Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Temper Troubles

Today I lost my temper. Its been a very long time since I did. I get irritated, sarcastic, tensed but for a very, very long time I prided on the fact that I keep my cool always. I guess pride always comes before a fall. A hot temper leaves you guilty and horrible and, you suddenly start to wonder, oh-my-god why do I deserve to be at the receiving end of anger now however justified it seemed to be!

It reminded me of a story today.

Once a upon a time, there lived a very short-tempered boy. In an attempt to cure this habit, his father asked him to drive a nail into the fence every time he lost his temper. Predictably, the son drove 20 nails into the fence on the very first day. Slowly he began to realise that driving a nail into the fence was tougher than controlling his temper and his tension seemed to ebb away.

One fine day, he did not drive a nail into the fence even once an entire day. His father was very pleased and said that he may remove a nail. Slowly, by keeping cool an entire day from then on, he managed to remove all the nails on the fence.

Elated with his success, he ran to his father. The father smiled and beckoned him closer and said, "I am very proud of you, but took a look at it." The fence was riddled with marks. Scars. The father explained that how many times you say sorry, you will always leave a scar when you run your sword of temper through a soul.

And then he said....

"Get that fence fixed!"

Alright, the last line was my addition but come on, I cannot be so hard on myself! I am truly sorry if I ever left a scar. Even if I can't remove it, I can at least be a balm to it.

The End

(Always wanted to write that)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Backtracking - my usual state of mind

This semester we learnt a charming little algorithm for solving problems known as backtracking. The method is simply to keep taking a choice at every level and "backtracking" or abandoning that level if you know that's not going to give you the solution.

The typical example where you try to place 8 queens on a 8x8 board such that they do not attack each other.

So you'll place the queen on first row, first column. The second will be second row, first column. Not possible as they have the same column, so backtrack.  Then, second row,second column. Diagonal attack. Backtrack.

You get the idea. A simple case of combinations.

No, I will not sound like the Miss Minchin from The Little Princess and carry on my academia. What I wanted to connect it with is my brain!

I just realised my entire thought process is a simple case of back-tracking. Of course in life, I can't simply take yes/no choices. I have a "we'll see" and a "maybe" and so on and so forth. But just imagine, for a time being you'd boil everything down to yes or no.

My answer "state", that is the wanted level is "Am happy". And I begin with a state "taking a break". "B" stands for backtrack.

Ha ha! Am pleased how this turned out. I've resized the image the best I can. Do left-click on it. And you can't use "greedy" here because the best solution at each step won't exactly lead to an answer. I shall now go on a self-imposed hiatus. Wish me luck guys for my exams.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Take Aim

For the past few months, I've been predominantly in the concave downwards parabola of my life, wondering where exactly did I go wrong. Luck, fortune, opportunity, everything seemed to slip away from me. I kept telling myself that things will be better, they did become so, but the dragon of despair soon destroyed any vestiges of my floaty happiness.

Reduced to a monotonous life of assignments and tests with rather unfair outcomes, my soul became troubled. The pressure mounted so much, all types mind you, parental, peer and college. And yet, I refused to become depressed. After the Great Depression of 2008 (more on that in a separate post), I refused to trouble my body with stress, forced myself to sleep well. In spite of that, this semester has made me push myself to the limits.

Letting my mind fight it all alone, because my pride wouldn't let me confide further to anyone, I became a bit moody, bit more self-pitying, bit more sarcastic and a teensy bit defensive. I became addicted to facebook and messaging and TV but wasn't enjoying it at all. That was so because I would only relax when I couldn't do work anymore and my mind would still be on it. Or worse, it wouldn't be and I would go on a guilt trip.

Today, at the fag end of the semester, I received news that my previous semester grades have been reviewed and moved up.

The clouds just seemed to disappear all of a sudden, it seemed like a good omen. In retrospect, I looked extremely silly in my head. Yes, the pressures were immense but that was simply the struggle of the caterpillar. Now almost freed from class labs, I finally have time for myself, to delve into my Pensieve.

And that is exactly what I have done. Somehow, writing gives me a clarity like nothing else. I suddenly saw the light at the end of my tunnel and I've decided to be the butterfly chasing the sunbeam and it has taken aim.