Where’s my Manual?

After staring at a blank sheet of a virtual Word, yet empty, paper for almost 15 minutes straight something struck at the ever-interacting nerve junctions and there you go a blog post after a very long break.

In one of my classes for this semester, one of my lecturers, trying to avoid names because I don’t want to get into the mundane routine job of APA styled referencing or citations for the names or works taken to validate *Phew! * smiling his cocky smile, speaks to the class “Any product or an Item coming with a manual means that they failed at designing it well”. To elaborate what he meant, not mansplaining mind you, we are in that generation where it’s easy for a toddler to learn how to operate a mobile phone or an iPad where that toddler did not even read a manual, to begin with. Our brains are re-learning and creating neural networks due to the process of trial and error that we practically do not need a manual to pick a few things up.

On the contrary, I had to attend a First aid certification workshop mandatorily for one of the part-time jobs that I have been doing and there every bandaging technique, epinephrine usage comes with a manual and a direction to use. Does it contradict to what my professor told? Am I enrolled in a wrong uni? Is it too late to pull out? *Wink* Oh! Those sinking in feelings that I had for a fraction of second.

Sensibility took over the insecurity drive and my brain started to marinate in its own wisdom. The requirement of a manual is directly proportional to the severity of the action. When someone is undergoing a severe allergic reaction (Anaphylactic shock) and without a proper manual to know which end of the epinephrine pen to be pricked into the patient the response would go in vain even if they had all the necessary tools to counter the emergency.

Do you need a manual to use a knife? Do you need a manual to adjust the time of your clock? Do you need a manual to make someone laugh, cry or make them feel good? We learn things over time. Experiences make us who we are with a manual or not.

Am I stating something obvious? Might be, but the realities of our beliefs, from the perspective of my professor and first aid tutor are two sides of the same coin.

But, unfortunately, we don’t have a by-the-book procedure or a manual to love someone, to be liked, hated, tolerated and for many other emotions. They all are intrinsic and circumstantial and can change or become severe over time. As Jack Gilbert writes in his poem ‘Tear it Down’ that “We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars” we must try and do things beyond the constraints of a manual or a code. Not a deviation in a harmful way, but a healthy update to it.

So, my fellow manual-seekers go out there and rough it up a bit. Do what you haven’t done yet, be mindful while you are at it. Because common sense is also the best manual that we have got and does not cost you anything to think.

The Virata Parva

Ok!

So, there is no denying that the monsoon that was promised has failed miserably to shower in this part of the Eastern hemisphere, India. But, the rains in few parts of northern hemisphere brought down the momentum of the World cup that was promised. Now that both the promises of a monsoon and the world cup coming to India has been shattered and delayed for a month and 4 years respectively the citizens of India are smart enough to think of alternates to materialize those promises.

Unfortunately, The promise of a world cup win and the best of well-deserved farewells for Captain Cool do not have an alternate solution which could be less painful and heart wrenching. We have to suffer through this both as a team and as a country and come out strong.

Moving on to another promise that seems to have eluded us but the forecasts have confirmed the onset of rains in the days to come. Few areas getting quite some showers here and there have given some hopes for all. But, in the meantime, people have carried out many arduous tasks to attract monsoon clouds and commit them to shower in their region.

Few instances of those induced attractions for clouds could be getting two frogs married which was carried out in the Udupi region. Let me tell you this was a fully fledged Indian wedding of two lucky frogs that promised each other to hope around for all eternity come rain or not!

Few of the tribal community believe in taking out a funeral procession of a living person to please the gods of rain. The rationale behind this could be to make the Gods associated for rains laugh their ass off and summon rains to wash away our foolhardiness.

Likewise, as a matter of happenstance, a proposition was made by one of the well-revered personality to carry out a harikatha program which has the power to invoke rains in my locality. Harikatha translates to the Story of the Lord. It is a form of Hindu traditional discourse in which the storyteller explores a traditional theme, usually the life of a saint or a story from an Indian epic. The person telling the story through songs, music and narration is called a Haridasa. The epic selected was Mahabharata.

