Down the memory lanes…

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Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

All of a sudden, her smile disappeared and there was grim on her face as if some bitter memory passed through her mind. A memory that was once all she needed, a time where she wanted to stay till eternity, a moment that she once wished should never cease to stay, that moment as if today crossed paths with her and they both looked away as strangers… She sighed and muttered, “I wish I could go back and erase some memories as if they never had happened…”

I asked her, “Why?”

She, looking away into the distant sky, replied: “Because every time I remember something about it, I hate something about myself or about him and it affects me more, it is like a vicious cycle of hating oneself and I don’t want that to happen…” She stopped as if words ran out of her mouth to express the emotional turbulence she had felt while explaining.

I told her, “Go back to the memory lanes, the solution to your pain lies there…”

Amazed at my reply, she asked a bit rudely “Is it that easy to go back?” Again looking at the far away light source…

I sit in front of her, again brought back the conversation and said ” It is never nor it could ever be easy to go back to the places in mind that store memories that hurt us today but it is only there that we can question things, shout out our complains, cry and finally ask ourselves what are the good things I learned in those once dear moments … what are those traits of a better me existing in me today that I learned in those days … and finally relabeling those memories as just that quality giving experience which you are going to keep with you until your last breath… “

This time she was listening.

After a long pause, she asked, “You’ve never lived with such a truth in your life, otherwise you would have known the pain of it…”

“If I wouldn’t have… I could never have advised someone over it  …” I replied with a smile.

“So how many labels till now from those notorious lanes?” She smiled and then we both laughed…

“Patience, Perseverance and not giving up easily … are surely from there…” I replied with laughter.

“Not bad… I must give it a try I feel …” She wasn’t looking into the distant sky now… She was as if at peace with her mind and was surely having another perspective about those memories now … at least an indifferent one if not an optimistic one…

We started walking, discussing the benefits of occasionally cooking at home…

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I-M-POSSIBLE

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It is not a story or an excerpt of someone’s popular interview, it is an account of something amazing we all could get a chance to witness, a living, walking and euphoric example of what everyone would agree with “I-M-Possible”, a peek into the life of Ashutosh (Motu)…

When most of us are busy complaining about the things we don’t have in our lives, Motu came to this world with challenges of not able to hear and speak, but wait! Motu is not only the most popular figure on campus but also someone who never given any importance to these facts of being challenged in any way, instead made them his strengths, proof? He is the only guy, and it can be claimed with 100% confidence, who has all the 1100 PGP friends, almost all doctoral students as buddies and nearly every staff and professor as a regular conversation partner!

What is so special about this guy, I wondered sometimes and after witnessing him closer than ever for these two years when I got a chance to be the person sitting next to him in classes, I figured out some untouched and secret ingredients (apart from what we all know) of his not so easy but a very challenging yet most colorful life on campus…

A man of immense ethics: At times under tremendous pressure, we submit ourselves to the problems at hand and get ready to compromise on our dear values to get things done, be it giving money for a document or a big little lie to get placed, witnessing this guy during the two years including, arguably the most stressful time of placements, I never found this guy even 1% ready to be allowed to tell anything that is not him, a very special and rare quality in the world we live in today…

Behind the smile: He has the title of being a person who is always smiling, and everyone gets inspired by this attitude. Looking closer into this smile gives a broader meaning to life. He fights many a battle inside, including dealing with his fears, dealing with his stresses and every other battle that we deal with, only difference, he fights them all alone to be the same ever smiling inspiration to all. He is as if living this Charlie Chaplin’s famous quote

 “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it!”

A man who loves unconditionally: When nothing comes without **conditions apply, I’ve tried and tested this guy over two years at numerous situations and witnessed the same result no matter what the situation was, finding a person who loves his people unconditionally! At times when people hurt, we all tend to react, I always heard from this guy “God bless him/her”, He is definitely a living example of Brain Tracy’s quote

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”

In a nutshell, my biggest life lessons from the PGP program at IIM Lucknow comes from this guy in three sentences,

Be a man of words”

“Smile while dealing with your challenges, because nothing is permanent”

“Love unconditionally with no strings attached”

In this life, practising these three would definitely make this society a better place to live…

An unedited quote from Ashutosh’s favourite collection:

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but learn from it.

If you can dream it you can do it.

