Tag Archives: experiment

Why men should be writing a journal

It makes you a better person, you get to complete your thoughts, and you will lead a more meaningful life.

In my personal experience, I have found journal writing as an acceptable trait amongst women; but very few men I know actually write journals. As I work with this topic of journal writing, and its many benefits to me as an individual, I began to wonder why men do not write journals as frequently as women do?

This realization was a surprise to me as some of my earliest inspiration for journal writing came from men who made it a life habit to write diaries and journals, namely Thomas Jefferson, Issac Newton, John D Rockefeller … these are some of my favourite journal keepers and I can read about their journal writing habits over and over again. And the more I read, the more it appears that these men used their journal to record their habits, ideas and responses to the world around them, and over the years used these records to better themselves.

So this brings me back to my current question: why are men not writing journals as much as they used to? Possible answers: Too busy, nothing to say, nothing to write, no time, I am too tired to write by the time I get home… the reasons are endless. But in my opinion, journal writing is a process that forces you to introspect.

Does your work often leave you with a thousand voices in your head, each one telling you to do a different thing? Are you sometimes over-awed by the amount of work piled on your table, unable to decide where to start? Is the internet pushing too much information towards you and pushing your brain towards overload? Well, journal writing can help.

I know this sounds like I am coming up with a single solution, no matter what your problem, but it is not really that. The fact is there are different kinds of journals you can keep – some for your secret thoughts, others for your goals and plans, yet one may be just a record of the people you have met and found something interesting about… to name but a few.

If you have never had a journal, I urge you to get one. It does not have to be fancy and expensive, just get something you are comfortable with and something you feel nice holding in your hands. Initially you may find it difficult to decide what to write, and you may want to start with just putting down the thoughts that float around in your head.

If after the first couple of days, you run out of thoughts, you can try opinions, or issues that are bothering you, you can pen down your thoughts on issues impacting your neighbourhood, city or even the world. Sure, you may ask ‘what is the use?’ But do it all the same. You see, when you begin to write something down, your mind begins to solve a puzzle. The points you put down will surprise you… don’t worry about making sense, and writing in your best English. You just need to put your thoughts down, that is all.

Do this often enough and you will find yourself feeling lighter, because you have shared your innermost thoughts and feelings with your journal. You will find it easier to deal with the world outside. You don’t always have to be the tough guy, it’s ok to get upset and rant a bit.

And for those idea seekers amongst you, your journal is a great way to keep track of your many ideas that pop up in your mind all day long. Capture them, pen them down and come back to your thoughts days, weeks or even years later. Your ideas will still be there for you to access.

As you can see, there are so many wonderful reasons to keep a journal, a book by your bed, that it would be a sad thing if you did not make the time to write your thoughts down. Each of us is unique and has his own perspective on life. The myriad ways of looking at a situation is what makes our lives richer. So join the tribe of journal writers, and celebrate your uniqueness by penning it down for posterity!

~ bharti athray

Image source: http://www.daan-mag.com/index.php/2016/03/10/the-mind-journal/
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The case of a Lost Identity – Part 1

This is part one of a series of 3 posts, under the Writing 101: June 2014. The assignment is titled The Serial Killer. Yes, my take on is quite a literal one and my first experiment with a crime thriller.  I look forward to discovering how this story turns out. Your comments, feedback are welcome.

The Case of a Lost Identity – Part 1
It was an early June morning in my seaside city. I looked out my window and found the clouds hiding the sun. Funny, I thought, for some strange reason the clouds believe I will not know it is morning. The thought made me smile and I got on with my morning.

In a while, I was at my breakfast table reading the morning paper: it was one of the hottest summers we had for a while. Hmm, that explained the terrible humidity, yesterday. You see, when you live in a city near the sea, you sweat terribly, and my country lies in the tropics so it is worse.

Well, the other headlines were routine, PM of countries meeting to discuss global trade issues, a young celebrity dealing with divorce, the case of a rape victim…

You know, it’s a little strange probably, but I have often felt that when media decides to champion a cause, they take it up fervently. A huge amount of space is devoted to the issue in their papers and media on a daily basis. Sure, it keeps the issue alive in the minds of people and helps build up momentum; but does it almost numb you to the issue as well. Well, this incidence of rape for example. It is horrible to read about it, I can’t even imagine what the person is going through in the first few weeks after the incident. But sadly, as a reader, having been constantly bombarded with these cases on an ongoing basis, I no longer register the name or the details. I take a cursory look at it, shake my head and tuck it away in my mind as yet another statistic related to rape.

I was asking myself whether this form of championing the cause endlessly will actually reduce the number of rape cases or sensitize society to the trauma the victim suffers in the aftermath of the incident. Even as I contemplated this thought, my door bell rang. I stumbled out of my reverie and walked to open the door.

Even as I walked to the door, I could hear the sound of the elevator opening outside. I opened  the main door a crack – there was nobody at the door. I opened the door wider and strained my neck and just caught a glimpse of grey t-shirt hurriedly entering the elevator.

‘Hey’, I called, ‘hey!’ The elevator, standing along the same wall as my door, had shut and was already headed down. I was about to close the door, assuming this to be a silly prank teenagers get into at times; when suddenly a dull thud sounded outside my safety door.

I tried to look down, there was something heavy there. I pushed the safety door outwards to open it. It wouldn’t move. I pushed it with both my hands now, quite irritated, wondering what it was outside my safety door. Even as I pushed the door and the weight on the other side, I found myself spreading out a pool of blood that was seeping in from the other side. I freaked. Breath stopped in throat, and for a few seconds, I just stood there and stared at the blood. I dared not step out. A million thoughts rushed into my mind, even as a small stream of fresh blood trickled under the half-open safety door. I pulled the door in, slammed shut my main door with my heart beating so hard it hurt.

What was that, who was that in the grey t-shirt? What was I to do… I walked to the intercom to reach the security. I saw my hand trembling… I had never been so terrified in my entire life. I lifted the phone to my ear, and dialed 90 with fingers that would not hold still. I dared not turn away from the phone and look at the door. I was too afraid of what I would see. ‘Calm down, S. Get a hold of yourself. You have to call the security guy and tell him to come up. Calm down and breathe…’ my mind slowly began to take control  and my body followed the simple instructions. ‘Breathe, it’s ok… breathe… now dial carefully, slowly. 9— 0—-.’ My body followed the instructions relieved to have someone take control.

‘Security, how may I help you?’ said the voice at the other end.

In a voice that did not sound like mine, I muttered, ‘Help, I need help…’

‘Hello! Madam, I can’t hear you… hello? Can I help you?’

‘Help me… please….,’ my voice died out and my legs had turned to jelly. I fell to the ground in a heap.

End of part 1.

–          Bharti Athray