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We hope

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The best day of my life again! I’m too surprised to feel the joy as I stare at misty eyes and bumbling words, within moments it sinks in. oh wow! Oh no..again too many problems that need a solution . Bah! who cares, it’s just awesome. It was so cool that moments ago we were discussing the 2 most important life goals for each other while feeling despair in not being able to reach them. Now, it’s all changed…

I hope know that this post will break the most unbelievable streak of chronic procrastination. Let the words go….

 

Words

are

whispers

Smile

is

gentle

Eyes dancing

trying to twinkle

through a

misty joy

My questions

run into a

Surprise!

What do you say

when

you don’t know what to say

a kiss and a hug

is the only way

believe

life is here

 

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He was lying in the bed, thinking, for the 1000th time, it seemed – Why couldn’t he just write. “Why in the Hell’s name can’t I write. Damn you! . You are going to die miserable with the pen still in the pocket”.

The signals were all there. He couldn’t work, his life was in pause. His wife almost gave up on him and He…Well that was one thing he was NOT doing – giving up hope. He could never do that, despite all evidence of loafing around, escaping into the world of sexual gratifications, playing games for mindless hours, keeping busy with chores. These were one of the few things that distracted his mind from the real problem.

This was like the worst nightmare and just as in a dream, the real one could see himself running around trying to dodge the real questions. Just like the game he was playing, he was running towards his enemy, his worst ever. He just had to shoot down that doppelgänger who was causing all the misery. but in the last moment fear made him turn aside for a brief second and that was it. He lost again.

So many thoughts, thoughts just kept pouring out. The whole world around him was sleeping, but he could not, every night he made a wish “One day God. Just one day, I would like to get up and be the artist that I desire to be”. But then it would be morning and his groundhog day would start, just as in the movie.

“ENOUGH!”
“ENOUGH!”

Now there was screaming. It was his own, but for the outside world it never came up. His heart was tearing up inside, he was swallowing the scream of frustration and it was imploding inside.

and then calm….

He knew what he had to do for now, this night, this moment. A little sunshine through his darkest storm. All he had to do is just get up and write something.

He decided not to think, not to try hard, not to get excited or depressed, not to get hopeful. There is no emotion. He just had to type something.

and this is what he did and doing…”I’m ok now. You can stop!”

And so this piece is done and sent out to the world RAW…

Thank You Steven Pressfield for your wonderful book “theWarofART“. For all the people out there, who have even the slightest inclination or the desire to create something, this book is a wonderful gift to yourself.

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Lets make this short!

Do you write?

Did you ever write?

Why don’t you?

Everybody has a story to tell. For most people it runs in the head, a few people (family,friends, wife, children) close enough will hear it.

Some are experts at telling their stories, they get animated, lively, their narration draws a beautiful picture in the listeners minds – quite a talent!

Then some write their stories and bring joy to the tens or hundreds or thousands or the millions who read them.

But a bigger story is about how they struggled to bring out the “story” to all these readers. Sometimes the journey is even more fascinating.

The words

have no flow,

yet they pour out

for the world

to follow.

Groomed in their prime,

sentences crafted in their midst

A string of words

it seems

But a story

it is…

and as my friend, ollin says “It is poetry”

Ollin is one such artist who crafts his words into brilliant yet easy-to-understand symphonies on his blog – A story of his first Story (Novel).

After reviving my blog, I searched the blogosphere for professionals who can inspire me. Ollin’s blog captured my attention – He was writing down his journey while he was creating his first novel.

His blog is aptly named as Courage 2 Create – It does take great courage to create a novel.

Give Him-A-Break!

Ollin is trying to support himself while he’s establishing himself as a writer – no easy feat. He’s gathering support for a writing job on a professional blog.

As a BIG Thank You for all his writing, this post is a request to my readers to vote for him as a writer for a “Happy Mood” blog 🙂

http://www.sam-e.com/job/entries/668

(For the enthusiastic – You can vote separately from different browsers)

He’s in the top 90 and aiming to be in top 20 for the job. Voting ends in 2 days (Should have posted this earlier Ollin)

But don’t just take my word for it, check out his wonderful writings at his blog – http://ollinmorales.wordpress.com/

Update: Ollin has not made into the Top 20, but it was an overwhelming experience for him from all of you

Final Rank: 62

Votes: 1000+

Thanks for your support guys

Oh BTW I had a **BLAST** in Vijayawada this Diwali

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I’m growing

This is my life.

