My Halloween Experience

Of late, I have noticed an increase in the number of paranormal shows that are aired on television. It’s the month of October and some channels have Halloween specials going on too. How many of you believe in the paranormal? I think most people watch it for entertainment and don’t believe in it. Some people are curious and want to know whether such entities really exist. Very few people believe in the paranormal as they may have had an experience of their own. These shows give people the courage to speak about their experience. Everything bottles down to whether you had a paranormal encounter or not. If you did, you probably are a believer, else you are a sceptic.

As a child, a long-time back, I saw something that I could not make sense of at that time. Back then, people always said that everything has a scientific explanation and the rest is either imagination or insanity. However, I dare to share my experience today.

I woke up one night and couldn’t get back to sleep. I walked up to the window and looked out into the yard. Right in front of me, within a close range, I saw the white silhouette of a young lady walking slowly up and down the yard. I started wondering who it was. My eyes followed down her profile and the figure just faded into thin air under the knees. Yet, she silently kept moving up and down the yard as if she were fulfilling some duty.

Suddenly it struck me that this thing is not a real person. At that point, she was right in front of the window. For the first time that night, she turned towards me. I felt as though she could hear my thoughts.

“Ghost!!!” screamed my mind. I ran into the other room as fast as my feet could carry me and stumbled into someone’s bed. I crawled under the blanket and hugged the person tight. The next morning, I realized I was in my aunt’s bed and she went around the whole house announcing this. I was thoroughly embarrassed by this, yet I was also puzzled about what I saw. Too scared to talk about it, I buried the incident in my mind.

That encounter changed me. I was scared of dark places and I never looked out of the window, in case I woke up at night. I never indulged in horror movies, horror stories and discussions about the paranormal. It was a long fight against my fears until I was able to stand my ground against them. Please do share any such experiences that you have had.
Happy Halloween!!!

Where Have All The Good Horror Movies Gone?

It is October and Halloween is fast approaching. It brings back memories of horror movie marathons, sitting in the dark telling ghost stories, playing pranks on cousins to scare them etc. At one time in my life, Halloween was one of the most awaited days of the year. I would get scared of all those gory movies yet, I would stay up to watch them with my cousins. This brings me to the title of this blog, “Where are all the good horror movies gone?”

Nowadays, all horror movies have become predictable. They follow a set formula, and it can be figured out just by watching the trailer. When I was a kid, I was scared of all those deformed faces and gory images that were shown in horror movies. Later, I moved to slasher movies where a bunch of dumb kids unleash the devil. There was a slew of possession movies and they scared me for some time. Biblical horror, sci-fi horror, alien invasions, creature features, demons walking on earth, exorcisms, witchcraft etc, have all been covered in horror genre.

However, one style of horror still continues to scare me. It is good Psychological horror. Dracula, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, antichrist, vengeful spirits all have a limitation of possibilities. Psychological horror is one area where there is no real limitation of things that can go wrong. One can never fathom the extent to which our mind can wreak havoc when cornered against a wall.

I continue to get scared of this genre of horror. The others might seem impossible, but there is no way to tell if Psychological horror is an impossible occurrence. Movies like Psycho, The Shining, Seven, Misery, Silence Of The Lambs, etc are just a few of the scary movies I like.
I’m sure everyone has their own list ready for Halloween this year. Have a great and memorable Halloween this year.

Image Source: Google Images. I Do Not Own This Poster. It Is Sourced From Google.

Five Easy Things Anyone Can Do

We often use phrases like “that’s easy” or “that’s too hard for me”. Today I wanted to make a simple and funny list of things that I find easy or hard to do. However, I would like to point out that something is easy doesn’t mean that I do those things and hard to do doesn’t mean that I don’t try to engage in those activities. It’s just a fun list. 

  1. When you are late, make excuses. Blame the traffic: I confess I am guilty of this crime. There were times when I used traffic as an excuse for being late. The fact that it never worked is a different story.
  2. When you are angry, show your temper on inanimate things. Hmm! I would say that taking our anger out on objects is much less damaging than lashing out at people. Again, it’s a different story when I break my expensive phone or watch in anger.
  3. If the problem is your own, then it’s genuine but if someone else is going through it, then it can’t be all that bad. I have been a victim of this kind of treatment quite often. Although I have to say one thing, when we are in that situation, our mind doesn’t work. All the wisdom we impart to others does not make sense in our difficult times.
  4. When you complete a task successfully, turn around and tell everyone how organized, dedicated and determined you are. When things go wrong, it is always someone else at fault. This one is the funniest of all. I saw many people do this and I use it as a joke.
  5. When you have sufficient time to complete a task, postpone the job for later. When you don’t have enough time to do it, burn the midnight oil and toil until daybreak to complete it. Gosh! I am totally guilty of this one. There is a distinctive sense of accomplishment when we complete a task in the last minute

Now that you went through ‘the easy things’ list, you might want to look at my list of 5 hardest things to do. These are things that are hard for me. Some of you might not find it all that difficult.