So, the particular story arc which has few incantations in it which has the power to invoke rains was the Virata Parva, Book of Virata, which is the fourth part of an 18 part saga. While all this planning was happening in our locality on a distant continent our captain Virat Kohli was writing his own saga on the pitches of England. A small world indeed.   

A suitable date was set for the Harikatha program and the optimistic and god believing part of the crowd brought with them umbrellas because they were confident that it would rain and the rest of the crowd came just for the story and curiosity regarding the outcome of this venture. While all this progressed I and my cousin sneaked out onto our own venture to eat the chats which I missed dearly from past one year.

While we were hogging on a variety of chats, all in by two’s because the diet is also important *Tongue in the cheek*, something miraculous happened. It started to rain!! Nothing is clear yet as to whether it rained due to the reading session of Virata Parva or the marathon of chat munching that we went on. If the former happens to be true then no wonder the epics written by the great saints are relics from a time of mysticism and supernatural happenings. If the latter is the reason then I would love to make it a ritual to go out on chat shop hopping and hogging on food to invoke rains.

You may consider this anecdote as a coincidence, a butterfly effect or just that the collective belief system paves the way to miracles. What has happened was quite intriguing for sure. But, the take home of this article would be to be more considerate about the environmental crisis that we all are going through. We are not worrying much about the degradation of the environment due to many factors about which I don’t have to point out as it is well established by now. But, the actions that we are taking as a society is negligible and to some extent neglected as well.

As an aftermath, people have strong confidence in the incantation of this Virata Parva more than a scarred nature who needs some help from our end as well to heal herself and continue to prosper and allow this civilization to sustain. We should be concentrating more on the necessary actions to be taken to prevent the inevitable crisis so that we can ignore and avoid some funnier ways to please the gods of rain.

Satish Bapat 

 

Insert Title Here

For the past few weeks I have been on a word rage, race against time.

Only reason being it was the sem end and I had a ton load of Reflective Summaries, group project report ranging from 2000-3000 words of sensible content due for submissions. With that being done, for the sake of sobering up I will use the momentum that was built to write a blog, if not of similar magnitude but a decent one for sure. So, let’s jump right at it.

We believe that time passes, but we don’t understand that time works in a circle, like a clockwork. It always comes back but the things around us would have changed so much that we think this time it’s a new thing. #NewDayNewMe!

Of anonymity and secrets
There was a time when we had a concept of Pen pals. To those who don’t know much about it a little intro for you. The concept is very simple, you write letters to random person around the world. Pen pals have a bio which tells about their interests and if you have a similar interest connection then right them a letter and post it to an address which routes it your pen pal. Wait for their reply and there you go, you have made a friend from some part of the world or someone from your neighborhood.  You both know only  what you share with each other. Nothing more, nothing less. There are cases where the names were fake but still you would have someone to share things. Fast forwarding to now, we try to maintain anonymity on the internet.

Metadata are the tracks that we try to cover and going incognito is faster than the blink of an eye. Yet, we do find some profile on some social media and try to hit it out with them. Angel Priya or not.
The only reason being that we like to be anonymous, not be judged and rant about things that we cannot do much being seen.

We are a social animal, we need our peers’ approvals, we want to be in a group and we do have outliers.
If we try to find a pattern between pen pals and social media anonymity and all other ways which cloaks you with a sense of false identity have all at their heart have a sense to be not judged. Did the times change? Or have we just found new methods to interact anonymously to share our darkest secrets?

Let’s deconstruct this issue and I would want you all to think with me on this.
These days we have all sorts of rants and discussions on the topics of freedom of speech, freedom of expression. But, are we asking the right questions to begin with? Are we asking any question at all?
All we need is a platform to share our thoughts. All those honest, disgusting, creepy or psychotic ones. The one that fall in the acceptable spectrum pops up on the social media with no intentions of going anonymous, but those thoughts which fall in the I will be judged spectrum of it will be written or shared anonymously to an anonymous person through a platform which grants you that anonymity. So, the real fight, if we are truly concerned should be for Freedom to Listen.
And some find a best listener in their best friend, boy/girlfriend, brother/sister, mom/dad, husband/wife, counselor or in a IamReal fake account. Let me know if I am making sense here. One more question being where should the listeners go to share?