It has no meaning,

fast losing hope,

losing the innocence.

 

This is the moment,

the beginning of a turning point.

I’m waking up to the world.

The years of happiness,

play,

care-free are fading into the past.

The bleak future is staring into my eyes.

I have the urge to write my life,

but I lack the heart to write.

What is there to write?

Death – An uncommon thought which is coming up again and again.

The turning point is here.

I wish I can stop.

But wishes will not always come true.

 

I want to stop now.

Go to sleep.

But then, I’ll just realize

that

I lost my dreams too.

I hope this is just for today.

I smile!

I know it is not just for today.

What is the question?

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Waking up to life

Answering my Question

I remember that night. In one breath I told her I liked her and in the next, advised her to walk away. The question was from me and I answered it for her.

I was rejecting myself.

Maybe I was trying to ease the impact of the inevitable rejection  or just hoping for a miracle.

But in the end she just nodded along and walked away.

Running away

My mind was in a void during the drive home. Just one thought – It all looked so tragic. Hopeless, sad, painful, despair, these were my synonyms for the night.

Something was screaming inside me, But I could not hear it. I had to keep it busy. Busy enough to forget and so I ran.

The more I ran , the harder it was beating. I wanted to drown the screaming with the beating. I kept it busy for the next 2 hours – My poor little heart.

Two days later, I was back, breaking the unsaid promise, I talked to her again. It was OK.  Starting over again, now I did not reject myself. Neither did she.

But this was still a one-way street.

Working for us

It was almost a week since I professed my liking to her. Many things happened in-between, I fell in love with her. She was everywhere – in my thoughts, my words, even in my dreams.

Everyday was the same. In the night, I  patiently convince her that “this was right” and the next day, all was lost that was gained in the night. Her world would come in-between, doubting all that was said. Then I would start all over again – repainting the picture of ourselves.

Waiting for a sign

Tonight was different, our usual phone conversation had to be cut short. The late night conversations annoyed her mom. I had an idea.

Me: Go to bed now and we will wake up to talk at 3AM.

She: ok.

I woke up with a start. Looked at the time in my phone. It was 3.26AM.

Should I call her? Maybe she was sleeping because she didn’t call at 3AM. Damn I should have waked up at 3. The moment passed and I kept the phone away.

BRRRRR! Then it rang. It was her. I picked it in the second ring. She was talking in a low voice.

Me: Sorry. I just woke up and decided NOT to call you. When did you get up?

She: Just now!

Me: …….

This was our sign, our miracle. We woke up at the exact wrong time – 3.26AM. This was the time where our lives were forever changed, every minute after that would be ours – TOGETHER……………..

Submitted for Tata DOCOMO OneTouch Net Phone contest.

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Part 1 was all about the amazing journey to Ktop (Khardung La). This is all about being there and beyond – An adventure of a lifetime.

Highlights

– Reached KTop

– Pictures with Jawans and playing in snow

– Coffee at 18,000 feet

– Weather turning bad

– Black Ice!

Read on my friends…….

KTop


After a very bumpy and  almost broken down stretch of 2-3 kms, Venkat and I finally reached Khardung la (la means pass) also called as KTop by bikers/locals.

After all the hard work, wonderful ride and scary moments at the edge, KTop was like an anti-climax. It was just like a pit stop and no where near this mighty summit that we thought would rise from the shadows.

It was a small patch of land with a few bunkers of army jawans and a sign board on the right saying “Highest Motorable road in the World”. The tourists got out of their cars to take pictures.

There was a lot of soft snow around and I started rolling around a bit, after all this was my first time. Venkat had enough of snow while he was in USA, he gave the “rolling around” a pass.

Rolling around in snow for the first time

We took a few pics. The jawanas were watching with amusement, the over-excitement of the tourists. I guess it wasn’t so much fun living here in bare minimum oxygen (50% of sea level), freezing your butt.

The jawanas were here to take care of maintaining all the roads including clearing of landslides and snow.  When everyone else was busy taking pics and having fun, we decided to “Thank” the jawans for their hard work. We were the only bikers there.

