The Default Settings

1So after deciding to break your personality down, the next thing you need to start soon is looking at the blueprint of the ideal one which though very far fetched, seems very approachable. Some simple sets of changes in your default settings and voila! Your future is in your hand. But if it was so easy, we wouldn’t call them ‘the default settings’.

David Foster Wallace said in his commencement speech called ‘This is Water’, :

It’s extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head, maybe happening right now!

To stay attentive and in control of your own thoughts. These default thought habits/mechanisms are like involuntary muscle movements, mostly we don’t think about them. But to truly change your personality, one has to begin from right there. Every time one brings about a big change in life, first one has to win a battle of mind.

So this is it for today. Gonna end with lines of DFW,

The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you are gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.

Healing, Journal

Breaking the Mould : Daily blog of a Procrastinator


I guess, this is the time. The critical stage I was waiting for, a portal to adulthood. I always thought that the transition would be smooth. But maybe, not for me. Because I am a procrastinator.

I am in the final year of my physics masters and most probably gonna screw up my chances for a Ph.D. enrollment. I have stopped all my productive habits. I haven’t read a good book for a year or so. I am not running regularly. I can’t even wake up early these days. I have no probable reason for all these setbacks. I am not having any physical or mental issue. I haven’t had any family problems or terrible breakups. I had a normal childhood. I got good grades and I am doing what I always wanted to do.

What happened in the process which turned me into this spiritless piece of crap?

Seriously, I am tired of finding reasons. I have tried to overcome this problem almost a dozen of times. Every time I make some progress and then, after I feel like I have done a good job, I think of taking a break. This is when I get sucked back in my procrastinator mode. My mind goes into this trance of doing stupid worthless things, and I only wake up again when I have already wasted a precious amount of time. This loop seems endless.

The thing is, I know I have plans and I have potential to execute them. I have great parents and friends. The professors at the school are amazing. They are people of very high intellect and have achieved a place of respect in physics community. Some of them, whom I worked with, showed a great amount of faith in me. The fact that I am a big time screw-up, makes me more upset.

So, this is my final and biggest attempt to break out of the cage of my own mind. Some guy said,”The only thing standing in your way is You.”

Only thing I don’t want is to utter “I could’ve…” years from now when there is nothing I can do other than to face the ugly truth.

Art, Pen

Yellow, Blue and White


blogI am not good
with words,
but they are good with me.
This is the last of this kind,
for I’m a bit tired of telling my mind
that realities knock down
the sand-castles that fiction builds.

You gave me a bit of Yellow,
when you walked by me.
But you were traveling,
and with moon guiding the tides,
you left to discover yourself.
Leaving me the open Blue, to reflect on.

Time likes to break your bones,
and fix them every time.
It makes colors fade away,
and intensifies the taste.
It makes us appreciate little things.
So now when it’s all turning White,
I touch, smell and taste
bits of Blues and Yellows still left.
I’ll never be sad that we didn’t happen,
I prefer the colors,
in this specific order.

Art, Pen



What happens when
a roaring wave
meets the silent rock
at the bay?

When a drop of ink
falls into water
dissolving slowly
and loosing existence.

When rain kisses
drought struck land,
and stones are cracked open
by tiny shoots,
reaching for the Sun.

When you meet me,
what happens?

Art, Pen

Thar : A Fable

Have you ever seen a ghost, Grandpa?”

An anticipated digression in the storytelling–so the old man had it ready

“Not just seen it, I have killed one!”

Electricity was out. A snowy gust rattled the loose hinges of old wooden-framed windows, and the mud-pasted walls of the low-lit room were shimmering with amber glow of fire in the Tandoor. The kettle filled with water was steaming with faint hissing. Ladies of the house were busy in the kitchen preparing supper. It was just the time for long awaited moment of mending the estranged grandpa-grandson relationship. After all, winter is the only time when the grandson visits the place as all schools close down after the exams in December.

With a mixed feeling of awe and disbelief, the kid asked
What did it look like? Didn’t it hurt you? How could one kill a ghost?”

The old man smiled and told the kid to wait for a while. He reached for his pocket and offered a handful of dry-fruits. The kid picked all the cashews and few almonds, leaving the raisins untouched. The old man reached for his other pocket and from a torn-open bundle of Bidis, he pulled one out. He tried to get up but his arthritis was giving him a hard time. With one hand on the floor and other on his knee, he stood up grunting and breathing heavily, breaking the short silent period.

He walked a little funny. Time had worn out his bones, and smoking–his lungs. As he reached in front of Tandoor, he lurched and with some effort, sat down with knees half-folded. Leaning forward, with a Bidi between his crooked fingers, he lit it with the firewood reaching out of the mouth of tandoor. His shadow behind him was a shivering colossus of what was remained of him and the lines on his forehead and below the eyes, relaxed a little with each drag of smoke.

Well, it’s a different kind of ghost. A very few people have ever seen it. I saw it while we went hunting during the winter, with my friends. We call it, Thar.”

