Helloo World!

4 06 2013

Keying into the ‘Me’ time is so tough after the long sojourn. I really did think that it would be so easy to hop back and pick up things from where I have left. A long pause of 4 years feels like a life time and it is not easy to pretend that nothing has changed, especially when I know that the dreamy idealist has learned to shield herself with a cloak of realism..

What makes me drag myself to the writing desk today? A small acknowledgement from the void that made me long for those deep pauses of reflective contemplations. Sometimes its just a little push that is needed at the right time. So thank you pal for that small token and yes I hear you. It is no fun to lock myself out from that little shelter that I so ardently crafted for being my muse.

Rediscovering things that are close to heart should be positively charging, isn’t it? I still cant shake that sense of clumsy premonition that is playing my companion with every key stroke. I hope it passes away soon to lead me into that familiar comfort zone as I make terms with myself. Until then, here is a big  ‘hello world’ into the void. Thank you for the tireless encouragement and that humbling patience with which you embrace me in my every waking moment.





Flavor Of The Season

8 04 2009

Well.. that’s the expression of the day! At least for me.. Somehow this phrase holds a special charm from my perspective today.  Has it ever happened to you that you chase a gazillion of dreams over a rolling rainbow for a specific period of time and space only to discard them as worthless stones when that moment of realization twinkles at the corner of the eye? Why is it that all the wishes are endless and all I want is to endup with a little bit of everything in life?

Now, coming to the flavor of the season: its pure work season these days! Yes, days have folded onto months and the definition of time seems to be phasing out of life.. Caught in a race against time, my days are filled in chasing the deadlines which oft fly out of window making me bask in the shimmering afterglow of satisfaction with a delightful chuckle. I am happy, content and have become seemingly immune to everything around me except work. Driven by deadlines.. That just sounds like my tagline these days!

Sometimes, I guess its just best to enjoy the flavor of the season and savor it till it lasts. For, during that weariest part of the day, that tiny weeny dreamer in me still longs for those deliciously gloden sunshine moments of life like idyllic musings, carefree conversations and that warming glow of pals and books. The time for roses would come, all in a moment!





Definition Of Love

7 11 2008

I know it might sound a little strange, yet am compelled by this innate curiosity to understand what people define as love. Our lives run like a poetry of love, for its in love that we grow, evolve and rise up to our potential of what we are and what can we be. My definition and understanding of love has changed over years, and though how much ever I love to give an expression to that emotion, silence always beats me by a great margin.

What do we promise when we say ‘I Love You’? Are we creating an obligation for others to live up to or a promise for me to honor? Or it simply a heartfelt expression of intense emotion? Am left oft confused. All those happily in love, indifferent from its charms and those engaged in pursuit, do pitch in for I would love to hear what you want to say in this.

Now don’t wonder about the context of this question. I am just a plain Jane who having lived through a quarter century, is desparately trying to get her basics right. Probably, all I want deep down in my heart, is to be loved just a little more.





Counting Life By Moments..

9 10 2008

People don’t last forever, sometimes neither relationships do. Yet, its just memories and moments that make us truly alive are those that last forever, or atleast till we do.

Why?

I guess we all know the answer at the subconscious level, yet it does take a conscious effort to acknowledge, understand and give our life and every living moment to the moment.

Can we design our destiny or rule our fate?

I doubt it very much. Yet, we do hold a control of the passing moments and have the power in our hand to transform them into magical memories for the life time. Just a small thought in this direction really showed me things in a new light and hence it became a resolution for this festival period.





Comfort Zones..

7 09 2008

Those are big words. They are also the most often used/abused words in my dictionary. You would often catching me rolling it off with a careless regard oft to myself and often in generic conversations that go around the world.

Come think of it, there are many things that offer comfort in moments of insanity drives. It could be a pack of chocolates, a piece of soothing music, my favorite workspace, or the cozy comfort of an enjoyable book that often comes to rescue offering serene solitude and sweet freedom in the world of my own making. Yet, Cooing up long enough in those little spaces can make one forget the terrible purpose of being for it hinders the ability to dare and heed to the passion call to risk everything for something that we hold close to heart.

Sometimes I feel as if I am so away from my own self that it takes me a while to call for rescue. What so often made for lingering comfort couldn’t assert its existence anymore. Of all the paradoxical pursuits of life, have you ever experienced this urge to deny those little alcoves of comfort in search of something whose essence you haven’t grasped so far?





Some Moments Cherished…

18 08 2008

Yesterday unraveled like a beautiful present for me, and what made it special was that truly cherished feeling that you can acquire only in the companionship of those who can converse with your silence. I am sure going to mark that wonderful day in my memory forever, and I couldn’t help but muse on all those wonderful moments in life when many loved ones walked that extra mile to show how much they cared or loved. Those surprise visits from lovedones, those thoughtful actions from friends, that special care from friends in times when spirit hits an all time low, that precious gift of time from your mentors and pals when you need them the most, and those tiny thoughtful acts of love that tacitly speak volumes about how much blessed I am.

