28 November, 2009

What inspires me the most.. ?

One of the question I keep asking myself is what is it that really inspires me and keeps me going?
And always I end up at the same answer. It's the people. The interesting people that I meet almost everyday. The old ones whom I speak to on a regular basis, the new ones whom I hope to speak on a regular basis.



Recently, I gave a talk at a Design meet, and I met a few really interesting people, who in turn thought that my talk was interesting, and hence I was an interesting person, and hence we should stay in touch. Fair enough. I have realized (actually long time back) that humor and stories are the best way to gather the attention of your audience in the presentations. I have tried to do the same.

Invariably at the different workshops at the colleges that I have conducted, I have met people of different kinds. Some are people who are more interested in knowing about the Indian Culture, which I am so proud of. So I go all lengths to tell them the facts, stories and interesting things about India. Then there are people who are interested in knowing about my Design Philosophy, my photography ideas and I go on and on with it.

There never really can be an end to it, but thank god for the time limit that they have. :)
Of late I have been looking more into the integration of design and photography at a level where it can create a social impact. And the images makes the presentations compelling.

So then comes, what do I seek inspiration from them about? Well, everything I must say. I admire them for what they are. For whatever position they are in, and whatever efforts they have taken to get there.

Their stories inspire me :)

On my part, I just try to ensure the most basic of things.
How can I say something that can make them smile.

It's only then that I know that I have been successful.

18 November, 2009

Oh the Amazing Life....Cheers to you!

As an entrepreneur, everyday is a test of your perseverance. And I am always amazed at the incidents that happen everyday in the middle of the chaos, and brings a smile on to your face. It's then that you realize that yes, life is beautiful. Hardships are just a matter of time and things will fall into place and all will be merry.

In the middle of the chaos, you meet new people. Some to remember, some to forget. Some old lost friend who values the things you are doing, and someone can only dream of.

Funny incidents happen everyday, and I am really glad that they do happen. It gives me a lot more opportunity to smile (not that I do that less anyway :P ).

Here's a toast to life with my new favorite drink.

A peg of vodka with Lime Cordial, Soda and sprinkled chat masala ! :)

Refreshing.. addictive.. and nicely enjoyed in the company of friends!
Just how life should be!

13 November, 2009

Udd jaayega .. Hans Akela ...



उड जायेगा हंस अकेला-2
जग दर्शन का मेला ।।धृ.।।
जैसे पात गिरे तरुवर के
मिलना बहुत दुहेला
न जानु किधर गिरेगा
लगया पवन का रेला।।

जब होवे उमर पूरी
जब छुटेगा हुकम हुजूरी
यम के दूत बडे मजबूत
यम से पडा झमेला ।।

दास कबीर हर के गुण गावे
वा हर को परन पावे
गुरु की करनी गुरु जायेगा
चेले की करनी चेला ।।

I just love this song.. and can listen to this for long!!!

11 November, 2009

Time to Slow down

....And take things as they come along..
...One by One.



What are the things that please me?
Am I doing those things?
Why not?

Whats stopping me?
Nothing !
Just mental blockade.

Slow down...
Take a break from the computer.
Switch off your phone.

Slow down.
Enjoy the beauty around you.

I am going to do just that.

09 November, 2009

Writer's Block...

Or just not feeling to share the state of the whirlpool that my mind is at present.

A zillion things have happened.
Another zillion is on the cards.
A broken relationship.

Ego Clashes.
Hearing out hearts pour it out.
Lost Opportunities.

Self Belief.
Dejection.
Depression.

Spreading the message of Keep Smiling.
Letting go of things.
Counseling Friends.

Heavy Rains.
Gloomy days.
City Magic.

Little bit of Travel.
Successful participants in a Workshop.
A visit to the Beach.

Lack of work...
Rusted minds...
Need for Sleep.

11 October, 2009

If...

Clarity

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Just been a bit on the low side for the past few days, over some personal losses. I think this is a time for introspection. I hope to come out of this strong and with more clarity.

30 September, 2009

Lucky to be alive..

One of the most interesting people I have met have been at the places I have gone to study. IIT was no different and it has it's set of interesting people. God was one of them. He is one of the most interesting person that I have met.

A few days ago, God had given me his bike as he was going out of the country for a few months.
And a guy and his gang tried to rob and God's bike a few days ago. Needless to say the experience was scary. And whatever you may think, I did feel tensed for a while even after the incident was over. On hindsight, I think that it was not because I was getting robbed, but because it was God's bike at risk.

I had parked the Avenger, opposite to the Jayadeva Hospital here in Bangalore, and had gone to the Airtel office for some work. This guy, must be in his late twenties, little bit overweight, unshaven face, and at the first impression looked decent. I was just getting to my bike when this person approached me from back, and said hello. First I thought that he was the guy collecting money for the parking space. His appearance looked just like that. I started to take out the 5 rupees change that I had in my pant's front pocket. But before I could do that, he said, I am from ICICI bank. I then thought that he is come to take my details for a credit card. I was not too sure about that as I did not see any forms with him.

He then said something that made me stop and take attention. He said, that I have not paid the EMI for the bike for 3 months, and so I should give him the bike keys!

I was like wtf! Are you serious? I know that God had taken the bike on a full down payment.

The discussion continued for around 30 minutes during which the guy shouted at me, for running away with Bank's money, for not paying up on time, and also tried to snatch the bike keys.

I called up my other friend and explained him the situation. And at this point of time the guy tried to snatch my mobile phone by saying that give me the phone, I will talk to your friend.

Denying that move of his, he then played another card. Take me to the police station on your bike! Ok.. I had enough at this time! The last thing I was going to do was to offer him a ride on the bike, and let him attack me from behind!

I shouted on the road for help, at some people passing by. I told them to please call the police, this guy is trying to rob me. But the guy said something to them in Kannada, and they left. And with that also went my little bit of hope that I had.

After a while he seemed to give up and requested me to drop me to the auto on the other side of the road. He pointed to a specific auto, and I think there were other people in his gang.

That was the heights! I mean comeon, how lazy can you get! Finally he started to leave, but not before one last attempt at taking my bike keys, my mobile, and my goggles that were hanging in my shirt.

Finally before he left, I gave a word of advise. Please get authentic papers before you even attempt something like this. Else I would just think that you are a person who is trying to rob me.

My friend on the phone had scared me, saying that these gangs follow you after you leave, and rob you wherever you stop. So with this scary thought in my min, I rode my bike at a speed in the rain much higher than I would normally do, but such was the ask of the hour. I reached my other friend's office and must have seen back atleast 50 times in that short ride to check if someone was following me. What I was scared about was the fact that the guy kept putting his hand in the jacket of his. I shivered, but still stayed calm. Not once did I raise my voice and kept talking softly.

Thankfully no one did follow me. I waited at my friend's office and then got back home safe.

I thank God my friend and the almighty.

27 September, 2009

Stay away from the Cynics

That is precisely the advise that I got when I decided that I am going to be a Design Entrepreneur.

As if being an Entrepreneur was not enough, I wanted to be a Design Entrepreneur. I think that being a design entrepreneur is more challenging as one has to deal with issues of subjectivity in the opinions of the critics. In a tech startup what matters most is whether your idea is working properly or not. In a design startup, the difference in opinions always happen as design is such a subjective field.

And I think that one of the things that every entrepreneur has to face is the cynical people. In other words these are the pessimists. I have already written about them in other posts before, but I still hate it when I meet someone again, inspite of not wanting to run into them. Well you can't help it. They are everywhere. And if that vibes of cynicism comes from your very own home and from your close circle of your friends, there is a huge chance that it will shake you from within. It is not only difficult to gain their confidence without an element of skepticism, but also impossible to have them change their views. In such a situation, you tend to lose the self confidence, and just look for that one person in the world who would stand for you and by you no matter what. A person who can believe in you.

So my advise to others like me who are starting out on their own, please stay away from the cynics.

