Self discovery – a way of life!

I believe all of us every now and then embark on a journey of self discovery. At times like these, almost everything that we see or do; we do it with a lot of intensity , trying to extract the most out of it. It could be triggered by a great conversation , an excellent film , a TED talk or just any video that you watch on YouTube for that matter. But it does happen to all of us every now and then! 

It is in times like these that we really think about pushing ourselves in a field that excites us. We realise how little we know and yet how much we talk. We often think that we know a lot about something, but when we actually meet someone who lives and breathes in that stream and get into a conversation with them; we realise how shallow we are. 

It is very important to know about many different things for various different reasons. Their are only so many battles that a person can fight. And so ” To choose your battles wisely ” becomes really important.

Their was this interesting talk that  I once saw that spoke about a theory called the theory of a 1000 hours. It said that if you can spend a 1000 hours studying and getting to know something about a topic, then you will know more about it than 90% of the population.

Now this sounds great , and we get all excited and decide to start implementing it the very next day. But after 2-3 days , we are back to square one; until the next time this phase of self discovery hits us again. 

It is very important to get the balance. Not everything is an examination that you can assume that you can pass if you prepare hard for just a particular span of time . 

Everything in life is a process and should become a habit. Or as they say it , 

Habit formation is discipline.

So self discovery is a great moment to actually kick start a process that will ultimately result in the formation of a habit . Coz anyone can think of going to the gym from tomorrow or reading more books in the coming days or doing some charity in the near future, coz in the future; all of us are the best versions of ourselves . 

It is when this best version of us becomes our present for a continuously long span of time does it actually make a lasting impact on us. 

So, what are you going to do about it ??


Here’s a link to the video whose theory I just mentioned to you.


Watch “How to crack world’s toughest examinations | ROMAN SAINI | TEDxJUIT” on YouTube

Harry Potter and the cursed child- the book we have been waiting for!

There is never a perfect answer in this messy,emotional world.Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic.In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison, the knowledge that pain will come again.Be honest to those you love,show your pain.to suffer is human as it is to breathe.

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Before you think I have gone completely crazy,those are the words said by Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the cursed child.I don’t know whether you have read it or not. In case you have,it’s well and good;in case you haven’t, then don’t worry;I’m not going to reveal any plot lines to you.Except the fact that I urge you to read the book as soon as you can.
I was skeptical when I heard that Harry Potter was being brought to life,once again; even though people were really hoping that it happens.I was skeptical because I was scared that the book will be only a pale shadow of it’s glorious past.That it will try to cash in on the Harry Potter mania just like many famous movie or book series have done before(read Ice age, Pirates of the Caribbean, the girl with the dragon tattoo). And the last thing I wanted was to see the book series that brought the reading bug in me and opened me to a lifelong friend and partner in crime brought down in one attempt.And to top it all, it was in the form of a play-not exactly a book.So I was all the more worried when I got my hands on it.Luckily-I was wrong!
The book is exactly what we need , and much more.It ticks all the right boxes- and yet never pushes it too far.It has enough in it to remind the children of the 90’s of those glorious days reading the books almost at breathless pace; and yet it has enough in it to make the readers all the more fans of the Harry Potter world.
From bringing our friends(and foes,and several others)back together and creating a deceptively brilliant and imaginative plot that is quite perfect for our times when people crave for intelligent content and revel in the fantasies of watching a Chris Nolan film brilliantly unfold.
The book does something that is no mean feat to achieve-bringing alive all our favorite characters-their comrade,their fears, their joys, their nightmares, their pains and their enemies; as well as some of the most dreaded characters (along with new one’s to love,loathe) who still stay true to their nature and continue to bring in us that feeling that we all loved about from the harry potter series- being sucked into another world.
I wish I could see the play and actually see the magic.And I do hope the party is carried forward to the 70mm screen as well(with the original cast-of course- no offense meant to the new actors performing on stage); for who wouldn’t love to see Daniel,Rupert and Emma(heart leaping already) give another shot to it.
Till then- enjoy the magic.It’s Christmas already!

The Jaded Generation

Found this wonderful article in the Sunday edition of this week’s Times of India.

 

We are tired even before waking up, go through the motions like robots through the day, and sleep eludes us at night because of fatigue. The exhaustion epidemic is upon us. How did we reach here?

Look around you… how many energy bunnies do you see? Probably none. Maybe one. At the most, two. Now count the ones slouching – either in their cubicles, on the metro or even at home? How many are there? Doctors say, one in five of us, is in a state of near-permanent exhaustion.

