Of Mating Dances & Seduction

 Why do you read, she asked?

An innocent enough question, it seemed, on the surface, but the glint in her eye made me feel I’d better make it good.

‘Oh boy!’ I thought, but out loud I said, ‘Well, book reading is for me the same as mind reading, or atleast the closest I’ll get to it. I get to glimpse into the mind of another, develop perceptions and make judgements as they would, put on a different set of mind filters, and see the world tainted by their life experience. Why do you?’

‘Well, it lets me be someone else.’

Heavy.

Dont get me wrong. Despite the lack of sophistication on my part, I enjoy an intellectually stimulating discussion just as much as the next guy, but sometimes the vibe is just wrong enough for that kind of exchange.

You don’t want what was a light and playful interaction suddenly get bogged down by the sap of sentimentalism, the remains of what came before encased for posterity in the amber for future dusting off and drunk reminiscing and posthumous analysis.

On cue, a fly buzzed around our drinks.

She absent-mindedly flapped a hand at the intruder, determined to carry this conversation right into the graveyard of boredom.

‘I have a tough job, and a boring job. Reading, for a little while, helps me forget all my problems and life circumstances,’ she offered.

Oh, so she has problems. I didn’t know whether I should take it as a good sign or not. Only problem I had was figuring out how to steer this sinking ship away from the shark-infested deep and straight onto the nearest viable land mass.

A snarky comment about her being from an Ivy league university with honours coalesced in my mind but caught itself somewhere on the way to my lips. Why ruin what was a halfway good evening, by any standards? I gave it my best shot,

‘Oh, I understand. Sometimes I wish I can just leave this all behind and just go away for an indeterminate amount of time. I guess vacations are hardwired into the human psyche. We’d all kill each other otherwise.’

‘But we do kill each other all the time. Humans, I mean.’

The way she said it hinted at her considering herself not being in the same category as ‘those humans’. The barest hint of misanthropy. This girl gets more and more interesting.

She continued, ‘What do you think about this. Why are humans like that?’

The slightest instinctual response surfaced from the depths of my nervous system warning me of danger. The uncomfortable feeling was familiar: we were going in the direction of politics. Most people wouldn’t really call this a political question, but to be fair, those are the same people who find themselves in heated rhetorical arguments with random strangers regarding the direction the government should take in response to latest changes in regimes halfway around the world.

Occupational hazard of being a writer, I guess. People want to know what you think about things. What they fail to clarify, is that they want to hear what you think, so then they can tell you what they think. Tedium. Bedlam. Blahville.

‘Well, inasmuch what I have seen, people (Humans, she corrected. I made a mental note to ask her if she was vegan later).

‘Humans, I said pointedly, ‘also have an incredible capacity to love. (Yuck. I hated using that word without pointing out context, but desperate times and all that. So colour me green, I’m jaded).

‘For example, right now, you and me sitting here having the most fascinating discussion, and we didn’t even know each other when the day started. Humans connect, develop relationships. People love pets like their own children. Heck, our social instinct is so strong, we even have relationships with inanimate objects. For instance, there is this pair of tweezers I use that I’m very attached to. And I know, when the time comes to replace them, they’ll take a little part of my soul with them when I throw them in the trash. It’s lucky I’m so thick-skinned, or else I’d be heartbroken for those tweezers.’

I was surprised it came out so congruently.

She giggled and pulled her hair behind her right ear, giving me a glimpse of her jugular. The flush of her skin was very obvious.

This part of the mating dance over, the next logical step presented itself. I moved closer…

Sometimes it feels like life is a dancefloor. You ask a partner for a dance, both link together and calibrate to each other, feeling each other out, gingerly at first, and becoming more confident with each step. You weave in and out around other dancers doing the same, the music acting like the governing principle, God forbid lest someone jiggle and shake out of time, and when the song is over, you thank your partner and sit back down at your table, looking around for the next victi..partner for you to dance with.

And in the end, the dance you choose depends on what music is playing.

Why do we dance? Why indeed?

Yash Chheda

 

Advertisements

Break Free In 2017 – A Manifesto

Fearful people are easy to control. It’s in the interest of those who are trying to influence you, for whatever reason, to keep you in a state of fear.

