Friday, February 19, 2016

Thoughts on being 24

I just turned 24 yesterday so perhaps this should be thoughts on not being 23 anymore. 

I've always felt like I was growing up too fast, being with people 2 years older than me most of my life. It never dawned on me how much of an impact this had on my life. Being 23 felt like going through a roller coaster of everything. One moment, it all seems like you have your life figured out and the next it's as if you don't know anything anymore. 

You will lose a lot of people you were close with, it's inevitable. Maybe your values don't match or maybe you just don't feel like certain people are needed/wanted in your life anymore and it doesn't bother you anymore. Sure, you see them on Facebook getting on with their lives and you feel content knowing they are doing good but you don't feel the need to actively participate in their life. You're an onlooker and it doesn't affect your life anymore. 

You will gain a few new friendships. It's slightly harder to make friends as you get older because you realize the value of developing and nurturing friendships and sometimes you just don't have the time or energy or will to start a fresh foundation. You might still find people who click and makes it easier to include then in your life. 

Image from Tumblr 
You will realize that people can't be there for you all the time. That thought will first haunt you, then make you feel miserable but you will understand it when a friend asks you to accompany them somewhere but you can't because you have work and despite all that sayings that talk about how you should take time off to be with people who matter, you won't do it; and for a couple minutes you will feel bad but you'll realize there will be times other people will do that for you and that friendships are not always about sacrifices. You won't feel disappointed when people can't make it there for you sometimes because later they will surprise you by being there when you need them the most and you'll do the same. 

You will still carry regrets of everything you did in the past and I wish I could tell you it will be easier; it won't. On the bright side, you will be cautious. You will give people second chances because you'll no longer believe that people are only good or evil. 

You will learn to take more chances. You will take risks and you will be more open to things and people. You will also be more cynical and think a lot of negative thoughts about people's intentions and the world. You will find yourself hating on things just because other people do, but you'll also find yourself standing up for things you believe in. You'll learn to deal with bullshit by showing absolutely no grace. You will yell and fight for the right things.

Image from Tumblr
You will look at love either as something so far away, or something that hurts a lot. Or maybe somewhere in between. Everyone you know may look like they have it all figured out but you know that's not true. You will try to find less faults in people because you will realize the version of your future spouse for your 13 year old is not the same person you will think of now. You will laugh at how silly your 13 year old self was. You will start to accept that people you love has their own loves and it won't bother you anymore because you yourself has songs that remind you of past loves. 

You will value family but start to realize that they are not what your 8 year old self thought they were. You will realize they are also human and that they have their past regrets and mistakes and they were shaped by their generation and there will be things you don't like about them but at the end of the day those will the learning goals for you. You will start to accept them with faults, not as perfect human beings who will do no wrong. 

and lastly, you will think of yourself a lot more. You will try to always look out for you. You will learn to forgive for what and who you've been. You'll prioritize yourself gracefully and matter of factly and you won't feel sorry for it anymore. You'll learn how important self love is. 

Being 23 was not an easy feat but once you're 24, you'll realize, it's just one more year gone by. You will stop counting things in terms of years but in terms of how it made you feel and how you grew as a person. You'll learn to appreciate everything more. 

Here's to being another year older and hopefully wiser. 24, bring it on. I'm ready and I have all the fire I need. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Currently: February 2016

In between work and classes and other gazillion things I like to do, I seriously have been lacking in reading or watching but compared to last month I've actually been catching up to my fav shows and reading more books so that's pretty neat. 
Here are what I've been indulging in lately. 

90210 S5 | It's bittersweet because the series is ending but at the same time I'm glad its finally over, all that drama. After Gossip Girl, this was my drama fix and I really love Naomi and have been only following this show for her. Definitely enjoy all the excessive drama. 

Maleficent | Yes, I know. I've only recently gotten around to watching this magnificent movie and it was a blast from the start to end. Angelina was absolutely wonderful in her role and I LOVED the whole thing. I'll probably re-watch it because I can't get enough of it. 

Crazy Ex-girlfriend | I have been getting into a lot of new series and this is one of current favourites. Rebecca is such an adorable person and I love the music numbers in the series. The characters are quirky and funny and it's such a delight to watch this. 

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | For Page Turner this month, we are reading this book and so far I think it's average. I'm still not too into the story but I like how it's going. The back and forth and lack of answers/world building bothers me a little. I hope it will pick up pace and excitement. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah | This was last months book club book and I wasn't able to finish reading it but even the start of it is intriguing and I can't wait to finish this wonderful and nice book. I also adore Hannah's writing style. 

