Life Is One Big Young Adult Novel.

You know, I often feel like my life is just one big young adult fiction novel, stuck forever in the middle. I’ve been thinking that thought for the last couple of days. 

Today, my story started its new chapter. Or, at least, the biggest plot twist. 

It involves sports. Wow, I never thought I’d say that in my life. 

My sport of interest has never been consistent for more than, say, half a year. Ever since we were allowed to pick a sport in 4th grade, I have jumped from tennis, to athletics, to basketball, to football, and now finally taekwondo. So when I stick with a sport (basketball, in this case) for more than two years, I know that I actually like it.

Soon after moving to my new home, a gated community, I joined basketball coaching classes on the weekdays. The basketball court, in the most basic sense, is the ONLY place where kids my age meet. We have close to no other social life outside of basketball class, trust me. So, obviously, the people who I’ve stuck with in there are nothing short of my best friends. But that still doesn’t stop me from feeling like I need to be on an edge in the court.

Look, whether I or anyone else in this universe admits it or not, I am a nerd. I enjoy solitude with a book in my hand, walking peacefully in the winter sun. I listen to podcasts about the kilogram being redefined, or John and Hank Green joking about death, all while finishing Telugu notes or preparing for my finals (which are a month away-i know, it’s too soon) downstairs.

Doing random things way outside of my comfort zone is definitely something I enjoy once it’s done, but something I absolutely dread while it’s happening. That’s how I felt with this basketball match. I know that there are other, better, actually dangerous things for me to be afraid of, but sue me for being concerned that my heart might pop out of my chest due to nervous tension.

I have never played an official basketball match outside of school, so I am awfully nervous when I go down to play. We start out okay, with a lead of 12-6, but then the good guys(including me) get substituted, and soon the score is 19-25. I am beyond shocked. I am devastated. I am beyond exhausted. I played so well, and so hard, but now we were embarrassingly behind.

I’m on the verge of giving up. Not just pressing-pause-to-resume kind of giving up. The kind the where you stop and have to start all over again. 

Here’s something:

I. have. never. given. up. Ever. 

Not on people, not on tough situations, and definitely, DEFINITELY not on myself or my friends. 

So I don’t.

I push. And push. And push. And push harder and harder and the hardest I could and I fight back my fears and my tears and the pain and the despair and I just give it my all. I run into people, snatch the ball, pass, scream until my lungs burned and I’m 100% there in that moment. 

I know the situation is more and more like something out of a movie, because after 40 minutes of play, both teams are tied and we go into 3 minutes of overtime. I think that this is do or die. But nah. We both score, and we go into overtime again, this time for two minutes. And I think that this situation is as unpredictable as walking on a tightrope 20 feet up in the air with the wind blowing right at me. 

But I hold on. We all do. 

For the last 2 minutes, I hold on to whatever hope is left in me and I give it my all. 

7…6…

I don’t know how, but we suddenly have the lead. 29-27. The ball is, literally and figuratively, in the opponent team’s court right now.

5…4…

But our hope rises just enough for one last boost of energy, and we fight back. 

3…2…1…

It’s inevitable. 

The whistle blows.

Time stops. 

Long enough for us to realize that we actually won. 

The screams are loud and roaring, and they fill me with the voice to scream too. 

I’m running towards everyone. I hug my friend, Akshita, who was sitting on the bench, cheering for us.

I’m hug my friend, Ishaan, who was the reason we won. 

The specifics don’t matter because this success wasn’t about individual glory.  People told me I was really, super aggressive and I defended like a  boss, but that’s not the primary cause of my immense, overwhelming joy.

I often think that my life is one big young adult fiction novel stuck in the middle forever. It’s not always easy, or fun, or even kind.

But goddamn it, it’s good.

Cheers,

Udita.


“I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that’s what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it’s only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing “tail” behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they’re shooting stars! That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn’t know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn’t know existed in me… I see myself. I’m a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I’m not going to die out. I guess I’m more like a comet then. I’m just going to keep on coming back.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

8 Powerful Habits To Create During Vacations

Featured Image by Lidya Nada on Unsplash


Go cycle.