I couldn’t help but say a small prayer at heart, for thoughts do fail me in those moments of unquenchable happiness. God, give me life and heart to reciprocate the abundant love and kindness that I receive in this world, and do give me conscience to smell the roses along the path and count my blessings along this seemingly endless journey of life.





Midnight Musings..

10 08 2008

I would start by telling you how special these are for me for I rarely meet midnights in eye. Probably I can count those days on fingers when I really waited for the darkness to envelop me in tranquility at the darkest of hour. One of those moments of tranquiliy where I am content with the company of me and myself. Its 2 AM right now and I feel so good to be awake to keep the company of myself. I’m suffering from a heady mix of movie overdose, weariness thats creeping into the head after watching 3 movies back to back just to drive maddening thoughts out of my system, and a strange sense of solitude. I cherish this rare experience.

I am surprised at myself Though. Why is this zeal to drive oneself to the edge, just to test the limit of my endurance?





How I Wish This To Be True…

8 07 2008

[W]hen the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl. ~James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan

For all I need to make this true is only to believe it to be true.. Guess I am caught in the beauty of this thought. 🙂





Apathy…

27 06 2008

Ever experienced it?

A sicking sensation of nothingness. A quiet despair creeping into the numbing spirit. A hushed space suspended in vacuum where the sounds of silence throb deeper into the hollow of the heart.

Sometimes the disquietening lull of life haunts more than words can ever will.





Antargange Trek..

23 06 2008

Pure Exhiliaration is the word of the day. Thanks for the insistence of a sweet pal, which made me head for this trek instead of watching ‘Dasavatharam’ or indulging in window shopping.

This is the first time that I tried ‘Bangalore Mountaineering Club’ and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by the experience. We boarded the bus at 8 AM at K.R. Puram busstop and I was surprised to see 50 plus people in the bus, given the short notice. I guess the quality of the companionship in the group made all the difference to this trekking experience.

The trip started with around 90 minutes of bus journey from Bangalore to reach Kolar. We caught up with the breakfast at ShanthiSagar in Kolar which is around 3 km from the ‘Antargange’ location. We reached the place in no time and there was a pack of stairs leading up to the temple. We were welcomed by loads of monkeys, and the pleasant sunny breeze warmed us for the trek ahead.

We reached the Antargange temple after a little climb of stairs, and I already had doubts forming in my mind, if the trek actually is over before it even began. The temple is filled with serene silence and the group is abuzz with action for the impending climb. Making the temple as our base camp, we started the trek with Janak playing the lead trekker and Neeraj trailing to support the cozy climbers.

The path is paved with sand, rock, thorns and the sun, in his blazing glory, wasn’t playing the good Samaritan. Yet, undaunted, many were climbing ahead, one step at a time, in a quiet determination to discover the terrain. I really marvelled at the energy of the crowd in climbing and cave exploring in the region. By noon, we reached the peak of a mountain(if I can call it that) and were ready to go for cave exploration after a relaxed lunch on the peak of a mountain by the side of a small brook filled with chilled water. Cold feet takes a different meaning when you get to rest by dipping feet in chilled water on the top of a mountain in sooting breeze after a hectic trek uphill.

The beauty of mingling with a group in an organized trek, is the sheer experience of encountering different people with different choices and interests. There would be some exploring the untrodden path, some who would take time around to smell the roses and savour the scenary around, while some who run ahead in childlike enthusiam of scaling the peak ahead only to discover that there is no dearth of rocks. Everyone discovering his or her own private definition of solitude and enjoyment amidst wilderness and sun.

If the climb uphill through the rocks in no definite path was a journey on its own, filled with a different thrill of navigating through the boulders that challenge your endurance, the cave exploration post lunch unleashed the childlike exuberance of discovering the unknown. Armed with a naive faith that the dark holds no terror, we all went through the natural caves, to discover our own recess for solitude amidst the mammoth rocks that are resting since centuries. Those rocks filled with small crevices are loaded with umpteen challenges. Often, finding a way ahead in the maze of boulders becomes daunting as the chances of hitting a dead end means reinventing the wheel once again. The wild flowers with their gentle fragrance, and the natural caves with their cold soothing embrace did offer some sanctury against the sultry weather. We did learn some gymnastics, prodding ourselves though the closely nested rocks to reach no definite destination in an easy pace.

The view from the top is breath taking! Enveloped by sand, rock, sky and sun, the town of Kolar looks serene and calm. All I could feel was numbing contentment. With so many people sharing the joy of experience, the thought that lingered in that moment was, ‘who said its lonely at the top?’. 🙂 I was in for a treat while getting down. We discovered a small well with pristine sweet water and I relived the fantasy of a village gal by drawing water from the well and enjoying its sweet taste in primitive fashion. With loads of memories and sated satisfaction, we headed for Bangalore playing Antakshari enroute with the new found pals. We sealed off the day with a quiet dinner at Malgudi and bid our farewell. I had my much needed break, and I confess this, even though the after effects of the trek still remain in my hoarse throat and aching muscles.





Waking Up Into The Paradise…

17 05 2008

Jannat.. Is this it?

