Wednesday, January 30, 2008

...and miles to go before I sleep...

A point to ponder - why do we sleep at night, and not really at day? Why is it that sleeping is necessary? Why would one feel fresh after a good night sleep?

Not that these are questions that I would want answers to, in order to get enlightened! It's just that, I was trying to sleep last night, and just could not! I would have had what, maybe three hours of sleep last night, and still I am as fresh as ever. And many-a-times, even when I get as much as 14 hours of sleep at a stretch, I can feel uneasiness creeping into me.

I tend to feel good about the fact that the work I do is what I really like to - and the best part is that the arrangement that I work in suits my time and the things I want to do too. This morning itself, I was having this conversation with P (P's a friend of N, with whom I am staying right now), and I felt very proud telling her that I work in an arrangement that suits me, and I do work when I want to - all this enables me to sleep when I want to, and as much as I want to. Though I said all this (I mean it too!), but in retrospect, I can't still figure out why my sleeping cycle is like that! Why is it that I normally can catch sleep only after 3 o'clock in the morning (Is it that I am meant to stay in the vast lands of Switzerland!); why is it that there is hardly any correlation between the number of hours I sleep and my energy levels after getting up.

Obviously there is the question of whether any sleep is needed or not - No one has proven that humans needs sleep to live, obviously. How do you keep someone awake? When you get tired enough you can sleep through anything. More to the point, killing someone for science is unethical.. but an experiment has been done on mice, where they were left on a constantly turning turntable, with food and water, for several days. The constant slow spinning made it impossible for them to sleep, and after a few days, they died. I don't know how close we are to mice family, but I sure think I'll sleep!

There have been studies that show that the length of sleep is not what causes us to be refreshed upon waking. The key factor is the number of complete sleep cycles we enjoy. Each sleep cycle contains five distinct phases, which exhibit different brain- wave patterns. For our purposes, it suffices to say that one sleep cycle lasts an average of 90 minutes: 65 minutes of normal, or non-REM (rapid eye movement), sleep; 20 minutes of REM sleep (in which we dream); and a final 5 minutes of non-REM sleep. The REM sleep phases are shorter during earlier cycles (less than 20 minutes) and longer during later ones (more than 20 minutes). If we were to sleep completely naturally, with no alarm clocks or other sleep disturbances, we would wake up, on the average, after a multiple of 90 minutes--for example, after 4 1/2 hours, 6 hours, 7 1/2 hours, or 9 hours, but not after 7 or 8 hours, which are not multiples of 90 minutes. In the period between cycles we are not actually sleeping: it is a sort of twilight zone from which, if we are not disturbed (by light, cold, nature's call, noise), we move into another 90-minute cycle. A person who sleeps only four cycles (6 hours) will feel more rested than someone who has slept for 8 to 10 hours but who has not been allowed to complete any one cycle because of being awakened before it was completed.

It explains why, when I get 8 hours of sleep I feel tired and groggy, or when I get 4 hour of sleep, I can barely wake up. As human beings, we should know about this fact, as everyone always says "get your 8 hours". Yet some people fare better than others. Why is that? Probably because the more rested people are actually getting closer to 7.5, or 9 hours, while the 8 hour folk feel constantly unrested.

I now know when my alarm should ring! And now I know, why those 3 hours of sleep last night were more than enough!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

..monsoon wedding..

As I write this post, I am sitting at H's home in Mumbai, who is oblivious of the fact that he is one of the protagonists of this post. I’m gonna write about the weddings in general, and the contrasting specifics of weddings in different parts of our country in particular. Generally, I am fascinated by weddings, and the pomp & show that follows.

How many here have watched "Monsoon Wedding"?

Been to a punjabi wedding?

I went over to Chandigarh about a month back for H's wedding with P, and to tell you the truth, the trip was worth in ways more than one. First, its Chandigarh (all those who have been to this place will vouch for it, that the sex-ratio and age group ratio is highly skewed to my liking). Oh no - wait wait - first things first. Let's meet the stars of the show - H & P. Both are my batchmates, and we have shared good laughs together. So obviously there was no option of not being there for the occasion; though there was a hidden agenda too (which eventually did not get much fodder; since not many of P's friends came!). Not many people I know have as much financial acumen as these two (I wonder if the kids of these two will even need to go to a B-school to get any knowledge).

