The Feeling of Being ‘Mediocre’

•September 2, 2018 • Leave a Comment

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” (Albert Einstein)

As you grow up and start becoming more aware of yourself, your mind finds a lot of visitors! One such thought which has now become a regular visitor of my mind is my sense of mediocrity. I am mediocre at everything – the realization which is not that good for my morale.

Born in a middle-class family we never had extra money to splurge on, but had enough to have a decent living. When in school, I was bestowed with above-average intelligence, but was never the student who secured ranks. I was always inclined towards sports – overly enthusiastic and participated in almost everything but hardly got the podium finish. Though I was always a part of the song and dance performances in school, barring a few times, I was never the best performer. In short, I was not the star student of the school.

My hobbies and passions changed with the passage of time. However, one thing always remained constant – I perpetually remained at the medium spectrum. This realization dawned upon me a few years ago and I must say it is not at all a good feeling. From our childhood we start idolizing and emulating famous people so that one day we can reach their stature. Then as your start growing up you can see your friends and relatives doing great works. You suddenly start assessing your achievements and come to the conclusion that you are neither good at anything not bad at anything! You try your best and strive to be GREAT at something, but after a few efforts ultimately reconcile to the facts that you are indeed ‘mediocre’.

What happens then? You simply lose your ambition to get better as you already know you cannot reach for the stars. You carry on living your daily mundane life in a mundane manner. Mediocrity is your destiny and nothing can change it. There are times I feel if I was super talented in a single thing rather than being average at everything, things would have been much different. With so many half talents and half passions, it really becomes difficult to choose a single aspect to focus on. For me “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” holds very true.

It really is hard to accept that your life and your talents have nothing special to offer to the world. The thought can be heart wrenching and you might start feeling blue. It is the quote provided at the top of the post that comes to the rescue at such low times. Yes, I may not be considered successful by the world – I am not at the top of anything and I am not famous. I am just ‘average’ and ‘decent’. Then majority of the people in this wide world are like me. I may not be every important to my friends, but I feel I am of tremendous value to my close ones. I may not be the best at anything, but I can, with my skills help the younger generation to do better. My friends might have fared better than me in their personal and professional lives, but I am someone who is never jealous of them. On the contrary and to my own astonishment, quite proud of their achievements! According to me, even to be jealous of somebody, you need special skills 😀

Yes, realizing that your are just ‘mediocre’, even after trying to be the best does make you feel bad. After attaining a certain age, I think ‘feeling happy’ about what you are doing is what matters. If you are content playing a side role rather than the protagonist in a certain play, so be it. Maybe all the average talents and the feeling of being happy and content is actually making you a great person who is valued by a small group of people who matters.

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The Complicated Society and the Role of Social Media

•May 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Social Media in today’s world is something which I feel even an elementary student can describe elaborately. We have been living a virtual life, for quite sometime with social media gradually becoming an addiction for the majority of the population using it. Be it politics or entertainment or sports – we cannot deny the unprecedented role that social media is playing.

There are pros and cons to almost everything that the world has to offer us. One of the biggest boons of technology is the invention of social media. However, for the last couple of years, one cannot refute the divisive role social media is playing. Currently, everything is perceived as ‘linear’ – either black or white, good or bad! Where is the existence of the middle path or for that matter the ‘grey’ area?

We have grown up in an era and environment where a debate was considered healthy. In social media if you try to put forth your point, maybe a bit different one from the trending opinions, you might be greeted with rude messages, name calling and trolling. It seems people are always angry and they just need a platform to vent their anger. Tell a creative person, an author or a director, that you did not like his latest creation or agree to one of his opinions. That person might hit back at you with a rude ‘no need to read my books’, ‘unfollow me’, ‘no need to watch my show’! Herein, goes away the scope of criticism by a fan or a follower! We follow you or read your books or watch your show because we like you. We may not like your latest offering and as an audience or a viewer or a follower, don’t we have the right to talk to you about that? You can show your irritation or anger had I been mean to you but why without any reason or provocation?

Everyday the social media is swarmed with a plethora of photoshopped images and videos. People are trying to prove their points with fake news and information. Yes, we are falling for them. The world is becoming divisive to the point of no return. Everyone is talking, no one is listening! It is becoming extremely difficult for people like us(who belong to the middle of the road) to understand which information is correct and which one is fake!

