Thursday, April 30, 2015

Better Things To Do When Depressed

From the ShoKo Show
In case you've been missing out, here's the first post talking about depression today and a few tongue in cheek confessions we can all relate to. As the last instalment on the dark days series, here's a list of a few things i do to clear my head. Hope they help you or a friend out!

Have you ever thought of making a done list instead of a regular to-do? It turns out to be more encouraging when i know i've done something rather then knowing there's a whole other list to care about. Other options include hanging out with pets at an animal shelter, they're way better than people, or hang out with people because hey, free food.

It's okay if you haven't heard of  TED videos yet, doesn't mean you've really been living under a rock. The talks are really inspiring and often funny but most importantly, listening to people talk confidently about the very things they are so passionate about can bring back a few sparks of encouragement. Sometimes, somebody else's energy is all it takes to get you back on your feet.

I've always saved a copy of a beginner's yoga book that i used back in Bombay and now in Dubai. I just automatically feel better after a routine of controlled breaths and balanced poise. There's a feeling of calm right after you're done and eventually you grow to look at things differently. I've found it much easier to venture into the great outside after a session. Brisk walks or swimming work well too.

That's exactly how i started out blogging nearly a decade ago. Writing in a notebook seemed to take up too much space and could be easily found at home. Today, i'm not afraid of letting my fingers type out my feelings for the world to read. If you like to paint or play the piano, that would be a helpful too. 

Skip the air-filled bag of chips and soda. Cooking isn't hard and can be done with 5 ingredients or less. Simple activities like stirring, whisking, measuring or pouring, while the time away, keep you on your toes and can be all you need to perk up your mood.

Often enough, the simple acts of changing out of your comfort clothes, breathing into fresh air and observing things around you, the very world outside your comfort zone can be all that it takes to calm a stormy mind. What makes it even better? A friend. Take someone along who you genuinely enjoy being with. Once you're back home at least you'll know you did something today that's different from yesterday.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Earthquakes And Humbling Thoughts

Lake Pokhara, Nepal

"If there is one thing an earthquake reminds us of, it is how fragile this life is. And how connected we are as a world family. The tectonic plates don't care about the boundaries we draw over Mother Earth.
To think that in just a split second, this reality we have built up around us can be destroyed, is a humbling thought. If today were the last day of our lives, would each one of us be truly content with who we ARE within? If not, it is time to start working towards becoming the persons we want to be. Not so much in terms of professions and designations, but as people - as living, breathing manifestations of soul energy.

Sending thoughts of peace and prayer to those affected by the earthquake in North India and Nepal."

It's been doing the rounds on the interweb and figured it could do with a share. Our hearts and prayers are with all those affected by the tragic Nepal earthquake.

A Request - Readers, reach out in whatever way they can to those who have or know others who have been affected by the earthquake. Even emotional help can make a huge difference.

Note: If anyone knows the origin of the shared content, do let me know so i can update this post.

13 Confessions Of A Depressed Mind

1. We're crying softly at night into pillows and sheets, in ladies' rooms and at unexpected times.
2. We're afraid of how our depression will affect you or someone directly related to us so we might not open up.
3. Going outside is the second most hardest thing to do.
4. Getting out of bed is the hardest thing to do.
5. Sometimes we don't want to open the door when the doorbell rings. We don't want to see new faces much. We might not answer calls or reply to messages for similar reasons.
6. When we cry it's hard to stop, and usually we haven't much of a clue about what's causing the waterworks. It might be a side-effect of certain medications, but not everyone is that lucky. 
7. We don't want to burden you with our problems. We're certain you won't understand. You're not emotionally equipped for this. We know.
8. Not all of us can afford treatment. So we learn to cope and find distractions. Sometimes self-help is all we've got. That's life, we deal with what we've been dealt.
9. When we fail at committing suicide, sometimes we're too afraid to give it another go, in case we fail again. Other times, we find strength in wanting to live for family or loved ones. On some rare occasions, we tell ourselves that we're meant to survive. We might not try it again till the next tsunami of depression comes along.
10. There are times when we can rationalise our feelings and understand that there's something amiss in the mind, but we're also crying while this is happening; it is both, very annoying and terribly confusing.
11. "What is wrong with me?", asked every depressed soul, ever. Really, you could quote us on that;, and it's our favorite question everyday. Maybe the answer is related to the meaning of life.
12. Of course we want a hug, but we're not going to just ask you for one. Or maybe we're tired of asking and gave up. Although, when we do get a really genuine hug we're very grateful and cherish the hug and the hugger.
13. People who are acquainted with us think we're smart, funny, teeming with potential, and assume they've got us all figured out. You're all Jon Snow!

