Friday, May 4, 2018

I deleted Facebook and Instagram for 5 days

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with social media. Sometimes I cannot have enough of it, and other times I’m so sick of it that I never want to see it ever again. Who would have thought such lifeless piece of technology would provoke strong wavering emotions over an inanimate part of technology that has taken over everyone’s life. Of the numerous platforms, I’ve been sucked into Facebook and Instagram, while I think Whatsapp should be included in that list, and I can’t stand it anymore.

I one thing that I loved doing while I was growing up was read. It didn’t really start early in life for me. Let’s just say I was a late bloomer, but when it happened, it happened! I LOVED reading! If I got hold of a good book, you can be assured that I would be awake the whole night reading it, and stay awake the entire day in school the next day as well. It was a vicious cycle, and mind you I was about 15 or 16 at this time I think.  But I never evolved with techonology in reading. I always loved hardcopy books, I enjoyed holding the book and flicking through pages, Kindle just wouldn’t cut it out for me.

This went on for a good few years, until Facebook, Instagram and YouTube took over, all in that exact order. Actually, Facebook took a back seat a few years ago. I went cold turkey with Facebook, abruptly stopped uploading and sharing stuff, stopped stalking people, stopped commenting on stuff and even stopped communicating with people. But I still spend a bit of time passively looking through my newsfeed once in a while.

Instagram and YouTube were the real culprits that diverted my attention from books. Instagram was so colourful and exciting, such a huge platform to learn, grow and develop. I used to upload pictures every day and communicate with people. I literally built my own world in Instagram; I was always thinking about what to upload, what to write as captions for my pictures, spent time researching and understanding the algorithms of Instagram - just like I did with my blog, and then let it die a slow painful death. Priorities changed, it became too time-consuming to plan, edit pictures, add my watermark, resize it, transfer to my phone and upload it to Instagram. Even when I wasn’t actively putting on content, I started browsing the discovery page, and boy did I discover more and more photographers and interesting themes and ideas.

YouTube was a whole new world that teleported me into it. YouTube has everything literally under the sun. I’m all for learning, so I used to reason with myself that I was learning stuff. I was basically in denial; it just consumed my whole world. I spent hours during my lunchtime at work, mornings, evening, while sitting in traffic (not when I’m driving), just every minute that I was free and didn’t know what to do, even when I had so much work to do, I would mindlessly scroll through Instagram. 25GB of data from my mobile network fed my crazy behaviour even more.

I obviously didn’t have any more time to read, because social media on my phone was far more relaxing and easier compared to reading. But in the hope of winning back my first love, I was still buying books that I fancied. Every time I went to Waterstones, I would walk out with a book, read it for 3 days, then forget about it for about 10 days, and start it all over again, only to stop a few days later. My once bare bookshelf (6 months ago) began getting filled quite quickly because Laxman and I were buying a lot of books between us (he wouldn’t let me buy clothes or household stuff, but never says no to books), and received books as gifts as well.

Something in me snapped on Monday last week. I deleted Facebook during my lunchtime and started reading a book (I strategically place books around me at home and work so I can read, should the urge arise and in an attempt to make myself to read). But this was only after I finished scrolling through Instagram and was updated with all the useless stories and random pictures. I got about 20 minutes reading time, which was better than nothing if I say so myself.

Then on Tuesday afternoon, I deleted Instagram, only after scrolling through for that day’s updates though, and then continued reading. I think I got about 30 minutes reading time, and it felt good for some odd reason. The book was so interesting, that I didn’t even want to get back to work. I texted Laxman to tell him I wished I had the afternoon off so I could continue reading. I had a sense of pride, an achievement that I was longing for. I haven’t felt this way about reading for many years now about.

On Wednesday, I thought it was YouTube that was going to be axed off next. Surprisingly, I didn’t even bother watching anything on YouTube, I went straight for my book. It could be because the book was so interesting or that I finally came to my senses. Regardless, I continued reading the rest of the week, and had double thoughts about bringing the book back home for the weekend so I can hopefully finish it, but I’ve got another book that I’m reading at home, which I’m desperately trying to finish so I can start another book that’s next in my list. (I’m reading two different books simultaneously; one for home and one for work, something that I started about 2 months back for practicality purpose, but have not been very successful yet)

Throughout the 5 days that I somewhat succeeded in spending more time reading than wasting time on my phone, there were many occasions where I looked at the top right corner of the book to see what time it was, and plenty a times used my thumb to scroll through the page once I reached the bottom of the page in a hard cover book. Is this what you call a millennial? Ha ha ha, yeah right. I’m not going to lie, I also had FOMO – fear of missing out. On Wednesday, I was a bit concerned that I was going to miss out people’s stories on Instagram, and I was gravely concerned on how I was going to catch up with everything I’ve missed. Why did I think it was important to follow other people’s life every hour? I don’t know. And on a side note, I slept quite well that whole week.

