Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Brand New Ending

Today is December 1, the first day of the last month of 2019.
As the year comes to a close, many of us, including yours truly will look back and take an inventory of our hits and misses in the last 11 months.

It is my guess part of this retrospection will herald regret and frustration.
This however, need not be the case.

There is this book I love to read: The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book. In particular, the Personal Stories.
Volume III is made up of stories of A.A. who lost nearly all. Safe Haven is my favorite.

It is the heartfelt story of an AA who realized that the process of becoming what one wants to be starts with knowing what one doesn't want to become.

That last sentence in this story is actually what informed today's post.
While it's impossible to go back and have a brand new beginning, we can start now and have a brand new ending.
It's time to hit that reset button.

A very happy December to y'all!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Why Evidence still doesn't Change your Mind

I've often stated that we don't engage in political discourse here on The Walkabout. But truth be said, unless we have successfully transitioned into sovereign individuals and managed to go seasteading in international waters, politics will continue to adversely affect our lives.

In Kenya, we voted for the current leadership in August 2017. The process itself took much longer, thanks to a repeat Presidential election on October 2017. You'd then assume that Kenyans would have made better choices after witnessing the institutionalized corruption, impunity in wastage of public resources, shameless embezzlement and wanton plunder from public coffers. The years between 2013 and 2017 should have served as a lesson that neccessitated changes but not much changed. Kenyans went again and voted for different monkeys from the same forest.

This failure to correctly judge situations, to repeat the same mistakes is often driven by a number of factors. Some of the causes have publicly been shared by scholars in the past, let's have a dig at some of the reasons we so hopelessly fail at making value decisions.

Odds and Value Estimation

As outlined on the Farnam Street blog, Dan Gilbert says that humans are works in progress who mistakenly think they're finished. In other words, we wrongly imagine the same person we are today is the same person we shall be till death.

In his 2005 TED Talk, Dan Gilbert explored why we make bad decisions.
For starters, the expected value of any action is a product of the odds that one will gain something from the act, and the gain in value i.e.

Expected Value = Odds of Gain x Value of Gain.

But it turns out that we usually attach value to things based on their past value, instead of the current value on the basis of context. In other words, based on what is possible.

It is quite an interesting and insightful talk, which ends with this thought-provoking statement:

We underestimate the odds of our future pains, and overestimate the value of our present pleasures.

Confirmation Bias

This refers to the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs and theories.

Writing in The New Yorker, Elizabeth Colbert points to limitations of reason, with the desire to win arguments taking precedence over straight thinking.
It so happens that when we form impressions, they persist and stay with us.

But there's a reason why once we form beliefs and the evidence for such beliefs has been totally refuted, we don't make appropriate revisions in such beliefs.
One explanation of this, is how evolution has fashioned us into social beings who collaborate and live in groups.

Accordingly, it is all about cooperation. And as James Clear writes:
We don't always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we belief things because they make us look good to the people we care about. 

This is why we continue to hold on to beliefs that are factually false, but socially accurate.

* * *

We have in the past talked about trying to wash our hands in dirty water, or just being blind with one's eyes wide open. Humans seem to be irresistibly lured by things that actually harm them, things that may seem good, but aren't beneficial. Toxic things.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

We Think too Much and Feel too Little

Late last night, I was burning the midnight oil (not working, but on a YouTube binge).  And it was all fun and games until I clicked on the this compilation video, from which we get this:

There isn't much to add to this video, really. It's from the 1940 film 'The Good Dictator' - an American political satire comedy-drama directed by Charlie Chaplin.
But several parts of this speech easily jump out at you, and make you reconsider.

We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Here is a transcript of the entire speech.

* * *

Many people have often wondered why humans are able to be wonderfully good and immensely evil in equal measure. Overthinking this complexity can make you get a rush of blood to the head.
But the funny thing about humans is that if properly motivated and guided, we can actually rise up and sing our own song. And that's all what matters about us.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Have you been Scared into Not Thinking for Yourself?

Riots in Greece | PHOTO: NY Post.

