Author: Dasarsh Vadugu

The Moving On Post

Oh boy

Story time


Once upon a time there was a young boy. He was just an average young boy growing up in America. His parents got divorced when he was only three and so he lived with his mother and loved her very much and lived with his father for the summers. He went to school and performed like any average boy would – averagely – and no one thought anything special about him.

In his school in Chicago, he befriended a local DJ and producer at the tender age of 10. This DJ became a mentor of sorts to the boy. The boy, as young as he was, had the talent to put together some real beats. He was a nobody, but his music didn’t sound like they were made by a nobody. The boy spent some time, in the years, producing for local artists and came about a signature style and everything. Eventually, he got his big break and was presented with the chance to produce for a bigshot rapper.

The year after that, he worked more with the bigshot rapper and produced even more music for what became regarded as one of the greatest rap albums of all time. Ever since then, the boy went on to produce for other big names in the hip hop industry.

The boy wanted to do more than just produce music, though. He wanted to be the one rapping over it. He pleaded with labels to let him rap and headline, but no one gave him a chance because he wasn’t a g like the rest of the rappers at the time. The boy has never hustled a day in his life and wore Polos and loafers. The boy became depressed and would leave meetings crying all the time.

But he was determined to make it happen on his own, even surviving a car crash and forcing himself through the pain, in the most difficult circumstances, to put out his debut album. It hit the charts hard and made a lasting impact. His well known talent producing music merged with his lyricism tackling societal norms and religion and as a result, his album broke the gangsta rap mold. Soon after the hit album, the boy created his own label with other big names.

A year later, the boy released his second album. He steps up his lyrical game and showed the world that he didn’t just want to create pop music, he wanted to be pop music. He pushed the limits of rap and hip hop by incorporating an orchestra and a composer. None of this had been seen before. The boy was a household name and was beginning to cause media storms with his fame and cynicism of the world around him.

Another album later, the boy was still hitting all the album sale sweet spots, skyrocketing to number 1 within the first week of release. But that was the last high for a while. A few years later, the boy’s mother died from a heart attack and his fourth album reflected all his sorrow and grief. The boy chose not to rap and opted to adopt autotuning to process his voice for his album. The fragility of his mind was brought to attention when he made a scene and a fool of himself at an awards show in front of the whole world.

On hiatus from music, the boy ventured into other facets of his creativity. Fashion was the avenue he chose to explore and he, like many other things, poured all his time and effort into it. Collaborating with Nike to make limited edition sneakers and interning at Gap and Fendi, the boy had a foothold due to his fame. He released his own apparel collection, but to mixed reviews.

He returned to the music scene with his fifth album, with darker tones and production value on a grand scale. The content of the album was aurally and visually grandiose in all senses of the word. His work was like art. He followed this with two collaboration albums, his wedding, a daughter and seemingly everything he could have ever wanted.

His next album denied anyone who thought the boy was living a calm and idle life. His music was dark, loud, abrasive and uncut. It was received with heavy criticism and is the only album to date to have sold fewer than a million albums in the United States. He claimed to be a god and went on to compare himself in interviews to the biggest minds in history. People were beginning to guess the size of the boy’s ego.

A few more media storms later, the boy released his seventh album which was another hit. Another triumph and potentially one well worth the catharsis. In it, he included sounds and influences from gospel music to trap and dancehall. It was his sixth solo album in a row to debut at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU LIKED THE OLD KANYE?

The 1080p Post

MOVIES! A NEW YEAR! PSYCHES! GIRLS!

Okay no girls


Happy new year.

Who wants to talk about resolutions? Sure why not!

A new year always brings with it (among other things), a throng of people at the gym, and out running on the roads. They’re often the butt of new years resolution jokes but at least they’re out there giving it a shot.

But here’s the thing. If you want to be successful with your resolutions, then you have to know what kind of person you are. You really have to know what gets you all fiery and excited and what gets you down in the dumps and demotivated. So here’s a totally average but maybe hopefully possibly hopefully useful guide on what I reckon are the three types of people you can be to get stuff done.

