The intent of social media was faster communication, information and opinion sharing, and to connect with people.
Soon, social media took over, adding its own nuisances to the ones it had to fix, generating more need for social media — the worst vicious cycle.
Soon is basically 1997 to 2006 — from the world of Six Degrees, a social networking site to Facebook, which needs no description.
Facebook and Twitter bombed the internet in 2006.
We have stayed on a data plan, since then.
In today’s noisy world, choosing what to care about is important.
Our brain neurons still keep sending messages even when we want to stop thinking. Sometimes, it is impossible to control our thoughts.
We hang out with our friends on a Wednesday evening or a Saturday night. We listen to music or Netflix or drink — to take our mind off things we do not want to think about, anymore.
Imagine — if we could be in that chill phase all the time. If we could block the redundant noise.
We think about two kinds of things:
- The ones that are important
- And the ones that are not
Unimportant things cloud our mind like the winter fog. Except that they never clear out even when the sun shines out our window.
Here is some of the fog that we can lift.
Benjamin Franklin needs no introduction.
We all have heard about him but I am not sure how much we really know about his life and activities.
A thinker, inventor, scientist, publisher, writer, diplomat, advisory, soldier, founder of hospitals and libraries, designer of bills, member of the assembly, and more.
You might have skimmed through these words without actually reading them.
I do the same when I read about someone great on Wikipedia — they always seem to have accomplished so much in different areas.
But when you read about their personal life, sometimes their autobiography, you understand that they were also humans like us. You start relating to them.
Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography was one such read.
His disciplines and manners — if practiced — can really shake up the current world and our restless generations.
I went to Chile in July 2016.
Going to South America was the best decision of my life. That vibrant continent added an additional layer in my personality. It was like discovering rosemary suddenly.
I learned so much in those nine months that I would not have in many years in my home country — India.
I started speaking a new language — Spanish, made friends from all over the world, taught English, lived with complete strangers from different continents, ended up loving them, experienced the Latin American culture closely, traveled to places that I had no idea existed, and met people who continue to love me.
The Spanish accent in Orange is the New Black was the initial pull but there is a difference between the fictional world and the real one. In fiction, everything looks glamorous. In reality, it is not.
Except that it was.
South America gave me a new energy and a new outlook.
I did not know all of this when I left. Then why did I leave?
Thailand — my first solo international trip.
It was my first window into the world of traveling and backpackers and hostels and not knowing where would I sleep the next day.
Thailand was absolutely beautiful, marvelously racist at times, but enriching with delicious food.
I met some amazing people, ran away from obnoxious ones, visited some beautiful temples, found the most beautiful stones in the most beautiful night markets, visited the biggest national park of Thailand, had some beautiful seafood, lived the hostel life for the first time, saw the red light areas and the pole dances on the street side in the most popular restaurants, drowned in the pool with my friend and beer, and happily but unknowingly overstayed my stay.
Some people I have been reading about,
some thoughts that I take to my shower,
some videos that I have been watching,
and some activities that I have been appreciating.
What is mindfulness? What can we learn from Buddha’s mindfulness to live a better modern day, practical life?
The meditation, Yoga, and spirituality guru Osho said that when you are not thinking about the past or future or now contains all the time and there is no then — when a cuckoo calling, a train passing, a dog barking, is all you hear — when this is all and there is no that — when the world here is your whole reality and there is no there — you are in the state of sammasati or mindfulness.
You are absolutely present. Then you reflect and engage in reality without any distraction or expectation.
Mindfulness or awareness is to know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Going to South America was one of the best decisions that I ever took. And the nine months I spent there is the shining skyline of my chaotic life.
As I returned back and tried to stand straight on Indian grounds again, someone told me about a writing competition which was looking for entries from women who had traveled solo to South America.
Yes, I was one of those women.
Why do we need a purposeful, meaningful life?
We are born, we start breathing, do a few things like school, college, job, and then die. Each one of us — hopefully — adds something to the world, we all evolve, become smarter, and this repeats.
In the end, we do not come out alive then why does everything — a broken relationship, a lay off, a fight at work, a stomach ache, a smartwatch — matter so much? What is it all adding up to? Evolution?
It is adding up to life — to these moments that the life is collectively composed of.
Why is it important to have a purpose, meaning to our life? So that all these moments together are a melodious song and not a cacophonous cry.
Everyone asks me where did I go, what did I do, what did I see, how did I feel, how did I manage such long travels, and how did my family react?
They say that I am lucky that I get to travel so much.
I smile. Sometimes, I lecture that everyone can travel. Why don’t you take a sabbatical and go?
People laugh. They shake their heads as if I had asked them to do the impossible. They say it is not easy. What would their parents say? Office won’t allow. Their partner is settled here. It would be too expensive.
They think these are unique problems.