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I have been trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with me for the longest time now. The symptoms are restlessness, insane jealousy of people who are happy, a crazy maternal instinct whenever around kids, an urge to travel the world, despising oneself, spending hours checking and matching prices online so that you can get a good offer on clothes, accessories, electronic equipment which will probably never be worn or used, the sudden love for solitude buried in books and T.V. shows and last but not the least… wondering what my true calling is.

It has finally hit me that I am 27 years old which I have been for over 2 months now and the teasing temptress of life… TRUE CALLING still persists.

Stuck

I have to remind myself that I am a qualified Architect sometimes and that I used to sketch and do creative things at some point in my life, before I made a career shift to do something I’m not qualified to do… which then led me to do more things that I wasn’t qualified to do and has now led me to be so qualified in doing things that I’m not really qualified to do. When I made this shift, it was a rash decision made right after… it has been so long that I don’t think I even want to remember anymore. This was supposed to be a short stint before I found my TRUE CALLING and went about doing just that, and now 20 months later in that short stint… well… I’m still nowhere close to figuring out what I want to do.

The music has stopped playing because the cassette is stuck in the recorder.

Self Pity

Oh… how I love wallowing in self pity! I can spend hours and hours brooding over every single move I made which led me to this present state of affairs. The unwarranted rebellious phase, the really not required eyebrow piercing (which I still miss sometimes), the boys, the fights, the moves, the cutting off of friends, the bad habits… Which move was it that totally turned my world around and led me here? Which path not taken did I take which led me here? Who did I piss off for them to curse me to land up here? Where the hell is HERE?!! Anybody have a map to guide me through this mess?!

The only consolation to self pity is you treat yourself with really good food. I will never fit back into my college jeans, will I?

Bad Days

I have come to believe that every day of my life is a bad day whether it is related to work or my personal life. In the past week alone, I have had enough reasons to go running around looking for a horse shoe or reading my horoscope in the hope of at least preparing myself for the shit storm (my better half uses this word a lot so I decided to steal it, ‘cos it sounds cool) to follow. I wake up with a dread of what is going to go utterly wrong and who I am going to tick off, constantly wondering whether I am going to be let go because isn’t that what happens when you least expect it?! (just that in my case I hyperventilate and expect the worst anyways) I have started becoming overly self critical when it comes to work and I find myself rating myself very low these days, and I honestly feel that my productivity is at its lowest yet. I am scared of being that person who is dispensable because… who wants to be that guy who nobody misses?!

Sleeping early gives me mental peace and sleeping late gives me more time to worry. Isn’t it obvious what I must be doing these days?

Hobbies

I don’t go around clicking pictures of things that interest me anymore. In short, nothing interests me these days and I think that the reason behind that is I have become lazy and don’t want to take a snapshot of every single thing that moves me. I rarely blog these days and I think my writing has deteriorated from the last time I wrote anything that was worth a good read. I was never witty and well, enough said on that.

I read books which transport me into their worlds for a short time until I am drawn back to the reality that is my aimless life. (currently reading ‘The Racketeer’ by John Grisham and ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’ by Fatima Bhutto) I watch T.V. shows which keep me entertained for hours together which makes me believe that I am a couch potato. I go for a walk with a friend on a daily basis to prove to myself that I exert my body at least to some extent. (Yes, I have come to believe that I am an aunty now)

Where is ANJALI MARIAM PAUL?

I remember an Anjali who was happy and who went out of her way to make others happy too. I remember her to be honest, punctual, diligent, loyal, a little dysfunctional but who isn’t these days and happily confused about everything going on in life. She was happy being the over dreaming under achiever that she turned out to be. She was absolutely okay with going all the way across town to meet up with someone who she hadn’t seen for years. Where the hell did she go? She left her job when she thought she wasn’t learning anything and most importantly when she felt the spark die. When did she grow up to be this boring, cribbing, not fun to be with person? WHERE DID SHE GO?!

Paging Anjali Paul… Need you back urgently. The world is missing a bit of its happy quotient.

Finale’

I have made it a point to get back to my old ways of being insanely happy over a balloon and cotton candy. There has always been more fun in being a rambunctious child than a self disciplined adult. I guess this was my vent and it has been a while since I vented so yay for me! I have always thought of myself as a nobody who wanted to be a somebody and I realised through this post that I’d rather be a happy nobody than a stick in the mud somebody.