This post is the second of three on Depression; read the first.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Talking About Depression

You may have heard of Akhil Mehta (not pictured, duh). Like so many others, i followed his handle @AapChutiyeHain. Like just about every other Twitter user, i read and scrolled past his witty tweets on a variety of topics. Almost everyone could relate to those tweets. Then i found out that he died on March 28, 2015. My gut did a wobbly somersault as i read about it. So wrong it felt to even tweet about this tragedy or mention his handle knowing he's never going to respond to it. So midway i stopped and didn't. Cause of death, suicide. Do you know what helps a person decide if they want to remain alive or not? Their state of mind. Did he suffer from depression? Yes, severely.

Deepika Padukone said that it's okay to admit you are depressed in a recent interview on how she battles with depression. So lucky she is to have had her mum to confide in. When you watch the "My Choice" video, you realise her hair flows like a lion's mane would if he had access to cosmetics, hair artists, image editors and fans. But more importantly, she looks fierce and mentally strong. More so it may seem because you know she's been through depression. Thankfully, she's alive. Does she still suffer from depression? Quite likely, though privately. 

Similar stories, older and forgotten are all over the internet. It's depressing to even read about depression. Sadly not everyone can afford to be treated and not everyone can find someone they feel open enough to tell them how they feel. Why? They're all afraid of being shot down and grossly misunderstood. Isn't that what happens most of the time anyway? A lot of non-depressed people prefer to just pretend depressed people will get better soon.

My most depressing phases of life include my teenage years (raise your hands if you were a depressed teen too), when i was torn from my family and whisked to Dubai post the big wedding, and lastly, whenever i'm out of a job in Dubai. When you're depressed it's hard to get out of bed or off the couch. The light is trying to penetrate your soul, so the curtains need to stay drawn across windows.

So this April end is now Depression Week on Epicgrammatic. Those of you who aren't into this kind of topic may steer clear till May arrives. Though, i'd prefer it if you didn't. Two more posts on the subject will follow. You have been warned. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Golden Sandstorm

The bedroom wasn't its usual daylight colour, one that i was so accustomed to waking up to. There was an eerie glow that came through the dusty window panes. This isn't what a typical morning looks like in Dubai. Not at all this shade of orange or yellow. Even the evenings here don't glow in this particular hue. As i crawled out of bed, i figured it the time was ripe for some serious investigation.

The hall was another scene altogether. Shadows were heavier with the curtains drawn, but the deep, warm light that filtered through was completely unusual. As i drew the pale yellow and floral print hall curtains apart, the world outside looked a little terrifying yet, stunning. Everything was a shade of orange; like straight out of a dystopian themed movie scene about the future.

There have been one or two sandstorms of a lesser degree, strong enough to move fountains even. This one though was my first major sandstorm in Dubai, and i spent it indoors. Everything outdoors basked in a dusty golden glow. It looked every bit the majestic storm it was. Visibility was slightly low and parked vehicles were coated with enough sand to make it look like they weren't used for ages.

I can only imagine how horrible it must've been for the pilots. Though I'm pretty sure car washes made a good profit out of this sandy day.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Now Officially

Here's an announcement. A move contemplated on for a few years now and after much stalling, procrastination and fearful doubt, finally it's been done. I registered for and bought my own domain at GoDaddy!

Considering it was an impulse buy in the middle of the night, i hadn't really expected it to be up and ready so soon either. Of course, everything still remains on Blogspot. While WordPress may be famous for its plugins, user-friendly, theme variety and likelihood to get noticed and shared, Blogger always feels like home. And thankfully, all my posts get auto-redirected so there was no question of staying.

