We’re not “in control”

We like to think we know what we’re doing. For the most part, we have ourselves convinced that we are “masters of our domain”, not quite in the Seinfeld-ian way, but in terms of how we spend our time everyday, what we work on, who we talk to, what we eat – basically everything we do on a daily basis.

A few months ago, I had myself convinced that I was conducting a qualitative experiment on Twitter. I was gauging responses to a post I’d made and subsequently to a couple of polls I conducted. Here my assumption was that I am the experimenter and the people who were participating were, as they were going about their day, unwitting participants of said social experiment. At the end of it, as I mused the responses, it struck me that I had “conducted” this experiment on a platform where I myself, am a subject of an production-ready experiment. A social experiment where I am one of, as of 2020, 186 Million test subjects.

This is merely a microcosm when we consider every other aspects of our lives.

When we travel on the road on a vehicle, we’re not in control simply because we’re steering the vehicle. We’re dependent on its condition, on the condition of the roads we travel on, on the behaviors displayed by actors alongside who we travel, some of who might …lose even their perceived sense of control thereby affecting ours.

When we say something to someone with the best of intentions, unless the sentence is neutral or objectively flattering, there is, however minuscule, a chance that said sentence can be perceived in a negative way. We thought we were in control of the conversation, but clearly we weren’t and everything was just a matter of circumstance.

You think you’ve made all the arrangements to catch that train. But if the train schedule has been advanced and they sent you an intimation but you didn’t receive it or simply didn’t see it, you’ve missed it.

We’re not in control as long as we’re on someone else’s platform.

And we’re almost always on someone else’s platform.

Even as I sit typing this out, I’m not in control of whether this post will see the light of day as a meteor might come hurtling through space and wipe out my very existence halting my words mid-senten..

Bildungsroman

Today I learnt that there’s this term called Bildungsroman . I tripped upon it while I was pondering the commonalities between Harry Potter and Naruto , about how both of them were underdogs, cursed at birth – one with a horcrux, and the other with a curse-mark, grew up effectively with no one to love them till they were of a certain age but are both intended for great things and grow into their respective savior roles. The genre itself doesn’t require the main character to be a “hero”, but the stories do intend to show the psychological and moral growth of said character.

Now that I know a whole bunch of books fall in this category, and because I know I like this genre, I have a lot of potential reads to pick from this year.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3248.Best_Bildungsroman_book

I’m sure there would have been some unintentional overlap in this year’s picks anyway. But now I know.

Random thoughts

— borne out of sounds I heard, remembered or imagined.
  • A glass bottle rolls lazily down the stairs, not too hard that it would crack or shatter on each bounce but just enough to maintain momentum that it doesn’t stop noisily rolling down till it reaches the floor.
  • The dog next door barks continuously, tirelessly, but probably not effortlessly. It’s hard to imagine that there wouldn’t be some stress on its lungs for the amount it barks. I wonder what it’s thinking about..What it’s pining for..Maybe it’s hungry. Maybe it wants some attention from its owners. Maybe it feels cooped up indoors. Maybe there’s a sudden unexpected change in what it’s been observing. Maybe…

BOOK REVIEW – The Office: An Oral History by Andy Greene

♥ Now I have to read this

Thought Bin

The original title of the book is The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History, but I figured that might be too long for the title. Anyway below is my review of the book that I discovered when I was seeking out something to read on my favorite comedy show.

In short, I loved it! I think if you are even a casual fan of The Office, you’ll enjoy the book. It’s an oral history, where interview snippets of cast and crew – writers, cameramen, directors, everyone – are collected and structured around themes that chart the Office journey right from its inception in UK to its culmination as (pretty much) a cultural phenomenon. I really liked reading the thought processes and all the big and little considerations that went into making the show, like the office layout in relation to the characters…

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Much ado about nothing -1

Anyone can tell a story if a day’s been interesting. Now, if the day’s been boring, ah, now That, is a challenge. But what is a boring day? Can days even be boring anymore with all the technology and virtual worlds we hold at our fingertips? I remember a time when there would be powercuts for hours together at night and I would, after our initial scampering and hunting for a candle that would be lit, sit for hours together around the flame, occasionally brushing a finger or two across the flame, as if to tempt it to burn me. I would stare at the candle for the duration of the powercut, letting my mind wander to lands where people could do things with fire that in reality would not and ideally, should not happen in a controlled environment. But, in the confines of your mind, you are the creator and the destroyer and if the mind concocted a man who could summon flames from his fingertips and walked around helping and harming as he so fit, with his arsonic abilities, so be it.

Today however, there were no powercuts and the telling of this entry puts me in the middle of the day, in the middle of a meeting that I definitely was in control of , in terms of what was going on. But what I was not in control of were the sounds outside, one of whom was a very motivated, regular (oh, So regular) vendor of “Kachoris” and “Samoses“. He would arrive with his chants around the hours of 2 and 3 in the afternoon without fail everyday and announce his arrival in a vocal tone that is both unmistakeable and unforgettable after you’ve heard it twice.

There is more to this story that involves
– me taking a breather after the meeting and stepping outside to give in, finally, to the in-person advertisement’s lure of “Samosas” but resisting it ultimately,
– a very determined spider that I, unfortunately for it, prevented from meeting its family today ..and forever 😦
and
– a leaky bucket.

But I will, if the mood strikes me, continue this entry at an hour when I’m more in possession of my mental and physical faculties.

Time to slee………Zzz

The Rule of 3

There’s something satisfying about the “Rule of three”. When you want to explain something it’s helpful to break it up into three steps or points because –

  • 1 – It gives you the time to set up a premise.
  • 2 – It gives you the space to build up anticipation without an abrupt halt.
  • And 3 – Of course you read this, because you wanted closure. And that’s what point 3 is supposed to do. Provide closure. Complete the picture. Descend from that proverbial peak of anticipation gracefully. This process is employed very well in many movies. E.g The Prestige.

Every magic trick did not Need to have three steps. It could have had 2 or 5 or 4 steps. But Nolan no doubt chose this trope because it’s satisfying.

It goes deeper. The Rule of 3 can be spotted even in ad Slogans and mottos –
– Olympics – Citius, Altius, Fortius
– Julius Caesar – I came, I saw, I conquered.
– And more locally – Horlicks- Taller, Stronger, Sharper.

On Cockroaches

I suck at poems but I try

– Abhiram

We are resilient.

We were here long before you were born, and we will be here, long after you’re gone.

We are intransigent.

We wander into your house like we own it. And in many ways we do.

We are stealthy.

We creep along the sides, on the walls, on the blinds. We whisper to the inner walls of vessels.

We are cautious.

You may catch us unawares, with your stares and your scares. You may scream at the gleam of our hide — you desire it. (Or not.)

We are evasive.

Your presence is not lost on me, but you don’t matter. You may stamp me, you may hurl me, you may wrap me up in that encasing you call a cover. You may squash me , smash me, destroy my shell and my dreams of meeting a lover.

I might die. And that’s alright.

For we were here long before you were born, and we will be here, long after you’re gone.