Nothing is Promised

It’s been a while that I’ve written here. To be honest, I had certain things in mind and I did attempt to write about the topics that echoed within me every day, but I just couldn’t. Having moved to the US to pursue my Master’s course, the program has ensured that I’ve my hands full all the time. Though I still manage to have some pockets of time where I can squeeze in that much needed time off from studies and work schedule to hang out with friends yet it’s been busy.

Many of my friends have been asking me about how things are different here than what it is back home in India. Having traveled a bit earlier before, moving here and adjusting to this culture wasn’t much of a task, to be honest. Yes, now I had to do my laundry, cook “healthy” food, maintain my apartment, pay bills on time, and a lot more. Few things I did do earlier like paying my bills on time, but that was it. 😂

The sudden tragic death of one of the greatest player Kobe Bryant the world has ever seen has shattered almost everyone who knew about his legacy. One fine Sunday afternoon you receive a notification on your News app about the crash and everything comes to a standstill.

The one thing which I now feel that is taken for granted now that I’m on my own and managing things is the immense emotional support that our friends and family provide us. We all have ups and downs which makes us more vulnerable at times. It’s in those situations that we rely upon and bank on ‘our people’. The unconditional love and support that family and friends provide are unparalleled and they always have our back come what may!

They say -“Nothing in life is promised”. We all are vulnerable and these bonds that we make help us in some way or other. No doubt you have to put in a lot of effort to ensure that there is synergy in the energies but no harm trying to find the right set of people.

A dear friend of mine has a status on Whatsapp – “Sometimes all it takes is a phone call. MAKE IT!” Wait and reflect, and do call the first person who came to your mind you haven’t spoken to in a while; but yes, only after reading this post. Bonds are not made in board rooms but they are made at brunch, lunch and dinner tables. It is also not one-way traffic, one cannot be responsible to form a bond, both have to equally engage and care about it.

I’m fortunate enough to have a wonderful support system in terms of family and friends. Friends back in India (Yes, you guys know it) and my friends here (You know it too) who have been fantastic in this journey to date. An imaginary character named Barney Stinson from the series How I Met Your Mother has said, “Whatever you do in this life, it’s not legendary unless your friends are there to see it. In the end when I do get a job (yes, it all seems like I’m back to those old days when I was anticipating to get one when I was in undergrad) I know and you know you are the ones without whom celebrations won’t be celebrations after all. 

This is my way of acknowledging your presence in my life and I hope you pass the baton by saying Thank you to all those whom you love, cared and think about. The dots will connect!

The Choice

On a comparatively cooler morning in a crowded metro on the day when the World Wide Web (WWW) had turned 30 I stumbled upon a quote – “You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.” The moment I read this I pondered and it all started making sense. 

When we have multiple options to chose from and we select one among it that becomes our choice. That choices ultimately becomes our decision and this decision has the capability to change our life completely. We have been in situations where we had options to pick from. Right from the very beginning we have found ourselves in sticky situations to choose one. Be it a candy to choose from a box, clothes while shopping, toys while playing, range of bicycles when we go to pick our first bike, initial path after completing class 10 education or for that matter a job offer from a handful other options. We pick one and our life changes completely. No matter how hard you try you aren’t living the life that you had before you choose it.

Some might argue, that a friend of theirs always has an option to choose from and they don’t. Yes, for them the grass is always greener on the other side. However, when you see it from the perspective of that friend you would realize s/he could be facing the biggest conundrum of her/his life. No matter what is chosen their life is completely going to change.

Yes, change is the only constant but how constant change do we want? 
At times, I believe the one who doesn’t have any option to pick from is the most happiest person. He isn’t clouded by any thoughts and has a clarity due to lack of options. You crib, but the mental pressure is less and ultimately you aren’t stressed. 

To cut the long story short – “You don’t have a choice to choose from. But, Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die, it takes a lot to change and it takes a lot to try! That’s they say –  “When it feels scary to jump that’s when you jump” and make THE CHOICE.

Being 100/4

Sitting at a remote location in India, with barely 3G speeds I’m trying to pen down (type down) my feelings, aspirations, journey but more importantly retrospecting what has happened till date, now that I’ve turned 25. 25, it is such a magical number – a quarter of a century, mid-twenties, mid-life crisis phase, journey towards the approaching 30s but profoundly no more a young adult who is trying to explore the possibilities and make a mark in this world.

Birthdays are always special as they call it. It’s like more about celebrating your adventure in the last orbit and getting geared for the next orbital tour. I still remember how I used to celebrate my birthdays when I was a teen. A mandatory school celebration (if and only if the Xmas party was delayed and we had no school vacations – sad thing about having your birthday before Christmas), customary new clothes and a gift and more importantly the evening celebration with samosas, wafers, and Rasna with the cake cutting. I can recollect standing in front of the whole class and wondering what to do – smile awkwardly or be a statue while they used to sing the birthday song. You can stop and walk down the lane of nostalgia as you all have done and been through this once upon a time.