One of the best things you can do during vacations, especially in the mornings, is cycling. Not only does it boost you with motivation for the entire day, but it also helps you clear your head. Cycling is easy, not very straining on your body, and it is a great way to increase your health and stamina. So tomorrow morning, take your friends with you and go on a ride. Go on. It’ll be fun, I promise.

Read a book you never thought you would.

I emphasise on the second part of the heading. It’s easy to read a book that you know you’re gonna read because you’ve already made up your mind about it. I don’t want you to read the book you bought for your birthday, or the new book release from Hank Green, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (although you should buy it- it’s great), or the book you’ve been wanting to read for ages. Save those for later, honey.

I want you to pick up a book from the back of your bookshelf, one that you never knew existed, or one that you simply forgot about, sit down, and read it. I want you to do this because it will open your mind to new ways to excite itself. And this applies for most things in life, not just books. By constantly finding new things that you love, you are stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning to enjoy new, completely different things in life.

Write.

Great, you’ve read a book. Now, it’s time for you to write! It doesn’t need to be really good (*cough* like this one *cough*), or properly structured. It doesn’t even need to make sense at first. All you need to do is put your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper. The more you do this, the easier it will become. This site is an example of that.

If you start to write consistently, you’ll start to notice that you’re able to think more clearly. The more you become comfortable with writing down your thoughts, the more you become comfortable with your thoughts.

Cool, eh?

Meditate.

I can almost see my friends cringing badly as they read that word. We millennials seem to hate the idea of meditating so much, but I just don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we are so used to running around doing stuff (basically just running around in circles), and we’re kinda afraid of stopping. And I totally get that.

If you can, and you honestly should, take 2 minutes out of your schedule in the morning and just breathe. If you’re drowned by your own thoughts, accept them all and continue breathing. Some great mobile apps for meditation are:

Manage your time.

Oh my god, I cannot even EXPLAIN how much time management helps you organize your life. The moment you set your priorities right and schedule everything properly, life becomes 10 times clearer. But I’m not a time-management expert. Creating a schedule that’s right for you takes lots of time and effort getting to know yourself better.

In order to properly manage time, you need to understand what uses up most of your time in the first place. Then, you need to get rid of the stuff that’s a pure waste of your time. That’s half the job done. The other half is to do the things that matter the most to you and doing them with full commitment, in the time that you have. And if you ever don’t have enough time to do the things that you want to, then make the time for them.

There’s always time.

Learn a new language.

I might have said this earlier, but I’m going to say it again. Learning a new language is the best way to use your free time. I mean it when I say that. I’ve been learning Spanish on Duolingo for more than a year now, and the experience has been extremely gratifying. There’s something very rewarding in putting a little bit of effort every day into learning something, which, over time, becomes a skill that’s stronger than you ever could imagine. The bottom line is this: learning a new language is an investment that lasts for a lifetime, and you should definitely get into it.

Socialize. With the right people.

ok, coming from an introvert, that word just sounds WRONG in my head, but I gotta admit, the experience of meeting strangers is worth it. But only if the strangers are a valuable addition to your life. Over time, such strangers become your closest and most loyal friends, who genuinely care and hope for the best for you. It’s an equally exhilarating experience to make friends with people who you never expected to be friends with.

So, to my fellow introverted friends, I encourage you to take a risk, step way outside of your comfort zone, and just go make a few new friends today. I’m going to go do that right now.

Just go make a few new friends today.

Brush your teeth twice a day.

Yeah, well, I don’t really mean just that. I mean “keep yourself well groomed and reasonably hygienic.” It’s fine if you don’t bathe sometimes. I mean, it’s the vacations! Who’s got the time or interest to bathe?! Still, you probably should love yourself enough to care about your own wellbeing. The best way to take care of yourself is by making the tasks automated. And the best way to make tasks automated is to do them first thing in the morning or last thing before sleeping. That’s how most tasks work (eg: brushing).

