Your everyday essentials

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I have always wondered about the definition of a ‘day’. Years ago, we were taught the geographical definition – through rotation of the earth. Then we were taught about times and phases of the day by timings, activities and routines – the social definition. But here I am curious about a personalized definition – what makes your day seem like a ‘day’?

In other words, is there an activity in your life that is essential for you to feel ‘complete’ about each day?

I have had discussions with several people about this, and have heard very variable and interesting everyday essential elements such as:

  • A day without laughter is a day wasted
  • A day without a good deed is a day wasted
  • A day without exercise is a day wasted
  • For the workaholics, a day without work is a day wasted
  • A day without prayers is a day wasted
  • A day without coffee is a day wasted!

What is it, that for you makes your everyday count? Any more interesting ones from your side?

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For me, the definition of a worthwhile day has long been the productivity associated with the day. Pretty much like the brain here in this ‘heart versus brain’ conflict. I am more like the brain here! I do get perturbed if there is no productive element to the day. Do you ever felt trapped in this yardstick of ‘productivity’ that makes your day seem like a day? Do you feel lost, unsuccessful, wasteful if there is no ‘productive’ element in your life?

I have often struggled to establish equations with myself with the permissive limits for daily productivity in order to feel accomplished at the end of the day. Because being productive each day is not easy. When we desire to have small and big successful missions everyday, we often meet with disappointment. Be it something as small as dusting your piece of furniture or finishing some pending work at the insurance office or something big at work like, say in my case, a crucial experiment in the lab. The success or ‘productivity’ of our tasks are governed by so many factors which we do not control; that it’s almost always more likely to go wrong than go right 😛 And the resultant failures or delays that arise have made me feel wasteful about that day.

And hence over the years I have done some upgrades to my thinking system, my definition of ‘daily productivity’ has undergone evolution; and I am glad that it has.

I have shifted from a necessity of ‘productivity’ to a necessity of ‘contribution’ for each day. A contribution – be it to work, to an organization or to another persons life – is my measurement of the worth for everyday. Not the productive or non-productive outcome of the contribution. I have now realized that the only way to make each day count is to try and contribute in as much spheres of life as possible. Mistakes will happen, things will often get stalled, factors beyond our influence may impact the outcome – but it’s important to keep contributing. At the end of the day, this attempt to contribute is my everyday essential.

Needless to say, writing this post has made a tick on my contributory checklist for today 🙂 Have you been able to tick off your everyday essentials in this day?

 

Spectacular clarity!

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Spectacles are one of the best inventions of mankind. The ability to correct a faulty vision has given so many people an opportunity to witness the beauty of this world. From being a sign of a nerd to a style statement, eye glasses have evolved a long way. For someone who has been using spectacles since the age of 11, there is a special bond with those two glass lenses held together by a frame. Do you feel a similar bond with your spectacles? I will never forget the day I was asked to start using glasses. Like a lot of school kids it started with headaches and an inability to read what was written on the black board. Alphabets and numbers appeared fuzzy and blurred (Clearly eating carrots and coriander for 10 years had not been useful enough!!). Then as soon as the doctor slid various glasses in the holder for me to try, my vision cleared up! I could see things that were far off with clarity. With focus. I could read comfortably! My spectacles introduced me to the meaning of the word ‘clarity’ in its entirety! My first pair of specs was a hideous brown frame that had stripes all over it…. Something that seems so cool when you are 11; and absolutely disgusting by the time you turn 16!! And from then on, its been half rimmed, full rimmed, rimless, square cut, round, plastic, metal all kinds of frames and all kinds of glasses in my life. All pairs of specs have their own charm, but are united by one purpose- of presenting the world with clarity. Its grown to become a part of me. A few attempts to use the cumbersome contact lenses were futile. My eyes kept rejecting them. My mind had rejected them long before my eyes tried them 😛

