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…)

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…”

 

 

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…:-)

 

 

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…

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. 🙂

 

Everything will fall in place…

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Changes are always desired until they happen. Often our mind challenges the status quo of our life and there is an internal rebel for change. Our mind makes us question everything we are doing until we are convinced that our incumbent state needs overhauling. Consequently, we start lacking in confidence and then comes the comparison trap, comparison of our current state with anyone and everyone around us. We feel everyone is doing better that us, “his job is better than mine”, “I too should have opted for economics than arts”, just to name a few. This vicious circle is never ending nor our desires for change, until they happen.

The picture is not as gloomy as it seems, sometimes exaggerated story serves as a wakeup call. Changes are good if one perceives them a bit differently. When I left my job to join my desired and always sought after course in operations management from one of the eminent institutions in India, I started questioning my decision the day I attended the first lecture. It wasn’t about institute or quality of education rather it was my mind that started comparing my life at the job, established relationships and familiarity with the job at hand with the unknown environment, never before read subjects and doubts about anybody wanting to come and talk to me. I even thought, “Do I belong here?” (You know, the comparison trap and the vicious circle, it was on duty then).

I was sitting in the induction the very next morning and listening to the former chairman and professor, he was sharing his college day’s stories. He said when he joined IIT Bombay in his engineering years, he asked himself “Do I really belong here, aren’t everyone around me is much smarter than who I am, aren’t they so cool?” I felt as if he was looking inside my heart and telling my own story. He said, “I self-assured myself that every bit of me belong here because I competed with several thousand and secured this place not by chance but by working hard for it… Then I never questioned my worth, rather I questioned my goals… Calm head, warm heart and busy hands with self-assurance is all it takes to sail through in any phase of life…  ”

I had my answers. Although, it is easier said than done for me but now all I am doing is embracing this change and learning to sail through. The journey is new and definitely long, so many stranger sailors are accompanying me, everyone has his own story, but as they say:

Strangers are just family who are yet to be known…”

Embrace the changes, they are the part of unsolved puzzle. Someone has rightly said, One day every piece will fall in place, till then laugh at the confusions, live for the moment and know that, Everything Happens for a Reason… 🙂