So, starting tomorrow, create one new self-care habit for the morning, and one for the night. It can be anything from applying moisturizing lotion on your skin to combing your hair. It doesn’t matter, as long as you do it with love (omg, so cheesy) and do it consistently.


To all  Indians: Have a happy Dusshera, and happy vacations!

 

Let’s Deal With Disappointment, Shall We?

The tension in the room is palpable.

Everyone in the class is eagerly waiting for the bell to ring.

5…4…3…2…1

*ringggg*

Once the teacher leaves, we all rush to the nearest bulletin board on our floor. All of us want to know whether we cleared the test, or failed.

No, we weren’t looking at the results of our final exams.

We were looking at the I-Section entrance test results.

Every year, our school conducts an entrance exam for secondary school students to test their smartness. Then, they segregate the “smart” kids into a different, Integrated-Section.

Yes, I’m in this section. No, sometimes (such as now) I don’t like it.

So our results are on the bulletin board, but I already know my marks- 45 out of 50.

I don’t want to say this, but – oh god – I was disappointed with my marks.

Sometimes I wonder whether I could be the definition of a typical Indian teenage nerd- smart, constantly worried, over-analytic about marks, overpressured and overburdened. Ok, the last part is a bit of an exaggeration. Seriously mom. I’m fine. Don’t send me to the counsellor or to math tuition.

The funny thing is, though, that even though I got through by a big margin, I still felt kinda uneasy. Like I hadn’t done enough to prove my nerdiness to other people. Even though I had accomplished my goal, my mind was too fixated on the smaller picture. Marks.

My whole day went past me like a blur, while all I thought about was how bad I was at acing tests and how much I sucked at them.

That afternoon, during my bus ride back home, my history teacher, who’s a very sweet person (I’m not being paid to say this), asked me if I was sick or something. ‘Cause apparently I looked like I had a fever.

I told her about my rather disgraceful test performance, and she just broke into soft laughter.

“Don’t worry so much, ma. If the teachers are happy with your results, then it’s fine! Don’t take it so seriously.”

Those words gave me just the perspective my naive mind needed. My mood went from sullen, brooding, contemplative and disappointed to accepting, and ready to make a change. I was ready to change my day into one full of opportunities at my disposal.

Here are 5 things I did that evening to lift my mood. You should try them too.

Talk to a friend.

If you’re feeling low, pick up your phone and chat up with an old friend. The feeling of having someone who listens and talks to you can be therapeutic at times.

Tell yourself that it’ll pass.

Because it will. You know that. Stop for a moment, tell your little irrational brain to shut up, and remind yourself that whatever you’re feeling is perfectly normal, and your despair with come to an end.

Throw your responsibilities away for a day.

One primary reason for disappointment is high expectations. From anyone. So since you can’t control what others expect from you, the best you can do is control what you expect from yourself. Don’t push your limits for a few hours. Just. Relax.

Play a sport.

Sports are awesome! They are also scientifically proven to reduce stress and depression. So if you have a basketball court or just a park in your neighbourhood, call a couple of your friends down and play for a while!

Write about it (as I am now).

Writing helps because nothing provides perspective through self-realisation quite like writing. The minute you put a sad feeling on paper, it loses its dramatic, overestimated impact on your mental wellbeing. There’s no need to amplify a situation through writing. As long as you write down the bare facts about what happened and how you feel, this works.

That day, I learnt that no matter how bad a day goes, I can always change how I feel about it with a simple shift in mindset.

I learnt that if I just change your mindset from one of disappointment to one of acceptance and growth, everything will be okay.

Hopefully, you learnt that too.

“I’m sad, hurt, angry, mad, disappointed. But you know what? I will put on a happy face and move on. It will hurt but I will survive.”

How to Steal Ideas

Stolen from Austin Kleon.

Nothing’s original.