Hope that made sense. In case it didn’t… who cares? Nobody.

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Somebody Pamper Me

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I was sitting in front of a computer at work, on a SUNDAY trying to get some prints taken (2000 to be precise) for a training which was starting the next day, when my boss walked up to me smiling, reminding me to finish up a newsletter which was due in a few days and it took all of me to not scream and cry and throw a tantrum. I smiled and said that it would be done by the morrow, which I knew would require some magical multi-tasking powers and a sleepless night.

I walked out of the room, only to be reminded by someone else that I should have taken the prints and had them ready on Saturday. I bit my lip, smiled and said that the entire point of me working on a SUNDAY was so that I could get these prints done in my own time, without a million people interrupting me in the process. Some people should really learn when to NOT give people advice.

I grab my 3rd cup of chai for the day, which is probably the only thing keeping me going as I multi-task and finish up a document on my roles and responsibilities for a role I was given just 2 weeks past. The pressure is mounting and I am chumming and I want the entire world to know that so that they can just give me a break for a few minutes if not a SUNDAY, but no. That will not be because I am after all, a strong freaking independent woman who is supposed to keep it together and not lose it when the pressure starts to mount.

I go back to my room which is a depressing little cuboid as I have mentioned before in a post and read a book so that I remain sane and can remind myself that I have a life, when in reality… sigh… Who am I kidding? What life? I call my mother who is travelling and who casually happens to mention that my aging grandmother had a fall because her sugar ran low and I am still trying to hold back the tears as I try to remain as calm as my mother as she gives me this news. Now, I am really upset and just want to be comforted as the tears well up in my eyes and I let them fall onto the pillow as I pay no heed to them and continue reading.

The better half understands and then heads off with his friends to catch a late dinner as I remain in my depressing little cell with lizards for company. Now, I am enraged at the better half because I don’t know how else to emote and am frantically typing out hate messages to him on my phone. Thank god for good sense, which prevailed before I pressed send.

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I lay awake in bed, wishing I was stronger and epitomize the word ‘INDEPENDENT’ as I go along with my daily routine at work and life, in general. And then I remembered this cartoon strip I had seen a year earlier and it made me laugh so hard that it sort of cheered me up a little. As strong and independent as I’d like to be, there is still a part of me which wants to be comforted and pampered like a little school girl. It made me realize that it is absolutely understandable to break down and cry for a few minutes to just let out the rush of emotions sweeping inside of you. Haha!! Want to know how that day ended? It ended with my better half putting me to sleep on the phone by telling me it would all be okay. I’m not that strong and I’m not ashamed to say it 🙂

Yet Another Candle On The Cake

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10606481_670237243087409_8453904121568387156_nHappy 27th to me!! 🙂

As every year passes by, I find myself feeling more and more alone on my birthday and this year was no different. I was busy with work the entire day at office and took some time out for the ritual of cutting my birthday cake, in this case plural. If the embarrassment of standing in front of about 50 people as they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ wasn’t enough, the Director of the organization clicking photos of the event with his DSLR made it even worse. I like attention, mind you but only when I am seeking it and birthdays don’t come in that category. I was lost the entire day as I have been for some time now, attending phone calls from people who I speak to once or twice a year, feigning interest in their lives when all I was wondering was… why I wasn’t as close to them as I was so many years ago. The highlight of my day was The State Bank of India sending me a birthday SMS. You must understand where I am going with this post. You mustn’t get me wrong here… I am glad that they remembered and called to wish me but this year, nothing really cut it except for a drunken somebody singing to me on the phone at midnight only to complain later that I didn’t compliment his singing. (This post will be a reminder that it actually happened and wasn’t a figment of his imagination)

The evening brought some entertainment with beer and old Hindi films and some dancing which actually brought me to hysterical tears. I guess this is how grown ups celebrate birthdays and that I should get used to it but in all honesty, all I wanted to do was read a book and watch ‘The Wire’ and sleep early like I do every other day. Maybe I’ll save that for next year. The difference from last year’s birthday was this time the tears were happy and overall it didn’t feel that bad turning a year older in a not so alien city with newly made friends. Happy happy birthday to me, I guess :/

 

Freedom from Fear

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Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid. It’s good to be afraid occasionally. Fear is a great teacher.” – MICHAEL IGNATIEFF

Gone are the days when a girl could walk happily down the street whistling a happy tune, listening to music on her phone, unaware of the world around her. I don’t remember whether those days ever existed but I can clearly say that those days are no more. It could be the news freaking me out or the choice of posts and books I have been reading off late but when I step out of my room which is a little cuboid, my mind is paralyzed with fear.

