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3 AM. I’m out of my bed, with this intense urge to tell the world, while at the same time, I’m shouting inside –

Follow your dreams! Be Better. Do Better!

I keep repeating these words everyday, multiple times, consciously and subconsciously. It started as an affirmation, changed to an order, became a prayer, a background noise and finally a silent scream.

Most of us have a similar version of this running in our heads, a silent scream only to be stifled by our so-called “rationale” mind.

“It is impractical”

“Stop day dreaming”

“What would your family think”

“You know you will fail”

“No clue”

But in the end, as Seth Godin says “The Lizard brain” takes over at the slightest hesitation, shoving your dreams, your art, your right for creation down the abyss of day-to-day living.

So STOP! and just hear me out.

For the last few weeks (or months) a new rationale has crept into my regular dream, which by the way, is following my passions in life.

Children!

For all the fathers and mothers or the soon-to-be ones out there, think about this reason. Our children are the most important things in our lives. We transform ourselves to selflessly give to them.

Passing on

Your children will see what you’re all about by what you live rather than what you say – Dr. Wayne Dyer

One of the most important things we try to pass on is our wisdom, a hope for a brilliant future for them.

We teach our children to live an ideal life so they can become great artists or anything. We tell them that the world has no boundaries and that our mind is limitless.

Our children are smart, they can see right through. Their love shows them who we are and if your words say one thing and your life says something else, they would learn that.

For example, this post would be more valuable if I did/doing all these things . Words without action soon lose their sheen, the world needs proof.

Set an example

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means – Albert Einstein

We work hard to provide for our children. A good education, property, money and more. All to make their life easier and better.

Modeling yourself as an example is even more important.

Children whose parents have worked towards their dreams, have an easier time adapting to a similar life goal.

But most of us go after the money and we are willing to do any work (lose our integrity also) to get that. All in the name of our children.

My friends, that is the easier route. It is visible, you can tag it with numbers, 1 crore and your did it. But understanding our purpose to create or our right to realize our dream(s) is a much more confusing human aspect.

Harder, But Still…Just do it for them.

So the next time you find yourself arguing for sticking to the world’s most boring job, for your children’s sake, change tracks, convince yourself that you are good enough to pursue your dreams.

We are their first heroes. Lets follow the path that we believe in – for their sake!

I had to put this thought down, came up while I was reading the parenthood chapter from Simple Truths.

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Before (starting) Update:This was a few weeks ago.

As I write this, we (Me & Srinivas) are all set to leave for my friend/roomate/college junior’s wedding.

Start Time: 9:30PM IST

Travel Time: 3.5+hrs

Distance: 200+kms

Mode of Transportation: My Car

Driver: 🙂

Wedding Muhurtham: 1:30AM

Would we make it in time?: HeHe…No Way

Would we make it in one piece?: God!I Hope so.

For the ignorant, Muhurtham is an auspicious date+time when the couple will be announced as married i.e typically after the Groom ties the auspicious Mangal sutra.

The round trip is around 8 hours with an hour or two at the wedding ceremony. Well we all know what that means – ALL NIGHT ROAD TRIP!!!!

Pointers  to myself

Don’t fall asleep

Don’t race with trucks

Drive slow (Yeah..Right!)

Don’t lose your way

Watch out for speed humps

Don’t fall asleep

Facts to ponder

I was the only driver

We didn’t know the way

I fell asleep on the wheel twice before

My spare tire was flat

Well the conditions were not favorable, but luckily, Srinivas was as ignorant (careless) about the problems as I was. We were just happy to go on a road trip.

After! (coming back)

We were off! But I had to warn Srinivas

“Keep talking to me or else I’m gonna fall asleep”

After an hour’s drive, we reached the 4-lane highway, not a common sight in India. This was a nice surprise

GPS – Follow the line

When I told Srinivas about missing out GPS on my bro’s iPhone, he grinned and whipped out his shiny Samsung phone with GPS. Wow! Now I got a chance to test it out.

FYI – I never used maps or GPS before. We always traveled the old-fashioned Indian way –

Go straight.

Ask a Guy.

Go ahead more. Stop.

Ask another guy.

Repeat this until you get to your destination!

Break

We took our first break at a small dhaba (kind of like a hut-sized cafe). One of the best things about a road trip is a casual chai (tea) right next to the highway.

After another hour’s drive we were at Nizamabad, 30 kms from our destination -The town of Bodhan

Hic Hic!