Physicians have a handy acronym for this syndrome where patients complain of fatigue al the time – TATT (Tired All The Time) . General physician Dr Dheeraj Dayal says, “These days, I treat more people for exhaustion than fever or sore throat. Sometimes, it’s chronic and they get hospitalised. Others need a holistic plan to learn how to relax – a change in their lifestyle.”

Why are we always so tired?

Research by market analysts Mintel reveals that one in three of us admits they are permanently worn out because of the pace of modern life. As a result, sales of supplements such as ginseng, energy drinks and power bars have shot up like never before.

As we move to a 24/7 work culture, more time is spent at our desks, there’s no time to relax at home with loved ones, not enough vacations to rest our tired, body, mind and soul. Add this to the lack of exercise and clean breathing air, and you get an exhaustion epidemic.

Psychologist Bhawna Monga says, “The problem is that people aren’t aware of just how tired they are, and even if some are, they don’t allow themselves a serious chance to recover. There’s a paranoia that they will lose everything, if they let go of a few things and relax.”

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Two worlds collide

A study done by the Economist a few years ago said that we are more exhausted than any other generation so far in history. They called the 30-somethings a victim of two trends colliding – acceleration and slowing down at the same time. The need to accelerate involved work goals. To rise in a position of CEOs or top bosses in any organisation; the priming begins a decade before. So 30-somethings do not have the time to slow down. Yet, this is also the time most people settle down, have kids. So there’s a demand to slow down at home. It’s this constant pull and push of the two polar opposite demands made on our bodies and minds that has left our generation on the edge.

Make a Positive Plan

The question is how does one learn to slow down and relax? Experts say you have to be prepared to deal with exhaustion head-on. If you see the symptoms, accept the fact that you’re tired. Then get your action plan ready.

 

– Try breathing: Breathing is the most elemental and immediate way to beat stress. But there’s a difference between breathing to live and breathing to thrive. If you make a conscious effort to deepen your breathing, you will sleep better, gain more control over your moods. – Connect with nature: Nature has built-in mechanisms for relieving stress. According to the Center for Disease Control, as many as 148 industrial chemicals move through our bloodstream at any given moment. Make sure you go to a park every day, and see natural beauty without long gaps. – Rest: Insufficient sleep causes major energy drain. Don’t stay awake to play with your gadgets. – Resentments and Regrets: Holding on to anger or sadness depletes our energy and kills our soul slowly. Learn to let go of resentments. According to experts, emotional togetherness helps people gain energy. Surround yourself with family, friends, well-wishers.

 
 

Blackbirds feel the pressure too!

 
 

A research between Glasgow University and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, came up with the conclusion that city living significantly alters our daily body clock, making us active for longer, and less rested. The group studied stress factors in male blackbirds in cities when left in the wild. The city blackbirds began their daily activities around 30 minutes before dawn, while forest birds began their day as the sun rose. The city birds ended their days around nine minutes later, meaning they were active for about 40 minutes longer each day and the urban birds’ circadian (daily) rhythms were altered, running faster by 50 minutes than forest birds and being clearly less robust. This research proved that even an animal species’ internal clock changed while sharing human habitat.

 
 

In our day and age, when few of us have physically demanding jobs, we are wiping ourselves out through psychological factors.

 

—Elliot Berkman, professor of psychology

 

Mumble Jumble!

You need people to survive in this world!

True- we have been hearing this for ages. But surely a time comes when you feel so cut off from everything that nothing in this world connect’s with you at the gut level.

There is something fundamental that all of us wish in life which none of us really admits to out loud. It is the need to be heard. You badly want someone to listen to all that goes on in that crazy lil mind of yours.You don’t want people’s opinions. You don’t want their love or pity or anything else. You just want an audience to hear you out. Sometimes, this is all the difference that their is between a happy person and the one who is sulking all the time.

I remember the scene from the 2011 film Rockstar where a previously unknown entity of his college comes back for the reunion after becoming a star. And now, all that everybody wants to do is click pictures with him. Nobody wants to talk or know the person. Nobody cares about him. All they want is to be seen with him.

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Sometimes you desperately try having a meaningful conversation with anyone – your parents, your friends, sometimes strangers for that matter. And on not finding the right medium of opening up; you grow frustrated, pissed at everyone around you- constantly mumbling to yourself(probably cursing the world).

You shut yourself out from the rest of the world- or is it the other way round from your perspective? You are in a cave from where you cannot see the end and are suffocating from asphyxiation.

