The Blue Frog and The Honey Bee
Once upon a time, a blue frog lived in a blue pond.
He liked eating flies. Whenever he saw a fly, he would stick out his tongue. The fly would get stuck to frog’s tongue. Then the frog would quickly withdraw his tongue inside and gulp the fly. He then bathed happily in the ink-blue water of the pond.
One day, a honey bee was flying with two house flies near the pond. While the bee settled on a red hibiscus growing near the pond, the flies flew down to the shore of the pond to sit near the cool water. The frog sucked-in both the flies one by one. The honey bee, who was watching the hunting game of the frog from the hibiscus grove, flew to the frog and bit him on his neck.
This is not one of those articles where I suggest you to leave everything and travel and quote Robert Frost that the road less traveled is the one I took.
Why do so many people change their careers and lifestyles to travel? Sometimes even indefinitely?
Do they travel to see new places and eat different food? Or to fill their passports with stamps? Or to be able to say at their deathbed that they have seen the world?
Could be. But it is more than that.
Let me take you through what travel has taught me.
Thailand was my first completely solo trip.
I pre-landed in Bangkok at 5 AM. In the on-arrival visa line, a friendly attendant helped me skip the line and processed my visa faster. The airport was far out of the city and having decided that I would take a public transport, I climbed into an about-to-crumble bus to go into the city.
In the three-hour-long bus ride, as long as the flight from Bengaluru to Bangkok, a lady passenger helped to hold my bag and told me that I was beautiful as I managed to not-faint in the crowded aisle. The bus crawled a kilometer in almost an hour. Due to my skepticism of being able to explain the situation to the angry and rude lady ticket collector and the bus driver, I didn’t leave the bus to hop into a taxi. She kept buying weird looking dumplings for him from the street while I craved and my stomach growled.
The bus ride wasn’t enough torture that I had to climb four levels of steep, dingy stairs with my suitcase to reach my just-enough, single, air-conditioned room.
Tired, hungry, and lonely, I went down for food and ate a mediocre Pad Thai. Having grabbed a few cold water bottles from the fridge downstairs, I climbed back up again. Sudden rudeness and a hint of racism coupled with the sleep deprivation and loneliness made me sleep for almost 5 hours.
It wasn’t just that.
When we wake up, how many of us think of what we want to do today? Almost all of us.
How many of us think of improving at what we do? Not many.
The presentation should be ready at 2. The code should get deployed. Author’s biography should come under every article. Let’s put in a hack. Grammarly shows that this pronoun doesn’t make any sense in the sentence. I don’t understand why but let’s get rid of it. Spaghetti over boiled again. But at least we have dinner.
As Josh Waitzkin, the chess and Tai Chi Push hands world champion, said in his book The Art of Learning, “We focus so much on the outcome that the intrinsic details of the learning process are lost on us.”
In the past eight years of my working life, I observed that how you do the task at hand is not the only measure of productivity and satisfaction. Your living style, priorities, patience, and certain keystone habits such as discipline, good social behavior, hard work decide how good you perform, how well you live your life, and how stable your relationships are.
All these things — living style, priorities, patience, discipline, hard work — could be practiced as habits. As Charles Duhigg said in his book The Power of Habits, “More than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.”
Humans live by habits. Dissolving these important things into habits and routine — that is what we would focus on in this article to make a schedule that works for us.
I have been working from home for ten months now. I have no boss. I write. I freelance. I blog — these three span my earnings, my passion, my work, and my routine. I design my own schedule, discipline, deadlines, meetings and calls, and priorities.
I work hard. I have to. I need a lot of energy to write. To write well. I work long hours with intense concentration as I am still learning and my work involves a lot of thinking.
As a writer, I find the solitude essential — I thread my thoughts into any pattern without being disturbed.
A work from home routine sounds dreamy but it doesn’t come easy.
A little girl was walking to the fountain. She saw a lady in a white sari resting by the fountain.
The little girl asked the lady, “Who are you?”
The lady replied, “Courage”.
The little girl twirled her braid and asked, “What is that? I have never heard of this name.”
Courage replied, “If you have me, you can do anything. Even the most difficult things. You can go to the jungle with your father. He wants to take you there every Sunday but you are always scared. You would enjoy and play with the rabbits and squirrels that you like so much. And nothing would happen.”
The little girl’s eyes gleamed with excitement. She cried out, “Is it that simple?”
Courage smiled and said, “Yes my little princess. You can do anything if you have me.”
The little girl hugged courage and said, “I would always keep you with me.”
International Women’s day was ten days ago. I wanted to post this letter but decided that I did not have to wait for women’s day to say what I want to say. Why I didn’t write this letter before is a question that I don’t have an answer to.
In the world of Putin and the Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who said that women, above all, are mothers and they smile even amidst the chaos that their day put them up with and they are victims of their own economic independence and Chinese malls offering discounts to good looking women after their faces have been scanned — I write an open letter to homo sapiens.
My letter is not-independent of geography, age, or culture. We fool ourselves when we say we are unbiased and independent of our circumstances and surroundings.
Shall we begin?
The Brown Cuckoo and The Little Girl
Once upon a time, a little girl lived in a house which had an empty land in front of it. A brown cuckoo lived on a red-berry tree in that land. Every morning, before going to school, the girl used to stand on the balcony and listen to the songs of the cuckoo.
The cuckoo flew from one branch of the tree to another to eat the wild berries that decorated the tree like stars on a starry night. One day, when the little girl woke up, she saw that the tree had been cut down and the cuckoo was nowhere to be seen.
I am your human.
How have you been lately?
We communicate — sorry, I listen to your orders — throughout the day. But I wanted to talk to you about a few things.
I want to start by thanking you.
You make me enjoy life. You have trained me to be alert, passionate, independent, healthy, and hard-working. You need me to be a good daughter and a loving sister and an understanding girlfriend and a reliable friend.
Now let’s come to the main point.