There’s a meme of negativity in the world right now. It’s a case of divide and rule all over again. The East India Company did it by dividing us on the basis of caste and religion but it seems the current crop of young people doesn’t care that much about communal and racial differences. People prefer interacting with people on the basis of similar interests and socio-economic background, with other distinctions not featuring much on the radar.

So this time, the people who would like to wield their influence are doing it on the basis of political affiliation & gender. By dividing people on the basis of political beliefs, they’re making sure that people don’t come together.

The whole neo-liberal, YouTube feminist, SJW insanity is a bunch of people so dumb with stress, that they’re acting out from a state of extreme fear and emotions rather than well thought out reasoning. And while people like these are just the minority (the argument could be made they’re not), they get proportionally too much screen time

Stress makes us stupid. Turns us into sheep. Makes us have strong fear-based opinions on what is the right direction for others to take to make us feel safe. Makes us impose our values and beliefs on others, while at the same time denying them their right to have their own. Stress makes us blind to our own hypocrisy. Makes us complain that we’re not meeting the right people on Tinder, completely forgetting the fact that it’s not other people’s problem that you don’t have your shit together.

There’s a TED talk by Steven Pinker that makes the argument that we’re living in the safest time in known history of the human race. Why then are people so fearful of the future? Why do they overestimate the effect changes in power, regime and heads of state will have in their day to day life?

How do we escape this mental prison that has been thrust upon us even without us knowing of its existence?

How do you give a big fuck you to the insecure folks who’re trying to control what you eat, who you fuck, what you think, and what you put into your body?

By getting off this wheel of fear. Skip news media, incessant noise and constant attacks on your attention. Turn off your app notifications. Control who and what you give your attention to. It’s the thing that’ll starve them like nothing else. Don’t give them your money. Don’t give their YouTube videos your views. Starve them of the clicks that are their digital lifeblood. Use social media, don’t let it use you.

The process is begun. More and more people are waking up to this game being played around them. They’re disconnecting, tuning out and turning away.

And it’ll get worse this year. The battle for your attention is underway. Expect a renewed attack on your senses. The news will become more and more sensationalist. Not just popular media, but even the social media space will be rent with wailing, scared, hyperactive, loud voices insisting that you engage with them. When you don’t, they’ll try to get you to react. The clickbait will get worse as analysts collect data on what headline gets the strongest reaction.

The triggers will get ever more outrageous. Expect them to. You can tell you’re being triggered by the anger rising inside you as you read a comment or article. Refuse to engage.

The whatsapp forwards will get dumber. Cat videos will come at you faster and quicker. Learn to dodge them. Memes will try to drag you into the tar-pits of time kill.

Create space, both mental and physical, between you and what’s important to YOU, and the stressed out, fearful, negative population. The new filthy, unwashed masses, if you will.

Develop laser-like focus on the things YOU want to do. Make sure your goals and achievements are coming from deep inside your core, not generated by peer-pressure and societal expectations. Be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t feed off your own bullshit. You can do better than that.

Get healthy and strong. Fix your stress and clear your mind. See if maybe you can thrive, instead of just survive.

Get off this wheel of fear, and it’ll be your best year ever.

Happy 2017!

How To Dispose Of The Indian National Flag Respectfully

Indian Flag

Love & Respect

Every year I see this happen. And it breaks my heart. Torn flags. Flags on the ground. Trampled upon. Piled up in the trash. I see this epecially around schools. This has been my experience in my own school as well.

And it gets overwhelming to see the scale of it too. What do you do about it? What do you do with all these flags? You can collect them, but then what? Who do you hand them over to?

The Indian National Holidays of Republic Day & Independence Day are celebrated with an amazing level of enthusiasm. Flag sales are off the charts. You see everyone sporting mini-flag badges and stickers (thats something new I’ve seen this year).

And rather than becoming yet another voice in the peanut gallery, I thought I’ll do my bit about it. The information is there, it just hasn’t reached mass awareness yet.

