To Be or not…Just Be

Somehow, inspiration is easily crushed. The human brain, for some reason, has a tendency to not let the euphoric feeling of inspiration last, and the crude pull of reality steps in. But here’s the thing. Often, reality, and when I say that, I refer to the scenario imagined by your mind based on your experiences as a human, in all probability, comes out as a negative push. Should I think about applying for that job? No, my grades are too low. Should I tell that girl that I am attracted to her and would love to spend an evening with her by the riverside, lying on the grass, staring at the sky? No, she’ll think I am insane. I feel like humming the tune of that song that has been stuck in my head, singing it at the top of my voice and doing a little dance with it. Should I? No, people will stare and think I have lost it.
This is a common experience for all of us, isn’t it? Not doing things, or doing things, based on a perception we have built up in our head over ages. Our experiences, our interactions, what we read, what we watch, what we hear, what we see, everything around us culminates into that moment of truth when you take decisions. The banality, or at the other hand of the spectrum, the importance of the decision, doesn’t matter. The simple choices of life too, are influenced by this. Now, the point I am trying to make is best put in one of the most profound lines by Rudyard Kypling in his masterful work, If

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;”

The thing about life is that it is unpredictable. All your intuitions, knowledge, wisdom etc. can fail in the crucial of times, and equally be valid at the same time. In each of the scenarios I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, the polar opposite results were possible with equal probability. Unfortunately, the human brain, on occasions more often not, tends to favour the probability of things going wrong. Let me explain. The brain operates on logic, reasoning and syllogism-like thinking. If something has the potential to make us either happy or sad, our mind would logically opt to not do it, and give proof to the adage “prevention is better than cure” i.e. the mind works in a way to prevent us from being hurt or saddened, rather than risk the possibility of letting that happen. However, in the process, the mind, and by definition, we ourselves, shut off numerous experiences, which could have possibly made us happy. We as human beings want certainty, and not probability. We will do something only if it is beneficial to us. By beneficial, I do not wish to restrict the definition. Anything that inspires a positive emotion in us maybe. Makes us happy, makes us joyous, makes us feel satisfied, brings a smile to our face, makes us jump in the air, makes us…feel good. Here’s the problem. You feel with your heart. Yes, even you science nerds who dismiss emotions and feelings as nothing but a reaction inspired by chemicals acting in our body, emotions, experiences etc. are felt. The logical fallacy in our lives is that we think before we feel. The heart feels, not thinks. The mind thinks, not feels.
At the outset, the status quo seems to be perfect. Feel, but think about it as well. Think, but feel about it as well. Fall in love, but maybe not with a murderer. Take up that high-paying job, but maybe not if you hate the field of work. I suppose, it is the best of both worlds. But in that pursuit, we are missing out on the extremes of each side. Pure, cold, thinking. Pure, uninhibited, unhindered-by-thought feeling. How many times have you done something purely instinctively, based on that gut feeling, or just because you felt like it? Hug that person standing on the road with a sad look on their face. Make conversation with that interesting looking person with the same cup of coffee as yours. How many times have you divorced feeling from a decision and simply made a choice only on thinking and rationality, devoid of all feelings? Take the shorter route because you need to be on time, despite the longer route having a view you like. Point out the mistake made by a friend bluntly because it is a major blunder.
If you’re like me, or any average human being (I like to believe I am both, average, and a human being), these decisions are either rare, or unchartered territory for you. The brain has an uncanny ability to exhibit its superiority. Evolution has made us into beings who strongly depend on the powerful brain, the same, complex organ, whose power and sheer capabilities set us apart from all other species on earth. Think about this for a minute. How frequently do you subject an emotion or a feeling to the processes of intellectual rigour? The frequency is so high; it is almost second nature for us to think our feelings through. The opposite on the other hand, is a less frequent occurrence i.e. subjecting our thoughts to the test of feeling. It does happen, in extreme situations, but rarely overall.

Ergo, the point I am trying to make is that maybe it is time for us to let our heart think and let our minds feel. The ends of each spectrum, feeling and thinking, have undiscovered wonders waiting, and it is high time we access them. Unshackling the shackles and flying has for long been a fantasy that all of us have burned into our neurons. Ever thought why is it just a fantasy? It is worth a try isn’t it? I am no one to judge or to tell anyone how to do things, but perhaps, it is my mind taking over my heart here, so I’ll just stop and say this. Do what your heart says, it knows what it wants, and you deserve every bit of it.

