it. It has to be just a starting. Simplifying life is an ongoing process, it never ends.I must also tell "subtracting things from life" is not an idea that just popped in my head. I read about it at a few places and have seen people practising *minimalism* and that inspires me to be a minimalist and "simplifist" myself. Of course, an extreme minimalist will pare down stuffs from his life to the bare minimum. I don't want to become that weird guy. I am trying to practice minimalism to the level with which I am comfortable with.

 I have also had a few interesting experiences while conducting these life-experiments and activities:
  • Have been facing a lot of opposition and resistance from family while throwing away stuffs. They think it would be "useful sometime in future". And I can totally understand their sentiments as I also used to feel the same sometime ago.
  • When you eliminate stuffs from your life, you start using and interacting with other things and people more often hence appreciating them more.
  • Separating from a particular thing which you have used in past also involves detaching yourself emotionally from it. Sometimes it is painful, but at other times it is a liberating experience.
Being a minimalist is coo! Give it a try!

August 05, 2012

When Friends Become a Problem

'A friend is someone with whom you don't have to pretend to be somebody else, you don't require their approval for something, because you know that they will accept you howsoever weird you are or whatsoever weird stuffs you do.'
~RavS, 2012

I like to talk about my friends almost as much as I like to talk about myself. The 1 line intro about myself on the blog and the number of blogs tagged with the keyword 'friends' shows that.

In recent times some interesting situations related to friends have developed which I would discuss here.  Hopefully some of you would read this, and we can together brainstorm and find some viable solutions to these 'problems'.

I am a reserved person, and I take good amount of time opening up with somebody. As a result, I have had only a few (but very close) friends. I am not in touch with most of my school mates and unfortunately it's the same with college mates as well. But still all in all, I am contact with a lot of great persons. Which is one of the root causes of my troubles! I will come to that in a minute...

We all have friends, right. Some of us have only a few, while others have way too many to count. But   does it make sense to our Facebook friends as our real friends? I bet half of them are acquaintances at best. While it's coo! to say I have 459 friends, it just doesn't work that way. Yes, it sounds sweet to call ALL our school mates, college mates, or work colleagues as our friends, but if I apply my above stated definition, the number of persons who would qualify, would be just a fraction of whom one calls as ‘friends’. 

I would say, a better term to use for them would be 'contacts' or 'network'. Which means many of them will come in handy when you require something and you can in turn help them out when they need you. A strict give and take relationship supported by some old memories spent with them, and a few conversations here and there thrown in between. That, by the way, isn’t such a bad thing according to me.

My personal problem with too many friends arises when I consider them all as equal. When I say I am a friend with someone, it's my moral responsibility to be in touch with them, to know about their whereabouts, and to inform them what’s going on in my life. Now, if I do that with about 50 people, the only work I would be doing all the time, would be to ‘be friends’ with them.

So, somewhere a distinction has to be made about who among your contact list qualify as acquaintances, and who are close friends and a part of an extended family. I am trying to find that distinction and balance.

The second problem that I am having nowadays is being forced to choose between work and friends. Now friends are an integral part of life, almost as important as family. But for me, work is equally important because it defines who you are. In last one year, if I have learned something about myself, it's that being competent enough to do something useful, being able to contribute to some cause is essential for my very existence.

You only have 24 hours in your day, and there is only so much that a human can achieve within that time frame. It’s so easy to be in contact with friends when we are in school/college/workplace together because we see each other on a daily basis. We laugh, we joke, we help each other all the time. But when we have to part with them and other priorities come up, it starts getting incredibly difficult to keep up with the same people. Your schedule is no longer in sync with theirs.

So, the crux of the matter is the following questions, that I have been battling with, in recent times:
  1. How do you cope up when you have too many friends?
  2. How do you draw the line between 'friend', 'good friend' and 'my bro/sis'?
  3. How do you balance the time that you need to devote to work and the time you need to devote to friends?

If have any answers to them, please do comment.

And yes, if it makes you feel any better, Happy Friendship Day.

August 04, 2012

Have you ever experienced pain?

No, not the kind that comes and goes,
The one that just stays and refuses to leave,
The one that seeps through the skin,
slowly pierces the heart and starts dissolving into your soul.

The pain that makes you weak, every second, every moment,
The pain that increases inch by inch, till you get overwhelmed,
The pain that reminds you, I am here. Today, tomorrow, forever.
The pain that becomes your very identity.

Everyday, from inside, you die a thousand deaths,
You know you want to live, but the pain makes giving up so much easier,
You want to cry, wail for help,
But you can't, your are pain's prisoner.

The desperation in the eyes of dear ones,
Their infinite failed attempts of consolation,
The frailing ray of hope,
The knowledge that you just cannot win.

Have you ever experienced such excruciating, such mind numbing pain?