So S came down from Mumbai, and A was already here in Delhi - and three of us got set on the voyage. Had a decent journey - had an excellent nap after reaching Chandigarh - and then the best part - got to see how a groom reacts to various acts and situations on his D-day from the closest quarters. Got to be a part of punjabi wedding for the first time in essence, and hence, it was very interesting. Not that it varies a lot from what I have seen in other weddings, but then there is always a charm about every occasion and way of celebrations.

The second wedding in question is that of M. He has always been the much-coveted-and-pampering friend from our group – one who would be the one to make sure that no one can complain. And yesterday, on his D-day, he was no different! Even when he was about to take the final plunge, he was concerned most about whether everyone around is having a good time! And his was a case of complete surrender – surrender to the whims & fancies of all the near-and-dear-ones in the family – someone wanted him to wear a red turban, another one wanted a pink one; someone wanting a light blue shirt, while someone else pitching in for a pitch-green-party-wear shirt. Rightly is it said, though obviously in a different connotation, “..when rape is inevitable, just lie back and enjoy!”

And the pics shall definitely help marking out the obvious difference in how things were at both the weddings.

PS: For those from DCE, who knew Harsh, from Electrical – He’s getting married next week. I talked to him today, and seems like his invitation has reached no-one! Hence, here is an all out invitation for his wedding, on his behalf.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Isn't it..

With great power comes great responsibility..

Learn it NOW..

More often than not, it happens that you see things coming you way, in ways you would never expect. One hardly gets to know when teacher becomes a preacher, or a student becomes prudent. The quintessential truth is that, it is never too late to realize that there are things that exist beyond your fathom. And the twist in the tale comes, as it is rightly captured in one of the famous F.R.I.E.N.D.S. things, "..and the messers become the messees.."

It leads one to think in favor of the irresolute man, oscillating between two feelings – one who would willingly unite the two, and the other who perceives that nothing can unite them. Decisive men are assets, and are really worth their weight in gold. And yet again, time to learn..

This post ends with one of my favorites,
"Woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Draw the line..

Boundaries are saviors.

I know this because I didn’t have any.

See, that’s what happens when you are there 24*7: you open yourself to anyone, anytime, anyplace.

And if you don’t set boundaries for yourself, people will set them for you.

Now, in my 9512 days of existence, I’ve experienced my share of boundary violations:

I’ve had time wasters.
I’ve had bloodsuckers.
I’ve had prank phone calls at 2 AM.
I’ve had people start fights with me.
I’ve had hatemails.
I’ve had dozens of salespeople try to suck me into their pyramid schemes.

All of this from wearing a not-me-too-identity - (I mean, wouldn’t that get to YOU after a while?)

THE POINT IS: when it comes to approachability, setting boundaries is a MUST.

Is it possible to be TOO approachable.

Especially when you're devoting your time to any pursuits.
Especially when your precious time, physical space and personal safety are at stake.

AND THAT'S THE CHALLENGE: figuring out where you draw the line.

In her book, Anne Katherine defines a boundary as “a limit that promotes integrity.”

I think that’s a great definition.

Because ultimately, that’s what boundaries are about: staying true to yourself.

Devoting your time, attention, energy and focus to pursuits that match your interests.

So, straight from the mouth of a (formally) boundary-deficient person, here are a few things I’ve learned about boundaries over the years.

Boundaries REINFORCE integrity.
You elicit more respect because people respond to policies.

Boundaries DEFINE who you are (and who you aren’t).
Which helps you become the world’s expert on yourself.

Boundaries FREE you to be who you are.
There’s nothing more liberating than developing the strength to say no.

Boundaries IDENTIFY your responsibilities.
Because you’re not just saying no to others, you’re saying YES to yourself.

Boundaries TEACH people how to treat you.
This assures that boundary violations won’t occur again.

Boundaries DEVELOP your discipline and maturity.
People will admire your stick-to-itiveness, commitment and consistency.

Boundaries HELP you avoid manipulative people and situations.
As it was once said in Karate Kid II, “The best way to block a punch – no be there.”

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: boundaries are reciprocal.

This goes back to the etymology of the word approachability, which derives from the Latin apropiare, meaning, “To come nearer to.”

