यह फरक होता है शेर और इन्सान में

हँसते हैं शेर। शेर हँसते हैं। कहाँ हँसते हैं शेर ? शेर दहाड़ते हैं। एक दहाड़ शेर की और सब शांत। सिर्फ एक दहाड़ में। ऐसा कुछ करना ज़िन्दगी में। एक दहाड़ और ज़िन्दगी का सारा कोहराम शांत हो जाये। ज़िन्दगी को भी पता लग जाये की उसने किसी शेर को जन्म दिया है। न की किसी गीदढ़ या बन्दर को।

हम इन्सान हैं। हम शेर तो नहीं बन सकते। पर अपने इरादों और अटूट होंसले से अपनी दहाड़ ज़िन्दगी को सुना सकते हैं। अपने होंसले को बरकरार रखने के लिए तुम्हे जो करना हो वो करो। पर इस होंसले को कभी जाने मत दो। एक यही तो औज़ार, हथियार, सहारा और दोस्त है हमारे पास जो इस ज़िन्दगी को जीना मुमकिन बनता है।

And this is why I don’t sleep..

If you were to open my mind and attach it to some sophisticated medical devices, you would see something similar to a war going on between two countries. And proper war protocols are followed. There’s occasional shelling during the day but night is when the action happens.

The only casualty of this war is my sleep. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time we were together for more than 3 hours and without any distractions. If I were to quote a relationship analogy, I would say my sleep is like that girlfriend who is always busy, withdrawn when we are together and wants to leave as soon as possible. If only, I could make up to her and re-kindle our romance from childhood days. Dear Sleep, if you’re reading this, I am sorry. I am not giving up on you. Please come back, I’ve changed. Things would be different.

Wouldn’t you do anything for a good peaceful night’s sleep. So tighten the reign on your judgmental thoughts. Besides it’s not like things are that worse between us. My sleep does visit me but then I am involved in other things. So you see it’s just a difference of time zone. 🙂

By the way, when the war is being fought, I can literally feel the exchange of bullets, shells and bombs from both sides. One side launches a thought, other launches a counter thought, both strike mid brain, lead to a conflict of forces and a lot sparks fly in terms of stress, anxiety and headache. Imagine the scene, from the movie Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 2, where Mr. Potter and Lord Voldemort point their wands at each other and launch a strike by reciting a series of magic spells, each more lethal than the previous. Avada Kedavra!

I wish I could narrate the events leading to this war in form of a book or a documentary. Something similar to the ones featuring World Wars. How cool it would be to see it in form of a map and war veterans recollecting their experience, with those short war videos and images sprinkled in between. I can even have a post-war museum dedicated to it. 😀

Like all wars, this one would end too and I and my sleep could finally get back to our lives. Dear Sleep, please hold on to that love we once shared. Things will get better. Be strong.

All for The Pursuit of Happiness. :/

Hmm..

Going by the articles, blogs and what not media available on the internet, it seems next to impossible, for a constant worrier like myself, to have good and healthy relationships. It seems as if everything that can go wrong will go wrong and I’ll end up alone.

Where does it end? Where does one draw the line? How does one judge the direction in which the relationship is going? And when the mind is racing, at 200 km/hr, with negative scenarios and you’re told to be positive. It feels like you’re being asked to put sudden breaks to your Ferrari, assuming it can go to that speed. Ultimate recipe for a crash, don’t you think so.

Let’s say, if by a miracle, one finds that positive ground to stand on. The moment you step on it, you know its not right. You know it’s shaky and that it can come down any moment. And come down it does, the moment the erstwhile Ferrari of thoughts passes by. All for being positive.

At times, forming and maintaining an emotional bond seems such a humongous task that it feels better to be alone. And not to forget that thin line of emotional dependency. Once crossed, you can most certainly say good bye to your peace of mind. Look look..there it goes. Tata! Adios!

You can talk about it all you want, try all the meditation in the world, speak to yourself those positive self-affirmations, visualise pictures of a beautiful future and much more. They work but only for the time being. They’re like pain killers. They will subside the pain but not treat the root cause of it.

Honestly, don’t even get me started on finding the root cause. That’s another beast altogether. You walk into your psyche with a magnifying glass, in search of that little fellow, hiding in a warm corner of your brain sitting cozily somewhere. What you find instead is a pandora’s box. At this point, you’re too far off in the process to heed to any warnings so you happily open it. Only to unleash more misery upon yourself. BOOM! Oh! You’ll be missed peace of mind. RIP.