The fight between religions is now not limited to the advantage of the political leaders. We, the common people are falling for their trap. Rather than looking for the good in any religion, we are focusing on their negative aspects. Everyone thinks that their religion is the best, devoid of any superstition or regressive ideas. In order to prove their points they are resorting to every means, even if they are unfavorable and unsuitable for the society in general.

Social media has given us the scope of knowing the Universe like never before. The click of a button can take us to places. We have the option of knowing different countries, different religions, different cultures, not even by moving an inch. This is something which the earlier generations did not have access to. Then why are we not putting proper values to these favorable circumstances and instead concentrating on the negative one? Pessimism seems to have reached a record high! Being gentle, showing courtesy, engaging in healthy conversations are some of the things which the virtual world seriously needs.

We all should try and stop being mean and start caring. When we talk to a person face to face, we try not to be mean to them. Can we start the same thing in the virtual world which is gradually becoming a reality? Can we all please incorporate words like ‘kind’ ‘love’ ‘positive’ and ‘care’ in our daily lives and discard words like ‘mean’, ‘negative’ and ‘disregard’? I, being an optimist, feel the world will surely become less complicated if we all try to make it one, with all our small actions.

Guy on the Sidewalk – A Review

•May 6, 2016 • 1 Comment

“Life has a plan for each of us; we may not understand the whys on our journey but every event is meaningful nonetheless.”
Ken Poirot

In this age, when words like skepticism and cynicism rule the world, it is a heartening experience to come across a story as simple and effortless as the Guy on the Sidewalk by Bharath Krishna. Right from the cover of the book till the end of the story, you can feel the eternal conflict which an Indian professional living in the USA encounters on a regular basis!

Guy on the Sidewalk is the story of Jay – his journey from India to the USA and again back to India. The story starts with his last day in the USA and the varied emotions he has been experiencing. It then goes to a flashback and gives a vivid account of Jay’s laid back college life, tiring MBA days and his brief professional life, all in India. That is when he travels to the USA to pursue a specialization. From hereon, he depicts the various phases through which he passes, before realizing his actual call of coming back to where he belongs – India.

The narrative of the story is spontaneous and at times you can actually feel the Déjà vu. I stay in Austin and Jay’s American journey starts at Austin. Therefore, for me the level of familiarity was quite intriguing. The story talks about the economic, social and educational aspects of the country. His American journey goes through quite a number of ups and downs . The recession and not getting funded for his higher studies were the main drawbacks while finding like-minded people who helped him through his rough times was something to remember for a lifetime.

There are comparisons between India and the USA throughout the story and they have been dealt in a very mature and witty manner. Each and every country has their pros and cons and Guy on the Sidewalk actually pens them in a fine way without being judgmental. The humor and the free flowing style of storytelling make the book worth reading.

There are some aspects I wish were handled better. There were times when I felt things were happening suddenly which led to the abrupt ending of the earlier phase. Jay went to the USA to study but after a couple of months realized that he is learning nothing new. Then all of a sudden he left his studies and joined the coveted IT bandwagon. The problems he faced were eventually depicted but I was not able to connect with that sudden decision.

Guy on the Sidewalk can be referred as a ‘complete package’! Feelings like happiness, loneliness, confusion, frustration all form an integral part of the journey towards self discovery. Romance and friendship form the major crux of the story and you can instantly relate with their roles. One can ask, after reading the story, that no concrete reason has been cited for Jay coming back to India. My question would be do we always need a reason to come back to our motherland. I feel there can be times when the call of conscience becomes loud enough to enjoy preference over the materialistic luxuries of life.

If you are in search of a book which will make you part of the story, will incorporate a sense of patriotism without being preachy and will give you a fair account of both India and the USA, then definitely get hold of Guy on the Sidewalk by Bharath Krishna.

P.S.- Thanks a lot Bharath Krishna for the copy of the book. It made for a delightful read.


Urban Shots: Bright Lights – The Review

•March 9, 2012 • 10 Comments

Looking after a baby 24/7 is a gruelling task and a lot of things, which were previously an integral part of your life, are affected. For me reading is one such thing which has been adversely affected. However, a couple of months back my husband told me about the Blogadda Book Reviews Program and I wasted no time in applying for it. Now, that I have been chosen to review their recent book on offer, Urban Shots: Brights Lights I am extremely ecstatic.