In the words of Lisa Griffin

Where do I go?
When I’m feeling so lost and I don’t want to be found.
When I’m looking and listening for that peace in my heart.
But I know I’ll never hear that sound.
Where do I go?
Where do I go when I’m trying to laugh but all I can do I cry?
I’m trying to keep on living because I’m not ready to die.
Where do I go because the sun never seems to shine?
Can you give me my life back it’s not yours it’s mine?
How do I keep going, how do I fight this fight?
I’m tired of feeling beat down, but I’m trying with all my might!
Where do I go when my head hangs so low?
Please give me an answer because I just don’t know!
Where do I go?
Does it take very long?
For me to find that peace and a place where I belong.
I need you to help me, help me to take a stand.
I’m scared to do it by myself, will you please take my hand?
Where do I go? Where do I go? Where do I go?
Do you know?

If only it was so easy!

Sleep and you sleep alone!

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I’m pretty sure we are all familiar to those moments when we are really trying very hard to sleep, but then sleep completely deserts us.

It is then that our mind begins playing around, and thoughts that had remained lost in your subconscious start resurfacing.
Its mostly memories of a person you are really missing or wish to reconnect to; or of a long cherished moment you had totally forgotten about; or sometimes of how you wished some situations would turn out to be but didn’t quite turn out so.
Maybe its our minds way to bring back something from the dead, or for the need of retrospection that we aren’t actually giving ourselves as much time as we should.
Or maybe its just we trying extremely hard to sleep. I remember the scene from Saving private Ryan where everyone is trying to sleep but nobody is able to do so. And then Tom Hank’s character says

The easiest way to fall asleep is to try to stay awake.

The phenomena of sleep is something that isn’t very well understood- and god knows how many mysteries lay hidden in it, but whatever maybe the reason for those thoughts- you never even realize when you fell asleep. And when you wake up, you normally have a strong point that you wish to do.
There’s no denying that sleep is the one time you have for yourself. For

Laugh and the world laughs with you.
Sleep and you sleep all alone.

Abhishek K

3. Its all the varied experiences that one can hope for !

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When the home and the world feel like a cage, the wide open road, no
matter where it leads, is where one is  sure to find a path to liberation

One should always be open to all kinds of experiences, good or bad, happy or sad, challenging or cake-walk. The idea is to keep trying out new things and experiencing new stuff- is where the joy of travel lies.
When we were in Delhi, we were running short of time with so many places to cover. Both my friend and I, wanted to visit the ISKCON temple; being devotees of Krishna. But we were standing in front of Red fort, with the world famous Jama Mashjid just a 10 minute walk away.

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My friend was insisting we leave immediately so that we could cover ISKCON temple and Lotus temple properly , being the Lord of our choice, and was urging me to skip Jama Masjid all together .
We talked about it, and somewhere deep down, I knew we had to see Jama Mashjid as well just as I knew we had to see the Mathura Aarti mentioned in the other travel post.
I asked him have you ever been to Jama mashjid before in your previous 3 visits to Delhi  , he said no. I asked him do you intend to go there any other time if someone like me isn’t pestering you to go there. He said no . So I said , you have your answer. This is the only time we are going to get. Lets make it .
We did not know the route . And the market is one of the most crowded places I’ve ever been to. It is said that lakhs of people are present in the market that is set up right on the streets at any given point of time . Nobody would believe we were still in the same city whose high and mighty towers we were awestruck with the previous night. Maybe that’s the beauty of Delhi, it just has so much variety to offer!
We did finally make it, and I must tell it is one of those places where the first thing upon setting foot that comes out of your mouth is “wow” .

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Against my friend’s fears, we did cover the amazing Lotus temple, such a breathtaking sight from the outside and so peaceful from the inside.

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And not to forget the ISKCON temple, whose beauty lies in the fact that these temples are located at so many different places across India , and yet, each has a unique construction totally different from the other, each one above the other and extremely peaceful.

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There was so much on offer, and so much to soak in, but it was finally left to us whether we were ready to take it all in or not.
Everything went on schedule , and just like in McLeod ganj later in our trip were the famous Dalai lama monastery as well as Bhagsu temple and St John’s church in the wilderness coexist and give you totally different experiences, we were here,  in Delhi , with so much to see and be a part of, all left to us to experience by getting rid of your inhibitions and carrying on.
But more about the trip later.

Stay open to experiences. Be a wanderer.

Abhishek K

When your home is as beautiful as ur city of dreams

People have the habit to travel the world, only to come back and find exactly what they were looking for.

