I only hope I do not raise too many red flags during the course of this article. At any point this post alarms you I assure I am an extremely sorted individual who knows how to ask for help if needed.

But today this needs to be written. I write this to understand the things that happen to me and perhaps to explain to those that do not understand. I do not know what to term it as yet. The biggest fear about saying the ‘D’ word is the response it brings with. “Attention seeker”. Or worse sympathy. You cannot blame people really. Some mean well. Some don’t. But almost most do not understand. I seldom wonder why and how so many people today are depressed. Perhaps we are a more intellectually aware race now. A race which is more peaceful. And peace gives us time to think. Perhaps mere survival is no longer sufficient these days and man longs for purpose and reason. Perhaps. We will never know for sure.

Everyone’s reasons are different. I have spent countless nights (and days) trying to associate mine to a particular incident, a trigger, a cause. There are a few moments in life, I can perhaps label as traumatic, but strangely enough they do not scare me or haunt me. My sadness and fears, in truth, come from the most basic of human experiences. Bullying, being misunderstood. At the heart of it, I have concluded, is the lack of re-assurance. Someday perhaps I will find it or get over it. But that is not the point of this article. Depression is a big word. And an extremely cautious word to be thrown around. It is a combination of things and issues really. Sometimes it’s family. Sometimes it is life. Sometimes it is the overwhelming realisation of reality. And the fact that it cannot be changed. Sometimes it is the fact you will never be able to put into words and explain the things that feel except that you feel them. Sometimes it is the helplessness for not being able to find the energy to go on. Sometimes it simply is inexplicable.

It is not easy to understand (and believe people in) depression perhaps because we have fixed causes we associate sadness with. Break-up. Separated parents. Financial failure. People have a way of assigning weights to happiness and sadness. A owns a big car, huge house, great job. A is successful. A is happy. B just lost his job. C was told he is good for nothing by his boss. B lost means to a livelihood, a career. C can get another boss. B must be sadder than C. Not all of us judge this way of course. But the point is we always associate an amount, a quantity with hardship. Which is why you see arguments like “He lives in an AC house, has a comfortable lifestyle. What has he got to be depressed about? Do you know how many under-privileged people are there in the world?”

Breaking the human soul, sadly, has very less to do with poverty and privilege. It requires, unfortunately, only as little as words and actions. A small rebuttal as a child. No one to run to in your moment of distress. Being made to feel you are worthless. Laughed at for something you oh so strongly believed in. Proven wrong and being laughed at more. These discomforts do not differentiate between the rich and the poor.

There is not one particular reason or trigger behind. You get over a break-up. You learn to deal with your parent’s separation. And when I say this I do not belittle pain caused by break-ups or family separations or the other hardships in life. They are equally hard, if not harder. However having a root cause, reason perhaps makes it easier to fall out of. But you cannot walk off depression. You do not understand what triggers it. And you cannot deal with something that you do not understand. You only understand there is a consistent sadness. And you do not have the energy to deal with anything. Not talk to the people you love, not try and explain the sadness, nothing. You just do not have energy for life.

There are tears. Lots of them. Inexplicable at times. Most times they are confined to safe solaces of your rooms\houses. Sometimes you have unexpectedly fight them back at public places. The triggers are hard to explain. But usually it is when helplessness dawns on you that the person sitting next to you, your friends, your colleagues will probably never understand what you are going through. What you have gone through. Worse. Know it and not believe it. Know it and dismiss it.

Sometimes you break down when you are laughing. This one is a paradox really. We smile a lot of times in our lives but there are only rare times when you laugh from the bottom of your heart. This might sound very philosophical, literary but honestly there are rare times in your life that you truly laugh from your heart. Think of it as the happiness you felt when you got that crayon box you waited for the whole week as a kid. Pure. Genuine. Those are also times you break into tears. Because you are truly laughing. Perhaps the tears come because in that moment there is so much purity, genuine joy it is almost all the worse things didn’t happen. Or won’t happen. Or maybe whatever happens after this you have this one moment of unadulterated bliss.

