Saturday, May 28, 2016

Snail Mail: It's A Lot of Fun Getting Letters

It's the last few days of May and it feels like it's been gone so quickly! I had a couple of goals set for May and while I haven't been able to complete all of them, I'm proud of what I've done so far! And what have I done so far? Why, I made my first visit to the post office and posted a letter!

I'm a really busy person- sometimes I'm surprised I still blog. I have a hectic university life. Medicine is not an easy degree. There's always things left to study and there's no way you can sit back and say "Ah, I've finished all my work". It's just an endless exercise of reading, whether it's anatomy or physiology or biochemistry or histology. I usually come home too tired to do much. But it always makes my day when I received something in the mail, which happens occasionally!

Now the problem with receiving mail is that I've got to send something back as well. I've been thinking about this for a long time, there were a couple of things I was over-due on answering and when I got a break of a fantastic four days this week, I decided to sit down and write letters back. I finished one on Thursday night, the second on Saturday morning. My hands were cramped at the end but I was proud of what I did.

Clutching my envelopes, I went to the post office in G-9, Karachi Company. It was my first time going to the regular old post office and my mother offered to come with me.

"I can handle it" I said, more bravely than I felt. After all, I was a big girl wasn't I? I'm 20!

The post office was empty from the inside and I hurried to one of the counters to ask the woman "Where do I go to post letters?". She directed me to another line where I had to wait for a bit since someone else was there before me. When my turn came, I offered the letters to the man behind the glass.

"I want to post these" I said, hoping I was loud enough for him to hear. "One to Karachi, one to the Netherlands"

He doesn't give me any funny looks- perhaps he's seen people with letters like mine a lot. He looks over the envelopes and says "Write your name and address on them too"

I hastily scribble my name and address on the back. I know it's for a good reason- in case the letter can't make it to their destination, at least they can come back to me. I hope that never happens though.

He takes them and says "58 rupees please". I am personally surprised. 58 rupees seemed like quite a small amount for posting a letter. I'm still hovering at the counter.

"That's it?" I asked. "What about stamps- do I need any stamps?"

He smiles and he's probably realized I'm new to this. He stamps one of the letters right in front of me and says "They're already stamped"

"Oh!" I said, smiling back. This was exciting, my letters were officially posted! "Alright, thank you!"

I walk out of the post office with a spring in my step. I just posted my first letters today and it's a great accomplishment for me. I had a lot of fun doing every step of it- from planning, to writing, to taping, to posting. I've started thinking about making it a monthly event for myself, where I sit down and write letters and post them all together.

Would you be interested in being my pen pal?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How to Make Kanra Mad

If you asked me personally, I'd say that it's not that easy to get me mad and riled up. I try to keep my cool and look at things objectively and critically; why is this person mad at me? Would being mad in response really be the best way to do this? How can I flip the situation around so no one gets hurt? I also tend to enjoy arguing if it involves seeing the other person's point of view and other perspectives on the issue.

When it comes to arguing, or as I would call it 'heated discussion', here are a couple of things you can do to make me really furious.

Turn the argument into a contest of who can yell their opinions out the loudest and reiterate their redundant points the most. So you decided to argue with someone who firmly believes that the sky is blue because it's a reflection of the ocean. If this person was constantly yelling over my voice
"The sky is a reflection of the ocean, Kanra! They're both blue!" 
and two seconds later they say
"You know what else is blue besides the sky? The ocean, Kanra! Clearly there is a relationship between the two!" 
and maybe five seconds later
"Have you heard of the laws of reflection? The sky is right on top of the ocean, Kanra so of course it's going to be blue too!"
Put conversation on repeat, with volume increasing after each statement. They don't care what argument you put up, even if it's something pretty solid like "But there's no ocean around here for miles, shouldn't the sky be green instead?"

Now here's one way that Stephen Colbert dealt with people like this. There's this one line in the video I'm linking that I really liked and plan on using next time people try to step over my voice.
"You know what I hate about people who criticize you? They criticize what you say but they never give you credit for how loud you say it-" 
"That's true!" 
"-or how long you say it"

Skip over to 5:14 if you don't want to watch the entire interview.