To self-growth or grow as a team?
I know love is not the cure for everything. Which is a hard truth. It makes you feel warm, complete and sensible but it might not be the only thing that matters. One of the songs by the band The Eagles, Love will keep us alive has been my all-time favorite and I believed every word of it during all the summers of teenage. I do am a hopeless romantic and all, will continue to be, but let’s address some things first.

By picking few days from the timelines of 80s, 90s or beyond the emphasis could be found more on personal growth, personal gratification and many self-centric attitudes and we do have those attitudes being persistent in our time as well. There is nothing wrong in that at all.
With the advancements in the fields on internet, connectivity and other accessory domains it’s easy for us to learn from others, share our experiences. We have surpassed the legacy that only teachers can impart knowledge and wisdom onto students. Wikipedia can concise it for me and Grammarly can correct my mistakes.

So, for us the holistic approach should be in helping my fellow friends in achieving their goals, working together like a team, learning, developing and teaching aswell. Because we are so closely knit together that its difficult to ignore and move past things of solid realizations. I might turn out to be a hypocrite for a few because I have done everything the exact opposite to what I said above. Realizations rewrite you and here I am a little rewritten.

So, as a food for thought are the two essential problems laid out in front of you all. And I would love it if you could think on this with me with your own perspectives and let’s implement little by little of our learnings. Start small with a few friends and try to expand on it in the days to come.

I have become so accustomed to taking a sneak peek into the word counter that I feel a sense of completion as I hit the 1k mark and feel so relieved that I don’t have to give a citation to anything that I have written or reference it as per the Howard standards.

Now that a wave of submissions and word finding is done and survived I can relax for a few days before the exam wave hits us all.

Satish Bapat

 

 

Silence of Three Parts!

The silence spoke the loudest.

Was it an awkward silence? Or the calm that forms before a storm. The taboo was spoken and the tear that it brought to a perfect reality screamed a silent scream in the hall of a conservative Indian family. I am gay! The echo of this uttered confession still resonated and became part of the silence that hung around. Dad stormed out of the room trying to run away from the truth and expecting it to unexist it self once he renters the hall. The silent gasp made by mother tried to replace the silence that haunted but the silence strong armed it into nothingness. Beating heart of the son before he came clean about it could have been heard but the heart stopped its pounding once the truth was uttered, like it realized it is easy to accept rather than hide it.

If silence could see, then it could have seen how slowly, with some confusion of its own, mothers hands travelled to hold the hand of his son who came out. The hollow silence that made its presence known was filled with the footsteps of the father who walked into the room again. His voice banished the echoing quite with words of concern. This is new to me and frankly I am confused and do not know how to react to this. I am angry, scared and worried all at the same time. But, I promise you that I will support this decision of yours. If you want to live a queer lifestyle then you must be strong. Strong to face the criticisms and we must be strong enough to come to an acceptance. Give me some time, that’s all I ask for now.
This was the silence of three parts, of acceptance, realization and of being uncertain.
The result was out and the reading showed positive. Third time’s the charm they say but the result did not change. The silence the pregnancy test kit oozed was scary. The two lovers were shocked and the uncertainty boomed and became part of a silence that haunted. They had been careful all the time but somehow the unexpected had materialized into a reality. For the boy the silence felt like all the responsibility that he has to take for which he was surely not ready. For the girl the words betrayed and emotions fogged her mind. In the silence she found her calm and she knew this calm will turn into a violent storm sooner. Should she be happy, or should she be scared for the gift that she received from a purely no strings attached relationship. She expected the silence to rub away the result and turn it into a negative. But, silence is not a magician it is just a canvas that reflects our actions. The silence of three parts was a decoction of responsibility not ready enough to be taken and of what happens next.

 

The silence that follows can at times slow down time itself. What seems like a second feels like an eternity. When in the act of going down on your knees to make a proposition it feels like the knees are taking longer than they should to reach the ground. The silence watches this act with a smirk on its face. The sound of the ring box opening is sucked in by the silence, the words spoken out is somehow choked and dies in the throat. Was it the silence that did it to protect its existence? The reaction from the partner, irrespective of a yes or a no feels like the silence has clogged your ears making your senses betray you. But, the silence cannot be held back for too long. The scream of yes shatters the silence, for a little while at least. While the lovers embrace the silence reappears and wraps them in its warmth. The silence of three parts exists as a thin line of difference between heartbreak or acceptance.

