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…:)

 

 

dependence

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Watching a toddler’s routine is something like a flashback of our own lives. They have their own problems that sometimes resemble with our problems. I am getting an opportunity to see my nephew’s daily routine for the last two days. He enjoys walking a lot holding one hand of his mother as he has his own fears of not being able to walk on his own.

Today seemed to be a rough day for him. Her mother had refused to hold his hand. She left him standing in the middle of the room with nothing to take support from and went five feet away from him. She told him to walk towards her. He was out of his comfort zone then.

He made faces, trying to persuade her to come and hold her hand. He tried to stretch his tiny hand as far as he could and made faces again and again. She had taken a firm stand not to be moved by his cute requests, she kept asking him to come to him.

Once he was sure that if he wanted to be with her he had to walk towards her. There came his first independent move, carefully looking his tiny legs taking tiny steps towards his mother. The second, the third and he reached towards her mother laughing and grabbing her tightly in his arms. He had gained a much needed confidence today that he need no one to hold him in this journey of growth.

Sometimes we are like these toddlers, thinking that we need someone always to hold our hand to learn and to grow. In other words, we undergo an unfortunate transition from constructive dependence on our closed ones to destructive overdependence on anyone and everyone.

As they say, every choice has its consequence, this destructive overdependence makes us vulnerable to people unlike the mother, instead of taking hard stands, make us believe we need them always if we want to learn and grow. In the disguise of them being the well-wishers, all that is done is fulfilment of their ulterior motives in the name of care, love and support.

Live your fears to win over your fears, the moment you start doing it, you don’t have to stick the poster in your room that reads, “I don’t want to survive, I want to live” nor do you need the so called well-wishers who only confirm your fears to be everlasting without them…

And by chance if you are lucky enough to have someone playing the Mother, unmoved by your faces, hold on to them… 😉

 

Tiny Little Things…

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It had already approached 3 AM. They were walking hand in hand when she looked at the sky filled with stars and said, “You know I always wanted this time together, all I always wished for was not those routine phone calls where the discussion often started and ended like a news bulletin but these real conversations, all I always wished for was not having an epicurean banquet but this late night coffee with you and hours of discussions over things that make us know each other, all I always wished for was not the expensive gifts but generous efforts to surprise each other, thank you for surprising me…”

He smiled and kept on walking as today, after a long time, he had the feeling of being home after a pretty long and tiring day, he was thinking it was always these tiny but beautiful gestures that mattered when he was busy making fortunes, buying gifts but not even present there to see how she looked in the last dress he gifted, or the emotions on her face after reading the letter he had sent, in fact, for all these years it was these tiny moments that knowingly or unknowingly starved for their share of fulfilment.

He asked her, “So now no expensive gifts then?”

“Off course they are there, who told you no…” She muttered. They both laughed and continued the walk, her telling him what he can gift next time and what after that and what color she avoids in dresses and et cetera and et cetera…

All that glitters…

He told them, “You would be thinking that we are going to cover advanced training in this institute. Not exactly, before you unlearn all the wrong methods and techniques in your previous training of any form…”

They all abide by him thinking advanced, top ranked institute’s trainer/teacher/guide knows better than anyone and everyone teaching or guiding elsewhere.

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They say that the real process of learning is unlearning old things and learning newer and advanced ones with time. Maybe true for some things but not all.

We attend same courses in many stages of our learning career be it education, arts, sports or any other field. Every time we attend the same course, we experience two things, either we feel disappointed or we get a whole new perspective about the topic. In today’s fast moving life, the second feeling has become rare where most of such overhyped and excellently marketed sessions end up disappointing most of us most of the time.

In one of his rare most sessions he said, “Today people impress others with their personalities but ditch others with their characters” and probably most of us have experienced this with people who impressed us with their first few impressions but disappointed us with time.

So what is the big deal? What is our loss in such scenarios?

Let us understand this by a relation. Personalities often impress, impressions evoke actions, and every action has its consequence, good or bad. When we are impressed by a false personality, we often question our old values that have so far helped us achieve whatever we have in our areas of specialization. We take actions to alter those values, those methods, those techniques and end up creating career disasters, and ultimately questioning our own abilities to achieve. Think about a legend in some point of time whose career ended in pain because of this very fact, you’ll find many.

She asked, “Shouldn’t I learn new methods then?”

He replied,” Question their authenticity first, scrutinize their sources and check their compatibility with your real strengths and values

She inquired, “So, not all the new things are worth adopting?”

“Absolutely not”, He affirmed.

“So old is gold”, She laughed. They both laughed recognizing the fact that not all the data is information and not all the new techniques are relevant to everyone…

“Choose wisely Harry, both, the teacher and the teaching” 😉

 

 

 

The Vocal Silence

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They say silence is the strongest of the conversations. Even the dumbest of the silences have time and again created chaos in the environment they persisted. As do the products have a life cycle, so do the conversations have it.

The first phase, as we all know, is Introduction, where some of the best conversations among two souls happen. A phase when the brightest of the thoughts are exchanged and both the souls go out of their way to surprise each other. A phase where plethora of stories get conceived and most of the dreams get the nourishment of what it would be like when this or that will happen type of thoughts.

The second phase, yes, the Growth, when the conversation gets deeper and richer. Deep as an abyss, wide as the two ends of horizon. The phase when most of the ideas, dreams, and future is planned. A phase when none of the two soul ever think about a moment where there is a void between the flows of thoughts. They flow seamlessly, flawlessly with the growing conversation.

