Perks of Procrastination

Hello Folks !

Today I would like to share the speech I wrote for my Project 3 at Toastmasters.

Disclaimer: Procrastination is dangerous, and I am just trying my hand at being the Devil’s Advocate here. Under normal circumstances I would not recommend you to procrastinate. Do check out this amazing TED Talk on Procrastination

Here we go ! Below is my speech.

 

It was dark outside, and everything very still. The only sounds were of fingers clicking away at the keyboard. The clock blinked 1:07 am. I was running out of time. A smile spread across my face.

Good Evening fellow toastmasters ! No, this is not a horror story

This was actually last night, as I typed my speech for today. The situation was a result of my terrible affliction. Many call it procrastination. A survey  once said 80% students in University procrastinate. And I can very confidently say that 20% students lie in surveys. We all have pulled all-nighters to complete that nasty assignment lying around since the beginning of the semester.

Procrastination: Everyone has done it at some point in time. Many call it the crown prince of all bad habits. The one habit that stand between you and your hypothetical Lamborghini. We have all heard the adages. “A stitch in time saves nine” “What you can do today, do not leave for tomorrow”   Yada .. Yada ..

Hold on .. I beg to differ.. I believe everything has a flip side.

My tryst with procrastination while writing this speech has opened up to me the perks of this dangerous affliction. Allow me to indulge you with my findings

Have you heard of the Parkinson’s Law ? It states “work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”

Tricky, right ? For example, let’s look at the summer projects we got in school. There were 2 types of kids. One who worked each day to complete their summer project over the entire course of vacation. And then there were those who frolicked all summer, and did it iit all in the last week, sometimes on the last day. If a task will fill out the whole given to it, the logical way to circumvent this problem is to give it the least possible time.

The thing to note here is that a procrastinators is not a lazy person. We just like doing the  non-urgent non-important tasks instead of the important and the urgent.

We tend to pick the menial easy tasks, than do that one thing which requires significant mental or physical labor. This Saturday afternoon,  I sat on my bed and was determined to write the speech. I opened my laptop. After 10 minutes of staring at the blank word document on my screen, I noticed the bed sheet was slightly crumpled. 4 hours later, I had cleaned my room, and finished my laundry.

To think of it, I would have never done all of this if I was not procrastinating my speech.ave never done the not-important not-urgent petty things. I am effectively utilizing the time better. As you can clearly see, Procrastination secretly increases productivity.

It is admirable to be the first one to do something. You are setting an example for others to follow. That is why, I will let you guide me by example. Why make mistakes when you can learn from others mistakes. My wisdom grows with time. Also, when you have less time to do something, you worry less about the details. Perfectionism can be a pain. One time I agreed to work on an assignment early on. My study partner spent two hours deciding on the Font of the presentation. You skip the unnecessary technicalities, you see the bigger picture. You are concise and Prudent.

As you can see, you are more productive and prudent.

Another interesting aspect is the Pressure. “I am a person who works well under pressure. In fact, I work so well under pressure that at times, I will procrastinate in order to create this pressure.”  these are not my words, but the words of the Canadian writer Stephanie Peal-McPhee. Pressure makes diamonds. Pressure tests a person’s true character. We get more creative under pressure. Last minute Jugaad is the mother of all invention.

Bill Waterson, one of my favourite cartoonists, wrote in one of his Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strips.

“You cannot just turn creativity on like a faucet. You need to be in the right mood.”

“And what mood is that”

“Last minute panic”

https://deboleenaroy.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/6e858-calvin-and-hobbes-procrastination.png?w=656

The night was dark and very still. I was looking at my laptop’s flickering screen.

At 1:07 am in the night, the 3 P’s of procrastination dawned on me. Productivity, Prudence and Pressure. A smile spread across my face.

My advice to you all. Don’t be afraid to procrastinate. It’s a temptation, if handled with care and moderation can boost your overall happiness and satisfaction.

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Thank you for reading till the end. If you enjoyed it, do share it 🙂

 

 

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Statistics of Tragedy

( For my Project 2 of Competent Communication Manual,  Toastmasters, I gave the below speech. I received a lot of positive response for the speech, hence am sharing with all of you guys. )

“The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic”

It comes as no surprise that it was said by Stalin. The thing is .. He was right.

Large numbers often appear cold and distant, and almost comforting. Easy to turn our backs to it.

That is what happened to Syria.

4 years of brutal civil war

250,000 dead

10 million, i.e. over half of its population displaced.

And we didn’t talk about it until one photograph became viral.

It was the picture of a little boy, wearing red shirt and blue pants, lying face down on a beach.

He was Aylan Kurdi, a 3 year old toddler, whose body washed ashore on a beach in Turkey on 2nd September this year.

What have we done? Where have we come?