Nothing is impossible

So Never give up easily in life”. 🙂

PS: (In an era when even after being able to listen and speak, we find it hard to study and face things, Motu has seen the whole PGP classes movie without subtitles, and sound, and I feel goosebumps how he has managed to score decently higher grades throughout his graduation at Hansraj DU, and at much demanding IIM Lucknow. A 5.6 scorer he is in the latest term simply says I-M-Possible…)

Shallow Water Swimmer

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Photo by Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash

One of the most common things to notice in a swimming class would be trainer compelling the newbies to dive in the deep waters if they want to learn swimming. During the last summer, I decided to live my fear of deep waters and went for a formal swimming training. During my one month stint at the pool, I could witness a lot of kids joining and going towards the deep side in hardly a week while I, knowing my fears, couldn’t tread in the deep waters till the pool got closed for the monsoon. I turned up as a swimmer for that season who could float, swim till the safe breaths last and quickly finding grounds when conditions demanded that extra mile. In other words, I turned up as a shallow water swimmer

They say “God lies in details,” they say “Without diving deep down, you fetch stones and sand and everything else but pearl” and they say “Ships are safe in harbour, but they aren’t built to remain there.” Still now and then we turn up somewhere or the other as shallow water swimmers. Getting satisfied with a B when stretching an extra mile could easily fetch an A, consoling ourselves for something less than we deserve by not bothering about the details we have always been fascinated about is as worse as procrastinating about going at the other side of our potential…

Today, being the most fortunate of the human races that existed in terms of resources, we are probably the most ignorant of the races too that existed so far. The popularity of apps like Inshorts, reducing attention spans and almost fugitive conversations are making us no more than shallow water swimmers in the waters of our daily lives…

If they didn’t lie about God’s being lying in details, then are we ready to question ourselves on busy being busy with superficial information? If they didn’t lie about quality conversations being happening in peace and in moments of no hurry to rush to something else, then let us dive deep today and live our fears and fathom the beauty of real life by leaving the shallow waters…

“Am I a shallow water swimmer anywhere?” better ask today than never knowing it…

Come, unify the thoughts, communicate the minds…

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Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Despite being the only creature on earth having the most elaborated communication skills and the ability to speak, most of us, after the fear of death, fear in communicating or speaking, especially if it is about starting a conversation, initiating a dialogue with strangers or people we know but have never had a formal conversation before. Half the time we hope if the other one initiates the dialogue, I will contribute. Sometimes, we wait till the need to converse vanishes or when we simply tell ourselves that it is too late to initiate or simply “what would I say?”

“What would I say?” has hindered millions of beautiful conversation opportunities, plenty of meaningful and much-needed dialogues and a plethora of ideas to see the light of the world. We initiate or like to initiate a dialogue with people we see a connection with, with people we have something strikingly in common or something that we aspire to discover or learn. We already have had a multitude of conversations with them in our minds before that first “Hey”, “Hola”, or “Hi” happens, still that first conversation sometimes never happen…

Somebody has aptly said, “We are never afraid of darkness, we are afraid of what darkness hides”. We are afraid of the “what if something went wrong”, “What if the other person does not reciprocate the same way”, “What if I mess up” and countless of these “what ifs” have successfully managed to deter countless of dialogues and initiatives…

Some of the very good friends I have found in this world are a result of keeping these “what ifs” aside in those moments of doubts and initiating a simple dialogue, as primitive as a Hello!, followed by a smile. Believe it or not, we all are human beings and we all have threads that can be connected or in a better way, that needs to be connected, to discover the incredible stories and ideas sleeping in our minds…

Give a smile to the person sitting beside you for so long, say a hello to the neighbor or just wave a goodbye to the person sitting on the bus, looking at you from the window. Who knows how many dots are waiting to be connected in a meaningful and a beautiful way…

Hola to all the beautiful minded readers! 🙂

Plan-less Discover more…

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It was for the first time when all his plans were as if failing in front of him. The dense fog depleting the likelihood of his boarding the train, to the same making his journey too slow to board the connecting train, to leaving him strayed in between an odd 270 km covered to over 2200 km remaining…

He had not only suffered monetarily but had also exhausted his mental and physical being due to his precise planning, as there wasn’t any scope to fail and every piece of the puzzle needed to fall in place to make it all work… But he forgot one thing, which most of us do at one point in time or the other, “Does Life work this way?”

It certainly does not work this way.

Then why do we plan? He asked.

To fail and to discover more… He realized.

