I Probably Shouldn’t Complain


Life has been tough recently. I am stressed (  because of my visa delay) and really fed up with my incessant problems. I said to my mom the other day on the phone: ‘I never get anything done smoothly in my life!’

Yesterday I met a friend who is almost my elder sister by now. I expected myself to just whine about how miserable my life is and how all I have are problems. She started talking about her new job and I shut up. As she spoke, I was too scared to even breathe.


 

My friend started working in an hospital in South Auckland as an physiotherapist (I guess). Now, if you have lived in Auckland for a while then you will know that South Auckland is considered as the troubled neighborhood. Emphasis on considered as.

She told me that on her third day working there, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She became responsible for taking care of a two month old premature baby. The baby’s mom asked my friend to look after the baby while she went outside. My friend couldn’t stay longer than 30 minutes and told the mum the same.

My friend ended up holding the baby for more than 3 hours. The mother came back after 5 days. My friend did not know that the mother was troubled. The mother was not allowed to leave the hospital and neither was she supposed to leave the ward. There was a communication lapse in the hospital. My friend had to take care of a baby because of it, scared that now she will lose her job and at the same time she would have aided a mother abandon a child.


 

My friend has been working in the hospital for 3 weeks now. She loves children. On her honeymoon, when other couples are busy taking great photos and enjoying, she and her husband volunteered in a slum area in Philipines. They raised money using Facebook to help those children. As she spoke about her job, how she interacts with children and how much she loves them, I knew that she has found her calling in the hospital.

She spoke about meeting children of abuse in the hospital. How children who are supposed to be delighted to meet their parents were too anxious to be around them.

A abused child who hadn’t had a bath since November because of his hydrophobia recently had a bath.

Mothers who would abuse loudly in the hospital and spit at nurses and create a mess.

Fathers who would abandon their new born in the hospital because they did not want them.

She told me about her day as by the end of it, she was tired physically, mentally and emotionally.

“There are small surprises wrapped inside a mass of mess”

I was scared as I heard her speak. I had my hands on my mouth because I was appalled.


 

Back to the mother and the premature baby. The hospital authorities have seen these incidents before. They said ‘This is pretty normal here’.

THIS IS NOT NORMAL! IT CAN’T BE NORMAL!

They spoke with my friend, convinced her that none of this was her fault even though anyone in her place would really think that all of this was their fault.

When the mother came back, she took the child away without any fuss or any communication. She did not give any kind of explanation as to why she was missing for five days. I don’t know much about the social services in Auckland, I am not sure about what will the repercussions of the mum’s actions but my friends couldn’t do anything. They could only send their report on the incident to social services.


 

My problems were my own. My mistakes will only affect me directly. My friend’s work takes a toll on her and affects a lot of people. The families in the hospital, her own mental state, her colleagues and then the social services jobs.

As she finished her stories, I said I have the easiest job in the whole world. In terms of stress and the consequences, I still have it pretty easy. In all, I probably shouldn’t complain anymore.

 

You never know you are doing, you just do it


I was talking to my friend past Friday. I was trying to start a PS3 console and it wouldn’t start so I called him. While talking I mentioned that I am trying out ‘Batman: Arkham City’ game even though I have no clue what to do in it. It is at that moment he pretty much summed up my entire life.

‘You never know what you are doing, you just do it.’

I had a great laugh at that and true enough it is what I mostly do. I felt good to hear him say it.


 

I finally moved into a new house. I love it there and it more that what I was hoping for. There are so many empty shelves in my room and will probably remain empty. I like less stuff and clutter.

Sunday is when I moved to a new house. Afterwards, I went to play Holi in Radha-Krishna (ISKCON) temple in the outskirts of Auckland with a friend of mine and neither of us knew what was going to happen there. We just went and pretty much had one of the best parties without drinking. Surprise surprise.

The same night though, my way of living life turned on me. Later that night there was another party (I never say no, another way I live) and I went there as well. Like Holi, I didn’t know what to do here as well. I couldn’t have fun here.

I spent sometime being around with a bunch of guys that I know but not really friends with and eventually I withdrew. I didn’t talk much and eventually I was alone on a table with a pack of playing cards contemplating my choice of coming here.