Travelling is a great practise and exercise- one that we must always be on the lookout for, and yet, many a times; we undermine how beautiful our very own city is.

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This mostly happens coz we take our city and the places it has to offer for granted, seeing it change and wither and be back again as we grow in life.
But when an outsider visits ur city for the first time and looks awestruck at its magnificence, you once again begin to grasp how lucky you are- and appreciate your surroundings once more.

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So travel the world, but appreciate what you’ve got back home as well, for truly ;

There’s nothing like home.

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My city, my home – VIZAG, INDIA

Abhishek K

Change, for there’s more to the world than what’s in your mind

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Change is refreshing , for change is one of the only things in the world that is eternal .

Change- this is a word that has so much more to it than its 6 syllables.
Your entire perspective of things can change from just 1 incident in your life, or of those around you.
My roommate recently met with an accident, and the worse part is, none of his other 3 roommates, including me; was with him at that point of time. Some of our classmates helped him out, until 2 of us rushed in and took him to a super speciality hospital almost 4 hours away in another state whose language was known only to me amongst the 7 of us present.
After shifting him to the ward, the treatment began. He belongs to a remote place in Bihar, and his mother had never even left the state, forget about having to travel thousands of kilometers to see her son in a city whose language she doesn’t speak, bedridden .
To see a man who could not sit idle for 2 minutes without moving his arms or legs to be needing help of 3 people to make him sit is not something you would like to witness.
To see a mother weeping every moment for a week seeing her son in pain and totally depending on someone else to understand what is happening and explain to her; and still not being reassured for his recovery is easily one of the most painful sights.
To sit next to a man you have shared a roof for 4 years with, and yet who couldn’t become your friend in this long time, but when the time came to come together to help your roommate in pain, the two of you joining shoulders to help the friend in need of care, and to see him smiling at the sight is an experience you rarely get to witness on a daily basis.

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To see a simple activity like lifting your arm to become a tedious activity, needing the support of 4 to take you to the commode, all at a ripe age of 22; is not exactly anyone’s plan for life .

One of the first things I did after seeing his mother break down for the first time was call my own mom. Enquire about her health, the minor things like whether she had eaten anything or was enjoying d serial she so thoroughly enjoyed before .

Change is seriously something . It makes you realise that there’s nothing at all that you can take for granted- your body and your “normal” life being the last of it.

I doubt I’ll ever take any of my “usual” activities lightly- ever again. I’m a changed man. And this change, like all the other changes waiting to happen , is going to define who I become in life!

Stay happy, stay grateful

Abhishek K

2. Time and tide wait for none, so make the most of what’s available

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If travelling was free, you would never see me again.

Now this is a popular quote you all must have heard. But I’d like to suggest a variant to the above

If I had all the time in the world, I would soak in all that a place has to offer me, and then move on.

When your about to visit a city that has one of the seven wonders of the world and one    of the most beautiful forts that there is, all in the span of a few hours, you need to time your trip well.
We reached Taj at about 10, and we knew we had less than 5 hours to see both Taj and the Agra Fort;  and with rain playing spoil sport every now and then, we had to do our best.
The thing with places like taj is, they are so beautiful that you can spend days studying every detail of it and relishing what you see; but not everyone has that liberty .
We had the company of several people around us, and as usual; one can always hear chatters every now and then. Their was this couple who had travelled far and wide to come to Agra, and had only a few hours upon them, just like us.
We were in good luck. The rains had stopped, and our spirits were high. 

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We quickly entered after the usual round of photos and then quickly went first, into the Taj to see the tomb and then came out to soak in the sights around.
The place is beautiful as ever. Environmental hazards have taken their toll on this age old monument, and I cannot even begin to wonder what it must have been like before .

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After spending 2.5 quality hours at the Taj , we went to the Agra fort , which is another beautiful place that you must visit .
The view of the Yamuna and the Taj greeted us there as well, and the history of the place made the entire fort come to life.

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On our way to the bus stand, we found the same couple who had just as much time as us. They had been overwhelmed at the Taj, capturing pictures all around and sitting in the lawns, and hence couldn’t visit the Agra fort. They were filled with regret when we showed them the pictures, and we could only think to ourselves how much they had missed.
We had a great time, and were proud of ourselves that we could manage seeing these sites without compromising much, all in the same day as being in mathura for the beautiful Aarti as I mentioned in the other article in this series.
We left for Delhi, where more was in store for us, but more of that later.

Keep learning. Keep travelling.

Abhishek K