Image result for american psychoThe Psycho

These people know what they want. Like the really know what they want and they want it bad. Plans, trial runs and maybe a couple of bodies later, they know exactly how to get where they want to be.

A classic trait is an unsympathetic and unwavering drive to get what they want. Some people call it focus. I call it insanity. They’ll consider all the things which impede them in reaching their destination and will do what it takes to remove those obstacles.

But wait what’s up with Christian Bale playing psychos all the time? I mean Norman Bates (American Psycho), Alfred Borden (The Prestige), Batman (…Batman)? Is Christian Bale the perfect psychopath? All those guys have one incredible desire and that becomes the real core of their character, know what I mean? Anyway this isn’t one of Ashwin’s movie thingies. Let’s move on?

All those characters are great, though.


Image result for leonardo dicaprio inceptionThe Flake

Does it really matter what this person commits to? I know, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh Dasarsh, that’s such a harsh thing to say! Don’t be so mean to your readers, especially when you want more.”

Sue me. 🙂

These people set goals and establish all the right habits but it really just turns into nothing. They’re convincingly on top of things but really they’re not all there at all. New years resolutions are a way of getting through the first 2-3 weeks of the new year without getting bored. I’d give these people 3 Taco Tuesdays before the summer bod gets put on the back burner. I actually really love tacos.

But srsly what’s with Leo playing all these flakes, man? Especially of the mind-bending, narrator kind. He’s Teddy Daniels (Shutter Island) and Dom Cobb (Inception), and if you forget the narrator part, he’s been Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby) and Billy Costigan (The Departed), as well. They narrate to you a story that’s confusing and wrong, or aren’t even who they say they are. I mean, which supermodel is he dating now? 😉 Flakety flakety flake.


Image result for will smithThe Man

Now we’re just talking about the average human being over here. These everyday people are just doing their everyday things, everyday. They get their moments to shine and be all cool, but y’know… we all do. And then they’re back to their usual grind of an average lives.

They’ve got good intentions and stuff. They wanna get strong. They wanna be smart. They entertain the idea of meteoric career progression. What’s more is that they’ll put in the effort, too! The average person’s capable of being great! But, and it happens to us all, life gets in the way and there are struggles and sacrifices.

Has anyone noticed that Will Smith plays the man heaps? I mean he’s just an ordinary dude and then something weird happens and sets him off track, or changes his outlook completely and then he’s a different person altogether, ya feel me? He’s been Jay (Men in Black), Del Spooner (I, Robot), Chris Gardner (The Pursuit of Happyness) an Howard (Collateral Beauty). Like just normal guys who get hit by life. Will Smith is also the man. Yup.

 

Yeah well that’s it. I should probably do my best to undo any offensive I’ve caused you to take. I listed three types here but it’s probably more of a spectrum or something. Or maybe we’re all, or any, of the three types based on circumstance. Oooooooh how interesting.

Anyway, everyone should know that I am in no way a professional about anything I’ve been typing about. Everything here rates high on the grain-of-salt-o-meter. I’m just some dude writing what I think.

Happy (advance) February!

The Music Box Post

Shazam!

I’m probably late on this but is Cardi B like… Nicki Minaj from an alternate dimension or…?


My taste in music is kinda like old rap. Y’know, Wu Tang, Snoop, Dre, MF Doom and such. I love that man, it’s so good. When you listen to Wu Tang, it feels like you’re listening to a bunch of friends making beats and laughing and stuff on top of them. Snoop’s like always just having fun talking about all the stuff he’s into. MF’s albums are just made really nicely – the samples are nice, the rhymes are nice, that scratchy voice is nice. Mmm mmm mmm! But yeah that’s sort of what I’m into and that’s what I anticipate listening to when I’m just chilling out or maybe working or anything like that.

It’s just nice having albums at your disposal. It’s like you’ve got the perfect sound and music for any situation (watch Baby Driver). That’s powerful, man. You’ve got control over your psyche and you can induce whatever emotion you want, whenever you want. Gym playlists are a prime example of this (ask Ashwin, he’ll vouch for that). Having a library of music you know and love just feels like home.