  1. Stick to a new year’s resolution for long enough that it can yield any good results. It is so hard to do this, of late I haven’t been making any new year resolution.
  2. Stay disciplined with diet and exercise. I have a serious problem with this. For this reason, my waistline expands and contracts from one extreme to the other like a rubber-band. 
  3. Not get stressed out when being under pressure to meet a deadline or when given a task which is obviously beyond one’s capacity or control. This is 100% me. No matter how hard I try, I can’t keep myself away from stress.
  4. Keeping away from sweet treats and desserts for a long time. Sweets are my weakness.
  5.  Completing all the housework before going to bed. Ah! This last one is an eternal struggle for me. Every day I try but, I have something or the other spilling over into the next day. 

Tell me what do you think of my list or easy and hard things. Tell me what’s easy and what is hard for you. I would love to hear from you all. Have a great day all of you!

Make Adversity Your Best Friend

Whenever people find themselves in a sticky situation, the first thing that they generally experience is stress and the next is, to wish to get back to the status quo. Above all other emotions is the “Why me?” feeling and our brain starts looking for an easy escape. Adversity knocks on the door more frequently than good luck. This is a fact of life. If we can make adversity our friend, then every trouble has a tale to tell and every misfortune has prosperity hidden in it. Though it is not easy to untangle the web of misfortune, it is still worth the effort. The only exception is the sorrow of the death of a dear one.

Trials work like a litmus test and reveal our true well-wishers. During difficulties, we turn to our friends and family for help, while most of them try their best to help and stand by us, a few of them disappear from our sight. I like to call these people the fair-weather friends. Had it not been for the trials, we would never get the opportunity to identify them.

In times of difficulties, if we look within ourselves rather than blaming it on a jinx, we can surely come up with a solution. We just need to reexamine our skillset, bolster our determination and work on our problems. At times like this, we find out where we are lacking and thus, get a chance to improve our self accordingly. Adversity teaches us resilience. During the economic slowdown of the late 1990s, I lost my job. Instead of lamenting on it, I used this as an opportunity to improve my skills and when the market was ready to offer jobs, I was better prepared.

I have noticed that laziness and procrastination lead to unnecessary distress as a job done on time means, no worries. We can make bill payments as an example, any delay in payments lead to fines. Similarly, a lack of proper understanding of the task also creates hardships. We should never shy away from asking for assistance. Sometimes miscommunication is the cause of all our ordeals. We can try and solve this issue by explaining our intentions and requirements in a task. We can take language classes too if that is the problem. Give it whatever it takes to solve the problem because, in our quest to solve them, we end up improving ourselves. Every adversity scoops out the unrequired qualities within us and builds our character.

If we reminisce back to school days, while working out math problems for a given topic, some questions were very simple. If we practice only the simple questions and then we cannot handle even slightly complex problems on the same topic. We will be fretting and frowning about the sudden complexity. In the same way, twisted circumstances in life help in sharpening us. There would be no problems in life if, we learn our lessons at the first encounter itself, else we are bound to repeat our mistakes.

If we take a look at the people around us, we will find that some of them can manage their life really well. It seems as if God pre-programmed them before sending them into this world. They make you wonder, “Why can’t I manage things like them?”. Either they have excellent managerial skills or they have a great sense of style or they perennially have a smiling face. It is not that they are born that way but, they take every adversity and turn it into an advantage.

I can tell you from experience that following this advice is tougher than preaching it. The hardest part is to set aside the ego, drop all excuses and accept the truth. Believe in yourself that you can make a difference and welcome every adversity as a friend that has come to improve you. Like a jigsaw puzzle, put all the pieces together to get the complete picture. Twist and turn the problem till you shape it into a solution and pull each thread out patiently until the mess is untangled. All the best In your effort, if you succeed, you will be the best form of yourself.

Age Is Not Just a Number

They say, ‘ Age is just a number’, ‘You are as old as you think you are’. If you want to feel young, then you have to be young at heart. This is how people view age and the process of ageing. At first, I thought who am I to dispute this. I am not that old yet to debate the matter. I accepted it on its face value.

