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Train Theory and What Not

I've been cheating. I've not been writing as regularly as I promised myself to write. Missed out days. It's more like a chore than anything else. Yet it may be the only worthwhile thing that I'm doing. At least these few months.

I used to avidly recommend Train Theory to all and sundry. It is what saved me from going insane out of grief after my breakup (c. Dec-Mar 2011). Yet Train Theory has a catch. A very critical catch. It's more of a question of balance than anything else. But before all this confuses you, let me give a very basic outline of Train Theory.

Train Theory

When one travels in a train, one may observe a large building in view. The building may be huge in size and appear never ending. However, large as the building might appear to be, if one merely looks away from the window for a few moments, one will see that the building has receded into the distance and is considerably diminished in appearance. Soon after, the building disappears from all but memory. 


Building: An emotional problem

Train: Life
Looking away: Distracting oneself

Thus we can infer that if any distressing/disturbing event manages to transpire in life, it will appear large and never ending. You will feel as if you will be miserable forever. Consequently, due to the very nature of the distress and indeed; human nature; you will keep on brooding about it and framing (hypothetical) alternative solutions to solve the problem or ease your (apparently) lifelong misery. Train theory suggests that a suitable distraction method, if employed, will result in the problem diminishing due to it's being 'put in scope' i.e in the larger context of life and its progress, any problem appears small and inconsequential (unless of course it is a recurring one, but we discount its applicability in this theory).

Now the problem lies in selecting the nature of the distraction. It has to possess certain characteristics:
  • It has to be sufficiently engaging so as to provide sufficient distraction
  • It has to be interesting in nature so that one does it regularly
  • It can be either constructive or non constructive in nature
Now the third point is what matters in the selection. In a way it does decide the nature of the first and second points because very few constructive activities manage to satisfy the first two points! For example reading is a constructive activity and it can satisfy all three points. However, even in reading, the genre of the novel in question can add a whole new dimension to the third. When one is depressed or despondent, one generally prefers reading lighter material viz. fantasy fiction or light 'chick-lit' novels. I have found out, through personal experience that; much like a drug addiction; this genre too is greatly appealing so much so that one rarely goes back to reading 'healthier' stuff. And of course there is no intellectual development reading 'junk' much as there is little to be gained physically by eating only junk food.

Hence the choice of distraction is paramount, as I found out through personal experience and much to my cost.... Wish you all the best.


  1. This is some nice thinking-through-writing :)

    This: "if any distressing/disturbing event manages to transpire in life, it will appear large and never ending" reminded me of the Time Traveler's wife (love that book for the layers the story is woven in) where Henry keeps going back to these major events in his life. In a sense it really was never ending there. Sigh.

    And that was information you didn't need. But what the hell. Word vomiting seems to be my only virtue!
    Good work, keep em coming.

  2. Thank you. I have to read that book then. :D

  3. Hey! here's my email:
    and facebook:

    And the book kind of reads as a romance novel, though it has elements of the free will versus chaos debate and a brilliant take on bereavement. Then again, I am biased. Read other reviews before you buy it :P

  4. Ok. Name the book again :P forgot.


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