I have been groped, brushed against, touched inappropriately and jeered at as though I were an animal in a cage and the fear comes from knowing it won’t end there. The fear comes from knowing that I will always need someone to protect me, that I am powerless alone. I want to walk out on the road, not clutching a bag to my chest in fear of being groped. I want to shop at a bazaar, not being mindful that the hawker’s breath is in my face and it reeks of alcohol. I want to sit in an autorickshaw at night, trusting him to take me to my destination without a sideways glance. But, no… I am always wracked with fear, although I may seem fine on the outside. I am always cautious; always second guessing every man that I meet; always alert that the next man I meet might be the one to take undue advantage of me. I want to trust you, dear man but it’s just that I can’t.

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I am surrounded by kids all day and my mind becomes so alert when I see one of the help smiling a little too much, while talking to the elder girls. I am glaring at the driver as he innocently throws the pre-schoolers up in the air. I am stealing glances at the shopkeeper as he spends a little extra time with one of the construction worker’s children. I don’t trust smiles anymore. I just can’t find it in me to wholeheartedly trust any man.

I watched this performance by a few of the school girls on Independence Day and I cried, a little because patriotic songs get me teary eyed and a little because of the irony… girls celebrating the freedom of a country when they are honestly not free, when they are shackled by the clutches of fear and doom.

It might be me but I don’t wish you a happy Independence Day, India… you don’t deserve it yet.

Escape

It’s 2 am and it’s cold. She pulls the covers over herself and tries to sleep but sleep just won’t come. She tosses and turns as though that would help but all it does is just crease the new sheets she sleeps on. She stares at the ceiling for the longest time, hoping that boredom will make sleep come but to no avail. She is still wide awake.

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Did she do something wrong? Why does this always happen to her? She always ends up feeling lonely and what’s worse… being alone. This time, it honestly wasn’t her fault and she can’t for the life of her imagine what could’ve triggered this row. Detach and be the bigger person. What a bunch of shit! She should’ve listened to her instinct and fought but who do you fight with when there’s nobody on the other side?

It’s 2:15 am and it’s getting colder and this time, she wants to feel cold. She wants to feel so cold that there has to be a point when she gets numb, numb to the pain… numb to the hurt… numb to the disrespect… numb to everything that will bring her sleep which is honestly all that she really wants now. Sleep. A good night’s rest. It’s been weeks since sleep has been evading her and she is tired of it now. She is tired of blaming herself for things she can’t control and things she just can’t grasp. She wants to let go… of everything.

She knows what she has to do. She has been planning it for days now, just waiting for the time when everything hits rock bottom and it has. She gets out of bed, gets dressed, takes her wallet, her camera and her journal… leaves her phone behind and walks out the door. She knows that there is no turning back, once she walks out that door and she is willing to face the music. She walks, knowing that life has failed her once too many times for her to trust it to get better. She has no agenda, no place to go to… just a feeling in her gut that she needs to get the fuck out before she loses her mind. She walks as though having no purpose in life is the purpose she has been longing for and it doesn’t matter whether she needs to start from nothing, all over again. She will. She has to, if not for her… but for him.

Nothingness

I think I have given up on blogging. There used to be a point when I needed to blog or I couldn’t get a decent night’s rest but now, I feel that it has become something I do out of habit and not really for want of something meaningful to say. I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I blogged and this is beginning to annoy me a little because if this turns out to be true, then it will be something else which I have quit on, much to my disappointment.

To be honest, there has not been anything mention-worthy which has happened since the last time I made an entry and even then I think I was forcing it out of me. Life has been good to me, surprisingly and I have been in too much shock to react. Modi came into power and the so-called good days are coming, or so I’ve been told.