There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Originality is undetected plagiarism. Nothing, absolutely nothing in this world is original. “Original” art is just connecting the same old dots in a different pattern. And the best way to get more of these dots into your life is to steal them. There are bajillions of things to steal in the world, and many people to steal it from. Use what you find interesting, appreciate what you don’t, and move on to the next thing to steal.

You are your own remix.

You are a mashup of your mom and dad and your ancestors. Your ideas are a mashup of the people you surround yourself with, the friends you make, the music you listen to, the movies you see and the blogs you read. 😛 In the same way, your ideas are a mix of other people’s ideas. You might feel like the ideas in your head are 100% yours, but that couldn’t be more far from the truth. Your job is to pick the sources and ideas that you want to be influenced by.

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. -Jim Jarmusch

Build your own creative lineage.

One good way to keep the art flowing is to consider yourself as part of a big creative family tree that has all your role models in it. Start with one thinker. Study everything there is to know about them. Then find three people that thinker loved and study them. Grow branches of your tree as far out as you can. Seeing yourself as part of a bigger picture gives you a sense of purpose, makes you feel less alone and more empowered to continue doing what you’re doing.

Putting up pictures or quotes of your favourite people in the world is a great way to do this. They’re like friendly ghosts, pushing you forward.

Teach yourself.

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it also cured polio. Keep your eyes open for anything worth Googling. Whenever in doubt, Google. Google your dreams, your nightmares, your problems and absolutely any random thought on your mind. It’s sure to either give the right answers or lead you to better questions.

Write it down.

If you’re in the hunt for ideas, there are two things you’ll need to carry with you all the time: a pen and paper.

If you see something worth remembering, chances are you’ll forget it in the next twenty four hours. The difference between a genius and a normal person is that when a genius comes across something cool, she notes it down.

See something worth your attention?

Steal it.

It is better to take what doesn’t belong to you than to let it lie around neglected. -Mark Twain

Sorry this post is a bit short. Next week will be better, I promise!

What do you want to see next? Any ideas on your mind? Leave a comment below!

5 Things We Can Learn from The Mentalist

Okay.

So, as I write this, it’s the 30th of April and it’s been 3 days since Avengers: Infinity War released. And whether or not you know me personally, one thing you should know that is that I LOVE MARVEL. I love the movie storylines, the cinematography, and the cast and characters of the MCU. I’ve been a fan for the last 5 years and I’ve devoted a lot of time towards the fandom. Suddenly I started thinking about the other fandoms I follow. And lemme tell you this – there are only 2 main things I strongly fangirl about: Marvel and Crime TV.

I love many crime and political drama TV series, but the one I love the most is my newest obsession: The Mentalist.

The Mentalist is a show starring Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a former psychic and conman. He joins the California Bureau of Investigation after a serial killer named Red John murders his wife and daughter. Jane uses his wit, intelligence and cold sadism to choke–no–to make the suspects choke the truth out of themselves until they either walk away in anger or get arrested for murder. And by doing so, Jane pretty much single-handedly closes most cases (with, of course, some help from his 4 teammates).

I’ve known this TV show for quite a few years now (thanks to my parents who love the show too), but only now now have I truly understood how good and precious it is. Not only is it one of the most successful TV shows of its time, but it also showcases good characteristics and advice that you may not have noticed in the show before. Here are 5 things that I’ve learnt from Patrick Jane, the Mentalist:

Read books more often.

In almost every episode of the series, at some point you’re gonna see Jane on his sofa, reading a book or solving a sudoku puzzle. SUDOKU. This guy solves mysteries, fearlessly outs criminals and frequently puts his life and career on the line to save lives. And what does he do in his free time? HE READS. We should all do the same.

Don’t be afraid to catch the bad guys.

Or question the norm. Almost every case ends with Jane trapping the criminal in such a way that they are forced to confess. And he does this so effortlessly and unambiguously, that no one knows what’s coming their way. The way Jane outs criminals and frauds with such finesse and fearlessness is something we can all learn from. In the world we’re living in, with corruption and violence growing, the number of people supporting and participating in illegal practices is only getting bigger. The same goes for autonomous and dogmatic authorities, whose sole intent seems to be to eliminate anyone who steps even an inch out of line. If you manage to take down or change even one of such people, you will have succeeded in making the world a better place.

