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Hobbies and Jobbies

In Blogging, Monday, Motivation, Office humor, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves, work life balance on October 27, 2017 at 17:12
Employment is an increasingly thin disguise for lives being spent on auto-pilot. Hours, years, decades spent at desks convincing yourself that this is what you were born to do. Your entire childhood, education and the relative exuberance of your youth add up to this contract of employment at this CTC. Most of your time and faculties are spent not in working but in telling yourself that this…it it. This is all there is to life. This and shopping. Shopping is why you exist. And voting once in a while. In the modern world, we are consumers first, citizens later. Social media; at best, let’s us humour ourselves. At worst, it keeps you in a semi-comatose state throughout the day. Man did not evolve to grow old in cubicles. But via the miracle of the modern economy he can gladly do so simply because everybody else is. The mass tranquilization of conformity.
Stray ideas and interests can be kept as pets and called hobbies. Something you do in your free time, on the side, in the most inconsequential way possible.  ‘Yeah, he still does that…collecting stamps,’ followed by a sympathetic smile. As if we were describing a disease he has to live with, ‘Yeah, he loves getting Asthma, but only in his free time…and on rainy days.’ We never reserve the same disdain for day jobs, ‘Yeah, he is Vice President Marketing now. It only took him twenty years, two angioplasties and one divorce to get there.’ Hobbies are looked down upon as guilty pleasures. Not only can they not earn a livelihood they are not even supposed to. Which is why the most powerful people in the world are the ones who have made making money their hobby. A single-minded pursuit of money is bound to succeed in a world designed to worship it. But simply existing in defiance of it is the bigger success. In times when money is by itself a consumer product, a healthy detachment is essential to maintain sanity. You don’t have to be a hermit though. Struggling artists give artists a bad name. The compulsively struggling down on his luck stereotype is why we can’t imagine a world run by artists instead of politicians and businessmen. There would be no material progress, only a never-ending hippie party. And it’s probably true. If artists ran the world we may not have had nuclear power but then we would not have needed it either.
I still know people who state ‘General Knowledge’ as a hobby. GK. Admittedly, they are all old. But there was a time; not long ago, when it was cute that uncle Shyam could recite the capital of Azerbaijan and all Soviet states in alphabetical order. Now; in the 4G era, it is just sad. But at least Shyam had a personality. He tried to grasp something beyond the mundane. We remember people for their quirks, not their routines. If your entire life’s work amounts to a flat in the suburbs and a few FDs, the world could have probably done without you. ‘He was a nice guy…yeah…’
– Punit Pania

What Does Success Look Like?

In Motivation on September 8, 2017 at 19:05

What does success look like? Is it the first promotion after you have finally paid off your student loan? Is it a neatly framed ending to a feel-good movie? Is it taking your parents out on the first ride in your new car as prescribed by television? Whichever version you buy, it seems short-lived. But failure has to be lived everyday. And nobody teaches you how to, not even your parents. The crushing reality of not having made it in the Rockstar way you had imagined all your life, the statistical improbability of it ever happening in the first place is never discussed. You either live in denial or keep trying just for the heck of it. Sometimes you know you are running into a brick wall but you still do it ‘coz a bump on the head is a better feeling than not having tried at all. But no one is kind enough to tell you that giving up is also a legit option. It’s a stale mate of overgrown kids refusing to believe that playtime is over. And if every Complain kid got to be an Astronaut, there would be a lot of depression in space.

Perhaps there really is no happily ever after. Life is a series of sequels that you can choose to make sense of or just sleepwalk through. Even the most celebrated personalities don’t experience Zen levels of pleasure. They are only humans, hangovers are real and they are not going to have unearthly zero-gravity sex. Life is short but orgasms are shorter. And there is always a bigger stadium to sell out, a bigger award to be earned and a bigger ego to be humoured. Disappointment eventually catches up with you in proportion to your batting average.

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Robin Sharma won’t tell you that coz selling slogans are so much easier. Why does it all have to be about a getting a bigger car and a bigger erection? Why don’t these great speakers talk about having greater civic sense and not being an asshole, those are the burning needs of the day.

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Appealing to base instincts is easier and can be mass-produced. Sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll for the few chosen poster boys and the hamster wheel for everyone else. A cosmic lottery where you either succeed in the most vulgar and opulent way possible or die in regimented obscurity. There is no third option for truly enlightened folk who do not have the right mix of narcissism, loose morals and good fortune to succeed on a cinematic scale. We are so enamored by the popular idea of success that we let celebrities get away with anything including murder, or worse. Of course, in many cases it is also political and financial clout that keeps them out of jail. But we shower far too much sympathy on them failing to discern that what we see on screen is a hollow projection of a very real very mortal person on earth who is furthermore a different person from his driver.
Cinematic success is exactly that, a few frames of escapism to gloss over reels of hard truth.

And it has us yearning with every breathing moment, struggling, scratching and slogging our working class asses off to buy these pre-digested packages of success off the shelf. Engineering-MS-Green card, IIT-IIM-Paperback novel. And then re-innforcinng through graduation batch WhatsApp groups and LinkedIn updates that we all made an equally good or equally bad decision.

You were born into a particular family, hometown, peer group and their collective pathos, you don’t have to die with them. If on a given day the number of activities you like to do outnumbers the number of activities you need to do, isn’t that success enough? The greatest success can be as simple as not having to wake up to an alarm in the morning. Screw your happy endings and bury your peer group in a shallow grave and never look back.

  • Punit Pania

Relevant Experience Junkie

In conspiracy theories, humor, true enlightenment, Wage Slaves, work life balance on July 20, 2017 at 19:41
In the end we are all just chasing experiences. Experiences that crystallize into memories and add to the narrative that somehow convinces you everyday that life is worth getting out of bed for. Getting high is an experience, so is attending a comedy show. Some are deemed legal by the ruling majority, some are sneered upon and others are punishable by law. We are all dealers then separated only by the sensibilities of the owners of the country.
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Money is just a common language that facilitates the scores. But some people get high on just the money, too many people if we go by the distribution of wealth in the world or rather the lack of distribution. All that money locked up in nameless offshore accounts and tasteless jewellery. Such a travesty. All the highs you could buy with that money, it would take you to the Milky Way and back. But it lays with a man who is happy just knowing that he can buy a lifetime’s worth of experiences with it but is still busy hoarding more money. May be does not know what he wants, what truly gets him high. So he goes for the next best thing, making others believe that he has bought happiness itself, with warranty.
But hoarding is the opposite of happiness. Money, clothes, social hierarchy and job designations, hoarded for an eventual cosmic audit that will never happen. Energy always dissipates. You either buy illusions of control or you let go and enjoy the free-fall. But first you must find your drug and let it consume you. Metaphorically of course. Physical abuse is just a waste of protoplasm. And the system can’t let you waft away so easily. Who will pay all those taxes?
– Punit Pania