At what cost?

This is an age of exposure, inter-disciplinary research, start-ups,social networking and impossibles becoming possibles.A time when the standards keep rising,and the best is just not enough.Everyones’ working harder than before,not just to beat others at their game,but themselves too.Outperforming once own achievements is the order of the day.

This speed vs time graph is on a sharp rise.Everyone wants to cover as much distance they can,in as less time as possible.It is then very likely to get cynical,comparative and undermining about anything that does not confirm to our beliefs.

This, is what amazes me.We talk of being more open-minded and acceptable than ever before.Yet,in our fight to the top,discard anything not slightly close to our ways,as futile and vestigial.And sadly,the easiest way out,to prove our judgements right is to downgrade the ones opposing it.

There is a word called ‘Subjectivity’ in the English language.Have we completely forgotten it?Or has the heap of information from all around us made it like a needle in the haystack,present but too difficult to find?

If someone needs to emphasize how important it is for them to be a working and a financially independent woman,then is it necessary to draw parallels between a housewife and a working woman(the difference however,in my opinion at least, is that the latter are paid for their work).I hear a lot of guys saying that they love their moms,but their wives shouldn’t be housewives like them.They desire someone who can match their pace of progress.My question,without getting into into the ‘that very same housewife made you capable of taking these decisions’ part is this-Why can’t we just say that these are qualities I look for in my spouse?Why that superiority complex?What for?

Then there are others who feel they aren’t prepared to get married or do not believe in the institution itself.No problem.No ones got any business to force you or convince you into it.But then just like you choose not to go in for it,the others chose the contrary.Do you and I then have any business to question their intelligence,sense of freedom or career orientation ?If you feel prepared,do it.If you don’t,no one can push you.But we don’t get to question why someone decided to get hitched at 21 or right after stepping out of college.Thats because we don’t like answering why we choose to do so in our late 30s or may be not do it at all.

A lot of people,in fact a large majority in the world today are doing engineering or management or other such conventional 9 to 5 jobs.”I don’t wish to be wasting my life sitting at a desk making money for others” and other such similar stuff.We all keep coming across it.What gave us the idea that all of them,at that desk, lack passion and dreams?What if making money for their organization or coding for their clients was what gave them an adrenalin rush? Who decided that until and unless you aren’t pursuing a career in rock music or doing the salsa or aspiring to be a chef or open a crazy start-up,you aren’t living life on your terms?I mean come on!You don’t need to infuse life in to your dreams and passions by extracting it out of others’.Well you should love doing what you do because you want to do it.Not because there is something you don’t want to do.Isn’t it?

A lot of us were very excited when social media began taking a more emotionally tangible and visibly appealing form through a lot of different networks.The socialites of generations both current and past were given new avenues of interaction,maintaining presence and staying connected.They loved it.However,some are also cynical of it.They feel most of it is so ostentatious and drama-like.All of which is fine too.But then come remarks like ‘We don’t do what we do for fancy pictures on Facebook or Instagram’ or that ‘Some people are always on the look out for taking selfies’.Why so bitter,is my question.There are a lot of us who love that attention,that capturing of moments,and feel their best when in a social jamboree.And then there are some of us who are taciturn,believe in focusing on work and do not feel the need to publicize it,or are irked to see behavior they consider ‘over the top’.

But then there is no denial that the social media network has its own perks when used as a marketing and communication tool.Most,if not all(and that most is definitely humungous),sectors today thrive on it.The accessibility it offers in the least amount of time is ineffable.And so some consider it an inseparable part of their work that they don’t even consider burdensome.Isn’t that great?The fact that social media has helped millions of noble causes reach closer to their vision,proves that its not only about paparazzi.And even if it is,who gets to decide what you and I are supposed to like and enjoy?You choose to be a hermit?go ahead.You choose to be a social butterfly?well no one can stop you.