As every product reaches its peak, so do the conversation, and one fine day, the Maturity, yes, the third phase arrives. The time when conversation reaches the zenith of its lifetime, the time when the lustre, the sheen, the gleam starts to signal the climax. It is this very moment when an unwanted part of the conversation takes birth, the genesis of Silence happens…

The conversing souls starts to differ in thoughts, the much needed fuel for the growth of the voids between the free flows of thoughts. Yes, the Decline silently overcasts the flow of thoughts. The vocal silences hunt the sheen carrying thoughts. They over power the conversations and what finally remains is mere sentences with superficial or no meaning and seemingly unending vocal silence everywhere.

Probably, no one want such a scary phase of silence in a once blooming conversation.

She asked, “Is there no way out?”

“Of course there is. There is always a silver lining.” He replied.

“And where is it?” She inquired.

In the extension of thoughts, in the belief that conversations matter, in the purest of their forms, in the most naked of the ways, where there is no room for those silences to get their fuel to grow. He replied.

But I do not think it can happen like it used to happen before” She doubted.

“I agree.” He nodded.

“What!” She said being amazed.

“Because, now you do not think it can, formerly you never thought why it cannot”

There was a long silence between them. Probably the beliefs were struggling to win over the vocal silence or else one of them had accepted the decline… 🙂

 

Our Untold Stories…

A photo by Florian Klauer. unsplash.com/photos/mk7D-4UCfmg

The buzz word in town these days is nothing but the biopic of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, “Dhoni: the untold story”. The movie depicts not only the success story of Captain Cool but also conveys a few lessons worth remembering.

Each one of us has plethora of untold stories associated with our life’s ups and downs and they are equally inspiring at times as do the stories of successful achievers, then why many of us could not convert them into big ones?  This is probably what you read between the lines while going through “Dhoni…”  It is about how desperately you want to achieve something. He kept on fighting with his inner self, a safe govt. Job or the risk filled journey of his passion. Most of us lose this fight on every month’s date 1, when the paycheck gets credited in our accounts and we get sufficient to defer this question, at least till the paycheck allows us to.

How many of us are ready to board the train Mahi boarded from that platform that day?

Another beautifully message-woven conversation depicted in the movie comes when Sakshi and Mahi had a discussion over phone;

She: “My world is not like your world, nor it is as big as your world…”

He: “My world is as small as a cricket kit bag…”

I couldn’t think of a better way to convey the message, “Think Small, Think Focused” His world was not what we saw, his world was what he saw, only the cricket kit and cricket, rest all followed. We are so busy being busy in things that do not even matter to our lives that we often lose the track of what and why we started for. Currently the irony is that our education system also tells us to go general and not to go specific, our managers want to go for everything, and our engineers want to go for everything and who not.

How many of us are ready to go focused and to go specific in our lives?

Once my mentor told us in a session that “90% of the world is a victim of  people who impress with their personalities but ditch with their characters”.

Believe me this world is in scarcity of not the engineers, not the managers, not any politician or any celebrity, rather it is in dire need of one class of people “The Passionate Ones”, It has 100% placement records too.

Let your Untold Story come to the world, who knows how many exceptional stories are waiting to be sprouted by yours…

What the darkness hides…

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It feels it was just yesterday when we were attending one of his cherished sessions and he suddenly said these beautiful lines: “We are never afraid of darkness, we are afraid of what darkness hides.”

So true these words seem to me from time and again that I often wonder what we feel as our topmost worries, our struggles, our stress and our pain has already been felt by so many before us! The only difference is that we are unaware of all those experiences of others.

This life is too short to do all the mistakes and consequently learn from those mistakes. Is there no way out to see what the darkness, of not knowing, hides? Well, most of us feel there isn’t any, especially when we are burdened by the thoughts which create dilemma, the consequences of the choices we would be making or when the incentives of taking an unpleasant action are higher.

She told me that she always lacked the required thoughts at the right time, while doing presentations.

I told her “Read.”

“Well I do not feel like reading.” She responded.

Was she being lazy while saying that? Are we lazy when we procrastinate on important things to be done?

Well, there is depth involved, laziness contributes to only a fraction of it, the real culprit lies in the darkness of what we call as System 1 in the words of Daniel Kahneman. Interestingly, our brain has two departments that perform the decision making task, the System 1 and the System 2. (Refer to my previous blog, The Quest Got Deeper) System 1 as we know works on impulsive reactions and seemingly easier choices among the available choices, and System 2 is the cognitive factory where critical thinking is done before any decision is made.

Remember while studying, when you have two hard subjects to choose from, you end up watching Game of Thrones. Wait, where did this third option come from? Here lies the silver lining, and your guess is right, it is System 1, your impulsive mind in action. Daniel Kahneman says, as per widely conducted research, that when our System 2 is loaded with hard choices in life, when it is burdened cognitively, our senses are driven by System 1 , which is a fairly naïve controller of our senses and yes it has a sweet tooth, it avoids responsible behavior.

So, the darkness wasn’t hiding laziness as a culprit, instead it was hiding a whole new perspective of how the decision making powerhouses work!

She asked again, “How can I know all this?”

“Read” I replied again.

They say, “Unless we do our own mistakes we do not learn from other’s mistakes.” Agree, but we cannot afford to do them throughout the life, probably because there are millions of mistakes to be done and we have only a few years. Thus learning from some of the greatest authors is what has separated men from boys and wise from the naïve so far.

Choice is yours, who rules the iron throne, System 1 or the wiser among the two, System 2…