24 September, 2009

People Come and Go ... all for a reason.

The most interesting thing that exists on this planet is the 6 billion plus unique souls. Yes, we the people.

People come into our lives for a reason. And then they leave for a reason too. As they say, everything is planned. Everything has a larger picture in which it is a close fit. And more often than not, we are unable to see this larger picture. But then, seeing this larger is no easy task. One has to be at a position way above the tasks that compose the bigger picture. It's like saying that you cannot appreciate the beauty of the earth, unless you see it from outer space.

So what brings me to this post. This is primarily to pause and reflect on the kinds of people and the interactions that I have been having with them. While there are a few that I dislike, I will not put up anything against them here. And also there will be no naming of anybody, even if it is by changing their names.

There are people you identify with and your frequency matches so well that you are comfortable sharing your thoughts with them. You tend to open up like no other person, and are most comfortable around them. It is indeed surprising that many a times this happens to be a close friend. And more often than not this person is from the different sex. And when things go to a position where you are married to someone else, there is a problem. Having this new person accept the same level of comfort is difficult.

Some people come into your lives, just to make you feel special, and they will do all that it takes to make you feel wanted. And then suddenly, all of a sudden, they are gone. This could happen due to new people coming into respective lives, or due to some misunderstandings that arise due to the increase in feelings for each other. Some relationships are best left at the friendship level to be best understood and appreciated. So once they are gone, there is no trace of what they came for, for what they decided to go.

What do you do in such a case? Fret over their disappearance or be fortunate for what they have done for you ? Could it be an extreme case of letting go. Letting go of the fact that the person is not going to be there around you to make you feel special. Do you fall back to what you were? Or do you stay in that elated position that the presence of the other person put you into. I think it is the later. Anything short of that would do immense injustice to the person who left. It will not be an honest appreciation of the time they spent with you.

The ways of this world are unique. And the people in it make it all the more unique. People come and go ... all for a reason. In most of the cases people fail to understand this reason. If it was so easy to understand it, people would be able to get over relationships faster. There would be lesser amounts of depression and lesser fretting over spilled milk.



I love this above song. everytime I listen to it, I understand that people are unique. And dealing with their uniqueness in its best possible way is what makes life so interesting.

21 September, 2009

On getting a year older

I recently celebrated my birthday. Thank you all who wished and thought about me, even if it happened only for a minute :)

I like birthdays. They give you the time to reflect on the way things have progressed in the past year. It is a moment of introspection and retrospection.

The happy times and the not so happy times come to the mind. The quarrels and the misunderstandings. The letting go of things and the holding on to the things you believe in.

On reflection I think that the past year has been good.

18 September, 2009

Oh the life of an entrepreneur

No other way ...

He: I hear that there are two long weekends coming up.
Me: Really? When?
He: Well one is this weekend and the other is the coming weekend. What plans ya? Where are you going? I know you travel a lot, so where are you going? Tell Tell..

Umm.. first of all tell me .. what day is today .. Friday??? Oh man ! I was thinking that it was Thursday ! And long weekend? Well I do not know what is a weekend.. Long weekend is a far fetched thing.

Welcome to the world of startups and being an entrepreneur. Where everyday is a goal day and there are no practice days.

12 September, 2009

I'm loving it

Life is getting interesting, exciting and unpredictable every day.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of pessimism that can arise out of it, through many who surround me. But I try to stay away from them.

Whatever be the case... I am loving it nevertheless.

09 September, 2009

30 August, 2009

Emotional Turbulence

Being a documentary photographer is tough emotionally. You have to be always at a level in which you connect with your subjects. Documentaries would generally revolve around people and his surroundings. The people make the documentaries and the things around him gives a lot of character to the shot.

Today morning I had gone to this shoot, at the market area opposite to the Majestic bus stand, in Bangalore. It was after a long time that I was shooting streets and people in their daily life. We had started shooting around 7:30 am, so the light was good (though God uncle was playing switch on , switch off, and threw in some clouds as a challenge).

There are moments that makes your heart cry out in despair. One of the subjects that I spotted was this traveler (he had a travel bag with him) who was sleeping at the footsteps of a closed shop.


I took a couple of standing shots but did not quite feel the essence of the shot. And then to explore the subject further, I bent down and sat, and tried a different composition. My camera focused on his feet.

I saw something interesting.
I started counting.
1,2,3, .....9.
I stopped there.
Stood there dumbfounded.
Without a word to speak out.
Without any thought in my head.
Simple point blank.

Could I just shout out loud?
Could I come to terms with that there are millions who go through constant pain everyday in their lives. So much so that it becomes a part of them, and they still seek to find happiness in it.

But then as i said, being a documentary photographer is a lot about controlling your emotions and moving on. Moving on in the hope that you will find something to cheer you up. Something that will cheer you up.



Initially I took a picture of only the guy on the right, and then the girl on the left started crying and went and complained to her mom, saying that I did not take picture of her. So her mother requested me to take her picture. I felt really bad about it. I obliged, and had one of most beautiful 15 minutes of the day. A moment that was full of genuine smiles, and innocence. The girl on the left, was then at her smiling best.

Still afresh from the last night's accident, this moment of joy was incomparable to anything else. It was priceless. It was a great thing to set the mood for the day.

These are just few of the emotions that I go through every time I go out to shoot. I still go out, no matter what. :)

26 August, 2009

Apprehensiveness

Doubt and apprehension go hand in hand.
With the element of doubt comes apprehensiveness.
It arises out of the absence of talking. When matters are not spoken out and are just presumed based on some unverified facts, apprehensiveness arises.
When people do not understand what you are doing, doubt arises.
When you do not make an effort to explain to them and get things clarified, then doubt arises.
So in order to remove the apprehensiveness, the element of doubt must be removed. And by removed, I mean removed completely.
One of the way of doing this is to let things go.
But letting go of things should not mean that one is in the position of compromise always.

The problem with me is that I trust what people say easily. I tend to see the possibility of a thing happening before I realize it could fail. First realization gives me happiness and the desire to work hard, in order to ensure that it succeeds. The second realization makes me learn something new. And then I move on.

It has often led to problematic situations. I try to avoid the element of doubt. Maybe the times have changed.

24 August, 2009

Conversations...

Have you ever wished that we had a 30 hour day?

Office Hours

That was one of the questions that we discussed over the last weekend. We had an interesting discussion around it. She said no. I thought otherwise. She explained why it was important to manage time in a way that would allow one to do things that one likes. One should do the best in what one has available and its the same with time. Even the greatest of minds had the same time. Fair enough. But what about the people who like to dream and are always occupied with some thought or the other and always are in a short of time to do things (indirectly I think I was referring to myself :P) Well simple. I should learn time management.

The above question led to discussions on multiple other things like what is enjoyment, what are one's beliefs that makes one feel a sense of happiness, what are the values that one likes in the US and in India and what one does not like. So about India, I appreciate the family values that one has, and the fact that I am more comfortable making conversations with people here. About US, I loved the fact that people enjoy life there.

On the on discussion on enjoyment, I was in my usual preaching self. I said, I would like to mention and stress that enjoyment does not mean that one has to drink or smoke or go wild in a party. Enjoyment can come from the most basic of things. So like in the US, if people get a sense of enjoyment in going for jogging, they do at all times, no matter rain, snow or heat. Similarly if I like going and sitting on the beach with friends and just chit chatting, that is my enjoyment. It's a philosophy which I have learnt from "Madhushaala- by Harivansh Rai Bachchan" (You should see my short film on it here if you have not yet done so. ) and I live my life by it.

The rather surprising discussion had me think over a lot of things. And most importantly it gave me a reason to introspect after a long time. Of all the things, I wanted to reflect back on my stay here so far.

It's been a couple of days after 3 months, since I got back from the US and a lot has changed in that three months. Do I miss the US? Have I readily accepted the place, India that is and started living in the way that I foresaw it, when I was coming back. Am I doing those things that I had initially set out to. And then another friend asked me, do I regret my decision? To which I replied not even in the tiniest bit I regret that decision.

