Friday, December 12, 2008

Being in the invisible mode

A new feature on Orkut of being able to chat with all your contacts has been driving me to take cover under the “being invisible” mode. Much to my dislike, I am still being invisible as the thought of being available to the 200 odd contacts on the site sends me shudders. What will I chat with people I have hardly met? It is ok to share an occasional not with each other but talk to unknown people everyday? Oops! not my piece of cake, surely. For once I am happy to let the cake go!

Getting in to the mould of being unseen has its own share of excitement and disappointments too. It is interesting to see a lot of contacts coming on line, who cannot see that I am also present. Some kind of ego-booster I must say. It fuels a supreme pleasure of giving me the power of talking to them at my will. I just need to ping them and a conversation can happen. Unless I initiate it, they cannot reach out.

At the same time it is also a little sad that no one reaches out to me with a friendly “Hi” no matter what the time of the day is. I could display my mood for the day with a fitting status message. No need to call anyone and tell I am feeling under the weather. The status message did it all. Conversations were triggered by the status message alone and some of the most interesting talk would ensue.

Amidst all this new experience of being unseen, I also ponder what does God experiences all the time. The one always in invisible mode. He is of course visible to me in the form I trust is God. Yet for the millions who just believe that “HE is up there and is watching it all”, I wonder what HE undergoes!

Just like I am hoping some of my regular contacts will look for me and say “Hi”, will the creator not be yearning for HIS creations to look inside and say “Hi”. "I am here for you always", HE thinks but are we aware? All HE sees is his little children mindlessly fighting over “mine” & “thine”. Religion which was just created so that man gets closer to God has itself become a battle ground taking God out of religion entirely and leaving just a bitter after taste.

Through the various mediums, channels (not TV channels please), guru’s masters HE is trying to convey to all “Please look inside; there is none outside for whom you are fighting”. Yet we turn a blind eye to all of this and are busy looking elsewhere.

All I can urge to HIM is to please come out of the Invisible mode and take charge. Teach everyone that we have come here to learn to love and not loathe. Shout aloud that all religions are creation of Man himself, there is not one higher or lower. Stop the mindless actions and reactions. We your children have failed terribly in the test you have given. Please come and take us on the right path and help us pass at the next chance.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Long time no see..

It is really so wonderful to be seeing you after such a long time! Aah I know feels good to be looking eye to eye, heart to heart after a long time. What to do? These everyday hassles of life hardly leave any time for the things that really matter to “us”. The worldly commitments, rate race is really killing, first for earning and then running to spending all the money to show that life is very “happening” and a host of other things leave hardly or no time for meeting you.

I do think often how far apart we are going. I yearn for that quality time with you where no one exists but you and me. It is only in these silences that I feel deeply connected to you. I don’t have any words to talk to you, yet there is so much that is conveyed in these silences. The sheer joy of existence, the celebration of “being” in life, that silent acknowledgement that we exist for the same purpose and so many unsaid things. I miss all that dearly.

Sometimes I do wonder how much I have grown up in life. Those dreams we had as children are now coming true. None of this would have been possible but for your stoic support. Trust me! Deep within it was you who gave me the conviction that with patience and faith we would achieve a lot in life. I know I should have acknowledged this long back but I was so busy “looking good” for the other people in my life that I always took you for granted.

I could see in your eyes the hurt you have undergone whenever I underwent pain in any relationships, disappointment with life or anything at all that made me sad. Like a fool, I made sure I quickly looked away to avoid acknowledging my pain. I was afraid that you would know my deepest feelings / fears. If only I took you as my friend I would have been so comforted by your presence rather than being threatened.

I am really thankful for this day and time which forced me to stay indoors and meet you. In the normal course I would have been busy staring at the monitor, but I am glad for the rains which are pouring their heart out. I could stare at the mirror and pour my heart out to you! I am indeed meeting myself after a long time…

Friday, August 8, 2008

To be childish or childlike?

The joyous face of a child I saw from the car window remains afresh after days. The face of a little girl asking for alms albeit with the twinkle in her eyes.. The fact that she was out there on the roads day in and day out doing the same thing, did not take away the shine in her eyes. No matter 9 out 10 people did not bother to look at her, not even rolled their windows down. She was at the “job” with equal enthusiasm for the next vehicle that stopped. Unforgettable. Unmatched renewal of faith.