What if I fall? What if you fly?

Advertisements

Dhen Chu Bhaiya


This is the tale of a little boy from the city of dreams. For some peculiar reasons, people always tend to have either one of the two extreme possible ideas of a metropolitan. They’ll either imagine a pos, rich family with a father who earns more than he can spend, a suave new-age mother who watches Gray’s Anatomy instead of the useless nonsense on Star Plus, a son who studies Marx and Pounds alcohol with equal gusto and a daughter who harps over fashion and and goes crazy at the mention of how cute the new singer of some band is. Maybe throw in a pet. This is just one of the images. The other is of utter poverty where people barely have a meal to eat, let alone have savings. The mother looks like one of the patients on Gray’s while the son has only empty beer bottles to collect and dispose for money. The only fashion the daughter knows is that of the mistress’s daughter whose mother was kind enough to donate some clothes. Every stray animal is their pet. Most people classify the populace of a city into either of these two categories. This is the story of a boy who falls into neither but somehow is a reflection of both.

I met Soham/Akash( he kept alternating between the two, so I assume one was a nick name or a name used by close friends or relatives). It was a July afternoon in Mumbai, and it was pouring cats and dogs. Like every quintessential Mumbaikar, I wasn’t travelling with an umbrella.As a rule of thumb, I always stuck to a wind cheater if I was travelling within 4 stations of my house, and an umbrella for everything else. Borivali was close to Malad(by Bombay standards) so I had continued with my boycott of the umbrella but it wasn’t a decision I was particularly enjoying. Simply put, getting drenched in the rain, even with a wind cheater on, and trying to hail a rickshaw and not get pissed with each one that not only ignored me, but zipped past like a bullet, spraying me with the dirty water on the road. Suddenly, the last rickshaw which had done the same stopped roughly hundred meters ahead of me. A little kid hopped off with a thela in his hand and started running away.He had a pink umbrella and was wearing shorts,brownish-khaki in colour and a faded gray t-shirt which had black horizontal strips. I assumed that he had travelled his path and I rushed into the rickshaw. Out of curiosity, I asked the rickshaw wala bhaiya about the boy. He replied that the kid had just got onto the rickshaw a minute back but on seeing me, had asked him to stop and had gotten off. As shocked and touched I was, luckily I had the sense to be courteous enough and call the boy back. After some cajoling, I convinced him to let me drop him till Borivali station, which lay on my way home. As the rickshaw started, I looked at the boy. He appeared to be a curious little inquisitive kid, with the oily, mushroom shaped hair that only poverty begets. But the most arresting detail lay in his eyes. His eyes were yellow. Not the the rich, golden, flashy one but rather a shade that neared a dull ochre. But the dull colour was compensated by the shine in his eye as he talked about himself, and his life. In couldn’t learn much about him from the brief conversation we had, but all I know is this. Akash is a eleven year old boy who studies in the fourth grade of the local BMC school. He was on his way to Dadar, one of the most chaotic and busiest areas in Mumbai to buymogra flowers for a religious ceremony that was to happen at his home. I asked him why was he travelling so far just for some flowers. The smile on his face didn’t budge an inch as he replied “Bhaiya wahan saste mil jayenge.” . I gazed at him, wondering as to when was the last time I travelled kilometres in a stinky second class train compartment to buy something that was easily available, just because it was cheaper. I quickly hid my creeping blush behind my handkerchief, feigning a sneeze and changed the topic back to his education. He told me he learns English at school, but while he told me this, his eyes continued to stare in the direction of my phone, which had my earphones plugged in. I asked him what he wants to do when he grows up, and he replied without hesitating, “use a computer”. Again, I was puzzled and on some further probing I was informed about how his school authorities had told him that only people who pass their 12th grade exam can use a computer. I resisted my urge to laugh and simultaneously, cry. 


