Friday, August 25, 2017

Ten Terribly Tiny Tales - Part 7

Fiddle
Three pairs of clothes, a fiddle and a book on chords,
is all he possessed,
Five years later, he's stuck in traffic after his own concert,
With his voice as people's ringtones!


Snow
"Ah, respite at last", she exclaimed,
Tasting the snow flakes with her tongue,
"You must be from a tropical country!
Because respite to us is when the sun turns ice to water
and the fields are full of food again."


Solitary
Classic example of "you can even be lonely in a crowd."
When the boss eats lunch, he's solitary,
When he drinks coffee in the pantry, he's solitary,
45 hours a week, he feels isolated,
Workplace loneliness is a real problem.

Remember
"Remember in junior high,
You used to embarrass the teacher by comparing him to this lousy singer?"
Secretly delighted, recalling all her shenanigans in school, she says,
"Nope! You only remember what you want to remember."

Travel
"I love to travel", he said in his interview.
Twelve countries in a year was a new record,
A traveling job is all he had ever wanted,
While one less candle burnt on Diwali back home.

Kiss
Eight year old, but he already knew what crushes are,
He was one of the nerdy-birdies, she the most popular girl in class,
When she bid goodbye with a kiss on his hands, he felt popular too.
Twenty years later when they met, nothing had changed.

Leftovers
Marinated, grilled, devoured!
"Nah, this doesn't taste great", his friend said.
Marinated, slow-cooked, consumed the next day!
All the flavors and aromas infused, leftovers are better.

Text
When Sarah called him up and asked,
"What's up?", he said, "Nothing."
Half an hour later she received a text,
expressing his eternal love for her!
These days, words unsaid are not necessarily words unexpressed.

Ordinary
The spectrum of your worth to others,
lies in the minds of the beholder.
Don't sweat it!
It can be anything from "you're ordinary"
to "You're a wizard, Harry!"


Drink
"Drink and drive, you won't survive",
said the highway signs!
"Drink and express your feelings,
and that's pretty much the same thing",
she thought to herself.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ten terribly tiny tales - with these I'll have written 60

As usual, I got these words from the "Terribly Tiny Tales" Facebook page. Here we go:

Doll
Stranded in an island,
He found a basketball and a pen,
Few squiggles later, the doll was his only friend,
Till they found him after four years.

Fear
While we were growing up,
We used to cry when we skinned our knees,
Little did we know, that 20 years on,
Physical pain is not going to be our biggest fear.

Family
A baby who talks with a British accent?
A dog who has a human son?
A dad who keeps coming back from the dead?
"It's the perfect combination for a perfect show!"
They said in unison, as they bonded over Family Guy.

Planet
We really live in a planet of the apes,
Apes staring at their phones sitting on Senior Citizens' seats while old men gape at them,
Apes staring at their phones when a young girl has fainted in front of them,
Apes staring at their phones while their children talk to themselves.
Apes aping each other.

Lights
"Lights will guide you home." - Coldplay.
Alas, this line doesn't work for the blind trying to cross the road,
Nor does it work on the refugees who have forgotten their nationality,
Nor on an Alzheimer's patient who is on the streets searching for something even he doesn't know.

Never
Never had she realized in 30 years of her colorful life,
That the same thing that may drown you,
May also set you free,
Until the swimming instructor pushed her into the pool.

Brother
Some brothers are by blood,
Some by friendship,
And there some special ones, whom you see in movies,
Who you would love to hang out with,
But never meet.

Groom
"Have you seen him groom his eyebrows?"
"Yes, I've seen you do the same."
"He even uses fairness creams."
"So do you!"
"But he's a guy!"
"Where's your 'Gender Equality' now?"

Castle
'I'll build you a castle', he told her.
Married another soon, and then another.
Having built an empire and a tower with his name,
All he now wants to build is a wall.