Before the decision for getting my own domain there was shameless bombarding of questions for @Prithvirules while he was on holiday. All of which enlightened and confused me but it got the ball rolling. Also, i didn't dare make the move without doing a little reading up on where to register, what other friends had to say about where they registered and what to do once the high after purchasing your domain slowly dies down.

It certainly seemed like making the switch was going to be hassle-free. And it was! It's not too tricky, but if you follow the instructions provided on various helpful websites and use your head a little, it should all be okay.

Blogger Tips
There are plenty of websites out there to assist you during the transition. These two particular posts from Helplogger were especially useful for me. Everything gets easy-peasy after that.

Happy blogging!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What Goes In Tiny Purses?

We live in a world of online shopping and been to every fashion store at malls. We know every, single label for all the fashionable things we love; but if there's one thing, of numerous other things i don't understand, is why would anyone carry a tiny little purse, commonly referred to as a clutch. What goes into one of them on any given day? I can barely begin to imagine even.

Take for example, this ever-so-petite little purse pictured here. Where do my sunglasses go? I know what I'm always carrying in a handbag or a cross-body bag. My smartphone certainly wouldn't fit in it. What about cash, credit cards, tissue napkins, lip balm, deodorant stick, moisturiser, pen, hair brush or comb and other necessities? Where do all of those go? Why do i not know?

It's not like i don't own a clutch. I have exactly two. One i bought so that i could fit in at a party and the other came free with a slightly tacky brush set. I still don't know how to use either. The one time i did carry one, i had to ask hubby to hold on to the other essential stuff that couldn't fit in. So inconvenient. 

Till then, here are a few, very discreet, useful and light items that will fit in a clutch quite snugly and even possibly all together.

Condoms - For when you're not sure where you might end up when morning comes.
Spy pen - Slyly record incriminating conversations to use when it's time to dish out some revenge.
Salt and sugar sachets - Sometimes dishes might not be up to the mark and you can fix it.
Mint sprig - Waiting at restaurants for people doesn't mean you ought to remain hungry.
Threaded needle - You never know when it could come in handy.
Folding spork - Just in case; you never know.
Adhesive bandages - New shoes can be your worst enemy.
Feather - Seductive device or tickle tool? Your choice!

Does anybody out here know how to go out with a little clutch and have all the rightly necessary items with you? I'd like to know in the comments immediately!

Friday, April 10, 2015

An Abra Experience

The first time i rode on a Dubai abra was on a cool and breezy January morning with its perfect weather for taking in the sounds of the souks and seagulls. In all honesty, the best single Dirham spent in this city.

The whole experience was amazing: great weather, the hustle 'n' bustle of people, seagulls flying overhead or splashing in the water, the delicious salty air, the light swish-swish of the shimmering waters......gosh, it really was just so wonderful!

And there'll be many more rides to come, just like this one.

Monday, April 06, 2015

My Antivirus Protection Expired And I Got Ads

How many people out there have similar stories? A lot! Believe me, i did a Google search just to find out. I've lived my entire virtual life protected by various anti-virus programs during the past decade or so. I have never known what virtual life can be like without protection. I have never waited till after an expiration date to renew an anti-virus subscription. Such an act would be unthinkable. Then one day i found out what surfing the net without protection is like.

Hubby's Sony Vaio was so much more easier to type with that i abandoned my own five year old Samsung gifted for my birthday by my dad. I was trained well enough to care for it on my own and i always knew exactly when to renew services.

It wasn't like the service on the Vaio wasn't notifying me. It did, and i ignored it each time till it finally expired and i wasn't even aware of it till i noticed certain keywords on a recent blog post turned into clickable links that led to nowhere in particular. 

To Raj, a close friend and SEO expert, i narrated my immediate problem and all he found was that my reaction to my hopeless situation was hilarious. He did offer suggestions and truth be told, i was freaking out and blowing the situation out of proportion, but that wasn't the point.

It didn't matter what page i was on. If it wasn't pop-ups expertly blocking my view, it was these invisible ninja ads that got clicked on even when i thought it was just blank, empty space. It was so terrifying, i was afraid of moving the cursor even. I was very close to singing Virus Alert.