It is perhaps especially hard because unlike other illnesses once in depression, the will and energy to get out of it itself vanishes. Get up and be happy for what? For who? Go and achieve things why? And then do what? Thankfully I have one reason, one driving factor in life. It is sufficient and worth every fight. But such questions are dangerous. Because sometimes they have no answers. It is not important that depression can be caused by the smallest of the things which may later in life seem insignificant. It is important to know depression is beyond logical reasoning and arguments. But then if logical reasoning doesn’t work then what does?

There are different coping mechanisms. Music. Art. Humour. Work. And some we will never understand. Which brings me to my next deep pain in life. Mocking someone or their ways in the world. You have absolutely no idea what is saving someone from the world. Of all the things I do not understand about this world, the one most that perplexes me most is laughing at someone. “It’s harmless” “Oh it’s just a joke” “It’s all banter”. No it is not. Ridiculing a human being is honestly much more detrimental than we give it credit. It is something I have never been able to do. And I never do. Not as a joke. Not as fun. Not casually. Never. People often tell me they do not come to me for honest opinions because I can never say not-nice things. And it is true. I believe in every silly idea, laugh at every bad joke, and appreciate every stupid new attire that people try. And all honestly. From the bottom of my heart. Because that’s what some people need sometimes. Someone to believe in you. Not your idea, or your bad joke or your stupid hat. You. Sometimes all you need is someone saying “Okay this may not seem like the stupidest shit in the world right now but if you think so greatly of it it must be worth a shot. If you believe it’s true, it must be true. If you think it is such a great joke then it must be. You believe it, so I believe you.” You never know who is on the verge of breaking down and what a few kind words can do to save them.

In conclusion, there is only one fact that remains. Depression is temporary. No matter how bad things get and how worse it feels. It gets better. You will perhaps never be as normal as the person with a happy childhood, happy life. You do not want to either. You are defined by what breaks you. But you will be better. It gets better. It always gets better


3.45 PM

There are few people in the world untouched by the world and its vices. I sincerely believe some of us are not meant for the adult world. Few are too naïve, too innocent, too pure. People, who have not been affected by the bitterness of the world. Consider it your greatest luck if manage to cross paths with such even for the briefest time. The universe must like me too much to because I met two of them.

There were 3 of us. Teammates. Collegaues. It was a simple thing. Tea break at 3.45 sharp. The choice of beverage changed with name of the whatsapp group. Tea- time, Badam gang, Horlicks break.

But the time was constant. And the people. And the place. It were the most important 20 minutes of my day. One, that got me through entire days at times. 3.45 PM was reason enough to try and wake up the next day. In this world of boyfriends and friendzones, friendships unadulterated by feelings, pretense, and agendas are rare, and if you find them you hold on to them. We are a confused species who have been taught and grown to believe being “too nice” is not good. “Kindness only gets taken advantage of”. “Hustling” is the only way to survival. “Sensitive” is stupid. And yet we are confused when we cannot find good people and good experiences. Hurt at being played. Forever conning to avoid getting conned. I thank my stars for meeting people who are still unaware of the world and its ways. Those who know nothing of the “fear” of being taken advantage of. Those who know nothing else other than being genuine. People who do not belong in this adult world. That is why 3.45 PM was so important. At 3.45 PM there were no client calls, no uncertainties of the future, no deadlines. Juilee was going to Google. Firoz was opening the biggest consulting firm in Coimbatore. Archish was heading Facebook. At 3.45 PM everything was possible. At 3.45 PM the world was a better place. At 3.45 PM 3 friends laughed and a girl realized where she could always find her smile.

Hannah Montana to Miley Cyrus

I don’t know at what point do introverts realize they are introverts? Or that they are not like the vast majority. Is there an age? A moment? The big epiphany?

I don’t remember mine anyways. All I remember is ever since I my adult life I have understood I only have a certain amount of tolerance for interaction with people.

