Endings and Beginnings


Hey WordPress. It’s been 5 years.

I started this blog in 2010 (over in Blogger and then migrated here), to pen my thoughts into this white void. It was supposed to be a place for me to be really me, a place where I can make the pictures in my head a reality. Many friends from school jumped in on the idea to write blogs. In 2010-2011, this was seen as a cool thing to do for us teenagers. We banded together, a rag-tag group of boys and girls, specialising in riddles, short stories, poetry, graphic design. Creativity bursting at the seams within each of us. And we created. It was truly one of the highlights of my college days.

By 2012, the hype died. Academics and other interests took over the need to create blogs and blog posts. I trudged on because I loved to collaborate. Some of my personal favourite stories, like Through His Eyes were made during this time. But the future was uncertain. The break-down of the ‘writing community’ we had was a blow on morale. When 2013 rolled around, the frequency dropped, but I had not given up. I still wrote stories and poems. End 2013 would be the last I really blog. A gruelling few years in college drained me of any motivation to write. I took up Graphic Design and Photography and consoled myself by saying I’m still creating (which, was not false). 2015 was when I wrote my last short story, Echoes, on this blog and well, in general.

In 2015, spurred on by my girlfriend at that time, the blog transformed into a photography blog. POsting pictures I had taken accompanied by a short description of the picture. It did not feel the same. It was not satisfying.

I quit in 2015.

Life moved on. I graduated and started work in Mumbai, eventually moving to Bangalore. In an impulsive decision, I chose to study management and went to the Netherlands for the same. And that is where I am now, working and quite happy. I had honestly not thought about writing too much in the last five years. Until COVID19 and the quarantine.

I had never given up on reading. In fact, I warmed up even to non-fiction. I binged on articles online and kept loading my Kindle with new books. But the lockdown now has forced me to introspect. I realised I still wanted to write. And I will write.

But not on this blog. This blog is me, stuck in the past. It’s nostalgic, it’s cringy, and it’s me. I have grown as a person, and I would like to leave this behind as an island in the sea of my experiences.

So I bid adieu, to all that have read my blog and commented and wished me well. Thank you for your support 🙂

Doubts of a Wild Mind will always have a special place in my heart.

Love,
Sree

PS: I did say I still write! I aim to be more consistent there. Follow me on Medium: https://medium.com/@sreedeep.

 

2014, AD.


2008 and 2010. Two significant years in my life. The former was fueled by my interest in Science and laid the path for my education in the same. The latter was the year I completed my schooling and secured admission into one of India’s best engineering colleges. Life changing events, for sure.

But why am I talking about this now? This is a post to remember 2014, not one to revel in yesteryear nostalgia! So, what did happen this year?
— — —

Just like the beginning of all my other year-end posts (2011, 2012, 2013 for those interested), this one too started off with my Birthday. And quite wonderfully, unlike any other b’day that I’ve had while in college, this time things were different. My awesome friends gave me a surprise party, bought me pizza  and one baked a cake for me and which was really sweet (no pun intended!). It was the last semester for my college group of friends and it was a birthday to remember 😀

And yes, that was followed by Saarang. This edition, the 4th for us, was more emotional than previous years, for the reason that it would be the last one with the whole gang. We didn’t participate in anything, we just absorbed the atmosphere (I still have one more Saarang to go, for which I am the head of Design on Jan 7th-11th 2014. Yes, that was publicity.)
All shows were attended, dances were done, laughs were had and hugs all around 🙂

Academically, the year was actually pretty decent, shockingly. 8th was extremely hectic but went by without being damaged. The highlight though, was the 9th semester. Why? One word: Placements.
And what an experience that was! All the pre-placement talks, all the nights spent reading math, mugging code that I don’t like or care about, enjoying word puzzles, soaking up data analytics and finance basics.. the stress was continuous and mounting. All we could and did hear, see and think throughout those 4 months were related to this. Quite mind-boggling when you think about it.

All that gave way to the great December, 2014. Placements began on the 1st and well, it was def one hell of a ride.
So many interviews, the panic, the very stupid lack of cell coverage, the eventual toughening up. so many lol moments (in hindsight!), the one lucky day, the one lucky interview, THAT one job and that re-leaf (had to be done, those who will understand, will understand).
And this was why the very first para was written on this post. 2014 is another hallmark year, the year of my first job 🙂

December did not end there though. On Christmas, 3 of my friends and I went to Mumbai and what a wonderful city it was! The food, the people, the places and the sheer size of the place, the perfect end to the year. I am looking forward to living and working there in 2015. 😀

— — —
Personally too, th eyear was a lot more stable. The year saw very very good friendships mature and flaky ones flaking away. I am really glad for having the support and love of my family and friends 😀

2015 will be a fresh start. The last year of my time here at IIT and the first at a new city. The future seems intimidating, frightening even. But as always, it is also always exciting.