These days my mornings are filled with tranquil repose. Such is the sheer morning bliss of waking up into a quiescent paradise marked by perfect harmony that I am indulging in lazy languor. Slowly the alarm at 5:30 AM lost its prominence and I am able to greet the clock and the sun only after another hour flies by the window panes. Now, what eases my conscience is the beautiful Bangalore Morning Weather. If I discount the roars of the street, the cool soothing breeze and the gentle sun rays are perfect for the sunny summers.

Musing on memories, early mornings and the wafting gentle breeze are a part of me since childhood. My pride of being a little town girl springs from the luxury of being softly transported to reality by either the mellifluous chirping of the country birds or by the divinely melodious Suprabhatam. If I was lucky that day, I would even be bribed from the sands of dreamland by my Granny or Mamma with a gentle kiss. Those were the days of contentment, tradition and values. Those are the days when you believe that Goddess Saraswati blesses those who study at Brahma Muhurta (at 4 AM) and soaking the warm Sunrays in the early morning with Surya Namaskara fills one with energy and strength. Though the idea of being stolen from the land of dreams isn’t appealing, the purposeful morning chores fill life with activity and spirit. Often, at home early mornings happen as an act of tradition. Our small home is abuzz with activity by 5 AM and I end up vying for my share in Mamma’s tea.

Those days of simple rhythm and family warmth are so afresh. The custom carries on. Come what may, I rarely miss a chance to greet the Sun in my way, for, I get a sense of being transgressed from an age old value thats been a part of me since childhood, which I humbly followed as an act of reverence to the customs and traditions of generations.





Is this called an Inconvenient Truth?

15 05 2008

Something thats difficult to ignore, even as a comic.. Makes me think…





Frog Princess…

15 05 2008

And there is a special reason behind this title. 🙂 Its a personal moment of happiness for me, as one of my pals found his frog princess over the virtual world. There is an aura of happiness around me, a sense of mirth that surrounds one when something good happens to people you care for. Mood of the moment is commanded by bliss, and here I retire with prayers wishing the best for him.





A Testimonial Of Love…

26 04 2008

Sometimes I wonder that’s what love in life is. Love and its longing weaves a lilting yearning in my life that I seldom pause to wonder at the magic of love that I subconsciously indulge in. Love that’s giving, love that can make a prophet, martyr or a seer out of a self centered person. Yet, at times I cant help but ponder if love is selfish. When those really close loved ones ask for a testimonial of love. I feel like saying that love is not a piece of cake where each may lay their claim. Yet, its that obligation of relationship that makes me play along. Especially when I really believe in the strength of their affection. Something in that mental makeup of mine votes for that obligation that springs from love over privatism(or the joy that results from celebtrating my individuality). May be, its true. We all change for the ones we love. 

True to my stars, I can seldom differentiate between love and friendship, as I think one feeds on another. Sometimes, I tilt much towards the latter, as it taught me how to give without expectations and about being there in times of need. Yet, if I have to sum life in a few words, its always family, friends and a chance of self-expression.





Sun Signs..

2 04 2008

It was just yesterday when the entire dinner table conversation was hogged by sun signs. 🙂 I have always been agnostic to the power of what stars have conspired over in sky, as I do believe that I hold my destiny in my arms. Yet, its always intriguing to learn what each sun sign has to say even if its just to whet my curiosity, as long as it spells a few good things of my pals which I accede to or differ with. Yes. I love Linda Goodmans and must have read those descriptions a number of times, for I loved the way she expressed the idiosyncrasies of those sun signs. I really wouldn’t care the veracity of her claims as its a fun read! Those who has read her book would know what I mean.

I guess every person’s personality would depend on the environment in which he grows up and the way he lives through life’s experiences. A little bit of pep talk, some feel good factor and a tiny dose of introspection never hurts, right? Yesterday I was surprised to realize how much aid they can be in breaking the ice with strangers. We could hold the conversation about the sun signs for almost two hours where I branded myself as an expert realizing that others were as clueless as I am. 🙂

Matching the traits of the Sun signs with our own, taking the opinions of others, musing through the compatibilities really makes us create that connect or belongingness. As long as we don’t hold fast and take to heart what those sun signs spell and reserve them for a great and light coffee time conversations, I guess we can assure ourselves of some cheer and fun!





Indian Eccentricities..

27 03 2008

Another in series of forwarded wisdom – titled “Some Facts about an Incredible Indian”.. Some of them are really intriguingly true. 🙂

