Several platitudes remark on the importance of first impressions. They highlight how important first impressions are, how one must be good at making them. I have come to realize that more important than first impressions are last impressions. It is somewhat obvious, last impressions convey the final word, set the tone of how we remember people, places and things. Unlike first impressions, where much can be changed, last impressions aren’t open to fixing. Yet, last impressions are often chosen with the least care. As humans, we often burn bridges while quitting on engagements, both personal and professional. I feel saddened when I observe such choices made around me.
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While it is hard to describe how I am feeling, my yarn captures my emotions quite well:
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I have recently had the immense pleasure of reading Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield. The book comes highly recommended by critics and several Top Lists. In fact, Charles Dickens himself said that David Copperfield was his favorite of all the books he had written. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Turns out, there are several similarities between the Victorian English and present day Indian society. Neither seem very pleasant for women to thrive. I do not understand why women in that era died so readily, often due to poor treatment at the hand of men around them. I am not sure if this was how it was or if writers potrayed women this way. For instance, Dora Spenlow seems to die quite quickly in this book, primarily afflicted by an unhappy marriage.
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I have this tendency to try to do things meticulously. I sometimes seek perfection in mundane tasks. For instance, I keep thinking, I need to read a particular celebrated author very carefully. I need a physical copy of the book to be able to underline beautiful prose, think deeply about the ideas and then write about them in my journal or blog. Over time, I have realized that adding this barrier of reading very carefully made me read a lot lesser. “Perfect” settings for reading were hard to come by. I don’t often have hours to sit and underline things while sipping on the perfect cup of cappuccino in a dimly lit cafe. While it would be lovely to have that perfect setting, I realized, I cannot let phases of my life not be enriched by books just because I am seeking the “perfect way” of reading.
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I locked away some things and told myself I couldn’t face them just yet. But, I want to start the new year with strength and bravery. However small this act might be, I am glad to have the courage for it. So, for the first time since September, I got myself to look at some photographs I took in Paris. I remember the emotions that went through me as I darted about on a cold Paris afternoon, missing the warmth of the jacket I had forgotten at home, taking pictures. I remember my idle thoughts at that time, things that bothered me. I am happy knowing I have changed so much since and I believe I have changed for the better.