Srimanta Mitra | Author, Musician, Psychologist, and UX Designer

Gratitude

June 12, 2020

Most of us, over the last 4 months,
have realised the extent of our
privileges. What we took for granted
changed overnight, and we had
to adapt.

I found myself immensely grateful
for the ecosystem in which 
I existed: work,
loved ones, the desire to make
the present better, no matter what it took.

I’m sure this is true for many who
will read this words - at least partially.

My first encounter with gratitude
happened over a decade ago, as a child
hunched in front of a bulky CRT
monitor, watching a YouTube video

A doctor mentions an experiment
about happiness.

Some stock visuals. A few minutes later:
“one set of people
conveyed their gratitude to the ones
who had made them happy. The other set did
no such thing.

Which one was happier?”

Well.

According to this “doctor” (a man
in a lab coat, he joked)
the simplest way to be happy
was to tell people
that they made you happy.

No way, man. C’mon!
It’s got to to be more
complicated than that?!



I, too, was surprised.

And so I found myself grateful
for the ability to find joy
in the way onion rings separate
when I cut them, as the phone buzzes
and the voice of my lover rings in my ears.

In spite of the distance, I feel
like I want to put an onion bangle
around her hand, make lopsided onion earrings
(with successive rings so they’re ever-so-slightly
out of kilter), or take a tiny ring
and put it in between her nostrils like
a temporary piercing.

these are singular joys. each as singular
as an onion ring.

Of course, all this makes
me cry, as it is hard to chop onions
  without welling up.

Naturally, I do not recommend
cutting onions while talking to your lover
on the phone.


in tears,
SM


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Making a Cozy Virtual Home

June 6, 2020

I started blogging a loooooong time ago. I think it was 2008? 2009?
It goes so far back I don’t remember when I started. And the internet
was a whole different mechanism at that point.

I stopped somewhere between 2012-2013 because life
was getting hectic and, well, nobody really cared about my blog.
Least of all, me. 

And now it’s 2020 and I have a website of my own (it’s even
got a custom doman name and all!) with a cute little blog 
of its own! 

How strange, to witness
a beginning that is
also a return.

It’s been a long-winded journey
but I am happy to be where I am,
and I look forward to what’s in store

(that last part - that is
enough to write a book on)

What’s changed this time is that,
even if nobody cares about what I post here, I do.

Nobody told the 2012-me that
people don’t care about your work unless
you are convinced it matters.

But what can I say, it’s a lesson
better learnt firsthand, over several years and
without a fallback.




And now to do some things
that make a home
feel like a home. I need to invest
in some furniture, perhaps consider
getting a fresh coat of paint?
Maybe I will keep the tiny but adorable
teddy bear keychain that a friend
gave me when we graduated
college on top of my writing desk,
where I will surely
knock it over as I rearrange
my various notebooks.

I need to buy a print of Dali’s
The Persistence of Memory,
that’s for sure,
and somehow must figure out
how to get rid of the lizards,
once and for all, but without harming them.

And slowly the marks of time
will grace my virtual home as well -
signs of life, the dust
that needs periodically
to be swept away,
the finger marks on the walls,
the crack in the floor from when
I will inevitably drop a dumbell.

And I’m looking forward to 
every bit of it :)


humbled, with love,
SM


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Erstwhile Favourite Poem

June 4, 2020

For many years, my favourite poem
was one written by Vikram Seth,
called, simply,

Things

Put back the letter half-conceived
From error, half to see you grieved.
Some things are seen and disbelieved.

Some talk of failings, some of love—
That terms are reckoned from above—
What could she have been thinking of?

As if aloneness were a sign
Of greater wisdom in design
To bear the torque of me and mine.

As if the years were lists of goods,
a helve of dares, a head of shoulds
To hack a route through rotten woods.


As if creation wrapped the heart
Impenetrably in its art,
As if the land upon the chart

Were prior to the acred land
And that a mark could countermand
The houses and the trees that stand.

Though she would fell them if she could
They will stand, and they will have stood
For all the will of dare and should.

Put it away. You cannot find
In a far reading of this kind
One character for heart or mind.

Read into things; they will remain.
Things fall apart and feel no pain.
And things, if not the world, are sane.

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Consistency

Jun 1, 2020

I was a compulsive smoker
for 6 years

Until I quit cold turkey
on March 17, 2019
and never looked back



From June 12, I started working out
and have been consistent
ever since

If you asked my 18-year old self
if any of this is possible
I would laugh at your face

🤷🏽‍♂️


What can I say,
crazy things can happen
when you’re consistent

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Dissonance

May 30, 2020


The American writer
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:

“the test of a first-rate intelligence
is the ability to hold
two opposed ideas
in the mind at the same time,
and still retain the ability to function.”

What psychologists call
Cognitive Dissonance
is much the same.



I tend to view it less as
a cumbersome situation
than as a necessary condition
to getting anything done.

Besides, as Fernando Pessoa,
the Argentinian poet, would say

“Contradiction is
the essence of the universe”


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