Abandon all sensible reasoning and start hurling baseless insults that don't help anyone in any sort of way. Let's just carry on with the previous example of the discussion regarding the color of the sky. I might be two centimeters away from blowing up on you but if you want to take the express train, try something like this.
"Are you stupid, have you never taken physics Kanra? Reflection is clearly the answer, you're just to thick-headed to see it!"
or maybe something like
"I bet you go home and cry in your pillow Kanra because you're always wrong, just like you are right now!"
or even something like
"Ugh, if you don't shut up and agree with me, I'm going to punch you in the face Kanra!"
And now because this Bill O'Reilly is the exact kind of person I wouldn't like to argue with, have another video of him! He's not insulting his guest, but he's basically trying to threaten him to shut up ("I'll boot you off this set!").

So these are two major pet peeves I have when it comes to arguments. Chances are if I argued with you and you were just being an overall jerk to me, I won't start up a discussion with you again (and quite possibly break off our friendship. Sorry but you gotta go, don't need this kinda negativity in my life). It's not me being defeated, it's me picking my battles. Because in arguing, there is no "winning" or "losing". It's either getting you to understand my point of view, or me learning about a new point of view.

So what do you think about arguing? Is it mostly productive or counter-productive? Do you pick your arguments carefully? Have a nice day!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

SketchbookArt: Watercolors, Plants and Sparkly Stars

It's been a while since the last blog post! I've been a little busy cause I had an exam on Friday and now I have another exam on Wednesday, which is going to be a practical examination with a bunch of simulated patients and examiners watching everything that you do. Am I freaked and stressed out about it simultaneously? I am, as a matter of fact and you know what I do when I'm stressed!

I've been practicing my writing just a bit- but not that much cause I often end up just painting the page and drawing random things. Also, when I do practice, my writing turns out way better than when I actually want to write something so that kind of demotivates me and I think twice before deciding to write something over my work.

That doesn't look so bad, right? Now check this.

I don't even know what happened here but I've come to the conclusion that I should probably practice what I want to write a few times before jumping on to the actual thing.

Apart from writing/lettering, I've been trying to incorporate my usual pen designs with watercolors. It looks great and I had so much fun drawing those little leaf branches that I did it again but with paint instead of black gel pen.

Of course, this one is still under constructions, I'm debating between writing another quote on it or adding a layer of geometric designs like I did on the piece before this one. What do you think I should do?

Apart from random abstract pieces like this, I also drew a poster for my friend who was organizing a food stall for charity at school. I was adamant on drawing a jar with lemon water and that's what I did. I took this picture the night before I gave it back to her so it doesn't have the last minute changes like a black outline of the jar and umbrella and the jar being cut out of the yellow chart paper.

Looking at it now, there's a couple of things I could have improved but I'm overall really pleased with how this one came out. I had a ton of fun doing this piece because first of all, chart paper is a little glossy and thick so I sprayed water on it and the water didn't absorb so I threw in different colored paints and tilted the paper around to create a watery effect. It was amazing and I'm planning on doing something like this again! It's amazing how much can change when you use a different type of paper.

What have you been up to these days? What kind of art do you like to dabble in? Do you think I should draw geometric designs over my WIPs or write quotes on them? Have a nice day!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Before Civil War: The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Civil War has been released (not in my country yet) and it would not be a tall tale if I said it was probably the most heavily anticipated movie this year. Who wouldn't be excited? It's got the iconic characters of the 21st century- The Avengers and most importantly, Spider Man.

With all the exciting trailers out and occasional spoilers flooding the internet, I couldn't help but build a picture of Civil War in my mind. The problem with this exercise is the chance of being disappointed and I'm a little worried about that. The last movie I watched that I felt was mildly disappointing was Godzilla. I don't know what I had been expecting, but the actual thing had fallen short of it. Perhaps I had been more interested in an actual story line and plot, rather than the digital construction of a gigantic lizard and collapsing cities. Those were pretty cool, no doubt about that, but it was like expecting chocolates and getting a lollipop instead.

At first, I wasn't very excited about Civil War. I just knew that a Marvel movie was coming out and I had thought I would wait for it's release and then download it. Of course it would have probably happened a year later (I just recently watched Ant Man and that's a year old) and I wouldn't have minded at all. Everything changed when your friendly neighborhood hero swung into the scene.

Spider Man is one of my favorite Marvel heroes. Spider Man 3 was one of the very first movies I watched in the theater. Spider Man is probably the only hero I've read comic books of. So of course he's really special. The latest Spider Man reboot (The Amazing Spider Man) was something I didn't like very much when compared to the first series of films. Sure, a high school Peter Parker is cool, but is Peter Parker supposed to be cool? He's supposed to be an unpopular nerd, not a self-satisfied loner. The point is, one major reason to watch Civil War is to see a proper depiction of Spider Man- with an old school Peter Parker and a witty Amazing Spider Man.