Naturally neither of us remembered the name of the function hall, and who writes down things today.

We used the old fashioned way to find out. Bus stops are the best place to find homeless guys. We did find someone who woke up….

“Hey..So..ummm…We need to go to a marriage. Do you know if one is happening now”, we asked sheepishly.

“Go straight”, the guy answered. He could barely stand.

“We were looking for this big hall owned by the local MLA”

“Go straight”

“Sure? Straight?..umm..ok”

This guy was dead drunk. Now can we trust a drunk guy to tell us the right directions. You know what they say – You always tell the truth when you are drunk!

Turns out he was right and we reached the marriage hall at 2AM.

Happily ever after

Wedding hall


My friend, OKC was happy to see us.  He was sitting on the stage, right next to his soon-to-be wife.

OKC works in Australia. His marriage as most marriages in India, was an “Arranged Marriage”. After a careful screening process (Family background, education, caste, financial stability) a bride/groom is selected by the parents and children generally accept that choice.

A tried and successful system that’s been working for ages.  The couple looked great together and OKC had a beaming face, trying to suppress the excitement 🙂

We were in time to see him tie the Mangal Sutra around the girls neck and all the elders trooped onto the stage to bless them by sprinkling holy rice grains on their heads.

Groom tying the mangalsutra

The marriage (anti)musical band tried their best to deafen the crowd. They managed it very well with a lot of drums. I guess the louder they are, the more, they get noticed.

Journey back

Highway Dhaba


We started back at 3AM, a dangerous time to drive. Sleep always tries to overpower you at this time and you never know if a truck driver is half-asleep.

After an hour’s drive, I was feeling drowsy and so we stopped at a bhaba. This one was cool with make-shift beds, a loud TV in the background and a sleepy woman.

I love to see these beds, they are so crude and very useful. Anyone can take a quick nap on them (I think).

A chai (Hindi for Tea) felt good and refreshing and we were back on the road.

Chai (Tea)

Still using firewood for the stove

Men and Women

I needed to bring up something to keep us talking till we reach home. We found a very debatable topic – Can Men and Women become good friends?

The good thing is Srinivas said “Yes” and I said “No Way!”. That started a very animated debate. It didn’t matter that we were both relatively inexperienced, we considered ourselves subject matter experts.

I won’t dwell on the details or the outcome. But I do think that I was right 🙂 (My Blog..so I win)

Srinivas concluded that I had ego issues and had to read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle.

The last test – FAIL!

We got so involved with our conversation that we didn’t even notice dawn coming and just like that we were in Hyderabad! The time was 6 or 7 in the morning. I dropped Srinivas at home.

But the dangerous part of the journey was yet to come. It happened before and it was happening now. Now that I was inside the city, my body automatically relaxed too much.

I was falling asleep behind the wheel. My eyes would close down and then half way through snap open again.

What the !!!!

I think my brain registered that being in the city was like being in my home, so system was shutting down.

In the 30 minute drive through the city, I dozed off for 5-6 times. One time I just followed a bus into the bus stop with my eyes half closed.

This was scary, I was losing control. I did the only thing possible – called up Srinivas and asked him keep talking until I reached home.

and then I was home, a quick bath and I was off to bed for the next 9 hours.

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

As a kid I loved travelling in the train. I still enjoy doing so…unless something like this happens

The journey takes 5-6 hours by train to Vijayawada, my home city.  As usual, I slept late and was looking forward to a delightful nap on one of my passenger’s shoulder (You can’t help it)

Night Train

Day train

An early start

Train starts at 6AM, I was there on time (surprisingly) and when it came in, I got in along with a few thousand people. Ok someone got their math wrong, there were more  passengers than seats, easily 4 times more.

Everyone was scrambling..not for a seat, they just needed a place to stand!

WoW I never saw so many people get into a reserved compartment. What reservation? The system collapsed with an overwhelming surge of humanity to go home for the holidays. We were struggling to gain square inches.

Too late. I couldn’t get out of this

Journey in my Journey

Journey from the door to here

I was able to get into the train, but a wall of bodies stopped me at the exit. The train started.

Now I had to try to get to my reserved seat – it looked impossible.

Inch by Inch I pushed through, trampling feet, elbowing my way through the sweaty masses to get close to my seat.

45 minutes to travel 7 feet – Great timing!

Claiming my prize

I knew that someone would be sitting in my seat. With the reservation printout in my hand, ready to shove in their face, I was determined to evict the squatter.