Before I could ask him anything else, his destination had arrived. He promptly took out an old ten rupee note, and before I could refuse it, thrust it in my hand and leapt off the rickshaw, and ran away shouting something which sounded like a common cuss word. Astonished, I turned to the rickshaw wala and began moaning about how kids these days don’t have respect for elders( forgive me, I had recently turned 18 so I believed myself eligible to do this). The uncle turned and replied, “Nahin Nahin beta woh toh dhanyavaad keh kengaya” . It took me a minute to figure out that the kid, who was perhaps the most admirable child I have ever seen, was just shouting “Then Chu Bhaiya”. The rain poured on, and the city moved on. But that expression of gratitude is still stuck in my head, and probably shall be, forever…

http://www.cpmtree.com/serv/tag.js Javascript Disabled

http://www.flipkart.com/affiliate/displayWidget?affrid=WRID-140558305459941235

F?@K Knows! By Shailendra Singh -A Book Review

F?@K Knows! By Shailendra Singh -A Book Review
All of us are basically screwed in life. We’ve lost touch with the little joys that should make us happy and instead have moulded into a blob with sadness and despair. Think back to the time when you were really happy. 99% of you would just have thought of a moment which was not the last one. Why is it that we find more sadness than exhilaration in all aspects of our life. F?@K Knows!
F?@K Knows! By Shailendra Singh -A Book ReviewThis 234 paged novel is Shailendra Singh’s first novel.  Before we dwell onto why this book is as awesome as its title, a word about the author and why he is certified to chipkao you with the gyaan that he does. SS is the co-founder and joint managing director of Percept Limited, India’s largest and only entertainment, media and communications conglomerate. Now before you dismiss him as another corporate douche, here’s the cool part. He’s the inceptor of Sunburn. So the amazing festival which you all enjoy is founded by this guy. So all in all, yeh jo bole sonihal ! He wrote this book after a bunch of unfortunate incidents which changed him and his life!
F?@K Knows is an amazing book which does what all of us really need in our lives. It makes you stop, tells you how messed up you are, tells you how you can fix it and helps you mend yourself. Mind you it’s not one of those thousands of self-help books you find lying around at the book store with fancy titles like “Unleash your hidden talents with the power of your min!” NO. Au contraire, to my delight, this book is a nice little slap to what I call the Deepak Chopra wagon for whom self help is nothing but the mumbo-jumbo of spirituality and philosophy.
Shailendra SinghI liked this book because of its fresh approach. Never while reading the book you feel as if you’re trying to decipher the Da Vinci Code. In fact it seems as smooth and easy as talking to a friend! That is what forms the book’s forte. SS recognises the potent power of direct cut-the-bull-shit narration and has given a mantra to each reader to inspire every individual. The best example I found, “Don’t say Just Do It. Just Done It is the new cool mantra!”
Another great part about the book is the multiple real life examples and the well-regaled stories of the lore. Home spun stories, personal heart to heart narration and completely fair as well as logically detailed theories such Chi F?@K and the F?@K It List makes the book the biggest inspiration for anyone who wishes to take a break, pause their lives, think it over and give it a new turn.
To sum it up, I quote the book itself
You will read, but not understand.
You will understand, but not do.
You will do, but not understand what you did.
Does it make a difference?
F?@K Knows!”
 
Like: Easy to read, No Bull Shit, Logical, Well thought out
Dislike:  Nothing
 Click here to buy from Amazon

 

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Mistakes That Are Not

Cat Stevens is one of my favourite artists. His songs have an amazing earthly charm to them and I somehow connect to them. One of his masterpieces is a small track by the name “The Wind” which goes as follows

I swam upon the devil’s lake But never, never never never I’ll never make the same mistake No, never, never, never

The honesty behind this statement couldn’t be more deceived. All through our lives, we embark on thousands of tracks everyday, each one diverging into its own path.Sometimes the path breaks into a road of two and we somehow reach a moment when we ponder over the road not taken. That’s the brutally clear point when you realise that despite self assurances, advice from peers, family and friends, desperate cautionary measures and everything else, we make the same mistake ALWAYS.

Mind you these mistakes don’t matter much. They are as trivial as forgetting to carry a toothbrush on an overnight trip(Okay wrong example but you get the point).The thing about us humans is that we always rectify the supposedly high magnitude errors and let it be.We never take into account those chotu mistakes which cumulate to have a huge impact on us.Not necessarily in a negative way. 

