Dealing with imposter syndrome

How do they do it?

Young magicians don’t start out interning or practicing under experts. They start with the overwhelming awe for the art, this applies to every artist – writers, painters, actors, singers and more. But, that’s just the beginning, how they endure into the world of high competition and inane compensations and timings is a story worth peering in.

I started out as a writer, admiring writers and trying to mimic them in various forms. I’ve procured the tantamount of confidence that I now possess, thanks to all the drivels in my diaries throughout my childhood. Tried to break the rules like The Bard, wrote verses and something like a poem that’s in no way closer to the Sonnets that I adored. There were nights, where I would sit and write to my heart’s content. Fountain pens, ink-smudges, and filled pages were highly rewarding.

But, now I’m swimming with the sharks. Even with the amount of experience in professional writing, I do encounter some sticklers who are immune to the modern approach to storytelling. And, I’m offered a choice, to know the nuts and bolts of the industry and witness copy churned into a creative; should I leave off my grandeur imaginations of Bernbach, Ogilvy and Hopkins? Must I settle for the minions of accounts and sticklers of brand guidelines?

Crossroads

Often times the choices before us are clear, but not so often life throws a curveball and we’re stuck trying to manipulate the outcome instead of enjoying the present.

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see

Whatever will be, will be. And, so must I endure like the rest of professionals, try and get up that career ladder and in the way make some ‘dent in the universe’ with some ‘big ideas’ like the legends before me.

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Crushed to pieces

People who can’t articulate their reasons, bully. School is a place where kids mature and become the men of tomorrow. But, they can’t do so – with people who are stuck in the past.

In light of The New Indian Express article ‘We were shivering and crying as teachers shouted at us, called us names’.

I couldn’t help but be emotionally moved by the article on the suicide of four school girls, in my very own district. Learning that the class teachers and the headmistress abused the students verbally, removed any respect that I had for the place.

How do these people get to a place where they judge on the intellect and emotional capabilities of young minds?

Do they get off insulting their parent’s occupation and intelligence as well?

Apparently the update is, the prob is still on and the Teachers are scot free; the SP has closed off the case as suicide.

What can be learnt from here?

It is apparent that students get abused physically and mentally everywhere in India. But to what extent could the fresh and young minds endure? At an age where they are presumed to play with snakes, they are locked inside rooms devoid of the boundless joy and wisdom from the open world.

The old and trodden path of middle and high school, under and master degrees are insufficient in the modern world. If you got a skill and enough capital you can start of your own little innovation in your garage just like Stephen J and Ford. But this pragmatic concept is hard for the aged people to grasp, and those who don’t have the luxury of being a rebel must submit to the ego of these fragile people of the past. Lest be outcast by friends and family, and the chatty neighbourhood.

And, these people of the past exist more in number in many industries. These are the people who lack imagination – instead of a new road to build, they see it fit to tredge the same old path.

These people of the past need to be hanged

They have to be hanged for being naive, and taking pleasure in the unfortunate and participating in gossips and castrations. They should be punished for lack of curiosity and absence of originality. They ought to be sent off to the little forests, where their not so kind ancestors bath and live as better savages than these lot.

We put up with a lot of stupidity

Hence, we have become more stupid in the recent years of tremendous technological innovation. We own Smartphones and Smart TVs, yet they are full of stupid shows with mediocre artists who lack any iota of talent.

We are afraid to recognise that the formula which has been used by our ancient people to calculate the outcomes for individual futures are based on the non-existent nine planets. We still are dependent on habitual prayers and offerings for modern TVs that play the so-called tunes of the Gods made by people festered with mediocrity.

We need fresh minds to create an amiable reality!

Don’t kill them off with your false words and cheap actions!!

I like this Madras better. 

We grow from hating it. To getting used to it. To liking and falling madly in love. 

Coming here to study, the city was overwhelming at first. Was afraid of the chaotic routes and hasty people. Was fooled by a couple of auto walas initially.

Now am part of the crowd. I still may not know the routes like the auto men. Not yet. Let’s give it some more time. 

Still if you are new to Madras don’t hesitate to ask around for routes. There’s a catch, true madrasi people speak their mother tongue with much viguour and own varieties. English and Hindi don’t soar so high here.

Why am I pouring out my love for Madras ?

It’s Vinayagar Chathurthy and most of the non-chennai corporate crowd has moved back to their little nativities. 

Peep out your window for the visible difference. It’s way calmer & beautiful with the continual presence of a chill, and the hint of oncoming rains. 

This makes me think. Are the new ‘chennai vaasis’ responsible for the chaos, noise and pollution? Or is is due to the 9-5 lifestyle that makes Chennai much like a automaton, heavily cranked. 

