Thursday, May 6, 2010

As I Sit in the Library.. I get lost in the Past..

As I read a novel sitting near a window, laughter of two girls catch my attention. So sweetly they are studying and side by side talking. I start noticing others too. There were many twosome, threesome and big groups of friend in the library. But all the seats near the corners and windows are occupied by lonesome. Its only then that I notice that even I am sitting alone.

I start thinking about all the times I have been to a library. My first visit to a library was when I was in second class, my age must be around 6 years. The teachers took us to the school library and encouraged us to read novels containing short stories. The librarian even taught us the way how can we locate a book by name of it's author. I was least interested in this stuff. All I could think about at that time was the section containing comics. There were several comics like champak, chacha chaudhary and some others too. This was what reading meant to me. Comics. Many a times, I used to keep a comic inside another book and would pretend to be reading that book. That was to make an impression over librarian.And fortunately, I never got caught.

Within a few months, I even lost interest in comics. And library became too boring for me. In 6th class, we were forced to take membership in school library. It was after 4 years that I went to the library again. I still remember name of the two books I borrowed in the whole year- Alice in Wonderland and Around the World in 80 Days. But I never cared to read them No, not even Alice in Wonderland. I had no serious interests even in fairy tales during those days. And not even in studies.

I grew up. I started gaining interest in studies when I was in 8th. Completing notes and homework became a task of prime importance. I would go to the library everyday during lunch break. I never went to canteen in those breaks. Never cared for food. All I cared about was homework. I only borrowed reference books from the library. No novels until then also. It continued till 10th grade. My hard work started getting noticed, it started to show results. I started getting 80 above. And started remaining happy. But before I could realize I was tagged as a studious nerd, or padhaku to be more precise.

After tenth grade, I went to USA, leaving behind all my tags, to start a new life. For a few weeks, I didn't leave the house. But one day I noticed, there was a big library just in front of the house where I was residing. One day I went there with dad. I was scared even to go just across the street alone. I spent around half an hour there. I liked it. I read some silly childish novel. Then I would go there all by myself and spend around an hour or couple there. Gradually I became addicted to reading. Teenage novel was what I used to read during that period. My reading speed increased. Initially I would take a week to complete a novel. But within no time I started to complete a novel per day.

Within a few months we shifted somewhere else. I couldn't find a library around there at first. My first few days at that new place were very gloomy. Then one day I searched for the nearest library on internet. The nearest one was a kilometre away. This library was smaller in size but it had more books of my interest. I got more and more involved in books. Not only novels, but also non-fictional psychology books. I used to spend whole day there daily, except for Sundays. Initially mom and dad used to go there to drop me but then I started to commute alone, walking.

After coming back to India, going to a new school, I maintained my old tag of a studious nut. I kept studying and working hard to gain what I have got now- admission in psychology honours. And here I am in college library- as alone as ever, as studious as ever. This is what fun has always meant to me- reading. This is what I have always called my best friends- my books. And this is what I am happy being- a studious nut..

PS- Every reader might not be a leader, but every leader must be a reader.

A Setback encountered in my life, and how it helped me to grow

I have struggled with 'shyness' all my life, feeling like I'm marching to a different drummer then most of the world. I could not understand why many of my classmates enjoyed talking with lots of people and spending large amounts of time visiting large group of friends when I preferred just one or two close friends, intimate setting and deeper conversations. I could not figure out why i would rather remain in the background and think about a topic before speaking, while others would vocalize their thoughts without restraint. I was truly liked by people but I could not seem to get the hang of the whole socializing bit. I wondered if something was 'wrong' with me.

Whenever I tried to confess this feeling to family and friends, they could not understand how hard it was. They could not understand the anxiety, the want to be invisible and the fear that I'll say something stupid. I would get panic attacks at night with the thought of going to school. My stomach would start aching before stepping out of the house.

A few months back, I began with the process of self-discovery and was convinced that I am an 'introvert' , which is nothing more than a personality trait. I started accepting myself the way I was and believed that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Now whenever I come across questions like 'Why don't I socialize?', or 'Why don't I go out with friends?', I admit the fact that this is my personality- I am an Introvert!