Page
Once, when she was a child,
She decided to page her mother,
"We're out of sugar."
The reply was: "I'm the bread-winner of the family. Win the sugar for us, darling!"
That day saw the making of an independent young lady.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dark side of funny

Source: Pinterest
You know what the worst part of being funny is? The 80-20 bias people have towards you! 80% think you're "hill areas"(now that was just sloppy). And 20 just blink when you crack a funny one. It especially hurts when someone says it to your face, "You're not funny, you're ridiculous." I've encountered that a couple of times BTW and it's more depressing than unrequited love. It's as hurtful as telling an artist that their art is mediocre or an expert scientist that their research of 20 years is going to amount to nothing (Note that these comparisons are highly exaggerated, but it's a blow to one's confidence nonetheless.)

Humor, just like abstract art, is open to interpretation. People's reactions to both have a large spectrum. The same jokes which make people writhe in pain with laughter may seem nonintellectual, senseless or immature to others. I personally find myself sniggering for parts of a TV show no one else finds funny and often can't even bring myself to smile when the laughter track in the show goes off. When among friends, they ask me "why that smirk?" but internal jokes with oneself can rarely be explained.

The other thing which is provoking is how people psychoanalyze you for posting funny things about your life on social media. I've never really been a person who posts about how awesome my life is or how perfect I am. Epic fails, shoddy jobs, breaking resolutions, cheesy jokes, these are what I and some of my friends like to see on social media. It's all peaches and cream until I see this video on "what people actually mean when they post stuff on social media". It doesn't even declare, "Stop posting funny things on Facebook, it seems you're avoiding bigger things in life and focusing on being funny." It asks you, "Are you trying to hide from your problems by being funny?" To summarize, it creates self-doubt and questions your belief in yourself.

I've also heard people say, "Oh so you think they find you funny? They're not laughing with you, they're laughing AT you." Next time someone tells you that, educate them about self-deprecating humor. Its sole motive is to make people laugh at you. If they're doing that, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! But before you give a chance to people to laugh at you, laugh at yourself first. It means at least some people will find it funny, although others may find it sad.

Some famous names in comedy found their gift of making people laugh when they were themselves in a dark place. One great name, Robin Williams, even let the darkness consume him. Reasons like these make the world believe that funny people are often the saddest. But it's not always true. Sometimes being funny helps you fit in, de-stress, make more friends, woo a romantic interest or gain attention. It's not always an after-effect of trauma. It's a gift you inherit from your parents, it's a medium of spreading the joy among others, it's a way of life not everyone will understand but most will appreciate.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Sustainability Series: Regula Von B├╝ren



Regula acquired her Masters of Psychology form University of Zurich, Switzerland. She worked previously at Mercator Foundation Switzerland where she was leading the funding area “Our environment”. Since 2015 she is part of the EcoCampus Initiative @ Nanyang Technological University and is mainly responsible for community engagement and behaviour change projects focusing on sustainability. Her talents include Taekwondo, petting cats and being patient with people like me with terrible German.

