Writing Experiment Lab

Category: Observations (page 1 of 10)

Imposter Syndrome

More often than not, one feels that there is so much to learn, there is no time. Or, there is so much information to grasp, but one doesn’t have the capacity. Or, there is so much to eat, but the stomach can only stretch this much.

Alright, the last time might be the most real of all the 3 but many times I too feel the weight of being an imposter. Imposter Syndrome just means that you feel that whatever you have achieved was just due to sheer luck. You don’t really possess the knowledge or skills but you were just right there at the right moment.

We might actually be unaware of certain things, and that is totally fine, but it is very easy to trick your brain and lie to it. Like not exercising and thinking that one can always remain healthy.

I, for instance, have knowledge about a lot of useless facts like Pluto and Charon have wobbly orbits with respect to each other. But the fact that certain accolades or praise I receive, I end up feeling I really didn’t deserve them and what if there is a tougher test coming up and I will fail miserably.

This image, however, gives a bit of comfort indeed.

Optimistically Pessimist

That’s the right approach to live life in these times IMHO.

Lockdown is going to get over guys! Congratulations. It was tough, right? We had to stay indoors. We could only go outside to buy veggies and milk. We had to talk to people from School/relatives with whom we had stopped the conversations, and rightly so, a decade ago. We all came online on Zoom and took screenshots. People became cooks and fought over Youtube and Tiktok. It was something!

Didn’t we all hear all the claims about how the life is going to be in this ongoing + not really ending anytime soon + post COVID-19 world? We were told that it will never be the same again. There will be only work from homes. Schools will be just on the laptop. Masks would be the things and it will become haute couture level fashionable to have extreme and funky masks. Social Distancing would be a norm for a long long time and you will never have to tolerate those folks who hug all the time! Of course cinema halls would be a thing of the past and most restaurants would be only take-away ones.

But… I don’t get it!

Was this all a scam? Like seriously was this all a conspiracy? Like last 2 months were just some chapters out of a fictional story and now we are back to business? Even news channels are now back to usual terrorism in Kashmir news and usual debates about how my orange is more saffron than yours or how bollywood-walas are shouting Black Lives Matter but not shouting say why is the road outside my apartment dug up when monsoon is just starting and when are they going to fix it again?

From June 8th, Malls are reopening, temples will be buzzing, roads are already full of traffic and pollution. Fun! Also, you can start ordering all the foods you were avoiding as well. You haven’t become thinner by not eating the regular weekend pizzas anyway. May be golgappas around the street corner again? Bring it on.

What was all that drama for? Banging plates to lighting diyas? No, of course, I know that the economy has to restart but where are the masks? Why have we let our guards down? Or we just stayed home to avoid police sticks? Why the neck is the best place to put masks but not the nose and mouth? Why do we need Institutional Quarantine when cases are now skyrocketing with or without it? Why we have so many people back on the road when the cases in India are past China’s number already?

You must have seen the pics of Mumbai’s marine drive full of morning walkers with masks half-heartedly on. Or the pics of the airplanes rush when it has landed. Or beaches in US where there are more people than there usually were. Don’t you think the new normal isn’t the same old normal at all?

Bottom line is that we people are resilient and smarter than you think they are. You might or might not have seen the show ‘Space Force’ on Netflix because it is somewhat a mishmash of comedy and science fiction and tragedy and as someone rightly said a cross between ‘Veep’ and ‘The Office’, but there’s a quote in that which is somewhat on the lines of:

When people have forgotten the atrocities of World War, they forget what is like to be in a War. When people have had no polio cases for a long time, they forget the importance of Vaccines. When people become too arrogant, they forget things!

Not exactly verbatim but something similar by Gen. Naird

I am optimistic that the world will become normal again. I am pessimistic about the time. I thought it would take time to heal, but I miscalculated. I thought it would be months before we are back on the street in the usual way. But here we are already late for the office.

Covidiot + Indiot = Covindiot

Many of you must have received this. A wordplay on Covid and Idiot.