Both in name and feel, writers like Madras Ponnu and more – prefer Madras.

Location: chai wala shop

This time around was interested by the elderly gentleman who seemed to be in his 70s. In my friend’s chai shop.

The gentleman wore half-moon glasses, almost like professor Dumbeldore from Potter stories, only it was black. He could pass as a Brit if he sported navy white, and trousers. 

I was listening to his account of the old Madras, supposedly was filled with fields. And, hard to get from one place to other. He misses the trams of Calcattu. Where he spent 45 years of his life. He is a madrasi now, and is free for a yarn in the outskirts of Thiyaraya Nagar. 

I wish I had a camera then and there to record the true and enchanting moments of nostalgia.

Hush little baby, ta Dominar’s here

Though I’ve commuted 100s of Kms from home to work, I just became a roadie. For the love of bikes is a learned emotion. You don’t jump from riding a tricycle to manning a chopper.

There’s huge datum that’s available on these electronic horses. But, you must at-least be a noobie geek to decipher the complications. As I have a basic understanding of general and Computer hardware, I could understand the basics of bike mechanics. And, I do reiterate if you’re a bike enthusiast, do your homework! Learn as much as possible as the technology is evolving at a 1000cc engine’s revving pace.

Turning to the topic at hand, I had a glimpse at the Dominar Ad. A splendid display of cool and exhilarating  fun with a subtle punch of sarcasm in the narrative.

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I didn’t have the  chance to test out the beast. But, from what I gather it’s a better option against Mojo and Himalayan. Just coz of the ABS.

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Akash the Roadie, chiseling through 1000s’ Kms like butter.

And, I do vouch for the ABS – it has saved my life couple of times in the recent on road experience with heavy bikes.

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For our roads Dominar is at a dominating streak, yet beware of the speeds. You can’t get past the fourth speed in the crowdy pothole ridden streets. But, the best choice for an hybrid of on-road & tourer.

Ancient texts and not so modern people at Chidambaram

With much anticipation I ventured to Chidambaram, hoping to find bits and pieces of clues to the much hyped Secret of Chidambaram. But, without proper preparation and preemptive research, I found myself in the middle of an old temple; not knowing what to do.

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The ritual in India, is to remove the footwear at the threshold of every temple. Amidst the burning sun, the rule was followed – I must’ve got blisters, luckily I have a thick skin. Unlike Christina from Spain.

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She was resting in the shade, wearing plastic covers for her feet. We had a dull conversation as my nascent Italian and her fluent Spanish didn’t find a common ground. After a few clicks and a selfie after – she dared to give me her email ID; and I settled for her FB instead.

Christina has travelled all of Europe & Mexico, Agra, Cochin and a lot more places. I innocuously promised to meet her in Spain; let’s hope she’s still young when I reach there.

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The statues and the scripts are vanishing on their own, due to the improper maintenance. It was a pain to see the history of my land being destroyed in front of my eyes, only slowly.

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The bustle of humans exterior to the main temple was contrasting to the interior. In the open sun, the people moved about a little slow with much noise; the interior however was with slightly faster movements and yet revolting calm. I felt a moment there, sitting in the shades of the temple near the garbhagraha (womb of the temple). Wondering how the architects of the ancient have brought about a specific area where all the negative energy vanishes, leaving room only for positivity.

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That’s coming from a devout atheist. I could feel a fleeting moment in the ethereal calmness that surrounded me, a temptation to nirvana. I resist, there’s still time for that phase of my life. The last 25, maybe one ought to push it to the third 25 at this ridiculously fast world.

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Somewhere in Vedanta the life is split as 25s, first 25 for brhamacharya, the single life; second 25 – family, third – preparing your progeny to have a meaningful life; and the last 25, vanavasa – the walkabout phase, where one must walk the earth seeking wisdom. At this point of time, it would occur to the reader – how can one prepare her progeny if she is yet to attain wisdom. That’s the ironical and cyclical events we call life. So, it would be usitham (prudent) to gain wisdom as fast as we could when our progeny is on her way to have a family of her own. And, help her out if she desires.

Prior to.

Please visit the temple with some prior research and proper gear. I’d urge you to buy a wooden sandal, or visit the Temple at first light. Taking photographs inside the main temple is prohibited, so do what you can with the sculptures and fading texts. If you know the local language or have a friend who does – you can muster viable information from the people; provided you have ample time and patience.

The food.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of fluids, availability of juices and quality food close to the temple complex is slightly rare. But, the food at Ramesh Hotel, near the ‘Police booth’ was decent and service spectacular. You can find only vegetarian meals there, adjacent to which there was a Ramesh juice shop – didn’t try it so can’t comment.