They say, what separates men from boys is poise, but the state of poise comes from the situations that weren’t planned, the state of affairs that just happen out of nowhere. And in such unplanned circumstances, we discover our true potential. Scoring an A+ in an exam where all the questions were known to you, giving a speech from a pre-written piece of paper, winning a game where you know all the moves of your opponent or ordering the same stuff from the same menu of the same restaurant never gave anyone the thrill, the goosebumps, or the mixed feeling of fear and achievement that circumstances laden with uncertainty and surprises give…

They complain that they are not getting any new thing to do in their jobs, they complain that they are not able to discover anything new in their research areas, and they complain that they are not enjoying life the way they wanted to, but they don’t question the level of certainty they have brought up in all these areas just to make themselves pseudo comfortable in what they are doing. Pseudo, because this very comfort is what brings the most uncomfortable of the feelings in their days and nights…

He discovered newer horizons, met with people he wouldn’t have met otherwise and had learnings that say

Planless ones discover more… and

Plan less to discover more…. 😉

On being a mass absentee…

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

While opening his blog he could feel as if he was there years back. He was looking at the old blogs and they felt like the old memory lanes of his thoughts. He was walking down the memory lane clearing off the dust and looking at the memories that were once so vigorous that they came out as thoughts …

The memories, all of them filled with emotions, emotions of all sort. The more he wiped off the dust the more vibrant colors he could see. Some of them were so pulsating that he wondered, “I expressed it all that day!” “Oh, how beautiful that moment was…”

This tiny rendezvous with his memory lane made him feel the two most important phenomena about his current routine. Both the incidences have one thing in common, everything remaining same but Him. Yes, he was as if absent from the now if these moments… First, he often found his mother willing to talk over the same old things which were once a routine of his with her. Her exactly knowing what he liked, what he did not, her exactly knowing when he did what… Somehow he was not that involved in those conversations as deeply as she was… he was as if absent from those conversations currently…

Second, some similar discords from his spouse… She could point out almost daily about he being absent-minded, busy being busy, idle for no reason or simply not being romantic. He was again as if absent from these memory lanes…

Was there a reason for this mass absenteeism? He could have easily blamed his busy routine and his workload … But while walking down the memory lanes he could not, not now…

Although he couldn’t get an answer here, one thing was sure to happen, a dire need to find that notorious him again and shedding off the bundles of tags proclaiming themselves as being important, urgent, super urgent, or what not.

Losing a bonus is more convenient than losing a relationship, losing a pay hike is much affordable than losing the one for whom that pay hike would have been a surprise…

He knew he can’t be absent anymore… He shut the computer down and deleted the typed message to his wife about not able to make it to dinner tonight and sent the message reading “Get ready, I will be there sharp at 8 PM. We are going out…”

 

 

Happiness**- No Strings Attached

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When I came out of the railway station, all I was thinking was to find an ATM, to withdraw some cash and take an auto rickshaw towards the bus stand. As expected, the ATM at the railway station was out of cash. An old man, probably in his late sixties, came to me asking where I wanted to go. I told him about the destination which he agreed to go to. He had a cycle rickshaw with him and asked for eighty rupees for the journey. I had ample time at my disposal so I agreed with some apprehensions regarding his age and health. I told him that I need to withdraw some cash. Putting my luggage on the back seat, he said he would find me an ATM. We started our journey.

I realized while withdrawing cash that the distance between the source and destination is worth more than the fare he had demanded. While enjoying the view of the city comfortably sitting in a cycle rickshaw, I was somewhere worried about him, while he was enjoying his job as a routine chore. We approached a bridge where I realized he couldn’t take the rickshaw up the slope with the luggage and I loaded. A few other young rickshaw drivers were doing that with fairly visible pain. At the onset of the bridge I told him that I had to pick up a call, could I walk beside him while he took the rickshaw up the bridge, on which he happily agreed, feeling relaxed. In a few minutes, we cleared the hurdle and he asked me to get on board again.

I could observe a visible change in his behavior. He was much relaxed and willing to talk about where I was going, which bus I was going to board, etc. We reached the destination before time. I asked him to come and have some snacks and tea if he wanted, on which he agreed easily. I asked him what he would like to have, “Samosas” he replied happily. While having snacks and tea he kept on looking after my luggage and the bus.

When I saw my bus, I gave him a hundred rupee note with a good bye. He came rushing towards me after a few moments and said, “Acche se jana beta, koi kuch de to khana mat” (Have a safe journey and do not eat anything offered by strangers)

“Me khana lekar aya hu uncle” I laughed and waved him a good bye.

