When you were little, and a neighbor kid bullied you, you might have shut the window close on one side of your house that faced his. What did that say about you? Depends on how you were connected to them, and what changed.
How does that translate to the digital world we live in today -
What does it take for you to unfriend or block someone, in my opinion, has to speak a lot about your level of tolerance. Its one thing to block someone who bothered you, changed over time, or just wasn't a positive force in your life - and I'm not referring to that.
What I'm referring to is, a situation where you have invested significant time and feelings to know about someone, to an extent that you know them inside out. You kept them in your life, stayed close, and chose to spend time, because you cared about them (doesn't need to be a friend or a date, could just be an acquaintance who you grew into knowing better). Now, ask yourself: what could it take to change your stance 180 degrees on it? and in many cases overnight?
Things don't always go as planned, and at times, you get to a rift with someone you care about. Has happened to me, would've happened to you, and possibly to everyone (if you stood up for something). Now, do you be silent and reflect over it, while time gets you both over it? Or you go and talk it out like adults? Or you go outside (not even enough to cross their Wi-Fi range), unfriend them, block them, and feel good about it? I'm also not sure you'd feel good about it, and but where did you leave any room to correct it if you don't? Unfriending/blocking leaves no room for reconciliation. It is a dead end, where you take a hard decision on the outcome of your relationship.
Not sure if you entirely realize in the moment, but the digital world gives you the power to close out things in a flash. It makes you very powerful. Very very powerful. Like giving you nukes, if you were a nation. No person will be killed if you use it, but the link will be dead and things will never be the same again. I don't admire Harry Truman (to put it politely), and wouldn't really admire someone using nukes when they're not needed, as well. Geo-politically, or in real life.
Just like it's not nice to be on the negotiation table and be threatened to be bombed, it's not nice to be with someone who can argue with, only with an urge to go to their profile to see if you're "still" friends. You might argue it's all balanced as digital power gives both sides equal nukes, but if you're from a nation like India, you'll never use it yourself, while always being threatened to be a victim. It's nowhere ideal and takes away your liberty of speech. It is so important to be spending time with people, who you can discuss most things about the world, with room for debate and discussion, but not of instant judgement and e-nuking. And when I say free to discuss anything, it includes most social issues, including politics, and yes, Trump himself.
When do you unfriend someone? And if someone else unfriends/blocks you for no apparent reason to adult understanding, what do you think it tells about them? Feel free to share in comments. "No unfriending", is guaranteed.
As you might already know, I love to click photos and many times I’m going for long walks only so that I can capture different things along the way. Wait, this sounds like another of mine photography-inspired posts..so what’s the title about? Let’s take a step back..
“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything"
Okay, now we're talking.
Quoted above were the words we heard from our presidential candidate last week. Well, they are actually from the last decade, but its reasonable to assume that if he wasn't running for presidency today (thus, not pretending to having changed), he might as well have said it last week.
Now, I get it that it was just a locker room talk and given how the average guys in media behave (not saying they are right), it shouldn’t be taken out of proportion. Moreover, I don’t want to make this post centered around politics. My point is to take the attention this word has gotten and spin it into an idiomatic use of the word. Back to the story..
As you might already know, I love to click photos and many times I’m going for long walks only so that I can capture different things along the way. I mostly click nature, cityscapes, and built environment. Don’t often do portraits. Not because I don't like them (I love them), but because I hesitate to ask someone if I could click them. I know many would be ready for it, and some would even be flattered, but I try to avoid the awkward interaction, and end up missing a Kodak moment (more like Canon moment for me). This has happened tons of times.
Sisters blowing bubbles together.
Little kids taking a splash in the logan circle fountain.
Elderly running up the rocky steps.
Puppies scrambling on the Schuylkill River trail.
Red lipsticks lining up by el vez.
I've missed all those opportunities. Why? I got to know the answer a couple weeks back.
Last to last Sunday, I was again on one of those click-o-walks, and there was this girl walking in front of me - sleek figure, long legs, slim-fit dark grey jeans, long and sharp hair partly covering up a white jacket, the back of which read “Don't be a pussy”.