So I may not be completely doing what I set out to do, but yes I am getting there. I have been drinking the chai from the road side stalls, I have been freelancing on work that interests me, I have been working tirelessly on my startup with my friend. What I have not been doing as much as I wanted is photography. But then I remember what a very reputed photographer had said me. Photography is in your blood. It will never die off. If you are not shooting for a while, your talent will not go away. It's best to utilize that time for other things that on a higher priority list. So for example, the startup work along with the freelance work. Freelancing on design assignments in important as I am in real need for the finance to invest in my startup.

There is always an element of doubt that remains, when one does things that are out of the ordinary. There are always people who ask you a lot of questions and always doubt whether you will succeed. But then there are some people (and I truly thank them for existing), who appreciate your moves from the core of their hearts.

The starting date for the design startup keeps getting postponed due to conditions that were inevitable. Being just two of us has had us look into practically every aspect of starting one's own company. Photographs are followed by analysis, economics with accounts, HR management to getting together the finance, the infrastructure build up to the building the brand identity. You name it and we have been tirelessly working on it. Needless to say there is just so much that we could do in a 24 hour period.

And hence that was the reason for the 30 hour question.

Oh and btw I liked the girl in context. Based on the discussion we had, I thought she was pretty high on intellect. Is a national level net ball player (which i am told is little like basketball), has a strong interest in finance while pursuing her MBA, is an ardent SRK fan(like me) and a very charming smile. (Maybe the smiled killed me :P)

:)

Life is good.

08 August, 2009

You are being watched...

When I was a kid, I was often told not to do something wrong, as there was someone up there who is watching you. This something, someone up there was called God. So you were liable to be punished the moment you did anything wrong. In-spite of all this, we (did not really have a core group of mischiefs, but still) always ended up doing something wrong. By wrong, it could mean teasing someone on the basis of their status, getting into fights over a run in a cricket match, etc.

Along the path of life, I read 1984 by Orwell. For an instance I did think that what if there was a life, where Big Brother was actually watching you. Watching all the moves, all your actions.
Somehow of late I have been having this feeling that this kind of a world does exist. Only that its form is in the form of an online media.

I think we are to blame ourselves too. There is a certain sense of responsibility that we seem to have taken upon our shoulders. That responsibility is of letting everyone know our daily lives, our hourly activities.It is in a way , we saying the world, come, see me. Be my big brother. Be the eyes that are constantly watching me.

I ask myself. For what joy. Does it do any good at all? All that I know is that often people come to know of things that I would have not wanted them to know. And it does not only work one way. I am also constantly trying to follow what others are writing. What others are feeling. Whom they are interacting with. Seriously? Do I really have that much time?

Welcome to the world of the e-stalker. Someone out there who is following your every move.

04 August, 2009

Testing Times....

I am sure everyone goes through this phase in life. So this is definitely not something new to me either. But I realize that every later one a bit tougher than the previous one. May be the experience of having made through the past one reduced the intensity of the ones that I had made through.

These times often happen to come from different sources. More often than not, the sources are either the work or the personal life. And in almost all cases they both tend to intermingle and hence make a mess of things.

Can someone please help me before I go mad?

:-|

29 July, 2009

Just when...

I thought I was getting into the mood of things.. I fall flat.
Not that I have never been sick before, but this has to be the worst of them all.
But thanks to some dear friends here.. I am well.. and recovering well.

It is funny on such instances you reflect upon your life the most. The happy days.. the not so happy ones.. the ones that made you smile.. the ones that made you frown. It is also during these periods that you reflect upon people. Ever wondered why you are interested in someone for a while and then all of a sudden you lose interest? Maybe it is the 'I Don't Care' or the 'Go to Hell' attitude. But whatever it is, it allows you to look beyond what's apparent upfront.

I often wonder why people are hypocrites. They say one thing on your face and then do the other behind your back. It is these sects of people that I despise the most. In such cases I just make a note in my mind and simply move on.

25 July, 2009

Staring into the horizon

straight..
with unblinked eyes.
rays of hope appear.
you smile.
a dark could appears.
someone.something.somewhere.
a dream could be lost.
shattered.
tears of sorrow.
a broken heart.
desires flushed.
a new ray.
hope rekindled.
thoughts.
mind games.
assumption of the false.
a realization.
...
....
verity of the solitude.

24 July, 2009

Believing in oneself

I think that the most important thing for an entrepreneur is to believe in himself or herself. One has to realize that the person himself / herself is the biggest source of inspiration and motivation. It is the self confidence that matters hugely if not completely.

I have been a social entrepreneur by virtue of the child education project for close to three months now and as mentioned in my previous post, am on the verge of starting another venture which is the design firm. It is totally unthinkable if I were to not have the self belief.

The good thing about being an entrepreneur of any kind is that it gives you this immense self satisfaction. The satisfaction of trying to fulfill a dream. It allows one to be at peace with the soul. The conflicts that arise out of doing something that does not please the soul is unbearable. And so one by virtue of putting your heart, effort, time and money into doing things that one likes, one creates a pathway to fulfill that dream. And in that process satisfy the soul.

The not so good part about being an entrepreneur is that one is always short of time. Time management hence becomes the key. There is always the thought that a minute could be utilized for something productive. For making that one phone call that could make things, or that one mail that could strike a deal for a project. And the wish that there was more than just 24 hours in a day.

Being a social entrepreneur has its own set of challenges and limitations and I think that it is more challenging than any other kind. This I primarily think is due to the basic nature of humans to feel secure. And call it unfortunate, but money happens to be the prime culprit of making people insecure.

The other thing that is required is trust. There is a lot of trust that one has to have. Firstly in oneself, then in the partners, your family and friends and the close circle of people who believe in you and finally the trust in the almighty.

Building Trust...

I do not go to temples often, but I do know that the trust is there in him. I do not fear failure. I know that everyone fails. There have been innumerable instances of things not going the way that it is planned. But then only when one has tasted failure, they realize the sweetness of success.

A college professor often said 'Fail Early, Fail Often.' I think I have stuck by those words.

19 July, 2009

Of Mangoes, Generation Gap and a Break

It has been a really long time since I wrote here. I guess it was a part of the break that I was so dying to take after the busy schedule that was there in the past few months. Thus staying away from the internet and being at home was good in some sense.

But unfortunately, even in that break I was traveling quite a bit. I was in Delhi, Kolkata, at home, Pune, at other relatives places, and meeting some old and some new friends. In all case it was a welcome break. Though in hindsight it turns out to be only a break from the internet. The break by no means meant that I was sleeping and taking rest. There was always something or the other that was happening. The pleasant part was that I was taking care of things that mattered most. Like spending time with my grandparents, visiting my native village, and most importantly visiting the schools that are a part of the Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me project, and now an integral part of my life. The joys on the children's faces on seeing me is something that makes me want to go back there again.

During this period I also attended two marriages, for which I also did the photography. Both were unique in their own way and I had fun in both of them. In the process, met new people, and made newer friends. .

My dad's garden (I still like to call it his garden, as its all due to his efforts that the trees are bearing fruit today) has mango, litchee, guava, pomegranate, papaya trees in it. The best part of the break was that I was in the season when the mango trees were laden with fruit. Mango happens to be my favorite fruit. And when the fruit is from a tree in your own garden, so much so that you pluck it afresh and have it, the taste is better a few hundred times! Thus a day used to be incomplete if there was no mango served in either of the meals. My knowledge on mangoes increased during this period and I am now able to identify the variety just by looking and smelling them.