At some point the year before last, I was doing some reading on the late Stephen Hawking and this led me to his Reith lectures and Desert Island Discs on the BBC Radio 4 web site.
From then on, I was hooked on the Desert Islands discs. It's been fun and insightful listening to Steven Pinker, Bill Gates, Jimmy Wales, Daniel Kahneman, Richard Dawkins, Kim Catrall, Lily Allen and many others.
It is on Lily Allen's Desert Island Discs that our story begins...

Speaking with host Kirsty Young, Lily Allen talks about openness in her music by saying:
"I'm a bag of contradictions and a massive hypocrite."

It's all said on a very light note, but the statement carries much weight. It points to an honest truth, sans embellishments about ourselves, that few dare to admit. And speaking of the way we see our lives both now and in the future, this is how Daniel Kahneman puts it:

"We are better at finding mistakes in what other people do than in what we do... People see others much more clearly than they see themselves."

And he goes on to say this:

"Emotional happiness is how you feel about your life while you're living it. And life satisfaction is how you feel about your life when you're thinking about it."

In the modern world, how we see our lives has largely been affected by societal standards. Whereas we dwell more on attaining life satisfaction than happiness, it is interesting how we view the future.

Daniel Kahneman says that "when we think of the future, we tend to think of the future as an anticipated memory." In other words, we do many things in the hope of remembering them.
Kahneman advises that we should focus more on living, rather than on remembering.

This plays very well into how we also want to be seen in the eyes of those we encounter in our lives. We are so adept at making appearances and putting on a show of virtue that we fail to speak our minds lest we taint how others will think of us or remember us thereafter.

And this is something that Niccolo Machiavelli captured very well:

* * *

Last year, Erykah Badu spoke with David Marchese and the conversation was published on the Vulture web site.

At some point, Erykah laments that we are often held back from doing that which we desire because we are emotionally attached to how the group thinks. Whenever we want to live a certain way or do a certain thing, we do not because that hive mentality takes over.

This is the primary reason Twitter has become such a dangerous place to speak one's mind. Thee social network in inundated with people who seem ever ready and willing to express outrage, propagate a cancel culture and engage in mindless outrage porn.
People are so easily triggered and have easily allowed themselves to be turned into hypersensitive keyboard warriors who eagerly await hashtags where people are almost always condemned unheard.

Malcolm Gladwell has, both in the NewYorker and on the Revisionist History podcast made a dig at this inability to resist undue influence from our peers, as often happens in times of crisis such a demonstrations and riots.

We are more open to doing the popular thing, even if deep down we know that it isn't right or beneficial. And more importantly, there is a threshold that determines when an individual succumbs to external factors that affect his or her behavior.

* * *

"Utaambia watu nini?" seems to be the one reminder not to deviate from societal expectations, and this is something that few can resist. The overwhelming temptations is to be like Royals, or aspire to be like them by faking it till we make it.
And in any case, isn't it always time to pretend?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

We are Bound to Others...

"If you think you know who you are, you've no idea."
- Sgt John Ryan, in 'Crash'

Every time I'm asked to name my top favorite movies, my listing invariably starts with the following:
  • Cloud Atlas.
  • Crash (2004 release).
What's common in these movies is that they seek to explore a better understanding of human behavior, particularly how we relate to each other in times of great anguish or crisis situations.

In addition, how we treat others if and when we are in a position of advantage compared to them.

* * *

The Butterfly Effect

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect explains how very little changes in initial conditions can create significantly different outcomes in complex systems. In other words, seemingly inconsequential things can result in vastly altered situations in places and times that may not be immediately easy to relate or connect.

"Our lives are not our own,
From womb to tomb, we are bound to others,
Past and present.
And by each crime and every kindness,
We birth our future."
- Somni 451, in Cloud Atlas.

There is another concept that hinges on social connections to show how we are largely connected to others. It is called the six degrees of separation.

Consider this recent happening in Kenya that was quite tragic:

6 days from today last year, a bus operated by Western Cross Express Company Ltd was involved in a road accident that resulted in 58 fatalities and shattered many lives thanks to serious injuries suffered by those who survived.

The bus, christened "Homeboyz" was being driven by one Lucas "Abdallah" Asang'asa, a 72 year old man.

From media reports and the investigations that followed, it emerged that various instances of negligence and blatant disregard of the law led to that horrific accident.