So. Flashback. The main protagonist of this story – a smart, intelligent, kind, pretty, FUNNY girl, was nothing like the party girl she is today. (Yes the girl is me. Funny really gave it away right? Okay No.) I was like any typical teenage girl growing up – conscious of my looks, super shy, zero interaction with these mystical creatures called boys. And school life was so motivating and helpful, that my insecurities did not blossom into full blown social anxiety at all!

In short at age 15 something, I was a high school student with deplorable social skills. Boys were those magical beings other girls called ‘friends’

Fortunately this deplorable social skills girl grew up on the right side of puberty (or maybe just being a girl helped) and I managed to cruise through ‘Hi’s without panic attacks in college.

Improved social skills. Less panic attacks. More than two male acquaintances. The introvert girl had made it!

Until I moved to the next phase of life. Moving away from home. Now when you’re an introvert you already have solitude goals in life. Add to that freedom. And I am not talking about freedom from parents, strictness-freedom. Freedom from recognition. New city. New life. No one knows you. No expectations. No judgements. More importantly no one to care about! Which is in short freedom to live.

Very quickly I realized how easy it was to lose yourself to music. (For some reason I feel very stupid writing this line.) Imagine the shyest person you know. Now imagine him\her dancing like they’ve been drinking for three days straight. Add to that the fact that I don’t actually drink. (Alcohol is only placebo. You do not need a drink to “lighten up” but no judgements)

The thing that baffles my friends is how a person who absolutely loathes stepping out of the house for a movie or lunch is always ready to go to a pub. There’s something about growing up shy. You learn to tackle it. You get better at handling situations. You adult your way through it. But the shy kid always stays. That aversion to people never really goes away. Don’t get me wrong we introverts are like everybody else people. With real friends. We also do “fun” things. It is only when our social circle expands beyond the tolerable number of 3. New people. Small talk. What do I talk about next? That’s the difficult part. And it’s not like you can’t do it (I for one excel in small talk now no kidding) it just takes extra effort than extroverts. Avoiding a social situation is the lazier and easier way out! And that is when you understand the beauty of bars and drunk people. There is a strange kind of freedom being sober in a room full of drunk people. Everyone just assumes you’re drunk. Any kind of behavior is okay. “She’s acting like that because she’s high. He is so silent because he is just enjoying the music” These are the only places where it is socially acceptable to be silent. Or scream at the top of your lungs. Where you can have a conversation about Coldplay’s paradise. Or not have one at all. The only place where people are unusual. And weird. And interesting. Slightly more themselves. The only place where you finally feel like you belong.

Hannah Montana has realized Miley Cyrus is here to stay.

Hey Mom,

Daily Prompt: Dear Mom
Topic: Write a letter to your mom. Tell her something you’ve always wanted to say, but haven’t been able to

Hey mom, saw you laughing today,

laughing like you’ve never been hurt or pained ever.

Hey mom, but how is it possible mom?

there are so many ‘Sorry’s I haven’t said yet.

Hey mom, sorry for being embarrassed with your concern when I’m with my friends.

Hey mom, sorry for telling you to not speak so loudly in the mall.

Hey mom, sorry for being upset when you slightly burnt my Maggi.

Hey mom, sorry for being angry when you couldn’t drive me around because you were too tired.

Hey mom, sorry for throwing a fit when you got my shampoo wrong.

Hey mom, sorry for doubting whether you could start your career at 40

Hey mom, sorry for forgetting to wish you luck on the day of your interview.

Hey mom, sorry for being too busy to ask you how your first day was.

Hey mom, sorry for never telling you how big an accomplishment that was.

Hey mom, sorry for thinking you can handle anything and always taking dad’s side in an argument.

Hey mom, sorry for always assuming you’re strong.

Hey mom, thank you for knowing my favorite biscuit, my favorite noodle sauce, my favorite shoes, my favorite nailpaint.

Hey mom, crazy I forgot your favorite color.

Hey mom, am I a horrible person, mom?

Hey mom, thank you for never telling me that mom.

Hey mom, how come you never cried?

Hey mom, how come you never asked for a sorry?

Hey mom, how come you never quit?

Hey mom, how come I never noticed you laughing before?

