#PickMyBrain - QnA May 2017

It's that time of the month again, and so many of you have been kind enough to send in your questions. In fact, I've had to go through a few extra because I didn't do a QnA last month. And some of the questions have unleashed a lot from my past and personal experiences so I want to apologise in advance for some of the longer answers. Let's jump right into it.

  1. Do you have any allergies?

    Bahahahaaaaa! Do I? I don't even know where to begin and I feel that this one question could be turned into a whole blog post. You know what? I'm going to write all about it at the end of this week. It's story time y'all!

    But to answer your question, yes. And not just one or two, I have a BUNCH of allergies that forced me to get immunotherapy done for 18 months. So, yeah. Keep an eye out for the blog post detailing my life long struggle with allergies!

  2. What do you like to do first thing in the morning?

    I like to cuddle up to Shane when his stupid alarm goes off and ask him to stay in bed for five extra minutes before he takes the warmth out of my life and scampers away to the shower. This usually means that we both end up falling asleep for more than 5 minutes and I must confess that there have been times when he's had to shower at work #truestory

  3. Which is one place you're dying to see?

    Shane had answered this question in the Christmas Tag I did with him. We've talked about it and this is something we'd like very much.

    I want to go to the North Pole and watch the Aurora Borealis.

  4. When was the moment in your life you laughed the hardest?

    When I was in the 8th or 9th grade, my friend Steffy and I went through a phase when we laughed A LOT for no apparent reason. We just goofed around a lot and found everything hilarious. I remember this one particular time when we were waiting near our school chapel after hours for the school buses to take us home, and we started cracking joke after joke. We thought we were the funniest people on the planet and I laughed so hard that I peed myself a little bit.

    I still don't remember what was so funny, though. Only that I was genuinely happy and laughing from my heart.

  5. Can you list five things you hate?

    That should be easy.

    1. The taste of fresh parsley garnished on my meals. Makes me want to spit everything out.

    2. Restaurants that seem to be open after midnight but really aren't because it's just the bar that's still open and the kitchen closed at 10 p.m. Why can't every place on the planet be like Greece where they close only after the last customer leaves - which was at 5 a.m one time when we went out with friends. Finding food after midnight when you're hangry is the most frustrating thing in the world.

    3. Having to throw out expired food products. The lazy person in me knows that they got expired in the first place because I was too lazy to do anything with them and the stingy Indian in me feels guilty about the £4.65 I spent on them a while ago.

    4. Answering calls from people I don't know too well. WHY would you want to call someone when technology provides you with the option of simply texting your needs and requirements?

    5. Having to hold text conversations with people who contact me first, ask me what's up, and then expect me to take the conversation forward. Example:

      "Hi Ankita, what's up?"

      "Hi! I'm good. How are you?"



      So you're the last one to have said something which leaves me with the responsibility of asking you something else. On some occasions, these conversations have resembled a job interview where the person on the other side would just respond to my questions and say nothing else. What was the purpose of texting me if you literally had nothing more to say after I asked you how you were doing? Don't do this to people. Especially to socially anxious people.

  6. What do you do in your spare time?

    I write. Not just here but in general. I also read, listen to podcasts, watch TV shows and sometimes, take care of my skin and hair. Basically, if you read my monthly favourites, all the things I list in there are things I discover during my spare time.

  7. Why don't you update every day anymore? At first I thought you were simply not sharing your posts on G+ and I kept coming to your site. Still nothing! Looks Lazy.

    Yes, sweetheart. I am very lazy. And how dare I choose to decide when and how often to update my personal blog? The nerve!

    But if you must know, for the past few months, things have been difficult. I've talked about it here and here and I'm sure you must have already known this since you've been coming to this website and checking for updates daily. By the way, thank you for that.

    But a while ago, I decided to take things slow. To write only when it felt right and to put up posts only if I was proud of them. Since the day I took that decision, I have loved each and every one of my blog entries whether anyone else saw them or not. They felt truly fulfilling and made me laugh when I went back and read them.

    Very slowly, things are finally falling back in place. A great opportunity that slipped right through my hands came back and fell on my lap just last week. That was after an entire month of disappointment, desperation, and self-loathing. So I understand your frustration when it comes to waiting for an update on a blog you follow but I'm not sure you'd understand what I went through during that dark period. I'm doing all I can to stay positive and happy and I believe I've been doing a bloody good job of not letting anything negative seep into this happy space.

    I used to say that I update this blog every weekday. Nowadays, I can't promise that. But I really can't go for days on end without writing here so you might find close to 4 new entries per week if all goes well. You'll know when things change.

  8. More funny spam emails please!

    Here you go.

    Who the fuck is Tanvii and why is she getting a pat on her back for maintaining 22 Nelson Street?

    That's an email I never responded to. Which reminds me that I haven't responded to some very kind emails from some amazing readers. If you're reading this, I promise to get back to you by EOD.

  9. Is there an update on the latest boiler situation?

    Yes. They sent someone in to have a look. Turns out that something inside is broken and caught fire. I still don't fully know what it was because honestly, I couldn't care less at this point.

    All I know is that we need to remember to turn it off from time to time to avoid further trouble. It's a good thing it's warmer these days or we wouldn't have survived.

    They said they'll send someone in this week to fix it once and for all. I've heard that line way too many times to believe it now.

  10. My 12 standard results just came out today (yesterday) and I scored 84%. It looks like I won't be getting into any of the colleges I like. Feeling a bit low. Advice?

    I just want to stop everything I'm doing right now and hug you. I really wish someone would. I know exactly what you're going through because I was in your position 8 years ago. That sucked.