Post 20s the celebration is more about hitting a pub, enjoying few drinks and dancing out the whole night with friends to enjoy the born day! Some even visit NGOs to spend time and celebrate it with the people there. Basically, we all do what we feel contented and happy with. Now that I’m 25, I feel I’m at a crossroad to choose my next voyage. For someone who is 21 and reading this, it might sound foolish to even think about this but the ones who have turned 25 or crossed this age can very well reflect on it.

At every moment of our life till now we have been part of a race which we never intended to. However, the horde around us compelled or rather dragged us in this race. Somehow, it seems everything has to be well planned henceforth. The pressure has started to pile up, the decisions that you make have certain repercussions as well. People around you start questioning about your career choices too. No more casual dates, rather you start to think about either settling down for a long-term relationship or enjoy self-company for self-discovery. Going to parties doesn’t excite me anymore. I would rather spend my time reading something fruitful or watch some series which I always wished too.

I know this might sound more like preaching but somehow after talking with the clan of same age group or the ones who have already been there I somehow can hear their echoes now. Personally, I’m a firm believer that come what way you are bound to make mistakes. You are going to make some bad decisions which might not work well. But down the road, certain things always happen for a particular reason. Sometimes not getting what you desire is a beautiful stroke of luck, isn’t it? Having a close-knit group of friends and family who always remember your birthday and are by your side is a blessed virtue. We might take them for granted but now that I’m 25 I feel they are the ones who really matter. Virtual reality is much different from reality! The more you are close to reality you realize the importance of it!

Trying to enter the other half of the twenties is definitely a stimulating experience, one which surely each one of us looks forward to. I’m anxious as well as excited about it; though secretly I’m still asking God as Joey does in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. – Why God why? We had a deal! Let the others grow old, not me!

Hope never dies

Sometimes things really don’t work out very well. It’s true, isn’t it? We try to make things happen the way we want to, but still, it doesn’t meet our expectations. And we obviously feel sad and whine about it. We try to find some place, a confidant(e) or even a lifeless object to either confess or to get away from that whole thought.

Life is even worse. You finally get what you want in your career, or in a relationship or a lifestyle, but there are still all these problems that you had assumed would go away “if only” this or that happened. Or you gradually realize that the thing you always wanted is never going to happen; having a companion or a loving spouse, making peace with a difficult parent, finding creative expression, or getting economic freedom. It’s not that there aren’t lots of good times too, it’s just that the disappointments can loom so large.

In becoming an adult, you learned how to cope with disappointment, or else you wouldn’t be able to function at all. Yet, the conundrum remains: If you’ve learned to live with disappointments, then why does it still take so much of your energy to cope? Why do you get sad, depressed, worried, irritated, moody, anxious, grumpy, lethargic, or unresponsive, not just every once in a while, but many times in the course of a day or a week, sometimes in small ways, sometimes big?

I had read about Buddha’s teachings about living with disappointment. He said that we experience everything in terms of the Eight Worldly Concerns: gain and loss, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness. We, of course, want gain, praise, pleasure, and happiness. But the Buddha referred to them as the “terrible twins” because each always arrives with its opposite. One cannot be open to praise and not receive blame. One cannot experience pleasure and not feel pain. This is the nature of the reality that we know.

Feeling disappointed, of course, doesn’t feel great. However, in the short-run, it can actually be quite advantageous. But unfortunately, most people don’t see it that way.

When we get caught up in this negative cycle of disappointment, we get down on ourselves and tend to wallow in self-pity. We might say that: “I’m just not good enough…”; “Nothing ever works out…”; “This always happens to me…”

It’s, of course, very easy to get caught up in this cycle of disappointment and continuously get down on ourselves. Happens with each one of us. However, this is never helpful and will prevent you from seeing the real value that disappointment has to offer.

Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.

Like a tree that grows on the side of a mountain and is bent and shaped by heavy winds, you have been formed as you now are by this and other events of your life. Let the experience go, allow it to have its death in the flow of time, for it is a natural part of the time. Allow its death to be the fertilizer for what you cultivate in the life that it has left you.

The step to every conflict, as we must know, comes from acceptance of the problem.


You can only do your best

We always compare ourselves with kids, wondering how they live a laid-back life without any stress or worry about the future. At times we reminisce those good old days when we were kids and walk down the lane of nostalgia – kind of a rewind phase. But did you ever wonder what is one good thing those kids or we as kids did and we refrain from doing it now?

Stop right here and think, when was the last time you acknowledged someone or something that you always wanted to but failed to do so? Hardly any or countable instances! In this rat race we crave for more and more and in that urge, we fail to acknowledge our journey. In the hindsight you will realize how far you have traversed. The competition has so gotten into our system that we always try to be better than someone who is ahead of us. Nothing bad in doing that, but in this process what we fail to understand is that we are also THAT SOMEONE for others and they also look up to us in the same manner we do. YOU deserve to be cherished and celebrated every single moment.