1)         How do you think you have contributed or are contributing contribute to sustainability, professionally or personally?
Mainly by just doing what I deeply care about: in my personal or professional life. It is important for me to work somewhere that aligns with my sustainability values and where I feel I can actually make a difference. Privately, it’s mostly just trying to make my life more sustainable step by step. There is no zero-carbon lifestyle. So I try to minimize my carbon footprint along the way by being vegetarian, minimizing my flights, not buying stuff I don’t really need or cherish. The things I do that are carbon intensive/not environmentally friendly, I try to enjoy as much as I can. If I go somewhere by plane, I try to book in advance (and get excited about it for a long time), stay longer (to make the most out of it) and relish my memories by creating photo books.
2)      Name one measure/innovation in sustainability that has impressed you in the past.
Although it was already done a while back, I have to say carbon footprint calculator. It really opened my eyes the first time I filled one out and was actually able to see, with one number, how much carbon I use with my lifestyle - compared to nation average, worldwide and compared to the level we need to achieve to be actually sustainable. The carbon footprint calculator also allows you to play around with it: you can immediately see how big - or small - the difference can be if you would change something, in the way you live, travel, eat or shop. Usually there is a lot of talk about small steps. But I would rather focus on the things that really can make a difference.
3)      Mention small five steps every individual can adopt in their daily life to make our planet more sustainable.
        i.            Eat more often plant-based food. It is very surprising how much energy, carbon, water, pesticides and land use you can save by eating more greens. Furthermore, it's usually considered healthy to go for more plant-based options. This is an easy fix that everyone can integrate in their diet.
      ii.            Enjoy local sights more. Instead of only going to exotic places, try to discover more often the local, usually under-appreciated sights in your country. Other people come here as tourists too. Try to be a tourist in your own country, and you might be surprised to see what you can discover!
    iii.            Try to find hobbies that include nature and social elements. Instead of going for shopping and having only a short-term gratification, you might discover that spending time outdoors, with friends can have longer lasting effect on your happiness. And on top of that, you will be able to save a lot of resources while not buying stuff you actually either don't need or don't cherish.
    iv.            Try to buy only clothes that have the potential to be your "favorite shirt/dress/...". Cotton production is very water and pesticide intense. If you go shopping for things you really, really like, you will wear them longer, be happier with the purchase and will buy less things that you won't wear often anyway.
      v.            Make a regular inventory of your carbon footprint to get a realistic view on your overall consumption. This helps to focus on the things that matter.
4)      What are your inspirations to work towards sustainability and aspirations to contribute more to sustainability?
Social justice. Developed countries are the ones usually consuming the most, but they will suffer latest. Less developed countries are usually much more vulnerable to climate change since their resilience to unpredictable changes is weaker. Climate refugees already exist today. So if we want to achieve that, everyone everywhere can have a decent lifestyle, we need to tackle climate change with full force and recognize our responsibility for our lifestyle and our consumption. There is also the time pressure. It's good to train the younger generation - but not good enough. The change needs to happen very soon or we will have a world that will be very different from the one we know now. Already today you can see a lot of effects of the way our economy is working, the way we live, work and consume.
Overall, I am inspired because there is a real need. And because there is an opportunity to contribute to a change.
5)      If you were a renewable energy, what would you be and why? (You do not need to be technical; you can choose the one that suits your personality most.)
Hydroelectric power. Feels nice to just do nothing and still be able to contribute so much. I like being in the flow.
6)      What is your idea of a utopian world and a dystopian world?
Some characteristics of a utopian vs a dystopian world are listed below:
        i.            focus on fulfilment/purpose vs salary/recognition/brand
      ii.            focus on being a good person vs being a successful person
    iii.            focus on the greater good vs the individual achievement
    iv.            focus on long-term vs short-term
      v.            time for yourself, partnership, family and friends vs time for money
    vi.            a world in which we have an economy and lifestyle that is in line with what the earth offers us vs a world where we care about profits more than sustainability
  vii.            focus on happiness vs focus on profit
viii.            we care about everyone vs we care only about citizens from our country
    ix.            local, fresh, organic and seasonal food versus imported, processed, industrial food
      x.            peaceful acceptance of each other vs war/climate refugees/closed borders/racism
7)      Would you rather (and why):
a)       Shower on alternate days or drink less water, if there was a water crisis? :P
I am no camel. No way I can or should drink less. I would rather smell a bit :-)
b)      Hug a tree for a day, for preventing it from being cut or impose on someone a prohibition of eating shark fin soup for life?
Definitely ban for shark fin soup! You only need to watch one video and you will know why that is the right choice.
c)       Be vegetarian or consume human flesh after they are dead (not from disease, let us say) to save on resources to burn/bury their body?
You are weird. Apparently, human flesh does not taste well. So vegetarian.
d)      Dedicate your whole life fighting against pollution or spend it saving endangered species?
Both go hand in hand. I guess I would go for the pollution, since pollution not only affects people but animals as well.
e)      Be born in this era/generation, in the past, or in the future (speaking solely from the sustainability point of view)?
Not in the future, I am only slightly optimistic that we will be able to achieve a sustainable future and I am not keen on fighting for the last remaining resources with either machines or super fighters. Maybe a bit back in the past, but I would need to do more research to find out which era would offer the best sustainable time.
f)        Take public transport for the rest of your life or travel by plane only for business to minimize your carbon footprint?
Public transport. Climate change does not care if you fly because of personal or because of business reasons.