The silence might be awkward at times. Inevitable at times and irritating too. But, silence exists nonetheless. Reach out to the silence and make the clarity clearer. Because silence follows before any big decision is to be made. That is the silence of three parts.

 

Satish Bapat

 

 

The Photopigment Confusion

Birthday gift was yet to be opened. She was saving the best for the last.
Packed neatly with the most colorful of gift wraps. Picked it and gave it a shake to attempt at a guess on what the gift might be. In vain and still clueless she continued to rip through it to know what it holds. There was a letter in it stapled onto the bubble wrap of a beautiful dress. Read the letter, opened the dress, hurriedly ran into the washroom to try it on. Walked out, opened the front camera and took a good photo and sent it to her boyfriend with the message.

Loved the not soo close to red dress that I wanted! Thanks for this.

To which a quick reply was received.

Thank God you loved it Babe! I am happy that I told you about my issue with colors. Hope you don’t mind.

Ha ha! That’s alright. You know how much you mean to me.

No! seriously, I know you wanted someone who had a great sense of fashion. Someone who knows about style and the colour combination and all but I don’t step up to that criteria for SURE!

Listen babe! I know it’s true that I had imagined my partner to be someone who is stylish and all that crap that I tell you about but there is a difference in dreaming about something and being happy with what I have. Now I know that you are color blind and all that but that does not make you any less desirable. You see all the colours of my emotions, even the blue ones. You have the cure to my Monday blues even though you have no idea how the color blue looks like. You make me laugh and turn my cheeks into a rosy red. I am not disappointed that you cannot see my cheeks turning red, I am happy that you make me laugh. YOU MAKE ME FEEL GOOD and that’s all matters to me.

WOWW!  Stop writing essays now. The keyboard will catch fire by the speed of your typing. Don’t forget to breathe while you are typing.

NO! let me get this straight. You don’t have to feel insecure for some things that are not in your control. Pick me up soon for dinner you color blind Romeo.

HA HA! Your wish is my command.

So, how do you know when to stop when it’s a red signal? Do you still drive thinking its green? 😛

I stop when everyone stops 😛 Just kidding, I definitely know the order of colors on the traffic signal with green being at the center. STOP MAKING FUN OF ME.

How did you even pass the driving test? You color blind.

Typing…

Typing..

Typing..

The texting continued. Color blind or not, he could see what love felt like. A warmth in the heart and a sweet music to the soul…

 

Satish Bapat

The Firm Handshake

Have you ever got your hands shook to such an extent that you feel that the bones in your hand will break at any instant? Or have been victimizing the person at the other end of that handshake just for a masculine power exhibit than a formal greeting?

Firstly, no one gives you the right to crush the life out of someone else hand when you meet them for the first time.

Secondly, we live in those times where we believe in making a good first impression. In a corporate world a fine formal wear and firm handshake gets evaluated before the interview begins. Trust me, it’s true.

Thirdly, this reason right here I believe is why Indians join hands and say Namaste. Because we might have been the victims of an English brutes hand shake as well along with the other atrocities.

It pisses me off when my hands get squeezed in the name of introduction. I know it is important to show the world that you are strong but it is definitely not through a pain-in-the-hand squeeze.

I am not being a judgmental, hand-shake critic but I think most of them who indulge in the manly man hand shake have no clue as to why they do it. I am man and hell ya my handshake should be pain inducing!  That is how it is I believe, they have no clue as to why they do it and trust me the ignorance is not their fault. This is the kind of world we live in nowadays. We just know it has to be done this way, but no one wants to know why we do it that way. No one questions, but blindly follows the masses.

Just like one thing leads to another, should women be indulging in a firm pain inducing handshakes? Do the feminists have a hand shake that competes with manly man way of handshake?

So here are a few pointers to detect a painful handshake and how to counter it:

* While you are In the process of extending your hand to greet someone, make a quick eye contact and in those eyes lies the answer to how badly your hands are going to get squeezed and then make a split second decision as to how much pressure you will put into this handshake.

