March 9, 2011

Project: Become Normal Again

An old school friend of mine came to Bombay and I spent the whole weekend catching up and talking about old times. It was a great relief spending time away from what I call the "usual intellectual nonsense" which includes reading dozens of articles on science, politics, humor, religion, philosophy etc. and follow it up by deep thought, connecting ideas, looking for patterns, gaining perspective, commenting, sharing and debating about things that has nothing to do with anything going on in my life. It is fun and satisfying. But I also realized how far I have gone from being "normal".

Thus Project: Become Normal Again was "incepted"! My first course of action was to get away from IIT and NOT spend time with IITians (especially my philosophically inclined friends) and try to "live in the moment".

Living in the moment is easy. All I had to do was not think much before speaking, not analyze the funny things that I spontaneously say, not observe those silly things people do, not make mental notes of life's little ironies as they happen, not scrutinize the little hypocrisies we all are part of, not read those hundreds of editorials on national politics and stay away from all the “usual intellectual nonsense” I am usually immersed in.

Living in the moment was simple and straightforward. I rediscovered that talking about what “people are up to” can be as interesting as trying to understand "why people do what they do!" Narration suddenly felt better than ideas. Counting how many girls in our school are already married was fun. Not using advanced statistical analysis methods for inferring generalizable insights into the career paths of young women from semi-urban areas was even more fun!

It was a weekend well spent. I wanted to finish it off attending a birthday party of another school friend. Most of the people at the party were her colleagues at TCS. I pondered if on an average day they have more fun on than I do by doing the simple things and living in the moment.

As the party progressed, I felt we lived in two completely different worlds. I wondered which world I really belonged to. I could feel the restless friction in my thought process. I began to appreciate the fact that everyone is capable of a different personality depending on the environment. I lamented that not everyone appreciates this amazing fact like I do.

I was in the middle of a rare intersection between two of my worlds. I was trying to define these worlds and capture the differences between them. I could see the little differences and the individual beauty of each world. I was amazed by the complexity that lied beneath this simplicity. I was now convinced of my near-invincible ability to switch between worlds and “live in the moment” at will.

Then it struck me – that I was not “living in the moment”; that I was no longer away from my “usual intellectual nonsense”; that I can never be away from “my usual intellectual nonsense”; that I am way past the point of no return. This has to be the ultimate FML.

P.S: Speaking of generalizable results, I think from this blog post we can safely infer that anyone who comes up with “Project: Become Normal Again” can never be normal! 

P.P.S: I really hope this wont affect the number of party invitations I get!


  1. welcome to the club ... the two worlds collide ... some holy smoke ensues ... and sometimes you need the smoke to know there is a fire ... (and i don't know what i am talking about but i know no normal people would listen to stuff like this ...)

    that cartoon of a jailed brain is very apt :)

  2. you're welcome at the project: be happy being un-normal party...

  3. I'd advice you to change your perspective and think of your yourself as being 'superior' or 'extraordinary' instead of abnormal.

    My brain activity looks like an XRD graph. Usually it just generates random thoughts (noise) except for certain 'peaks' or short intervals of time when it analyzes things which results in some productive work, due to some external force (not my body).
    Clarification for lesser human beings: by "external force", please don't imagine it as "banging the head against a wall". The period just before peak activity involves conversations with oneself or with others containing Telugu words like "rodddd paduddi", "sanka nakipoddi", after realizing that there are some impending deadlines. The non-peak time conversations involve "picha lite ehe" and even "mega lite".

  4. I wouldn't go as far to consider myself "superior" but yeah, I have known for a while that I am different and have learned to live with it (it's not very difficult) ;)

  5. @g2 and flawsophy a genius is always considered "abnormal"

  6. sense a bit of condescension in this post.. :P


don't be lazy