Here’s an example.There’s this friend of mine who always forgets that he often falls asleep with his spectacles on.The poor chap wakes up most mornings with a near perfect vision courtesy those frames yet bound by innate habit, scrambles about his room for about 5 minutes before realising the truth.Technically this does count as a mistake and may not be life changing but never the less remains integral to the person as a whole.It becomes a part of his quirk as a whole and before you know it, it turns into the person himself rather than being a mistake.
I guess sometimes not all mistakes are wrong, or are even mistakes in the first place.It all boils down to perception.It’s your nazarriya that matters rather than the act itself.The classic Himalaya example is well, a classic example of this.
I admit this piece sounded more like a deranged teenager’s rant but it is one of the many pondering thoughts that bother me.Or rather bothered me.Wodhouse in his masterpiece Right Ho, Jeeves wrote “….The snag I always come up against when I’m telling a story is this dashed difficult problem of where to begin it.It’s a thing you don’t want to go wrong over, because one false step and you’re sunk.I mean, if you fool about too long at the start, trying to establish atmosphere, as they call it, and all that sort of rot, you fail to grip and the customers walk out on you.Get off the mark, on the other hand, like a scalded cat, and your public is at a loss.It simply raises its eyebrows, and can’t make out what you’re talking about

For this article, I think I just caught the latter one.Or the first. Or surprisingly both.


Clicked by Siddharth Gupta

http://www.cpmtree.com/serv/tag.js Javascript Disabled

Don’t Try To Discover Your Passion!

This is a guest post by Deepak Mehra fondly called Nicky.Deepak Bhaiya is simply put,a rockstar.I have never had the opportunity to show him off, so today I will.He’s one of the coolest guys I know.He works at Citibank and is married to another of one of our guest post writer today,Moushmi Mehra.All my life,I have looked up to him and he and his family,actually it’s even my family, has always been there for me.So,cheers to my mentor and the real superhero!Also,here’s his Twitter handle @nickymehra (https://twitter.com/nickymehra)


Don’t try to discover your passion


Wait, what!? That’s crazy! Should Sachin Tendulkar have been a banker? Lata Mangeshkar a marketing executive?

God no, but I’m not saying don’t follow your passion. By all means, please do. If you already know what lights your fire, then you might as well stop reading this post, as may those who don’t believe in the concept of following your passion to begin with.

But read on if you are like I was (and scores of others I know). Frustrated and disillusioned because you’re worried you’re in the wrong train altogether. Acutely aware there are those blessed souls who know there isn’t another train they could even think of boarding.

What passion discovery process is not
Nobody is born with a special gene that pre-determines passion right at birth. False are the beliefs that our ‘true calling’ definitely is out there; close by, yet unseen by us, just waiting to be discovered… we just don’t know how to see it.

Passion is discovered thanks to (one or many of) a curious mind, willingness to do your best in whatever you’re doing (which opens doors you’d never even known existed), a visit to a museum, chance meeting of an excellent coach and mentor at Shivaji Park during childhood, or perhaps while watching a show on Discovery Channel. To be sure, exceptions to the genetics rule do exist (somewhat). Lata Mangeshkar probably wouldn’t have made it to the pinnacle of her profession without being blessed with that voice to begin with. But again, not every person with a good voice is a great singer or even passionate about singing.

The potent formula of discovering passion
The ‘true calling’ of the Sachins and Latas of this world poses as ‘inevitability’ and ‘prescience’ in our minds – taking them away from the reach of us commoners. In reality this ‘true calling’ is a fortuitous yet potent combination of

  • luck in something you really care about,
  • while being ready to seize the opportunity when it matters and
  • having the courage to follow it and persist, even if the going gets tough.

Poetic untruth or boring truth?
An adage that’s always served me well is ‘don’t seek a complicated explanation when a simple one exists’. We’re too prone to creating dramatic, coherent yet untrue stories in our minds from sparse data points. Instead, take a few moments to think things through and come up with a comprehensive picture which stands up to scrutiny.

It is very tempting to say Sachin met coach Achrekar because he was simply destined to become a great cricketer and leave it at that. Where’s the intriguing story (initially at least) in saying he was just lucky to meet a coach who just took a keen interest in a promising youngster? Where’s the drama in saying putting in those hours and hours toiling under the sun, perfecting his technique made him ready to seize the opportunity when it came knocking? And finally in acknowledging that it was just his courage to follow his passion and persist in the face of a society so punishing towards an individual trying to pursue sports (acutely more so back when he debuted) which completed the potent formula?