It’s good to get inside other’s heads.

For good, of course. Jane’s biggest strength happens to be his ability to accurately read people’s minds. Like, honestly, he will read your mind faster than you can say CBI out loud. The mind is the most powerful source of information and inspiration a human can have. And to decide someone else’s mind could quite be the biggest advantage you have over them. That’s because getting to know what drives and vexes people is a clever tactic that you can use to influence people towards a certain cause. But you can’t read a stranger’s mind without training your own. So training the brain to look past the obvious physical details of a person is an essential lesson Jane has taught me. Speaking of details–

The devil is in the details.

Jane is a master at looking beyond the obvious and ordinary and catching anything that looks out of order. His expertise in noticing the smallest of characteristics and behaviour teaches us that the key to solving any problem is mostly to pay REALLY GOOD ATTENTION.

Your tragedy can define you or destroy you.

Patrick Jane worked as a conman and psychic for years before joining the CBI. When he was a psychic he occasionally used to help the police find Red John. While talking about Red John once on a live TV show, Jane arrogantly called him “an ugly, tormented man. A lonely soul.”

That very night, Red John murdered Patrick’s wife and child. He slit their throats and painted their toenails and the wall in their own blood.

This was Patrick’s tragedy. He lost the two people he loved the most because of his ego. He had a serious nervous breakdown soon after and was in dire need of psychiatric help. This moment of despair was the lowest point of Jane’s life.

But he didnt give in to this tragedy and drown himself in self-loathing and self-pity. Instead, he swore not to stop until he avenged his wife and daughter and killed Red John.

Tragedy will, at some point or another, fall upon every person on this planet. It will taunt us. It will test us. And it will scare us. But by all means, when it comes, we mustn’t give in to defeat for the comfort of safety. Even if it takes every ounce of your energy, time and self-worth, we must fight back until what we need is ours.

There are a hundred things I’ve learnt from The Mentalist. I could go in for a long time talking about them all. But hope, I think, is the most important.

Who knew a TV show could be so influential, eh?

When you’re dead, you’re dead. And until then, there’s ice cream! -Patrick Jane

Like this post? Leave a comment to start a discussion! I’d love to hear your reviews and suggestions!

5 Ways to Strengthen your Willpower this Summer

This post is part of a collaboration with Jess from JessofEarth. We’re both writing blogs on improving work ethic this Spring/Summer season. Check out her post on tips to improve work ethic and give her some love! Actually, give her a lot of love. She deserves it.

OK. Listen. I’m gonna be straightforward here: I don’t wanna write this post. I feel like I’ve hit a blogging wall that’s taking every ounce of my energy to climb over. I am mentally strained and emotionally fatigued.”

That was me, two Sundays ago. Two Sundays ago, I had absolutely zero chill whatsoever and was at a dead end. And soon I came to a conclusion: There are two things that a person loses when they are at a dead end- appetite and their desire to live. Seriously. I’m not kidding. That whole Sunday was a rhythmic medley of passive starvation and passive, unhealthy introspection.

I knew I had to do something about my appalling state of mind. So I turned to the best person for advice, my one true friend: YouTube.

I spent the rest of the day binge watching some of the world’s biggest stars talk about work ethic and self-discipline and inspiration, but the one recurring core value I saw in all the videos was grit; specifically, willpower.

Willpower is the mind’s ability to stay focused and work tenaciously in the face of various challenges and hurdles. Willpower is basically the supremacy of the mind over the body. It allows us to stay determined, persevere, and achieve success in spite of the ups and downs. Willpower acts as your daily health counting bar. But it’s a finite resource and gets drained for absolutely every activity that you do in a day. So it’s essential that we utilize our willpower in the most efficient way possible.

I found an amazing video by Charlie Houpert on willpower, where he clarifies many common misconceptions about the value and gives really cool tips to strengthen it. Here they are.