I was the weird guy at the party who was trying to build a house of cards rather than talk to people and have a good time.

‘That is probably the worst thing I have ever done at a party’ I messaged another friend.


 

My irritating habit of being socially awkward has bothered me for as long as I can remember. I was never as weird as to build a house of cards though.

Last year I went to a girl’s 21st birthday and eventually I was sitting in the corner with a glass of water in my hand while everyone was chatting and having a good time. I just couldn’t do it, get up and maybe get into a conversation.

There is never any better way to explain what I feel at such situations because I actually don’t feel anything.


 

I know if I am invited then I will be going to any social function. I am always hoping that my experience will be better than the last time. Going is not just about missing out or not being able to say no.

I go because I want to go. It will be fun are my thoughts as I am deciding whether or not to go.

It is about being normal. It is about trying and trying again cause the only other option is to give up and let it all go.

I guess I do know what I am doing.

Daily Prompt: Craftmanship (War Fiction)


‘Metal forging is a craft, a skill that one in every 100 men have. Sure, anyone can heat up metal but how to mold it into a sword or an armor: that is a skill. When to cool a metal and how much to beat it, these things can be only done by instincts. You have the knack for this kind of craft. So promise me Pete that the only time you pick up a sword or a hammer is to deliver it. Battle is better off for others.’

Pete remembered that particular conversation with his grandpa. He could never forget it, he has trouble remembering his grandpa’s face at times but that conversation was easy to recall. It shaped his life.

He deeply breathed, trying to steady his speeding heartbeat. He was scared. He has never stepped out on a battlefield before and now the battle was outside. His brothers, the soldiers with whom he has grown up were getting slaughtered outside and he could hear women screaming. Houses were aflame, horses were running wild and the world sounded like it was about to end.

Maybe it was.

He looked at around his armory: he had a hammer, his favorite, a sword and some knives. Enough to fight with, enough to die with it. He knew a little about fighting but he was prepared: he threw his sword into the flame to heat it up. Nothing burned more than seared flesh and he was going to use the heat. His hammer had a long shaft which would be perfect for swinging and gave him reach. Knives would be perfect for arm to arm combat.

Let’s go.

He could hear some men standing outside his hut and swords clashing. He was not sure but he could hear someone cursing in his native tongue. There was a squeal and the swords stopped ringing. One final curse in his native tongue and someone fell down.

Pete ran outside his hands on the heated sword with his hammer on his back. In a second he had swung his sword and had cleanly decapitated a soldier. The heated metal had sealed the wound so no blood came pulsating out. Maybe it was the lack of blood that gave him an advantage as no one turned towards him until too late.

He cut off another soldier’s sword hand, sealing the wound. He turned his attention towards to the other soldiers standing around him: three more, four if you count the maimed soldier. He screamed a battle cry his friends had thought him a while ago, his voice eerily strong.

The soldiers were ready and were able to deflect his swings with ease. However, the sword’s heat threw them backward. He was bigger than all three of them, so he swung again this time putting his full weight on the swing. It worked as the soldier made the mistake of blocking the swing rather than deflecting it. Both the swords were thrust into the soldier’s chest and locking them together. Pete tried to pry loose his sword but to no avail. He had two more to kill for now but he couldn’t do it.

One soldier was at arm’s reach so he did just that, he grabbed the soldier’s neck and squeezed while he kicked the other. With only one soldier to focus on he grabbed his knife and thrust it in the soldier’s eye socket.

With one soldier and one maimed soldier left, he grabbed his hammer.

He could see another group of soldiers in the distance, they had noticed him as well. No matter, he will get to them soon enough. He swung his hammer low and blew the maimed soldier’s knee out. He kept the momentum of the swing and turned around to aim the hammer on the soldier’s head.

It was just like beating a metal into shape. Only this time blood came out.

More soldiers, none of them had any long range weapon. They would die soon. That day, the village was Pete’s forge. All the soldiers were infantry it was a while before any archers made contact with Pete. By the time they did, at least 50 were smashed and the hammer was glistening with blood.