Onwards we march and I wish everyone happiness and awesomeness. Here’s to our future 🙂

Happy New Year, folks! 🙂

Happiness.


There comes a time for everyone when we are not consumed by any life event. The boring, mundane plateaus bracketed by Himalayan highs and Mariana-esque lows which fills us with restless energy, not knowing where to focus our attention on. Most of us in the end, end up day-dreaming and introspecting. This is one such episode.

What is this happiness? Can it be measured? Is it the outcome of an event? If so, can we rank these events in order of happiness?
I believe happiness is based on our interests. An event which makes me happy, invariably could make someone else sad. (Take the case of winners and losers of any sport. One event, two opposite reactions.) Happiness, and the level of happiness is dependent on me and not the event as such.
This is a simple way to rule out the case of Objective Happiness.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who said that he believed happiness was an objective entity. It brings up the question: Is it possible to assign the happiest moment in your life? I have talked to a few people about this and most were unable to tell their happiest moment (except Mr. Objective Happiness) but were able to tell me their saddest moment quickly. This was interesting. In theory, since both are opposites of each other, if we don’t remember one, we ought to not remember the other. Apparently, that is not the case. Sadness and negative emotions are much strongly remembered, which led me to think: Can we think of happiness as the relative absence of ‘sadness’?

The problem with that approach is that there is no standard against which we can compare our happiness level. It would be insanely tough for instance to compare the birth of your child to getting your dream job (for example). Even events such as having lunch or went to school, which are trivial of many of us, may be a huge happy event for those who do not have access to it.
Everyone has their own priorities in life and unless you live in an idealized society where everyone is stripped off their innate emotions and replaced with a set code, such objectivity is simply not possible.

But what is the need for objectivity in emotions? As mentioned above, objectivity would just remove all human-ness in us. Machines are objective. The problem is that as we head deeper into modernity, somehow, we want things to be more standardised; more predictable. We are scared of surprises. We want the pleasant ones but are willing to sacrifice them to get fewer unpleasant ones. We prefer a mundane life, even though we keep talking about our life being mundane. Genuine laughs, innocent smiles have been supplanted by courtesy smiles and smirks. Risk-free is the norm, risk-takers are looked down upon.
We settle, we stop reaching.

Happiness is what you want it to be, it has no definition, it’s a feel. And this feel has become depressingly artificial over time. I envisage a world where there is more unpredictability and tolerance for the unpredictable. There’s no use in holding back just bacuse something is risky. As they say in business, “Higher the risk, higher the return”.
Sure it could result in some hard times and disappointment, sure there might be huge backlash; but the moment you fight and succeed, the moment when you reap your reward, that is simply priceless.
That is Happiness.

— — —
@sreesquared
facebook.com/DoWMblog

 

2013, AD.


With another blink of an eye, the year comes to a close. And just like every other year you can’t help but wonder, “Man, this year just went faster than the last!”

As is tradition, just like 2011 and 2012, I was asked to write up the year-end post for 2013. And I sat and wondered, “What only did I do this year?!”
— — —

Well, the year started off, just like all others, with my Birthday, which after a very long time was not during school/college days.  So instead of the usual b’day bumps, the day was spent at Mahabs. What better way to spend your birthday than to be at the beach? 😀

Then came Saarang, the second highlight of January. Unlike last year, I didn’t go to too many fests this year. Not too sure why. Saarang was as it always was, fun with people you know and love. Highlights would be winning 2nd (again!) in the Treasure Hunt, the Sunburn EDM Night which was introduced last year and beginning of various conversation topics that would continue all through the year.

That gave way to a week of the sniffles. Why is that relevant? Because I passed out due to an epic allergic reaction to an antibiotic given. No, not a pretty way to end the most racy month of the year, but hey, it’s an experience! 😀

Summer was spent at the ever-awesome, super cool Dubai. Back to the homeland, back home. 2 months there was filled with fun, food and well, work. The 6 week internship at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was quite an eye-opener, quite a lot loved and learnt. And many friends as well. Which opened the way for me writing as a tech columnist for MindThis, an e-magazine.
And along the way, the gang stumbled into a love for psychology and the MBTI and ever since, we have not had any discussion without people’s personality types coming into the discussion. Which also brings into focus the very active WhatsApp groups that keep talking various topics, sometimes even plotting and scheming. Perfect summer! 😀
2 weeks of winter was spent at Bahrain, which in comparison was very tame. Still, another new place added to the list, which is always a plus.