A word about communication. Even a naive relationship advisor would confirm that communication is the key to a happy relationship. But what they won’t tell you is how much is sufficient? What should you reveal, at what point and what you shouldn’t? What to do if you feel like you’re communicating too much? A piece of advise, there’s nothing you can do about it except accepting the fact that the information is already gone. I know that feeling sucks but hey whats the worst that could happen. 🙂

Sometime back I read an article that said that when going into a relationship help other person in understanding you, don’t just expect them to know what’s in your mind. Something akin to drawing up an instruction manual about yourself. Great isn’t it! But it did not say what to do when you’re the only one believing this stuff. :/

If you’ve reached till here and are thinking, “Dude! You’re overthinking. Take a chill pill.” I am totally with you on this. We’re on the same page. I concur. Trust me, I do not challenge your opinion. I second that. You couldn’t be more right. You’re right my friend. Okay. Okay. I’ll stop. I value your opinion. I think you understand me. You got that correct. Oh! My God..how did you know!

Well, take a chill pill buddy and let’s hmmm. For now, that’s all we can do. 🙂

The Fear Slaying Warrior

When the darkness of night surrounds me and fears cloud my mind, it seems impossible to believe that any good is left in this world. The voice of fears sound as if they are real. Speaking to me as if they’ve hypnotised me.

Everywhere I look I see evil. Slowly my breaths gain pace as if they want to run away from me. My body feels like it’s gripped by some tight force and my head starts to throb with pain like it’s going to explode.

I don’t know why or how I got here but I am here. Standing in the darkness of night and darkness of mind, alone. Alone, for this is how this war must be fought. Besides no one would understand what’s going within me when they see my calm exterior. This is how life is. Each of us might be fighting a war within, worse than anything human race has ever seen, yet to world it appears as if all is hail and hearty.

At this point, words like positivity and negativity seem just that, words. For there’s me and there’s fears, facing each other, ready to pounce, and only one of us is coming out of it alive.

Consider fears as white walkers. Even if you kill them they come back. They can only be beaten by the Dragonglass. I wonder what would be my dragonglass? Faith? Good memories? God? Universe? None. The only weapons I need to fight this out are my will, the strength to endure whatever comes and acceptance.

It’s almost funny when you think why fears exist in the first place. To help us avoid getting hurt, physically and mentally. But, at times, end up hurting us even more. And let me tell you the fear of mental pain is thousand times worse than any other kind of fear.

So the question still remains, who is going to win this war, me or fears?

Solutions to Python Logic Challenges

It’s been a long time since I posted here. Things have happened between then and now, but we’ll talk about that some other day. Few readers have approached me to check when will I be posting the next part of the story, the answer to that is ‘soon’.

Today, I have decided to launch a new category dedicated to computer programming or famously known as coding. Computer programming has been a long time interest of mine. However, due to certain reasons I had lost touch with the art. Now I want to revive that interest. Hence, a new category. Let’s call it Coding-Shoding or #CoSho.

During my school and college days, I’ve had hands-on experience with C, C++, and Java. This time I wanted to try something different. So I chose Python. To begin with, I’ll be using this category as a medium to share my progress.

Though there are numerous books and videos available over the internet, that help one to master this language, I prefer to start with simple resources. That’s why I’ve picked up a school book series, titled ‘Progress in Computer Science with Python’ by Sumita Arora as a starting point. These books are written as per the syllabus laid out by the CBSE board. Each book is accompanied by Practical Book. Over the course of next few days, I plan to solve problems given in these books and post their solution here. I might leave out certain problems which I feel are too trivial to solve.

The programs I am sharing today are solutions of problems given in the Logic Challenges section of the practical book for class XI. These might not be the most optimal solutions but they are working. I am always open to a better code. Feel free to reach out.

Solutions to Logic Challenges (Progress in Computer Science with Python Practical Book XI by Sumita Arora)

A Passenger’s Dream (Part 3): The Old Banyan Tree

“When I was a child, we used to live in a small village around 50 kilometers from Indore. It was a typical Indian village with a few pucca houses, belonging to zamindars, and many mud houses belonging to poor villagers. In the middle of the village was a big banyan tree. It had been there since last two centuries and was the center of numerous village legends and tales.