Let me just add another word to your vocab:

Indiot noun

ind·i·ot

  1. A stupid person of Indian origin who does things only idiot Indians would do.
    Don’t burst crackers in your hand, you indiot!
  2. A stupid Indian person who doesn’t follow rules, meant for their own safety.
    ‘Helmets are not meant for elbows! Don’t be an indiot you fool…’

Here’s one more word for you:

Covindiot noun

co·vind·i·ot

  1. A super idiotic Indian person who has no regard for his or her own safety in times of Covid-19
    ‘What kind of covindiot are you? Don’t you understand social distancing? What were you doing playing kabbaddi with strangers on the main road on the day of Janta Curfew?’

I am not going to share any scientific gyaan but just few tweets in order to make my point.

https://twitter.com/Roflindian/status/1241698034586513408
https://twitter.com/Roflindian/status/1241702696412794885
https://twitter.com/Roflindian/status/1241705719444828160
Mumbai actually

The full thread above basically.

While I was super pumped to stand in the balcony, clap for our doctors, health workers and essential services personnel. I felt a sense of togetherness genuinely after 2011 World Cup Victory. But all my sense of gratitude turned into anger against the Covindiots.

The problem with Indians is that only 1% of us are such fools. But 1% of 1.3 Billion is 13000000 or more.

We cannot even facepalm now because there’s a chance of infection.

Work From Home Guidelines from a Non-Expert

Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.

Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park – The Lost World

Fiction has become a reality. Who would have thought that it would happen so suddenly? But it is not an alien attack, or Dinosaurs roaming around, or an asteroid coming (It is coming but it will pass from a safe distance, for now…). You just have to work from home and live with it. In the beginning, it looked like a welcome change. But I am not going to the office for more than 10 days now and real colors of Work From Home Life have started to show their ugly faces. I know it is more like Work From Bed, but here I am, as a Non-Expert, to help you rise up and beat your own expectations about yourself and do Work From Home, the right way.

Here are some non-expert tips to deal with the grim situation:

Bed is Bad

Avoid sitting on the bed for 20 hours a day. Maybe sit on the floor and keep the laptop on the bed. Or lie on the bed and keep the laptop on the floor. Don’t ask me! I don’t know… I am not an expert. But stay away from the bed because the bed will stay, backbone won’t. If you already have a desk and chair set up, use that setup. And like I showed in the pictures above, keep changing the directions to have some variety.

Distractions

Everyone is working from home or at home not working. This means you will have to deal with an uncountable number of distractions. Your maid, your family, your pets, your kids, in whichever order you prefer, are going to pester you. The way to deal with this is to turn the tables and become a distraction for them. Disturb them so much that they maintain a big social distance from you and thereby, isolate you enough so that you can work peacefully. There might be debates and fights though. Again, I am not an expert but I can just suggest.

Schedule / Length of the workday

Very subjective. For those who really work will struggle with this as there might not be a start time and end time. For others, a cake walk. They will start late, take breaks in between, shut shop early and when you message them / call them / ping them, they will have the connection problem, electricity troubles, and fought with spouse problems. For single folks, they will have movies open in another tab which would hog the bandwidth. Basically, everything is blurry so who knows who is working and from when.

Working Out

Make plans about how to work out as now you’ve got slightly more time. You needn’t go out but you can see on Youtube: How to meditate, how to do Yoga and which is the right exercise to do after every 25 minutes. Make plans surely. Implementing them can wait. Optimistic folks say that this will get over soon so why change your usual habit of not exercising at all.

Stay Connected

You will soon forget the familiar faces whom you liked, had a crush on, you hated or you were indifferent to. So, it is a good time to stalk or block them on social media sites. It is the right time to know their political views or what their hobbies are. This might change some perceptions, who am I to tell, being a non-expert.

Food and Hydration

You are going to become fatter. There’s no denying that. But everyone is going to become fatter, that’s nice no! Except for those with daily wage jobs (black comedy joke). You are going to definitely sit for more than you did in the office. In-office, you could take long breaks for tea. You could have water cooler conversations about Big Boss. You could sync bathroom breaks with colleagues (it is a thing, really). But at home, you just eat, drink water, walk 5-10 feet and come back and then sit again. You can go to your balcony to track the time and the Sun’s position at least, right?