Now I beg to differ. Not that I have suddenly aged, thankfully not yet. However, I have been in the company of old people due to certain inescapable events. They may not complain about their condition all the time, but just to watch them struggle to perform everyday tasks is tragic. Their mind is keen, but the body is not able to keep up like it used to. We see some people have a tough time holding a cup of coffee without spilling it. Sometimes they have difficulty climbing steps as they keep missing a step in between. It gets even more complicated when the body is fine, but your mind starts to rebel. Hallucinations and delusions are an example of such situations. I am not talking about any specific mental or physical condition that causes these problems. Many such difficulties arise once your age advances.

The sad part of all this is, some of these conditions can be delayed, or even avoided if necessary precautions are taken at a young age. Often we take our body and health for granted and ignore exercises and healthy food. We might enjoy life now, but it all comes due, once we cross our 60s. For those unlucky few, it comes due earlier.

I have picked a touchy topic to discuss, but I intend to highlight the significance of taking care of health and fitness. When our body does not comply, our mind cannot do anything. Ageing is inevitable, but the only thing to ensure minimum pain is healthy food and plenty of exercises. Keep moving and working to keep fit.

This is one advice that I insist on giving. The earlier you get on the road to fitness, the better. Even if you are a late starter, I say it’s better late than never. Bring out your exercise gear and let’s get cracking on health.

Problems That Need a Name

A problem that does not exist, needs no solutions, isn’t it so? Unless we recognize the existence of a problem, we will not start thinking about ways to repair it. For this reason, the first step towards problem-solving is to recognize and define the problem. A problem can be anything that endangers your welfare or anything detrimental to your future well-being.

For over a year, I have been suffering from persistent headaches, that sometimes last days at a stretch. Initially, I thought it was sinusitis. Later, the blame was pushed on to stress and bad weather. Whatever the cause, the only solution I could see was painkillers. I had work to do and could not stop to rest. Even when I had the time to rest, I would hesitate to think, “How often will people around me put up with my excuse?”

As time passed, I was able to identify some common features of my problem and finally, the doctor diagnosed my trouble as migraine. Rather than disturbing me, the diagnosis gave me a sense of relief. Since the problem has been identified and named, I no longer feel disconcerted. I can research about the condition and take necessary precautions. I can try different options such as changing my diet, meditation and exercise instead of going straight for the painkillers. This incident got me thinking about the importance of “Identifying the problem”.

We don’t often take the time to introspect about the whys, whats and hows. We find it easier to point fingers at others, the circumstances or our fate. Our deficiencies become our neighbour’s fault or the devious plan of some evil imaginary force. Either, we build up bad vibes for the so-called ‘enemy’ or pray to the heavens for divine intervention. We fail to recognize the fact that unless we work on the problem, it will continue to thrive. That brings us back to our main point; unless we acknowledge the problem we will not work on it.

To acknowledge the problem, analyze every situation and assess your role in the crisis. Think about all the various possibilities like, “What if I had taken a different approach?”, “What if I had prepared for the exam?” or “What if I had alerted the appropriate person?” Is there anything that you could have done that would result in a better outcome? During this process, it is important to be truthful to yourself. This line of thought will lead you in the right direction.

Once the problem is identified, our mind will automatically start looking for solutions. My personal experience has been that I was able to improve myself along many planes. It also helped me become a better person and improve the quality of my life compared to two decades ago.
Tell me about your experience or if you have anything more to add to this topic. I would love to hear from you. Have a nice day!

To Change Or Not To Change

I have a bit of an enigma, to change or not to change. Everyone says change is the only constant in life. If we want to adapt to any change in our life, then we have to change ourself, else, we might become obsolete. We have to try to improve our self. In fact, it is strongly believed that those who stick to the old ways often get left behind. Acclimating to change is the only way forward.

Just when I’m convinced with this argument, my mind says, but we have to be strong and stay true to our convictions. We should not keep changing colours and end up losing our individuality in the crowd. We should adhere to our way of life. Change means to quit on our opinions and taking a cowardly way out.

How do we choose which is correct?

Be Mindful of Your Words While Expressing Yourself

Words are the most powerful tools that we use to express opinions, intentions, ideas, plans etc. Understandably, our words can make our life easy and smooth sailing or they can invite trouble and unwanted risks. Many times, though we speak the truth, if we are not careful of our tone or choice of words, our message is not conveyed correctly. This can potentially wreck a relationship, business deal or lifelong friendship.

When we let our anger, envy or pride colour our tone of speaking, we could end up conveying a very different message. There are few situations when our emotions are justified, however, they get communicated in a more sinister way because of the words we use. We often describe it as righteous anger and intend to point out the evil intentions behind an innocuous deed. However, our emotions and inner turmoil can distort our speech and make us appear jealous and resentful.

There are many examples of such mishaps in our daily life. I had recently encountered a conflict that was blown out of proportions because of this reason. It was a lesson I wanted to remember and hence, I have written this blog. I hope to bring this to the attention of my readers.