___________________________________
1. Everything you eat is savored in garlic, onion and tomatoes.
2. You try and reuse gift wrappers, gift boxes, and of course aluminum foil.
3. You are Always standing next to the two largest size suitcases at the Airport.
4. You arrive one or two hours late to a party – and think it’s normal.
5. You peel the stamps off letters that the Postal Service missed to stamp.
6. You recycle Wedding Gifts , Birthday Gifts and Anniversary Gifts.
7. You name your children in rhythms (example, Sita & Gita, Ram & Shyam, Kamini & Shamini.)
8. All your children have pet names, which sound nowhere close to their real names.
9. You take Indian snacks anywhere it says “No Food Allowed”
10. You talk for an hour at the front door when leaving someone’s house.
11. You load up the family car with as many people as possible.
12. You use plastic to cover anything new in your house whether it’s the remote control, VCR, carpet or new couch.
13. Your parents tell you not to care what your friends think, but they won’t let you do certain things because of what the other “Uncles and Aunties” will think.
14. You buy and display crockery, which is never used , as it is for special occasions, which never happen.
15. You have a vinyl tablecloth on your kitchen table.
16. You use grocery bags to hold garbage.
17. You keep leftover food in your fridge in as many numbers of bowls as possible.
18. Your kitchen shelf is full of jars, varieties of bowls and plastic utensils (got free with purchase of other stuff)
19. You carry a stash of your own food whenever you travel (and travel means any car ride longer than 15 minutes).
20. You own a rice cooker or a pressure cooker.
21. You fight over who pays the dinner bill.
22. You live with your parents and you are 40 years old. (And they prefer it that way).
23. You don’t use measuring cups when cooking.
24. You never learnt how to stand in a queue.
25. You can only travel if there are 5 persons at least to see you off or receive you whether you are traveling by bus, train or plane.
26. If she is NOT your daughter, you always take interest in knowing whose daughter has run with whose son and feel proud to spread it at the velocity of more than the speed of light.
27. You only make long distance calls after 11 p.m.
28. If you don’t live at home, when your parents call, they ask if you’ve eaten, even if it’s midnight.
29. You call an older person you never met before Uncle or Aunty.
30. When your parents meet strangers and talk for a few minutes, you discover you’re talking to a distant cousin.
31. Your parents don’t realize phone connections to foreign countries have improved in the last two decades, and still scream at the top of their lungs when making foreign calls.
32. You have bed sheets on your sofas so as to keep them from getting dirty.
33. It’s embarrassing if your wedding has less than 600 people.
34. All your Tupperware is stained with food color.
35. You have drinking glasses made of steel.
36. You have mastered the art of bargaining in shopping.

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In Pursuit of Happiness..

11 03 2008

There is a moment in that movie where Will Smith says, “It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?”. That did made me ponder about the futility thats inherent in the pursuit of happiness. Yet, I shut my inner voice to indulge in that movie, as I loved the father and son chemistry very much there.

I get quizzical when people come and tell me that they are in pursuit of these. Happiness. Joy. Laughter. Peace. Through out life, they keep these very things that they long for at bay running after materialistic pursuits , trying to ensure that they would be eternally happy ensconced in luxury in the end. Finally, most of them end up rudely surprised by the bout of misery and dissatisfaction that surmount them even after reaching the pinnacle of achievement. What went wrong? How could these tremendously intelligent people miss the bus of holistic Life?

This nagging thought is consuming me in all intensity. Though I can debate endlessly about the origin and location of happiness and proclaim holy statements that look with in one self, what makes me wonder is the continuity of effort that happiness demands. My moods, and state of mind are in constant flux, and there are always things that can make me rattled or cheesed off on a daily basis. It really requires detachment, determination and a great deal of focus to keep up my cool in times of crisis and uncertainty.

Two days back, I was very unhappy about a certain situation. My mind and emotions were really disturbed and then, in an attempt to tease myself out of thought and in pursuit of peace, I went to Ragi Gudda Temple. Even, the God couldn’t numb my worry and a little reflection told me that I desperately needed an attitude change more than the location or work. Probably seeking pleasure or happiness would inherently invite misery along. For, I believe that any activity inbuilt with a sense of purpose is a blend of pain and gain. We struggle, and we learn. We cry and we earn. We can only try to attempt a state of mind which can rival the lotus leaf that can stay untouched by the water even in the middle of a pond. We can be happy only if we choose to be happy. And that requires a constant effort indeed. For now, let me try to digest Karma Yoga (The Yoga of Action) of Swami Vivekananda which advocates about the pursuit of knowledge instead of pleasure. Hoping to garner some reflection there.





Summing Up The First Quarter..

8 03 2008

Recently I turned 25. Its kind of tough to think through the passing moments, really. Especially when you consider the first quarter of life as a milestone that passed by, acceding to no will of yours. Much of the complexities of being a twenty something is already addressed by some blessed soul over here. I identify with most of it. Yet, life is more than just a summation of miseries, woes, troubles and confusion and I don’t choose to cast a negative cloud on what has been an enriching journey. There is a lot of sunshine, some perfect moments, a few relationships of lifetime, reflections, solitude, lessons earned, studies unlearned, and some cherished people who filled my life with fond memories. Through the walk of life, I discovered joy in music, books, writing, woods, friends, family, mentors and myself which filled my life with love, laughter and a sense of celebration.

My experiments with life have evolved with the different phases that I whizzed by trading my innocence with apathy. Now, am wondering as to how to name those stages? Should I call them Childhood, Adolescence, and My Struggle to Grow Up or should I adhere to the society standards and treat them as Education, and Settlement? 🙂 When I got all I wanted or asked for, there was a sheer joy of achievement and when I didn’t, there was a huge lesson hidden in the reflection of that experience. It wasn’t all roses, yet while looking back, I realize that those little setbacks and failures taught me more than those larger than life kind of victories (they seemed that way when I was there 🙂 ).