On the writing front, mainly one short story was written and the response was generally in the positive. Read a lot more than last year and in all probability, 2014 will see the completion of the umpteen unfinished works in the Google Drive.

The two semesters went in contrasting fashions so I’d say a neutral end to an academic year, which is not as bad as it seems. The year was filled with a few treats to places more ‘exotic’ than the usual Ascendas and the now closed down Basera.
The 4th year was the beginning of the end of a long saga.  The odd semester was majorly filled with all the final years’ tensed about the all important placements. Everywhere, the discussion was how to tackle interviews, which company is better, what they want to do, what they don’t want to do, whether to wear the lucky yellow tie or that coat for a profession feel.
And I’m glad everyone finally did get a good job after all those sleepless nights. 2014 will see quite a few of my friends moving on towards their future. Bleddy they are going to WORK ! Seems too funny to be true. These guys, with all the eccentricities are going to be working men. Time, off it flies! And I’ll be doing all this next year.
— — —

2014 will be a huge year. Just like 2009, a year to prepare for a transition. Many decisions to make, many more things to learn, many more people to get to know and perhaps a few to bid adieu to.
“So what only did I do this year?” Well, if not in quantity, it was a quality year. And that is quite enough for me.
2013 ends with the beat in the up and here’s to a kickass 2014.

Happy New Year, folks! 🙂

From a Window Seat.


Dubai.
Silver wings dazzling under the golden sun. Hundreds watch, enraptured by the flying machine’s allure. A hundred more wait inside, first timers chanting with prayer beads, the experienced fast asleep. It moves. Its lethargic start beguiles open-eyed onlookers. Black rubber pushes back ash tarmac at an ever-increasing pace. Buildings begin to blur into each other, each pebble sending considerable shock waves. You feel a sudden plunge in your stomach; the engine groans against the strain.

Lift-Off.
As the desert land slips away beneath you, you see your altitude on the screen; your heart rate syncs with the ascent. You see the horizon sloping down, dwarfing the dominating cityscape you know and love, giving way to untamed rocky terrain. Flying low, brown peaks are seen amidst the raging sandstorm, the land easing into miles upon miles of hot sand. In a blink of an eye, this rippling stretch of sand blends seamlessly into deep rippling water. The vast golden land meets the wide blue sea.

I'm a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds. - Mike Tyson
I’m a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds. – Mike Tyson

No longer flying low, you see white wisps just above you. A moment later, you are above them; towering over the clouds you once dreamed of reaching. Bright blue as far as the eye can see. Hills of bulbous cumulonimbus tower over plateaus of dark stratus clouds. As you ascend, you see vast plains of white and the islands of blue rising and falling in this albescent expanse.

The sun sets; the sky is filled with a profusion of dark hues. Another timezone, gradients of blue separated by a line of orange. Tenebrous clouds rumble as they merge into each other; the captain informs of mild turbulence. The Royce cuts through the clouds nonchalantly, humming a sustained tune to itself, ignorant of the swirling storm outside. You look down to see multitudes of green cutting into swaths of sea.

India.
Over the next hour; the altitude steadily but slowly decreasing, all you see are the lights and lamps of India from inside. Soon you glimpse a lighthouse and the iconic long stretch of the Marina. You realise ecstatically that you’ve reached your destination. Seeking clearance to land, you circle the great waters of the Marina, spotting boats and ships floating placidly on the Bay of Bengal. Within minutes, you rapidly descend; your heart-rate rises once again when you recollect that most accidents happen while landing. You hold your breath when the tires screech on impact, massive brakes working to slow your rapid pace. The Royce groans one last time before it says goodbye. The captain confirms the successful landing. Seconds later, you’re parked and everyone gets up frenetically to get their luggage. Air hostesses smile and everyone departs single file.
Life goes on.

Arrival. Chennai.

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Men of Steel.


*Warning: Movie spoilers ahead.*
*Above warning not nearly as strong as when I wrote on The Dark Knight Rises*
*Not an impartial review. All views are personal.*
— — —

Ever since Rises, people were waiting for the next superhero to capture their attention.
Yes, Iron Man came for the 3rd time and knocked us off our socks with its Iron Legion demo. But there was something missing.