The Evils of Social Media

To those of you already on Twitter or know some friend on Twitter will understand the addiction that Twitter is. Twitter if it has to be described in one sentence is an unabridged direct feed of people around the world, talking to themselves. The fun thing about sites like Twitter, Youtube is unlike Facebook it gives you access to random thoughts of complete strangers in distant corners of the world.

One such lot of strangers I undoubtedly encountered was of course the Pakistanis. Now to say I am patriotic would be an understatement, because the number of times I have eaten a green GEMS before a blue one has happened, never! So, in short, the crazy fanatic types.

If you ever recall your childhood as an Indian/Pakistani the first thing you learn before you even learn your name is Pakistan/India is your rival. I remember crying uncontrollably as a child when my brother pointed out my favorite color green is a Pakistani color and by that logic I was a Pakistani. Or trying to push the walls of my house as a 5yr old so India has more space and the neighboring Pakistan less. (Yes I did that!) Or consoling friends when we got beaten up in a gully fights, “Chod na yaar woh log toh Pakistani hai”. So basically every evil guy out there. Pakistani.

So imagine my surprise when I saw hilariously witty tweets on everything ranging from politics, to love to cricket to religion by Pakistanis. Whoever thought Pakistanis were normal people? Whoever knew they could type in English? Where are the beards and bombs dammit?!

Another really cool accidental discovery I made was this hilarious young youtuber I now follow: ZaidaliT. To say that all of his videos are relatable is an understatement. Because they are so accurately on point you want to cry!

So am I saying Pakistanis are good? Do we let them win cricket matches now? Do we give them Kashmir? HAHA! But am I saying they support and bash their cricket teams as passionately as we do, slam their governments as vociferously as we do, indulge in Bollywood as religiously as we do, get hit by mom’s chappals as often as we do? Yes. Am I saying we are similar? Yes.

The intricacies of issues between two nations having a history of violence of 60 years are far more complicated than what naive amateurs like me can comprehend. But if there is one thing I have realized, assholes and intellectuals are on both sides. Sympathy for Peshawar attacks was on both sides. Outrage over bail to Lakhvi was on both sides. Logic is on both sides. Absurdity is on both sides

The question is not who is good or bad? Who is right or wrong? The question is, are we really different? Evil indeed, this social media. Poses questions we’re unprepared to answer. Makes us dream of the impossible

Does India deserve its innovators

I’m not saying engineering in India is a joke, but it got offers to be cast in a Himesh Reshamiya movie. Twice. Okay while this may be an exaggeration, there is no denying the fact there are some blatant flaws in India and its education system.

Recently Pranav Mistry, inventor of the SixthSense technology and currently Samsung’s Global Vice President of Research tweeted about being interviewed by Barkha Dutt, during prime minister Modi’s visit to USA. The sad part was Ms Dutt, who is one of the leading journalists in India not only failed to recognize Mr Mistry but also seemed to be blissfully unaware of who he was. Now as a daily survivor of the agonizingly irrelevant jargon, that NDTV passes off as news, that just hurt. I mean the least Ms Dutt can do after subjecting her viewers to the numerous pointless, imbecile news discussions is stay updated of one of the most significant names in technology.

Oh but we forget, to be relevant you need to leave a remarkable engineering/banking career and write four crappy movie scripts. Not that I have anything against Chetan Bhagat or his writing personally. But what his books lack in infuriating me is made up by his choice of profession. The guy was in an IIT, an IIM, which means he was one of the most brilliant minds in the country and he gave up all that to write bad films? Not that every engineer has an obligation to stay dedicated to the profession. But what is ridiculous is the amount of relevance that is given to the man! A brilliant talented engineer/banker who left what he is good at to earn money by making us endure Sohail Khan’s acting (that film based on one night st a call center anyone?) is our idol instead of the scientist who travelled from Palampur to MIT? Congrats India!

But who cares right? We are getting easy admissions in engineering colleges right? We are getting degrees by studying from previous year papers right? We are taking mechanical, electrical streams but still getting menial jobs in IT right? We are getting money, right? But we’re getting money, right?!!