May be that is what people mean when they say we all have a inner child and it is up to us to keep it alive. The quality of being joyous for no reason. It is our basic nature to be in a state of happiness, WITHOUT a rationale. Unfortunately we have surrendered to such a morose life that we need a reason to even smile!

On the other hand we have no qualms of adapting to childish behaviour like refusing to talk to someone after a fight, crying over someone else taking our toys (read materialistic possessions) , insecure if someone gets close to “my” people and ofcourse my favourite observation “since we are not talking now, return my toys” :) type of a thing.

A friend of mine often says that if we have an argument with someone it is just as good as someone showing us a mirror. We may be initially upset over how we look in the mirror but as an adult it is prudent that we accept the fact and move ahead on a corrective path. More and more we do behave like a child screaming on seeing his own face in the mirror and refusing to look at it anymore. Funny eh?

I do hope I am more in touch with my inner child and be childlike but be an adult where required and not adhere to childish patterns. On the lighter side I need this self-encouragement to get myself to call my inner circle of people who never bother to find if I am still alive nor return my umpteen calls. The renewed enthusiasm of the girl on the road is my motivation on not giving up!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The moment it all changed

History is created, stories are written, dependencies change statistics; all based on what happened at “that moment” If you look at the major turning point in your life or any new occurrences in the world most of them are an effect of one instant.

It is that one moment which changes adoring to abhorring, love to lust, winning to losing, respect to dishonour, trust to betrayal. I suppose most of the transitions I have mentioned are not a very pleasant change. Think about it; don’t these changes affect us most? The way you look at life and what it has to offer to us changes when we are negatively impacted most. Positive changes though more than welcome seldom leave any learning for us. We are too busy basking in its glory! Like I read in a book “There is no bigger failure than success”, precisely so, because success fails to teach us anything.

That said; let me confess that I too yearn to win just like you probably. Yet it is inspiring to see how much that one moment of negativity impacts us. How we resolve to achieve what we set out to. At this moment I recall the face of a child left behind in a race. Wiping the flowing nose and overflowing tears, taking on with a fresh resolve and not giving up till the race is won. Fighting to finish and to win!

It is my failure to win over my fat that keeps me going on the war again & again. Thanks to this by now I have the best kept secrets of losing weight and changed my life style inside out. Not that I have yet won the war but every time I fail, there is a resolve to fight harder which keeps me going. The resolve gets stronger based on the feeling of “that moment” of failing up to your goal

While I was writing this blog a friend of mine passed me the speech of J. K Rowling’s address to the passing students of Harvard As luck may have it the topic was “The Fringe benefits of failing” (is it co-incidence?). I would love to quote a line from her impacting talk which goes “You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something,unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The sweetness of parting

It is a common scene in the various social or official circles. Someone is leaving your office, locality, home for better prospects (or otherwise!) and there is this sudden demand for that person. Words of praise flow in which have been absent for so many years of togetherness. Gifts are exchanged or given; contact addresses are exchanged (no matter the next moment it is not to be found) and invariably there is an unknown, unheard of sentiment which chokes many a throat and in some overflowing–with-emotion cases wets many a shoulder.

I always wonder where all these are hidden when the person is physically present in our life. Why do we mask our feelings or worse why display something which is not exactly what we feel? If it is the second case it is a total hypocritical display and less said the better but what really intrigues me is the first case.

Is it that we expect people to be always available at our beck and call and hence think they have a permanent availability for us? It is like the chair or sofa in our houses which is always available for you to sit once you enter the room. We never realize the importance of the same till it is not available one day or someone else is occupying it. I am not saying that we need to garland the seat but yes acknowledge and be thankful for it being available to you is something which we can do on a regular basis. We do not need to wait for it’s disappearance to know the importance. Ditto for the people in our lives J

It was not until I moved from Mumbai (still Bombay for me) that I realized the importance of a regular sweeper, maid, and person taking clothes for ironing (dhobi). I took their presence so much for granted and believed they would be there for eternity till I landed at Chennai. Of course the absence (or periodical presence) of all these facilities has made me more self reliant but I do think I could have shown more gratitude to my folks (when you are in a nuclear family these people really become “your folks”) back home.