After 5 days, I thought I had attained the highest level of self-discipline that I needed. So I installed Instagram once again on Saturday morning. I’m not proud of myself to report that I must have spent at least 3 hours on Instagram throughout the day, with occasional gaps of course, and did not sleep well that night.  To redeem myself, I uploaded a picture on Instagram today. Took me 10 minutes to figure out what to upload, and another 10 minutes to figure out this hashtag business.

I might delete Instagram again in the coming week. Or I might try to discipline myself more this week. Either way, I’ve spent the last two days trying to figure out what to upload in the family WhatsApp group. Apparently, my 83-year-old grandfather is now in the family WhatsApp group and is especially eager to see photos and send photos. The only problem is, I’ve not been taking any pictures of myself, nor do I have anything interesting to post, but I don’t want to miss out, so looks like I might be digging out old photos.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

New item on the shopping list

Remember the day when I was talking about wanting to buy a new watch that cost about £200 about 2 weeks ago? I’ll admit, I had/have absolutely no valid reason that I can justify and it’s definitely not out of necessity. 

Fast-forward to present time; I’ve found something five times more expensive that I’m obsessing about. Again, absolutely no valid reasons whatsoever, not out of necessity, and definitely not because I’ve got £1000 ready to spend on this.

When Laxman offered to change my phone for me months ago (I’ve been due for an upgrade for donkey’s years now by the way), I declined, I said I didn’t need a new one, this works fine, it’s all the same thing, the new phone is far too expensive, so I’m not changing my phone, and all that jazz. A few weeks later he knocked my phone out of my hands and it fell, sustaining some scratches on it. I still insisted I didn’t need a new phone.

A few weeks ago I started noticing really nice pictures on Instagram that were shot on the iPhone X. I started changing heart slowly, but surely. I started telling Laxman how annoying my phone was. The speakers were not working so I had to reboot my phone almost everyday, I didn’t have any storage space on my phone at all that I kept getting that annoying out of space message every time I tried to take a picture so I kept deleting everything from my whatsapp history and gallery, I cannot update my phone cos there isn’t enough space!

So 2 days ago, upon Laxman’s regular coaxing, I started looking for upgrade deals on Vodafone. iPhone X was far too expensive that I didn’t have the heart to do it immediately, but neither did I want to get iPhone 8 which was half the price. Laxman said go ahead, it’s your early birthday gift and I said no. (I know what I’m like, I’ll take this now and come June, I’ll wait for another present.) Not whole-heartedly though.

However, I didn’t stop there and leave it all behind me. I was still looking for iPhone X cases and screen protectors in Amazon and putting it in the basket, constantly kept looking at the Vodafone website, hoping there would be some miraculously good deal. I don’t know what I was trying to proof. 

The cheekiest was this evening. When I was talking to mum over the phone this evening, I was looking for my headphones. I didn’t find it in the usual place, so I searched all over the house, twice, and even between the sofa cushions. There’s no way I’d let anything go between my sofa cushions, leave alone stay in there. I made Laxman search for it as well, but we still couldn’t find it, so he got me his old headphones to use temporarily. I used it, but in my mind, I had devised a cheeky plan. I was going to use this as an excuse to get a new phone. I don’t have my headphones, so I deserve a new phone?! What was I even thinking?? Don’t ask! 10 minutes later, I found my own headphones in my coat pocket, the coat that I have been wearing for the last hour. I sneakily walked away to the room to hide it so Laxman doesn’t see it. But looks like he’s more observant than I give him credit for. He noticed and followed me to the room to see what I was doing and found out I was trying to hide my headphones. And then I had to explain my master plan to him. All this while I was talking to my mother on the phone.

I don’t know if this will ever die down; the need for wanting to buy everything that’s brand new and jazzy. 2 days ago I actually prayed that this desire for wanting to constantly shop should end. I mean, it’s not the end of the world if I don’t have the latest trend in clothes or bags or technology. But 2 minutes later, I found myself telling God not to take that seriously.