Bah humbug! I’m not forcing it out of me today. There seems to be no point in any of this. One of those days, I guess. Much love!

Me.

Word Vomit

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Introduction to word vomit

I know before I make this entry that this will be just plain and simple word vomit, not because I don’t have anything to say but because I have had so much to say for so long and ended up blogging about it when the thoughts have run dry. I need to buy myself a voice recorder to help keep track of these thoughts when I think aloud.

Moving

So, in less than a month… I will be moving, only this time it will be to a village where I will probably have no network to make calls or get online. Am I out of my mind to have made this decision voluntarily? Yes. Am I going to back out of it within a month of staying there? We shall let time tell. I spent a week there for some training I had to facilitate and every night would have me walking around like a zombie with my phone held in strange positions attempting to attract network coverage and silently cursing myself every time I bumped my toe against something. This would be very funny even to me if only there weren’t rumors of panthers visiting the campus in the middle of the night. So, let me give you a description of where I will be staying. It is an educational campus with residential facilities which is nestled away in one of the ranges of the Aravallis. To get there, you need to travel about 10 km from the nearest town and there is something which resembles a road but my bum would tell you otherwise.

It is a big move and I am skeptical as to how a city bred like me is going to survive… Well, wish me luck and pray that no panther eats me alive. Other than that, it will be the most beautiful place to wake up every morning to, listening to the birds and the bees as morning breaks. It is frequented by peacocks and as they display their beautiful feathers, it sometimes really feels like the saying… ‘as vain as a peacock’ wasn’t half wrong.

Homesickness

My ammachi (grandmother) is turning 90 this year and I am beginning to miss her more and more as each day passes. She is by far the most avid listener I have ever had to all my stories and adventures, which will always be followed by an “Asho!!” with an open-mouthed expression. Haha!! I fear she won’t be around for too long and I want to spend every minute I have when I am in Chennai next month with her, watching Malayalam movies and chatting about everything under the sun.

Reading

I finally started reading ‘The Song of Fire and Ice’ again after nearly a 2 year break and have been reliving the horrors of every character I every cared for dying or being orphaned. It has come to a point when I don’t know the enemy from the friend. I have soft corners for the meanest and cruelest of villains and have begun to find certain favorites boring and I hope they die just to end my misery of reading about them. I have finished 4 books in 2 weeks which is an all time high for me and then I started on ‘The Feast For Crows’… I will be ten and thirty when I am done, I think.

Traveling

I have also been traveling a lot off late, much to my delight as it always gives me a moment to pause and reflect on a lot that has been going on in my life. I also visited this place in Bikaner called Deshnoke where I went to a rat temple. I have to show you pictures or you wouldn’t believe the amount of rats. There is a saying there that when every resident of that town dies, he comes back as a rat and when every rat dies, it comes back as a human. Strange eh? Also, there are white rats there. I kid you not… I saw one with my own eyes. If you see a white rat and make a wish, they said that it would come true. It did come true 🙂

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Jama Masjid, Delhi

thanagazhi02A wedding I attended in Thanagazhi, Rajasthan

IMG_3553The rat temple in Deshnoke, Rajasthan

Nonsense

Now, I shall go sleep because I have wasted enough of your precious time in reading this post but I must thank you guys for making the effort. Hopefully, I shall be back next time with a post with more meaning. Till then, adios.

Clueless

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“Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window- or break down a door.” – Brooke Shields

Prologue

You know that feeling when you want to be somebody and do something but you just don’t know who it is and what it is? If you do, then welcome to my world. I am in a mood to rant today and rant I will because I have been feeling awfully clueless for a while and it has struck me that if I don’t blog about it, it will probably remain the same and I won’t get out of this rut that I am digging my grave in much deeper than I would really want to be in. That was a long sentence and I was taught in school to not make such long sentences but hey… I am allowed to bend the rules once in a while aren’t I?! I wonder who these rhetorical questions are directed at sometimes when I reread my blog entries. Mostly, it just reminds me and a lot of other people why I am such a difficult person to live with and most importantly how very very required it is to have someone to listen to me ALL THE TIME!!

Soul Searching

I am a selfish person, most of you might already know that and for those who don’t… well, there’s a first time for everything. I walk in and out of lives as though they were books which I can close and open when I want, with their stories exactly where I had left them… only to my disappointment their lives aren’t at a standstill and most people don’t like their lives to be cruised by like those gas stations along the freeway, used only when absolutely required.