The problem? This is a Captain America: Civil War. Not a Spectacular Spider Man movie.

This is turning out to be more of a Spider Man post than a Captain America post. I think you've realized what I'm going to be disappointed about. I would walk in to the theater for a minor/side character who would most probably have a screen time of less than 10 minutes. I can't exactly be mad about it- it's Captain America's movie. But I'm going to be disappointed.

When it comes to the Avengers, what I really love is how diverse they are. You have Iron Man, the rational thinker who is super smart and Captain America, the guy who thinks with his heart. There's Thor, who is there with literally no reason to be in the Avengers other than it being a fun after school club for him. Bruce Banner, the other smart guy who is always angry. Black Widow who is quite seriously, the personification of the spider. Hawkeye, the Katniss Everdeen equivalent in the Marvel Universe- not the most charismatic person there but definitely just as heroic looking as everyone else.

Seeing them banter with each other is alright. Imagining them fighting each other to the death instead of reasonably talking things out like proper adults? Not alright. If Captain America: Civil War does not give decent reasons for why the Avengers have to be torn apart like this, I will be disappointed. Sure, fight scenes are great and everything but if there's anything that really makes a movie memorable, it's the story. Stories can be related to. Fight scenes? Not so much.

These were the main two things I keep thinking about when it comes to Captain America: Civil War. I'll be writing another post about what I actually think about the movie once I watch it. Are you a Marvel fan too? What are your thoughts about Civil War? ((Please, no spoilers!!))

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I Hate Game Of Thrones

Bring in the backlash, kids cause believe it or not, I don't like Game of Thrones one bit! But wait, instead of pouring out my emotions in the form of angry gifs, capital letters and bolded text, I will present to you a list of-

We're going to be talking about the book. I've read Game of Thrones but have not seen the show and don't even plan to- and here you'll be finding out why.

  1. Game of Thrones is extremely long. There are several chapters, each chapter with lots of details, characters and environment descriptions. As a result, the book is very long, the series is very long. It would take me several months to get through another book and at the end, I wouldn't even remember what had happened.
  2. There are too many characters. Which is not surprising, considering this is a fantasy about fighting for the throne of a kingdom. Of course there are going to lots of contenders, each with their own history and members. But to be honest, I can't keep up with all these people. It's really nice that there's so much detail but... I can't go through all of this.
  3. The violent explicit content is really violent and really explicit. I'm, in general, not that okay with violence, especially when it comes to senseless violence which Game of Thrones seems to be loaded with. I get it, Game of Thrones is supposed to be a stark contrast from The Lord of the Rings but really? Really? (did you get that pun ahahaha)
  4. Everyone is dying. Whoever I root for is dying. At first I thought it was just my choices that made people die but then I realized that the author just really likes killing characters off. Apart from that, things just seem to be constantly going down hill. The entire story looks like a spiraling vortex of darkness, violence and hopelessness.
  5. The plot is extremely complex. Some chapters follow this character, some chapters follow the other character. Sometimes you're really invested in one character and then you end up having to go through several chapters before that character is back again. By the time you get there, you'd probably forget where you left them off at in the first place. So the book tends to get a little disjointed sometimes.
I just can't bring myself to continue reading the series or to start watching the show. It's just one of those things that I think wouldn't agree with me at all. I wouldn't be comfortable reading it (it would feel an awful lot like homework, having to concentrate to what's happening- Game of Thrones is not leisure reading) and I most certainly would not be comfortable watching it either- alone or with someone else.

Have you read or seen Game of Thrones? What are your opinions about it?

Monday, May 9, 2016

20 Things I Learned at 20

You must have guessed it from the title- it's my birthday! I'm no longer a teenager (that makes me very sad) and I've lived two decades on this Earth. Two decades sounds like a lot! That means 20 years that I've woken up in the morning to a brand new day, learned something or experienced something new in each of those days. While I can't recall each and every day of my life, I think all of us end up remembering the important days- like your first day of school- or the important experiences that help shape your personality- like the first book you bought with your own money. (My first book was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by the way). 

Instead of reminiscing through the events, I'm going to be talking about 20 things I learned that I felt are important to know about when it comes to being a teenager and generally about life and people.

1. It doesn't matter if you don't look good in the picture. It's the memory that counts. A couple of years later and you'd be happy to see yourself in those pictures- regardless of how you look- rather than being completely absent in a picture full of your friends. Take a break and say CHEESE!