It is not possible to point out exactly what caused the accident itself, but a number of things such as having excess passengers, an elderly driver working many hours sans rest and driving long distances, vehicle defects, or a failure by traffic police on roadblocks to do a proper inspection of the bus and the passengers therein.
Apparently, the driver himself had also complained that the bus had faulty brakes.

Many factors, some seemingly harmless, all contributed to this terrible tragedy.

Granted, not all social connections are tragic. Here is an embarrassing, yet fun way to illustrate the same concept:

In essence, we have this nauseating habit of assuming that people we engage and interact with today will still be in the exact same situations in the future.
And all too often, we get to be reminded that these same people can be something very different the next time we meet then, sooner or later.

Meditations in an Emergency

My current writing project is anchored on this very premise - that we are connected to others and our thoughts, words and deeds always have an effect on others in addition to ourselves.

The Meditations in an Emergency book will tackle often-difficult-to-talk-about-subjects and hopefully elicit dialogue and action on those things that affect us, yet remain unattended.

* * *

I recently read a comment on this YouTube video, about humans having an amazing ability to underestimate non-immediate threats. We get very concerned and display shameless outrage porn at things that are both current and highly visible. Some even profit from rage. It happens to be quite easy to see and share loud and popular opinions on such things as fire on a mountain.
But you gotta wonder, do we ever have conversations with ourselves?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Reflections as I turn A Year Older


In today's Weekend Walkabout, we take a closer look at Happiness.
I am turning a year older and it won't be long before I say goodbye to the 30s. It makes sense to look both within and without at the things that either occasion or obstruct happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment in our lives.

That said, let's get right into it.

* * *

Does happiness really come from within or without?

There is a very interesting quote by Hellen Keller that I often come across:

Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.

The appeal of saying happiness comes from within is overwhelming since it is a statement of personal responsibility and empowerment. This means that should you not feel happy,, you are in a position to do something about it. And by extension, you cannot go around blaming others for your lack of happiness.

In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt dedicates Chapter 5 (The Pursuit of Happiness) to this particular question.
The long-held notion that we cannot seek happiness in external things, or that external conditions don't affect our levels of happiness has since been challenged.

According to Haidt, happiness comes from between.
It is not something you can find, acquire or achieve directly. For happiness to happen, you just have to get the conditions right and then wait. Some of these conditions are within you. Other conditions require relationships to things beyond you. 

Haidt's explanation revolves around purpose and the meaning of life, which emerge once a person gets these conditions right.

* * *

And speaking of levels of happiness, is there a limit to how much one can be happy in this life?
It is funny that despite various attempts at chasing happiness, a majority are likely to spend an entire lifetime oscillating around a seemingly pre-set level of happiness.

By extension, personal income levels have little impact on an average person's happiness. And of course, money will not buy a person happiness.
What this boils down to is that once your basic needs are satisfied, chasing more money, fame, power, sex or beauty will not lead to a happier life.

* * * 

It is true life isn't a simple matter of proclaiming "I won't worry, I'll be happy." But we can at least agree that happiness becomes very elusive when we spend so much time and energy chasing it. It however, follows us when we focus on doing the things that matter and add value in life.
Doing such things makes us happy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

How to Avoid Living like a Signpost

PHOTO | Gerd Altmann (Pixabay)

Depending on how you look at it, a signpost is the epitome of altruism. It shows you the way. It points you in the right direction.

Over the weekend, I read some pages of Ayn Rand's 'The Virtue of Selfishness', where she takes a rather contrarian view of altruism.

Ayn Rand dissects altruism, and the moral questions it lumps together. One is what values are, the other being who should be the beneficiary of values.
The problem with this is the widely accepted notion that any action taken for the benefit of others is good.
On the other hand, a concern with one's self interests (the exact dictionary definition of selfishness) is deemed evil.

There is a loophole in here, if you look closely. But that notwithstanding, today's post is about oneself and why there is a danger in not looking inward as much as we should.

* * *

There is something called Moral Licensing. In my opinion, Malcolm Gladwell, in 'The Lady Vanishes' (S01E01) episode of Revisionist History, gives the most succinct explanation of what this social psychology concept is. He says:

Past good deeds can liberate individuals to engage in behaviors that are immoral, unethical or otherwise problematic, behaviors that they would otherwise avoid for fear of feeling or appearing immoral.