So, in your relationships (with friends, family members, colleagues and customers) here’s how it plays out:

1. When you know your boundaries, you know who you are.
2. When you know who you are, you feel more confident.
3. When you feel more confident, you aren’t threatened by other people’s differences.
4. When you aren’t threatened by other people’s differences, they’re not threatened by yours.
5. When people aren’t threatened by each other, they accept each other.
6. When people accept each other, the rules change.

Boundaries. Are. Saviors.

Got it?


These days, I'm spending lots of time along the lines of C - and this is a post with that reference. I'm sure this would be liked - I did!

PS: I am not a huge follower of what I write, but I feel this is "politically correct"! :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

this morning solitude..

Sometimes solitude is the only comfort. I never used to believe that in the past. In fact, I spent many years doing everything in my power to avoid solitude. Fearful of what might happen should I find myself alone. Doubting my own strength, unable to trust my own instincts, my decisions, the experiences of my life. Now I sit here, in solitude, and I revel in the comfort it brings.

The phone rings a tune that usually makes my heart leap in eager anticipation. It is the one tune that can rouse me from blissful sleep, my lethargic arm reaching clumsily across the bed to hear the voice on the other end. And yet, this morning, I have ignored that tune several times. The TV remains off, no noise to disturb the solitude of this morning, no intruding voices to interrupt this brief period of time in which I find myself alone and comforted in my aloneness.

I have learned that solitude can be a beautiful gift, allowing me to reflect, to write, to immerse myself in a personal haven of security. But solitude can also serve the same misguided purposes as the companionship of my past. While I used to crave the company of others in order to avoid the fears of facing myself alone, perhaps the solitude now serves as a crutch to avoid facing the fears that inherently come with having to interact with others. In solitude, I can halt reality, if even for just a moment. I can move beyond words of reassurance or words that provoke anxiety. I can let go of the worries, the anticipations, the fear of not meeting expectations. I can wear my warmers, making me smile as I look down and ground myself in the moment. My rumpled hair do not frighten me. I sit with my laptop, sipping in a cuppa, and a beautiful pile of books by my side. In solitude, I can lose myself or find myself, find strength or wallow in weakness.

Several years ago, I realized that it is impossible to truly find oneself in the company of others. Surely growth can occur in the moments we are not alone, but the truest, deepest, most personal growth - that growth occurs in solitude. In solitude, we cannot escape from ourselves. We can escape from others, and indeed sometimes solitude serves that sole purpose. But we can find ourselves in the process. At times by accident, we come to know more of who we are in those moments when the outside world is pushed aside.

In all honesty, the solitude of this morning has many purposes for me. Partly, I do want to escape from the necessity of talking, or interacting, of being encouraged to make decisions about the events of the day. But a large part of me embraces this solitude for the pure essence of what it is. Time, silence, moments of reflection. Perhaps I will reach an epiphany in these moments. Perhaps I will succumb to the bodily exhaustion and bury myself beneath the warm comforter once again. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll sit with this solitude for a while.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

back to the basics..

I was reading this book on Geology today, that gives theoretical insights into the basic concepts of petrology, rocks & their formation, dams, rivers, winds, glaciers, folds, faults, crystals, yada yada yada..

The book - one of my course books, that we used to study during our engineering.
The drive - to read something I could hardly learn in the yesteryears, to see if it still makes no sense to me.
The result - Spent four hours in reading a book of 400 pages, and unfortunately, it seems like the book really makes sense!

It was very strange to understand all the things that I used to find alien a few years ago (six years ago, to be precise) - we had this dreadful subject called geology, and cramming your tiny brain with all the stuff on these 400 pages, in the perfect order, was the only way of getting in the good books of the prof (or in other words, get some decent marks).

I have never been someone who can reproduce a sentence written in the book, exactly in the similar way in the examination - I even used to goof up theorems in childhood, because one can not afford to miss a word here or there. And when it came to learn a full book of 400 pages, right in order, it was just a hopeless case – hopeless, but good. Good, because I knew I can not cram it up, and hence, there was no point reading it, and wasting time as well.

On the day of our geology exam – I remember I had given the book three complete hours to go through – and today, I gave four! What an irony..