Make decisions quickly.

Come on. How much time do you spend deciding which ice cream or soda you want? Or whether you’re gonna finish your work today or later? The answer obviously is a lot.

Not only does this waste your time and energy, but reduces your willpower, bit by bit, each time you deliberate over a petty issue.

Mindlessly going back and forth over multiple decisions only creates more trouble and confusion for your brain. So take it easy, make a snap choice and just do it.

Create ground rules.

It’s always easier when you have a set of predefined rules that you just have to follow. This can be as simple as “I’m going to wake up at 6 and that’s it” or something more serious like “no more than 2 chocolates a month.” Besides, who eats only 2 chocolates a month??

Setting an unfixed rule won’t let you reconsider any other option, therefore not letting you mindlessly deliberate over things and saving your willpower.

Create an environment that supports your work.

This concerns two things: your phone and your friends. But mostly your phone.

If you thrive on social media platforms all day instead of finishing your work, try deleting your apps. If you check Pinterest a lot (like me), try deleting it for a week.This will force you not to check for notifications or get distracted.  Unless you want to go through the gruesome task of opening your laptop and signing in again, which I’d really rather not do.

Changing your environment could also mean changing the people you surround yourself with. It is best to live with people who have the same dedication and willpower as you. They don’t need to have the same interests tho. As long as they work as hard or harder than you, you’re doing good.

Prepare for the challenging task first.

No matter how amazing your work might be going at one point, a speed bump is inevitable. And if you’re not ready for that reality, it’s definitely going to be a major blow to your mental strength. So do what you can to prepare yourself for the unwanted or negative outcomes in a situation, so that when they do happen, you’ll be ready to fight the battle. And it’s ok if you lose the battle, as long as you win the war.

Figure out your identity.

*sigh* Look, man. I hate to break it to you, but you’re…. you’re not Will Smith. Ok? So stop trying to act like you got that kind of Willpower(I hope you saw what I did there). Was that too cheesy or was it ok?

Trying to achieve your dreams by following the ethics of someone else is never going to help in the long term. In order to truly flourish in life, it is necessary to know yourself inside out. Know what drives you, your strengths and weaknesses, your flaws and frustrations, and figure out what work ethic works best for you. Because if you don’t, someone else will. And it might not fit you perfectly.

I know sometimes work might seem like a heartless, lifeless job, driving us to the edge of humanity and towards mechanical and robotic emotion, but if you mix your work and willpower with individual identity, that’s when work stops being work and becomes fun.

It’s not that some people have the willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not. -James Gordon

Should we hate our imperial history?

From the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari —

All human cultures are at least in part the legacy of empires and imperial civilisations, and no academic or political surgery can cut out the imperial legacies without killing the patient.

Think, for example, about the love-hate relationship between the independent Indian republic of today and the British Raj. The British conquest and occupation of India cost the lives of millions of Indians and was responsible for the continuous humiliation and exploitation of hundreds of millions more. Yet may Indians adopted, with the zest of converts, Western ideas such as self-determination and human rights, and were dismayed when the British refused to live up to their own declared values by granting native Indians either equal rights as British subjects or independence.

Nevertheless, the modern Indian state is a child of the British Empire. The British killed, injured and persecuted the inhabitants of the subcontinent, but they also united a bewildering mosaic of warring kingdoms, principalities and tribes, creating a shared national consciousness and a country that functioned more or less as a single political unit. They paid the foundations of the Indian judicial system l, created its administrative structure, and built the railroad network that was critical for economic integration. Independent India adopted Western democracy, in its British incarnation, as its form of government. English is still the subcontinent’s lingua franca, a neutral tongue that native speakers of Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam can use to communicate. Indians are passionate cricket players and chai (tea) drinkers, and both game and beverage are British legacies. Commercial tea farming did not exist in India until the mid-nineteenth century, when it was introduced by the British East India Company. It was the snobbish British sahibs who spread the custom of tea drinking throughout the subcontinent.

