Dec 31, 2020

Did I make the most in 2020?

 


When 2020 started, I had put up a status on WhatsApp as “Make the most in 2020”. 

Corona struck the world and made the most of it than anybody else. It is going good even at the end of the year.

Virus instigated the overhauling of our complete lifestyle and day-to-day routine. My family and I brought several changes , which we thought could never happen. From that comfortable routine of office, we were thrown in the black box where nothing was certain. At a time, we were unsure if the grocery would remain available for us.

When the lockdown was announced, I rushed to the nearby vegetable shop and cursed myself at the very moment I entered inside. There was no breathing space, and people were brushing each other in the cash-counter queue. After that eventful visit, I took steam inhalations for 3-4 days to avoid any kind of infection. Uncertainty of everything was killing us. But we held our ground. And we are now entering in 2021. Congratulations to everyone.

 Did I make the most in 2020? Not in every dimension, but I made the most in my writing journey. For a while, the raw manuscript of my novel waited for my action in a folder that slipped down in the list and was not even visible in the ‘Recent Actions’ tab of my cloud. I didn’t open it for long. But WFH gave me that push. I sped up the editing process and launched my first fiction book: Lifeline.

Publishing a book was an ethereal and an unforgettable experience. I have now started thinking to write another one. With my first book, I always had the doubt if I could complete it. Now, I know I can do it and that underlying fear no more exists in my thoughts. It was no less than an adventure to peek inside the publishing industry and to see how things move, and to understand what it takes to be successful. This year marked the tiny step of that success for me. Now my next fear is if I’d be keen to overcome the writer’s block for my next ones, and if lack of monetary gains can demotivate me to publish further. Today, I can say, no, it will not because indirect benefits outweigh any other direct benefits. 

My gratitude to all those who supported me, read my book and visited this blog. It was a dark road, but you supported and enlightened it.

Another milestone I achieved along with my book is I was actively blogging, which was something new after 2011. A bigger accomplishment, and I assure, upcoming years will see more of the activity here. 

Now it is the time for resolution, and why I think it is important. Resolution creates a vision for you. It is like the listing of day’s or weekly office tasks. One can not grow without a vision. Sharing is not necessary, but it clears your though process. Think over this and make a vision, a resolution.

Here are mine:

1) I will appreciate people more than  I did previously.

2) I will be a good listener this year, apart from being a good speaker.  

3) I will invest wisely in the time to come.

4) I will follow my passion


Think over if you made the most in 2020? 

Do take your resolutions. Share it or not is your wish. Be happy and take care of your loved ones.


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Dec 24, 2020

The Social Dilemma

 


No, this is not a review of the Netflix documentary- The Social Dilemma.

This Netflix documentary gives you chills in the spine and wakes you up to the ill-effects of social media on individuals and society. The message from the documentary is loud and clear that some day it will break you and will have much adverse impact on teenagers of this urban world. The intensity with which the effects, on teenagers, are shown is impressive. It is also enlightening to see how a Facebook engine only throws that type of similar data/information which one wants to see. It in-fact is the tool of Persuasion. This documentary thus exposes us to the realities and things that go on behind the scenes of social-networking portals. 

Social Media creates perception about anything and everything. The distorted information appears several times in front of the user and he slowly starts believing it to be true. Further, word of mouth, likes and share buttons affirms its authenticity and thus creates perception of a product, movie, book, person, political party, hotel, place, from somebody who might have never experienced it, or may not have that sense of judgement to give a review for it. This is the power of social media. Today actual power does not lie with the King or the Queen, as was the case in the earlier centuries, but lies with the digital influencers. The power of autocracy which existed in the previous centuries  is taking a back seat, and the power of persuasion is shaping our society and driving us to do certain things specifically.

No doubts, artificial intelligence is the present and future of the world. These algorithms are powerful enough to cause behavioral changes not only of an individual but of the entire society or a nation. People are loosing their judgement of right or wrong, as they constantly rely on validation from their virtual friends who don't know them, who have not seen their struggles and successes, who are not aware what has been done in the backyard. These things, as it stands today, are not in our control, and reducing the screen time is not at all a solution. We all need this digital world and networking portals, don't we?

It has its boons, and we all need those boons to achieve our goals in life. 