An arrow through Pete’s heart put him down.

Daily Prompt: Recognize (Fiction)


“Do you know who this man is?” Counselor Michaels asked the witness. It was a very important question as it will either make or break the case. However, the witness couldn’t have been more unreliable.

Joe Monley was a two time convicted felon, one for B&E and the other for manslaughter. He has been clean for ten years now but there is always a shred of doubt when putting people like Joe on the stand.

Plus, a couple of days ago newspapers have discovered that Joe had an alcohol addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous was supposed to be well, anonymous. This revelation had put Joe’s testimony into jeopardy and Michaels would have removed him from the stand if he had any other witness.

No one else in the bar had seen the kidnapping of the waitress. No one in an entire bar.

The counselor waited for Monley to answer, his hands behind his back holding a pencil. He was tensed and was flexing the pencil. If Joe did not answer anytime soon then he would snap the pencil.

“Yes I do” Joe answered. Michaels eased off the pencil and continued on the prepared set of questions. Michaels plan was initially focus on the kidnapping but in light of recent events, he had to make some changes.

He had to provoke his client that day and he would never forgive himself. After Joe had answered all of the prepared questions perfectly, it was time for Michaels to take the rug from underneath the defense. He was sure that the defense would questions Joe’s testimony considering his Alcoholic Anonymous membership.

“How long have you been going to AA meetings Mr Monley?”

Joe’s head snapped into attention, his eyes narrowing. This was a low blow and even the defense was not completely prepared for this.

“Three years. I have been sober for the last two years”

“Then what were you doing in the bar?” Michaels asked.

After the papers leaked details of Joe’s AA membership, Michaels had asked Joe the same question and Joe stormed off. Now he could not storm off the courtyard.

“I was meeting somebody. I am sponsoring somebody and he had relapsed. I was there to take him home and take care of him.”

Michaels could have continued, but he stopped. He had already crossed a line with these questions but if he asked who Joe was sponsoring then it would be more…dirty.

He thanked the witness and the Judge concluding his line of questions.

Joe had done what was expected of him: recognize the kidnapper.

Daily Prompt: Replacement (Science Fiction)


‘You are pregnant!’ the monitor displayed with tiny GIFs of babies crawling sprawled across the screen like confetti. The screen thought it was a celebration.

Tessa did not want to celebrate though. A baby meant work, lots of hard work and who does that these days. Amongst her sisters, only one had a baby and till this day she says that it were one of the most excruciating experiences of her life. The same sister also says that it was a memorable moment for her.

Why would anyone want to remember pain?! Everyone else, like normal people would rather skip the pain and enjoy the perks.

Tessa asked the screen ‘What do I do now?’

Moni, the AI which controlled her house responded gave her a few options. She decided that she would have to meet with a doctor once to discuss some options. She doesn’t want to be burdened by the pain.


 

‘I am pregnant’ she told her friends, Ali and Javier. They both looked at each other, trying to guess who the father is. It was common these days to have children with your friends as who would like to go outside and try to find a mate. It is a long and painful process.

Alcohol helps with the pain but it gives immense hangover. Technology has advanced and there are some great hangover remedies, but the stronger the remedies became people drank even more.

After about 30 seconds of staring at one another in silence, both of them raised their glasses and clicked them. They were not toasting to their ‘success’ but they wanted to get rid of the elephant in the room without actually talking about the elephant in the room.

Tessa did not want any part of this discussion so she stared around at the bar. The bar tried to emulate the feel of 1960s and it looked remarkably similar. There was some kind of RF signal in the air which made all the guests sway to the Jazz music being played the bar AI.

‘What do we do now?’ Javier asked.

She almost choked on her drink. She had only told them about the baby but she did not tell them that neither of them was the father. She told them now.

They sat silently again for a couple of seconds and both of them ordered lots of Tequila shots. Biologically, she shouldn’t drink. But she drank anyway cause Moni had already copied her embryo’s genetic makeup.

Tomorrow, her doctor would already know what her baby would look like.


 

‘You want SurroMother?’ the doctor asked again for confirmation.

Tessa looked at the artificially generated face of her yet-to-be born son. He would look good when he grows up.