How many Indians today would want to call a vote to divest themselves of democracy, English, the railway network, the legal system, cricket and tea on the grounds that they are imperial legacies? And if they did, wouldn’t the very act of calling a vote to decide the issue demonstrate their debt to their former overlords?

Even if we were to completely disavow the legacy of a brutal empire in the hope of reconstructing and safeguarding the ‘authentic’ cultures that preceded it, in all probability what we will be defending is nothing but the legacy of an older and no less brutal empire. Those who resent the multinational of Indian culture by the British Raj inadvertently sanctify the legacies of the Mughal Empire and the conquering sultanate of Delhi. And whoever attempts to rescue ‘authentic Indian culture’ from the alien influences of these Muslim empires sanctifies the legacies the Gupta Empire, the Kushan Empire and the Maurya Empire. If an extreme Hindu nationalist were to destroy all the buildings all the buildings left by the British conquerors, such as Mumbai’s train station, what about the structures left by the India’s Muslim conquerors, such as the Taj Mahal?

Nobody really knows how to solve this thorny question of cultural inheritance. Whatever path we take, the first step is to acknowledge the complexity of the dilemma and to accept that simplistically dividing the past into the good guys and bad guys leads nowhere.

Unless, of course, we are willing to admit that we usually follow the lead of the bad guys.

I’m not feeling it.

This whole week has been a frenzy of activity. I’ve been reading, singing, coding, creating apps, brainstorming for hours at school, and doing my school work on top of all that. I guess you could call that a busy week for 14-year old standards. And if that wasn’t enough, I realized that I hadn’t written a blog post!

Today morning was extremely windy and cold and dark and rainy(which is what i love), and I was trying to enjoy the rain, but all my mind could think of was,”Uhhhhh, it’s Sundayyyyy. I gotta write some stuff, whyyyy?” No part of my body felt like pushing buttons on a screen and hitting Publish in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I would get a solid 15 views on this post. Only to do this again next week. From scratch. I’m not saying I don’t like blogging (that is absolutely false), it’s just that I’d rather put my brain in a blender than write today.

Maybe I feel like this because I started blogging with the unrealistic hopes of getting a million followers in a year, and until now, I really thought it was possible. I am addicted to the idea of success and fame, and I used to believe that blogging would let me achieve my dreams as quickly as possible. And the realization that success isn’t even guaranteed, let alone easily achievable, has shaken me up considerably over the past few weeks.

So is success really achievable? Is it worth putting all your time, energy, strength and willpower just to make sure that your dreams are achieved? What if you don’t have big dreams? What if you just want a cheeseburger, and don’t care about getting a degree in experimental psychology? Is it okay to risk everything you know and have to just follow your passions?

Yes and no. But don’t just take my word for it.

It is valid to be obsessed with your dreams. It is not valid to sit on your couch with a coke in your hand and complain that your dreams haven’t been fulfilled. Work ethic is key to success, as you’ll see in next week’s post. So get off the couch. Work hard and enjoy the process of working hard. Work till your work pushes you forward. And once you reach your goal, revel in your success and find a new goal to work towards.

However, I think it’s wrong to get so caught up in one particular goal that you forget that there are other goals you can achieve. That’s very messed up. I used to be obsessed with learning to play basketball at school, but I never felt in love with the sport. Then last week I made the decision to change my sport to football, and I love it. I guess the key is to do as many things as possible at a young age, and figure out what you’re best at as you grow up.

That’s what blogging is to me. A chance to explore. I’m coming up on my blog’s 3-month anniversary this Saturday and I can’t begin to describe how happy I and grateful I am. I have learnt so much from this writing endeavor and I’m excited to see what I can come up with next. Sure, there will be rough patches. But no pain, no gain, right?

“I have to face life with a newly found passion. I must rediscover the irresistible will to learn, to live and to love.” —Andrea Bocelli

A Guide to Surviving Freshman Year of High School

-From a high school freshman.

You’re not running a Fortune 500 company.