We were both walking along 18th, approaching Ben Franklin, where the red light gave us a moment to spare. As I was approaching the cross section, I saw laterally- a herd of cars who were at a standstill, while the traffic light was flashing green for them. It was one of those hand-and-eye coordination gap moments where the drivers saw the green light, and had not pressed the gas paddles yet.
I instantly saw how precious a moment that was - with her jacket in the foreground splashing that strong message, and those cars at standstill on a green light in the background, it would’ve made for a wonderful message. I had a chance to instantly click her that second in time - and maybe tell her afterwards. I thought for a moment, and a moment was too much time to take. Cars started thrusting, one after the other, till the flock was gone and the light was red again (for them), and green for us. I crossed the road. Upon reaching the other side, I looked back - she hadn’t moved, maybe she was waiting for someone. I continued walking and thought more about the message on her jacket and how that could be an answer for why I’ve missed all the opportunities I listed above - the little sister twins, kids in a fountain, elders running up, and the line of red lips - because..yes, maybe because I was being a p****y. Nobody likes to admit that, but I will. You should become aware of that and admit it too.
In the connotation of the word (more like meaning a wuss), every one of us has a part or a front, where we are being exactly that - fearful of something that prevents us from doing something else that we love. In this case, it was fear of an awkward interaction. Now, socially, I’ve come a long way and am comfortable doing many things that I wasn’t some years ago. I identify myself as an extrovert now (big change, vis-a-vis 5 years in rewind), go to weird places, talk to strangers, explore the other sides of my interest, etc. - but this fear of awkward interaction has stayed in some aspects. You might find you feel the same in some situations too. It’s time to overcome this, to let us do things we would be proud of later. Just look around and think how wonderful the world around us would be, if everyone did over come this very fear to start with -
See? Just in the examples of political arena, so many things would look great, if we stopped being a wuss about not wanting to face an awkward interaction. It would almost always help the case of ones doing so. In this case, candidates would do better by admitting, because denial doesn’t erase doubts from a voter’s mind, but admission of not being perfect could gain you sympathy. In my case, I could’ve clicked her and politely showed her the photo later and explained why I did it and offered to share the photo with her, with letting her decide if she wants me to delete it. Much better than not clicking it in first place.
Whatever one pretends, from me and you, to those who explore the space and run countries - everyone, on some front, is a wuss. If we could just stop being that, we could break the barriers of what might be holding us back. So, let’s grab them (dreams) from (being) the (a) pussy. We can do anything.
Foreword from the other direction: When I spotted the girl and went through the jacket thought, the trump tapes hadn’t made news yet. When they did, I connected the coincidence and decided to write about the idiomatic message. Right out from the jacket, I knew what would make for a perfect title, but I wondered if that would be a little bit too extreme. But then, if someone who’s claiming to be able to run the country can say it publicly, why can a nobody not write it down on his own blog? So, I stopped being a p***y about it.
P.S.: All opinions are ofcourse only mine, with no relations to any organization to disclose.
PC: NROStatic, Alicdn
A bit late in the day to wish, but - thanking the morning cuppa' coffee that got us all here, let me wish you a happy "National Coffee Day"!
A little background of my association with the drink -
I always thought of myself as a tea person (what's the concept of being an "x-person" anyway? Most of what one likes is a result of what one's exposed to. One can only like things one knows well about). So, well, I grew up in India, which is regarded as a 'tea-nation' (more like 'tea with milk' nation). Coffee was really limited to the context of dating - Yes, if you're 'spotted' with someone in a coffee shop, you're most probably dating. Well, almost.
Things changed when I got here. Nobody here (that I knew of) drank tea. There were no tea shops, or chai ka galla's. Only coffee shops and coffee makers. Some how, I never happened to missed tea. I felt good about not being addicted to any drink (let's say so). And then came coffee.
It's not difficult to get dragged down in the habit once you get into this country:
Say you have a 7 am class. You barely make it in time, and feel like you're napping away. You look around, and notice that every one has their eyes (forcefully) wide open.
You ask them "How so?". And every one tells you the same story about - how they're up and running, just and just because they stopped at a place, called 'Starbucks' on the way, and got this magical drink in their hands.
"That's it?", you ask.
"Not really, I got a refill too", they stress.