He was happy without any strings attached, not because I offered him food or a few extra bucks. It was the unexpected concern or care he experienced which we often forget to show in hustles and hurries of our busy lives. We are often deeply occupied in our worries that we forget to treat a few human beings as humans and over time they too accept the treatment to be fair…

Let us do our part in making them again feel special, no matter how small or big but a moment of happiness without any strings attached… 🙂

 

You Won’t Understand…

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Photo by Charlie Foster on Unsplash

“Did you like the gifts?” he asked with curiosity.

“See, it is not possible.” She replied looking away from his pulsating and euphoric eyes.

“But…Why?” he asked with a sense of waning spirit and surprise in the eyes.

After a deafening silence of about a minute or two, he wished her good night and left.

Everyone may call her names, thinking about her as a selfish or opportunist being but nobody knew what she might have gone through while saying a NO. Sometimes, we completely miss the facts hidden between the lines. It wouldn’t have been a selfish or opportunist move indeed she would have strongly felt that she did not deserve such a pure hearted being who would be so true to her, which any girl imagines only in her fairy tale world, that she might not do justice in return. After all, he is such a special being that sometimes it all, as if, works against him…

They say “We do not fall in love with a person, we fall in love with the imagined future with that person”. Probably the future she beheld with him in that moment wasn’t the one she ever thought of and in such a discordant proposition, all she could do was a silent good bye as she knew she couldn’t explain him about the situation…

Though Lorene Cary rightly whispered: “I had not loved enough. I’d been busy, busy, so busy, preparing for future, while life floated by me, quiet and swift as a regatta”

Still, most of us are busy being busy, falling in love with imaginative future when some of the most beautiful relationships in present are dying of ignorance, carelessness and probably indifference.

Probably she too lost herself in an unending tussle between her present and the perceived future…:-)

 

 

Vibes

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Anyone who would have observed them could have easily grasped the unexpressed smiles on their faces just because of being together in the crowd. Neither of the two had a word but they were too loud that everything around them as if got blurred…

We often feel a lot stressed about expressing, communicating or conveying things perfectly to people around us while some of best and the purest form of conversations do not even require a single utterance of the word. Yes, sometimes we communicate through what I call as vibes

The aura around her was as if bringing a smile on his face that seemed to be the purest of emotions he had felt during the day and his presence in turn as if made her chip into the environment with an energy having a pinch of euphoria in it, they were actually communicating without conversing

The Rigveda defines communication as the act when the intellect of the two is in perfect synchronization. Who needs a word when such a synchronization starts to exist? We all encounter someone whose vibes are enough to bring a smile or to enhance our productivity or our involvement in the present moment with an involuntary visit to the future with no one but him/her.

These lines from the movie Barfi rightly epitomizes what communication through vibes is…

Sawali si raat ho, khamoshi ka saath ho

Bin kahe bin sune, baat ho teri meri… 

So, next time when you feel an unusual euphoria around someone, mind you, his/her vibes are already communicating 🙂

 

The Troubled Child of our Imagination

“Forrest, Life is like a chocolate box, you never know what you’ll get…” Yes, the famous conversation between a mother and her child from the movie Forrest Gump.

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“Thank you for forcing me to travel and to visit here, I missed this place so much.” She told him.

I didn’t do anything, it was your will that won over the conflict within yourself.” He replied.

Life is surrounded by so many uncertainties, which sometimes not only bewilder us but also bring forth a plethora of doubts in our mind, be it regarding a career choice, being in a right relationship or simply the routine clockwork. Most of the times majority of these doubts have no roots or base, they are something I refer to as troubled children of our imagination.

Parents are not worried about the child who is sincere but what keeps them on their toes all the time is a troubled or notorious child. Likewise, the so-called troubled child of our imagination brings with it the thoughts of anxiety, doubt, and confusion about the things that are yet to happen. “What if he’ll dump me?” What if I fail?” or even “What if I fumble everything that is going well?”

“What the troubled thought brings then”? She asked with eyes wide open.

“Worst case scenarios to all such questions.” He replied.

“But they may come true, mustn’t they”? She inquired.

“They may not. Isn’t it equally likely?” He said.

“But we never know what we’ll get, do we?” She smirked.

That is the catch, why should the unknowns be negative always?” He asked.

Agreeing to the argument she told him “Forrest’s mother actually implied this:

Forrest, Life is like a chocolate box, you never know what you’ll get unless you open the box with an excitement of the child who does not care where things unfold, else you’ll surely end up missing that spice of life which we all know as SURPRISE”

As they say “Too much analysis leads to paralysis.” Sometimes it’s better not to direct the flow but being with the flow is all that phase asks for…:)