Since it was an ancestral tree, none of the villagers thought of cutting it down, not even the rich zamindars. Besides, there was a rumor that the tree was cursed and whoever cuts it would bring bad luck to the entire village. So villagers had constructed their houses around the tree in circles. Over the years, the village expanded in concentric circles, with the banyan tree at the center. This gave a rather ominous look to the village.

Since my great grandfather was among the first people who decided to settle in this village, our house was closest to the banyan tree. It also gave us the privilege to use that area as a veranda. It had become a tradition, in our house, to worship the tree first thing in the morning to keep it from cursing our family. My mother woke up at 4 am each day to do it. She would first take a bath then clean the veranda and then go around the tree several times while chanting the Gayatri Mantra. However, even all her worshiping could not protect our family from the ill-fate that that tree brought us.

I had a sister, two years younger than me. She was very mischievous and liked to pull practical pranks on everyone. Often, she would climb up the banyan tree, despite our mother’s several warnings, and tease her. She would then pretend to jump which would make my mother hysterical. I don’t know what kind of pleasure she drew out of it.

Then one day, the banyan tree decided to take it’s revenge. In one of her usual pranks she climbed the tree and as she was pretending to jump, she slipped and fell face down. She suffered a major hemorrhage and died instantly. My parents were shocked by her death. It was then they decided to move out of that village and settle in the city.

It was her laughter that I heard in the dream..”.

The passenger had tears in his eyes. This story had brought back the memories of his sister. But the tears were of something more than remembrance. He felt guilty for her death. Each day prayed to God to let him go back in time and erase that mistake of his. Though what he told Akrit was true but it wasn’t the entire truth. What he, intentionally, left out from the story was the fact that he was responsible for his sister’s death.

To be continued….

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Part 3 of this story ends here. Can you guess what his mistake? How the passenger was responsible for his sister’s death? I would love to read your theories. Do leave them in comments. If you like the story share it with your friends and help it evolve further.

 

A Passenger’s Dream (Part 2): The Red Medusa

And then she did something unexpected.

Slowly, she walked up to an antique, oak, wall hanging cabinet with hinges in the shape of dragons. It was located on the wall opposite to the clock. She opened it with a key, hanging on the gold chain around her neck. For a minute or two she stared into the mirror, attached to the backside of cabinet door, as if admiring her own beauty. 

cabinet

 

The clock announced the time as 4 am. The loud noise broke her stare. She moved her eyes towards the shelves, five of them, all filled with masks of some kind.

She picked one from the second shelf and placed it on her face. The moment it touched her face, she transformed into a handsome young man, wearing a three piece suit with a bow tie. He had a thick, well-groomed mustache that gave him ethnic appearance. A look in the mirror told her that it wasn’t the day for this appearance. She removed it from her face and placed it back. She picked another from the third shelf and tried it on. This time she transformed into a blonde transgender. This didn’t please her either.

She chose another from the bottom-most shelf and put it on. This mask made semantic changes to her appearance. Her hair turned into thick red tentacles which seemed alive. The color of her lips changed to black, her eyes turned blue. The towel disappeared and her body got covered with tattoos. A pair of black framed spectacles appeared on her face. Her nose, ears and belly button got piercings. A look in the mirror told her that she had found her look for the day. I named that look The Red Medusa.”

Akrit was hooked. He got a sudden rush of feeling as he heard the passenger’s description of the lady. He felt weird, excited, frightened but most of all turned on. At the same time many questions rushed through his mind. What did the tattoos depict? What was the significance of the time? and so on. He thought the passenger must have found answers by now, at least to some of them. He wanted to ask but he decided to let the passenger finish his dream first.

She closed the cabinet, turned around and walked up to the clock. One of her tentacles reached out to where I was hanging and grabbed my neck. It lifted me up and brought me face to face with her. She smiled. Oh! that frightening wicked smile of hers. Gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. She brought my left ear closer to her mouth and whispered, “Shall we? Master.” and then she started laughing. I cannot forget the sound of her laughter for I have heard it in real life, many times, in my own home.

To be continued….

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Part 2 of this story ends here. Can you guess whose laughter could it be? I would love to read your theories. Do leave them in comments. If you like the story share it with your friends and help it evolve further.