Instagram is solely responsible for this misbehaviour.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Black Panther is more than just a movie

I really don't have a funny story today, or some genuine ancestral insight that I want to pass on.  My mind is scattered all over the place at the moment after watching Black Panther that I really needed to pen it down in order to gather my thoughts and bring my mind back to order. 

I'm telling you again, this might not be interesting for you, the following is only the random thoughts that go on in my head from day to day, much more today than a regular day. I'm actually allowing you to come into my head and listen to me think, talk to myself, motivate myself, and encourage myself. There's usually a lot that goes on in my mind. And this is a small snippet of it. 

Continue reading with caution. You've been warned. 

So, I can safely say I am now a Marvel fan now, and I loved Black Panther! There might or might not be any spoilers. I cannot comprehend how the whole team has been so creative, that I don’t want to be careful about what I speak. 

About a few months ago, I used to muse over how some music directors are so creative. How do they know what will sound good and what won't? How do they know what works and what doesn't? Who decides what the trend is? Who sets the bench mark? The truth is, there's isn't a set bench mark for creativity. It's what they've decided they like and it trends. 

There’s no such thing as normalcy when it comes to creativity. There isn’t a set of rules to follow. But that doesn’t mean you can randomly put things together and declare it as creative or the new standards. Creativity comes from a lot of practice, hardworking, and experience. And most importantly dedication and discipline. Always remember that there's bucket loads of experience and hard work behind every achievement that has paid off. 

Which leads me on to this movie in particular. I’ve seen other Marvel movies, like Ant Man, which I enjoyed because it was funny, and I’ve seen Captain America: Civil War, which I did not enjoy because I was uncomfortable in the front seat of the theatre, had a splitting headache and didn't have a clue how each of the characters came about. But with Black Panther, it didn't matter whether I saw anything else or not. 1/3rd into the movie and I was already telling myself that I wanted to watch it again (partially because I didn’t follow the first bit of who was who and who killed whom, but mostly because it was really good that I wanted to see the details the second time round).  The first thing that struck me about this movie, is how well planned, how creative and how completely out of the world it was. 

As much as the praises we have for the movie, it’s really important to remember that the entire team haven’t started off now. This isn’t their first movie. They've obviously got so much experience under their belts in the past years, that has led them to improve their skills. What they reap now is what they’ve sown in the past. But having said that, the director of the movie said in an interview that there isn’t a day that he didn't doubted himself throughout the whole shooting process. Doubting yourself doesn’t mean you underestimate yourself. It only means you need to challenge yourself everyday. There was a scene in the movie where the King’s sister says that she has an improved upgrade for some of the devices, for which the king says it already works fine. But then his sister reminds him, just because something works, doesn't mean you can't improve it to work better. Continue to work hard to have continuity in improvements. It's always good to have a better version of you. It's always beneficial to sharpen your skills. 

At the end of the movie, the King speaks at a global meeting, and announces that for the first time in world history, Wakanda is going to reach out and share it’s knowledge to make the world a better place. Now, I’ve seen the movie, so I know what he means when they are willing to share their knowledge. The technology and riches in Wakanda is at a place where the rest of the world cannot even imagine, but it’s been the best kept secret ever that the world only knows Wakanda as the poorest third world country that does  want help from anyone else. One of the politicians  on the panel asked, ‘With all due respect, what can a farming third world country teach the rest of the world?' 'With all due respect, don't judge someone that you don't know'. Don't just take someone at face value. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I wore the same clothes to work for 5 days in a row. Here’s what happened.

I've been contemplating this for a few days now. I first thought about it a few months ago when I saw a video on YouTube, but wasn't bold enough to do it then. I always brushed it off as unnecessary. But this morning I got the courage out of nowhere.

So, the challenge is mainly to wear the same clothes for a week, for whatever reasons it may be; haven’t done laundry, broke, woke up late, priorities, saving etc.

Here are my two reasons;

1. Personal experiment

I’ve got more than I need, but it’s just never enough. I hope to try and eliminate the desire for more wants. I want to re-teach myself to value money, to be appreciative of what I have.

No matter how much shopping I do, no matter how much I extend my wardrobes, I still find myself saying I don’t have enough clothes. Am I that greedy when it comes to clothes and shopping? A £20 watch would do the same job as a £200 watch, but I want only the £200 watch. Truth be told, I honestly don’t have any needs, it always only wants. Can’t I live a minimalistic life?

I’ve also read that people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same shirt every day because they do not want to waste time/brain energy in making decisions on what to wear. If I wear the same clothes every day, I could probably become Facebook’s or Apple’s next contender. You never know!

