Being A Coward In Crowds

Love the lone light in the darkness, Toronto.
Love the lone light in the darkness, Toronto.

I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man. – Che Guevara

I was at McDonald’s at Bathurst and Dundas with a friend at 3am a few nights ago. We had danced for a few hours and now he was famished. We walked into the restaurant and we were bowled over by the crowd that was in the place. A bunch of people who had been dancing in nearby bars must have decided to come to McDonald’s for a nourishing meal before going home to bed. My friend and I were startled at first by the masses, but then we decided to enjoy the drunken reality show that was going on in front of us.

People of all sexes were grinding with each other as if there was music still playing in the background. Junior Chickens and Big Macs were being devoured with gusto. Conversations about sex, music, politics, and Calculus was going on all around us. I was happily taking it in.

Then, it turned sour. It turns out this McDonald’s is also where the local homeless people come to sleep when it gets really cold at night. They buy or are given a drink or some food, and they occupy some warm corner in the restaurant, put their jackets on their heads, and sleep. There were at least five of them in there sleeping away or watching the masses, while we were in there.

One of the young men decided that he didn’t like the smell emanating from the old homeless lady with only two front teeth. He started yelling at her to leave or he was going to call the police. He was obviously drunk and she was mentally unstable. That was a dangerous combination. Both of them started yelling at each other. At first, my friend and I just rolled our eyes at each other. It was comical to be standing in a McDonald’s at 3am witnessing a ‘Jersey Shore’ style scene.

But then, I wondered, why isn’t anyone doing anything? More importantly, why am I not doing anything? In retrospect, I should have said something to the young man – he was drunk, but maybe he could be reasonable. I stood there, rooted to the spot. I wanted to go say something to him, but I didn’t. I just stood there.

What was I afraid of, I analyzed later? Was I afraid that he would hit me? Was I afraid of being put on the spot? Was I afraid of getting involved? Was I afraid of causing a scene? Maybe it was all of it, but I never actually did anything.

A few moments after, a friend of the young man came up to both of them and calmed the man enough to stop the yelling. Everyone sat down peaceably.

But the incident stuck with me. This isn’t the first time, the bystander mentality has taken ahold of me. I have had this happen to me before, where something is unfolding in front of me, and I am rooted to the spot, cowering with indecision, unable to make up my mind whether I should intervene or not. Why does this happen? In every other aspect of my life, I have the mentality of start it now and then think about it later. I am spontaneous and impulsive in every other thing I do. I hop on board and then analyze or question later. I say yes to everything.

But when it comes to helping or hindering someone in a crowd, I wonder if my intervention would be at all useful and I get paralyzed with indecision and anxiety. I have this scenario in my head where my intervention would result in a situation ten times worse than without my interference. I worry about worsening the situation and therefore, I end up doing nothing.

I don’t like that at all. I have always been a doer. I want to be known as a doer. I want to take action, not stand in the periphery wondering if I should take action. I don’t want to be a coward.

I don’t know how I am going to do this, except practice. When I do fall into situations like this, which are going to happen more and more now that I am back in Toronto surrounded by drunk people all the time, I am going to try as hard as I can to do ‘something’. Anything. It doesn’t matter the enormity of the action. I just want to do something.

You Don’t Want To Seem Desperate

Gray and Golden Sunset, Toronto
Gray and Golden Sunset, Toronto

I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really. – Tennessee Williams

I have been on a job hunt since I was let go from my previous role in September 2014. I have been searching and interviewing and dealing with the frustrations of a job hunt. Recently, I found this company that seemed like the ideal company for me. It was perfect in every regard. I decided to offer my services for free for two weeks to a month to the CEO, so they could test out my skills for no obligation on their part.

I was talking about this with a few friends and they all told me the same thing, ‘Job hunting is like dating. You don’t want to seem too desperate.’

I thought to myself, when did showing enthusiasm and eagerness for a position or a person, turn into desperation? Just because I am fond of a certain person, and I show them that fondness by being happy when they are around or doing nice things for them, doesn’t mean that I am showing desperation. And just because I am fond of a job or role, and I want to show them my skills to get a foot in the door, doesn’t mean that I am desperate.

Why do we all have to be automatons showing no emotions, staying stock still and becoming monotonous? Any kind of flashy behaviour, or show of emotions, is becoming unacceptable. Everyone should just shut up, sit down and be lady-like (or gentleman-like). We aren’t humans anymore – we are more like Stepford wives. Perfect, emotionless, robotic.