The reason for all this soul searching is the amount of time I am left alone with my thoughts with no outlet because I have realized that mediocre people don’t really get everything they want their way. I am supposed to be typing out my SOP and it occurred to me that there is nothing in my life to boast about and write pages which will wow the people I am trying very clearly to impress. I have a year to figure out my life and post that, it will be taking my life to the next level which is… yes… good question. A very good question.

History

The problem with being slightly good at a lot of things is, it drives you to a level which makes you believe that if you put some more effort into it, you will probably become good enough to master in it. You don’t have enough time to try and test them all so you just go with your instinct and hope that the ones you chose pan out when… in all reality… they might not. The odds are still the same and yet you believe that as one more talent gets kicked to the corner, you are nearing success when again… your odds are still the same.

Word Vomit

I sleep with a sketchbook right next to me, in the hope that I will wake up and draw myself a masterpiece, take my camera along with me hoping that I will click the next National Geographic front pager, sing loudly wherever I go… well it’s more of a habit really to be noted as the bathroom singer of the year or something maybe and write, write, write whenever my brain forces itself into excellence in the hope that I will finish my book by the end of this year. (Yes, I am writing a book and no, I haven’t found a publisher) In the middle of all this, I try to read and stalk and gather up information on all prodigies who are my age and have made it big in the world. I play Ruzzle till my fingers go numb and and my wrist needs to wrapped in gauze, I play quizes on India Capitals to prove to myself that my brain still functions and then post photos on Instagram like my world is one large canvas of beautiful people and things.

Epilogue (Thank GOD!)

Somebody once said, “You should’ve been born as 10 different people because that’s the amount of energy it will take for you to have all your dreams fulfilled.” I don’t blame this person one bit for saying that and right now, I feel strengthened by the insanity that is me. I found strength in facing myself today. I might not excel in every one of these things but I am not going to give up trying now, am I?! Haha!! A rant was required today or I wouldn’t have gotten this pessimistic feeling which was beginning to swallow me whole out of my system.

I have feet. I will dance.

“I DON’T WANT TO STUDY!!”

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“Whatever the child does is wrong; he must not talk, he must not fidget, he must not roll down a grassy bank in the park. The only thing he may do without getting into trouble is to sit still… and wish he were dead.” – Bertrand Russell

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Remember us, when we were rambunctious little children who couldn’t sit still for a minute and sometimes needed to be locked up in bathrooms or tied up to chairs when we got out of control?! I either gave away too much too soon or I took all of you readers back to a time when we were children being taught to be grown ups at the age of 5 or 6!! Honestly, what else do kids do when they have so much energy and the entire world to spend it all on?! Parents spend half their life coaching their toddlers to be little adults and then train them to become bigger adults when they should be running around and painting the walls purple and yelling at the tops of their voices just because they felt like it.

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I find myself stuck when I am with my class of 7 and 8 year old girls and boys. They have either lost their cuteness or I have lost the will power to see beyond their mischief and mayhem on a daily basis. They clearly don’t want to study when I tell them to and clearly don’t want to learn anything new when I teach them because they always want to play or fight or yell or pick their nose or complain or drink water or go to the toilet. This post is more of a rant and an attempt to figure out what make these children click and how much tough love works on them.

As part of our school’s policy, we don’t yell at the children and hit them even when they push other kids down and hurt them so bad that they need stitches. We, on the other hand sit them down and talk to them as though they were adults (try explaining to a 5 year old with rage issues that he shouldn’t have hit another child who was making fun of him and asking for it). Sometimes, it works. I took this kid outside and told him to count to 5 each time he got really angry and that by the time he was done, the rage would’ve subsided. (Does that ever work, even with us…adults?!!) Well, he tried alright and it was absolutely adorable to see this little boy closing his eyes and then counting to five with his fists balled up. The other kid would’ve run away in the mean time… at least that was my intention 😀 But, no… I am digressing.