Sanam Teri Kasam Soundtrack | This movie isn't out yet but very few movies makes me want to check their soundtarck before the release but after seeing the trailer and sort of falling in love with a song in it, I had to get the entire soundtrack and all the songs are absolutely a joy! I have been playing this non-stop. 

What is keeping you entertained?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Re-reading Orwell with Context

Hi all. The following is a brilliant piece of writing by my Level 4 friend Mahid. He's a Conan loving typical engineering student with a penchant for using big words and is most known for his big hair. 

Image from GeckoandFly
I first read Animal Farm when I was 18 years old. I was unaware of George Orwell’s work and its lasting significance in geopolitics of the modern world. I also did not know anything about the Russian Revolution which is so wittily and meticulously satirised in Animal Farm. After having recently read a book by Abraham Ascher on The Russian Revolution I decided it was time I revisited the book.

With the second reading of the novel came the realisation that the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon were taking the roles of the revolutionaries Trotsky and Stalin. The former was a strict adherent to socialist ideals of Karl Marx, represented by Old Major in the book, but as his party gained power, he made devastating compromises on his ideals to the extent that the first principles were almost forgotten. Trotsky is described by Ascher as a remarkable orator and capable of uniting the agitated and the disenchanted. Stalin, after the revolution, climbed the ranks of the Bolshevik party through cunning and manipulation despite lacking any noteworthy charm. It was his brute that came in handy as he staged show trials and disposed his political rivals by exile or execution.

The Russian Revolution which began as a bold experiment to instil true Marxist communism after the removal of Tsar Nicholas II (Mr Jones of the Manor Farm), was disfigured into a Bolshevik obsession to gain ultimate and lasting power over the empire where dissent was deemed treason and dealt with using bayonets. Marxist doctrine was altered and reinterpreted to fit the Leader’s vision of a utopian state. In fact Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, published posthumously, were suppressed in the post-revolutionary Russia. I doubt that the Stalinists appreciated the irony.  

In 1984, Orwell describes this as the infection of socialism with the vulgar utopianism. Utopia, almost by definition, is a soulless notion. Promises are made about the absolute eradication of all human suffering, leading to infinite happiness. By assuming and imagining a future where there are no more grievances, it becomes possible to justify any atrocities committed in the apparent pursuit of that future. In essence this was the philosophy of the Soviet Union and the provisional government that preceded it. Ironically the end result was in effect the recrudescence of Tsarist Russia where Stalin, the Leader, ruled with an iron fist and an elite class enjoyed a hedonistic life while the peasant majority starved. The pigs and the farmers had become indistinguishable.

"By assuming and imagining a future where there are no more grievances, it becomes possible to justify any atrocities committed in the apparent pursuit of that future."

While the novel does not tell us what became of Snowball, Trotsky found refuge in Mexico after he was exiled from Russia. Stalin not content with having his colleague exiled, and attempting to tarnish and diminish him further by issuing revised writings of the revolution, used the Secret Police to bribe a Mexican communist who attacked Trotsky in his study, hacking him to death.

Both Animal Farm and 1984 draws a lot from the Russian Revolution. The former has been described as satire on the period, solely because the totalitarian nature of what came out of the revolution could only be satirized by removing it from the human experience.  Any personal account of life under a totalitarian regime is bound to instil crippling fear –as 1984 does - rather than induce laughter.

Unlike the Stalinist Russia, what the Big Brother of 1984 achieves is far beyond the collectivisation of food. It is the collectivisation of thought itself. All music, poetry, and literature originate from the top and is distributed to the lower parts of the hierarchy. The result is the utter decimation of individuality, personal aspirations and thought, while flooding the society with faceless, nameless entities who speak not with the brain but with the larynx, as the novel describes. The mind becomes so disjoint from reality that it cannot be convinced that it is oppressed let alone asked to stand up against it.

The law that was passed not long ago by the Majlis, stating that all literary content should first be vetted by the government before being distributed or published, was very reminiscent of everything we would describe as “Orwellian”. The Youth Ministry (we will never find out how the onus fell on them) later issued a statement saying that social media was conveniently exempted from the law. I can only suspect that this exception was less of a testament to the government’s leniency but more of a realisation that the law would be impossible to enforce on the internet.

"You are asked to love the cruelty dictated on to you by the regime, leaving us with the the ugliest doublethink one can conceive and the worst form of denigration and abjection of the human spirit."

In essence, 1984 is about love. The snatching away of genuine love to be replaced by compulsory love, extorted from the subjects under the threat of torture and humiliation. You are demanded to love the Big Brother, while simultaneously fearing him. You are asked to love the cruelty dictated on to you by the regime, leaving us with the the ugliest doublethink one can conceive and the worst form of denigration and abjection of the human spirit.

Thank you Mahid for so eloquently putting this into words.