There are instances too wherein people don’t appreciate but they make sure they find faults and glorify those faults of yours and show you how worthless you are at something. The dictionary terms such people as SADIST. If they don’t appreciate what you bring to the table, let them eat alone. Remember when your mom told you, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?” Turns out, there’s a lot of merit to that advice. As the Hippocratic oath prescribes to physicians, “Above all else, do no harm.”

Gratitude is one of the trickiest concepts. By learning gratitude, you become sensitive to the feelings of others, develop empathy and other life skills along the way. But for adults who have overlooked gratitude, it is even much worse to make them learn and start following it. It’s a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realize that that’s enough.

One of the laws of the universe states that what you give you get in return. It costs little or nothing and it almost always follows suit that people will demonstrate their gratitude for what you do.

There are days when all we want is some support and words is what we crave. Some people just walk in and recognize your efforts when it is of no business to them. They would have been in your place sometime back or they might have liked the way you approached it or they thought you deserved this pat on the back to move forward. Such people are GEMS, they don’t exhibit any inhibition and acknowledge your hard work. We all fail, I haven’t come across anyone who has succeeded every single time. We falter and we need to acknowledge the fact that we were wrong. Sometimes we focus on the dream we have in our mind of how our lives should be that we forget to appreciate the way it is!

“The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.”  If we are honest with ourselves, we all want and need to feel valued for who we are and recognized for our contributions and accomplishments. Being told you’re appreciated is one of the simplest yet incredibly uplifting things you can ever hear. If a person expresses their heartfelt appreciation for something we have done, it boosts our spirit, passion, and purpose.  It builds our self-confidence, self-esteem and our entire self-image. It gives us energy and motivation to work harder and do more.

I read this quote written by Mr. Robert Cavett and it allured me. He said and I quote- “Three billion people on the face of the earth go to bed hungry every night, but four billion people go to bed every night hungry for a simple word of encouragement and recognition.”

You can only do your best. And if they can’t appreciate that, it’s their problem, not yours!





Being Average

Ever since we were kids we were always told to be the best amongst the rest. Be it academics, sports, activity or any hobby that we pursued. The pressure got the best out of us at times and sometimes we were not bothered to follow the horde and gave it a miss. Well, we were minors back then, immature and unaware of the hype around us and it never affected us.

For most of our life we have been following someone else’s dreams, maybe the one which our parents dreamed for us also sometimes relatives invaded our decision and added their own flavor to it and not to forget we pursued what our best friends did just to maintain that BFF bond.

Come 2018, we are now grown up adults, mature, strong opinionated, full of passion, zeal, ever enthusiastic, and well mannered(obviously). But even after all this, the one thing that never eluded us is the pressure to perform and be the one to be at the top. Some of us do not want to be at the summit and experience the pinnacle of success. We JUST WANT TO BE AVERAGE. The question here arises is it Okay to be average? Will the society accept me? Will I be invited to social gatherings where successful people share their anecdotes about their business or trips? Am I in the right direction to make it large?

We millennials are open-minded; we embrace change and believe change is the only constant. We take pride in our passion and are ready to risk our comfort zone in which we are traveling to give our passion a shot! Is Being Average okay? The answer is YES! It is okay to be Average. We don’t want to follow the crowd and get those hefty paychecks at the expense of our mental health which gets affected due to the anxiety and stress associated with it. Your job must be your passion which you love to do and not something that stresses you out and, in that process, damaging your mental and physical health. Money follows when you enjoy discharging your duties.

We all have seen how our parents ditched their ambitions and dreams for their family. Even today when nostalgia sets in they say I WISHI had done that maybe things would have been different. Alas! Fear overtook their passion and then they directed YOU to follow their(your) passion. We have very well realized it is not the Saturday night party that makes us happy now but it is some hitherto unknown trek to a nearby mountain amongst strangers that makes our adrenaline rush. This very trip gets you up on the following weekdays!

The startup generation leads us to think fast is the only way of reaching the top. No one has forced you to go fast, take your time, BE SLOW and love the process. Failures are bound to come by in that process but failures make you resilient and persistent. It is meaningless to compare yourself to Sharmaji ka beta/beti. In the end, you just have to be the best version of yourself who is better than yesterday.  Having been a person who has faced failures myself it is bound to break you and it is bound to make you feel bad about it, but once the moaning phase is over get up and follow your passion.

They say some things are priceless and money can’t buy you happiness, and we surely do know the limitations of money. In the end, our passion about our experiences is what makes us feel satiated and contented. Go slow, Be Average! Fill your life with experiences, memories, and culture, more importantly, give yourself some ME Time and feed that soul of yours!