In this situation, neutrality is the need of the hour, we need balance to counter the persuasive effects of social media. We need people to have a self-confidence, and a fine sense of judgement of right or wrong. Remember that right or wrong is relative. We need to understand this, and it should be clear to everybody that what these social portals want. Earning money is their only requirement, and they earn when you spend countless hours on their portals. We log in to have connection with friends, to build our network, to grow our business but most of the times the platform wins as they function through algorithms, and we function through our individual brains, a single brain does not stand against such strong ever-evolving algorithms developed by the best minds of the world.

What should we do?

Evolution of our mind, body and overall conscious is the need to control this phenomenon. Strong focus on our goal and purpose can help us achieve it. Below are some actions that will help you and me to have that balance in our life:

1) Self-confidence. Do not rely on virtual validation.

2) Fine sense of judgement of Right or Wrong.

3) Focus on personal goals and development, more than the likes and hits on social media.

4) Remember the purpose of your login today and validate if you have achieved it during log off.

5) Yoga and Meditation will keep you sane and will help you control your urge of social validation.

6) Meet frequently with your friends. (I understand it is difficult today but even zoom calls are ok. Speak with them and share your successes and challenges. You will like it more than the number of likes and shares on social media post.

7) Read books. Do I need to say that, huh?

Be aware that what is at stake if you get manipulated by somebody else. Don’t let that happen to you. Remember the purpose of your life.


Can I ask you one last thing? Can you make somebody smile today?



Also, Read this



Dec 21, 2020

The Blue Phoenix-Book Review




Any woman is only as strong as she chooses to be“, this quote from the book pretty much sums up the entire theme of The Blue Phoenix by Chethana Ramesh. It is the story of many middle-class girls, and talks about their inhibitions, insecurities, and fears of their day-to-day life. It can also be considered a story for all, any gender,  who find themselves too simple in the sophisticated group of people or society.

This is one such story of a plumpy, simple, and confident girl, Neela, who is brought up in a  South-Indian family, and is therefore mired in those traditional values. She works with a marketing agency as a sales executive, but her world changes when this handsome hunk Ashwin, her boss, falls for her. Her happiness knew no bounds as she secretly admired him; like most of us do in our actual lives for such people, but may or may not be fortunate enough to interact with them.

Ashwin, however, is narcissist, and is capable to get any girl on her feet with his good looks, money and influential position in the professional world. For him, it is not more than a proof of his charisma and worth, when Neela increases one more count of his flings. 

The story is set in Bangalore, and progresses with subtle and vivid descriptions of its places; if you have lived in Bangalore, then you should relate to the mentioned places, roadways, parks, temples, markets and what not.  The beauty of this book lies in these vivid descriptions of anything and everything, be it the thoughts of characters, or the surrounding places.  Author has presented Neela’s inner conscious as Devil, which is unique, humorous and intelligent. I also appreciate author’s efforts to think and decide such correlated names of its major characters, Neela and Ashwin, with its theme. You would get it when you read it. 

However, these descriptions up to a certain extent have overshadowed the central plot.  Coming to that, whether Neela, being a middle-class girl, will unite with the narcissist, rich, unempathetic Ashwin, or is there something else in store for her? This book deals with such struggles of an urban middle-class girl, and her traditional south-Indian family. 

On the whole, read the book for its vivid descriptions and elegant narration. 




Dec 14, 2020

How to overcome FEAR?



"Fear stays as long as you let it stay"


Everybody has their own share of fear. It doesn't spare anyone-poor and rich, educated and ignorant, wise and foolish, young and old, all are engulfed with fear in their lives. 

Does it come with birth? 

Do you know how a baby feels when she is born? She feels nothing, looks to other people and takes a cue from them. Happiness and Fear both are elusive to her. She does not wink even in front of an animal; fear of animals is unknown to her. Even a knife doesn’t attract a fearful reaction from her? Then how this fear induces as she grows older? Her parents make her fear of certain things; they want to control her life and avoid her tantrums, in return they make things easy for themselves. Barking of the dog, howling of wolf, meow of cat, of a stranger-uncle, are some instilled fears in the baby. 

Parents think that as kids grow up, become mature, these fears will go away. They are right, they go away only to be replaced by the bigger fears of life. Fear of not getting good grades, of public humiliation, of not looking good, of not winning with friends, of losing best friends, of a punishment in school replaces these fears. They struggle and only struggle with these fears, sometimes win over them and sometimes swept away by them. 