Why is it that the country which produces the highest numbers of engineers in the world has no proportional engineering miracles to its name? Why is it that we are satisfied doing irrelevant menial IT jobs unrelated to our fields? Why is it that we even refuse to question the ease with which we get our degrees? Why is it that we teach our children to be like the guy who graduated from IIT but forget the guy who went to NIRMA?

What bothers me most about media’s (and the general public’s) lack of awareness about Pranav Mistry is not the lack of recognition (and respect) for an Indian innovator who had managed to be original along with being eminent but the fact that people refuse to acknowledge the enormity of how a scientist didn’t let tags like IIT/NIT be associated with success (Mr Mistry choose computer science in NIRMA, which was more to his liking, over mining in IIT kharagpur, swaying from the popular trend of ‘getting into an IIT for the IITian tag’) Summarizing, in a country which gave the world zero, email, usb the IITian who wrote ‘2 states’ grabs headlines but the inventor of Google gear is unheard of! Does India deserve its innovators?

The right reasons to hate AAP

Not that I ever believed it, but boy did Mr Kejriwal break the ‘Change-is-here’ dream in style! Before we discuss the very predictable and short-lived tenure of the people’s CM, let us first rewind to 2009, days when naïve young people like me were overwhelmed by the idea and the response of the ‘Jan-Lokpal’ bill and dreamed starry-eyed about the ‘revolution-that-has-begun’.
The Anna movement which was also an extremely cleverly marketed façade, captured people’s attention overnight. But we could argue it’s dramatic overtures were a tad bit justified, because it is too hard to hold the attention of an average Indian without a pinch of melodrama. But inspite of its overt emo content, Jan-Lokpal was a sane, progressive idea. A cause that needed attention. A cause that mattered. I was probably the biggest admirer of the Anna movement not because of the promises and hopes it held, but because I was too impressed that a small group of activists had cleverly managed to get an ignorant, sentimental nation to pressurize the government to pay heed to an issue that mattered. The genetically inherent melodramatic nation that we are, swaying public opinion is a child’s play. And the fact that, here were these group of clever intellectuals who knew exactly how to exploit the sentimental ‘aam aadmi’ and channelize his emotions into forcing the nation to take notice of real issues, almost made political romantics like me swoon. It was almost like ‘The Renaissance’!
But the ridiculously impractical solutions that Mr Kejriwal proposed to problems in Delhi were absurd to the point of being offensive and made it clear that Arvind Kerjiwal and team were merely brilliant show-masters. People merely good at portraying an idea not conceiving it. People may hate AAP probably because Arvind Kejriwal failed to live upto his promises. But I hate AAP because for me it was an organization which made sense, a people’s party in true sense, an idea people were enthusiastic about. For the first time people felt like being part of a change. More importantly AAP was a party which made the reluctant, foreign-obsessed average Indian who shunned politics stop and consider the possibility of a change. AAP was a party which could have had it all! But Mr Kerjiwal’s theatrics and the shortlived chaos centered tenure in Delhi not only bluntly shattered people’s dreams but also took away the one thing that this country needed the most- Hope. I hate Mr Kejriwal not because of the promises he could not fulfill but because he proved those age-old cynics right ‘Iss country ka kuch nahi ho sakta!’
In a country with deteriorating political culture every minute and a society which has accepted it, hope was a rarity. But when Mr Kejriwal resigned as the chief minister of Delhi he finished that too. But what pains more is that Mr Kejriwal’s theatrics not only reduced the ‘aam aadmi’ and some of it’s genuinely good members to a laughing stock but it also made the inherently pessimistic general public more skeptical about expecting leadership out of a non-politician. So in short Mr Kejriwal reminded us that we nothing but a mere helpless voter bank and voting is simply choosing the lesser of the corrupt candidate!
So hate AAP not because it was a party that failed, hate it because it was a party that never tried in the first place. Hate it because it permanently undermined the credibility of honest, genuine politicians. Hate it because it reduced a political revolution into a mere fatuous media circus. More importantly hate it because it was a political organization that could have had it all… but instead chose to throw it away!