“It’s not an ‘S.’ Where I’m from it’s a symbol of hope.”

On June 12th, I was at the premier show of Man of Steel. And yesterday I saw it again, in IMAX*.
Now I don’t usually watch movies twice at the theatre. That happens only if one of those times the ticket was free (Premier show folks!).

Was this worth the wait? .
Among all the heroes, the Man of Steel is perhaps the most unfortunate (Green Lantern and Daredevil is not counted. Sorry folks, I’m talking about the ones that matter 😛 )
Does anyone really remember 2006’s Superman Returns? No? Neither do I.
Unlike Batman, Ironman or even Spiderman, Clark Kent’s story had never really ignited the box office or our imagination.

Man of Steel is a beautiful homage to the origins of Superman. Breathtaking 3D visuals of Krypton, good set-pieces and an ever awesome Russell Crowe immerses you into the turmoil faced by the Kryptonians. Zack Snyder, the diro, shows very well how young Clark struggled to come to terms with his powers; how the witnesses to his exploits called it ‘divine intervention’; how his adoptive dad tells him, quite rightly that people fear what they do not understand.  His adoptive parents (Costner and Diane Lane) do justice to their roles. (Espcially Diane. The mother-son moments were really well done!)

Henry Cavill looks the role and although a bit rigid at times, has a dignified and calm air about him. Except when he’s screaming and wailing. Which he does twice I think.

All is well till the last 45 minutes of the movie. And then Snyder loses it.
Superman’s Super Punch Line is : “You’re a monster Zod. And I’m going to kill you.” Whoosh! Boom! (You’d expect something more Super after all that really.)

What ensues is total chaos where Superman goes about, ripping Downtown Metropolis into smithereens as he fights to ‘subdue’ the villain, Zod. Zod too has all the powers of Superman, just minus the conscience .
Buildings upon building crumble as these two duke it out. It just seemed totally pointless. Beautiful, but pointless.
And there’s a spoofy scene with 3 Daily Planet people do some funny survival stuff. I don’t know why that was there. Humanity unites during a crisis? I dunno.

And in the end he does kill Zod. In such a movie, you’d expect a grand exit. The villain should die spectacularly. But what happens is a simple Snap, Crackle, Pop, Drop. *Cue wailing by the Man of Steel + mandatory hug by the girl, Lois Lane* (Amy Adams btw I found to be quite pretty). And that ends it.

I overheard quite a number of people saying “Why didn’t he just kill the villain when he was struggling to breathe on Earth?” (Some 90 minutes into the movie)
He could have. And he would have prevented the carnage that followed. What people do not understand is the ethics by which Superman fights by. To not kill. It wasn’t highlighted too well, people were left clueless. It didn’t help that he destroyed half a city either.

So back to the question, was it worth it? Yes and No.
Although the Super part of it was not greatly handled, the Man part was taken quite sublimely (Kudos to Nolan. I guess he disappeared at the end of the script!).

I loved the music, it was peppy and fit the movie perfectly. When you’ve Hans Zimmer, it’s tough to go wrong I guess!
And there were nice touches like a truck having the name LexCorp on it, despite the fact that Lex Luthor had nothing to do with the storyline. Hint to the future? I hope so!
— — —

Now to make things clear, I am not a Superman fan. (The Dark Knight, ftw!) I have always found him a bit boring. I mean, punching a guy to win used to be called bullying 😛
But this movie finally gave some cinematic weight to the iconic superhero.

I am waiting for the next one. And then hopefully a Justice League movie. With Batman. Directed by Nolan.

One can dream 😀
— — —

*If the movie is running on IMAX screens and you have an IMAX screen nearby then see it in IMAX. The experience is pretty darn awesome. Trust me.
— — —

@sreesquared
https://www.facebook.com/DoWMblog

The Hiatus


Who’d have thought the first post of 2013 would come in the month of June? Yes, it’s been that long, a whole semester without blogging. I even forgot to commemorate the blog’s 2nd birthday! (which happened on Feb 4th). It’s been so long, I frankly don’t remember how I used to start and end a post anymore!

Quite a lot has happened, both personally and outside during this 5 month gap. And no, I’m not going to elaborate on them. That’s for the year end post 😛

This post is just a reminder for me. To remind me of the phase when I didn’t write a single blog post or anything for that matter.
Hopefully things will be better from now, writing wise 🙂

I’m back 😀

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Sree