Monthly Archives: February, 2013

The ‘disorder’ called neatness

What’s cleanliness for you, a must-have habit or an obsession hard to get rid of? If you ask me, I would say I fall in to the first category, whereas this  my former roommate of mine, a freakish neat freak  with some very strange characters would come under the second, or in fact I would put her way above the neat freaks that I am familiar with. This is because she is so crazily neat and believed that everyone in the world other than her  are slobs. I met her a few years back, in 2008 to put it precisely, when I was new to the city as well as to the hostel that I live.  A thirty something average looking female, she never spoke much to others, even to me, and was always found clung to her mobile phone, the typical ‘symptom’ of a long distance relationship. Whether she talks or not didn’t matter much to me, as what bothered me like hell was her fixation towards neatness, which I felt was the worst possible case of OCD.  A woman who insanely spends a major share of her day washing her hands and feet and cleaning her body is someone hard to live with, but unfortunately I had no other options to choose.  Thus started the long ordeal, which was nothing less silently and sanely bearing her delirious tantrums, until I was lucky enough to have another option.

Let me tell you a few interesting things from her daily routine, and I can prove what I have said, beyond any doubts. Walking up at 6.45 am is never a crime, but spending one hour in the bathroom that’s meant for four of us  is of course an inexcusable offense, especially when she knows very well that our offices are way too far unlike hers, which is just a few steps away from the hostel. After testing our patience for about an hour or so, she would relaxingly come out to get ready to go for breakfast, when we would be hurrying for our turns to take bath. Before having breakfast she would wash her hands and feet all over again, as if she’s desperately trying to wash away tons of dirt and dust. What would you all say when you see someone who has just taken bath desperately washing her hands and feet within another ten minutes? Mad?

By the time she comes back after her breakfast, let’s say in another forty-five minutes, we all would hurriedly finish bathing, as we know that she would soon jump in to the bathroom to wash her hands and feet again, which is another half an hour’s process. After those three different cleaning sessions, she would languidly stand in front of the mirror in the pretext of getting ready, making us wait until we lose our entire patience and ask her to move a little, when she would soon pick up that reason to start a quarrel. Once she gets ready to go to the office, she would again run towards the bathroom, to wash her hands and feet, as if filth has covered them all over again. So after all these, she would happily walk out of the room, leaving us wondering how on earth it is possible for someone to have such exceptional needs and neurotic craziness for neatness.

Although we could never live up her sparkling standards, we were never ‘dirt carriers’, and never used to spend significant amount of time cleaning and ordering things. Once I was walking towards her and unknowingly touched her finger, and shocking me to core, my “germaphobe”   roommate hurried towards the washbasin and started washing and scrubbing her hands.

We were forced to keep her away because of her extreme need for neatness and her weird and wacky sanitation habits, but never felt she bothered about it much as she was never ready to leave away her compulsiveness about neatness which was never a simple and amusing eccentricity, but a serious disorder that was hard to accept. We were quite sure that she would soon get on other people’s nerves due to her unreasonable germ paranoia, and it happened in a few months, when endless number of complaints started pouring in to the hostel office about her insensitive behavior and neurotic urge for neatness.  Soon we all moved to other rooms and she left the hostel very soon.

They say neatness is next to godliness but I beg to differ.  Too much neatness won’t do any good, and may actually hurt your mental health as well as your relationships with people around.  Neat freaks would never know that there’s a fine yet distinct line between basic neatness and compulsive madness, thus badly hampering the life of everyone around them.

Too serious to handle

How good are you in handling people who are too silent and serious all the time, and can’t handle even a joke? Being moderately serious is almost excusable, but, it’s too awful to be in the company of people who are masters of the artless art of spreading glumness through unnecessary seriousness. Be in their presence for a moment and they would soon cover your surroundings with a dreadful shadow, as they always have the immense capability of draining out the vigor and cheeriness of people in their proximity. I’ve experienced this many times in my life, so if you ask me, I would say I am not big-hearted enough to handle them and the huge amount of ‘heaviness’ that they forcefully share with others. What keeps me wondering is the reason why they put-in the mask of seriousness all day long and suck the life out of others? I do agree that life has lots of tough situations, and everyone has their share of happiness and sadness in life, but this in no way means one has to be dead serious all the time. In spite of all the bad situations that we have, life is never biased and has equal share of happiness for everyone, but putting in serious faces and indulging in serious thoughts would do no good and would sneakily veil the share of happiness that we are gifted with, thus making us view only the serious and sadder part of life.