Urban Shots: Bright Lights as the name suggests is a compilation of 29 stories by 21 writers focusing on urban India and portraying a gamut of urban characters and their lives. One gets the opportunity to read a variety of genres in this single book. There are the humorous stories to tickle your funny bones as well as emotional and heart-rending ones which will leave you dewy eyed.

The very first story from the book, Amul, is one of the finest short stories I have read in a long time. It is a gripping tale of a 10year old terminally ill child who keeps on recollecting the fond and not so fond memories of her dead mother. Certain disturbing facts are unveiled from time to time with the flow of the story. The innocence with which Amul narrates the story will leave you with a heavy heart and you might feel tears rolling down your cheeks while reading the story. Kudos to Arvind Chandrasekhar for offering us such a poignant story.

Another story which will make you smile and cry at the same time is Across the Seas by Ahmed Faiyaz. The story is set in the times when getting a phone connection at home was an ordeal. It depicts the loneliness of a mother whose son stays in the USA and is not accessible due to the absence of a telephone. It poignantly describes how much the mother misses his son and how even a one page letter from the son changes her mood. It is a dedication to all those parents who make enormous sacrifices and let their children venture out to far-off places for a successful future, while they lead a lonely life.

In the story Double Mixed by Namita V Nair, extra marital affair is dealt with in a humorous manner. The entire story unfolds in an interesting fashion. However, the best part is the concluding part of the story wherein it is revealed that the little boy is aware of his parents’ extra marital affairs, though the parents try their best to keep it under wraps.

Another story which definitely deserves a special mention for its rib-tickling narrative is “Father of my Son”. The readers having kids at their home can relate with the story from the word go. It is a thoroughly funny and enjoyable read and the love, warmth and innocence which it emanates will certainly touch your heart.

The spellbinding collection also contains stories of a pesky neighborhood aunt, of an old physics teacher whose actual interest lies in literature, a mother who can shed all inhibitions and fight for the better future of her children, an artist in love with his legendary city and a lot more.

If you are looking for heart-warming, hilarious and thought-provoking stories written in lucid way, then Urban Shots: Bright Lights is a must read. It is one such book whose stories will retain the freshness even while reading for the umpteenth time.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Eve-Teasing – The Social Malady

•November 6, 2011 • 6 Comments

Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez have become household names recently, though sadly after their untimely demise at the hands of some rowdy goons. In a tragic incident on 20th October, these two youths were knifed to death for protesting against eve-teasing. While they were being mercilessly stabbed, the crowd stood there watching the crime taking place like mute spectators. It is said that Keenan’s girlfriend was being teased by the main accused Jeetendra Rana when she along with four other friends came out for paan after having dinner at a restaurant. When Keenan protested against the evil gesture, Rana went away only to return with 20 more drunkards. Firstly, they stabbed Keenan and when Reuben tried to save his friend, he met with the same fate.

There are no words to describe the morbidity of the entire incident. I feel extremely ashamed to even think that we co-exist in the society along with sociopaths like Rana who suffers from personality disorders and can manifest any form of brutality without even an iota of hesitation! As a girl I am very sure that each and every girl in this society, whether pretty or ugly, fair or dark, fully clothed or scantily clad, have faced situations similar to this, if not worse. Though eve-teasing is rampant in India, there are many countries and their citizens who have never heard of such a word. It again reveals the shameful state of affairs of the Indian society.  Thousands of eve-teasing incidents occur every day, most of which are either ignored or unreported. Many activists tend to point the reason why girls don’t come out of the closet and protest such incidents. My question to them is how many incidents can you protest, when every other day you face similar situations. The action which we generally tend to take depends on the severity of the malady. In some cases you don’t even understand who is physically assaulting you in a crowded bus. What will you do in such cases? There is not only a single manner in which eve-teasing is done. Some of them can be handled by simply being strict, for some others you need to actually hunt for the actual culprit. These psychopaths are extremely intelligent, they know when to catch their prey without getting caught, and if caught they are sure to make things horrible for the victim and their near and dear ones.