The kid had finished all the cashews, and was holding the cup of a hot butter-tea within his palms. He sipped it and then looked at the old man.

“A Thar? What is that?”

Grandfather thought it out for a while. He took off his maroon satin-wrapped-woolen cap and scratched his head. The next moment, a lady came in and poured the water from the kettle in the utensil she brought.

“Mom, what is a Thar?”

The lady looked at the kid and then at the old man. She slowly put down the kettle and smiled.

“It is what we call a snow leopard.”

“Snow leopard isn’t a ghost. Grandpa said it’s a ghost.”

“There are no ghosts. It’s just that people don’t see Thar very often. It likes to stay off our sights. They are very rare and beautiful creatures.”

And then she refilled her father-in-law’s cup with butter-tea and left for the kitchen. But she didn’t quite fill the blanks of curiosity for the kid.

“Was it really beautiful? Tell me about that day!”

The old man smudged the bidi in a wooden ashtray and rubbed his eyes with a yawn. After a deep breath, he leaned his back against the wall and while looking up at the cobwebbed roof, he said

“We went to hunt for a Dan. It’s a wild goat with a delicious meat. It’s also very hard to find. They graze over steep hills, where no man can reach. Every pack has a watcher, who stands over the highest land and warns the pack if any predator lurks nearby. We had packed our lunch and loaded few rifles. During the winters, they come down to the lower altitudes, looking for the last patches of greenery. We wait for these moments.

It’s been three consecutive days. We had managed to find only a single pack. We lost it in a haste. On the third day, weather turned very harsh. Snowstorms were heading towards us, so we ran back to lower altitudes. Suddenly I saw a Thar, over the other side of the valley with it’s cub. She was waiting for it to climb up a steep rock. With a low voice I told my friends to get their guns. Because of the storm, our smell and sound couldn’t reach her. I loaded my gun and asked my friends to fire at the count. Within seconds, she was down. We didn’t kill the cub. But it was frightened and was in anguish. So we grabbed the kill and ran back to village.”

The kid was listening very patiently. He was sitting still the whole time. The cup he was holding, was empty. He was staring at the steaming kettle. Without moving his eyes, he asked

“What would have happened to the cub?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he survived, maybe he didn’t.”

The kid put down the cup with a sigh.

“I miss dad.”

With that he stood up and left the room. The old man looked him go but didn’t say anything. He knew that he hit the wrong chord. All of a sudden, he was taken aback. He started thinking about the night when his son was headed home from work in a snowstorm. He remembered how they all were waiting for him to join in the supper. And then the phone call and the news of his death in an accident. He remembered everything.

He went quietly into his room and opened up the trunk. He carefully took out the folded clothes one by one. At the bottom of the trunk, he hid a gift for his grandson. But now, it didn’t seem appropriate. All these years, he had bragged about the kill. He was praised and people loved that story. But now he felt a pinch of regret. He thought about the cub and about his grandson.

Then he slowly rubbed his hands over the fur of the Thar he killed. His shaking fingers found the bullet holes and his eyes teared up a little.

It was snowing outside. The night was as still as a dead man. In this moment of stillness, something moved inside the old man. Something beautifully painful.


Déjà Vu


The old painting in the glass frame reflected her curious face. I tried not to turn around as she came closer to look at the painting, just behind me.

It was an oil painting of Himalayan evening. The snowy blue peaks were gleaming with swaying pale yellow sunset. Thick strokes showed the painter didn’t care for little details but its very essence.

She waited for me to move to the next painting. I could see her reflection, anxious and restless. She didn’t want to skip to the next painting. She likes routine. She works out daily, I guess. Maybe wakes up early, everyday. How long can she wait for me to finish?

The signature were initials of the painter. He moved from Russia to India around 80 years ago. He settled in a small Himalayan village. Why would he do that? To give up the comforts? Why did Thoreau do it? Why can’t I do it?

She gave a big sigh and moved to the next painting. As she stood to my left, gazing at the other painting – a monk with a yak – she kept giving sneak peaks at the painting I occupied. So obsessed with the habit of discipline, she is too far from her comfort zone.

I stepped back and looked at the girl. She was looking at the painting. I looked at her eyes in the reflection and they were looking at me. I passed by her and looked at other paintings in the room. She quickly moved to that painting. She didn’t smile or cried out of happiness, but she was content. Her house of cards was intact.

The painter died a long time back. And here I am, borrowing his eyes or at least, his vision.

The girl is examining the painting with her right hand rubbing her chin and left hand cracking its fingers. It’s drizzling outside. I must go or I will lose my bus. Before I leave should I tell her that she is beautiful, just like the painting she is looking at?


Way Out

Why do we yearn perishables?
Shiny glass statues
Soft petals
Gossamer dreams
And naked heart.

And why do we grieve
And cry and feel pain?
Even after knowing
Their finite existence!

Is it about
Falling again and again?
Do we like to be fooled
By ourselves?
Walking in circles
Reaching nowhere?

Can you show me the way out?