Now that I am done with my masters, the next institution that I will register in is going to be marriage. Although there is ample time for that. Thank god for the crazy things I am doing, or have thought of doing over the next few months / years, the degree of uncertainty has risen. Coming to which, I should let you know that my design consultancy will be soon registered and that will be another dream being fulfilled. Oh I so love the power of dreams! So Marriage is another year and half away if not more. However if one has to go by the words of people back home, they could have had it done in the next few months! Maybe I escaped this time. One of the reasons why I did not visit too many local people whom I used to meet earlier, was this fear of being asked this question.

It is in this concept of the arranged marriages, that I feel the generation gap the most. Parents I feel should understand that times have changed. They also have to understand that their kids are not in the same location, setting, and environment that they are in. The least they can do is to understand things from a logical point of view and think without the notion of the society and their pressure. Whenever there is an absence of logic and the acceptance of the norms which are improper in the child's understanding, there is bound to be tension. Things go from bad to worse. However, there is the hope that things will change.

The other day a friend (and a senior at college) suggested that I blog / write about my life. This he mentioned after reading a short biography about me and the things that I have done and am doing. While I know this was in relation with the child education project mainly, but there are other things too that I think would be worth sharing. The decisions that I have been taking, the things I have been investing my time in, happens to motivate a lot of people. This blog therefore will be more personal now, and reflections on the journeys that I take. Its all about the learnings that happens everyday, from everywhere.

Will be more regular now. (Hopefully).

13 June, 2009

A busy balance

In the olden days, or rather the fairy tale days, the lives of the kings and queens were said to be in some of their pets. So like a king's life would be in a parrot, and if the pet died, the king also died. I remember as a kid, I always used to be fascinated with these stories. I also used to invariably feel sad at the death of the pet and the person whose life was dependent on it.

Of late I have been feeling this busy busy life. In one way I think that I am keeping myself busy to avoid thinking on issues that I do not want to spend time thinking. I find myself in a scenario where there are so many things that I have started and I feel like its draining me of all my energies. All the things seem to be important and I have started it because I had a keen interest in. As a result of this, I have been spending way too much time on my laptop.

A few friends have started to tease me on similar lines of the story of the kings and the pet. The pet in this scenario is my laptop. I feel something missing if I do not have it. I feel paralyzed if I am unable to check mails / connect with people / or chat with them.

And the funny part is that I know this is WRONG.

Getting on with being a freelancer just adds to the woes. There is always the desire to do more. There is always the eagerness to meet newer people in hopes of getting more projects. There is always a way to find an excuse or a reason to be on the laptop.

Before I left the US, a friend did warn me of the excessive burnout situation that I am landing myself into. I was aware of it but had felt that I would manage it. However I am not too sure if i am being able to do it.

I have to find a way out of this. I have to restate to myself that people's mail do NOT have to be replied in the matter of a few hours. I have to start understanding again that work has to be limited. I have to believe all over again that I have to strike a balance between the work and the personal life.

I have to find that balance. The balance between doing the things and people I love, and the things and people that help me pay my bills. Things that I am passionate about and things that are done out of necessity.

Life is beautiful

Hopefully things will change.

When?

I hope soon.

29 May, 2009

Hot Hotter Hottest

I do not like to crib. And this post should not be taken in any such way. However at times it will appear that I am doing so.

I have spent around a little more than a week here in Delhi now. This also means that I have spent that same time in India now after moving back. Delhi has to be one of the most happening cities. There is just so much to do! There are so many places to go to! And there is so much construction happening everywhere! I am sure my weight has gone up due to the excess eating and inhaling of the dust from the constructions! It's literally everywhere! But the constructions give hope. Hopes of a better transport system. You can see the potential of it in the areas where the Metro runs presently.

On my way to Janakpuri from Lajpat Nagar, I started to talk with the Auto driver. He had some interesting stories to tell. One of them being, that how people shout at him, if he requests he has to fill the gas in his vehicle, and that they are getting late. But the same people would also ask the auto walaah to stop as they get something from a store. Where is the getting late in that situation! Which brought me to the thought, why are people running so much. Everywhere one sees, people are running for something or the other.

Everyone is a part of some race. A race to earn more, a race to outshine the other. Where does the self satisfaction come then? Where is the philosophy of doing things that you love doing? Where is the reason to keep the soul happy?

Often people ask me, what is the job that is lined up for me? What is my salary here in India, now that I have a degree from the US. I am out of answers. I have to say nothing or no or in the negaticve for all of it, as that is a fact at present.

I still try to find a lot more answers and am utilizing this break to do the same.

26 May, 2009

Balance

Life is all about the balance.
Between the personal life and the professional life.

I often wonder that I give advice to others to maintain that balance, but avoid that in my own.

:-|

I am ashamed of it.

25 May, 2009

Of AirIndia, Shouting Kids and a (overly designed) Frankfurt airport!

How much ever pride I take in being an Indian, I am often surprised and to an extent sad at the services that are offered by the flagship services in India. The least you would expect in an international flight is working television monitors. There were at least a dozen that was not. That might be understandable, but how do you explain broken seat handles, and seats so hard, that I loved the Indian Railways seats better. However I am not complaining. Even though this is my first time on an international route with Air India, I kind of expected a little more. The flight was full and hence needless to say there was chaos.

Chaos and Indians go hand in hand. They are inseparable. Chaos I think is a part of our lives so much that we almost ignore it in its presence. All throughout the first leg of my flight, I thought I was in some bazaar in Delhi. I expected nothing less in the later part of my journey from Frankfurt to Delhi.

I wonder what it is with Indian kids. I think they have to be honored with the ‘most shouting kids’ award! The funny (or rather sad) part is that the parents do not do anything to keep them under control. Or was it the whole sense of belonging that sets in right when you board any flight. The feeling of "apnapan". Perhaps one day when I have kids of my own, I would be able to understand it better. A kid in the flight shouted out to his sister Geetika a few times, like he would do in his house or in the field. I love kids for they do what they please without caring about what others think. I think that’s one thing I always learn from them. (though do not think I am going to shout in the plane :P ) I could also overhear a few co-passengers discuss ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ too. What a Geetika co-incidence. I love it when these small-small co-incidences happen. It makes life interesting!

I have been reading Barack Obama’s ‘The Audacity of Hope’, which was gifted to me by a dear friend to read on the flight. My friend and me have both been so inspired by Obama. Have followed his speeches, fallen in love with his talks, laughed at his sense of humor, and happily cried at his success. He is a personification of a dream, and meeting him someday becomes another of my crazy aspirations. It is another story (and that is sad) that I am not there in the US following his moves and his actions and seeing US politics from a closer view. I have to say that the book is inspiring indeed. This book along with the mandate of the voters in India in forming the new government, and the role of youth in India, often makes me want to join politics at some point of time in my life! Someday I will. 10 years down the line would be an ideal and attainable goal.

I am writing this from the Frankfurt airport, which for me looks like a very chaotic airport. It makes me feel claustrophobic. I have been so used to traveling US airports with the high ceilings, natural light, that anything less than that makes me feel strange. The pathways are narrow and the long German signage does not make life easier. What is worse is that the paths around the individual gates are not straight. You walk a few meters and there is another cross-section, which leads to other gates.

Even the dustbins are designerly and it constantly reminds one of the hegemony of the Ulm and the Bauhaus design schools. I am however not too pleased with the usage of grey colored fonts on the silver material that the bins are made of. There are many issues to be critical about, but then I do not want to do so without actually having spent more time at the airport.

More laters…..

18 May, 2009

There are two kind of people...

...in this world.. I tell you my friend.
Two | Lalbagh Flower Show

One is the optimist and the other is the pessimist. Well of course you know that.

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. I often wonder there are zillions who live in the later state. And that is the state of fear.

I tell you there are two kinds of people in this world.
One who talks and not act and the other who let their actions talk. As a result of this, the one who talks will always try to find faults in the actions done by the people who act.

There are two kinds of people in this world.
One who believes in themselves and one who just doubts everything they do. One who gathers confidence out of everything they do who believes that failures are the pillars of success and that failures do not deter them. The other kind lives in a state of fear and hence does not try out the various things and would just talk.