Sometimes people will start comparing the lives in the villages with lives here in cities and metros.Not that they shouldn’t.Its always nice to compare and contrast.Gives us a broader perspective.But then people be like ‘people in the villages are more hardworking’ or that ‘city folks are reckless when it comes to their health and lifestyles’.These are such stereotypical affirmations.I mean,consider the parameters that come into play while drawing comparisons at least.Villagers mostly engage in physical labour and townies mostly indulge into mental work(needless to say,both are capable of doing the others job if they really want to).Thus,their struggles and their aftermaths are different too.

Its easy to prove ourselves as veracious at the cost of rejecting anything dissonant as unworthy.This is like erasing a line drawn next to yours,making  your line ‘appear’ longer.The real worth however,lies in extending your own.A harmonious existence calls for making peace with all that is around.Even that,which doesn’t seem to fit in your own niche.We live in an ecosystem of a society,where everyone,the corporates,the social workers,the actors,the journalists,teachers and doctors,laborers and hawkers,the married and the divorced,heterosexuals,homosexuals and bisexuals,the ambitious and the hermits,all need to exist.Each one is irreplaceable with any other.

The real reason why we aren’t at peace with others is because we aren’t comfortable in our own skin.Coz if we were,we wouldn’t have the time and mind space to bother about anything we don’t hold interest in.We would spend all our time relishing our toil at something we like.The act of proving your mettle at the cost of those you fail to comprehend,reflects your own lack of faith in your abilities.You don’t have to be condescending,to prove your beliefs or convictions.Neither should we try to influence others,nor get into the trap of being influenced easily ourselves.

Let everyone Just Be!






Feeling Welcomed

welcome banner

                                      The banner welcomes my students every morning into their classroom

If you have ever experienced going to a party or a social gathering with a friend, who is the actual invitee, you best know how that warm greeting, addressed by the host to you, makes you feel as if you’ve been relieved of some strange burden. Gradually you become so comfortable in the settings, that you almost forget that you weren’t even invited there in the first place.

On the contrary, you reach a venue of celebration, organized by your really-really close friend or relative, only to realize that they are too occupied to even notice your presence. You then start feeling completely out of place. In fact, you start questioning why you ever decided to attend it in the first place. You start thinking of all the other wonderful plans you could have chosen to execute in place of this. You actually leave the party with a burden of sorts.

Such is the power of Feeling Welcomed (or not welcomed). The burden, talked about above, is the burden of self-worth and self-respect, ego and superego, dignity and ridicule, being wanted or unwanted. The struggle between being the significant and the meaningless.

Now, imagine all this conflict of purpose was internal and not external. This means, the host and the guest are the same person; they are you. You are the creator of your own experience. So the onus lies completely on your shoulders. Isn’t the burden heavier now? Yes, but only if you look upon it as a burden. If your perception treats it as liberty, you will feel as light as a feather instead. No really! Imagine how powerful you shall feel if no one, but only you decide, where you will be, and how you will feel there. Only you get to choose whether you will be harsh on yourself or gentle.

But as the saying goes ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. So if you do not use this power to your advantage, you will suffer with an intensity, no one else holds the ability to make you do. There is no bigger suffering than self-contempt. No one, can then make you feel welcomed anywhere, if you in your head have decided that you do not belong there.

Be easy on yourself, give yourself the leeway to just be. Neither right nor wrong, just be. Stand by yourself in the tough times and the not so appropriate decisions. Yes, not so appropriate, because there ain’t any standard appropriate or inappropriate existing. Only you get to define them for yourself.

If you feel out of place, ask yourself what makes you feel that way. Check with yourself if the answer to this question holds more importance in your life or the place you are in. Stick to the one that’s more dear to you. Over the years, you may feel that your priorities have changed. Do not, at this stage, regret your past decision. After all, that was the finest move you thought you could make back then. That’s what you wanted. Feel free to choose, to let go, to accept and to restart. If you will magnanimously permit yourself to make choices, you will be then Feeling Welcomed all your life.

Aiming for the stars and beyond!