CO2

A bunker in the background

The jawans were pleased that we thanked them personally for all their hard work. I guess not many tourists do that. So the next time you are here, please make sure you drop in a “Thank You”.

They invited us into their bunkers for a cup of coffee. Venkat and I crowded in this bunker with the other jawans. The bunkers had furnaces, and it was warm inside.

Because there were  no cups for coffee, these guys used steel glasses. There were only 2-3 glasses which were given to us, the guests. The rest used empty tin cans as glasses.

Best Coffee ever at 18,000 feet

We were actually feeling weird inside the bunker. Venkat came up with a theory – there was little oxygen here, and a the furnace fire would gobble up the oxygen, leaving out only co2 (carbon dioxide) and with 6-7 guys cramped up, it was hard breathing..literally. After coffee and a good chat, we stepped out into the fresh freezing air.

Breaking point

Venkat with the Jawans

One of the jawans wanted to  ride our bikes. A few tried the smaller bajaj pulsar. But none dared to touch the big blue TBird.

All the tourists had turned back to Leh. We were the only civilians left out and thanks to the officer at South pullu, we had permission to go beyond KTop into Nubra valley.

We finally said our good byes and started down. It started snowing.

Pumped up for the downhill ride

I was seeing snowfall for the first time, and now I was biking through it. After just a few hundred meters, we were already having a bad time. the road was no better, the snow was fogging up our helmet glass, cutting out our visibility.

We had no choice but to lift the visor on the helmets. With no protection, my face was at the mercy of the elements – the snow falling into my eyes and the freezing wind numbing everything.

I was born in a city where summer temperatures touch 50 degree centigrade (120 F). The winter temperatures go to a minimum of 20+ degrees. You can say that I am really bad at dealing with cold.

snow flakes fogging the helmet

Now imagine me being in sub-zero temperatures, with a wind chill and biking through it. Although I was wearing twice as much protection as venkat (who was used to it after a few years stay in USA), I was still freezing and now my visor was off.

This was the toughest physical test ever for me. We got through only a kilometer and there were 40 more kilometers downhill to go.

and then it happened…

I read about it. Never understood it. Other bikers would encounter it in the winter, stop dead in their tracks and turn back.

Black Ice!

The word itself sounded ominous. As I was saying, we were biking downhill through the snow and freezing cold, visibility was still only for  few feet. Suddenly there was black ice below me, the next second my brain registered this and before I could say “oh shit!”, the bike went down. All 350 kg of it. Venkat was behind me, and his bike skidded and fell down just as it crossed me.

Can't see the road beneath the ice and slush

There was no warning, we never saw it in this weather. As soon as we touched it, we slipped and fell down. There was zero traction to the tires on this surface.

I finally knew what black ice was..

My Tbird fell on the right side of the narrow mountain road, Venkat was overtaking me and ended up falling on the middle of the road (the bike fell, he was ok).

Do you know what happens when there is less oxygen?

A small physical effort becomes very difficult. In LEH itself, we had trouble climbing a simple staircase. We wound up out-of-breath after climbing the flight to our hotel room and KTop was 5000 feet higher. There is even less oxygen here.

Now imagine trying to upright a 350kg or 180kg motorcycle  in freezing temperature. We couldn’t lift them the first time. But we had to try. We were exhausted.

STOOOP!!!

While we were busy trying to lift the bikes, we did not notice a truck slowly rolling towards us. Visibility was really bad.

Venkat and his bike was in its direct path. We eventually noticed it and signaled the driver to stop. Not that it was needed, he could see us in his path or so we thought….

Within a few seconds we realized that the truck was not stopping, it was still crawling at a slow pace. But it was not stopping.

We didn’t understand, we tried harder to make him understand, we shouted, jumped up and down. Still the truck kept coming, slow and steady.

This was like watching a horror movie in slow motion. Why the hell wasn’t the guy stopping, Venkat was in its direct path.

We gestured even harder, astonished. Couldn’t the guy see us?…..and finally the truck stopped. 10 meters short of Venkat.

After a few pitiful attempts, we managed to lift the bikes and moved them back to the side. We were panting, exhausted, I was seeing stars. This was it. I could not take it any longer.

My strength left me, with that my hope…

End of the Road

Was it really the end? Read the third and final part to find out…….

