I don’t know about you. As a kid, if I hated one thing more than anything, it was advice. Unsolicited free advice… Long winded lectures about, how to prioritize, how to organize, how life is not for the lazy bums, how not to drive fast, how to be a good girl, how to dress, how not to dress etc… Growing up in this small South Indian town, lectures were freely dished out by anyone. One just has to be older than the person they are advising. My teachers, parents, family relatives, neighbors, housemaids, bus drivers, fruit vendors, the train inspector, the person at the movie ticket counter, and pretty much everyone gave me advice. It was as if I gave out this vibe to the world – “Please, please take all the time and liberty to advise me”.
The exact emotion I was going through can only be expressed by a Tamil term which is quite often spoken in the common lingo as “Mandaya Pichikardhu”. Those of you who don’t know Tamil – I have coined a new word to make it easy for you and call it “Empich”. So what is “Empich”? Just visualize this – It means you pulling all your hair out, while screaming your lungs out and oh! Jumping up and down with tears pouring through your eyes!! There is an “extreme Empich” which is tearing your clothes out!!! Well, that’s exactly how advice felt. I was jumping from one “Empich” moment to another. Of course, in reality, you would gently nod your head with a very measured smile- that is, if you want to escape the situation. Non-conformity wasn’t an option where I grew up and I found mental hacks even back then just to stay sane through these lectures. Those techniques are for another day. I could write a book on them…
Now, Fast forward many years into adulthood and you would think that I stopped taking advice or giving out advice. Well… I wanted to… and the internet came along just while I am juggling career, kids, house, family, health, parents etc… Before I knew it, I was reading about “Does your one year old show ivy league traits”, “How to give time outs”, “Why timeouts are no longer effective”, “what happens when you mix carrots and peas (apparently nothing!)”, “Do pastel colors suit Indian households”, “How to remove the curry smell when you sell the house”, “Where to buy curry powder without the curry smell”, “What in the world is a slumber party”, “Which certification will boost your career”, “Is what you have really a career?”. Okay…you get the drift.
Before I could breathe it all in, advice was pouring in from Everywhere by Everyone on Everything!!! There is this Smartphone, Facebook, Twitter, linkedIn, Whatsapp groups, Telegram groups, Pinterest board, and Instagram inspirations. To top it all, there is the Fake News that we have to deal with! OMG!! This IS an Empich LIFE… Why am I sucked into articles with arithmetic on them? “10 things to be confident”, “5 ways to be happy”, “4 surefire ways to impress your boss” “12 ways to use the leftovers”. Maybe you all have this figured out; I have realized the only number that sticks at the end of the day is “ZERO”!
With so much information, so little sticks and believe me, it is definitely not my hair! It is not the fault of those who write or the internet. We all have free choice…right??
So, all of a sudden I had an “Aha” moment when I came across this word-“Caesura”. I looked it up and it means the ‘sense pause’. Caesura spelled as “Sey-Zyur-aah” is a meaningful small break, yet it’s not too profound to be noticed. I look at it as a “small event” in the script of a play or poem-it’s a line break to oversimplify it. It’s in the silence of this pause that a new meaning arises, for what follows.
We read so much, yet spend so little time to reflect on what’s being read. We meet many people and speak so many topics yet so little time spent on pondering over the relationships formed and content/value of these conversations. There is so much going in and so little being processed consciously. So here’s what I have been doing. Before I read yet another article on any media outlet – I ask myself “Do I really lack confidence that I need to read more?” Do I really need to know any more than what I don’t already know about successful people’s morning habits? Do I really need to know “Ugliest celebrity spouses”?
I am taking only ONE action – It is “Caesura”! Taking a sense pause to become selective about what I read and make sure I take the time to internalize it.
So Why Caesura? We all need a deliberate pause and it has to be planned. Or else the decoys will take control of our brains, schedules, eventually leading to an “Empich” life!! Just as an Opera singer takes a small pause, deliberately, consciously and only to take the audience on another musical ride, I am going to breathe now and enjoy this pause every day just to reflect on what I have read and what is around me. I have a feeling that whatever that comes after this will definitely surprise me one way or another…
One small confession – I did selectively check out articles on “Overcoming fears/shyness of starting something new” and you know what? It DID help me and thanks to some serious internalizing and a good dose of “Caesura”, here I am with my first blog J