Another aspect which caught my attention was the role played by the crowd, of being mute spectators of the heinous “tamasha”. Why can’t so many people muster enough courage to fight against those drunkards TOGETHER? What has happened to the term UNITED? If all those people standing there, rather than being indifferent, fought in unison against those rowdies, the scene would have been different. Maybe the lives of two young people would have been saved. Such incidents again and again prove that we actually make a hype of what is called the Mumbai spirit. When it was actually required, to fight against some highly spirited (intoxicated) individuals, the spirit vanished.

In the limited time which I get nowadays for watching news channels, what I gathered was that Keenan’s girlfriend, rather than hiding or isolating herself, from the fear of the society, has come out and joined hands with others in the fight for justice. It is clearly and visibly a magnificent sign and my salute to the young and courageous girl for that. There are numerous cases wherein the GIRL does not come out in the open, for the FEAR of nothing else but SOCIETY. The best example which comes to my mind is the case of Bapi Sen, the traffic sergeant who was murdered brutally on New Year’s Eve, 2003 in Kolkata, while trying to save a girl from being teased and assaulted. During the court proceedings and trials, the girl never came out in the open. She was the person for whom an unknown person fought and laid down his life. Yet, even after repeated urges, chose to remain a mystery. I simply fail to understand whether she any better than the culprits. For me she is worse than them and is someone who is devoid of any sort of compassion and benevolence. How can she live a life being so indifferent and mean? Can she be ever true to her conscience, if only it exists in her dictionary? I hope someday her heart shows her the right path. This incident gives rise to another question on my mind, had Keenan and Reuben died for some unknown girl, would she have shown the same courage as being shown by the girlfriend? I hope the answer is YES and remains so. For stopping such barbarous crimes, the need for courageous people, hard to find nowadays, is extremely essential.

On Working after Motherhood

•October 25, 2011 • 2 Comments

My Little One!When I was a kid I used to tell my Mom that when I have my own kids, I’ll quit working, unlike you. The feeling was strong and always came out with some sense of negativity. I used to add that every mother should stay at home in order to look after their kids for the few initial years. My mother hardly answered me back citing her reasons of continuing her job though it was obvious that she was facing extreme hardships taking care of her three children along with her full-time job. However, I also noticed that, even after my sly statements, she never ever considered leaving her job and staying at home. I even rebuked all those mothers who left their children at their homes and rejoined their jobs after a couple of months of maternity leaves. Those opinions were the fruits of the insecurities and hardships which I faced when I was left alone at home with my mother working outside. However, as I started growing up, I enjoyed the fact that I have a working mother and enjoyed flaunting it to my friends!

Now when I have a kid of my own and I stay home the entire day tending to all his needs with full attention and utmost care, I understand the need of having a job which can be termed as full-time. I, now fully understand what my mother’s silence meant when I made those remarks. Its not only about the money, it’s also about my own self. Financial security is essential, as is the mental stability after being a mother. For me being a first time mother was one of the most heavenly feelings one can experience which can never be expressed or described in words. I love to play and pamper my little one and fulfil all that he requires at this stage with as much love, care, sincerity and affection possible. However, in the quest of achieving that I started to feel myself as the Nanny of my child, more than a mother.

My, being a mother has increased the urge of having a life beyond the confinement of my house. I do feel the need to talk to adults other than my family members. I also strongly feel the need to share my ideas, views and opinions so as to unburden myself of a plethora of problems which I face daily as a new mother. I want to see each day with as much freshness as possible so as to shoulder my responsibilities with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. I want to free myself from the feeling of being a frog in the well. When I came to know about my impending motherhood, I made up my mind that I will teach my child how to enjoy life and free himself from the so-called norms, customs and rituals which the society tends to bestow upon everyone. For me it will always remain a challenge to infuse on to my child the courage to question before following anything blindly. In order to achieve these, I need to fulfil my own desires in order to maintain my mental sanity. Keeping my sanity intact will ensure that I love and give my kid all that is necessary for his proper growth and education as also encouraging him into becoming a brave citizen of the world.

Friendship is Overrated

•March 3, 2011 • 3 Comments

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies – Aristotle quoted this long time back. my question is whether this concept holds true in this jet age, where we have apparently become modern yet remain far from enjoying a scientific and modern mind and soul.