Now let me confess this, I had a fabulous set of memories of growing up. My first 25 years that rolled by left me no regrets! Life is indeed beautiful. Call me Ulpasantoshi or easy to please, yet that is the big truth of my life. Words fall flat if I have to express my gratitude to my loving family which shaped me and been a pillar of strength, fabulous mentors who watched over when I faltered, friends offering companionship and acceptance in need and deed, and a lot of strangers and acquaintances who knowingly or unknowingly etched their footprints through innocent interactions. It is indeed people and nature, and the relationships I created with them which made me what I am.

Every day that I wake up in presents me with new challenges or opportunities,of which I passed up some, while exploring some. There is some realization and an immense depth of learning along the way, which I plan to record here for my sake so that when I look back after another 25 years, I can muse on what changed and what stayed on. I know it sounds rather ambitious, but I plan to stay around savoring life for another 3 quarters at the least. 😉

I have learned to appreciate elders, value experience, cherish people, share a smile, care with empathy, love without expecting reciprocation, cheer for the fellow men, endorse goodness whenever I can, enjoy my company in those moments of solitude, face uncertainty, live in the moment and to accept myself for what I am. And am practicing with myself to incorporate them in every pace of life. There are some things that I am trying hard to give up. Like wondering about cosmic questions like the purpose of life, playing the Nostradamus, Ignoring the present in an attempt to design future, postponing happiness, procrastination, transactional relationships, materialistic pursuits and being a rat in the race. That’s a constant battle that I wage on a daily basis with the inner demons, to get that right equation for holistic life.

This first quarter is all about developing roots, as I can feel that a lot of my convictions have only become stronger with age. Glad to trade my innocence for those wonderful moments, memories and experiences that altered me in minute ways, I see a long road ahead to work with myself in translating values to action, moments to memories, and dreams to reality.

To sum it up, let me borrow from Robert Frost.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”




The Last Lecture..

6 03 2008

Here is an attempt to share something I really loved.

Do make time (about 12 mins) and view this lecture of life time by Randy Pausch.
http://video.stumbleupon.com/#p=ithct48cqw

The unabridged version is available here.

for those who can’t view the video, here is the transcript
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/Randy/pauschlastlecturetranscript.pdf

For the man who claims, “I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.”, I salute his spirit.





Maha Shiva Ratri..

6 03 2008

To Day is The Night of Lord Shiva.. It feels so special and divine as my mind drifts to those devotional days of childhood times where this ritual is celebrated wholeheartedly in my hometown.

A trip down the memory lane reminds me of those days of Diligent fasting the whole day and night, Melodious and Soulful prayers like Chadrashekhara Astakam, Shiva Panchakshara Strotram, Linga Astakam, Scrambling for various fruits, Decorating the idols with various kinds of flowers for symbolic ritual of Shiva’s marriage to Parvati late in the night, Passing the entire night resisting sleep, playing with pals or watching the good old black and white Lord Shiva movies like Bhakta Kanappa, Markandeya and so on, marching to River Krishna or Godavari and taking a dip early at the crack of dawn, soaking in the fuss of all the elders and inventing our own form of mischief.. Those are the days of fun, play and prayer as they paint my memory with nostalgia and warmth.

I am planning today to take the fast, visit Lord Shiva’s temple and complete it by recollecting all those fond memories of this ritual. For all those agnostics, devotees, cynics and confirmed atheists, I have nothing to say, as belief is a very personal concept. God for me is as much true as the faith that I keep on him or her. Yet, a little reflection makes me dwell on how my feelings towards rituals have evolved over all these years. My awareness, understanding, and the actions towards the rituals take a new definition every year and they reinvent themselves both qualitatively and quantitatively. And that makes me reiterate my inner belief that only experience matters in the end.





Its Yesterday Once Again..

2 03 2008

I had a really rocking weekend. Yes, the emphasis has to be there, as its been ages since I sampled those happy moments of yesterday again. Thanks to that quirky mind of mine, which made a spur of moment decision to treat itself out of cold with loads of love medicine of Grand Parents. This little last minute trip to my granny’s place has really made me alive and probably this forced intimacy is what I needed to shake me out of the cloistered work environment. I really can’t tell you how much of a shift I experience, especially coming from the corporate metro world where every minute can be accounted for to my Granny’s place, where clock holds no meaning and day light pretty much dictates how the day passes by.

Waking by to the chirping of birds, climbing walls to collect those hiding jasmines, out running little kiddos during lazy evenings, collecting veggies from the kitchen garden for lunch, helping granny in little chores, collecting firewood for the heating water, fashioning myriad flowers for God’s garlands, the poking fun on those legendary TV serials which occupy those dusk hours, wrestling with little sis over the primitive fire place, sharing the starlit blue sky for the blanket at the night.. Life suddenly feels as if its yesterday once again and life is not so much complicated after all. Every corner that I walked to, I would find a rose, jasmine, lemon, goose berry or mango and I can feel a mild fragrance enveloping my senses. That’s when I succumb to those feelings of contentment and joy.





My Observations with Dieting

23 02 2008

I have had my share of experimentation with all sorts of diets. Going through this GM Diet made me shed some years and revive some memories..