Anyone who does start showing too much emotion, movement or feeling, is cut-off. They are too ‘intense’. They are too ‘flashy’. They are ‘too much’. They need to ‘chill out’. They need to be cool and collective like Gwyneth Paltrow (I have been told once).

I have been told, I need to be flavorless and bland. I need to stamp down on anything that is ‘too human’ in me. Too much emotion is bad. Too much feeling is bad. Too much of anything is bad.

Staying at a colourless zero-axis is the way to live this life. Do not love too much. Do not be too much. Do not do too much.

Why are we all so intent on going to this middle ground? I have found the best times of my life have come when I am doing something really intensely to the exclusion of everything? I feel the most when I am loving something or someone to the best of my ability.

I want to be intense. I want to be too much. If I seem desperate, that is absolutely fine with me. At least, I will feel like I am living as humanly as possible. Cutting myself off from my high emotions and feelings isn’t the way for me to live. I can’t do it. If that means, that I am cut off from the rest of the sane world, then so be it.

Older Than The Crowds Surrounding Us

Ethereal clouds, Toronto, Canada.
Ethereal clouds, Toronto, Canada.

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. – Sophia Loren

I went out dancing with a dear friend recently. She is tall, beautiful, intelligent and curvaceous. She was easily the tallest one in the bar we were at. The music was house, my favourite. The crowd was young, and vivacious. I was happy to be surrounded by house music admirers and party-freaks. But she was unhappy. She kept on saying that she felt old among such young ‘uns. I have heard this complaint before. My sister complains that she doesn’t want to go out dancing anymore because the crowd is too young. There is no place for mature crowds to go out – and she is only 28!

It made me wonder, why does it matter who you are surrounded by when you are going out to dance? Why does it matter if the crowd around you is 20 or 200? You are there to enjoy the music, to flow with it, to move to the beat, and to get into the groove. You aren’t there to gawk at 20 year-old bums or cleavages. You aren’t there to fondle or be fondled by 20 year-olds. You are there to dance the week away.

I have found that the older I get, the more uninvolved with the crowds I get. I don’t want to talk to anyone at a club, I don’t want to engage with the crowds, I don’t want to speak to the DJ, and I don’t want to converse with the bartender. I am there for one thing and one thing only – to dance  like a crazy person until I can’t dance no more. I want to stand on the periphery of the undulating crowd, close my eyes, and sway however awkwardly I do to the music that fills my ears and spirit.

As I don’t care who is present at the party or not, I do not care if I am surrounded by people who are ten years younger than me or ten years older than me. It is absolutely irrelevant.

If it is making you feel old being around these individuals, then that is the wrong way you are looking at it. Whenever I hang out with people much older than me, they always tell me that they like being around young people, because it makes them feel young! That is the attitude to take. Go to clubs where the people are much younger than them, and then feel the energy that is vibrating in the air. Immerse yourself in that energy and feel ten years younger than what you are.

If you are so inclined, talk to one or two young men or women, depending on your inclination, and feel the joy that is emanating from their faces and spirits on being out at a great club with good music and good people. If you feel even more courageous, flirt with a few people around you and feel yourself getting younger by the minute from the inside out.

It really isn’t about the number anymore. It doesn’t matter if your back hurts when you stand for too long, or you can’t dance all night in heels like before. It doesn’t matter that you wear glasses now to read, or you need orthopaedics to run. It is about going out and grabbing these experiences by the horn to feel on the outside what you feel on the inside – and I know most of us don’t feel a year over 20.

You Meditate – You Should Be Perfect Now

I love cloud formations of all kinds, Toronto, Canada.
I love cloud formations of all kinds, Toronto, Canada.

Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all of these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness. – The Wisdom Of No Escape, Pema Chodron.

I have been reading self-help books, meditating, and doing yoga for a number of years now. My family and friends always comment on the fact that I read all of these self-help books, I meditate, and I do yoga, but I don’t actually apply any of the teachings to my life. Continue reading You Meditate – You Should Be Perfect Now

Stuff Is What My Dreams Are Made Of

A tree prepared for winter, Toronto, Canada.
A tree prepared for winter, Toronto, Canada.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream. ― Edgar Allan Poe

For the last few months, I have been having this recurring dream/nightmare. It is really odd because I don’t deliberately dream of it, but this similar theme comes to me in between other dream episodes. In the dream, I take on different personas or roles.