Things like these get you in. Starbucks in every other block doesn't help. Free coffee maker in your graduate buildings and offices doesn't help either. Result: You easily get addicted to these beans. Fast forward to today, I have a cup of coffee every single day. I'm not addicted as some I've seen, but I like it being a part of my routine. Just like I'm okay with keeping other other false feel-good assumptions (not all, some). If having some caffeine makes me feel like I should have more energy on my side, sure - let's have a blast.
How did we get here? Why did I write this?
Well, I've never written a 'Happy Coffee Day' post before, and never intended to write one. Since some days, I have wanted to write about a marketing messaging I'm seeing within the app economy though (which is centered around coffee). And as I got to know of today being the National Coffee Day, I started to write, and as you can tell, my historical association with coffee 'spilled over' most of this post. Maybe I need a cup. Anyways, the marketing trend I was mentioning is the one where: Apps are trying to convince you to pay some bucks a month, by evaluating the amount to some cups of coffee. Maybe you've noticed it too.
With me, this started a year back. I ended my Spotify premium subscription, and a pop-up appeared which looked like it came up just to convince me to 'stay premium'.
"Maybe they're giving me a discount to stay on, as I just cancelled", I thought.
I clicked - what did I find?
"Listen to the music you want, all for the cost of 3 coffees a month", it said. I wasn't convinced. I went ahead with being a freemium user (loved Premium by the way, just don't feel the need anymore).
Lyft came up with a similar marketing message this month. I've seen billboards that read "Hail a ride, at the cost of a cup of coffee".
Now, I'll admit cabs (Uber/Lyft) are so cheap these days, that I do feel like calling one when I'm less than convinced of needing one. However, in this case, it came back to the message of communicating cost of subscription to cups of coffee. Let's put some thought to it.
What if someone doesn't drink coffee - it will surely not appeal to them, right?
Well okay, it's a safe bet to market this in US (as most are coffee drinkers), but then - doesn't it depend where are you buying coffee from? If I drink a K-Cup, should my ride be worth less than a dollar?
Why does it assume I always buy a cup from Starbucks, and that too a Grande?
Also, with Starbucks ramping up price increases of coffee by ~20 cents every year - am I supposed to think less of services by every passing year?
Aren't they missing the point by quantifying cost of coffee, while they could market it with the association that make people addicted to it?
That got me thinking - what's a cup of coffee worth, after all?
Spill in your thoughts..
Childhood is when we all had a first glimpse at what all was possible to do in this intriguing world. We had unlimited options. We were free and ambitious. We could’ve gone either way. But then we had our ‘Childhood heroes’, who took the time and effort to mentor us, guide us through this new world we were getting increasingly aware of, and shaped our characters for the rest of our lives.
Every one of you will have their own set of childhood heroes, and you should never forget them.
For me, it was my grandmother, my mother, my school principle, and my high school teacher – each of them was very disciplined, an epitome of propriety, but at the same time, dearly loving. They would not just teach me lessons, but live them for me. And if I didn’t get them right, they would scold me in a way that I would feel even more loved.
You know one other thing that they all had in common? They were all women. I don’t want to be a sexist either way, but I have had doubts whether men could’ve played any of those roles for me. Men indeed played very crucial role in my upbringing too, but had nowhere close an impact on my character that my heroes had. Now, each of my heroes were astounding leaders. Each were best of breed and had all that it could ever take to be one. They deserved to be in the topmost spots of respective fields they were good at. They weren’t there – I didn’t know why, but at least I got to spend more time with them that way. As I came of age, I knew it was because our society had a problem – they always went against their creators, which in this case, were women.
Being a male, I’m unable to experience what the situation on ground is today, but I’ve seen changes over years. I’ve seen women lead Fortune 500 companies, and democratic nations. If you believe my vision, you would also believe that as we proceed with the current century, gender tides will turn and women will be the obvious leaders in every single walk of society. Men will find it very difficult to imitate their patience, creativity, and compassion. All being great hallmarks of a leader.
To the leaders of tomorrow, yes – to all of those who are currently serving as heroes in their own lives, Wish you a very Happy Women’s Day!
Don’t ever stop. Keep marching ahead. Society needs you.
Did you have childhood heroes too, who were women? Do share your stories in comments. There's never enough of inspiration. Also if you're a woman yourself, what do you think of where the society stands today? Have we made enough progress?
Picture source: plusquotes.com