2. You'll come across people and you'd think that the two of you would be friends forever. Well, newsflash- people change, things happen and you end up breaking apart. The next time you see them, they will look like a stranger and you will feel like a stranger and there's nothing you can do to turn back time.

3. You don't "own" people. It's okay to feel hurt when people change- especially when it's an overnight metamorphosis- but harboring a grudge for that? That's just wrong. People change and you should too.

4. Learn to let it go. Small arguments and fights don't matter in the long run and are only a source of negative energy like anger and regret.

5. The beauty of people on social media is directly proportional to the amount of makeup and type of filter applied.

6. No matter what you do, you're going to be tired and worn out. The least you can do for yourself is pick a career where you're doing something you enjoy.

7. It's okay to say no, it's okay if you can't complete requests. It's okay to take little breaks every now and then.

8. You'll cry a lot. For no reason. Get ready.

9. If you have an opinion about something, learn to express it correctly. Don't step on other people or trying shutting them down, even if they're being stupid. It's your job to keep your higher moral ground.

10. It's okay to turn your friends down if they've got plans and you're just not in the mood for it. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

11. Don't feel bad about your decisions and don't think about what might have happened. Your decisions can't be changed and living with the consequences is your job. That's what being grownup is about- making decisions and then taking responsibility.

12. You'll come across obnoxious people. You'll pass by obnoxious people. You don't need to do anything more than that.

13. Don't trust people unless they give you a good reason to. Therefore, always keep a backup plan for everything.

14. If you had a bad experience with someone, there's two things you need to learn from it. Beware of that person and don't be that person.

15. There's a lot of fake people out there. Don't be surprised about it. Take the plunge and talk to everyone anyway.

16. Learn to be independent. Get work done in person or on the phone.

17. Art. Be creative when you can be and want to be.

18. Blogging is a great decision. I sincerely advise you to start blogging if you don't and to keep up the great work if you do!

19. Plan your day, your goals, your dreams. Get it out on paper. It makes things look possible.

20. If you have a problem about something, talk to someone about it. Just getting it off your chest can help put things in perspective and make the light at the end of the tunnel easier to see.


And that's twenty things that I've learned! Of course, there's a lot of other things too, but these are the most relevant when it comes to giving advice to teenagers. What kind of life lessons have you learned so far? Which do you think is most important? Have a nice day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

5 Essentials You Need For Efficient Studying

When this current module (maxillo-facial system) started, I was so sure I had gotten a grip on how to study anatomy. I thought I had learned my lessons from LMS (locomotor system) and that this second pure anatomy module would be a piece of cake. It has only been three days and I have realized how wrong I was.

Students like myself often forget about the essentials of studying. Sometimes we thing we have everything under control only to realize that we had lost touch with the basics of studying. What are the basics of studying? Well, I'm here to tell you that!

Efficient studying requires time. It's quite an obvious statement, but it is not to be taken lightly. Study time should not coincide with or involve social media, drowsiness or environmental distractions. Shut off your phone or put it away. If you're drowsy, just go to sleep to be honest. Find a quiet place to study if you have rowdy siblings.

Gather all of your study materials. Put everything in front of you, whether as a list or as a pile. This was another thing I often forget to do. When it comes to studying anatomy, the book is often not enough. You also have to consult the atlas as well as go through a couple of YouTube videos. If your course is also one where you are advised to consult different books, just do it. It really helps.

Give yourself small goals so you stay focused. Instead of scattered studying, make a list of things you have to complete. Five pages of chapter three? That's one goal for you to complete and having this concrete goal will remind you to stay on track so you get things done faster. I often end up studying in a scattered manner, flipping pages back and forth. While it helps me relate together concepts, I often end up with an incomplete chapter.

Use highlighters and colored pens. Write notes in the margins, or use stick notes. Make your book look pleasing, make it colorful enough to have it stick in your mind. I have started using colored highlighters on text heavy pages while annotating with colored pens in the margins and diagrams. It keeps me amused and helps me remember the pages and information more clearly than a simple reading would have done.

Go through the information again and again. Revise what you've learned at the end of the day, at the end of the week, whenever you get time! Don't let things pile up for the exams! Fortunately, I end up having tests every week or so, so I'm obliged to go through the material learned a few times. However, I'd still like to go through everything frequently enough that I have everything memorized and that's definitely one goal I need to set for myself.

These are five things that I realized I definitely needed to get my studying game back on track. Which of these do you practice? Do you find it hard to get in the right studying mood? What advice would you give? Have a nice day!
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