My kids don’t want to listen to me when they don’t want to, which is beginning to be more often than not. I find myself losing my cool with them more often and they have off late been behaving more like children than little adults like we were groomed to be when we were their age. I know it is a good thing but it is upsetting me!! I tried making my class learn the number names from 11 to 20 over a week and they still came back without doing their homework or learning the spellings. I agree it is a boring exercise but hey, all types of learning can’t be fun no?! Or can it?! My creative mind is short of ideas to grab their attention and make them want to learn the spellings, much to my annoyance. They just want to be kids and I have threatened to walk out of their class the next time they come without doing their homework… emotional blackmail is the only route out with this class of mine… or is it?!! I go back to my room for my daily reflection after the class with these kids and I am so upset with the limited progress I am getting from them. Is it me?! Am I not equipped to handle their class?!

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I suddenly remembered the last time the class and I were at peace with each other, when they all worked like good little children and I didn’t need to raise my voice to get them to settle down and do their work. I was trying to end their session on action words and describing words when I came across this fun exercise online which I decided to do with my kids. I gave each kid a flashcard and asked every alternate child to write an action word and adjective. After they were done, I gave them some glue and gave them wheels which I had cut out for them already to make a railway coach and then attached them all to make a small train. The kids were so proud of their work and I was so proud of them.

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It took me a few hours of planning but it was worth it to see their smiles. Sigh. I can’t think of anything fun to do with number names. Can you?! Suggestions are welcome as I have a little less than a week to make them learn and I don’t want to make them be little adults when I know it is time for them to be children.

HELP!

Picture courtesy: Picture 1: www.kidspot.com.au ; Picture 2: curezone.com

I’m Just A Twenty-something Dirtbag

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“The only sin is mediocrity.” – Martha Graham

All of us have dreams. We are taught to dream big, from the time we were just a few feet tall, trying to wrap our heads around the idea of a dream and what it can do. We are taught to dream of big things happening to us like settling as a surgeon who is well renowned or an engineer who graduates from an IIT or NIT and then goes on further to study at a top MBA college (what do Engineers do otherwise?). If you aren’t earning the big bucks by the time you’re 30 and you aren’t flashing brands which have abbreviations which are easier to remember than their pronunciations and aren’t taking trips across the globe, you are in all respects… a degenerate. Your parents must be banging their heads against a wall, wondering what they did wrong (which temple/church/mosque they didn’t visit and pray for your well being).

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What about us, huh?! The ones stuck in-between?! I’m turning 30 in a few years and I am honestly nowhere closer to my dream of being half the things I thought I’d be a whole lot closer to, by now. We are the mediocre lot, who aren’t married and settled down with happy honeymoons and baby showers; neither are we closer to reaching the pinnacle of success at work… We are losers, in the eyes of our friends and families, and even bigger losers in our own eyes. I thought about it and God knows how I racked my brain trying to convince myself that there is something better for me in the future, when it hit me. This could be it. Mediocrity.

I might not be one of the best at most things that I’ve done and well, that’s something I’ve just got to get used to. I jumped from Architecture to working in an NGO because I wanted to do something which made me smile and made a difference in somebody else’s life and if that is going to make me mediocre, well I might as well live that life well. I am twenty-something years old and I’m staying in a hostel, alone with a lizard for company. My personal life is a mess, but then again… whose isn’t?! My plan doesn’t go past what I’m going to have for my next meal and I live my life as spontaneously as it comes. I have probably started and quit on so many hobbies and extra-curricular activities that I should be called a quitter. I recently had a nervous breakdown which was then followed by a physical breakdown which needed 10 days at home and a whole lot of medication to get me back to working condition.

I did everything right in school, I got all the grades required to get me into a good school and then life took me for a ride and the mediocre me is who came back, hurt, scraped, bruised and damaged… physically, emotionally and mentally. I can either mope and cry as I do on most days when I feel low or I can go ahead and live my life like the crazy misguided wayfarer that I become when I’m on my high… What I’ve learnt from my life so far… don’t quit on yourself… ever! You will find your inner strength when you least expect it and from then on, there is absolutely no turning back.

To all of you mediocre people, I raise a glass to our stubborn mule-like virtues… We will teach our children that being mediocre is okay because guess what, we turned out alright!! If there comes a time for us to shine, we will… until then… we bray our way into insignificance.

“The highest level than can be reached by a mediocre but experienced mind is a talent for uncovering the weaknesses of those greater than itself.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg