I have a heart now.

Dear readers, I am no longer a heartless witch. Today, I made myself an origami heart inspired by the one made by the artist Alex Yue on NBC’s Hannibal. Naturally, I made it in honor of my favourite fictional couple- Hannibal Letter and Will Graham. It’s not as good as I hoped it would be, but I guess my origami skills will improve with practice.

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Hannibal initially made this heart out of the body of a dead poet and displayed it in a museum, to signify that Will had left him with a broken heart. (He does tend to be a little melodramatic.)

He then made a replica out of paper, like the one I have made. (I had to use paper because I don’t know any poets I’d want to kill.)

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If you want to make one for yourself, the instructions are given here.

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The fine art of indifference.

The More Loving One’ by W. H. Auden is a beautiful poem that perfectly captures the art of becoming indifferent to what you cannot have. I’ve often used this technique to get over disappointed hopes, but the poet was clearly writing about an infatuation.


Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

 

In the early stages of having a crush, most of us place the object on a pedestal and feel utterly insignificant in their presence. The indifference of a crush may seem more cruel than the outright dislike of other people, but like Auden, I prefer to be unnoticed. Being unnoticed allows me to observe and study the crush to find out if we are actually compatible, while pretending to take no notice of them.

 

I usually conclude that any relationship between us wouldn’t work, just as people wouldn’t survive if the sun burnt more fiercely out of passion for us. Being the more loving one may seem like a disadvantage, but it would be uncomfortable if a person you didn’t particularly like, developed a crush on you.

Once I have rationalized myself out of the infatuation, I decide that perfectly capable of living happily without the other person. In time, all the passion I may have felt for the crush dies down and I enjoy my solitude again.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to crushes on celebrities or fictional characters, as they can never exert any power over you. Nor should it apply to those rare cases where it is worth  overcoming your fear of rejection to try and talk to the crush.

 

On procrastination, and how I plan to beat it.

I love planning. One of my favourite activities is making up lists and timetables. The trouble is that my plans almost never translate into reality. I wish I could earn a living by giving lectures like ‘How to procrastinate effectively to sabotage your own success’.

Take this blog, for instance. I get most of my ideas for blog topics when I’m out walking. I actually compose the whole article in my head. But when I get home from college at 7 in the evening, I’m too tired to do anything about it. Or I just tell myself to wait until the weekend, because I have books to read and research papers to look up and so on.

By the time I get to the weekend, I usually lose interest in the topic I was going to write about, or decide that it’s not worth writing about, after all.

Recently, I came across a technique  called “Don’t break the chain” that helps people overcome procrastination.

This is how it works:

  • You set yourself a challenge.
  • Each day you work on the challenge, mark the day with an X on your calendar.
  • Just keep doing this regularly, so that you don’t break the chain.

I’m hoping to write a blog post every week, instead of disappearing from WordPress for months at a time, as I’m prone to do. I wonder how long my chain will last.

Why I don’t believe in God.

I’ve always been the kind of person who can’t resist a good story. From the time I was a kid, I loved stories about the countless Hindu gods, the ancient Greek myths, biblical stories and fairytales. Till the age of twelve or so, I believed in God – in the same way that I believed in Harry Potter and Gandalf. It’s not that I really believed in their existence, I merely liked the idea and decided to adopt it.

I’m sure most people believe in religion only because they’re brainwashed from childhood. My parents taught me to pray to the Hindu gods and  took me to the temple once in a while. I studied in a convent school where we had prayers at regular intervals (we recited them without thinking, like trained parrots) and were taught ‘Moral Science’. I liked the peace and quiet of the school chapel and the atmosphere of the temple with it’s chanting and lighted lamps. Still, I knew there were people who weren’t the least bit religious and I considered myself to be one of them.

As I grew up, I realized that most people took religion much more seriously than I did. They were willing to turn into mass murderers to justify their beliefs. Over the years, I’ve decided that religion was not a comforting fairy-tale, but an unnecessary evil.

I don’t need religion to explain where I came from. I think that astrophysics and evolutionary biology have done a pretty good job of it. I’d rather believe in the laws of nature,  some of which are probably yet to be discovered.   I think deism is ridiculous too. It makes more sense to believe that the universe always existed than to believe that an intelligent creator always existed.

I don’t need religion as a support. Most people only pray out of habit or when they’re in deep trouble. The saying that  “there are no atheists in foxholes” implies that anyone would believe in God in extreme stress or panic. That makes sense, because fear makes us irrational. Religion feeds on fear and ignorance; it was probably invented as an explanation for diseases and natural disasters that terrified people during ancient times.

I understand why people feel the need to believe in God. It’s comforting to think of a benign father figure who plans your destiny and rewards you for good behavior. The idea of ‘Karma’ and the rebirth cycle in Hindu mythology was probably invented to console people when they saw that bad men often become highly successful while the good lead miserable lives. The idea of ‘heaven’ serves the same purpose. It takes courage to acknowledge the fact that we only live once and cease to exist when we die.