One night, I had a realisation. It wasn’t like an epiphany (which I think are supposed to be enlightening), but more of an “Oh wowowow so that’s how it is” moment. I was out somewhere with some friends and there was music playing. I didn’t recognise a song and asked someone what is was. All good, no realisations yet. I didn’t recognise the next song either so I asked that same person again. No problem. This happened again and I asked what the song was a third time. For all three times I asked about the song which was playing, I got an answer. So it wasn’t like there were weird indie songs being played. I learnt later that they were just normal top 40 songs and then it hit me.

All this time, as a result of me and my proud old school rap tastes, I wasn’t listening to new music. It’s like I had justified to myself that the only good stuff was the stuff I was already listening to. So then what’s the point in trying other and newer music? I vividly remember thinking that new rap music isn’t as good as the old. I know a lot of people will still stand by that but the more I think about it, the more obvious it is to me that you can’t live your life that way!

The old is the old and the new is the new. This is a classic case of the “you don’t know if something is good unless you try it” trope. But really, it’s true man, I’ll stick to the music analogy, though. Why allow yourself to be boxed in by your own tastes? Your tastes are allowed to change and so should your musical boundaries. If one does not allow oneself to branch out, one may miss beautiful poetry such as Gucci Gang by the genius of our age Lil Pump.

Open-mindedness will sort this out for me. In my example, it means actually listening to the radio or the top 40 or whatever every now and again to keep myself in the loop musically. No one likes falling behind and I don’t think people should be justifying their falling behind. If you like the new music, then great! If you don’t like the new music, then cool no harm done. Just don’t be building walls and rejecting what’s new because nothing quite fits into your box anymore.

Happy new year all,

Dasarsh

The Journey Post

Who Am I?

And how did I get here?


Nah just kidding. This is going to be totally off the top of my head so yeah sorry but that’s how it’s going to be.

I recently caught up with a friend and we were just chilling out and talking. It was pretty light-hearted and then Monday night suddenly became a whirlwind of philosophy. We talked about what it was which had gotten us to where we are right now. I mean, we’re not billionaires or famous or anything, but we’re here. Man, that conversation came totally out of the blue and I think we both loved every second of it.

So we’re interrupting the regularly scheduled and planned blog post to have a mind-dump of thoughts and vague recollections of that conversation. Hehe.

It’s improbable that only one thing has gotten you where you are right now. There are likely to be more factors. But really, when you boil it down, I think you can hit a certain set of events or personal attributes to give thanks to for being here right now. Whatever you’re doing is a result of something in your past defining you and priming you to do whatever you’re doing. Let me know if I’m rambling, not that I’ll stop or anything though. 🙂

I don’t want to call them defining moments because that’s really overused, but we should be able to trace back all the decisions we’ve ever made to certain events which enable and enforce us to make those decisions. Like how I always check the weather forecast every morning because I’ve once been caught terribly unprepared for torrential rain. Seriously all the stuff in my bag got so drenched, it was bad.

Though it feels like we’re edging towards a determinism kind of discussion… We’re not. Well, not much. I think there will be determinism in play here and that’s how it is. I’m using my hatred of bananas as an example again. All my outcomes and their paths will never ever involve bananas. That sounds a little deterministic, right? Correct me if I’m wrong though, I’m not researching any of this. Anywho it’s an example of something in my past influencing my behaviour, eliminating some possible end points and their journeys.

What do you think brought you to where you are today? Did something set you off on a journey without you realising?

Mannnnnn. Craaaazy.

The YouTube Post

I Love You(Tube)

I’M SORRY IF YOU’RE A PHONE USER


A person’s YouTube is a window into their soul. You can learn so much about one person from one single website. Here’s mine. While the image looks like a normal image, it’s actually an image-map. Long story short, the thumbnails will actually take you to the video. I have no regrets, this is who I am okay. Enjoy!