A Passenger’s Dream (Part 1)

If you could control your dreams, what would you dream of?  And remember, you’ll get only that dream for the rest of your sleeping life.

A fellow traveler had asked him this question and it was all he thought about in the last three days. It was as if he had to make the hardest choice of his life. He forgot about daily chores. Newspapers and milk packets collected outside his house. Nothing in his life, up to this point, had bothered him so much.

Akrit was traveling from Indore to Shirpur in one of those yellow-red buses, run by Maharashtra State Transport. The bus seemed as if it was in use since the time Britishers ruled India. He had bought two tickets, one for himself and other for his luggage. For some reason he didn’t trusted the storage compartment of that bus. His audacity to reserve a seat for his luggage has made him the target of vengeful stares from standing passengers. It was getting difficult for him to stand by his decision.

At Thikri, a passenger boarded the bus. He had to push his way in. Being in late fifties, he knew he won’t be able to stand that long. He had to find a seat. But to his disappointment he found none until his eyes fell upon the seated luggage. He was amused. He approached the person sitting next to it and inquired about the seat. He was soon acquainted by the logic behind reserving a seat for the luggage. What a fool, he thought but he needed the seat so he had to be polite. He offered to hold the luggage on his lap. After a minute of reluctant argument, he got the seat. He didn’t mind holding the luggage as long as he was getting the free seat.

As the journey continued, they started a conversation. Well, not a conversation exactly. It was more like a monologue. To Akrit’s despair, the passenger turned out to be a chatterbox. Initially, Akrit pretended to ignore him in the hope that he would get the message and shut up. He didn’t. So Akrit, out of sheer boredom, started taking an interest in what the passenger had to say.

The passenger was narrating his life-story. He had just finished his childhood and was now entering his teen years. That was where Akrit heard something that caught his ears. The passenger was saying something about having the same dream recurring since his childhood and how he had spent better half of his life in finding it’s meaning. Akrit had missed the part where the passenger narrated the dream so he asked him to do it again.

It’s one of those dreams which make it difficult to distinguish reality from imagination. It’s always been that way, every single night. Usually, people don’t remember their dreams when they wake up but when you only get one dream throughout your life, you not only remember it, you can tell even the minutest of details. For example, I see a wall clock which appears to be running but for some reason it shows the same time, 3:23:45 am, every time. It’s appears to be an ancient clock but instead of a pendulum it has a hanging man who screams out the seconds“.  Akrit was intrigued, he had never heard or read such stuff even though he was an ardent bibliophile. Initially, he thought that the man was making it up but soon his doubts cleared as the passenger continued.

I know people think I am making this up or that I am crazy when I tell them about my dream. At first, I had a lot of trouble convincing people otherwise which is why I created this.” The passenger reached inside his bag and took out an A4 sized folder. It was thick. He handed it over to Akrit.

As Akrit browsed through the folder he couldn’t believe his eyes. The folder contained a certificate from a renowned psychiatrist validating the passenger’s claim. There were several reports that depicted some kind of brain activity and their translation and observations. So the man is telling the truth, thought Akrit.

He continued browsing and saw various hand made drawings depicting particular scenes from the dream. Somewhere he saw the clock with the hanging man. To his surprise, the hanging man was none other than the passenger himself. The wall clock appeared to be in a room. Not an ordinary room but one that is found only in huge mansions. It’s walls were adorned by heads of exotic animals. There was a cabinet that contained expensive liquor from different parts of the world. All of it, sealed.

Convinced, Akrit requested the passenger to continue with the narration of the dream. “Do you know why I remember the exact time in that clock?

You mean there’s another reason besides the fact that you were the hanging man? Sure, do tell me.“, remarked Akrit.

The passenger gave Akrit an annoyed glance. He wasn’t a fan of sarcasm.

Yes, there’s another reason. I remember it so distinctly because right at that moment a door opened and a woman walked in. The door belonged to the attached bathroom and the woman had walked back into the room after having a bath. She was wearing  only a towel. Oh! what a beauty she was. Wait, see this. It’s her.” The passenger opened his folder to a specific drawing and pointed to the woman in it. Vaow!, Akrit thought. She was indeed out of this world.

And then she did something unexpected……

To be continued..

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Part 1 of this story ends here. Can you guess what the woman did? I would love to read your theories. Do leave them in comments. If you like the story share it with your friends and help it evolve further.