To my dismay, there was an old man in my seat and when I politely asked, he just raised his hands in a Namaste, pleading with his eyes…

Damn! Just when I was about to test my sense of authority, I was asked to show my unselfish generosity, which, I thought wasn’t part of my nature. But  I nodded my head implying “OK. No Problem”

 

Now the Fun part

Reality of my gesture sunk in after standing for a few minutes, “I could be standing for the next few hours” . Now why couldn’t the old man be a really pretty girl.

BUT it was not just about the standing, it was about surviving in this human pit. All of us stuck together like glue.

We were even struggling for hand-holding space. Oh it was just painted and the paint did not dry completely.

Crowded hand-hold

The ones sitting were no better,  4-5 bodies were jammed on a seat that could hold only 3. It was fascinating to watch so many people.

What were they thinking when they all decided to go home in this train?

Did they realize that everyone was thinking the same

Did they know that I was one of the few idiots who actually reserved his seat?

Eventually

Fortunately others took pity on my plight and got me squeezed into the opposite seat. Relief after standing for 3 hours.

I nodded off to sleep. A woman sleeping next to me was using my body as a bed-rest. On my left was another guy. Her daughter somehow wound up in my lap.

There was a big shouting match when a few folks with reserved seats rudely evicted a middle-aged couple.

Later, I showed my Mobile’s camera feature to the daughter & son of that lady. As expected, the kids were delighted.

Soon my phone was “borrowed”, there was a brief tussle between the kids and surprisingly the little girl got the phone . Her brother was much more subdued than this girl.

Eventually, the adventure was over and I reached Vijayawada.  A journey which I will try my best to avoid again.

But I did get a good story out of this. Hope you guys enjoyed it.

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?

Missing today…

 

 

365 days

since

you said YES

Yesterday,

all it took

was

just a few words

before

NO was said.

 

365 days

at

the-end-of-the-day

always

you say

Yes

 

Today

pick up the phone

and say

YES,I forgive you!

 

Without you

365 minutes

is all

I can stay!

 

Without a YES

there

is NO start to

my day

 

Image from here

 

Biking encounters

 

I have my own personal band of philosophy which never exists until I try to explain life to someone else.

The Rule

Consider for a moment that there are 100 people on this planet.

90 of them are just like you and me. They are good-natured, have strengths and weaknesses, done their good to the world, sometimes sinned and hurt people around them. This is the OK and good class of people.

8 of them are bad people. Given a chance, they will not hesitate to cheat you, steal from you, back-stab or cause you misery.

2 of them are really dangerous. They will not hesitate to physically injure or kill you. They are plain evil and cold-blooded.

The 8

The interesting part is that we start any new relationship – love, friendship, business partner, colleague, neighbor, keeping the 8 in our mind.

This new person will have to prove that he/she is not one of the 8 before we can start trusting him/her with our personal information.

But aren’t we wasting time with our suspicion?

What  if we knew that this new person was part of the 90 (just like you and me)?

I’m sure we would be more welcoming, gladly extending our warmth. Soon enough he/she will be part of our life circle.

The dangerous duo

Now the 2 – all our talk about a dangerous world or our children meeting strangers revolves around these 2 dangerous people. But c’mon they are just 2 out of 100, what are the odds that you meet them in your travels or adventures or trekks. Nevertheless the world has suddenly become a dangerous place.

I blame this suspicion and fear on society, newspapers, horror stories. They are full of stories of “the 10”  making that number look like 50 and your own fear (or inherited from parents) will make it into 70.

From 10 to 70! – We do have an active imagination

Its simple math to assume that 90% of your encounters in life will be with decent folks. But if YOU treat all your first encounters with a new person with suspicion, you will miss out in making good friends with most of them.

Guilty until proven innocent

You rather follow the policy of “Innocent until proven guilty” for happier encounters with our fellow human beings.

What the I!!!

Human beings are born with two very important but widely underestimated abilities – Intuition & Instinct

Instinct is something that we are born with, a natural reaction without thinking and Intuition is something we naturally acquire with experience, a judgement based on experience(s) and knowledge.

Trust these two Is more and they will get you away from all the dangerous situations, each one of these will red-mark anyone from the 10!

Hello World

We do have lots of friends. But isn’t that number like 50% (or less) of all the people you have met in life.

I’m not advising you to go out and bring home a stranger or a hitchhiker. All I’m asking you is NOT to become PARANOID!!!!

The world is a good place, filled with lots and lots of decent folks. Just say HI! and mean it:-)

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