Image Map

The Changing Post

Be Like Water

I’m moving my desk out of my bedroom into the study for a change


They say that change is the only constant in life and yeah that’s a nice poetic, romanticised sentence but it’s really not as easy as that. It’s not like you sit down and change just happens to you. To some extent, there’s some effort to put into it. Don’t agree with me? Let’s see if I can change your view a little. I’ll be satisfied if this serves as some food for thought, though. 🙂

That old adage about change being constant is all about being flexible and accepting. It’s about taking any turn of events on the chin and carrying on. It embodies the stoic who can take what the world throws at them and continues living their life righteously. Basically, to worry about change is just as useless an action as worrying about the weather or which way North is – you’re just wasting your time trying worrying about things which are out of your control.

While there’s nothing wrong with the other sort of school of thinking about change above, there’s a way of incorporating change into our lives which most people don’t – but should – do. I’m endorsing you to use change to put yourself in another place to become another person. “What are you talking about Dasarsh, you madman? You’re rambling again” I hear you say. You’re goddamn right I’m rambling again.

I’m talking about using change to take you from where you are to where you want to be. At the base of it all is the ordinary person. They are not happy where they are and that’s just a fact. I don’t think anyone is happy where we are. There is always something which can be better. What I’m trying to talk about is using change to bridge that gap between where you are and where you’d really like to be.

Imagine you’re a shy and timid person, and you’d really love to be someone who could do well and even enjoy public speaking. I implore you, my introverted friend, to introduce change into your day-to-day to inch closer to that goal. Maybe you will think about writing and reciting speeches at your friends’ parties. Perhaps you will consider joining a toast masters kind of community. You could potentially surround yourself with people who are good at what you want to do and attend stand up comedy sessions. I dare you to add change, no – I dare you to use change to do what you want to do.

The difference between where we are and where we want to be is just some change. For real.

Bye!

The Hand-icap Post

It was a tough time

I should have gone to the second hand store


Things which are difficult/impossible to do with a broken hand

  1. Typing fast
  2. Typing at a normal speed
  3. Playing a piano
  4. Playing the flute
  5. Playing basketball
  6. Lifting weights
  7. Pulling up your pants
  8. Putting on a belt
  9. Making your bed
  10. Sleeping on the broken hand side
  11. Sleeping on the not broken hand side
  12. Front flips
  13. Back flips
  14. Cartwheels
  15. Juggling
  16. Riding a bicycle
  17. Getting your bus card from your left pocket
  18. Getting anything from your left pocket
  19. Turning a steering wheel
  20. Changing gear
  21. Driving a car
  22. Texting
  23. Using your opposable thumb
  24. A left handed karate chop
  25. Performing a hadouken
  26. Performing a hadouken in a video game
  27. Holding a controller
  28. Playing video games
  29. Installing a graphics card
  30. Playing at the driving range
  31. Holding a hot chocolate

Things which are not impeded by a broken hand

Image result

The Unplanned Post

Omg what do I write about

Hmm okay I just have to clear my mind and start typing


This week’s blog post is a story! Why? I couldn’t think of something else right now. Sorry, but we’re all stuck with this. I wanted something exciting, as well. Oh well, life goes on.

It’s actually more of a recount of an event which changed my view of things a bit.

2010 – the year of the glorious FIFA world cup. The shadow council had allowed it to be held in South Africa, giving it the opportunity to stack profit on profit until the end of the tournament. This isn’t about the world cup anyway. In 2010 I was 17, turning 18, and in my last year of high school. During the world cup, my English class was studying The English Teacher by R. K. Narayan. it was an okay book. The story was simple and the language was easy to read. Nothing really stood out to me.

Nothing really stood out to me, that is, until we finished reading it and began analysing it. The story follows Krishna, a teacher in a city college, as he learns to care for his wife and young daughter who come to stay with him from his home town. Krishna really enjoys being a part of his little family but one day his wife falls ill and she eventually dies. Krishna is stricken with grief but stays strong for the sake of his daughter. Krishna is eventually enlightened by the headmaster of his daughter’s preschool who has an interesting take on life and is able to show Krishna how to appreciate being alive again. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

One of the motifs in that book is tabula rasa. That’s Latin for blank slate. It’s the idea that no one is born with knowledge, experiences or prejudice. The headmaster uses that to explain the curiosity of children and how they have no preconceived notions and therefore they explore and learn by playing. I was definitely that child who didn’t realise that heaters are hot until I touched one. I think we all would have been that child. Anyway, the blank slate was important in that book because learning about it from the headmaster marked the beginning of Krishna’s transformation. Krishna was depressed about the death of his wife and was full of regret and anger, but he had to forget all that and leave it behind to begin the next part of his life – taking care of his daughter.

bart

For Krishna, who was haunted by the experience of losing his wife, nothing would allow him to move forward. Nothing but the tabula rasa. He had to wipe the grief off his slate in order to make room for other feelings. Ultimately, this allowed him to move on and enjoy life again. He could once again feel joy.

