An Ode to Taking Fewer Photos and Living in the Moment

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban

I take a sip of refreshing chai and relish the warmth it brings.

I visit a striking green paradise and breathe in the intoxicating air.

I spend time laughing with my loved ones, engaging in deep conversations.

Time stands still.

I welcome the moment with a big smile, comfortable baggy clothes, and frizzy hair.

All of it, without taking a single photograph to lock the moment.

There’s no pressure to look perfect.

There’s no pressure to get the perfect photographs, angles, filters, and light.

It’s perfect as it is.

In this age of social media, consciously taking a step back to enjoy life has proven therapeutic. It’s a transition that happened naturally for me during the pandemic. A metamorphosis that seeped unconsciously and significantly helped to reduce my anxiety. Along with it came the realization that we don’t have to lock everything in static images or never-ending videos. Sometimes, it’s okay to not record and to take that risk of losing a moment forever. Rest assured, the important things will stick and refuse to detach from you. You don’t really need a camera for that.

The constant pressure of social media, with its likes, shares, and validation, can weaken even the bravest. If our first reaction to a beautiful scenery is to take our phone out and view it through the camera’s lens, rest assured, we are not genuinely engaging. Our mind gets distracted by the constant back-and-forth shuffle between real life and reel life (Instagram or otherwise). The pressure doesn’t end there. Once you post the image, you are then distracted by who liked your pictures and what they commented. Each of these tasks might only take a few seconds. Still, collectively that’s a lot of time wasted navigating away from the present.

Contrary to popular notions, human beings are terrible at multitasking. Our brains are not wired to handle these many distractions. You can get things done, of course, but the overall value would reduce if you indulge in multiple interests simultaneously. Don’t believe me? Try to cut out other sensory reactions when you are listening to music – switch off the lights and engage in your favorite melodies. You will experience it like never before. The vocals and instruments sound sharper, richly intense, and more beautiful, purely because you are only focusing on the music alone and nothing else.

As a New Year resolution, maybe more people should learn to ignore the 24/7 pressure box they hold so tenderly in their hands. You can do more good for your body with this simple act – probably more than a gym membership would be able to.

An Ode to The Street-Savvy Characters of The White Lotus (No Spoilers)

In The White Lotus S2, there are only two types of people – the ones who are street-smart and the ones who are not.

The street-smart ones know how to get their way, even if it’s through unethical means like manipulation, lying, and deceit. “How do you sleep well at night knowing you did this?” doesn’t apply to them. They sleep quite well because, in their world, happiness is correlated with survival, satiation, and goals, not empathy. Due to this, their conscience is clear.

In the real world, we often come across such multi-layered people. The outer layer may be enticing, but the inner layers are complex and dark. It is next to impossible to decode the various layers someone may possess. This is where you take that leap of faith and hope they are worth trusting.

When we get duped, we try to find relief in the thought that the culprits will live their lives in guilt. Or hope karma will eventually get them. Often, it never happens. And that’s what the White Lotus S2 shows – the brutal reality of it all. No one is shown guilty. Or maybe they do, for a second, before the realization dawns on them that their dreams have now been fulfilled. They walk into the sunset hand-in-hand with their partners-in-crime, forgetting the sins of the past and awaiting a sparkling future.

The naive ones, who say and do all the right things, get played and left behind. The only positive aspect of their experience is that they are one step closer to being streetwise.

When the good guys lose, you understand that the universe doesn’t owe anyone anything. It’s up to each of us to subject ourselves to vast experiences and come out of them better equipped to deal with the eccentricities of the world.

An Ode to My Favorite Products of 2022

Since the year is almost over, I thought I would take a moment to list my favorite products of 2022. Purchases that have improved my life, delicacies I enjoyed, and things that exceeded my expectations.

Most of these products are only available in India. Still, you might want to check out your local Amazon website to see if you get anything similar.

I don’t plan to get into many technical details about these products, as that’s not the intention. It is merely a list of products I loved this year and my brief thoughts on each. I consider them excellent, unconventional gifts as well that are not just easy on the eyes but functional and useful.

1. Atomberg Ceiling Fan – Renesa

This was the first purchase of the year that I absolutely loved. Atomberg ceiling fans have created quite a reputation in a short time. The sleek ceiling fans have been developed by two IIT geniuses. Atomberg fans are entirely manufactured in India. The Renesa variant comes with blue night lights and a remote control that would be useful during those cold, chilly nights. You can easily switch off the fan without leaving the comfort of your bed. It is also said to be energy-efficient, but honestly, I haven’t been keeping track. My electricity charges appear more or less the same because I often use my air-conditioner.

2. Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner

I purchased the Mi Robot Cleaner during the online sale season. I got it for around 5-6k rupees cheaper, so I recommend you wait for a sale before buying this product. After a lot of introspection, I decided to buy the robot vacuum because I honestly couldn’t find the time to clean every day. I needed help. The vacuum cleaner took some time to adjust to my 2 bedroom-kitchen apartment. It would spin round and round till it would find its way. Give it a few weeks to a month to completely adjust to your home. Note: It would gobble up anything that comes in the way, so I recommend keeping your charging cables and small items away.

3. Yogabar Wholegrain Breakfast Muesli

The dark chocolate and cranberry version felt like love at first taste for me. I am not much of a Muesli fan, but I was mildly surprised by how good this one tasted. It’s a must-buy for all dark chocolate and cranberry fans. The Yogabar Protein Bars are also a favorite (especially the dark chocolate variant).

4. Laneige Lip Mask

My lips tend to get very dry, and no lip balms or chapsticks helped. Laneige lip masks were a savior. Apply a thick coat at night and rub it off in the morning. You will be surprised by how soft and subtle your lips are. The plus point is your lips do not get “addicted” to the mask, as in your lips won’t become drier after a few hours. It has a healing effect, unlike most lip balms/masks that tend to make your lips smoother only superficially.

5. Home Plus Magic Atta Kneader

This appliance is most suited for people who don’t like kneading or who cannot knead due to some ailments. Add 2 cups of the dough and mix it with one cup of water. Run for 30 seconds, and you’re done. We prefer adding oil to the mixture to prevent the dough from getting sticky.

6. Girnar Detox Kahua

I just cannot get enough of this green tea. I have lost the number of times I repurchased it this year. It has a spicy, warm taste that can destress you instantly. Usually, we associate green tea with a bland, sour taste (at least I do). I wasn’t much of a green tea fan, but Girnar Kahwa changed everything. In fact, it’s the only green tea I like.

7. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Daily Skin Therapy Solid Formula

Whenever my skin gets extra dry, I reach out for my Palmer’s cocoa butter cream tub. It comes in a sold consistency, and you must warm it up between your hands before applying. It lives up to its name – it’s definitely healing and therapy for the skin.

8. Women’s Horlicks (Caramel)

I bought the malted milk drink not for its nutritional value but out of curiosity. I remembered having Horlicks as a kid and was intrigued by the new women’s version in the market nowadays. I was pleasantly surprised by its soothing taste.

9. Loyka Almond Brittles

Almond brittle is a type of confectionery. It is made by mixing caramelized sugar with almonds, then spreading the mixture thinly on a surface until it hardens. It has a crunchy texture, complemented by a sweet, nutty flavor. I absolutely loved this particular almond brittle from Loyka.