When I started writing this post, I saw the day’s headlines – A disaster struck the small town of Leh. Heavy rains caused mudslides and more than 200 people were killed. The biggest calamity Leh had ever seen. May peace come soon to this peaceful town.

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One of my favorite poems (others are linked on the side). It was inspired after a friend.

Hope you enjoy this!

Just 3 words

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oh no..pink!

For the last few months, I was quietly sitting in my corner, blogging away about mundane incidents and occasionally rhyming my way, when bang – I get hit by comments from everywhere.

Wha..when..where

It was the most exciting day for this blog. Jingle introduced me to her readers, who were mostly poets. Their comments where overwhelming. For the first time, there were a bunch of poets reading and appreciating my work. Until then, there was only one online poet, slpmartin, that I could read or learn from. It was pay-day when I found so many poets who were really good at their writing.

Kavita’s writing stopped me in my tracks. Here was someone who was great at writing, exceptionally cheerful and one of the few who can actually make me laugh with her writing.

I’m too busy trying to balance work-life-blog and can hardly find time to  squeeze in surfing time. Kavita not only finds time to read my stuff, but she likes it so much that she wants to give me an award!


Coming from her, a beautiful writer,  I knew this was a proud moment. Her comment was the first thing I saw today and she wanted to give me an award – WoW! and then clicking on that link took me to her post.

Oh no….

It was pink. Pink! No offence ladies but I hate that color, I never left a chance to ridicule guys who wear pink. One of my favorite targets is my bro.

There I was, wondering if I could shade it another color and then I read Kavita’s comment. I couldn’t help but smile:-). She understood that this was un-manly, but still passed it on.

I humbly accept!

There are few extra things required along with my acceptance. I will try to satisfy as best as I can

1) Thank You KAVITA
2) Things to share about me, this post is best place to start and then you can read my 8 lines.
3) The rules state that I have to forward this award. In my short blogging history, I only really know/follow 2-3 bloggers , and almost all (Kavita) already have this award.

But I know one person to give this award.

She is a She 🙂

She is an excellent poet and good friend of slpmartin – one of the best poets I know online.

And her blog is completely  in pink!!

She is Jade

Not just a pink award

If you think this is a simple image of pink roses, you are wrong. It represents much more. I found some time to understand this award and just into 2 levels (links) deep, I found two individuals who know their craft – writing.

Lisa – She is a published writer with a simple, yet well-written blog. One post actually talks about the virtues of the color pink. Almost convinced me 😉 But she does have a point.

Ollin – A budding writer who blogs about his current project – finishing his first novel.

Thanks Kavita for opening this world to me.

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Inches from the edge at Khardung La, Leh

It was a 6-story building. Still under-construction, no walls, only the floor and the ceiling. I was on the terrace, on my bike – Royal Enfield Thunderbird.

The ceiling was sloping down, there were no walls to the terrace and I found myself at the edge of this slope, squeezing the front disc brakes so hard that my knuckles were shaking with the effort.

The brakes were the only thing stopping the bike from going over the edge and taking me down with it.

I was at the edge of death, barely holding  the bike, couldn’t let go of the brakes nor move this  350 kg (700 pound) bike back up the slope, it was just too heavy and too close to the edge.

What a place to be in!

I was terrified, helpless, weakening. A few people were on the construction site at ground level, but I had to shout to get their attention.

The situation was so precarious that I could not even shout, the first time I tried, the vibrations in my voice and body threatened the delicate “balance of life” being played out on the terrace. There would be no one to help me!

This was it. My strength was failing.I was going to fall to my death.

But this was impossible. How can I die?

Then I woke up i.e I became conscious/self-aware in the dream. I became Lucid.

As soon I realized that it was a dream, I just let go of the brakes.

And then I was falling. Time slowed down, everything was in slow-motion. But I was no longer a pawn in my dream, taking complete control – I started flying.

Flying and More

Flying is an awesome experience

The feeling was exhilarating, every human being would love to experience it (at least in their dreams). After flying around, I tested my new-found powers in the dream.

Next target – going through walls. It felt weird going through solid walls, concrete in your face, but it worked.

I was flying through walls and found myself in an office. There were 2 pretty secretaries at their desks, time to use my new-found powers on them.