2. Social experiment

I’m the only person I know who takes half an hour every month to make a monthly schedule on what to wear for that month. This plan obviously takes into consideration the events and activities I have for each day after work, and whether I will be chauffeured to work or if I have to walk to take public transport. Weather doesn’t matter cos it’s always predictable in the UK, i.e., it is cold and rainy every day. 

I also end up with clothes that I outgrow without even wearing them. I used to think I’m super OCD about it, but it’s got nothing to do with OCD. It’s called smart planning. By spending half an hour a month, I get to wear most of my clothes and not repeat it, I save more time in the mornings, and I feel more confident that I’m well dressed. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I do this because I’m not very creative under pressure to begin with, and I end up wearing the same set of clothes very often because I’m always in a hurry in the mornings. When I do that, I feel I’m being judged. But am I really being judged? 
Does anyone ever notice or care?

So, the ultimate goal is to hopeful want lesser and understand if I’m the one who’s being so self-conscious and judgmental on myself. 

05/02/2018 – Day 1

As I stood in front of my wardrobe, I stared at all my clothes long and hard, trying to figure out to what wear for the whole week that would be appropriate.
What would I want to wear for 5 days in a row? If I’m going to be wearing the same thing for 5 days, I might as well be comfortable. I was going to wear my thickest and warmest jumper, and then I thought, I wouldn’t mind looking sloppy for a day or 2, but probably not 5 days in a row. After a good 15 minutes, I decided on a smart top, cardigan and jeans. At least I won’t be so cold.

Time spent: 15 minutes
Level of confidence: 100%

I couldn’t have been any more wrong with my option for this week. How have I lived in the UK for so long and still underestimate the weather?! I was freezing most of the time! I should have just worn my jumper.

So, day 1 was easy breezy. I had some free time that evening, so I did what I usually do to relax - online window-shopping. I was looking for some potential clothes and shoes to buy, and checking if there were some excellent deals on the watch I wanted. Only day 1, and I’ve already defeated the goal.

06/02/2018 – Day 2

I hesitated as I stood in front of my wardrobe this morning. Should I continue with this? I reluctantly did. I didn’t want to give up too soon, it’s only day 2 after all.

Time spent: 5 minutes
Level of confidence: 80%

I went to work slightly later than usual today, sat at my desk and continued to chat away to my colleagues and carried on with my work as usual. But, I had this thought at the back of my head if they had noticed. When work got busy, I forgot I was wearing the same clothes, but every time I went to the toilet and looked at myself in the mirror, I was reminded and kept asking myself what I’m trying to prove and why am I doing this to myself. I don’t think I can give up on buying new clothes and live a minimalistic life with limited numbers of clothes.

I don’t think I will continue doing this tomorrow. I want to give up, not because I’m not strong-willed. I just don’t see the point of it. I mean, I saw an Asos haul on YouTube this afternoon and made a mental note to look at it later in the day, cos I’ve never shopped from Asos before. 

07/02/2018 – Day 3

Day 3 and Laxman hasn’t even noticed it yet! Should I still wear the same thing? Am I learning anything yet? No! Am I more appreciative of what I already have? No, cos I’m not seeing it or using it! Do I want to give up already? Sigh, no… same clothes

Time spent: 10 minutes
Level of confidence: 40%

When I reached work, I was expecting for at least 1 or 2 of them to notice. But no one saw, no one even batted an eyelid. Every time I walk down the corridor to get a drink, I had this feeling that people from other teams had noticed and were silently judging me. Well, it’s impolite to call out to someone who’s been wearing same clothes. So I didn’t really expect anyone to do that publicly. But I thought some might come to me personally to talk about it.

It was such a long and draggy day at work, and I was feeling really down and dull. Oh well, that’s the end of the third day. I got Chinese take away for dinner to make myself feel better.

08/02/2018 – Day 4

I just couldn’t bear to wear the same clothes again this morning, and I refused to do it. I took out new clothes from my wardrobe and reasoned within my head that I’m technically not giving up; I just didn’t see the point of it anymore. But I was itching to know if Laxman noticed, so I marched into his office room and asked him if he saw what I was wearing to work this week, and he rather casually said no, just as I suspected. Then he justified it by saying no one actually cares and it’s only me who’s so concerned about it. What would he know; he’s more than happy to wear the same shirt to work 2 or 3 days in a row as long as it doesn’t smell or isn’t dirty. I’ve seen a lot of men like that actually. I wonder if it’s a male thing.