In the last one I had, I was a flight attendant sharing a room with a fellow flight attendant. We were having breakfast together. But instead of savouring and enjoying the delicious spread in front of me, I was harried, confused and anxious. I had to pack all of my stuff, and I was having a really hard time gathering all of my stuff. My stuff was everywhere. I looked under the bed and there was one item. I looked in the closet and found a few more. I looked in the bathroom and found some more. My heart was beating fast, and I was feeling really terrible. I had this sense of impending doom that I wasn’t going to find all of my stuff and then I would lose my precious things and it would somehow end up in disaster. Continue reading Stuff Is What My Dreams Are Made Of

Comparing My Writing And Learning

Fall colours on a walk downtown Toronto.
Fall colours on a walk downtown Toronto.

Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus. —Enid Bagnold

There are a few favourite blogs of mine that I absolutely love because their writing is so fresh and poignant. I eagerly go to their blog and read their posts, whatever it is on. I knew that I would learn at least one or two things from it. I always notice that my writing is not even close to being on par with theirs. In fact, when I read something from them, and then go back to reading my stuff, the difference is so stark that I feel my writing has been written by a six-year old. It is the same feeling I get when I read stuff that I wrote a year ago, or even a month ago. Every time I write something new, my writing improves in a slight manner to become better than before. Continue reading Comparing My Writing And Learning

Tracking My Time For A Day

Cauliflower-like plants downtown Toronto.
Cauliflower-like plants downtown Toronto.

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. ― Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect

I have been reading this book called, ‘Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy. It is an amazing book and I wholeheartedly recommend it. One of the things that he recommends that everyone should do as soon as they can, is track their time. It doesn’t matter what kind of worksheet or excel document you use to track your time.

The important thing is track your time. He recommends to track your time for a week, but as you can seen from the title, I was only able to keep it up for a day. But even though, I only tracked my time for a day, I gained great insights from it. Nothing that I didn’t already know, but it solidified it even more for me.

Continue reading Tracking My Time For A Day

Two Changes Of Clothes And Nowhere To Put It

Halloween night at Croc Rock, Toronto.
Halloween night at Croc Rock, Toronto.

The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her. – Marcelene Cox

One day, during my five month trip through India, I decided to go visit a monument. It was rare that I did something like that. Mostly I liked to walk through the cities and watch the masses move through them. Or eat copious amounts of food. But this monument was described as something to see. I can’t remember it really now. It has been a few years, but I remember a certain aspect of that day really clearly. I wanted to share that with you.

I was walking to the monument, but I hadn’t had anything to eat yet. I stopped by this restaurant, that was run from the front room of someone’s house. I told them what I wanted to eat, and sat down. Soon, it seemed the whole family got wind of the fact that there was a rich foreigner sitting at their table to eat. I never told anyone that I live in Canada, but as soon as they saw me, or heard my accent, or saw the boldness in my stares, they knew I wasn’t truly only Indian. The whole family came out to stare at the wildebeest; me. Finally, one of them, the boldest of them all, the sister of the cook, came up to me. Continue reading Two Changes Of Clothes And Nowhere To Put It

I Am At Costco; Do You Want Anything?

So many pretty things to buy.
So many pretty things to buy.

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. – Bo Derek

Being unemployed has its advantages. I get to go to Costco weekly with my mother and see a different side of life. I was standing at the side of the long clothing aisle, waiting for my mother to find some goodies.

I had a good vantage point to watch the whole store. A man walked past me – he was on his phone apparently with his wife. He walked past each item that he thought his wife or significant other would like. He then stood in front of the particular item and described the item in a colourful manner. ‘I am standing in front of these crystal glasses. They are described as cut clear and stylishly.’ Or something to that effect. I loved it!

My mother came back to me and we started walking in the same direction as him. He described another item, a metal lunch box, and then went on too far for me to hear. I was hooked. This was ample people-watching time. I didn’t want to lose any of it. Continue reading I Am At Costco; Do You Want Anything?

Have You Started Living Yet?

Our living room, Cancun, Mexico
Our living room, Cancun, Mexico

(Happy Halloween!)

It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living. – Eckhart Tolle

What does living mean to you? Is it getting up in the morning and making money? Is it spending time with friends and family? Is it working on a passion of yours? What does it mean? For me, living is to travel, practice yoga and write. If I’m doing those three things, my life is full of meaning, my kind of meaning. If I’m missing even one of those things, my life feels incomplete. There are of course other parts to it, Thenix, my siblings, my parents, dancing, food. Continue reading Have You Started Living Yet?

A blog about travel, yoga, spirituality, personal growth and minimalism.

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