As they grow further, Public humiliation, fewer likes on a social media post, not getting enough importance, not getting a good job, not getting a boyfriend, find their place in people’s lives and stay with them for a long time. Fear only increases with failure and depresses them, consequentially they find a way of life where fear doesn't come face to face with them. They live in their own room of people, don’t come out and remain happy in the life within these borders.

They grow old and the fear of losing money, of succumbing to bad health, of losing their kids, of dying a lonely death take place in their heart. They do everything to avoid this and slowly die and go away with the emotion of fear. 

Some people never experience the emotion of freedom.

This is the life of people who fear, and very few are those who know how to fight with fear. 

Never have they allowed to let it take place in their thoughts and heart, and have always faced it with open arms. They realize the only way to fight these fears is to face them. They do these things again and again till they get the confidence and self belief to fight it. Once obtained, nothing in the world can stop them. It is only a matter of winning over 3-4 fears in their lives, and after that they do not look to fear as fear but something they need to work on and find answers to resolve it. This thinking and self belief is enough for them to fight fears, sorry challenge because they do not see them as fears. 

How can a feared person adopt this way of living? FOLLOW below 4 steps to fight with your fears

1) Face it. If you fear water, then learn swimming, if you fear height, then do parasailing, if you fear public humiliation then let it happen once or twice and it will stop affecting you. 

2) Develop self-belief: Trust your actions, and not anoybody else’s. You can only control your actions and thoughts. Leave other people’s thought to them. Do not fuss over your assumptions. Do not underestimate yourself

3) Know your people: ‘Your People’ are those who love you, and want you to be happy. Know them and only talk with them. Share your fear with them. They will make you overcome them. Everyone in their childhood had faced this prank of being pushed in a tank or a swimming pool by their friends. You need this kind of prank to fight with your fears. Be in touch with such friends; for them it may be a prank, but with that you overcome your fear.

4) Read books/ Watch movies: Watch movies and read books that talk about someone’s bravery. It gives motivation, rejuvenation and enthusiasm in your own life. You always feel good after watching or reading such movies and books.


Life gives you an opportunity to live it in your own terms. Don’t let fear take that freedom away from you. Fight with your FEAR.

 

Dec 1, 2020

The Riverside Man and Other Short Stories- Book Review



The Riverside Man and other short stories is a collection of the author’s experiences of life in the form of eleven heart touching short stories. Each of the story forces you to reflect on society, human behavior and emotions.

About Author

Let us first know our author- Murthy KVVS before we deep dive into the book. Born in Bhadrachalam,Telangana, he is a poet, story-writer, a blogger and a translator. His first book of poem collection “Sparsha” was published in 1990, and his essays and poems were also published in many publications .  He is the one who translated one of my favorite books :The Godfather by Mario Puzo in Telugu, which had a great response from Telugu readers. He is an active blogger, and you can read more about him here

About Book

Good writing or story-telling is an art to entertain the reader as well as convey the message that they will take away with them. I am not that a fan of reading short stories because it is difficult for a writer to go to that detail in the most simplistic way, and then as a reader I end up not relating with it,   but this one is truly amazing and touches the right chord of the reader’s conscious; overall it can be a torch-bearer for the society. 

For me, the prominent message or the powerful story is more important than any other thing in the book, and this one perfectly fits in that space.

The book sheds light on several topics varying from  The Guest Obssessed which teaches us how to deal with monkeys (or animals),  to Dantewada which talks about existence of ghosts or spirits who want to convey something. The story leaves the reader to decide whether it was a ghost or the spirit.   Then,  Polling  Duty which deals with the management of ever-contemporary topic of elections but also talks about the real happiness of people who have a great self-respect. The last one is The Riverside Man that forces you to empathize with Sadhus or Saints who travel for their religion and live an abstained life.

My favorite story: It is hard to say the best one but what kept me thinking for the longest was A boulder in the stream that talks about life’s ups and downs and its impact to the people around that situation. This was very aptly conveyed through a student-teacher relationship.

 

Author takes his inspiration from the works of R. K. Narayan.  I remember reading Malgudi Days many years back and we all know how magically and effortlessly Mr Narayan portrayed his observations of human life. This book also deals with the topic in a similar way, it touches and stays in reader’s heart for a long time.

Do checkout this book  here.


"A penny spent on a good book has an immeasurable worth."


Happy Reading