My objective today is to talk to you about the worst refugee crisis faced by the World since World War 2.

To understand the current crisis, we need to go back to 2011. The year of Arab Spring. There were series of protests and rebellions that sparked across the Arab Nations, demanding democracy. While countries like Egypt, Libya and Yemen were successful in removing their dictators, things got ugly in Syria.

Syria at that point was ruled by Bashar Al Assad. He decided to squash the rebellion with brutal army assault. There were mass executions and bombings and even reports of use of chemical weapons against civillians. To make matters worse, ISIS saw this as an opportunity to increase its foothold in Syria, and launched attacks on rebel groups and Assad led army. Imagine being caught in a 3 sided war. Millions of Syrians fled their homes. Approximately 4 million refugees currently reside in just 5 neighboring countries

Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan

Now these countries do not have enough resources to support such large number of refugees. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, i.e. UNHCR severely lacked funds. Conditions worsened in refugee camps.

Out of desperation, people started moving towards Europe. And Europe responded by increasing border patrol and making it almost inaccessible by land. People attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea in homemade rafts, and make shift rubber boats. Thousands have drowned. And so far they have just been numbers. “11 drown as boat capsizes, 27 missing .. “ just numbers appearing on corners of newspapers, running headlines on the bottom of a news channel.

Just after midnight, on 2nd Sept 2015, Aylan Kurdi and his family got on a small boat with 12 other people. The boat was built for 8.

Next day, photographs of the tragedy taken by a Turkish journalist went viral. It forced us to look at the plight of the refugees. To realize that they are people not numbers. Not number of blankets in a refugee camp, not kilograms of rationed grains, but humans in flesh and bones. Desperate for a safe haven, as they live their worst nightmare.

Angelina Jolie, special envoy to UNHCR, was quoted “It is sickening to see thousands of refugees drowning on the doorstep of the world’s wealthiest continent. No one risks the lives of their children in this way except out of utter desperation.”

The European Union till date is struggling to reach consensus. They have agreed to take in 120,000 refugees over the next few years. A paltry number compared to 1 million currently hosted by a small country like Jordan. They have also agreed to contribute 1 billion euros to the World Food Program. But there is no denying that a lot needs to be done.

Today European Nations are forced to take action because the tragedy of Aylan Kurdi made everyone realize that we cannot afford to turn our back away from this. We felt the desperation of a father who made the choice of putting his 3 year old boy in a makeshift raft to cross a sea because for him it was safer than the land they were fleeing from.

As John Green said, “we need statistics to explain tragedies, but let us not forget what is precious”. My objective today was to share with you the plight of the Syrian Refugees. They deserve your compassion, your empathy. They are more than just numbers in a news report.

Review : Dialogue in the Dark

“Oh. I did not expect it to be so dark …”

This was my first reaction when I stepped inside the restaurant.

I had heard of this concept restaurant via word of mouth a few months back. When my friend told me that they have opened opened in Bangalore, I had to visit it. So four of us made reservations for a “Dinner in the Dark”. When we arrived, we were asked to remove all possible light emitting objects such as cellphone and even our watches and put it in a locker. And then the gates opened and we were ushered into a narrow hallway that was pitch black. Inside, there was our guide, Janaki. I could only hear her voice. She guided us through the pitch darkness, and we followed, often stumbling and and a little scared.

She helped us to our seats. And served us dinner. There is no menu card. You only need to specify whether you are a vegetarian or otherwise. Somewhere in that darkness, music played. Stripped of my sense of sight, my focus shifted more on my sense of touch, direction and muscle memory. I have had countless conversations over dinners, but I had only so few times listened as intently as I did this time. Although we couldn’t see each other, yet it was an intimate dinner. We ate with our hands, our fingers tracing along the edge of the 6 compartment tray, trying to touch and figure out the various food items served to us.

It was unnerving at first, but soon it changed into a normal dinner, interrupted by our childlike glee of feeling/tasting something new on the plate. The dinner was completed and we were served finger bowls. Then we were slowly guided out of the restaurant. As I was walking out, there were conflicting thoughts in my mind. As much as I wanted to usher into the light, I was pulled behind into this intriguing world where touch, smell, sound were amplified. For once, the appearance didn’t matter. It didn’t matter whether I held the fork wrong, or there is spinach stuck in my teeth. I ate like a kid, completely enjoying my meal, dipping my fingers in the curry.

When we came out, we saw our guide for the first time. She was a petite woman, in her late twenties probably. She was blind. I had heard before that people working here are visually impaired, but it still hit me when I saw her. She had guided us with utmost confidence. We did not even take a step without her. She gave us a peek into her world, where we were utterly inept.

Do visit this place. It changes your perspective of “normal” and “capable”. It gives you a dining experience, where you truly feel your food. If you visit this place, do leave a comment below about your experience.