Rest you can take care of yourself and come up with your own tips. I am not used to working from home and I don’t think this was ought to happen to everyone in this decade. But this is the reality so make the best of it.

Here’s a list of things which you can use to really spend your time wisely, while not working from home. Check the full thread below.

https://twitter.com/nickdennis/status/1241259501510184961

Happy Working from home. Enjoy till it lasts.

Selfie with Foreigners

If you are a tourist in India and if you happen to be White (you could very well be a very fair-skinned Indian), then you would surely have been stopped anywhere and would have been asked for a Selfie. This would have generally been a polite request asked with such humbleness and doe-eyed facial expression that you would’ve agreed after telling yourself, what the heck, it is just a harmless picture!

To be honest, it is indeed a harmless picture. Your photo might only be used on barbershops and beauty parlors, and most probably on nothing illegal. In fact, thank you for letting us do it. It made you smile and amazed by us, so we are happy with that itself.

I am not going to rant too much about the practice and the Indian Obsession of still going gaga over such things. But, this is 2019 and this is getting more and more common as more and more Indians get mobile phones and travel opportunities.

But then, how does it matter! Except for everyone owning a mobile phone, not much has changed when it comes to getting validation by a foreigner. It might also be giving some bragging rights and if one thinks deeply, everything will be obvious.

We as a society are yet to come out of the mindset which makes us feel inferior. And when someone does come out of this mindset, they leave no time in making their peers feel inferior.

I recently read on Twitter that the Indian Brigade on Twitter is more hateful than followers of ISIS and all. That also reinforces the fact that once we are given freedom from the pressure of society, we break all shackles and just vent out everything we have and grab everything we get a chance to grab on to.

Maybe someday we would feel better.

You may read this too if you have 10 hours of free time: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/society/the-ugly-indian-tourist

So I recently watched: Tumbbad, Article 15, Hot Fuzz

Of course, it is unfair and lazy to write my reviews of 3 movies in one blog post as a movie reviews writer, but I am not a movie reviews writer and I just want to get past this writer’s block so it is what it is. Also, I am writing all of these together because I am going to discuss Cinematography of all these 3 together.

Article 15

Article 15
https://www.ewanmulligan.com/#/article-15/

I once wrote off Ayushmann Khurrana as a Roadie. I am not going to take it back yet but I am impressed. Not only by the movie he chooses but also his drastic shift of tone in the recently released movie ‘Article 15’.

The movie is based on caste-provoked-hate-crimes (remember Budaun?) and how an honest new police officer deals with it when everyone else wants to ignore the heinous crime just because trying to solve it might upset the balance and status quo of the society. There have been several Hindi movies on similar narratives but this one stands out. It deals with the biases we all have, but we ignore them like nothing, head-on. It not only tries to shake that upper caste nonchalance and ignorance that we have now progressed and we view everything from an urbanite spectacle, but it also is a fine example of filmmaking. I was sincerely impressed by the fact that the screenplay kept on becoming more interesting the more I watched it. And to top it all, the cinematography was both beautiful and yet scary. It was also philosophical obviously that in order to clean the menace, one has to do the dirty work.

Although, it reminded me of the first season of True Detective but it is a movie to which I was hooked from start till it finished. It was an experience which made me think of my own place in the society and the privilege we take granted for. Well done!

Tumbbad

tumbbad
Via Prime Video / Eros Now

Tumbbad is like nothing you have ever seen in a Hindi movie. I can certainly vouch for that. I had watched this movie last year and I liked it so much that I haven’t rewatched it again, what an irony! It is probably because it is amazingly scary and beautifully weird.

The story shows a range of time from 1918s to 1940s. It is about man’s greed and the lengths one can go to in order to fulfill it. Except for the glaring CGI work at the very climax of the movie, it is an achievement to make such a movie, I felt. The production design, the haunting music, the scale and grandeur, and the performances are all top-notch.