It's amazing to know that there is so much to learn about geology – a subject that I hardly had any respect for. Did you know that there are three kinds of rocks (Obviously you would know this – Sedimentary, Igneous and Metamorphic). But did you know that Igneous rocks alone can be sub-classified into 28 different types of rocks, and that too only on the basis of texture! You have another 12 types of classifications based on mode of formation, another 9 based on depth of origin, further 8 on mode of occurrence.

Or did you know that minerals are classified on basis of 15 properties, the first one of which, i.e. form is further divided into 13 types. Likewise, if you look at all the sub-classifications for minerals, it adds up to more than 100!

And Dr. MPSM (our prof for Geology) expected us to remember all those, right in order, with proper examples as well. What more, he also expected us to identify what will a type be, if he just shows us a rock or a mineral in the lab.

And then I wonder whether even my boss would expect this much from me today. Does that mean my intellectual capacity is increasing or decreasing? Good question, huh.. Guess C will agree on this now!

Friday, January 11, 2008


I'm 26 (when I come to think of it, I still have four more years to go, before panic..)! I noticed a few strands of grey hair, and at that very moment, I knew it's time to act. Now many would say, as they keep saying, that it's high time I get to the next league. I was talking to S yesterday, and she mentioned it's a shame that I'm talking to her over the phone, rather than one-full-time-girl that I should go for; Another friend S keeps telling me, every single time that we talk, that it's time for me to get married now - I know why he can say so - he's still 22, and is far away from the realities at 26; I was discussing something with M last week (M, btw, is married), when he mentioned that there is another flavor of interesting things that one gets into, once he/she gets married and gets into the monotone of daily going back to home after work. And C also has her own predispositions about 'growing up', in a peculiar manner, that I could get a hint of, today.

P, A & I were discussing the other night that we should go to Switzerland and have a holiday (before we get into the stance when we will hardly be able to go on our own). Then on a different ground, I had discussions with N to have a Europe tour. Today, another discussion with D also pitched in the intensity to the Europe tour. Hope it gets underway this time around.

I also met up with A today - from Dominican Republic, but settled in the States. A met me through HC/CS and we went around to lots of places. It is interesting to note how different cultures can be, and how far perceptions can lead the thoughts of a irresolute mind. I'll surely love to meet lots of interesting people like A, who are traveling across the world in order to find something they don't even know (obviously I would want to travel in the same manner too - it falls in line with what I told C today; that I would want to travel around the world, and then only I can say that I have "arrived").

Will this Eurotrip mark the beginning, the dawn of the 'arrival'..

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

this lovely night..

It's late and I should be sleeping. The morning will come early, a meeting in the morning hours followed by an afternoon aimed at marking off multiple items on my to-do list. Then dinner and drinks with a group of friends, a time to catch up on life, share stories of new loves and the grief of loss, complain about our ridiculous lack of free time and the beginnings of another few months of aspiring careers.

It's late and I should be sleeping. But despite the busy chaos of tomorrow, despite my body's overdue exhaustion, despite it all, I cannot seem to abandon the silence and darkness of the night just yet. I love this time of night, when the world is quiet, when the wind beating upon the window sings its own form of a lullaby. I love the darkness, only the hint of moonlight creeping in through the slightly parted blinds. I love the night. Night is when the thoughts come, the creativity begins to flow, the inspiration emerges from its hiding place.

It's late and I should be sleeping. I love the comfort of my body snuggled beneath a thick comforter. I love the comfort and warmth, but I love the darkness most of all. Ironically, the darkness brings a feeling of safety for me. Perhaps it is that the vulnerability vanishes when night descends. I am no longer so visible to the world around me. I no longer feel the pressures to be productive, the expectations to be emotionally stable. It feels safer at night. Safe to laugh out loud alone or feel sad. The judgments and perceptions of the world fade and I find an internal freedom that allows the moments to bring what they may. This does not mean that the nights are always peaceful. In fact, it is often in the darkest hours of the night when the ridiculous thoughts come, when the panic rises, when the overload of daily emotions washes over me and I succumb to their power. But I find relief even in those moments. Relief at the release, the letting go. In these hours, I can be myself with whatever joys or sorrows accompany me on my journey.'s late and I should be sleeping. But I'm not, not just yet anyways. For right now, for just a few more moments, I'm enjoying the night...the silence and the comfort, the warmth and the darkness. I'm enjoying the release and the freedom to just be in the moment.