In this world there are two kind of people.
One who thinks that if they if they believe passionately in something and they dream when they see the stars. They are the ones who believe that the stars will align in some way that their dreams will be fulfilled. The others will not sleep and dream and will stare at the same stars and fear it falling.

Then there are two kinds of people in this world.
One who finds the best in what they have and gain immense happiness out of that. Then there is the other who will crib in any situation and never be satisfied and understand the value of the situation they are in.

Over the past few days, I have spoken to a few people of both of these kinds. Thankfully the list has been of more of the optimist kind

15 May, 2009

Reflections on a dream being fulfilled

I can confidently say that the whole child education project journey over the past year has been an amazing one. And more than anything this has been a journey into my soul and finding myself better. It has been a journey of re-discovering what I like and I love doing. It has been a journey of reinstating the faith in oneself and one’s skills in photography and design. It has been a journey of fulfilling a dream. A dream, which I have been working tirelessly since the past couple of years and mostly during the past year and fulfilling it to a large extent at the end of this journey.

Apart from the learning whole experience has also been spiritual. It has made me realize the value of service as a designer and putting service before self. Identifying the group that most needs the service of me, as a designer has been another satisfying experience. I have come to realize that there are a lot of others who need the input of design and that design can play a huge role in changing the society for the better. Design thus now to me expands beyond the computer interface an in an essential component in almost everything.

The cutest thing on earth...

The project has led me to define and then redefine what being passionate about a particular thing is all about. The very ideologies on which I base my projects and work was questioned at the later part of the spring 2008 and early fall 2008 semester. I had to make a decision between doing a project that would give me a job, or a project that I was really passionate about. Thanks to a professor here, I am glad that I made the decision to choose the passion over anything else. It has led me to have faith and the confidence in my work and my ideologies more than ever. I grow in confidence every time I speak about the project and every time I make a presentation about the project.

This newfound confidence has now inbuilt in me a belief that nothing is impossible if done with sincere effort and with dedication. When asked about how the ‘Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me!’ project will succeed, I am often unaware of the answers. But the confidence that I gather out of the capstone experience and also from the support shown by others in the school makes me believe that the project will succeed.

I have often wondered how often do people have an epiphany that their life is not meant to be wasted just like that and without doing any good. I am glad that I have had that epiphany early in life and not having to spend an entire life wondering what to do. I have realized that I do not want to be just another dust in the cosmos, but a shining star whose legacy lives on forever.

I have often grappled with questions from all fronts on the possibility of working somewhere else. On the possibility of earning and being secure first and then looking to pay back. But as I mention, from my point of view it has been a question of putting my services before self. Letting go of materialistic pleasures has been another key learning from this project. It has been a question of taking the decision of saving a dollar on drinks so that monthly fees for children in rural India could be paid. It has been a situation of sacrifices and newer inspirations that would help children in rural India be a fraction fortunate of what I have been in life.

I started my sojourn at Indiana University with my statement of purpose in the application letter. I clearly remember mentioning how a smile motivated me and that I take joy in the simple things of life. In the end the whole capstone journey has been about spreading smiles and the message of doing only things that give you immense joy from within.

As I head back to India for good, with all the wishes for my project and a life ahead, I know that I will succeed. I have the smiles and the wishes of all the people I have known.

The journey has only just begun.

Keep Smiling.

06 May, 2009

New Beginnings

I love new beginnings. It gives you a fresh look at things and gives you the opportunity to rectify all that had gone wrong in the past. It also lays the foundation for success and taking the directions that you wish with more conviction and confidence. It is also a time for retrospection at the events that have just passed and time for introspection at the present and the immediate future.



Over the past few years I have turned more spiritual and to some extent religious. It is this immense faith in the almighty that keeps me going. I guess it was a result of me being all by myself, of not having to answer anyone about my actions, of not worrying about the materialistic pleasures, of understanding myself better.



I have come to realize that if I do something honestly with the best intentions, and without worrying about the results, the almighty takes care of the result. There are sometimes where the result does not turn out the way expected, but in no way, does that result in me putting lesser effort.

So whenever I start all new beginnings, without a clue of how it will be down the line. But I just have the faith in the almighty and the confidence in myself that things will turn out well.

I finished my masters here at Indiana University, and hence now every day is a part of a new beginning. A beginning where there is a project named Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me! , a lot of children, and a lot of smiles waiting to be spread, a thousand dreams waiting to be heard and be told how to fulfill it.

I am super excited about this new beginning.

05 May, 2009

The launch of Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me!

I am super excited at the launch of my dream project. It is taking up all my time these days and I love it. The presentation was a great hit and I could see that people were appreciative of the fact that I have put my life and soul into the project over the past year. And I think that the project is now actually started and hence the more challenge comes now.

Here is the first promo video that I made for the project.


The motto for the project is "Spreading Smiles .. One School at a time"

I have been fortunate to have the education of my choice at the best possible places. This project is a small way to bring about a change in the lives of many who do not understand the value of education. I am dedicating my photography skills towards bringing in the awareness for the issue.

I have been amazed at the support that I have been receiving for the project. I am sure that we will collectively be able to make a difference. Even if the difference is in a small manner.

Like all things the beginning is always a small step and I am glad that I have taken that step.

The website and more details of the project can be viewed here .
Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me!

24 April, 2009

Can you change yourself?

I came across this really short but thought provoking post at Shekar Kapur's blog.
He mentions that you can change the world, but can you change yourself?

I think that's a very loaded question. But even before that I think its worth asking, do you even know yourself properly before deciding to change yourself? So many people live in this state of false assurance that they know themselves. Many I have known do not end up knowing themselves the whole life and some do so very late in life.

Millions just go through their entire lifetime without any particular knowledge of what they want. Other million will go through without even daring to find a proper answer to what they are. And the rest millions will go through their entire life just with the flow and taking things as life presents itself.

Often I wonder if thats right or wrong. Perhaps it depends on the situations that life puts one in.

Anyway, So have you asked yourself this question?
' Who am I? '

If you have a concrete answer to that, will you be willing to change what you are depending on the situation?

17 April, 2009

Where the hell is Netra?

Ok, so I am sure of the very few readers of my blog that I have, must be wondering what happened to the Netra and me story based on our India trip.

Well to remove the suspense, nothing really happened. What happened was that we both contemplated on a lot of things. After Chennai we went to Trichy for the workshop. The students at Trichy were very nice and took good care of me and Netra. The heat was a little too much for Netra to get used to, but I am glad she adjusted without doing any nakhra. Sometimes she does get fussy, but that happens more on rainy days than on sunny days.

When I am in India, I become over possessive of Netra. I simply cannot think of letting her go away from front of my eyes for even a small time.

The college kids at Trichy were all so glad to meet Netra. A few also commented her, shook hands with her. I agree, I did feel jealous at it. But then I had allowed Netra to mingle with the others and hence I guess I should have been fine.

Netra was addressing that kind of a crowd (more that 100 students) for the first time. So as expected, was a bit nervous. It was surprising as I have been giving presentations and addressing crowds so frequently. I thought Netra will be equally comfortable, but it was not the case. The students at NIT Trichy were great with their hospitability. They did take good care of me and Netra. I could not have asked for more.

Came back to Mumbai, and there I let Netra rest at home, while I experienced the Mumbai Local rush, and the dusty markets. It was here that I missed Netra. Especially near the Mumba Devi temple. Netra's absence however was allowing me to contemplate on a few things. But of all things, I was shocked at my hesitance of wanting to click pictures of the markets that I once were so fond of clicking. A couple of years in the US had changed me to some extent.

The notion of the victim documentary, started haunting me. My conscience kept saying me that I could now no longer click those pictures of poverty, and people in sorrow and show to people in other parts of the world. What was allowed however to take pictures of the smiles and the little joys that existed amongst the people there. I was wondering if Netra would feel the same. Would she be as comfortable at clicking images of the temples and the surroundings, as she was a couple of years ago?