SSY

Guess my first brush with dieting came some ten years back, even before entering my Engineering College. I tried out the SSY programme in Rajamundry, as my mama was a fanatic that time and I had little choice. That’s a 14 day programme clubbing yoga, pranayama, meditation, raw vegetarian food, and community prayer which is followed by a 3 day external outing where you eat almost nothing, sleep not more than a couple of hours, take a mud bath, dance and play most of the time. Yet, that was a great experience at that time. I ate only raw vegetarian food, flavored with lemon, nuts and some masala for the whole of 14 days and guess it worked because of it being a community experience. I never knew that will power, and quality of life can draw strength from such little sustenence and yet leave you so energerised.

Yes, weight loss was noticeable, but then, it was not the goal of the programme. I became more peaceful, and could control short temper that was so typical of an adolescent kid.

What I liked about SSY

1) The Carefree atmostphere of the group, and the candid discussions
2) Interesting raw recipes which were easily edible. (Thats the first time in my life when I had raw greens)
3) I felt lighter and happier and I had my first lesson on restraint and patience.
4) My first and the only real meditation experience for an hour of their ‘So Ham’ meditation technique

What I hated about it

1) After 20 days of such diet, I couldn’t digest any cooked food at all. Even a little bit of it could fill my stomach. It took me 3 months to even taste or touch non vegetarian food as it used to feel so heavy!

Probably that was the reason why I left that lifestyle, as I forged my bond with Osmania University hostel for four years during which I had exposure to some real atrocious and lethal stuff cooked out of our mess. Yes, Hostel food really prepares you for the world!

Gymming and Exercise

This is a consistently inconsistent part of my life. Either I get my long walk of around 40 minutes on a daily basis or I head to the Gym for some chat, and exercise. But I can never combine gymming with dieting as that can lead to a fainting spell on a treadmill. (Speaking from experience). So far, I never had a noticeable change in weight due to exercise, gym or walk. They help me maintain my weight and make me feel fit. And yes. All those endorphines that spring to action due to physical activity make me happy.

Crash Dieting

I had to do it for one simple reason. Weight Loss. I became rotund and inactive and that did little to my ravenous appetite. Finally I ventured to discipline, when the things were getting out of hand, and my sedentary lifestyle did little to help it.

I started with an objective: To loose 8 kilos in the fastest way possible. One goal every day- to limit my daily calorie intake to 600 cal. One simple arithmetic. I pretty much counted everything I ate, did a lot of exercise and survived on lemon tea, water, curd and idly. And that helped big time. I lost around 7 kilos in a month and never regained them.

What I liked about it.

1) As it was self imposed, It was quite flexible. I could try a lot of variety of foods, like fruits, nuts, bread, tiffins etc. Since it was self designed, I allowed occasional binges, like a treat on weekend or a Chinese meal for dinner.
2) It had to do with a lot of mental training and will. Call it stubbornness or resolve, I felt no hunger pangs.
3) There was an instant gratification angle to it too. You can see a noticeable weight loss resulting in you due to the manipulations you do. Thats what I called experimenting with myself in true sense.

GM Diet

I tried it just for the sake of it. Mere curiosity. And probably the guilt of emotional eating and all that binging that I did during the past two months helped me hold on I guess.

What I liked about the GM Diet

1) I have become conscious of the water that I take, so much to the fact that I have started counting the no of glasses I drink.
2) Surprisingly there is no craving for sweets, namkeens or junk.
3) I feel lighter and smarter (*wink*)
4) I really learnt restraint. Resisting the temptation during the starting days was quite tough. 🙂

What I hated the most about it

1) The signs of weakness that I experienced during the process (Headache on Day One, Nerves Pain on Day 3 and 4.)
2) No Inclusion of Yogurt or Nuts at all in the diet.

Bottom line of GM Diet is that it works. Its a quick and dirty way of loosing a couple of kilos in a week. And guess its easy to follow as the plan is already laid out.





Love Is In Air…

14 02 2008

Valentines Day.. Reminds me of All Things Beautiful…Red Roses, Deep Passions, Soothing Music, Candlelit Dinner, Long Walks With Loved Ones, Solitude, Bliss and Contentment.. Umm

I see couples planning days in advance.. Most of my lady friends are knocking heads to discover a real unique gift for their boy friends, when guys are grinning like cheshire cats armed with predictable delights (Chocolates, Flowers, Cards, Teddies, and Jewellery) and the singles are feeling deeply miserable missing their fantasy partners. Truly it feels as if love is in the air.

What could be a better time to thank all those people who filled life with love and beauty? Here I lay in snug solitude, wrapped in soothing music of Phil Collins, David Gates, and Richard Marx, trying to do a long pending quarter life review in reflections. Often I wonder, whats life if not for those special people who filled life with love, joy or lesson. What’s solitude, if its not connected with nature, music, books or soul?

Thanks for my sweet little family for always being around enveloping me in unconditional acceptance and love. Thanks for those mentors who changed my life in minute ways with their guidance, affection, criticism and direction. Thanks for those pals (real and virtual) who made there presence in those moments of quiet need.

The mood of this moment is contentment and it wouldn’t have been possible without music, books and you all.