To cut short a long story, things became too exciting and I woke up from the dream. WoW!

Night-life

The most interesting part of my life happens after I sleep. My “overt-the-top” “out-of-this-world” imagination plays out much to my delight.

This is my dream world.

We all dream 3-4 times in a night. But most folks don’t remember their dreams.

Some think that they don’t dream at all (or very rarely). Some assume that remembering dreams (or dreaming) is sign that you did not have a good night’s sleep.

I feel fortunate for recalling most of my dreams. I also remember a few dreams which happened 10 years ago.

But the best thing – Quite a few of my dreams are plain AWESOME!

Just remember that our dreams seem to be very real while we are in them, the emotions or the reality is real – fear, happiness, joy, surprise, anger. We experience these feelings to the fullest in our dreams.

Lucid Dream

All these dreams are nothing compared to having a Lucid dream. However vivid a dream appears to you, it is still a dream to you. It appears so real while you dream and then you wake up to reality.

Now imagine that you actually become conscious in your dream. You become aware that you are in a dream, while you are dreaming. This is becoming Lucid.

Once you become aware that you are dreaming, the dream can be controlled. Imagine doing, being anything you want in your dream world and experiencing it with all our senses heightened.

My First Lucid dream

My dream took me back in time by 20 years, to my home town, Vijayawada. I was right outside my house.

Somehow I became aware that it was a dream, maybe because the landscape was so different from the present day.

I remembered my facts about Lucid dream and I had to do a Reality Check.

So I willed myself to fly, and I was suddenly off the ground.

I landed 500 meters ahead. A short ride, but OMG I flew!

Then I woke up. Being in control felt so real and incredible. But if  a dreamer gets over-excited they wake up, I guess that happened to me.

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How many of you work in a software company?

Anyone working in an Indian Software company is intimately aware of his chair. We believe it is the source of all trouble – physical.

You get a back ache or a neck problem, then it must be the chair. You try to fiddle around with its controls to make it more suitable for your unique (and lazy) posture.

There are three levels of adjustment to the office chair

Height of the seat

Height of the arm rests

Angle of the back rest

Now imagine that you were not aware of one of these 3 adjustment options.

Now imagine that you never found out about the missing adjustment for years.

Impossible?

Nope. Remember Abhi?

Last week I came in to sit in my chair after a break, found that my chair’s back rest was no longer at my preferred angle of 80 degree.

Someone unlocked the backrest and  when I sat, it just swung back to the maximum angle.

So I just set my angle, lock the chair there with a lever below the seat.

Abhi : Hey! can you lock it at an angle?
Me: Yeah.
Abhi: WoW! I had no idea. This is great. I always exchange my chair for one which is locked. I thought some chairs were defective.

I was really surprised. Abhi could not figure out something which many of us figure out in the first few seconds of sitting in a modern-day office chair.

He was ignorant about this feature for the last 3 years.

Abhi went to prove that he was not the only one. The other two guys in my sections also had no clue about this feature.

All these years they had to adjust with chairs which arch all the way by 45 degrees.

Their solution: Steal chairs from other desks which had a locked back.:-)

You?

Okay you had your laugh at these guys. Now think about this.

What if you missed a very useful feature in your tool? A feature which would make your work life much more comfortable.

As software engineers, we use plenty of tools in our work day. Some of these are core of our work, such as :- Email Client, an IDE (eclipse, visual studio), ms office, browser, internet, google.

Are you sure you know all the important features (tricks) of these tools?

What if you believed (like abhi) that there were only two features to your tool.

You go on working for years never even knowing there was an easy way to do things within your tool(s). You never even tried looking for it.

Some Examples of tricks and features of common tools

Google Search

Giving a between two words searches for a combination. So searching for “tool-box” gives results of “toolbox” and also “tool box

site: This keyword will help you search within a website. So searching “site:http://www.cnn.com obama” will search content within cnn.com

filetype: This keyword will search return results of that files. filetype:doc  java will give you docs and pdfs about java. Great way to search for ebooks.

Browser

Single click with middle button of your mouse on a hyper-link will open a new tab with that webpage

Developers will love the “Find in Files” search feature of notepad++

There are thousands of such examples for everyday tools which make are our life easier and interesting.

We should try to make efforts to search and fiddle with all the handles of our tool(s).

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