If you really don’t want to drain-away the happiness in your mind and feel exhausted and depressed, I would say it’s always better to diplomatically and tactfully avoid people who are blessed enough to inflate even the lightest day today situations, and make them as heaviest as possible.  Just run away from them before they take hold of your mind, and inject-in the ‘fatally poisonous’ seriousness and numbness that they always carry, and are too generous to share with others. Be it a person or a topic, I carefully try and avoid the unscrupulous exploitation or kind of vampirism that these people indulge in, with their numb presence and sober, grumpy talks, thus making others instinctively feel unsafe, anxious, and depressed. I used to think that I can give my best smile and remain completely detached from such people and their talks, but unfortunately, some are too immune to my smile therapy and I miserably fail, thus desperately looking for the best possible way to get-away.

Many people do have this misconception that looking dead serious is the sign of intelligence and sensibility.  They are utterly wrong and I am sure they would never know about how the really intelligent people take-up life with ease and lightness that would lighten the mind and help it release some clearer and vivid thoughts that can initiate a bunch of sensible actions to make life worth living.

Serious people and their burdened minds can change only if they voluntarily change their attitude towards life and people around.   Or else, they would never ever taste the better side of life, and would end up living a numb life filled in with serious thoughts, right from the minute they get up, until they go to bed.

I’ve chosen to be patient, to be happy

Anger has always given me hard times, by poking its dirty long nose unexpectedly at many situations in my life. This is no way means I am a short tempered person who would get angry even for the slightest possible reason that I can find out. Yes, I annoyed at times, but only for those genuine reasons that I can best explain, and one among them is the scornful remarks of those who are keen on digging-out my mistakes, purposefully overlooking the umpteen things they I am good in. But I will soon get-over this and will move on, as I am tired freaking out at such people and really don’t want to be affected by their venomous remarks.

I used to get badly irritated when people deliberately pointed out the negatives in me or my works, purposefully avoiding all the positives. This irritated more when I used to put in hours of hard work and patience in to what I assigned to do, only to find that they all go unnoticed, and only that slightest & accidental error from my end is getting highlighted in front of others. Even though I very well know that no one can be perfect in life and do thing flawlessly, it’s too devastating to hear people reiterate the negatives non-stop, while purposefully forgetting the umpteen positives. I think I can site so many situations of this kind, which has happened in my professional as well as personal life, where I had been so desperate to explain how much dedicated I was and the amount of hard work that I had put-in to make things as perfect as possible. All in vain! Some people around say I do have a bad inferiority complex and that I should pluck it out from my mind very soon, before it ruins me. But I know I am not inferior, and have strong faith in me and my capabilities. All that I can’t stand is people who lack the ability to find positives in me and my works.

Now, I am slowly trying to stop giving those frantic replies, and wait for my turn to calmly explain my end. Yes, with age comes wisdom, and I am learning the wiser ways that are working wonders these days. After the best efforts to explain my part, I deliberately make sure not to worry if the hearer is not satisfied, and make my mind understand that I’ve done my part in the best possible way.  Fortunately I am having many more stress-free experiences that before dealing with those unhappy ones around who are keen on numbering what went wrong rather than looking at what all went right.

From my experience, I would say it’s always better to stop being frenetic, as I’ve understood that there is a majority out there who are ‘blessed’ enough to remember negative things more strongly and in more detail. Yes, they do irritate me, but I try not to get annoyed like before! Why bother to mess with them when I know what I am capable of?

Pointing out someone’s negative side is not at all a bad practice, if people are generous enough to balance it with equal amount of positives, thus helping the person boost his ability work more on his capabilities. But if a review is one-sided and biased, containing only a list of negatives, I am sure it would do no good to anyone, not only to me, but also to others, and will in turn take away the enthusiasm and vigor of the hearer.

The ‘DiCaprio crush’

I was reading the entertainment news today and happened to see a picture of the ‘matured looking’ Leonardo De Caprio, the teenage crush of many of my college mates. Call it my ignorance about movies and actors, but, the man who once had the looks of a classic ‘chocolate hero’ was looking tad different in the picture and it called to mind a few interesting memories from my college days and about my girl pals who swooned over him.