Aim. Do we all have one? Or only a few do? Or do all of us have it, but only a few realize it? What is an aim? Or to put it in better words, what exactly qualifies to be called an Aim? And who gets to decide the qualifying parameters? Too many questions right?

But am certain, each one of you reading this post, has faced one or more of these at some or the other point in your life.In seminars, while reading self-help books, at spiritual gatherings, during group discussions, while in a friend chat and also in times of self reflection For those of you who think you haven’t, guess what? You actually have, only in an ambiguous form. The important thing however, regardless of your answer to any or all of the above questions, is that each one of us must have an aim in our schedules. Mind it, I said ‘schedule’, not ‘day’, nor ‘month’, nor ‘year’ nor ‘life’.

The problem starts when we try to scale up things way too far. Learn to scale down. Life is too unpredictable. You don’t know what is going to change the next moment. Be flexible and fluid. Take pride in accommodating the uncertainties. These shall help you attain something everyday, not on one fine day. Some of us have targets chalked out- where do I want to see myself 10 years down the line, what is that next course I need to get enrolled for, where do I want to purchase real estate in the next 5 years and so on and so forth. They are the ones who would promptly say ‘yes, I do have Aim/s’. Others might feel that they are clueless of things they want to learn or do or achieve a few years from now. So shouldn’t their answer be ‘No, I have no Aim in life’? Well, not really.

Each of us has got something to do everyday. Could be mundane, but still, something is always there. Now you got to ask your self, all these regular jobs that you do, do you wish to continue doing them forever and add nothing new to your days? If yes, well then you know your Aim already. An aim is an aim after all. Only you get to decide yours, and there is no comparing here. If no is the answer, then what is it that you intend to change in your schedule and when? Also Why? For instance I will start going to the gym (change), from next week (when) because I want to have a fit body (why). You shall then know your immediate Aim. Similarly, you can have a long-term plan or vision too. Try scaling it down to what you can do now to fulfill it later. The art and science of setting an Aim and achieving it lies in breaking it into chunks. If you don’t do that, you may start feeling ambiguity and a lack of purpose. You need to get into the feel of working towards something every single day. This will keep you connected with your dreams.

students aim cards
Students of my class set their aims for the next semester @TeachForIndia

Setting goals, for each day, as it comes, that’s where the magic lies. Small things like waking up on time, avoiding procrastination, paying pending bills, ironing clothes, replying to e-mails, etc. All these are achievements too, or at least doing them clears your head for doing something that you hold really important. They make you feel in control. Give you the much needed, urgent sense of work satisfaction. Never underestimate the power of simplicity. It has huge untapped potential. As far as the worth of your Aim is concerned, there is an easy way to avoid all that peer pressure too. Stop falling prey to the rat race, create your own league. If you stop bothering about what others plan to do, trust me you will start believing, they don’t care either. So aim like you were born to achieve them.

The power of Permanence

There is a deep connection between permanence and trust.Trust that generates confidence.It inspires one to believe.We fall back on such things,take them for granted,swear by them.We live with assurance that come what may,no one can ever obliterate the fact that they belong to us.

Come to think of it,our relationship with our parents and our children is like that.They are ours.No one can alter the fact that the former gave birth to us or that we delivered the latter into this world.Talk about things more tangible and material than emotional?So then,don’t we have a greater inclination to buy products that offer life time warranty?It works wonders on the buyer mindset,sometimes the deciding factor too.

Does it then imply that our insecurities are born from our own sense of temporary,breathing the air that we agree to offer them.These breaths that more often than not,we mercilessly snatch away from our convictions.After all,doubts are the absence of beliefs merely.

So if the fountainhead,of all things favorable and not so favorable,is our mind heart and soul,then the power to become invincible lies within us too.Our values,actions,performance,efficiency and consequent success will then remain constant at the bar we set for ourselves,regardless of where we are and what we do.How can we let things so vital to us fall out of our locus of control,ascribing their origin to factors very external.The secret is to convince ourselves that these are second nature to us,inseparable from our existence.They are as permanent as our mortal existence.