Over the years, I believe my glasses have shown me the world with the maximum clarity that they could, be it people, or visible things in the world or structures inside living cells. Sometimes it has also shown me apparently hidden tears, sometimes cheeky smiles, sometimes happiness, sometimes deception, sometimes selflessness and so many other things!! And through this contribution, my glasses have become a part of my thinking process, my perception process, my imagination process. And so, when someone says put on your thinking caps, I put on my specs and get to work 🙂

I don’t know if they have a World Spectacles Day or something. But for all of you with specs, take a moment to thank this everyday tool that lets you see the world with clarity (and hey, unlike most everyday tools these days, it doesn’t even need a charger 😛 ). And for those of you who don’t use spectacles, you too should thank them. Cos I am sure at least some people important to you among your friends or family or better/worse halves have noticed you with clarity only because of a pair of spectacles 🙂

The beauty of the everyday

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This blog is a series of write-ups that describe thoughts and ideas that are bubbling oh-so-always in my head. Being an analytical Virgo, my mind is always at work, wading through days and events with my brain’s magnifying glass. And the thing that I enjoy the most is thinking about how do people live their day everyday? What comprises the daily thoughts, decisions and chores of people? What are their everyday essentials? Each time I pass by a building or a house, a sneak peek through an open window shows me a cupboard, a clothes-line, or a cooking range or a study table or some such aspect. And each time I wonder how must people in the house be using all these things everyday? What must the cupboard or the refrigerator be witnessing ? If these inanimate things could speak, how would they describe a day in their lives? It’s one of the most fascinating thoughts of my head that every person in this world lives a different ‘everyday’ than anyone else!

Unfortunately though, off late, one thing about the everyday bothers me. And that is a continuous blacklisting of the everyday routine that I notice a lot of people doing . Let me explain.

A lot of advertisements and hoardings these days talk about a ‘break from routine’, ‘a change from everyday’, ‘a home away from home’. Traveling to a new location, sitting by a plush green lawn sipping your favorite beverage,  dancing to groovy disco musics and letting your hair down – these seem to be the ‘to-do’ things to unwind. Weekend plans, travels, parties are so much more on the rise than what it was, say ten years ago. True that a break from monotone is required to refresh you from routines; but I am worried about a bigger message that this culture is conveying; especially to the gen-next out there. And that is of a near complete necessity to go away from routine to seek happiness. And amidst all this, the ‘everyday’ is constantly being accused of increasing the stress and negativity in people’s lives. And that concerns me.Why is ‘life’ only in the ‘break from everyday’? Why is there an underlying assumption that everyday things are totally boring and you ‘need to’ break free out of those to gain happiness? Instead, can you get two flavors of happiness in your life – one that emerges out of routinely things, and a different one from days that are spent outside your routine?

My bottomline here is simple – Everyday is beautiful. Or rather everyday can be made beautiful. You can find amusement and joy in your routines and everyday things. The stuff you do everyday, the people you interact with everyday, the routes you take, the food you cook – basically your everyday is your identity. Not just professional, but also personal identity. It is what makes you ‘you’. And it is what gives you those little experiences in learning, and this totally fascinates me. And on the other hand, the not-so-everyday life of yours gives you a different beautiful aspect of your personality to experience – one that does other hobbies and activities, interacts possibly with different people and enjoys a different series of events. This is your more leisurely state, which gives you amusement out of a greater creative spirit in you.

This almost equal emphasis on everyday stuff, mundane activities and on unconventional not-everyday stuff will be the theme in this blog series. I believe every little thing we do, we use or think about everyday is important, and fun – be it a regular home chore or an exotic piece of art; and deserves equal attention.And hence I invite you all to join me in exploring my wondering thoughts about each and everyday and the stuff we do, see and learn everyday.

I will sign off by saying that this picture here represents the constant element in everyday – sunrise. And with it, I will attempt to introduce to you one more constant element that sits deep within the sunrise – the beauty of everyday 🙂