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With plot twists that could put the writers of Black Mirror to shame, 2021 has unleashed a flood of devastating misfortunes, and awakened long slumbering demons in the darkest alleys of our minds.

If you’re as disenchanted as I am with snappy Instagram quotes about positive affirmations, self-care rituals and the whole spiel of “Stay positive, and ignore reality” quotes, you might want to read on.

Yes, things are bad. They’re likely to be that way for a while.

I’d like to introduce you to 3 sensible ideas that have helped me find clarity and peace amidst the bleak reality…

Warning — this article isn’t going to make you rich, help you become a corporate hotshot or gain a million ‘followers’. But it may put a smile on your face and ease your heart a little if you are feeling insecure in any way.

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2021 — The year we thought we’d go back to the “before-times”, an era of sunshine, rainbows, hugs and no masks. Yet, here we are languishing in intense sorrow and possessed by an untamable anxiety that makes 2020 look like a breeze.

If you’re feeling miserable because your life is on hold and you’re sad that…

This too shall pass

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If you’re not extremely privileged, or well connected and you happen to be living in India right now, chances are you are inconsolably anxious because of COVID 19. The degree of your misery depends on how badly the virus has wormed its way into your life — personal tragedy, watching people close to you suffer partly because of the illness and mostly because of a failed administrative system, or having fallen ill because of it, it is clear that there is no escaping it.

After the initial feelings of outrage and fear disappear, your heart is overrun with despair. It’s…


I'm irked when waiter brings the bill to my dad when I'm the one treating my parents because I've gotten promoted

I'm annoyed that I can't stay for the after party because the world suddenly becomes less safe for me but stays the same for my male friends

My heart breaks because my team has little to no women in powerful leadership positions

Did I mention that I squirm with indignation when my marital plans are part of interview questions

It bothers me that I have to fill out "husband's name" in a special section on application form only…

My friends dole out advice in bursts of random clarity and unapologetic honesty.

Some of their offhand comments have struck me as profound and meaningful. So I’ve pulled together a list of such quotes for your amusement. Enjoy ☺

  1. Eat a Snickers, lie down. Tell me if you’re still stressed about it.
  2. Just buy the damn dress/shoes/coat/books!
  3. Stand up, roll your shoulders back and take a deep breath. You got this!
  4. Stop crying over boys who can’t read basic Financial Statements (borrowed from @TheBig4Accountant)
  5. Remember where you came from, but don’t be insecure because of it.
  6. If it costs you…

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a popular novel by Oscar Wilde. It tells the story of a handsome young man named Dorian Gray whose enchanted portrait bears the scars of his old age and his sins while his own body never grows old nor develops any visible signs of decay or disability. Dorian sells his soul to make this happen.

A short story

Transforming into a werewolf was unpleasant enough, but to have it happen in front of his crush was plain devastating.

He tried to form the words to apologize but instead all that came out was a mournful, "Awoooooooooooooo".

How Lumin wished he hadn't left the house that day.


Valentin "Lumin" Zykov was 13 years old when his first transformation happened.

He was sitting at the dinner table at his boarding school and suddenly the hair on his hands and forearms started to grow at an alarming pace. …

A short story

Arthur has always been able to see the clock that is sewn on everyone’s heart.

Photo by MK Hamilton on Unsplash

“It’s a gift”, his mother tells him when he is 5 years old, “You’re a timewright, just like your grandfather.”

Arthur does not understand but he nods anyway.

Years pass, and Arthur learns that everyone has a clock on their heart that only he can see.

But each person’s clock ticks at the pace of their heartbeat. Because of this, the time on one person’s heart never matches the time on another person’s. …

#3. Have a digital warrior guard your Kryptonite

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Sometime in 2016, I discovered that I suffer from GSA.

GSA refers to “Gnawing Sense of Anxiety”. It’s a feeling of dread that creeps up on me when I am working on something — whether at work or on a personal project. It’s the unshakeable feeling that I should be doing something else other than the things that I am currently doing. That I’ve ‘mis-prioritised’ my work and things will fall apart soon.

I started my career believing that every email is top priority and every task is super important, so it was only natural for me to develop GSA.

No prior cooking experience required

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Years are not easily cooked — most times they are eaten raw and discarded without so much as a parting glance. Sometimes they are deep-fried with generous quantities of the self-doubt oil rendering them painfully tasteless in the process. Occasionally, they are baked for long durations at ungodly high temperatures and overloaded with greed-icing that leaves a bitter aftertaste following each bite.

The following recipe is designed to help you cook your years in a way that is right for you.

Don’t worry; you don’t have to be a culinary prodigy to attempt this recipe.

All you need is an…

Archana Lakshman Rao

Author of 'How to be a Lighthouse'. I write for those pursuing excellence and meaning.

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