Memorabilia.

There are a few small and one big store that sells bronze statues. Ask for the big store and you will have a plethora of modern designs amidst traditional religious statures of Nataraja, Parvathi & Gautama Buddha.

The small shop adjacent to the entrance of the temple, holds lots of religious, non-fiction and regular fiction materials all the in the Tamil language. It also has small statues, which are ridiculously overpriced. The shopkeeper doesn’t endorse bargaining and isn’t that helpful chap either.

If you want to buy small and decent statues for your household, or for your loved ones – go for the smallest shop that’s next to area where we ought to keep our footwear.

Maanagaram a Critique

With much insistence from friends and rave reviews on social media I dared. At first it wasn’t much different, but as time passed I was caught in the motion of things. I was genuinely calculating or predicting the future of the story. Surely no one could see where Lokesh was planning to take this, because I’m sure he had other ideas. Some filmmakers desperately spend a lot of time avoiding clichés, to keep things unpredictable, just for the sake of it.

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 Lokesh Kanagaraj – a teller of Hyperlinked stories?

I don’t condemn that, but if you do the same without paying attention to the natural progression of the story – I can’t help but find fault. Speaking of faults, the artificial coincidences, created just to surprise the audiences remind you very much that you’re watching a movie. Just like D16, this experiment has audience engaged in the artificial way. Show me someone who empathized with the characters of the two stories and I will stand corrected.

Kinesis, McKee says isn’t the replacement for substance.

The rapid changing of locations won’t create a steady flow of story, rather it’d be a bad joy ride with way too much surprises and few joys to drink it up.

I will stray from here to avoid seeming too pessimistic, as I already confessed I was hooked on the progression on the very last moments of the movie. But, the pay off wasn’t there. What these movies have are engaging screenplay, that takes you away from regular worries. Which wasn’t the case with Kanavu Vaariyam.

These filmmakers are trying to keep you happy, but wouldn’t piss off the distributors or media mafia I would say. Just cause it ain’t a masala, I can’t offer a standing ovation. The film must contain undercurrents of story elements, like the awesome movie Joker. A film that’s akin to Joker in least bits was, Porambokku. Though the later had many commercial elements like mass heroes, kuthu songs and action sequences, the pay off was clear and in perfect dosage to send off the viewers with a deserved feeling of emotional upshakery.

Time To Pick Your Brain

I love Mario Popova’s engaging and often times overwhelming blog. I envy her ability to stitch things together, create a web of details within each post.

If you’ve had a chance to peep at it, chances are you will be hooked like I am. At first it was brimming with details, I felt lost. Couldn’t make head or tail about the format. Couldn’t bring myself to read a single post completely. For, she shares her view, mixes in quotes of various authors, not necessarily the one who’s written the book.

Oh, did I forget to tell that she’s an obsessive book reader/buyer. Two things besides her blog she does incessantly.

Now, I have put on myself the arduous task of tying up two of her posts and arriving at a unified theme.

One – Kierkegaard on Our Greatest Source of Unhappiness

Two – If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Kurt Vonnegut

Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work. – Kierkegaard

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“சந்தோஷம்னா என்னண்னு மனுஷனுக்கு அத அனுபவிக்கையுல தெரியறதில்ல”

Kierkegaard talks about the unhappy men who are lost from themselves. Further he explains, we use excuses to escape from the present. Which are – in his words the reason for our unhappiness.

His view of “men who are caught in hope aren’t necessarily unhappy” – reminds me of the rhetoric of Jiddu Krishnamurti. 

“And to learn about it the past experiences in no way help, on the contrary past impedes learning, puts an end to learning and therefore to a complete action.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

We have arrived at a somewhat clear understanding of what unhappiness is. Then what is happiness?

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard 

With the second post – “If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?” she gives us the gist of the book, which includes various commencement speeches by the witty Kurt Vonnegut.

“I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.” Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut the brilliant writer he was, could foresee the goggle wearing couch potatoes of the then future; now shameful present. As he urges us to go out and connect with the real people of the real world.

“keep that kid the hell away from computers… unless you want it to be a lonesome imbecile”

Vonnegut

He calls us out, mocks our pretend relationships ‘IRL’. Wants us to be fucking AFK.

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“Don’t try to make yourself an extended family out of ghosts on the Internet. Get yourself a Harley and join the Hell’s Angels instead.”

Vonnegut

To return to the core issue on happiness. The connecting dot of the two posts of Maria. I let’ Vonnegut speak for himself:

When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” Kurt Vonnegut