I could have written more about it but it has been more than 6 months since I watched it but I can still not forget the wonderful imagery this movie portrayed. Each shot has been meticulously designed and planned. It is a pity that not many have watched this yet.

Hot Fuzz

Llyod Stas Poster for Hot Fuzz
http://collider.com/edgar-wright-posters-lloyd-stas/

You must have also come across a movie which you enjoy like anything and want to discuss that with some friends who have same taste as you in the movies but then you don’t discuss it with anyone and just feel sad because your friends don’t have the same taste as yours and also they don’t get it the way you do. Sigh, me too!

I watched ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’ a few days back and was happily surprised that something like this can exist. Then I read about its director Edgar Wright and thought of watching some more movies of his.

So I recently watched ‘Hot Fuzz’ and what a fun ride it was. Without going into the details of the story, I would just comment about the editing of this movie. Brilliant! The distinctive cuts, the music, the parody, and the overall visual comedy had me in splits. I am going to watch the rest of the movies of Edgar Wright soon, is all.

A word about Cinematography

Since I am a man of not so simple tastes, ahem, I think I am not impressed by a few things which others might do. Same way, they might not get impressed with things which I find very interesting. One of the things like that is movie cinematography. Movies mean different to everyone, we all know that. So, for me, Cinematography: the camera placement, the editing, the subtext matters a lot.

In all of the movie I wrote about in the paras before, Cinematography is a thing which carved its own niche into my mind. Article 15 shows the same grim, dark and scary wide shots of a rustic Village scene multiple times in which the protagonist has to immerse himself into in the movie to cleanse it otherwise his own surroundings keep getting dirtier, representing our myopic view of thinking about our own lives and only dealing with things when we are affected by it. Tumbbad shows grunge from a close-up which shows how greed can turn anyone into a devil. Totally contrasting to the previous two, the editing of Hot Fuzz shows how to make a serious matter funny while adding music to it to transform into something else.

There are so many movies around. Only a few of them make you think about that particular scene and the intention of the director behind them. I like those ones.

So I recently watched ‘Mission Mangal’

I distinctly remember this. I was in a bus travelling towards my office and while it took a U-Turn in front of ISRO office on Outer Ring Road towards Marathahalli, Bengaluru, somewhere far away Mangalyaan was getting inserted into the Mars orbit. I was following the news on Twitter and the event just happened. The Bus completed the U-turn and the ISRO HQ remained as calm as it has always been, as if nothing happened. No fanfare, no bursting of crackers like Diwali or post-elections scene outside political parties offices, not even a single soul but the guards visible from outside. That’s ISRO for you. I looked around me, and nobody was bothered to share my happiness as they were busy in their phones or were dozing off. I sighed and continued with reading more about the news.

That was 2014. ISRO has done a lot since then. They do use Social Media now but still only those who are interested follow. But for the first time, someone has brought them on to a medium which nobody in India can ignore. Yeah, the movies.

So, I recently watched Mission Mangal and felt happy. Neither the movie was mind blowing, nor it was a bore, neither it was 100% scientifically accurate, nor it was completely filmy. It was just a feel good movie with an appropriate amount of stuff which could make your heart fill with joy when you realise that ISRO was able to do this near impossible feat so nonchalantly. Of course, this is just a fictional tale of how the mission came to be. But it surely reignited the feeling of pride that we live among such geniuses of humans who are so good at their job that one can only wish them more successes.

I had brushed it off when they had announced that such a movie is being even made. But I got interested in it lately when the reviews came in and it paid off. I won’t go into the details of the movie as that’s irrelevant. I am rather happy that such a movie was made. There’s a scene in the movie which showed the reminiscences of actors’ childhood times of becoming scientists. That did me. And I believe that’s what have been the intention of making such a movie. Apart from earning money and all.

If even one out of 100 can get inspired from such movies which show human’s scientific prowess while they deal with life’s daily chores, the job is done.

Hoping to see more such initiatives which can rekindle the childhood dream in you.