So stop acting like you have the world’s weight on your shoulders. These 4 years of high school do look extremely daunting. I feel it. And I’ve been in 9th grade for a week. But trust me: don’t stress. We’re gonna get through it unscathed. But:

These 4 years are gonna matter a lot.

So spend every waking, breathing moment either working hard, feeling great or being nice to others. These should be your top three priorities. Get in your best hustle game. Make the best and closest friends who lift your spirits up. Smile!

Notes.

Words simply cannot describe how important taking good notes are. Organized, neat and simple notes will become your best friends in these 4 years. So treat them write. Here are links to up your note-taking game:

Rihanna:*work, work, work, work, work, work*

Work ethic is gonna become key if you want to ace every one of your tests. It’s also very subjective. So experiment with different methods of studying, different locations, and create a timetable that lets you slay all your work and also leaves you energy to do other things. And do this in the first week of your new year. Once you come up with a plan, commit to it.

Do more than just textbook studies.

I know. Don’t virtually curse me. I know there’s also a truckload of stuff to do in our textbooks. But for the sake of your individuality, please don’t restrict yourself to the information in your textbooks. The world is bigger than your wildest imagination of it. Don’t live in a bubble. Expose yourself to as many new, wild, crazy, truly innovative things as possible. Google absolutely everything you see. Learn to play a musical instrument. Learn Calculus, Laws of Thermodynamics, Coding, World History or a new language. Experiment with your strengths and weaknesses. But please, don’t close yourself in a bubble of fear and call it comfort.

You are going to do absolutely amazing in your first year of high school. For sure. Trust me.

I just got in.

High school is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship – nor, contrary to popular belief, an anarchic state. High school is a divine-right monarchy.
― John Green, Paper Towns

P.S. What’s your best advice for high school? Leave your advice in the comments. They might just help me out:)

How to get motivated

#MotivationMonday

1.Cut off distractions.

Ruthlessly.

Anything that eats on your time, energy and resources must be cut off fiercely. You decide what you want to spend the majority of your time on. And don’t let false priorities set you off. So choose widely.

2. Be clueless.

Try not to push yourself too hard when you’re feeling unmotivated. Just acknowledge the fact that you don’t know what to do and use this to your advantage. Let your mind wander freely. Don’t hold back.

3. You are a canvas.

You are not the painter. You are the one being painted. So stop acting like you have a big responsibility to create the best life for yourself. Just enjoy the process and put on your biggest smile.

4. Positivity is essential.

Because everything is better when you’re thinking happy, powerful thoughts and you’re chilling with friends. 😁

5. You control, you conquer.

Own your life. Stop slacking. Get off your t.v. and do something that changes your way of life. You have one shot. One shot at living your life.

This life is yours, and yours only. Do what you want. And do it with all your heart.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

I’ll always get up after I fall.

And whether I run, wall, or have to crawl,

I’ll set my goals and achieve them all.

How to get ideas

We all go through the feeling of creative depression at some point in our lives. For me, it’s close to my school finals. We just get mysteriously deprived of our ability to generate legible, if not great, ideas.

So here are some ways to get your creative juices flowing again:

  1. HAVE FUN. If there’s one sure-fire way to make ideas, it’s by being positive about it and not pressure yourself.
  2. EMBRACE FAILURE. If you want to make sure you’ve done something to your best, you need to go as far as you can. And eventually, you’ll crash. And that’s okay. Revel in your failures.
  3. EXPOSE YOURSELF. Get yourself as many diverse inputs in your life as you can. Force yourself to read a book every week. Listen to a science podcast every day. Run a blog. Create the most vibrant life for yourself as you possibly can.
  4. DO IT DIFFERENT. If you normally brush with your right hand use your left hand or a while. Pick a random book from your local library. Change your bedsheets. And your thinking.
  5. STAY TRUE. Nothing is better than an idea driven by passion. So if you’re finding it hard to create ideas, take a deep breath, and do something you love, like writing a poem, or playing the guitar.

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on
― Steve Jobs