A subscription update to the laptop's antivirus was needed, immediately. Thankfully, i had other chores and activities to tend to so i just shut down and got down to getting other things done. Once i found hubby sitting peacefully enough, i got him to update his own service. After much ad avoiding and unavoidable ad ignoring, we did manage to get our subscription renewed and the plugins that kept enabling themselves on my browser. This will hopefully never happen again.

So whatever you do, update your subscriptions on time and stay protected; you could get ads.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Proverbial Bucket List

I've been told that the easier your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. The good thing is, lists can change and there's always more to do once you're done.

1. Read self-improvement books and autobiographies
I read novels in lists. Most of the time these lists don't include stories about real people. Obviously, i need to create better lists. The thing is, i tried a self-improvement book once but then life pulled me away. I'd like to finish one and gain something out of it. Perhaps that'll help me...

2. Be more inspired
Everyone needs good experiences to be inspired. I want more of those. I want more laughs, more walks to nowhere, more stories to hear, less gossip and fewer lies. I want to be relaxed enough to find a banana peel inspiring. I've just got to find that missing spark.

3. Spend more time with family
Sometimes i regret having left home after getting married. But what kind of wife would live away from her husband? I actually like living with him too. Society makes up dumb rules and i couldn't let my family look bad. I spent an entire 6 months in Dubai with wet and salty cheeks at night because it felt like my life was ripped apart. Most people want to get away from their families. I never wanted that but you take what life dishes out, right? So now i'd like to take actual steps to spend time with loved ones.

4. Decide on whether to have kids or not
Most women i know are naturally kid-friendly. All kids are apparently cute, must be spoken to in kiddie languages (kiddish?), and carried about while speaking 'kiddish'. I'm not anti-kids, i just don't feel the same way. Single, married, divorced, you name it; they all want one. Did i not eat enough spinach growing up? Is it that chappatis (Indian bread) are missing in my life? Maybe i should have watched and read more lovey-dovey stuff? Or worse, gossiped? What is it that makes people want kids? And why is it so hard for me to know if i really do or don't. I hope to get to the bottom of this someday.

5. Make new friends you can relate to
I have great friends. Really, i do. Some may read this and think how ungrateful i must be to have something like that on this list. I'm not. I just want new friends with new experiences, new stories, new secrets, and so on. Maybe someone with the same taste in books, who likes to read aloud in parks together and go star gazing maybe. I'd like that. Would that be really hard to find or am i just from a different time?

6. Keep hunting for that 'perfect job'
One of the most miserable feelings in life is being unhappy at work. Being thankful for a job and a pay that lets you survive through life is one thing. Working with people and facing challenges you look forward to everyday is another. I know it's out there. I can feel it; but it hasn't found me yet.

7. Donate yearly
Back in Bombay, donating clothes for Christmas was the best part of the season. That, and preparing sweets. We'd bundle up old clothes that were good enough and knowing that someone else was clothed better because of me always felt great. In school, we'd donate basic needs like toiletries and food supplies. Sometimes they'd even let us meet the children or people we were donating to. Here in Dubai we get to donate meals for labourers during Ramzan. I'd like to do some more of this as an adult now.

8. Travel
What kind of bucket list would this have been without a single mention of travel? Of course I'd love to travel some more! I'd like to see beautiful and breathtaking places. I'd like to get out of this city some more and lie on the grass and enjoy a little butt-spanking without being worried about the cops watching. I'm my most inspired self when on vacation. Everyone deserves more of those.

9 . Fall in love with a woman
Meeting a woman i can truly connect with, fall deeply in love and for her to feel the same is something i've longed for, for years now. I'm not talking about some pornographic lesbian 'sexcapade' here. All i'm looking for is someone to share secrets with, to kiss passionately, to hug and to feel as comfortable with as i do with my husband.

10. Get a cat
With the way things are going, it's quite likely i might have to wait until retirement to have a cat of my own. I'm willing to wait it out though. I've grown up with various cats in my life and not having one now just makes me feel incomplete. For now, i've just got to make do with being a godparent to Koko the cat.