De Caprio and Titanic were the hottest and most talked topics in our college, and all my friends had a kind of hysterical crush on him, a crush on someone they’ve never met in life! For them, he was the most handsome on earth and Titanic was the perfect portrayal of eternal love. For me, Leonardo De Caprio was always on the list of those immature looking heroes who can never ever go beyond the edge of typical romantic films. Every one, except me, wanted to watch James Cameron’s cinematic magnum opus, but it was that time of our academic year when we had classes back to back the whole day and couldn’t spare even one hour. I really had no interest in the movie and all my friends were almost taken to surprise when I said this. I had read quite a bit about the ship and some of the stories related to it, and felt that the movie would be too much predictable to kill my spirits, and above all was the actor who was no way matching with my concepts of ‘handsome’. Seeing my cold reactions, my friends called me senseless and unromantic, but as always I used to turn a deaf ear to their unending De Caprio stories that used to take me to the edge of boredom. But even after trying so hard, the movie plan didn’t work out due to the tight schedules of classes and exams, which resulted in a kind of mass gloominess among all my friends, especially on knowing that the movie would soon go from the nearest cinema hall. Their sadness was indefinable, but I was happy that I was finally saved from watching a movie with a story line that’s quite straight and predictable, containing absolutely no thrill and fun. To be frank, I like thrillers, but romantic movies are not generally my cup of tea. But the story took a different turn when the college management organized charity programme where they were planning to show the movie. I just couldn’t take-in the fact that my teachers wanted to make me watch a movie that I would never think of watching, even if I am bored to death.

It was the day of the charity programme and the movie was planned for the afternoon session. I knew I would not be able to ‘save’ myself from my pals, and hence made up my mind to sacrifice my precious time for something that I was hardly interested in. When all my friends almost firmly fixed their eyes on the screen watching the ‘saga’ of true love, I couldn’t help but hilariously laugh inside seeing their reactions and facial expressions. Some of them smiled, some blushed, some whispered to their friends, and some even cried their hearts off, and I was the only one in the hall giggling uncontrollably looking at all these amusing reactions.

I was, and I still am, not at all a huge movie buff or a loyal fan of those high-profile movie stars and socialites who keep filling in the Page 3 columns with spicy day today stories. Moreover, let it not be a secret that I have never succumbed to delusions and celebrity crushes like most of my pals, and have always felt those kinds of things don’t count much in life. Such crushes have almost never happened to me yet, as movies and stars would often leave the door steps of my mind the moment I stop watching them.

Laugh, laugh, and laugh to live

Laugh for the sake of laughing! When I was told that someone is to reach the office to teach us how to laugh for no reason, I was really dumbstruck. At first I felt it’s downright craziness to laugh for no reason, but heard my colleagues saying that it is a kind of yoga, the Laughter Yoga, which is practiced widely across the globe, Obviously, my curiosity increased and I was really looking forward to know how it would be and how can someone laugh without any reason, which is absolutely illogical to my sense. Laughing is undoubtedly good for body, but I felt no one can laugh without some humor, jokes or comedy. I truly believe laughter has to come from within, straight from your mind, and that’s possible only with a funny sight or an amusing story/incident, which would trigger the mind and tempt to laugh lungs out. But what if asked to laugh without any specific reason to mention, without any trigger to instigate the process? I felt it is almost impossible. So I was very much eager to know what the Laughter Guru is going to make us do. After hours of wait, there came our Guruji and I was surprised to the core seeing his outfits, especially those shoes. I’ve never seen anyone in my life yet, who can courageously wear such bright, flashy, and multi -coloured outfits in public, which almost made him look odd, and adding to my shock was the colour of his shoes, as he had different shoes on each of his legs, one white and the other black. I was not sure whether he did all these intentionally or not, but, to be frank, I burst in to laughter the moment I saw him, as he looked so clownish beyond words, and was laughing almost non-stop seeing us.

I felt he would have something to make us laugh, though I didn’t have much interest in the ‘Yoga’ side of his session. The 30-45 minutes laughing session was filled with quite a few hilarious ‘exercises’ which our laughter professional said would help us relax amid our stressful work schedules. I am yet to figure out the ‘science’ behind those ‘exercises’ that I was taught, but I have to admit that I laughed a lot, really a lot that I my jaws started paining after sometime, but yet I was laughing nonstop till the end. I admit I laughed, I laughed like hell, and if you ask me why, I have no specific reason to mention. But I would say one thing. More than the ‘exercises’ and looks of our guru, what triggered laughter in me was the kind of funny things that I saw others were doing, especially those people with ‘serious looks’ and ‘fewer words’, who have never laughed so much yet (as far as I know). They were all serious till that very moment, but looked as laughing like crazy that I was so amazed to know how it happened. So more than looking at the guru, I was crazily looking at others and laughing my lungs out seeing them laughing deliriously out of nowhere. The amusingly crazy session ended with a thank you note and an invitation to attend another session the very next day.