Happy Valentine’s Day!





Mirror Talk..

8 02 2008

Have you ever tired doing it? It helps me ease any sort of pangs any moment. And no stop that chuckle, its not my feminine vanity which makes me say that. 🙂 Especially, when life is like a gloomy cloud casting a dark shadow on your spirits, a little Mirror talk always helps.

Misery loves company. Sounds rather like a worn out cliche right? Yet, how true it is! Misery eats mind like a worm and creeps in soul like a surreptitious cancer. And may be that’s why we indulge in the sheer drudgery of misery as it invades our senses.

Ever looked within when you are desperately dull and down? Life may look like a bottomless pit then, all it needs is a change of perspective to look at the brighter side of things. Everyone needs a mirror at times. What do you catch in those deep reflections? Some impressions are so deep that only lonely sojourn can help you find them. Walk to the nearest mirror, make all sort of antics, flush sadness with vehemence, pat your shoulder for this wonderful chance and thank God for all the love you have in life.

In one of those insightful conversations I had, One of my pals gave this beautiful example -“They say that the early bird gets the worm, but why don’t they realize that the early worm gets caught? Decide whether you are a worm or a bird before waking up and act accordingly”. May be all that misery of the moment can be swept by a fresh perspective or a different mood. May be all that was needed is a change of mind or a new look with pinked tinted glasses. 🙂





All Motion Is Not Action..

7 02 2008

Something that I heard from a Colleague today. Made perfect sense!

Yes, indeed smart work counts.





Devil’s Most Used Instrument…

29 01 2008

This little story is most profound as it sinks in the thought. I couldn’t help sharing it!

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It was advertised that the devil was going to put his tools up for sale. On the date of the sale, the tools were placed for public inspection; each tool being marked with its sale price. They were a treacherous lot of implements… Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Deceit, Lying, Pride, and so on.

Laid apart from the rest was a harmless looking tool, that appeared to have been heavily used, and was priced very high.

“What is the name of this tool?” asked one of the purchasers, pointing to it.

“That is Discouragement,” replied the devil.

“Why have you priced it so high?”

“Because it is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside people’s hearts with that when I cannot get near them with my other tools. Once I get inside, I can make them do what I choose. It is badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since very few people know that it belongs to me.”

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There are some stories which require a moment to read but a life time to comprehend. And discouragement is like a slow poison. Who says language doesn’t matter? One word can lit someone’s face and one moment can change somebody’s life. We love, live, cry, smile, share and care through it. So be careful while using it. Hope you would remember this little story next time when you are tempted to indulge in destructive feedback.





Thought For The Extended Weekend..

21 12 2007

“Most of us spend many hours each week watching celebrated athletes playing in enormous stadiums. Instead of making music, we listen to platinum records cut by millionaire musicians. Instead of making art, we go to admire paintings that brought in the highest bids at the latest auction. We do not run risks acting on our beliefs, but occupy hours each day watching actors who pretend to have adventures, engaged in mock-meaningful action.

This vicarious participation is able to mask, at least temporarily, the underlying emptiness of wasted time. But it is a very pale substitute for attention invested in real challenges. The flow experience that results from the use of skills leads to growth; passive entertainment leads nowhere. Collectively we are wasting each year the equivalent of millions of years of human consciousness. The energy that could be used to focus on complex goals, to provide enjoyable growth, is squandered on patterns of stimulation that only mimic reality.”

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi





A Touch Of Madness…

19 12 2007

Whenever I think of Madness, a wickedly grinning cheshire cat flashes in my mind and somehow my mind fondly muses on this conversation from my favorite book..

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Alice went on. ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘–so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’

Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. ‘What sort of people live about here?’
‘In that direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, ‘lives a Hatter: and in that direction,’ waving the other paw, ‘lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’
Alice didn’t think that proved it at all; however, she went on ‘And how do you know that you’re mad?’
‘To begin with,’ said the Cat, ‘a dog’s not mad. You grant that?’
‘I suppose so,’ said Alice.
‘Well, then,’ the Cat went on, ‘you see, a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.’

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Every time I go through Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat’s conversations and its famous grin, I discover a new meaning. Yet, thats not the point here. Let’s stick to madness! 🙂

My little role model in celebrating madness is the Cheshire cat of ‘The Alice In Wonderland’ fame. Living through the chaos in this mad world which seems to operate in no defined sense of logic, I honestly believe that a glint of madness is essential to survive through the day. Everyone has their own little crazy world where we celebrate insanity in a splendid fashion. Our own artificial paradises where we play the little escapist helps us address the everyday madness that we encounter in every form. Guess we all fancy our own private interpretations of madness, don’t we? Yet, we thrive on it, come terms with it and indulge in our share of it! 😉

Next time, when the everyday frenzy gripes your sanity, try this. Do a little jig, be stupid at least once a day, perk up the spirits in your own little odd way, shoo the tension in a little corner and celebrate life in your own private madness just like that wicked cat with a huge grin. As they say, when you have to walk in rain, you might as well dance.





How To Be A Good Leader..