We all see this in action every day in life. Locally, the best example is a politician who does one huge, very public albeit insincere act of benevolence (such as a huge donation at a fundraiser) that gets him elected, then spends an entire 5 year term in office embezzling public funds and engaging in corruption.

This point was further amplified by Evelyn Waithira (Muithirania) during a interview with Kameme TV. She speaks of a man whose work is to announce throughout the village of a 'Baraza' that he himself doesn't care to attend.

I have admittedly often found myself engulfed in this moral licensing phenomenon. Time and again, I find myself doing the very things I have publicly and on record, spoken against on this blog and elsewhere. At times with reckless abandon.
Since I began posting on The Walkabout a decade ago, many are the times I have fallen short of what I write about here, stuff that's meant to offer insight, inspire us and aid in self discovery.

However, all is not lost.

* * *

Many years ago when I was a University student at JKUAT, I used to have regular chats (actual face-to-face conversations) with my pal Doreen. At the time, Kiss 100.3 FM was pretty new and played actual "Fresh Hits."

Now, the only problem with that is just how repetitively any new song was played on Kiss 100. 'Redeemer' by Nicole C. Mullen was a new release at the time, and not an hour would pass without hearing that song play again and again on Kiss.

One hot afternoon, we are walking along the main corridor (it runs from Assembly Hall to Hall 6) and someone in Hall 3 who had obviously made "The Big Switch" was tuned in to Kiss 100 and as expected, 'Redeemer' was blasting away on his stereo. I pointed out how Kiss FM is ruining our listening experience by overplaying such amazing songs.

Doreen's view was different, that such repetitive radio-play wasn't necessarily a bad thing as it gave that particular Gospel track much needed exposure on a secular radio station where it would reach those who wouldn't otherwise tune in to Family FM (a christian station).

We had a small argument over this, and at some point, she asked: "Are you even listening to yourself speaking?"

It is due to this very statement that I've had to, almost a decade later, re-examine myself as I look back to the things I have been posting here, but seldom practise in life.
And it is that moment of clarity that first came my way thanks to Doreen at JKUAT, that insight which has again been brought to my attention by Ayn Rand, Malcolm Gladwell and Evelyn Waithira,  that I have elected to do the needful and walk a different road.

* * *

In the previous post I shared an excerpt from Safe Haven in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book [PDF], but omitted the first sentence. It now reads like this:

Now willing to listen and take suggestions, I have found that the process of discovering who I really am, begins with knowing who I really don't want to be.

And best believe me, just as Doreen advised many years ago, learning to actually listen to oneself makes a difference. A BIG one. There is a conversation I need to have with me, and that calls for a moment to myself.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Are you Trapped, Or Constrained?

It's 1st of July today and this being my birthday month, I have decided that now is the time to stop being so selfish...

I am ashamed that I consume a massive amount of information (epic reads, documentaries, podcasts and great TV shows). I, however, give back very little.
Now is the time to write more, as I ought. And I'm starting right here on The Walkabout.

* * *

Back in June, I embarked on a spirited quest to finish reading a number of books that I did start but got distracted along the way ( happens, you know!). These include 'The Confidence Game' by Maria Konnikova, 'The Andromeda Strain' by Michael Crichton, 'Fooled by Randomness' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and two other books that inspired today's post.

* * *

For quite some time now, I have been feeling trapped. Certain aspects of my life haven't gone according to plan and a number of things haven't turned out as expected. Some of these mishaps have been due to character defects or lapses in my judgment. Others still, have been purely inadvertent.
But I am a very firm believer in things getting better. And it is for this reason that almost all my online accounts simply have "In Repair" as my bio.

This quest for escape routes is what informed my decision to read 'Escape Routes' by Johann Christoff Arnold. It is a good book, with the solid truths and included Biblical references a great way to tackle a vexing subject for many who are seeking answers.

On the creative side of my life, the book 'A Beautiful Constraint' got my attention in an episode of 'Under the Influence' with adman and CBC radio host Terry O'Reilly back in 2016. In the Bookmarks episode, Terry talks about tension due to constraints fueling a high degree of creativity.