Image Credits: Deviantart

 

An Old Man by the Window

Whoosshhh….Whooooooooshhhhhh….

Paatttt!! came the sound as doors banged loudly against their respective frames. The plant pots, kept on the railing of balconies of nearby houses, couldn’t pull their weight against it’s ferocity and got shattered as they tried to resist it. It seemed to have an intoxicating effect on trees, they waved as if possessed. It was hard to tell whether they were dancing or playing it’s puppet. A stroke of bright light flashed in the sky, creating a day that lasted no longer than a second. Usually, it spoke in thunders but it was mostly silent that night. The dark of the night made it even more ominous.

An old man, sitting in a corner of his silent room, was watching it through his window. At 90, life had taken away much of his rigor and left him physically weak and fragile. Sitting in that chair or lying in his bed were the only activities that made up most his day. Having lost the energy and will to carry himself around he was dependent on others for almost every task. Even though it agonized him there was little he could do about it. Old age does that to one’s spirit.

For him it wasn’t just a gust of wind but a reminder of days when he was as strong and fierce. It reminded him of the time when he could take on whatever challenges life threw his way. The time when he lost his father at an early age of 19. The time when he didn’t have enough money to even pump up his bicycle tires. The time when he left his hometown, along with his mother and Rs. 500 as his sole inheritance, in search of work. The time when he embarked on a journey to create a legacy for his future generations. But little did he knew that no one can win against life and time.

Though he was sitting alone in that dimly lit room on that thunderous night, he never felt lonely. Not until that night. He was missing his wife. He was used to her presence. How could he not, she was always by his side, taking care of his tiniest of needs. She kept him company. He wasn’t just missing her, he was concerned for her well-being. She was in the hospital, for the first time in many years. Though she was strong and took good care of herself, age didn’t spare her either. The day before she had a mishap and suffered a major fracture. Even in that condition, she was worried about him. Worried that he was upset because of her condition. Worried that he wouldn’t be able to get by without her. Such was their love.

On any other night, the old man would have ignored the thunder and enjoyed the cool breeze. That night the wind seemed to mimic the turmoil within him. It roared when he lamented, it shattered pots when he felt lonely, banged doors when he cursed his helplessness and waved trees when he missed her. That night the wind was a puppet of his feelings.

Choice: That’s All We Got!

When was the last time you made a decision because you wanted to make it? Because you wanted to have something or do something in your life even though the world advised against it. By world I mean parents, spouse, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers etc.

Why is it that people who never took an ounce of risk in their life want you to not take it? Why do they think that their line-of thought must be what you should follow? Sure they might be your well-wishers and they don’t want you to get hurt but why must they say that their path is the right path? Why does your willingness to get hurt or to take that risk must not be considered? Aren’t they in someway seeking the validation of their choices by forcing them upon you?

What’s wrong if a man willingly decides to quit his job and take care of household chores while the wife willingly decides to work? Why should we frown upon that? Yes, they’re not conforming to the expectations of the society but if it’s working for them, why the hell should society get in the way? What if you want to be the part of a different society, the one that shares your philosophy of life? Isn’t that the whole concept of being in a society? Of course, as with many other concepts, the concept of society too has been mutilated and transformed into this ugly phenomenon where the aim is to do better than your neighbor. Whatever happened to love thy neighbor.

I believe that there’s no harm in living your life the way you do, as long as that’s what you want. You want to lead a risk averse life, that’s fine. You want to do a job, take a job. You want to earn money, go and make it happen. You want to dive from a cliff, just jump already. Everything is fine as long as that’s what you want to do. Being stuck at some place when all you want to be some place else, that’s not fine but unfortunately that’s too on you. You’re in a particular situation because you chose to be in it.

You got married because your parents thought it’s the right time, three years down the line you realize your marriage isn’t working anymore. Who will you blame? Listen to the “society“, and they won’t let you get out of it either. What will you do? Continue to suffer? Whatever is it that you decide, remember one thing and remember it all your life, IT. WAS. YOUR. CHOICE. You have nobody else to blame but yourself.

Stop doubting yourself. Stop comparing your achievements, your misery with that of others. Make a promise to yourself that no matter what you choose you’ll put yourself first. At the end you the day, your prime loyalty lies with you.

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Image Credits: Vladstudio.com