When dear ones leave this world, there is a sea change of feeling than when they were alive. Sometimes it takes the death of a wife to make the husband realize the importance of a clean house and round-the-clock kitchen service. I wonder what is the point in holding yearly ceremonies or death anniversaries for the husband when there was no loving word spoken by the wife except “Food is ready” types of cold statements while he was alive. Many people argue that “true feeling is inside the heart” but can someone peek in to your heart and see your feeling. “It’s only words and words are all I have ...” goes the song and it is so true I think.

So I shall not wait for clogged networks to do us apart. I am telling each one of you reading this. I love and respect your presence in my life and the difference you have made to my being.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The cozy comfort zone!

I had a colleague who was so used to the comfort of traveling in crowded trains and buses (pun intended) that he found the idea of a car drive unnerving! Such was his comfort level in the crammed modes of transportation that the idea of spending time all by himself in a less crowded car was totally unpalatable. Aah! The cozy comfort zone!!!

Set patterns of reactions (or inactions!) gets me thinking of the sense of security we derive by conforming to the same behavioural mould we have got ourselves in to. We as human beings simply love to recreate old stories again and again and refuse to think of creating a new history so very often.

For seven long years (yes in IT 7 years is long) I worked in a company because of the known work, good friends comfort of being “one” with the system. All along totally oblivious on how I was lagging in terms of monetary benefits or lagging on technology advancements It was not until I changed jobs (only because the company shut doors!) that I realized the huge ugly gap which was staring at me. I am not advocating leaving a job frequently but to get in to a cozy corner and not venture out will definitely get us to the situation of asking “Who the hell moved my cheese?”

There are comfort zones in most area of life: the escapist route from troubled situations, not working towards enhancing dormant relationships, dragging one to work for the comfort of a bank balance no matter the work no more inspires us. Ofcourse not forgetting the never to be returned messages, or missed calls to avoid all the people who confront us, the ignored chat messages to name a few “modern” comfort zones

To achieve better than the best we need to get out of our established patterns and adapt to new ones. To reach new heights we need to strengthen our wings. It needs the grit of a differently abled person who inspite of falling umpteen times huddles back in to his feet and makes it up in the race no matter what the past had done to him. Such behaviours just add fuel to a false sense of security which we cling on to like dear life. Escaping from our true potential is a huge speed breaker in our own progress as a human being.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Insights during insane driving

Firstly I thank my stars and fellow drivers on the road that I am still alive to write my experiences of insane driving in India.

I have learnt a lot of things most of them coming from inner voice and some due to the outer noise. Nevertheless it has been interesting and I would love to share them with you all my fellow sufferers (in Hindi HUM SAFAR) of this bumpy yet interesting drive of life.

So put on your driving belts and here we go…

Tip no 1: Live in the present

Looking too hard at the road ahead or often looking at the rear view mirror may often catch you unawares by a small obstacle near by (read pedestrians, bikes, bicycles). This translates to us seeing the distant future with a telescope or reliving the past so much that we do not enjoy the present moment.
Use mirrors (soul searching?) only to detect mistakes made in the past to avoid them again.

Tip no 2: Be a good follower to be a good leader

Very often we are either irritated by the idiosyncrasies of the driver in front of us, or sometimes we do get a fantastic lead whom we can blindly follow with the twists and turns. In either case there is a good learning, not to be a crazy leader whom no one can go behind nor be enamoured by some one who is awesome that you lose your own identity. While it is definitely a plus to be a good leader, blindly following someone may have it’s undesired results too.

All along though, it would be nice to give signals if you are changing tracks. If you have someone behind you absolutely dependent on your moves it may be give a signal saying “Hey I want to take a different lane, mind you!”

Tip no 3: Have achievable goals and space them well.

Not everyone can drive comfortably at 140 km per hour. The key is to find what you are comfortable with and operate from that point of course enhancing when you can.

People will always be richer, more successful, and more beautiful than what we are. If we just keep comparing, life would be such an endless sob story. See where you are today and just analyze what can be achievable. For e.g. I cannot make it to the Forbes magazine of richest people in the world for sure, I am happy I could see the building where Forbes is located in New York !