Thoughts kept coming and going. Got back to Mumbai airport and then to Bloomington via Newark.
Overall the trip to India was a great trip. Met loads of interesting people and enjoyed thoroughly!

In the mean time, in the US we have been having fun. Oh did i tell you Netra was so happy with the Holi that we celebrated in the US. I felt so proud of us. Inspite of being in a different culture, we were able to celebrate our festivals. From the corner of my eyes, I did see people drooling over Netra. I smiled.

13 April, 2009

Notes to myself

I read a few posts from Shekhar Kapur's Blog Truly inspiring. While I feel happy on reading them, I feel that somewhere something went wrong for me. I used to do almost all the things that he writes about. I was a progandist of those very same things. However, something went wrong.

I see that I have been posting very less.
Things have been frenzy. Have been busy with loads of things. Anxiety level is on a high. Been on the move quite a bit. Traveling. Almost everymonth I have traveled. Met loads of interesting people. Discussed loads of exciting possibilities.

However lately there has been loads of feelings. Feelings of nervousness, tension, eagerness. passion, attachment all floating around. Some looking at drowning the soul in a sea full of monstrous creatures, some promising to liberate the soul from its dungeons.

However nothing is lost.
It is never too late to reclaim, just like its never too late to learn.

Note to myself:
I will be back to being myself. Sorry for the distractions.

03 April, 2009

Incredible India



Thanks Sharanya for sharing this video !

Awesome it is!

19 March, 2009

Netra in Chennai

The flight from Mumbai to Chennai would have been the worst so far that Netra and me have traveled in. Being a red-eye flight, one would expect that it would be the more comfortable than other flights, however this was not the case. Having traveled in red-eye flights in different countries across the world we were expecting something else. This was truly frustrating after the confusion in the Mumbai airport regarding

This reminds me of something a friend of mine said today, "Expectations I tell you, are the mother of all problems." I think that is a very valid statement. But being normal human beings, I think its easier said than done. We always end up having expectations in whatever we seek out to do, and whatever we have. I have written more about this before as well and I just cannot get over it. I guess one needs to let go as always and let things fall in place.

In someways I think its good that Netra does not speak back to me. What scares me at times is when I imagine, what bad emotional phases I would go through, if I got to know all the times when Netra was uncomfortable with something. I think this is a ironical situation that many people (read couples) face time and again. More often than not, one person gets so emotionally attached to the mood of the other person, that they let their own personalities be affected. But at the same time isn't that being selfish, if one were to always think about oneself and not the other.

So, Netra and me landed in Chennai at 5 am, and were surprised to not find the people who were supposed to pick us up present. I tried to call the contact person in Trichy, but he would not pick up the call. I looked around the Chennai Airport visitors area and also randomly asked a couple of college going students whether they were from NIT Trichy. They weren't and thus here I was without a phone number, at a new airport, unable to speak the local language waiting for a miracle to happen. But a word for the Chennai Airport. I think this was one of the better airports that I have been to in India. Maybe it was because of the non-rush hours or just the way it looked spacious.

Now when things go wrong, one should just stop worrying and do things that please them. So I did just that. Went to a chai dukaan and had the local road side tea. Now this taste, was divine. Even though I have been in Chennai multiple times, this was a new area. Moreover this was the first time of Netra in Chennai. So it was understandable that she was shy to come out of her hiding. I felt home, though for some reason Netra prefered to stay away from all the action.

The thing about railway stations, airports, markets in India is such that there is always a lot of things that are happening. You can just observe people, their actions, the things they do the way they stand etc. All of them appear to be fascinating to some extent. I could go on for hours admiring it. But then not everyone enjoys it in the same way.

Its funny how staying in a different place for a while (read out of the country India) changes people. I think Netra's behavior was a result of this too. What she was comfortable a couple of years ago, was not so presently.

Just before deciding to go to another friend's place, after waiting for an hour or so, I decided to check for one last time for the people who were supposed to come and pick me up. To my surprise, they did turn up!

We headed to the hotel and met up with another team from the UK who had come to take a Forensic Workshop. The team comprised of 2 women and 2 men.

And there awaited another interesting experience for me and Netra.

To be continued...

08 March, 2009

People are weird

Aren't they?
You...
Me...
I think everyone is weird in some way or the other.

You like someone because they are weird.
You dislike someone because they are weird and some of their weirdness does not amuse you.

Someone said the other day, if not for the weirdness, the world would be a very boring place.
Agree completely to that.

A few days ago I would have had the word unique in place of weird. But of late have had a few weird experiences with weird people doing weird things.
I am not saying that they were all bad.

One weird thing that I totally dislike is people who adopt double standards. In other words one can call it hypocrisy. It's one thing I cannot stand at all. People tell something in front of you, and then at the back if situations change, they change their stance.
It is frustrating too!

02 March, 2009

And we landed in Mumbai...

...after a while.
That while just happened to a few hours. Fifteen to Sixteen to be precise. The journey was smoother than I expected. I slept more than I thought I would. I missed seeing the sunrises and the mountains when flying over them.

But I was happy. We were happy. We had reached India. A place that was close to both of us. A place where our love blossomed. A place where the soul is satisfied.

I must tell you something about Netra. She cannot walk. However, I do not want to go into the details of it. So its like I have to carry her in my arms or on my shoulders all the time. And every-time I do that, I feel blessed to be at her side always. Even though my shoulder hurts at times, I still feel good when I carry her around. Its like having her makes the pain go away. Its a different matter that it hurts when she is off my shoulder. Perhaps as an indication of the pain that people go through in separation.

I have always had this fear, no not fear...rather a strong feeling about people who are in some sort of trouble and still have their loved ones beside them. So when I see someone being loved, inspite of having the inability to walk, or to see, or something else, I think that the other person who is loving is an avatar of God.

So Netra and me go through customs in Mumbai. I must say this was one of the confusing airports within India. It was my first time there, and I guess due to the renovations going on it seems to be a bit of a mess. Hope they fix it soon and project a better picture of themselves. But then I should not be complaining. Should I? Just because I have seen better airports in the world, could I expect better service? Or just be ignorant?

Netra till now was still in her new outfit that I had got for her.

My transfer to the connecting flight was confusing. I had to take a domestic flight, at the international terminal, going through and also not going throug immigration again. Pretty confusing? Yes, thats what it was.

At the stop, waiting for the flight to Chennai, which was at 0300 hrs local time, I struck a conversation with an uncle from Chennai. The interesting part about random meeting people and talking to them is that they always have something interesting to tell you. This uncle was an alumnus of the college I was going to ! Of all the colleges he was an alum of that college! What a co-incidence!

I started the conversation in the context of asking the time , and then he started to talk. He wasjust getting back to India after spending 6 months in the US. He had some pretty interesting views.

Suddenly there was a rush at the waiting area. Apparently almost 70 % of the people waiting were on the flight to Saudi Arabia. And people were rushing to get first in the queue. I felt strange at the sight.

The time said 1 o clock. Another two hours I had to wait further for my flight. Netra was still inside, and I had not yet let experience India yet.

Was she going to be shocked, glad, happy, surprised, content?

Only time was to tell. Another few hours before I land in Chennai.

To be continued...

23 February, 2009

Trip to Trichy - part 2

The flight was around 80-90% full. This definitely had to be one of the best economy class travels that I had ever done. The flight cruised at an altitude of 38,000 feet and people were done with their dinners. A sumptuous meal, accompanied by some nice music, was a perfect dinner on a travel. It was meant to be a way to fill the stomach so that the passengers could have a sound sleep in the 15 hour long flight.

Netra lay in her seat. She was at quite a distance from me. Her cabin looked to be warmer than mine. In the josh of going to India, I had put my jacket in the suitcase. The temperature in the flight was optimum but I was still feeling cold. Being from the Midwest, it was highly unlikely of me to do so. The immediate seat beside me was unoccupied, so I had the good fortune of taking the blanket allocated for that passenger. I worried if Netra felt the same. She was wrapped around in well-padded jacket, which I had bought for her just the week ago. Netra’s warmth combined with that of the jacket’s must have been good.

