Ah, the great outdoors!

“Ah, the great outdoors” is a dialog that a Dryad (character in Warcraft III) says when the character is trained and ready to be controlled. It is perhaps one phrase out of the thousands I’ve heard from spending innumerable hours playing the game that I remember often.

As a self-proclaimed ambivert, my weekend plan is a constant mental conflict of whether I stay indoors reading, binge watching yet another TV series or head out and explore some new place.

Having moved to Sweden (Hej Sverige! 👋) recently for work, I find myself traveling about 90 minutes in the morning and another 90 minutes in the evening to and from my office. This has given me a window of time to catch up on some reading (Thanks sis for the Kindle!) and writing (this).

Also sitting at the window of my train seat, the countryside of Sweden at sunset in Fall is mesmerizing. Open fields, orange sky being gobbled up by the grayness of the impending nightfall and an abundance of nature is what you get to see. The houses that dot the fields frequently, look eerily similar to the houses that a child might draw – simple and lovely.

As this view made me nostalgic about India and its beauty, I began to realize that I was, by some glorious design of the universe, destined to be here and like the Dryad I just want to shout out to the nature that surrounds me – “Ah, the great outdoors!”

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Body-Parking!

During my school days, I was fortunate to have heard many experts speak. The school management would arrange for eminent personalities to speak to the students about once in a month or so. I’m not sure if the practice still exists, but I opine it should.

We however, were more interested in playing than attending those sessions, and would find every way to escape from it. But we were forced to sit through them; I’m happy and appreciate it now.

I don’t remember all of the speeches I’ve heard, but some of them have etched themselves into my memory. I remember hearing an ornithologist speak and how he and his team managed to save a rare species of owls which were hunted down because the villagers thought they brought bad omen. I remember a social worker speaking of how important “Ahimsa” is and why we should practice it. I remember an eminent cricketer speak on how he would like to groom the future cricketing talent and urged us to join his cricket coaching camp.

I remember hearing a talk on how we remember things and little tricks on how to build a story around a series of events you wish to remember. I remember hearing a talk about superstitions and the speaker also debunked many of them giving scientific explanations. I remember hearing someone from ISRO talking about the Indian Space program and how it had succeeded in many ways. I remember a drama workshop in which we were made to sing, dance and jump around.

In many of the posts I write, the title hardly makes sense until you’ve made it half way through the article, and yes, this is one of those posts. I first heard the term body-parking in one such talk sessions during my school days. According to the person (unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, I do not remember names), body-parking means the idea that your mind wanders off elsewhere while you park your body physically where you are present. He used the term to describe students who seemed uninterested in his speech.

We are all “guilty” of body-parking some time or the other – in meetings, boring parties, during travel, or even on that occasional rainy Sunday afternoon. I say guilty because traditional thinking describes body-parking as a bad thing. You aren’t mindful; you aren’t concentrating. But I feel, body-parking is a necessary process of creativity. You have to think beyond your limits and boundaries, only then is it possible to think of something new. Writers, artists and musicians would agree with this. They usually live out of their bodies.

This reminds me of Sir Ken Robinson‘s description of university professors. He says, university professors live inside their heads all the time. They consider their bodies to be a vehicle for their brains, nothing more. In that sense, these university professors are perpetual body-parking entities. See, not a bad thing. (If you haven’t watched any of the talks by Sir Ken, you definitely have to!)

So, do you park your body often and let your mind wander?

 

A word about wordpress

For those who have come to wordpress recently (post v2.5 release), I’m sure you found the design, interface, manageability, and the performance of wordpress a satisfying experience. However, for those who have been with wordpress since its early stages, it has been an extraordinary journey (at wordpress.com, also at wordpress.orgWhat’s the difference?) when looked back at it.

I have been associated with wordpress ever since the v1.5 release – which was instantly adopted by thousands of people. I was a n00b at Webdesigning and PHP back then (not much difference now), and was a mute spectator to the exponential increase of the popularity of wordpress. The response to the wordpress ‘blog’ tool was enormous and everyone wanted to be a part of it. And gradually, the wordpress community grew, the number of coders, testers and website managers. The list would never be complete without mentioning the thousands of theme and plugin designers who have made a world of difference to wordpress as it is.

Having said all this, it would be a crime not to mention Matt. Matt is the creator of WordPress, who nurtured it (and continues to do so) as his child. Hats off to you Matt, for giving us such a good blogging software (wordpress.org) and also a blogging platform (wordpress.com).

You can read the wordpress story from the people themselves here.

English – In my life

I love English for two reasons. One, because I can express myself better in it. And two, because its a funny language. Also, it is probably the only language whose speech accent changes every few hundred kilometers almost everywhere in the world. In India, it probably varies with every person!

I took to liking English early in my school days, when I was in the 4th Standard (about 10 years old). I have to thank my teachers for making the lessons that interesting to me. I remember my 4th Standard English teacher Mrs. Samyuktha Devi, who also taught us History in the 6th Standard. I have no clue where she is now. Only thing I know about her is that she moved to Australia. Then came Mrs. Shylaja; she was a very good teacher too. Taught us English in the 6th Standard. The real passion for writing developed in me when I was in the 9th Standard when Mrs. Chandrika Ravikumar was my teacher. She was amazing. She requested for a special hour every week from the then Headmistress (Mrs. Leelavathy Gururaj) called the creativity period. We got a chance to showcase our talents during that hour every week. A few sang songs, displayed paper craft and we even had a play that we performed within the classroom. Oh, that was a lot of fun!

I wrote poetry and stories and read it out loud to the class. The poem ‘The little soul‘ was the one I remember reading out to the class and getting praised for it. 😀 And then, the story was titled ‘Mysteries of Vreen’ – which was very much influenced by my reading of ‘Secrets of Droon’ by Tony Abbot. I used to write a little for every week and it was read out in the class. A few months later, (after my 9th Standard) I stopped writing it; I felt guilty of copying the idea from another story series. Anyways, it did help me write better.

I did write more poems; some silly ones. And when I was in my Pre-University college, I started the ‘Warriors of Might and Magic’ (title tentative) which is yet to be completed. There was also a few other short stories and essays I wrote – which I hope to put up on the blog sometime. And about the same time, I started this blog, which at first was a collection of jokes and e-mail forwards; so not much of creative writing involved. But since about 10 months (see archives), I have changed it to my personal blog. And ever since then, I’ve learned a lot about writing too.

And that’s the history of English in my life. If you have such histories, do share it in your blog, or comment here. I’m sure some of us who studied English as our secondary language would have. 🙂

2 years since I started blogging!

I’m very happy that, its been over two years since I started blogging (05 Apr, 2006) with WordPress.com. Before that, I had an account with Blogster.com, which was formerly Blogster.net. Anyways, it wasn’t long before I switched over to WordPress.

Where are the archives?

Well, when I started off the blog, it was mainly to put up online my large collection of jokes and email forwards. I have now moved it to a different place. (Its still under development, and I’ll give out the link once its up 🙂 ) So, I wasn’t much of a writer then; I’m not so now either, owing to the amount of ‘creative’ time I spend on writing these days.

Anyways, I read Mary’s article on her finding of a news-piece, which put forth the bad effects of addiction to blogging. And also Caroline‘s comment which linked to an interesting post. It talked of the freedom of a blogger and the sense of ‘Blogging Without Obligation’ (BWO). After thinking about it a lot, I think addiction to blogging is the safest addiction out there! 😉 😛