Fatalist not
If luck has such a big part to play, am I saying I advocate fatalism and trying to discover our passion is completely beyond our control? Absolutely not! There’s still a lot that we can and should do. Among several others: maintain a curious mind, be ready to visit new places, meet new people, expose ourselves to diverse perspectives, read good books… Basically, create as many valuable experiences for ourselves as possible. In doing so, we maximize our chances of becoming aware of our interests (easier said than done), while making ourselves ready to seize opportunities as they arise – and they do for everybody. Combine this with courage, and we have a winner!

Don’t worry, be happy
So stop fretting over discovering your passion, wasting precious time and depleting vital energy. Start living a million diverse, enriching experiences instead, so that fortune may be allowed to do its magic on somebody ready to discover his passion!


This post was inspired by an article from HBR, which can be found here.

http://www.cpmtree.com/serv/tag.js Javascript Disabled

The Sunset Of Daybreak

A poem about how life has its own oddities,twists and turns. It’s rare to observe and feel these nooks and crannies.

The crack of light reflects,
In a mirror of fine make
Perhaps it’s a play,
Or something my thoughts deflect
Because all I see is the Sunset Of Daybreak

The moon shines red
Or is it an illusion fake?
Perhaps it’s the time of the dead,
Because all I see is the Sunset of Daybreak

Drowsy as fresh dew,
Time is all I take.
Moments such as these happen few,
But, with thoughts new in life sinew,
All I see is the Sunset of Daybreak



http://www.cpmtree.com/serv/tag.js Javascript Disabled

Love,Peace And Happiness By Rituraj Verma-A Review

 

Life is an oddity. Everyone seeks different things at different times. To a 6th grader, happiness would be a 90+ score in maths but to a 42 year old woman, it could be the smile on her child’s face. Love at the age of 15 means that you are in a relationship for more than a year or two. Strangely, it stands in a different spectra altogether for a 34 year old. This book, ladies and gentlemen is a unique work just because of its different approach.
This 223 paged novel is not for the weak hearted or for fantasy fans. Using interconnected short stories, Verma has created a niche for his writing by exploring something narrowly restricted but yet open to a vast audience. This is how unique the Indian literature readership is. By bringing out lively characters, near life like situations and different walks of an Indian’s life, LPH becomes a inner probe as each story challenges you to find something in yourself which the characters with their elaborate descriptions, complement.
One of the best parts of this book is that the characters are not people unlike us. They are simple personas replicated from real life which everyone can simply relate to. I completely agree with the author when he says that in all probability, we have met people like these in different phases of life. Some are winners, some are extraordinary achievers, some are plain losers, some are damaged, and some are disturbed. But the point remains that the character portrayal in this book is excellent and are more alive than expected. Also the “hatke” factor of the book is that it has URLs at the end of every story to alternate endings (a reader can also submit his or her own alternate ending online) to each short story. Thus, each story, although sticking to a central theme and message, gives you the ability to fiddle around and decide the recipe of the perfect match to the story.
Arriving to a gray area which conflicts with me, I found the philosophical discussions expounded by the characters odd. Not that I’m against it but to me, characters having spiritual conflicts and arguments about petty issues was weird simply because as I mentioned earlier, the characters are more lively than usual books and we can associate them with someone we know. Now, in that context, their conversations, if not in sync, create a paradoxical oddity. Although the idea of proposing deep ideas via character thoughts and conversations is nothing new but Rituraj’s bluntness and the book’s X factor in itself pulls it down.
Overall, the book was a good read. Definitely a must if in need for a inner seeking but won’t recommend it for a fun filled holiday or enjoyment weekend. Such books are special and heavy duty, suitable for reading with a deep heart and an open mind.
The Standing Coin Rating: 6/10
Like:  Brilliant life like characterization, unique concept of alternate endings online, Indian audience focused
Dislike:  Spiritual discussions although profound, seem to be unnatural for the characters. They feel like a hand sewn onto an amputated man. Works, but just not the right grip
Click here to buy from Amazon or Flipkart