That idea stuck with me back then. The effect of wiping your slate clean and making space for other feelings and experiences felt like something which would totally be handy. It honestly felt like a better way to move on when shit hits the fan, and I think I’ve mastered it. Thinking back on that now, I guess I read a book which increased my emotional intelligence by who knows how much.

As we age, the blank slate we’re born with fills up with experiences, observations, feelings and biases. These filters and conceptions form our perspective and therefore our reality. If you’ve had a bad experience with a certain food, or a certain place, or certain people, then there is a large chance your reality will be one where you are biased against that food, place or people. Regardless of facts in favour of things I am biased against, I’m just not very keen on them.

Like I hate bananas. I really hate them. They’re great sources of potassium – sure. They fill you up really well – yup okay. Apparently you’ll never cramp if you eat ’em – alright. Good for them, but I will never ever be caught dead eating a banana. I’m waiting for those devil fruit to become extinct. Why? I just had a bad experience when I was little. And that’s been enough to put me off them for life.

Maybe we’d be better off if we could enter a state of tabula rasa on demand. Imagine being able to wipe away some of your preconceptions at will. Well, I don’t think there’s anything really stopping us from achieving that… except the fact that it’s ridiculously hard to dismiss your own preconceptions. This is like ignoring a gut feeling – it feels wrong to tell yourself “It’s just a dark alley.” It feels wrong to tell yourself “That person there with a knife is not intimidating.” In the end, your perceptions are there to act as shortcuts so you don’t have to think through a situation before deciding whether it’s good or bad. There’s an essence of that primal fight or flight instinct here where if you can’t instinctively identify a circumstance which could turn ugly, well… it gets ugly.

What am I trying to say? Something about us being taught to judge. Something about us being taught to pick a side. Something about us being born pure with nothing but curiosity to fill in our blank slate.

Also I wrote my best essay ever for that book.

The Planned Post

Huawei Huawei in my hand

Who’s got days and weeks all planned?


I let my phone tell me what to do. That’s a bit of a vague statement, isn’t it? I mean like I’ve told it what to tell me to do. Hmm, that’s still not making much sense. Well, here’s how it is.

There’s this app called TimeTune. At it’s core it’s a planner, or a scheduler if you will. It’s not like a calendar, though. You can tell it what your typical day looks like and it’ll tell keep track of it and let you know when it’s time to do the next thing and if you set up a week’s worth of schedules, it’ll remember to make sure you know that 8pm on Monday nights means TV time. I totally recommend it if you’re into planning your days or week down to the hour. I use it differently, though.

I’ve got my week set up as my ideal week. The idea is to be able to, at a glance, know what you should be doing at that very moment in order to be the most productive. For me, this is the routine where I get the most done. Y’know those days when you feel like you really did a lot and made good use of your time? Like that. I’m looking at my phone right now and it says work which is what I’m doing right now writing this post. It’s a form of work, i.e. not being idle. I don’t really like being idle so this works out well for a psychopath like me.

To me, that ideal week represents a me who is on top of shit and in control. It’s a persona I can step into because I always know what it would be doing at that moment. I’ve found it really useful when I’ve ever felt super slack, tired, or bored. I may wake up in the morning feeling like a drowsy sack of potatoes but I know this persona will be in the gym in an hour, so I’ve gotta get up and get to the gym. This routine embodies who I want to be and knowing the steps to follow make reaching the destination so much easier.

But that was a roundabout way to arrive at this week’s topic; routine. What is it about routines, timetables and schedules which make them such a big part of life? Turn that question around. Can you imagine not having routines, timetables or schedules? It’s weeeird. What purpose do they really serve and why are they so integral?