It must have been the distance between us. Yes I am sure it was. Her not being close enough to me was sufficient to give sleepless nights. I guess that is the way with all people in love with someone. The very fact that someone you love so fondly is sitting or staying or gone far from you sends shivers down the spine. It is perhaps the most when you know that you can see her, but you cannot be with her. You can talk with your eyes, but not with words. The separation results in a cold situation. It often leads to a depressive thought. But this was not going to be the case. I was going to India. The depression could come no where near. So there was this paradoxical situation that I was going through. On one end you have the joy of going to place you love, and on the other end your loved one is not close to you to share the joy. Do you get selfish, and still enjoy the joy? Or do you get melancholy in her absence and not enjoy the moment.

The light on the end of the left wing of the wing, shone like the Venus. For an instance I did think of it as the guiding star and what not, but slowly the thoughts kept coming back to Netra.
Was she thinking of me too? Was she equally excited to be going to India, just like me? Was she going to make a fuss of the surroundings? The dust, the heat, the crowded trains, the smell of the markets that struck you so hard that it lingered in your senses even after you have left it. The immense faith the people have in their gods.
Only time was to tell.

It had been just a couple of hours since take off.

To be continued.

21 February, 2009

To Trichy... Part 1.

I love adventurous travels. But when its of this order I do panic. After all I am human too!

I was recently invited to the National Institute of Technology in Trichy to conduct a photography workshop. The trip to India was to be a short one. Bare 5 days in India. So going home was out of the question.

I left the US to India on this short trip with a blog entry on the other blog, and the title was “Where travel is an adventure”, and it’s funny how these small-small things that you say actually comes true! You just sit and are amused at the thought that was passing through your head when you had written that in the first place. What was surprising here was that uncle God decided to give me the dose of adventure right from the time I stepped out of the home here in the US.

The flight from Indianapolis to Newark had been delayed. This way the one-hour stopover time in Newark was too short a time to let me board my other flight from the other terminal. And as a result of this I panicked. I started making all plans about what to do, where to do, whom to talk to etc if I did not reach in time. And then suddenly I realized, that the tension was doing no good. So I just let it go and decided to take things as they came along.

In-spite of the delay we actually touched down in Newark a few minutes before schedule time. It amazed me. How the pilot did it, or was it deliberate on the part of the airlines company was not clear, and neither did I worry now. I was just glad that we had made it in time. But wait… it was not over yet.

The gate at which my flight was to taxi was blocked by another flight. As a result of which we ended up waiting on the runway, inside the flight, for around forty minutes. And as it is with any normal person, tension and fear started to creep in again. I pressed the attendant call button. I was hoping that I could somehow ask her if the connecting flight was delayed, or if she or someone could actually get the flight delayed. What was I thinking? Was I a president or something? She picked up the announcing phone and said she could not come, as the rules did not allow people to move around in such a situation. And then I felt around 100 eyes staring at me. I wondered if I had done something that was a crime or too daunting.

So here again, I just thought to let it go, and will think what to do once I was off this plane.
The flight checked in to some other gate and I ran to the other terminal. Thank god, the flight to India that I was to board was a few minutes late. I was all smiling-smiling when I boarded the flight. After all I was going to India. A place that holds a place that no other place will be able to do so.

The worrying and the running around had made me hungry. So now I thought I could just grab the meal that would allow to sleep and have some peace. Someone had mentioned that the food in Continental was good.

I was lost in my thoughts on the food and the things I will do when I land in India, when an announcement decided to spoil the party. The captain was announcing a hard drive failure! Hello... this is America.. the most advanced country on the planet... these things are unheard of here! Did I hear it correctly? Unfortunately yes.
But wait .. there was more! Every hard drive is accompanied with one black box and if either one stops working, both have to be replaced.

The captain said that the engineers were repairing it. I wondered if it was a tech geek from India who was doing it, but then I understand that in these times of recession I should not even think about such things!

Then came the other dreaded announcement. The hard disk has been replaced, and the black box too. They were supposed to check it, and that testing process would take another 40 long minutes.

The law professor beside me, in the flight was getting equally frustrated. It was his first time going to India, and my tip to him. Please don't compare the two places and you will enjoy the place. Enjoy the hospitality. :)

I drifted off to sleep and was woken up after a while. I thought wow that 15 hours passed quickly! Unfortunately not. It was the waitress serving meals.

Netra was sleeping away from me in the flight, and I hope she was getting some good rest. I knew she was going to have a hectic schedule in India too. Little did we both know that there was something else in store for us... when we touched down there.

To be continued...

04 February, 2009

Trackless Wanderings

Why does the mind wander along tracks that lead to a confusion?
Why can't it just stick onto one path and concentrate fully on that?

Gosh ... I sometimes wish I did not try to stand out of the rat race and do everything that everyone else does. But then that's very unlike me and even though writing it is easy, I know myself that I will not do it.

I will still think about weird things...and try out these random probabilities that suddenly all the stars will align themselves together in exactly the way that I have envisioned.
I will still dream of the impossible... that someday there will be this big break ... and things will fall in place.. I will hence always end up in this situation where my anxiety level is high... and I will end up not doing anything, as my thoughts will be playing kabaddi and moving from one court to the other ... running after one thought or the other..

The thoughts lead to ideas.. ideas look for commitments for a fulfillment and a planning to execute. I don't know if it is right or wrong, but the moment I think about any idea, I think that it will succeed and bring in a revolution.

Maybe that is being optimistically foolish... but then hey.. atleast I think !
I try to console myself by saying that there is nothing wrong in thinking.... I just hope that there is a way to put those thoughts into actions.

Why am I like this?
I guess I am just weird!

30 January, 2009

Just love this song



:)

People ...

... are weird at times!

Sometimes they talk to motivate you .. and sooner or later they ridicule you...
Sometimes they sing to you ...sometimes just bark.

Why is it so difficult to understand people?

Dukaan Band Rahega

Why can't all be just like children.. carefree... and honest and be what they are?

29 January, 2009

Separation



It hurts...
Doesn't it?

Even if the distance is an inch .. or many thousand miles..

26 January, 2009

From my window...

from my window

... i saw the moon
... how beautifully it shown.

... i saw the stars and the sky..
... and wished for the wings to fly..

... i saw the trickling rains..
... i felt the receding pains..

... i saw the flowers blue..
... and just how much i missed you.

25 January, 2009

A few more days....

कुछ चंद दिन और की बात है
फ़िर हम भी होंगे उस चाय की दुकान पे
हम भी पूछेंगे लोगों का हाल समाचार
हम भी सुनेंगे कुछ मीठी बातें
वोह बच्चों को मुस्कुराना
वोह नुक्कड़ वाले काका की कहानियाँ
सवारी होगी रेल या कोई नाव
साथ में ज़रूर होगी अपनी कोई रुसवाईयाँ

तब और भी हसेंगे हम ,
बेरोक बेफिक्र होकर खेलेंगे हम ,
मिटटी की खुसबू से अपने को नेह्लायेंगे,
चाय की चुस्की में आनंद उठाएंगे.

Yesterday

"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they're here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
I'm not half the man I used to be,
There's a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why she had to go
I don't know she wouldn't say.
I said something wrong,
Now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Why she had to go
I don't know she wouldn't say.
I said something wrong,
Now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm."

-Lyrics from "Yesterday" by Beatles.

I just love this song.
There is something in the Beatles voice, that it makes you listen to it again and again.