It is my humble opinion that besides the natural human tendency to postpone things until the last possible moment, constraints, as much as fast approaching deadlines, are at times necessary to "persuade" us to do our absolute best.

* * *

So how does all this add up?

It was while watching the 9th episode of the 1st season of the 911 TV series that I realized what I have for so long overlooked: getting trapped and being constrained are not exactly the same thing.
In fact, it's very easy to mistake one for the other. But it gets all the more easier to differentiate by just looking from the inside out, instead of the all-too-common outside-in perspective.

Here's deep words from the opening scene in the aptly titled 'Trapped' episode:

People are resilient.
I think we're designed that way.
It's embedded in our DNA to forge ahead, soldier on.
It's a whole lot easier to do with an army at your back.
But sometimes it feels like we're on our own.
It might even feel like the world is conspiring against us at times.
A test to see just how much we can take.
How do you get out? How do you break the cycle? 

And now, the closing scene:

A wolf will chew off its own leg just to escape.
Which makes perfect sense.
If you're being held back, cornered, forced into a situation, you do whatever you can to change it, to break free, to survive.
But sometimes escape isn't our default.

Sometimes we stay the course.
We cope, we navigate.
Because traps don't look the same to everybody, especially not from inside one.
Sometimes what the rest of the world sees as having us pinned actually ends up pushing us forward, giving us purpose, control, someone to talk to.
And once in a while, the very thing everyone thinks is holding us back is also what makes us feel at home.

You may want to read the entire 'Trapped' script.

Many are the times we pause and think, even loudly ask, if the next decision will be yet another bad one. And it gets particularly bad when the clouded judgment that is occasioned by entrapment makes you think any additional effort will simply be an exercise in futility - akin to "trying to get your hands clean in dirty water" as Soulsavers put it in 'Revival.'

But there is hope. Should you still feel like you are aimlessly wandering about, blind with your eyes wide open (another Soulsavers reference), you may want to first identify how you're looking at it all.

I'll end with one of my favorite extracts from the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book: Personal Stories III - Safe Haven [PDF]. This I chanced upon many, many years ago in Prison Break, where Michael Scofield sends an encrypted message contained in the A.A. book, to Sara Tancredi... but this is besides the point. Following is what is important for the purposes of this post:

I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don't want to be... like the power that causes an airplane to become airborne, it only works when the pilot is doing the right things to make it work.

It does help to find out first the very nature of what stands in your way. Certain limitations are actually advantages.

So, are you trapped, or merely constrained?

* * *

All said and done, you wont have to ask "Am I Wrong?" for thinking out the box, trying to reach the things you cannot see and for choosing another way.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Things Change... Do we?

PHOTO | Ross Findon (Unsplash).

It's been many months since we had a post on The Walkabout. But not to worry, we do have something for you today in our weekly #WalkaboutWednesday.

Today's post is about change.
We often hear, desire and talk about changing our lives.

It is a known fact that things do change. Times and Seasons are a recurrent thing in life. But do people change?

My observation and considered opinion is that people do not change. For good or worse, we largely remain the same. What we do is adapt to change.

So, what changes are you adapting to this May?

* * *

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Pain from an Old Wound

Mbaraka Mwinshehe. PHOTO | Daily Nation.
In September this year, my neighbor lost her grandson.
I was called over to her smokey, traditional kitchen just after 8 A.M. where I found her three sons and her nephew taking tea. Immediately I walked in, and following the usual countryside pleasantries, I was offered a steaming cup of 'ndubia'. After all, and in line with my 'kuumira kuumira' culture, "ng'aragu ndihoyagwo uhoro."

"I've just asked Muchiri to call you because we've been met with some sad news." Mama Kimani started. I saw her pause to wipe a tear from her eye, and she then proceeded: "I bet you do know Gitau, whose mother we buried just a few years ago and whose son we buried just the other day?"

"Yes I do." was my reply.

"Well, Gitau is no more. Someone please tell me, why do I have to bury my daughter, my great grandson and now my grandson all within a decade?" She asked, and broke down in painful sobs.

Her sons and I, other than incessant appeals for her to hold it together and be strong, had nothing to say. It was painful for us all, given that Gitau had died following a short illness at only 35.
At an age when life hasn't even started for a significant majority.

That incidence really got me thinking.

