If Every Day is a Rainy Day, What Am I Saving For?


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What’s it like grow up poor and remain poor as an adult? Samantha Irby offers an interesting perspective.

I know I should have invested in a sturdy pair of those bootstraps people who speak at graduation ceremonies are always talking about, but what does that even mean? Pay the rent, throw some cash at the phone bill, sprinkle a little change on the light bill, divide the remaining 20 bucks between the laundromat and a stock portfolio? It all seemed so unmanageable. And the years of being deprived or feeling stressed about money didn’t make me want to save; they made me want to spend, to immediately enjoy the fruits of the $7.25 an hour I made listening to people talk down to me in a customer service job.

The New York Times

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Truth and Beauty in Texas


I recently read this excerpt from “Truth and Beauty” by Robert Flynn in Trinity University Press’ Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists.

That was when I first got the notion of being a writer. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We didn’t go in much for writing at the country school I attended. We studied penmanship. But we knew what a writer was. A writer was somebody who was dead. And if he was any good he had been dead a long time. If he was real good, people killed him. They killed him with hemlock. Hemlock was the Greek word for Freshman Composition.

The country school I attended was closed, and we were bused to Chillicothe. Chillicothe, Texas is small. Chillicothe is so small there’s only one Baptist Church. Chillicothe is so small you have to go to Quanah to have a coincidence. For a good coincidence, you have to go to Vernon. Chillicothe was fairly bursting with truth and beauty, and my teacher encouraged me to write something that had an epiphany. For an epiphany, you had to go all the way to Wichita Falls.

Read the full excerpt at Robert Flynn’s website

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Lola’s Story


Today’s Needull is the very last article written by the renowned Pulitzer-winning journalist Alex Tizon, his last masterpiece before he succumbed to prolonged illness last month. In the article, he writes about Lola, his household ‘slave’ in the US, who was also his nanny-cum-cleaner-cum-cook-cum-gardener. Lola had joined Alex’s family from his native country, where her family was a victim of classism and casteism spanning generations. In the article, Alex revisits Lola’s past after her death and during his journey through his native Philippines, also takes us on a journey of realisation. As a UAE resident who knows many such ‘slave-owners’, it is an emotional eye opener of sorts for me. Hope it’s the same for you.

We landed in Los Angeles on May 12, 1964, all our belongings in cardboard boxes tied with rope. Lola had been with my mother for 21 years by then. In many ways she was more of a parent to me than either my mother or my father. Hers was the first face I saw in the morning and the last one I saw at night. As a baby, I uttered Lola’s name (which I first pronounced “Oh-ah”) long before I learned to say “Mom” or “Dad.” As a toddler, I refused to go to sleep unless Lola was holding me, or at least nearby.

I was 4 years old when we arrived in the U.S.—too young to question Lola’s place in our family. But as my siblings and I grew up on this other shore, we came to see the world differently. The leap across the ocean brought about a leap in consciousness that Mom and Dad couldn’t, or wouldn’t, make.

Full Article Here

The Atlantic – Alex Tizon

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Indian PhD student thanks Canada university for early convocation


While reading about Precilla (Veigas) Dsouza’s PhD, I was instantly reminded of a famous couplet of Ghalib.

I have a thousand desires, all desires worth dying for
Though many of my desires were fulfilled, majority remained unfulfilled.

I am also so happy to leave a legacy for my daughter, Jadyn, to find the strength to achieve her own life goals. I hope I can inspire my fellow graduates to work hard, follow their dreams, and remember that life is short. In the end, all we have is one another. When you leave this life, your legacy is you as a person, the love you leave behind.

The complete write up

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Failure is Neither Fatal, Nor Final


This is another interesting ‘Rare Needull’ I came across in a monthly column at Hazlitt. In this interesting piece, the author examines her varied instances of failures, including her experience with a failed marriage, and how these experiences have affected her outlook on life and her ongoing recovery. The reason why you should read it is simple because her story is your story – after all, haven’t we all failed before!!

Marriage is presumed to be forever. After we married, my husband and I drove to Malibu and sealed our vows inside a bottle, and tossed them out to sea. In our minds, they were promises made like offerings to the universe. Our marriage was a sacred bond between us, so pure, the purest form of love we’d ever felt. We thought it would last for eternity.

Full Article Here

Hazlitt – Sarah Gerard

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More people than ever before are single – and that’s a good thing


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This is for my single friends and specially for those who have decided to stay single for life. This needull makes some valid points on why some people deciding to stay single is actually good for the society.

In some significant ways, it’s the single people who are doing particularly well.

For example, people with more diversified relationship portfolios tend to be more satisfied with their lives. In contrast, the insularity of couples who move in together or get married can leave them vulnerable to poorer mental health.

Studies have shown that people who stay single develop more confidence in their own opinions and undergo more personal growth and development than people who marry. For example, they value meaningful work more than married people do. They may also have more opportunities to enjoy the solitude that many of them savor.

The complete article

Bella DePaulo — The Conversation

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When Breath Becomes Air


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Paul Kalanithi died at the age of 37 but not before penning down his book – When Breath Becomes Air. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Vintage) is shortlisted for the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize. The book talks about life in the face of near imminent death and has been a huge success.

But, today’s needull talks about his wife, Lucy Kalanithi and how has she been dealing with Paul’s loss.

Paul’s memoir ends with a particularly poignant message to Cady that is now framed in her bedroom at home: “When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”

The complete article

Radhika Sanghani — The Telegraph

The New York Times book review of When Breath Becomes Air

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