18 12 2007

Now that’s a question that rings in my mind quite often, since I joined the corporate world. Am trying to capture some reflections and experiences here, distilled from some real life’s learnings. Its tough to be a good leader or a boss, and its even tougher to acknowledge our weaknesses and the impact that we have on others. Yet, the more we grow in age, experience and cadre, the more our efforts and work is dependent on the contributions of others.

Now, what are the personality attributes that can make someone tick as a good leader or boss? They are pretty much visible to commonsense and are for experience. Tell me how many good leaders have you met in a daily work life context? Yet, there are some real qualities that differentiate them from the common managers and leave a lasting impression in mind. Here is a collection of some of those in an effort to identify, acknowledge and probably inculcate them..

Humility And Courtesy

Ok Ok.. That was pun intended! 🙂 yet, On a serious note, see most of the people who are in influential positions to be most humble and open to people around them. In any knowledge and people intensive industry, what differs one from another is how they apply their uniquely gifted talents and skills. No one is superior or inferior to another and the more we acknowledge this, the more enriching we become.

In fact, those guys who are most likely to throw their weight around are typically in the middle management or in support group as they are often responsible for executing decisions taken by others whether they agree or disagree. Hence, the craving for false significance which reflects in the demonstration of pseudo authority through bossism and shortsightedness. Watch out if you are indulging in this. This behavior can help you get along the day, but not far.

Celebrating Success and Credit Sharing

Celebration is fun. Sharing the success and joy builds the team spirit and unity. Celebrating successes and failures is the essence of life. Don’t you think so? Yet, so often, going through the rhythms of the corporate mumbo jumbo, we often rarely stop for that little pat on back. Hold a little party, acknowledge others’ contribution and live up to the saying-‘one for all and all for one’. Everyone loves to feel important and wants their work to add value to the organization and team. Be genuine and say thanks to all those who made your graphs sparkle in whatever minor way.

Sense Of Humor and Fun

Quite needed in high pressure environment. Humor brings in fresh perspectives and makes us more open to challenges and other possibilities. Added to that, a sense of fun energizes workspaces and makes us more productive. Life is a huge practical joke. Identifying the humor and playing along can really soothe nerves. Don’t wear sleeves on heart, try the vice versa.. 🙂

Staying Calm And Leading By Example in Moments of Crisis

There is no fun in scrambling around and getting worked up on minor crisis situations at work. Accept it. Risks and failures are a part and parcel of life. Its no fun indulging in blame game and taking a free ride on the tension swing. Stand for oneself and for the team and show that you are there and you care. Be around like a breather or a tower of strength in moments of crisis and exude confidence and positivity. Tough call? Indeed. It requires continuous effort.

Being Flexible And Playing The Good Listener

Are you that kind of boss, who stares at the laptop when your teammate drops in for a quick chat? The most vital part of leadership is to acknowledge that people have different priorities and your task list may not figure out on the top of theirs. Acknowledge their personal priorities, be flexible to work out win-win options and always be open, approachable and listen to what others are saying or not saying. Be a people developer and lend an ear when needed. Life may seem to be measured on how many millions we made, yet what counts in the end is how many lives we touched and how many smiles we spread.

Clarity and Expertise in Work

Be sure of what you are talking about and what you want to achieve. Most of the bosses I know falter at this. Often the delegation looks like this.

If you are not sure of what you want, not even the best of the world teammates can help you achieve it. Have clarity on what you want to achieve and then communicate it effectively to your team. It can do wonders.

And, trust me, no one wants to work for a dull head. Never stop learning and understand the significance of the contribution that you are making. Do you think only talent shows? Stupidity is even more tantalizingly evident. Don’t make suggestions under the pretense of adding value. 🙂

Trust and Motivation

The last on my list and the most important one. Believe in team, assert your trust, enlist them in your mission and give them space to carry on. That’s what is called effective and efficient delegation. Noone really wants to work for a boss who don’t trust their capabilities and hovers around like an intrusive security camera. Ask the one who tried. He probably doesn’t have a team now.

As beautifully put by Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

“If you want to build a ship
don’t herd people together to collect wood
and don’t assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the
endless immensity of the sea.”

Ultimately, it all boils down to this. People are leaders because they choose to lead. Else, they stay managers.. Now I see why this became a huge article! I can actually title this as ‘7 habits to be a successful leader’. 🙂 It’s tough to make sense of what makes a leader tick. If I missed anything, let me know.





Jadoo Ki Jhappy..

12 12 2007

Dunno why my heart longs for this from the loved ones today. A real chilled morning and I can feel the cold seeping into my soul somehow.

I dream of being perfect in everything I do, trying to put a piece of my soul in every activity. Sometimes, it feels so close, that can I become that little Ms. Perfect. Yet, if I have to be totally realistic, I would like to be really good in everything I ever did or do. And for what sake? To be loved a little more.. Is it what am looking for?

Sometimes, guess this choice always hangs around. Having the courage to quit and bear the tag of loser for being true to oneself or sticking around betraying oneself for the sake of society. These are choices we all have to make at some point in our life. Hoping that I have enough spine to stand up for myself in things that I truly care. In those rare low events, let me pray for some jadoo and some jhappy to last for the life.. 🙂

A little greed doesn’t hurt anyone, does it?