He just won’t grow up in her womb. No pain.

‘Yes’ she confirmed.


 

The night after her appointment with her doctor Tessa did not feel like staying at home. She went out again, this time not calling her friends and drank the bar dry. She met another guy and went with him. She just hoped there would not be another baby this time.

No pain.


I couldn’t place replacement anywhere in the post.

Daily Prompt: Oversight (Fiction)


Nothing bad can ever come here. Last night’s events were not oversight, but they were a result of complacency. How else can three vampires just waltz into Wolf town?

Wolf town is the holy land for all kinds of wolfs all over the world. Werewolves, direwolves, siberian wolves and so on. Sometimes even Huskies are welcome here because predators have hearts too. Huskies are nothing but little lost children of wolves were they not?

It was considered common knowledge that no wolf will ever have to fight for his or her life here in Wolf Town. They can yap and howl all night long with their mates and bros but not get killed. Vampires and ghouls respected this knowledge and wolves territories. They emulated Wolf town a couple of centuries ago and created their own towns.

The names of their towns were alluding as compared to the simple Wolf town. Vampires called their home Bloodhaven and ghouls just called it Brains. Zombies tried to sue ghouls over the town name but no court wanted to have a huge racial dispute on its hand.

Zombies could not settle this the old fashion way, after all attack on one town will lead to an overall attack on all homes. Eventually Zombies called their home “Grrr!” as it was easy for them to say it.

“Where will you go now mate?”

“Grrrr!”


 

The vampires were left on poles exposed to sunlight. They withered and squealed against the sunlight but eventually all of them died. Sunlight gave vampires the most excruciating deaths and after last night’s atrocity they deserved it. But the old wolves of the pack were wary of such a public execution.

“Let’s kill them quietly and then feast on them!”

“They have no blood inside them! Feast on old festered organs?!”

“Well we can always bury them and wait for them to turn to bones!”

“Bones?!” the Husky exclaimed.

Others saw their child and were ashamed. One by one they howled and the Husky joined their howls. The elders were proud of the Husky’s howl though.


The vampired walked towards Wolf town’s square and faced the decayed bodies of the three dead. Wolves all over the town had heard of the new fang in town but he kept waving a white flag as a sign of surrender.

He also had a couple of balls which distracted everyone: elder and young pups.

“You should stop throwing those balls.”

“Your kind is so easy to distract”

“But we don’t attack unless offended”

“True. I would like offer my kinds’ sincerest apologies.”

“The vampires almost killed three wolves and ate one pup”

“And you killed them. Vengeance is dish best served cold”

“Your kind is cold already, they need to lighten up”

The vampire looked down at the old wolf standing next to his hip for a few seconds before laughing aloud. He kept laughing as more wolf heads tilted seeing his strange reaction. He stopped eventually.

“I offer truce. These deaths were apt, and my kind could not have given them a better punishment. As for compensation, we are ready to offer heaps of tennis balls, bones and half of our prey for a month. Let your mouths feast on succulent human flesh so that you will not have to hunt.”

The elder wolf waited and thought about the offer hoping there was no oversight. But wolf are after all parents of Huskies, they trusted very easily.


 

Thank you so much for reading. Comment below to let me know what you thought about it.

#100DaysofCode challenge: These guys made my week!


I have enjoyed coding a lot since coming to Auckland. I had a lot of time in my hands, ample resources to learn and now I am always keen on coding. I just don’t know what to code: I don’t have any project in mind.

One day, reading an article on Design.blog I stumbled on CodeNewbies.org: a website which caters towards beginner coders. They have something which I instantly signed up for.

If you have followed my blog then you would know I have completed NaNoWriMo 2015. 30 days of daily writing needs serious commitment. CodeNewbies challenged beginners to code daily for 100 days.

I was signed on half hour later. Today I am on day 14th. Everyday I try to code an hour and so far I have missed two days. I have made my portfolio (which needs some actual projects) and a tribute page (both of them have terrible content) so far and there are heaps of projects in it. After coding, I have to log my progress and also tweet about it using the hashtag: #100DaysofCode.