    Everyone around you is going to either pity you because they're convinced that you won't have a "bright future" or they're going to rub it in at every turn. Some others will think this is the perfect opportunity to show you how they're better off.

    You know how India has all these different syllabi? I was stupid enough to try and pass what was considered the toughest of the four syllabi, simply because they taught Caesar and Macbeth in detail. I wanted to pursue literature and I enjoyed my classes there. But I was forced to study science and math alongside what I liked and ended up getting an 80% aggregate in my boards. I didn't care too much because I'd scored above 90% in English which was very hard to obtain at the time and quite rare.

    But when I started applying to colleges, I realised that some of the other syllabi award students 98 and 99 in English, sometimes rewarding them for simply attempting to answer a question. The colleges had no system in place to filter the kids coming in from all these different streams and I was competing with scores of others who'd technically put me at the bottom of the second waiting list.

    When I finally got through, I happened to talk to one such kid who'd scored a 99 in her English paper and was astonished to see that she was struggling to even form a sentence in English. This was important to me only because she'd landed a merit seat for English Lit, the same one I'd been put in a waiting list for.

    What I'm trying to say is that the system is flawed and even unfair sometimes. I was resentful and angry during that time of my life but the fact of the matter is, it's not as big of a deal as I made it out to be back then. I'm sure that no matter which university I went to, this is what I'd be doing with my life. Not even once during a job interview was I asked about my 10th or 12th-grade results. Hell, no one even cared about my degree scores because in most cases, all that matters is how knowledgeable you are in the field you wish to pursue and how good you are at selling yourself.

    And you don't need the "right" college to make you knowledgeable or to teach you how to sell your merits to others. You can do that from anywhere. So chin up and try not to worry too much about this. It's a waste of energy. All you need to do during this time of your life is work hard on the areas you want to excel in. Keep that job interview or goal in mind and work towards it now. You won't believe how many stories I've heard of "weak" students landing better jobs than college toppers simply because of great interview skills and sheer knowledge of the subject. One exam doesn't determine your future.

  11. How did you deal with a breakup? Have you ever stalked your ex on social media? I know my question is a bit personal and it's okay if you chose to ignore it.

    Again, I wish I could hug you right now because if you're trying to get through a break-up, you're experiencing one of the most painful things in your life.

    I'll start off by sharing a very interesting passage from Eat Pray Love:

    And then I remember a story my friend Deborah the psychologist told me once. Back in the 1980s, she was asked by the city of Philadelphia if she could volunteer to offer psychological counseling to a group of Cambodian refugees—boat people—who had recently arrived in the city. Deborah is an exceptional psychologist, but she was terribly daunted by this task. These Cambodians had suffered the worst of what humans can inflict on each other—genocide, rape, torture, starvation, the murder of their relatives before their eyes, then long years in refugee camps and dangerous boat trips to the West where people died and corpses were fed to sharks—what could Deborah offer these people in terms of help? How could she possibly relate to their suffering? “But don’t you know,” Deborah reported to me, “what all these people wanted to talk about, once they could see a counselor?” It was all: I met this guy when I was living in the refugee camp, and we fell in love. I thought he really loved me, but then we were separated on different boats, and he took up with my cousin. Now he’s married to her, but he says he really loves me, and he keeps calling me, and I know I should tell him to go away, but I still love him and I can’t stop thinking about him. And I don’t know what to do . . .

    No matter what big thing is happening in our lives, whether good or bad, nothing matters to us humans as much as trouble in paradise with a loved one. I know for sure that even on days when I get the best results from my work, a silly argument with Shane can throw me into despair. That's just how we humans are.

    Which is why a break up should never be treated casually, and a person going through a break up needs love, support, and a distraction.

    Since you asked about me, I went through a pretty messed up phase when I broke up with my boyfriend of three years. It was never an ideal relationship and was quite silly, to be honest. But three years with someone is no small thing. You grow to care for each other. We were miserable together for the most part and went on a break for more than a month before I did us both a favour and ended things. Because there was no point in being together and being miserable the whole time.

    The break of a month kind of helped with the process of moving on but it was by no means that simple. It was a sad time. Thankfully, I was surrounded by friends who made things easy and it was exactly at that time that I took it upon myself to head a committee in my college and organise an event. That responsibility left me so drained of energy by the end of each day that I never had the time to stop and fixate on my sadness. The timing for a distraction couldn't be more perfect.

    So that's what I would advise you to do. Take on a distraction that's very demanding. Something that expects a lot from you both mentally and physically. Be exhausted by the end of the day and you'll be able to sleep. Thinking, over-thinking, and fixating - these are your worst enemies.

    As for stalking my ex, I've stalked many people in my life but my ex somehow wasn't one of them. I guess it helped to know in advance that he wasn't one to care about social media, but I don't really know the reason why I never stalked him. Thank God for that, though. I guess the only explanation is that we were both done with each other and moved the fuck on.

    However, if you find yourself stalking your ex, then maybe you need to distance yourself from everything that makes you want to do it. One thing I've heard people share is that they get someone they trust to change their social media passwords for a few weeks and give them back only once the stalking phase has passed.

    Another thing you can do is travel as often as you can. Going on even short trips but maybe every weekend will trick your mind into believing that a lot of time has passed since the event. After all, time is what heals best and even the illusion of time flying by can help you heal faster.

    I'm still sending you hugs and I hope you feel better soon!

So there you have it. It took me some time to go through everything and select the questions. But I feel this particular installment has been totally worth it. Sorry once again for how long this post turned out to be, but I hope you found at least one meaningful thing to take home with you.

You can check out the previous QnA's here. If you have any questions for next month, you can send them to my email or DM me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

See ya!