* * *

I am a great fan of Malcolm Gladwell and have taken time to read almost all his longform articles in the New Yorker and Slate.
Much as Peter Thiel would rather someone convinces Gladwell to change his theories, I remain a fan.

In the last three years, I've avidly taken time to listen to Gladwell's 'Revisionist History' podcast. It is a second look at past events that were either misunderstood, ignored or failed to get due attention. In Gladwell's words, "sometimes, the past deserves a second chance."

There are two podcast episodes that resonate very well with this particular post:
One is 'The Big Man Can't Shoot' and the other 'Hallelujah,' both from Season 1.

In 'The Big Man Can't Shoot,' Malcolm looks back at the unconventional, underhanded shooting skill of Wilt Chamberlain. The premise of the episode is something Gladwell had covered back in the New Yorker, in an article on Thresholds of Violence. One take away from both the article and podcast episode is how and why we change from what is clearly working, to what doesn't produce the best results only because it happens to be what's popular and acceptable.
Creativity and what happens when it takes time to fully manifest itself is what 'Hallelujah' is about. This particular episode reprises Gladwell's message in his 'Late Bloomers' article in the New Yorker, where he asks: "Why do we equate genius with precocity?"

When I look back at people that were well known to me but passed on at an age many of us consider the prime of one's life, I cannot help wondering if what they had already achieved at the time of death was commensurate with their potential.
Or more important, and sadly, if they hadn't even begun to exploit their potential.

For the purposes of this post, I have in mind several of my High School and University classmates who all died in their late 20s and early 30s. Sospeter Juma died soon after we sat our KCSE examinations. Daniel Gitau Muigai passed on well before his Engineering career path took shape following graduation at JKUAT.
Whilst Fred Onkoba died a Medical Doctor and Martin Njuma a pilot, I still think it was all too early in their chosen career fields to say they had really done much professionally.
What if the true genius of these guys was not already established as Pablo Picasso's was at an early age, but barely just taking shape as Cezanne's?

And here's something that might shock you, if only to illustrate just how transient life is: Mbaraka Mwinshehe died at the age of only 34.

* * *

The Pointer Sisters are known for great songs that were produced several decades ago. Among these are 'Automatic,' 'Should I do it?' and 'I'm so Excited.'
In August 1996, someplace in Limuru as I while time away over school holidays, I got to first listen to 'Slow Hand' by The Pointer Sisters. The song was on heavy rotation, part of a handful of songs on a new FM radio station that was conducting test transmissions in Nairobi and its environs. Here is a jingle at that station that plays to this day:

"The guarantee: The Best Music of Music,
The frequency: 98.4,
The station: Capital FM."

I often look back during deeply nostalgic moments that crowd my often solitary life. And unlike a significant number whose past is inundated by things they'd rather forget, mine is both vivid and filled with happy thoughts.

I have surprisingly clear memories of things, people and situations that I encountered in the past decade. Even two decades. Which is a blessing, given that a significant part of my current writing demands an accurate recollection of days, years and decades past.

Meanwhile, have you ever wondered how it would feel to go back to witness, at your current age and understanding, your past life? Would you enjoy the life and let it be or there would be much to adjust?
In the 'Walking Distance' episode of The Twilight Zone, an advertising man gets an opportunity to do just that - Martin finds himself back in his childhood and gets to meet his parents, walks around in his neighborhood and engages with people from his past.

A Walking Distance has interesting parallels with the one scene in TV that best captures the essence of nostalgia. This is The Carousel pitch in Madmen's last episode of season one. Here is Don Draper pitching to Kodak executives:

The way I see it, our past is much closer than a walking distance.
I personally feel this irresistible, gnawing urge to go back occasionally and reminisce. Good thing is, we share a good number of these memories with you. Yes, we do, even in instances where we didn't interact directly.

* * *

Throughout 2019, I shall be writing my High School and University memoirs.
For those that I occasionally interact with, particularly in the respective WhatsApp groups, I'll be publishing exclusive write-ups on occasion.

But worry not, having not schooled with me doesn't exclude you looking back in time with me. There is so much else to share from this eventful life we get to live at the rate of 86,400 seconds per day. Each day. Every day.

So keep it here. You definitely wanna be around when I get the next twinge in my heart.


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