Please, if you like this post, share it with your friends & followers on social media. It would mean a lot to me, & I’m sure it’ll resonate with you too. No one likes to see the Indian National Flag being disrespected, and no one I’ve met does it deliberately. Indians are patriotic with a fervour I’ve not seen in people of many other nationalities, even as we bitch and moan about the sorry stae of affairs around here. 🙂

Ok enough of preaching from me. On to the heart of the matter.

How To Dispose Of The Indian National Flag Respectfully

Guideline for Disposal of damaged Flag : When the Flag is in a damaged or soiled condition, it shall be destroyed as a whole in private, preferably by burning or by any other method consistent with the dignity of the Flag. – Flag Code of India 2002, Section II, Point 2.2 (xiii)

Generally the way to dispose of the flag is either by burning it or burying it.

If you’re going to bury it, then you should make sure that no person walks on the place. This is easier said than done in a country as populated as India, especially in the metros.

So we move on to the other method, that of burning, as counterintuitive as it sounds.

When the Flag is in a damaged or soiled condition, it shall be destroyed as a whole in private, preferably by burning or by any other method consistent with the dignity of the Flag

What this means is that when burning the damaged flag off, please make sure you burn it by itself. That means no throwing it in with other burning trash, or chucking it in an incinerator. And while doing so, please maintain proper repect and decorum. Your volition means a lot in this case. 🙂

Thats about it. Hope i was able to get the message across without coming across as too self-righteous. If I did, it is entirely my fault.

jai Hind!

10 Things I Learnt Living Away From Civilisation For A Month

Dehradun Woods Panorama

A Panorama of the forest

Woods3

Beam me up, Scotty!

Woods2

Nature Divine

Woods1

Coniferous Dreams

Sunset2

Beautiful clouds

Sunset1

Electricity Pole & Sunset

Meadow

Sun & Shadow

Haridwar Railway Station

And at the adventure’s end

If you can’t live in solitude, you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. Make this a priority.

It’s fun to cut nails with a pair of scissors.

Boy, can those scissors hurt.

You can just bite your nails off. Nail cutters are optional.

Cities are overrated.

You can be in a peaceful place, but not have peace in yourself.

Humans evolved to live in silence, and among nature.

Stress is easier to release away from noise.

I have the greatest 24 hour entertainment system right in my backyard, The woods!

Try rising and sleeping with the Sun, and see your creativity, productivity and happiness soar.

Wild animals deserve respect and caution, even the little ones. Especially the little ones. (this you’ll understand when you get the shit scared of you by a tiny little monkey.)

You can easily live without electricity, without much inconvenience, except entertainment.

Having Internet is essential.

The reason so many people like me born in an urban environment are stuck there, is because we were born in virtual slavery. To the industrial food chain, and the big corporations. This dependence disappears if you grow your own food. As soon as you have your own backyard garden supporting you most of the year round, all your fears about money will disappear.

Organic, naturally grown food tastes soooo much better.

You can have your own “food forest” supporting you all year round, with ZERO maintenance, weeding, pest control, digging or gardening, except for the initial burst of effort. Look up permacuture.

The colder the climate, the cuter the girls get. I don’t know how that works. Maybe cold thermogenesis. Does not apply to completely urbanised places, because of the shit “food”. Tl;dr : Guys and girls, if you want to look hot, eat good food.

Look up the no soap and the “no poo method”.  Look up the history of daily soap and shampoo use. This only applies to cooler climates, not hot and humid ones.

If you stop using soap and start just washing with water, you stink waaay less. Previous disclaimer applies.

Guys, stop carrying your cell phone in your pants pocket.

You can easily live without a cell phone and a daily fix of social media.

Weed is available everywhere, in every region of the world. And people everywhere love it. They have an affinity for it. Maybe having to do with it’s role in human evolution *conjecture alert* (along with Seafood) as being the impetus for increase in human brain size.

On a few days, the hardest decision I had to make was choosing between sleeping and meditating.

When you have to, you learn to fix and make stuff yourself very quickly.

Local villagers and small town people have a collective folk wisdom that is *very* useful. Learn as much as you can from them.

Some of my best creative work came when I was completely isolated.

Okay, if you made it this far, you realise this is much more than 10 things.

If there’s anything you’d like to add to the list, leave a comment below. 🙂

Love,
Yash Chheda

What Was The First Book You Fell In Love With?