Over these months, I have come to believe that there are many benefits of being an introvert, which extrovert don't get to experience in their lives that easily. Firstly, as we tend to think a lot before speaking and constantly engage in self-regulation, chances of speaking incorrect and disrespectful words are less. Secondly, we speak less and to-the-point which are the two ultimate qualities of a sophisticated speech. Thirdly, since we are choosy about making friends, it decreases the probability of getting into a bad company. As they say, it is better to be alone than in a bad company. Also, being an introvert helps in better development of observational skills. Introverts are good at observing themselves as well as others. They are like an instrument that absorbs all sources of information form the environment.

Moreover, it is a fact that majority of gifted children(60%) are introverts. According to studies of intelligence, higher the IQ, higher is the percentage number of introverts.

Consequently, I have started valuing my God-given quality and now I don't let anyone make me feel inferior because I don't like to sit around with the gang and chew the fat, or leap into conversations before I have thought things through. I give deserved worth to my inner world and have become comfortable with my quieter qualities. And this is how my setback became an asset for me.

The best advice I ever got and How it affected me

In the journey of life we often come across learned people who give us their advice to help us learn from their experience. One such advices which influenced me the most was given to me by my grandmother. She told me "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar".It means that if we have a kind and polite attitude we tend to attract more people than when we have a disagreeable and unpleasant attitude.

These days people often cause pain and anguish with there harsh words -either possessed by a short temper or constrained by tension. Whatever be the reason,one bitter word can wound like the lethal blades of a hundred swords.No one would like to confront an angry man who hurls a torrent of abuses.As a result,the person ends up being isolated and detached from the real world.

On the other hand a loving touch or a friendly gesture go a long way in dispelling the pall of gloom.Being courteous and using carefully chosen kind words creates a feeling of warmth and happiness.The words may be simple but they bound to work wonders. After all it takes nothing to be polite.Soothing words sound like music to the ears.Consequently there will be more friends around us who will also like to speak to us politely and softly rather than rant and rave and upset the feeling of others.As they say,one of the most difficult things to give away is kindness-it is usually returned.

Keeping these thoughts in mind I have adopted a genteel attitude which helps me to make friends easily.Such an attitude also gives a tendency to avoid disputes among peers.In effect of this, I share a sound relationship with my family and friends.Such healthy relationships enable me to deal effectively with the demand and challenges of everyday life and therefore I am able to keep a equilibrium in my life.Thus I believe my grandmothers advice is the best advice I ever got in my life.

The Road NOT taken

Out of many roads of life, I have ended up with two roads ahead of me:

1. The road taken by every second person, which assures success. Although the journey on this road is not so easy, but everyone tries to accomplish the journey of his life at this road. The most commonly taken roads in India are:

a. To become a doctor or an engineer or doing MBA from a reputed university, to get a job in a company which provides higher salary and then to get married. That's it, and you are labeled 'well settled' or 'successful'.

b. If not interested in job, one is expected to get through with graduation and follow the steps of his/her father to support the family business.

c. Some girls even follow the route of their homemaker mother, to become a housewife or to live a luxurious, royal life, splurging their husband's money.

2. The road not taken, where future is uncertain, success is not guaranteed, and one is at risk of being called a 'failure' or 'loser'. Although the chances of being successful at this road are not less, but the road is feared to be treacherous. And if one becomes successful at this road, there is a considerable chance that people might call success a matter of 'luck'. For instance, becoming an artist, author, or something more thoughtful!

Now, I have in front of me these two roads. But I want to create a new road of my own. Not that I'm afraid of studying, or doing hard work, not that I don't want to be successful. It's just that, I want to test my creativity, my imagination, my strength. I want to create a road, a road which has never been taken!!

Still Chasing Happiness??!!

According Sir William Fry, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, the average kindergarten student laughs 300 times a day. Yet, grown-ups average just 17 laughs a day. Why the difference? Are we too uptight, too tensed? Do we take life too seriously? The answer lies in the following quotation:

'We don't stop laughing because we grow old,
We grow old because we stop laughing.

There are innumerable benefits of being happy. It is rejuvenating to the mind, body and soul. It sparks creative thoughts. It increases our capacity to fight diseases. It relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high Blood Pressure, strokes, arthritis and ulcers. Researches suggest that laughter may also reduce the risk of heart disease.

If we are able to put a smile on our face, the laughter will come more easily and stress will meet more rapidly. The way to happiness lies in keeping your heart free from hatred and mind free from worries. Live simply; expect little; give much; fill your life with love; scatter sunshine. Forget self. Think of others, do as you would be done by. Try it for a week- you will be surprised.

'A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
a sad heart makes it hard to get through a day.'