An interesting observation here is to space goals with the right time in between. Make it too short and you may miss the next one and if too long smaller problems may start filling in taking your eyes off the next big goal. This comes from keeping a safe distance between the vehicles in front, if too spaced you may have smaller vehicles filling in the gap making the maneuvering difficult and if too little you may hit the guy in front.

Tip no 4: Honk if you like, but nobody is hearing.

If you become aware of the amount of honking that happens in any place in India, it is astounding how people manage to drive at all! The end result is that no one cares for horns anymore it is an accepted process (& more often justified as necessary) in driving which does not move anyone anywhere.

So for all the “silent spectators” who have moved mountains by just a word and all the eternal talkers, cribbers who don’t get their way ever, did you get it? Talk only when needed and you shall make a difference (hopefully positive!). Listening is stopped automatically with an overflow of words anyways, then why waste energy and lose the hard earned respect?

Tip no 5: Follow the right path and reach the highways safely

All along the road there will be bigger vehicles and better ones who may zip all over you and take the wrong road to get ahead. It may necessarily not be right and safe too.

Do not get intimidated. People may be better off but do you know what path they followed? Listen to your conscience and keep yourself on the right lane, though the by ways of life may seem difficult, when you reach the highways you will thank your stars you made it right.


Tip no 6: Remember Big Brother is watching

No matter how big or small each vehicle is on an average most do make it to their destinations safely. Reason? Every one is a special creation and is looked over by Big Brother. Do not underestimate yourself. You are special. Follow the general rules laid down and you shall be respected for what you are and can reach your destination safely.

God bless and drive safely J

Friday, February 29, 2008

No choice over choice

This morning was a great relief when I opened the cupboard to select clothes for the day: reason, I had jettisoned many of the clothes yesterday which left me with very less choice. Having a wide range of choice is supposed to be a sign of prosperity but for the many I know including your's truly it is a sign of complex mental exercise with the end result not always desirable!

I recall quiet times spent in a little English village which had hourly fixed timings for trains and buses and life was so peaceful and predictable. There were no hassles of boarding the 9:02 am train or the 9:07 am train. With no alternatives in hand everything fell in place :-)

When I see parents today pampering their children with so many choices be it food, clothes, games and they in turn being so firm in their own right I feel funny. Having " Bournvita" for one day would mean inviting hell in the house because "Milo" is not available. Going for shopping or eating out or cooking at home or simply anything has such a varied choice that it is not surprising that people prefer to settle for good old "Vanilla" flavour in everything.

There was a time when there would be just on channel on television or radio and people enjoying every moment of it. Today we have a zillion choices on any entertainment medium and most of the time people are just flicking buttons to find something worthwhile. Quantity has definitely gone up but at the irreplaceable cost of quality.

On the other hand I also wonder if we are creating a future generation with very low acceptance levels in all walks of life. With the dwindling level of patience with "others choices", it is no wonder we have more broken homes fueling the construction companies to build more houses, alas not homes. :-(

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finding the right balance!

It took a swiss ball in the gymnasium to teach me one of the greatest truths of life..It is all about finding the right balance and then enjoying the game. After struggling initially for couple of times for the right equilibrium, once I got it the rest of the exercises were sheer joy, ofcourse entwined with pain :)

Reflecting on this philosophy I realized all the past 12 years or more I have spent in pumping time for career and little or no time to other aspects of life like fitness or even simple things like taking a walk in the sun, totally a lop sided balance.

Now for some time that I am the master of my time and not the time sheets at office or the client's mercy, I realize there is so much joy to simple things in life. Being able to give more than 2 hours for fitness seems to be a dream in the corporate world, now that I am able to do it it is a dream come true. Yet, it is a lop sided balance with the financial and career aspect needing attention. By god's grace I belong to the fairer sex with the not-so fairer one ready to take the responsibility of nurturing me for this period.

The childhood art basics of bicycling teaches one to balance but I wonder how many of us are really able to balance all our interests / needs in life. If you too wish to take time to smell the flowers, learn that guitar calling you for years, spend time with your pets / plants, breathe in the fresh air (wherever available) and yet not loose on the material world may you find the right balance! Life then will truly be a game each one of us will cherish.