One can find a plethora of friendship quotes celebrating friends and friendship in your life. There was a time when even I was mesmerized by those quotes and thoughts and found them quite believable (I feel that was due to my age). For me my friends were my source of sustenance. Each and every person at one point of time feels that friendship is the be all and end all of life. Friends and friendship are prioritized more than anything else in the world, even family and love. The feeling of having a friend with whom you can share your innermost joys and sorrows brings your romantic side to the forefront. In this age of internet and websites, the social networking sites are filled up with testimonials from your friends. The number of friends in your profile and the testimonials written about you by them bear testimony of how good and popular you are. There are a lot of people who are against such trends and I am one among them. For me friendship is something which does not require show off. There is simply no need to flaunt your friendship by penning down simply good things about your friends, when you are aware that your friend actually bears thousands of negative aspects. There is also no need of adding friends in your profile just because you want to increase your list, though you know they are simply your acquaintance with whom you may not even talk in reality.

However with the passing of time, my idea about friendship is going through a sea change. Now I, many a times get the feeling that friendship and friends are simply overrated. A friend using you for personal gain and favors is nothing new. However I feel we should not measure how good a friend is by keeping those things in mind. For me there are much deeper things that help us in gauging friendship. A friend should be able to understand you to the fullest and share the deepest secrets without any inhibitions. I have my share of good as well as not so good friends. During certain times I feel as though even my closest friend has not been able to understand me properly, after spending so many years together. I have the feeling that each and every person goes through the same emotion. There have been circumstances in your life which have definitely made you sit back and think whether you are able to put yourself across to your friend properly. Have you ever imagined that your friends at some point of time can subject friendship at the backseat and put superstition and insecurities at the forefront? The beauty and essence of a good friendship is often marred by superstitious beliefs and various forms of insecurities. Hiding things and not discussing issues with your so-called friend just because of some superstition or stigma attached to it do not fall under the anvil of friendship. In my life I have gone through situations where I found, quite disappointingly, that my friends were afraid of doing or discussing certain things with me. Those circumstances have surprised me to the core as they gave me the notion that my friends, with whom I have been living for a long time consider me to be orthodox or dogmatic. Here comes the question of knowing a person thoroughly before making an idea about him/her.

Another aspect which can creep into the so called concept of friendship is insecurity. Everyone faces insecurities in some form or the other. Some people are upfront about such things while some deal with it intelligently. I never consider my friends as my personal property. There are a large number of my friends who are now known to each other because I took the pain of introducing them to each other. However the same does not hold good for everyone else. Is it seriously so hard to share your friends with the person/people you consider as your soulmate/s? There are some people who come across your life at different points, like your boyfriend/girlfriend or your would-be. It is a fascinating experience to have them in your life as you become familiar with a lot of new emotions attached to them. For a normal person it becomes extremely difficult not to talk about the special person with a special friend. After my marriage I have seen people, who hardly know me, discussing with me about those special persons and moments. Those people found me trustworthy of discussing such very personal things with me and even making their special persons a part of my life. Those small gestures really made me feel special and they owe huge THANKS from me! However I have felt the absence of such a feeling when it comes to my near and dear friends. At times you come to know of certain things so late and sudden that they simply leave you shocked and stunned, unable to react.

You still consider your long time close friends an important and integral part of life, discuss and share every joy and sorrow at the earliest. You may feel something missing in your friendship and constantly strive to fill up the gap. Yet at times the gap grows beyond recovery and it becomes useless mourning about the fact. When you become pragmatic and come to terms with the fact, you get the feeling that the beauty of the relation has been sacrificed. The question of expectation plays a significant role here. For me it is fine if you don’t want to discuss certain things. However when ultimately you give the news, don’t blame it on some lame excuses like being superstitious or not sure about how the person will react to it. It is important to understand that your true friend might not always agree to your decisions and can also give you suggestions at certain times which you may or may not like. It is however wrong to presume such things as you may witness a completely different scenario occurring in your favor.

Nowadays I have the feeling that life and along with it the different relations changes manifold after a certain age. You cherish and flaunt having numerous friends and love showing-off the testimonials. With you growing every day, all those friends turn into mere acquaintances. You start running after your life and career and a time comes when you sit back and ponder why your friendship did not last the tests of time, for life. How you wish then that the words uttered by Aristotle remained true for all times and ages!