Last week, on Wednesday I got a call from a company nearby to schedule an interview. It was an unexpected call and at that time I was almost through my list of companies in the country. My calls had turned up nothing concrete other than some advice but no leads on getting any jobs.

Then I got a call. He asked if I can join him for an interview next day and I said yes while jumping up and down.

I changed my coding practice and then I tweeted this:

 

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I slept that night without waiting for any reply. Granted, I was literally asking for the replies but the response I got made me smile ear to ear next morning. These are the replies:

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Lastly, thank you CodeNewbies, FreeCodeCamp and #100DaysofCode community.

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PS: I got selected for the internship from the interview and I start tomorrow.

Identity Crisis


A couple of months ago, I was debating in my university team on minimum wage. The opposite side debated that minimum wage should stay as it helps establish identity. I remember the moment clearly when the opposite side argued ‘a person’s identity is associated with what they do for a living’. I rebutted against their point saying that a person’s more than just their profession.

Now, I think they were right.

I was a student for a year. I worked as a content writer for six months before that and was a student back in undergraduate school. I worried as to my whereabouts and identity but never like these days. Now, I am not a student and neither am a employee.

I am a job seeker currently and job search is so damn hard!

I can read books, cook and watch TV shows as much as I want but at the end of the day they make me feel like shit. I can’t lie about that, I do feel disgusted on a day when I have literally done nothing. Such days are iterate frequently.

I have to coerce myself to do something each and every day. My motivation is limited and I am running out of it. Ted Talks, reading blogs and stories sometimes gets me off my ass but then something throws me back to my comfort zone of blissful ignorance.

I have made plans to get things done everyday: apply for X number of jobs, call up Y number of companies and so on. I write stuff down as a list for the next day and in the beginning I could do them all but now I can hardly cross half of them out.

The very fact that I have to push myself to do that disgusts me. The lack of a monetary incentive or a professional identity and responsibility makes it harder.

Is it the same for everybody?

Manan Pandya’s Guest Post: How Lonely are we?


Thank you so much Manan for agreeing to guest post on my blog. He wrote an awesome and insightful post about human conditioning and loneliness and here it is:


There comes a time in everyone’s life when we sit down, far away from the world and its people, lost in the thoughts of how truly connected are we to the society. In this moment of self reflection we are often haunted by the thoughts that we are distant from all the people that we supposedly know and are in dire need of companionship. The feeling of invariably being with someone is what is craved by our mind.

Yet in truth a high degree of loneliness is an inescapable part of being a sensitive and intelligent human.

It is highly unlikely that we find someone who is exactly on the same page of the soul as us. This is because every individual on earth is a product of different circumstances, lifestyle, beliefs and morals. We often wish of other people to understand us but are let down when they fail to fully comprehend us. The problem is sure to get worse the more thoughtful and perceptive we are. There will simply be less people like us around. It is believed that working together is the solution to many of the problems, that two heads are better than one. But the truth is every successful pursuit came from an idea of an individual.

When you embrace the fact that in the long journey of life you have to do the traveling and that the people around you are just like road signs meant to guide you but not walk for you, then you can begin harnessing your solace as strength. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that we were never meant to socialize. Prefer others company, but value yours more. We shouldn’t be frightened or discouraged by the lack of company. While we may not have in our immediate surroundings people like us, but others separated across space and time might exist. This realization helps us in connecting with them in a far better way than what we have experienced before.

Once we accept it we can get creative. You could find yourself in the words of a poem written by a poet decades ago or the lyrics of a singer who described your blues even before you were born. When you begin to enjoy your own company, you start having deepened conversations you have with yourself. This in true sense cultivates intimacy. You could write, create music, blogs knowing that someone somewhere is going to be on the same page of thought on that topic.

Knowing that inner voice inside your head is the most important thing that you could do. Use this to think clearly about what you want to achieve in life. Done perfectly this is really helpful in getting you back to focus on things that really matter. Conclusively ,it is extremely necessary for everyone spend that time everyday when you need to answer only to yourself.


Feel free to check out his interview here. I am open for more Guest bloggers and feel free to contact me on itsmayurremember@gmail.com!