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… 😉

 

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childhood 2.0

This summer has been special since its onset, at least for a bunch of 25 years plus scholars of our batch. It is a time when the campus neither has other scholars from management courses nor does it have any eatery or mess facility in the premises. You are literally on your own!

 

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The rhythm of swinging bats, the bashing sound of the tennis ball, the thrill of the limited over cricket matches , the same customized rules of gully cricket which no cricket bible has ever taught us but every one of us have adopted them as the laws of jungle are unanimously adopted by every member there, the commentary on each ball, the thirsty throats waiting to gulp a bucket of cold water after the match and the endless discussions on each match after they are over, are a few of the innumerable things that have bonded us to our childhood till now.

Yes of course, we are living it again! The tennis balls hit the hand like a bullet, and I remember it was 10 years back when my hands could hold those bullets from almost anywhere. Today I was 17 again trying to shout out these past 10 years carefree, no mobile for approximately 3-4 hours, undeterred by the shining sun, in the sweaty dusty slippers and clothes I was living the childhood 2.0.

So, What is the big deal about it?

Today we are literally blocked up and cluttered by innumerous anxieties and seemingly urgent tasks around us that almost abuse our carefree childlike needs and harass our inner being.

Today we are driven by the external drivers more than the inner drives and passion enhancing moments.

He asked his peer,” Won’t it be fun if we all care for our inner drives over external burdens of monetary and societal needs to be at par with others?”

But who has the guts to listen to his heart, lies don’t work there” He replied.

They picked up the bats and shouted for the new toss, ignoring the realities of the life that had just flashed in their eyes… as if they were asking for a few more minutes to meet with their 17 again…

That’s a reason why everyone silently in their heart love these ultimate lines by Jagjit Singh:

“Ye daulat bhi le lo, ye shauhrat bhi le lo..

Bhale chin lo mujhse meri jawani..

Magar mujhko lauta do bachpan ka saawan..

Wo kagaz ki kashti, wo barish ka pani..

Wo kagaz ki kashti, wo barish ka pani…”

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…

The Pursuit of Real Happiness

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/4K2lIP0zc_k

There is a saying that a girl dances devotedly only when she is really happy within. Isn’t it true for all the living creatures the Mother Earth conceives? It surely is. What makes us happy when we feel that we are happy? Is the feeling of happiness anonymous or it has a link with what we do, or more precisely how we do it? There is certainly a link behind it and the answer lies in the how of the things.

After the submission of the project report, he was happier than he usually seemed to be. I asked him was it the relief of it being over or was it the feeling how it got over, to which both of us exchanged smiles… We both knew it was the feeling of giving the best shot and not just getting rid of it. I think we just discovered the answer!

The girl is euphoric when she dances or she dances when she feels euphoric, has everything to do with the devotion she puts in the act, the purity of the efforts that melts down all the hurry to just complete the act, indeed flowing with the act and enjoying the rhythm of it all. I think this is what makes her performance flawless in the purest of the forms we know. She knows that she has done justice with her expectations, she knows that she has put her soul in the act, she knows that it couldn’t have been better than this and she knows that she mean it when she knows it all…

Happiness is all about doing justice with your expectations. Happiness is all about being true to your soul and happiness is all about synchronization of the feelings between your external You and your Internal You…

See, who is responsible for your happiness, it is only You who really is. 🙂

 

Elementary Watson…

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To his disappointment again, Dr. Watson was thinking how Sherlock could think of all that was the key differentiator. Disappointment grew when the reply from Sherlock came, “Its elementary Watson. You see, I observe.”

Whenever in life our material self starts to feel complacency, the inner self smirks. If your inner self often responds sarcastically to your current choices, thanks to it, it is on duty. We often work the hardest to reach certain milestones which serves as the carriers of ours to the highway of our journey ahead and during these pit stops comes the time when we start losing the sense of direction. Sitting long enough at a pit stop ultimately hazes the windscreen through which the vision of the journey ahead is recognized.

Whenever we make promises to ourselves, to others or to our commitments, the person who closely listens and writes them down in his memory book is our inner self. Our external self is so naïve that it forgets the promises it makes in the situations like “I’ll not let this happen ever again, if I get saved this time”, “I’ll stop procrastinating from tomorrow”, “I’ll not drink from tomorrow” and the most popular one “This is not the way, I’ll study regularly from next term..” but someone close and entirely opposite in nature, the inner self, without a word smirks and destroys the castles of complacency filing the ambience with guilt that lasts the longest…

People often say, “I don’t know why my mood is the way it is…” It is this very reason of dissonance or conflicts between what they had promised and what they ended up doing to themselves. Is there any middle path? It smirks again…

I know why it smirked. It is aware that I am aware of its reason of smirking…

I repeated with it, the inner self, “God lies in detail…” Yes, “Devils lie in details, God lies in detail...”

Absolutely true that what separates Men from Boys and Women from Girls is how well they interact with their inner self and the less is the dissonance between what was promised and what is being perceived creates the differentiator we know as Self Assurance.

“I saw in details while she saw in scope. Not seeing the scope is why I am here and she is not. I took each element separately and never looked to see that they never did fit together properly”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

Daag Acche Hai…

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It had already started raining when we were having tea at the cafeteria. Having finished our brews, we decided to walk in the rain. My friend Ashu was trying to save himself from the tiny but piercing rain drops when I impulsively jumped into one of the debris to splash all its content out. In a New York minute he and I were painted with mud, sand, water and what not. Now he could imagine what my next move was going to be. He tried to run away and…. Splashhh! Second, then third and till our destinations were reached I had gathered plentiful of mud and sand with incomparable joy unlike anything in the last few years… I was as if living my childhood in that moment all over again…

I remember my mentor use to say, “Education numbs the mind”. Truly, as we grow mature, or as we supposedly get educated about innumerable dos and don’ts in daily life, all our childlike activities seem childish to us and to other educated folks around us.

Parties are getting increasingly boring, outings are getting outwardly formal, and to add insult to the injury, now a days our free laughter have been replaced with refined and well trained smiles. To sum up, among so many mature and educated thoughts, the childlike carefree and impulsive behavior feels the same as a loner feels in a late night disco party, and thus it does the same as does the loner, it eventually leaves the premises after a few formal exchanges…

After a long time, I crossed roads with my childlike me. I am happy that he quickly recognized me and some joyful and euphoric exchanges happened in that same old rain… Today, I felt the rain, unlike the last few rains when all I could think was “how much time would the jeans take to get dry if I went out in the rain…”

Go out, seek where you had left your childlike You, when you did.

I told Ashu, Daag acche hai… 😀