I don’t think people need the fear of God to make them act as good human beings. We need to help each other to ensure the survival of the species. Most of us already have qualities like compassion, empathy and personal integrity. If anyone thinks that religion is necessary for morality, they must have a pretty low opinion of humanity. (In my school, the teachers always warned us against cheating in an exam by saying “God sees you.” Needless to say, that never stopped any of the other kids from cheating.)

One thing most major religions have in common is sexism. So I honestly can’t think of any explanation as to why women are said to be more religious than men. Extreme religious belief makes people intolerant and bigoted. And that’s why I don’t believe in God. I’d rather believe in myself. And Harry Potter.

Why I’m ‘quiet’.

I have never spent time in the company of strangers without having someone ask me why I don’t talk. Since I can’t  answer that question without being extremely rude,  I just smile and decide not to make the slightest effort to talk to the person.

So in this blog, I’m listing all the factors that make me seem ‘shy’.

 1. I have a strong distaste for small talk. I often pretend not to notice acquaintances when I see them somewhere, just to avoid having to ask or answer stupid questions like “Wassup?” or “How’s everything?”

2.I’m a woman of few words. I don’t waste time on long monologues when a short sentence will suffice.

3. I’m caught between honesty and politeness. I can’t say things unless I really mean them. It’s strange how people keep saying things like “Love you!” or “That’s beautiful!” so casually and so often that they cease to have any meaning. If I can’t express my honest opinion on a subject without sounding extremely rude, I think it best to keep quiet, unless I’m talking to someone knows me really well.

4. I have nothing to say on subjects that don’t interest me or those that I know nothing of. I’m really astonished when I hear people give long speeches on subjects they’re clearly ignorant about.

5. I cannot talk to everyone in the same way. I find it difficult to talk freely to people I don’t know very well or don’t particularly like. As Mr Darcy says in Pride and Prejudice, “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

6. I’m a private person. I cannot broadcast my personal feelings or secrets in public. This makes me a trustworthy friend as I extend the same discretion to other people’s secrets.

7. I write better than I talk.  I seem to have a condition that makes me write eloquently and speak awkwardly.

8. I’m a thinker, not a talker.I need to think before I speak. I need the time to consider a subject carefully and form my opinion before I can express my views on it. That’s why I usually I can only blink  and stare silently in class when a teacher suddenly asks me a question.

9. People don’t listen anyway. When I actually make the effort to enter into a conversation, I find that I might as well have kept quiet. Most people are so busy talking that they do not bother to let other people get a word in edgewise. I’m not inclined to shout down the other people in a group to make myself heard.

10. Interesting conversations are so rare. As Truman Capote said, “A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” Is that really too much to ask for?

Just your ordinary, everyday mastermind- INTJ Stereotypes Survey

Recently, I took the MBTI self- evaluation and scored as an INTJ. Here’s my  response to the common stereotypes about INTJs. .

INTJ Stereotypes Survey

Intelligent: I think so. I have a decent  IQ, a very active imagination and very high concentration levels when I’m doing something I want to do.

Psychopath: No. Just because I have certain personality traits of criminal masterminds, it doesn’t mean I’ll follow you  home, hide in your cupboard and murder you with a chainsaw when you’re asleep.

No feelings: I am very much moved by human suffering… especially when it concerns the fictional characters I love. But  my feelings don’t usually control my actions or even my expressions.

Atheist: Not sure. I don’t mind believing in God, but I can’t stand organised religion. It’s the main cause of violence and intolerance in this world. Besides, all religions are misogynistic to a certain extent.

Not romantic: Thanks to all the books I’ve read, I have my own notions of romance.

Arrogant: I’m quite modest. I don’t like receiving compliments because I’m already aware of my qualities and I hate flattery.

Brutal and direct:  I don’t see the point in beating around the bush but I believe in being polite and considerate.

Manipulate people all the time: Not at all. I’m proud of honesty and my whole body revolts if I try to lie.

Robots in reality: No way. Robots are unimaginative and predictable.

Antisocial: Most definitely.

Can’t say “I love you”: I cannot remember ever having said that. I can’t say such things unless I really mean them.

Want to be alone 24/7: Almost always. I really enjoy being alone with my thoughts…

Can’t smile: Not unless there is a reason for it. I can’t fake smiles when I meet people or pose for photos.

Don’t/can’t care about others: I do care deeply for some people, though I don’t know how to show it.

Megalomaniacs by nature: No, I just wish to be left alone to do my own thing.

Don’t cry: I do. I often get teary eyed while reading really good fiction or watching emotional scenes in movies. (Try watching the animation film ‘Grave of the Fireflies’.)

Cannot/will not fight: I don’t fight over petty things. I prefer to conserve my energy for the really important fights.

Like conflict: I don’t like conflict but I don’t shy away from arguing about things to prove my point.

Self-centered: You could say that. I like to help others but only if my own interests are not harmed.

Appear to be on drugs: No.

Easily bored if not inspired: Yes, there have been times when I’ve almost died of boredom, stuck in a social situation with boring people making meaningless conversation. On those days I’m just glad I don’t have a gun.