STOP. Hypothetical time.

Scenario 1

You wake up in the morning, the soft sunshine filters through your curtains and the birds chirp their morning songs. Oh crap today is the day you meet Ashwin to go to the movies. Or is it? You think for a while and you’re pretty sure it is movie night so you crawl out of bed and drag yourself through the morning. You decide to mix things up and have breakfast before brushing your teeth, much to your mother’s dismay. Eventually, you’ve dressed yourself.

When were you meeting Ashwin again? You think on it and you’re pretty sure you two were supposed to meet at the movies at 6pm. Now that you’ve successfully remembered a time, you sit down in front of your TV and begin mindlessly channel flicking. Wait what?! Today’s the first day of the new football season?! You’ve become angry that you missed the first two games already. Your phone rings in the middle of your glorious football game viewing. It’s your partner and they’re wondering where you are and whether you had found any parking. You realised that you two had a lunch date planned and were supposed to meet at this new fluoro burger restaurant. You’re obviously late and there’s no way you would have gotten there in less than half an hour so you apologetically call off the lunch date.

A couple of hours pass and you’ve decided it’s probably best if you leave now to get to the movies on time. You’re about to leave but you can’t find the car keys. Your mother tells you that your father took the car out to get it serviced and probably won’t be back any time soon. You’re now very cynical and resort to catching a bus to the movies but you will definitely be late. You send frantic messages to Ashwin explaining the situation but he doesn’t reply.

After getting off the bus, you make your way towards the movies and one of your friends sees you walking past from inside a cafe. She runs outside and ask you what took so long. You’re confused. You tell her you’re on your way to meet Ashwin at the movies and she looks at you. She is puzzled. She tells you that Ashwin is out of the country. You were supposed to meet her and some other friends at this cafe half an hour ago and bring a cake because it’s your other friend’s birthday meetup.

Great job, you d-bag.

Scenario 2

You plan your days and have a calendar so none of that bad stuff happens.

 

No I’m kidding, not planning days doesn’t make anyone a bad person. If you can remember what to do and when to do it, then you are my hero. But do you get the point of the hyperbolised story? In scenario 1, there’s no routine and there’s no plan. That person doesn’t know what they’re meant to be doing or when they’re meant to be doing it. It kind of makes the day lose its purpose.

That’s kind of an out there thing to say but let’s think about it. When you’ve got a plan or schedule for a day, you’ve set a goal for that day. When you’ve planned a dinner for a night with a friend, you’ve got something to look forward to. Don’t you find that days when you have nothing planned feel a little bland? Like those sorts of days are just fillers in between days where you actually do have plans?

The person in the first scenario also had no idea what to expect. They didn’t think anything of the day. Oh crap it was the day they were meant to meet Ashwin. They were just planning to watch just whatever was on TV. Oh crap there’s been quality football on TV for the past four hours! They were planning to watch football until it was time to leave for the movie. Oh crap they had booked themselves for lunch! They were planning to drive to the movies. Oh crap dad took the car! In the end, they were completely wrong about Ashwin and the movie altogether. That whole day is just one big gloomy smokescreen of cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is that sinking feeling you get when reality just does not match your expectations. Or something like that. Imagine you’re at school and your maths teacher has written up an equation on the board. You’ve done the homework, you know the answer is 5. The teacher asks Timmy what he thinks the answer is and he says 12. Wtf? Your teacher then asks everyone who agrees with Timmy to raise their hand and everyone except you does so. WTF?!

That’s cognitive dissonance, friends. What I’m saying is that he who does not have a plan, or is unaware of the plans around him, reveals himself to cognitive dissonance. It’s just nice having the security of a planned day ahead of you. You know you have a brunch at 10am, you know you have a meeting at 3pm and you know you have gym at 9pm. Surprises are nice… until they’re nasty and unexpected.

So what am I trying to say? I don’t know I never planned to get this far.

Routines can be helpful to keep us flaky human beings on track. Routines make us feel good inside when things go as planned and we avoid cognitive dissonance.

I like routines.