Is change really good?

Progress is impossible without change” said George Bernard Shaw. This is true, as progress is defined as “development towards an improved or more advanced condition” and the word development implies change.

But the real question remains: does this mean that change is always a good thing?

I think the answer to this can vary based on the situation. Granted, change has certain benefits, but it also has its drawbacks.

Change gets you to leave your comfort zone and opens you to new experiences. You are able to receive opportunities to take part in previously unimaginable tasks; you get to do things you may have never even considered yourself capable of. Change builds character; it enhances perseverance, willpower, and emotional strength. We all know the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Being able to adapt and overcome change makes us more resilient individuals with better rounded personalities.

For example when I moved from Delhi to Dhaka it was extremely difficult. I’d gone from having the same friends and growing up in the same city to an unknown country with an unpredictable future. Yes, at first I resisted and I struggled. Letting go of the past that I held so close to my heart was hard. But I learned so much. I learned how to talk to people from all parts of the world, how to embrace my own company, how to be self-sufficient and independent while being friendly and social. I think the entire experience made me a lot more confident and open-minded than before. It also equipped me to deal with change better and more efficiently in the future. My move after Dhaka was a lot easier than my move to Dhaka.

However change can also take a toll on your emotional well-being.  While you’re going through it and before you get used to it, there is a stage I call “loss”. You’ve lost your rhythm. You’ve  lost your sense of comfort. But most importantly you’re at a loss as to what to do. There is no constant in your life and you wonder whether you’ll ever get used to the change that has been thrown at you (or the change that you chose for yourself). Blame will be placed. Regret will surface. Anything that reminds you of how life used to be will be glorified because us humans have selective memory: we choose only to remember the best of the past.

In conclusion change can have profound impacts on you. It can improve you and build your resilience. But it doesn’t give without taking away. In order to progress you must sacrifice the comfort of the present to reap the benefits of the future. You will undoubtably experience “loss” and there will be days of indecision. But whether change is good and beneficial depends only on how you handle it.

 

 

 

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What’s your passion?

It’s never what are your passions. Never what all activities interest you. Everyone simply asks what your one true passion is and how you enthusiastically pursue it.

Granted, many of us do have that one thing that is ours- and I’m happy for you if you do. It’s that one activity that we eat, breathe, and live. It could be basketball , art , coding or playing the violin, what you’re passionate about doesn’t matter. But you are expected to have one. It’s an activity that’s a huge time commitment but shouldn’t feel like a chore; something you obsess over and is always on your mind.

In my slightly biased opinion, I think it’s perfectly okay – good in fact- to not have a singular passion (especially in High School).

A uni-dimensional passion can be so limiting. It could cause you to miss out on a plethora of opportunities that you could be just as happy being a part of. While it provides you with the freedom to dive in deep, it also forces you to swim only in your lane. For all you know, you could be great at something but not bother trying it because you’re content that you’ve found your one true passion and that’s all you need for happiness and success.

Yet there’s this social stigma that without a passion, your life has no meaning. Our life’s purpose is meant to revolve around finding our passion and pursuing it. Whether the pressure is caused by an internal belief that you won’t be happy until you get a passion or it’s caused by colleges needing you to ‘demonstrate a deep interest’, the outcome is the same; it’s stressful. But you can succeed by dabbling in multiple areas. Take William Moulton Marston for example. Not only did he discover the polygraph, he also wrote the famous comic series ‘Wonder Woman’. The fields are so unrelated yet his interest in both led to productivity

Passion shouldn’t be confused with talent or interest. Passion is a feeling and like all feelings, it’s susceptible to change. It’s like how you fall in and out of love with people, why should this be any different? Having to stick to one passion forever is unreasonable. It’s great if you can but it’s not a tragedy if you can’t. If we truly want to feel passion, we need to stop quantifying it, measuring it, and searching for it.

We need to understand that it’s okay to not have a passion. In fact it’s normal. Those extraordinarily passionate people we see out there are not the standard for happiness and success. You could live an exceptional life pursuing a variety of things that interest you. It’s okay to like things; not loving something doesn’t cause it to depreciate in value and significance.

I don’t have a passion and I’ve felt guilty for ages but I’m done.

There’s so much pressure to figure out your goals and future plans as High School students, why must we be pressured to identify our one true hobby as well?

In agreement with the Japanese philosophy of ikigai ( a principle which advocates finding joy in the simplicities of life and focusing on purpose instead of passion), I too believe that we cannot limit our happiness to one pursuit. I think it’s okay to have a variety of interests. I think you’re allowed to be ‘passionate’ about two vastly different fields. Yes I think you need a reason to get up in the morning but that doesn’t need to be a passion. In a world with as many options as ours, why limit ourselves to the pursuit of a singular goal when we can fulfill so many other purposes too?

Procrastination

Could procrastination ever be deemed as a good thing? According to Tim Urban, yes. And I tend to agree.

I recently watched his Ted Talk – ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

In the video, he describes the thought process of procrastinators. How we never intend  to leave anything for the last minute. It just somehow always happens.