The first book you fell in love with

Books, FTW!

 

There’s this meme going around on Facebook, where you talk about the books which have had a major impact on your life and then tag other book lovers to do the same. Here’s my stab at it.
Wow! This is going to be a tough one. There has been a book (or many) at every stage of my life that has influenced me, helped me through a particularly rough patch, or has had a major impact on how I see the world.

Whittling them down to just one is an impossible task. So, I’ll just list them all.

 

Secret Seven & The Famous Five
Enid Blyton has to be one of my all time favourite children’s authors. Being stuck in Bombay city, I spent many lazy afternoons sharing in the mysteries and adventures of these lots. I still have many of these books with me, not having the heart to part with them.

 

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire introduced me to the world of fantasy fiction, and for that I’m ever grateful to JK Rowling.

 

A Brief History of Time explained the wonders of quantum time and space, and had many brain-frying moments peppered liberally throughout the book. PLUS, the book contains only one equation. Props to Stephen Hawking.

 

LOTR : No one comes close. This is the master himself. In comparison, I found the GOT books to be pretty blah. They have their moments, but most of it is pretty mechanical and formulaic.

 

The Fountainhead. I don’t think I have to say anything else about this one. Everyone will need the lessons contained in this book at some point in their life. Not recommended for sheeple.

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Sheer brilliance, & funny as hell. Read this without laughing out loud at least once & I’ll pay you a thousand bucks!

 

And lastly, Moby Dick. The intensity of this book, and it’s forays into the human psyche and drives, as well as the depth of the characters portrayed, has to be experienced to be believed.
And that too written by Herman Melville, high school dropout. Written by a high school dropout, & studied in colleges throughout the world. 🙂
This book is the heavy metal of the literary world, and I recommend it to everyone. Read it ASAP!

 

Honorable mentions : The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The Four Hour Workweek, The National Geographic Magazines.

 

Plus there are a couple other books which are unmentionable in a public forum. PM me however, if you’re insatiably curious. 😀

 


 

What are the book/books that have had the most impact on your life?

 

Love,

Yash Chheda

My Manifesto For Life

Breathe. Slow down. Take a break. Take care of yourself. Play a little. Enjoy the sunlight. Get wet in the rain. Pet a dog. Give a kid a piggy back ride. Look at things a little more closely. Really listen to someone. Feel the music. Travel as much as you can. Accumulate experiences as opposed to things. Make more friends. Cultivate relationships. Read something everyday. Learn something new. Filter the stream of information coming at you. Avoid news media. Make a bucket list. Think about why you added something to the bucket list. Learn to dance. Learn a new language. Stretch and yawn. Meditate. Nurture your inner geek. Create something. Draw. Doodle. Smile at a stranger. Break something. Sit in solitude. Be loud and noisy sometimes. Eat real foods. Eat junk food sometimes. Walk. Hike in the woods. Be the first person up. Stay up late talking on the phone. Spend the whole day playing video games. Clean the room. Don’t clean so much. Wake up late. Spend the whole day in bed…with someone. Laze about. Daydream. Learn to lucid dream. Say thank you. Say sorry. Don’t care about what others say. Don’t apologise for yourself. Sit in nature. Swim in the ocean. Learn to surf. Have a snowball fight. Tease someone. Pinch a girl. Pull her hair. Then give her a present. Be more present. Buy new shoes. Give away your old shoes. Start saving money. Disconnect from social media for a week. Run a marathon. Fail to finish it first time around. Finish a half marathon. Pick up a music instrument. Write a song for someone you love. Actually sing it, even if you suck. Especially if you suck. Read this from time to time. Find ways to destress. Say fuck you to cultural and societal norms. Back off a little if others can’t handle it. Avoid drama. Create a little drama when appropriate. Help an old lady with her shopping bags. Volunteer for something. Donate to something anonymously. Party the night away. Flirt with a stranger. Complain less. Be more patient. Forgive yourself if you throw a tantrum. Make some friends from other parts of the world. Make a bunch of money. Live in another country. Throw away some stuff. Simplify. Get in touch with your body. Be more sensual. Take a cold shower. Be cheesy.

Make your own manifesto.