* If the person has a little more than the usual number of rings on his hand then trust me he is a firm handshake(r) because that will be his subconscious mind trying to get your attention on the amount of jewellery on his hands.

* Apart from showing off a popping out biceps a gym person will definitely have a pain inducing hand shake. Because how else will he show that he works out and is strong. Da!

Grip long, grip hard is what every hand shake analyst tells. Yes, there are hand shake analyst as well. Basically, they are psychologist who study handshakes and in turn deduce the personality.

Don’t get me wrong here, first impression do matter but not at the cost of others pain. Have a firm handshake but practice as to how much pressure that needs to be put into it. So, don’t be a bone crusher but be a firm hand shaker and shake responsibly *Wink*

Satish Bapat

Playlist of Nostalgia

We feel alive because of all the senses that we are equipped with. We feel more alive due to the sensory excitements the environment of which we are part of has to offer. Like finding a familiar face in huge crowd. Hearing the voice of your loved ones as they enter the house. A text message tone that buzzes or the salary credit message at the end of the month and many other instances. The senses are heightened during all these little things. One thing without another is like living in a shell, vacuum. That’s life in a nutshell. Being deprived of any one of the prime senses that we have evolved in us does not delimit us to enjoy our intangible connection with the biomass around. The disabilities might make one’s life a little difficult when compared to any healthy fellow human being but we have work around for every problem. Because, living is for everyday and death is inevitable. Period.

Now that I have established a serious, of sorts, prologue to what I have to share the tone of what continues next will be more casual and less intense.

*Sprays anti-intense spray*

Okies!

I got into a virtual world adventure. A digital expedition for which I did not have to trek new mountains, swim oceans or battle dangerous monsters. Just had to overcome a few network issues and mobile battery draining out. The present generation problems. The task was, making a playlist of nostalgia.

Let me explain.
*Sips on a coffee to make the scene a little intense*

We all would have been exposed to music at a very young age in the form of lullaby. At the beginning we start off listening to our parents, elder siblings or grandparents choice of music. That being the starting point and from there we head out to listen to our choice of music. We form a taste or liking to a particular form of music. Apparently, as we grow up our choice changes and we remake the taste buds into liking a new genre of music. This is a never ending process.

At times out of nowhere you hear a song that you used like and that kicks in a nostalgic feeling, a sudden outburst of mixed emotions that make you think of that phase that you passed. This emotion lasts for a very small time, flaunts a glimpse and vanishes and we resume to live our current lifestyle. Nostalgia is indeed a gift.

So here I was making a playlist of all the songs that I had loved and heard on repeat at some point in my life. From the old hindi melodies to which we our exposed to by my mom, the telugu, tamil songs which my brother used to hear during his college days. Awesome metal songs \m/ to which I used to head bang during my engineering days. It was a great fun to revisit those songs and reflect on the times that have changed. The idea was how would it be to make a playlist of all these songs and play it on a shuffle. A rollercoaster of nostalgic feeling because music not only brings back old memories but it also reminds us about the people to which we might have associated it with. Few love songs might remind you of that person about whom you were head over heels at one point because you had associated it to them and as the time passes the associations changes but the emotion that the song had offered remains to be the same.

Nostalgia or not, with music or without there is a sense of fun in being in that phase. or the phase that you are currently in. You might be out there trying to make things work, look for a job, raise a family, travelling places, finding love, maintain the relationship, moving in, moving out and many other things that you might be struggling with. Enjoy the phase, learn from it and improve on it because we are never what we were before and we don’t know what we will be tomorrow. It’s all in this moment and trust me, everything will be just fine.

Here is the link to the playlist that I am in the process of building and you can tune in to it as well. Share with me your playlist, if you have one and tell me if you have any story behind a song because the more we share the more we know about each other and I would love to add it to my playlist.

This is a process that will not be stopped and if it does then know that I have been abducted by an alien race or that the earth has blown itself out.

https://itunes.apple.com/in/playlist/satishas-muse/pl.u-RRbV04Wu32KM97L

La vita è bella. Life is beautiful.

Satish Bapat