I’ve always prided myself on making little to-do lists and actually sticking to them. I would laugh as my friends downed four cups of coffee to stay up and work on essays or cram for tests. I thought they were being lazy and that they should snap out of it and get it together. I would shake my head in dismay and pity them for submitting haphazardly done work.

Yet within my first week of eleventh grade I had succumbed to what Urban calls the Instant Gratification Monkey (IGM). The additional workload was a key contributor to this behaviour, but other factors (such as moving and the commute to school) could have played a part. The IGM is the niggling feeling in your mind when you’re trying to be productive that persuades you to check your phone. It’s the itch in your brain that you believe can only be scratched by taking a nap. It begs you to walk away from the task at hand by incentivizing you with fun alternatives.

When I first noticed my symptoms, I was aghast. Yet as I continued to delay the inevitable, panic set in. As Urban eloquently puts it, the Panic Monster frightened the IG monkey and it fled- leaving me to complete some solid work, uninterrupted. What I discovered surprised me: I worked so much better with the stress of a deadline to motivate me.

I got my English written task done in no time and it was infinitely better than the excuse of a piece I had attempted the weekend before. I stayed up and turned it in only when I was fully satisfied.

That’s not to say that this is always the best idea. A summative test warrants some previous studying and a labour intensive project could do with some extra time. Last minute cramming for such things doesn’t produce the best results.

Procrastination works best with rigid deadlines. I didn’t have any for writing this article so I pushed and pushed until I decided that this was something I needed to do. If not completing something by a certain day doesn’t have immediate consequences the Panic monster won’t kick in. A lot of self-determination and internal motivation is needed. It’s like going to the gym for me. Nothing’s going to happen if I don’t – I mean I won’t get detention- so I choose to go ‘next week’. This repeats for about a month. With deadlines though, procrastinating isn’t as terrible as everyone implies.

I’m not advocating procrastination. I’m simply stating that it isn’t as self-destructive a behavior as everyone makes it out to be. On occasion it can yield results far better than you could’ve imagined. Rather than embracing the life of a master procrastinator, I suggest staying on task but not hating yourself for leaving something to the last minute. You never know, you might end up producing some quality work.

 

//News News//

So in the summer of 2k17 I was presented with the oppurtunity to intern with the prestigious Indian national paper, Hindustan Times.

I had expected to just shadow reporters and learn but I was delighted to get the chance to write my own stories. I had never anticipated that I would be calling police inspectors and Station House Officers to get information on crimes that no one else knew about.

Coming from Dhaka, I hadn’t spoken Hindi in over 3 years and all of a sudden I had to interview people fluently in the language. Writing down facts while the busy officers rattled them off in shudh (pure) hindi was a challenge; but I adapted. Along with getting the opportunity to work on my writing, I also learned how to communicate, obtain relevant information, and record it.

It was amazing to see my name in print in my bylines. I also got the chance to go to places such as the BJP government protest and experience the life of a reporter first hand.

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The Beach

FullSizeRenderThe soft sand crumpled beneath my slender feet. My lavender nails turned a muddy brown and the sludge seeped in between my toes. My lips were dry and my tongue was parched, yet I could still taste the salt in the air.

I closed my eyes just for a moment and listened intently. My ears took in everything; the crashing of the waves on the shore, the kids shrieking with joy, the vendors enticing the crowd with raw mango and corn on the cob. I could hear my hair ruffle around my ears and neck as it was whipped around by the ocean breeze. It danced, a mane around my heart shaped face that sent shivers down my spine when they came in contact.

The wave returned, the water reaching my shins this time. The sudden cold sensation made my eyes jolt open and shoulders stiffen. The water receded and my body relaxed. I was at peace once again. I took a deep breath in and my olfactory senses were overwhelmed by the salt and by the spices. I breathed out and everything was still once again.

I turned away from the celestial waves of the teal sea and looked up. The sun had dipped in the sky and now gold streaks ran through the growing darkness. Fluffy clouds were tinged a baby pink and looked almost magical when juxterposed with the fiery crimson sun. Even this late into the sunset I had to shield my eyes. It was only when I looked down again that my illusion of this paradise was shattered.

 

A lone black chappal with a missing strap floated in the water. The foam that I had believed in my mind to have been a pristine white was corrupted by filth and mud.

To my right two ladies haggled over the price of a soggy deep fried piece of onion bajji. Their saris flapped in the wind and their voices rose in timbre as the fight intensified. Two crows with a refusal to back down in the fear of being cheated.

Three stray dogs barking- no howling at eachother, scaring a three year old in a bright yellow frock out of her mind. Her father kicked a dog away. Her mother flung a stone at it.

To my left a man whipped an aging horse, urging it to move faster as it tottered in the sand, struggling to remain upright with the 200 pound ten year old that had been unceremoniously dumped on it. The child screamed, afraid that he would fall off yet simultaneously angry that he wasn’t racing through the beach like a prince on his noble steed. The appeasing parents yelled at the man, hence the man whipped the horse. 

The beach- beautiful, an escape from the everyday rush of our concrete jungles, serene, tranquil, breathtaking

The beach– chaotic, depressing, a mess, a place to earn a livliehood, a bed of cruelty and depression.

The beach– Loved by so many inspite of its flaws.