24 January, 2009

An Internal Fight

After a long pause, he said further,
"Everyday is a fight. A fight with no one else in particular, but just with the inner self. To be more specific, a fight between the mind and the heart. Isn't life so much simpler when you have somethings that are in resonance with the mind and the heart? But ideally it is not so. There is always a conflict. Your heart wants you to be in a certain place, at a certain time and the mind would in most cases have a conflict. And it is these situations that often lead to a situation which, trust me is not pleasant. In this situation, there is this aura of insecurity that surrounds you."

"But you can talk to others and get a clarification on things right? You talk to so many people and have amazing PR skills. You speak your mind, and you speak it well. So what's the harm in doing so?"
she said. She had this habit of always interrupting him in middle.

He thought about it. Over the past few days he had advised to so many people, spoken on a gamut of issues. And in these times where, he required some advice for himself he did not know whom to go to. Friends whom he thought, understood him, did not now. His family never really got to know much about what he was doing. All they knew was that he had done academically pretty well throughout his school and his college and that he was away in a far off place doing something. They assumed that he must be doing really well as that's what he sounded like on the long and frequent telephonic calls.

I travel alone.....

He continued "You know, thats the irony of the situation. Over the years, there have been just a handful of people who really understood me. And with time that handful changes. There are very very few who stay with you through thick and thin, but others just move on. Its easy to move on. Simple."

...to be continued.

19 January, 2009

On Decisions....

Is it really that difficult to make a decision and stick by it?

Should one be forced to change the decision based on the influence of others ?
I guess not.

Decisions should be taken with a proper understanding of the situation and the consequences.

18 January, 2009

On Happiness...

"...the girl who marries you will be a very lucky girl.", she said!

"All that I wish for is that she is as crazy as me... and willing to understand the craziness... understand me as I am... understand the purpose of my life....Seriously this is all I ask. Just an understandable person",
he said.

"So what is purpose of life?. The purpose of your life? The purpose of my life?", she asked.

"Well, life is not worth living, or things not worth doing if it is not giving you true happiness", he replied back instantly. It looked as if he had the answer at the tip of his mouth, waiting to be blurted out. He had done that a couple of times and spoken to many with the same vigor. He had been in this state of just talking for long duration on this.

And then he added, "Isn't it wonderful if the way you live life revolves around the word happy. There is no thing as sad. Either you are not happy or you are less happy or you are more happy. So when you are you are not in a state which you , of saying I am bad, doesn't it make a slight difference to say I am not too good instead. I go a step further. I say either I am good or I am great. I guess ' just a first step towards removing the negativity and the pessimism that surrounds us. That is so easy to get to a person. It affects the person to a large extent."

She smiled. Suddenly things started to have a different meaning in her life. The confusion that was literally killing her from inside seemed to be vanishing away. Her determination to succeed and be a person who she was, grew exponentially.

He continued,"If one revolves the life around happiness, i.e. giving happiness and spreading happiness, suddenly the whole situation changes. But there is a catch. As often people tend to relate these two to be complimentary. Mentioning that only when one happens, the other will happen. I don't think so that is true. Being content with what one has is the first step towards attaining that state of being happy. I often have been roaming on the streets, clicking photographs, visiting places, meeting people, and I wonder what is it that makes them smile in these conditions. And I think that thing is being content about whatever situation they are in. Now being content does not mean that one has to stop dreaming about things or not having a goal towards gaining something new. It means to accepting what you are and what you have and being content and Happy with that at first. Only when one is happy with that, they can seek out to spreading happiness and as a result, gaining more happiness. Cribbing about what is not there, and looking too much into the future of how things will be are also the bringers of this unhappiness."

...to be continued.

13 January, 2009

...and the last lap began.

How often I have been in this situation...
At crossroads or of a unclear path ahead..
wishing that the choices were less..
and the mind at some peace..

To Somewhere...

In the last lap here now...
last semester...one week done... fifteen more to go!
I think this one is going to be a hectic one too..
with loads of reading and thinking ..

The thoughts of a career..
Giving me sleepless nights..
Hopefully the puzzle will be solved
and the pieces fit together.

Kela waala

11 January, 2009

A note about fear...

Why do i Fear? And do i fear? Its a natural instinct and everyone faces in in some form or the other at some point in Life. You love someone, there is the fear of loosing him/her. You put in a lot of hard work in something and there is the fear of failing. You aspire to reach a goal and there is the fear of loosing track and reaching somewhere else…You want to learn swimming, but there is the fear of drowning even in three feet of water.. You are out in the woods and fear the trees would eat you up or the cliffs engulf you… There is fear all around.

I remember this description about Fear in one of my favorite book “The life of Pi” by Yann Martel. It is definitely worth pondering over the words here.

I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.

Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.

Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.

The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.

Oh lord, help me remove all the fear and be a brave soul that I have always been.

The only thing I fear is you.

Meditation

Does everyone meditate? Do we have our ideas come in complete silence or in a crowded place. At a serene location or at a place buzzing with activities? Can someone meditate in a crowded place?

Ok , so basic question.. What is meditation? I am no saint, neither do I evangelize anything on this, but this small piece from the book “The Tibetan book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche, did make lot of sense .

The purpose of meditation is to awaken us in the sky-like nature of the mind, and to introduce us to that which we really are, our unchanging pure awareness, which underlies the whole of life and death.
In the stillness and silence of meditation, we glimpse and return to that deep inner nature that we have so long ago lost sight of amid the busyness and distractions of our minds. Isn’t it extraordinary that our minds cannot stay long for longer than a few moments without grasping after distraction; they are so restless and preoccupied that sometimes I think that, living in a city in the modern world, we are already like the tormented beings in the intermediate state after death, where the consciousness is said to be agonizingly restless.
We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don’t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions leaving nobody at home.Meditation, then is the bringing the mind home.

In hope ..

If your mind is able to settle naturally of its own accord, and if you are inspired simply to rest in its pure awareness, then you do not need any method of meditation. In fact it might even be unskillful when you’re in such a state to tray and empty one. However, the vast majority of us find it difficult to arrive at that state straight away.

I feel that meditation has a lot to do with letting things go, being just able to relax, of being to be in a fresh state of mind before starting onto another thing fresh. Doing whatever please the soul is perhaps the best way to relax.
So... did you meditate today?

08 January, 2009

Tagged (Six random things about myself)

Tagged by Sharanya
Rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So here they are,
1) I love to go on unplanned trips. I love to travel in the most rural means of transport, in unfamiliar places, where people do not recognize me, and where I am not able to communicate in their language and the only means of communication is my smile and the other signs. In fact my new year resolution this year is to smile everyday! :)

2) I have a great amount of uncertainty to a certain extent.. but when I decide on something ... I have a great determination towards attaining it! I like to dream crazy stuff... and go to a great extent to fulfill them. I fulfill them and then shed tears of joy (Yes.. I do cry :P) over it and then dream more.

3) I have an obsession for India and anything Indian. I have an old resolution to travel across India before I turn thirty! So not many years left to fulfill that! Covered quite a few states... 18-19 I think.

4) I love meeting new people, but still cannot start a conversation when in a public place. So, I chat a lot! (My typing speed actually has improved a lot because of that) And often people confuse whether I am the same person with whom they were chatting when they meet me in person. When in person, I am often a quiet person and more of a listener! I have a tendency to stay in touch with people for a long time and am thrilled when I get back in touch with someone after a long time!

5) When, I was a kid I loved to make my own greeting cards. I think it made it extra special for the person for whom the card was made.. When in class four, I mistook Anniversary for University and was about to send a hand made card to my parents saying "Happy University" . Thank god we had a outing, and in the store I saw a Anniversary card! :P I think I would soon get back to sending physical tangible cards again rather than just e cards!

6) I have this feeling that I want to do so many things that one lifetime is too short a time for it. I thus want to write a book, make movies, roam the world, give lectures... and of-course design! !!! Phew.... Is that a disorder?

Most cool bloggers I know are already tagged, so all those who feel inspired, do write and let me know your list ! :)

Some of them are
Tanushree
Neha
Shivi
Nitin
Chandan

Shreelesh