“Dialogue in the Dark” has a wide range of activities. It does exhibitions, corporate workshops and a lot of other things. Please check the link down below to know more about them

Website: http://www.dialogue-in-the-dark.com/

Wkipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialogue_in_the_Dark

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dialogueinthedarkindia

10 Tragic Love Stories That Will Break Your Heart

Found the reading list I was looking for

Thought Catalog

The 14th of February seems happy and harmless. Flowers and chocolates! Sappy notes and shameless rom-coms! Obligatory dinner dates. Candy hearts. Lots and lots of pink.

But V-Day’s contemporary style is as far removed from its origins as your family’s Thanksgiving dinner is from your syphilis-sharing Pilgrim predecessors. Valentine’s Day is rooted in violence and loss. Brutality. Death. The punishment of the innocent. V-Day’s always had love notes and flowers. It’s just that they were written moments before slaughter and placed carefully next to a cracked skull and a fresh grave.

So in the true spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are 10 Tragic Love Stories that Will Break Your Heart. Because as St. Valentine knew better than anyone, the best romances don’t end happily, and the greatest love stories are tragedies above all.

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1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Yes, it’s creepy. But it’s…

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The Sadness of the Comic

Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

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If one ever wanted to make a movie about a superstar with a flair for characters and for physical comedy who ends up dying of depression while making the world laugh, there would be no better man to play him than Robbin Williams. And so it came to be, art became life or was it the other way round, and the sad irony of the whole thing would definitely have made Robin Williams himself laugh.

It’s difficult to make laugh, difficult even more to make people laugh so much that they cry, and difficult most to make people cry while they laugh. In that Robin Williams was a master, like Charlie Chaplin, for their best performances,  always had a melancholic poignancy to them, lingering long after the laughter had died down.

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From Airport to Apartment

I moved to Bangalore exactly a month back. I was stepping into the “real world”; fresh with a degree and a novice. Everyday presented a new challenge in itself and I have grown in the past 30 days. As life is falling into place, I reflect back and wonder, had it been any other city would the transition been any smoother ?

Bangalore welcomes you, arms wide open. Every other person is just like you, probably moved to the city a year or two earlier. There have been times when I was asked by someone for directions and I shrugged saying “I am new too”. You don’t feel awkward about being new here, a lot of people around you are equally clueless.

Coming from New Delhi, what I found strikingly different were the people. Most people are dressed in muted colors (office wear) with I cards and laptop bags, and are either travelling from or to work. In Delhi, there was always an eccentric mix of people with different clothes and travelling for myriad purposes. Bangalore runs on the shoulders of the rising middle and upper class; the noveau riche, the cogwheels of India’s booming Technology Industry.

I have interacted with more people in past 4 weeks than I have in past one year. Brokers,landlords, Managers and office colleagues, HR and people ! lots of new people ! From socially awkward, I am moving towards socially competent. Conversation in itself is an art. Not only how you express yourselves, but understanding the nuances of other’s expressions. More is said in the spaces between the words than the words themselves.

A major life event was taking an apartment. A house is a living entity and it needs to be taken care of. When I am at home, most of the time, I am on my feet. There are a hundred things to be done. It is a daunting task in itself. First time appreciated all the hard work my parents put in to make our house into a home. My apartment still looks like a makeshift home with minimal furniture and basic amenities. Its a work in progress. Wouldn’t call it a home yet, more like a “nest”.

Despite the fact that I have been crazy busy, no time to catch to all the tv shows, I think I have been able to connect with myself more in these past weeks than during the lazy summer afternoons at my parent’s place. I have become more observant, yet more carefree. More cautious about things (plastics, bills, rents, taxes, yada …) yet more open and vulnerable to people and experiences. I give more thought to the clothes I wear, yet stride more confidently on a bad hair day.

Bangalore has made me feel at ease throughout, and this is a big Shout Out of appreciation to all the people I have met in Bangalore, even the ones I would never get to know personally – the kind bus conductor and patient commuters when I fumbled with change, the traffic policeman that helped me cross the road safely in Bangalore’s crazy traffic, numerous people who helped me with directions, and all who welcomed newcomers like me with so much warmth.

Thank You

Lots of love

xoxoxo Mwaaahh !!

US bans students from “blacklisted” countries from getting a free education

Hummus For Thought

I’m following a Coursera course entitled “Constitutional Struggles in the Muslim World” and just received a rather odd email. All students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba will no longer be able to access Coursera. As some of you may know, Coursera is an online website that offers free courses from many of the world’s top universities.

Here’s the email, which can also be viewed on the Course’s main page.


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Dear AllI write this email under protest and with a considerable degree of anger and sadness. Few things illustrate the bone-headedness, short-sightedness, and sheer chauvinism of the political structure of the United States better than the extent to which…

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