Time spent: 15 minutes
Level of confidence: -10%

I ended up wearing the same clothes again, just to prove that I’m not a quitter, to myself at least. More deodorant and perfume today.

Another day at work is feeling like I’m being judged silently, which undoubtedly explains my negative 10% confidence today. I was extra self-conscious at work today that I limited my conversations with anyone. Didn’t want to put myself out there and increase the chances of being seen. Even my manager said I hadn’t spoken a word to anyone at all today.

09/02/2018 – Day 5

Day 5. Thank god it is finally the last day! I’ve been miserable this week, purely because of what I’ve been wearing.

Time spent: 1 minute
Level of confidence: 0%

To make matters worse for me today, it looked as if most of my teammates were so well dressed and well made up. I took an extra effort to mask my face this morning, so I don’t look as miserable as I feel. Nope, still no joy.

There were short talks at work this morning, that we might be snowed in, and that there were extra mattresses stored in the basement. In true blue Bristolian fashion, it only snowed for 2 minutes and then melted away. Snow or storm, I protested that I definitely do not want to be stranded at work this week.

This week had been more stressful for me than any other week, that I used it as an excuse for take away dinner again and a movie night.


I was wrong, completely wrong. No one noticed until I asked them if they had seen what I wore this week. I cannot believe not even one of them saw! I just can’t. And to think that I was so worried and self-conscious for nothing!

My protest against staying overnight at work during a natural calamity this week lead to them being curious as to why I was against it. When I explained everything, my manager put two and two together and figured this is why I was so quiet on Thursday. He even suggested that I give an interview for the weekly work bulletin. Why not?

I’ve NOT changed my mind about wanting to buy more clothes and shoes. I’ve NOT 
had the urge to donate half my clothes from my wardrobe. I don’t care if I don’t fit into it; I still want my closet to be full! And I’ve still not given up on the £200 watch.

I’ve spent 46 minutes in total this week to figure out what to wear in the mornings, lost so much confidence, and I’m sure some hair too while worry if I’m being judged, wasn’t being myself most of the time, and wasn’t happy most of the time. Forget about saving brain energy and time by wearing the same clothes. I would have done much better with my regular monthly planning!

I’ve decided that the minimalistic life isn’t for me. I’m still going to make a schedule every month, and I’m definitely going shopping next week for more clothes and shoes, and eventually that watch too.

Would you wear the same clothes for a week?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018's resolutions

Facebook has very kindly reminded me, that, exactly 1 year ago today, I wrote a blog about New Year resolutions and how I was the Grinch of new year resolutions previously, but wanted to turn over a new leaf in 2017 and make resolutions to better myself; ie get back to size 8, read more books, looking good in pictures, getting healthier, read more etc.

I’ll have you know that I have not achieved any of those. To make matters worse, I don’t even know where I wrote all of my resolutions. I’ve got my fair share of reasons for it (read: excuses).

On the last working day of 2017, my colleague asked me what my 2018 new year resolutions were. That’s when I remembered that I hadn’t bothered with 2017’s, so I naturally hadn’t thought of 2018’s resolutions. But the rest of my team had their resolutions nailed to the T.

I thought and I thought and I thought… whether I wanted to make new year resolutions again this year, but be more diligent with it. Like, write it down on diary that I would use regularly, or paste it in front of me at my office desk at home. I’m usually really good at planning and following through my plan to make sure it works. I’m the plan A kind of a person. I don’t make plan B and C and cos I’m either too exhausted with plan A, or that my plan A is perfect that it is fool-proof. I believe in the latter.

So I figured, new year’s resolutions aren’t for me. I will do what I want to do when I want to do. Weight doesn’t have an effect on me anymore. If I don’t fit into a size 8, I’ll just buy size 10 clothes. My family is buying my size 10 already anyways. To be honest, most of the resolutions I hear has no effect on me or doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. It might be a big deal for the person who wants to start 365 days of photographs, or to those who want to hit the gym and start a healthy diet from 1st January, but to me it isn’t.

Instead, I’ve got very specific practical goals for this year. It’s a matter of do or die, and it is very personal. So I’m not going to publish it, but I’ve written it somewhere that I wont forget. I haven’t got a solid plan yet, I haven't been very successful yet (it’s only been 4 days in to the new year), but there is some sort of an improvement compared to last year.

Resolutions or not, Happy New Year everyone! What matters is that we recognise our purpose in life and live to fulfil it.