The Saga of the Bucket List :)

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Last December, after a lot of hiccups, I decided to take a leap of faith. I received an admit to the MBA program and I knew that life is not going to remain the same. Today, exactly after one year of deciding to try something new in life, I  am writing this post in my hostel room.

Its been 6 months into the program and the journey has been transformational. And when I say transformational, I mean it in literal sense. I have lost 14 kgs and I am back to my lean form. How does it feel? Incredible! The compliments are flattering specially when you can see that your double chin has disappeared and you can easily fit into the slim fit trouser without holding your breath.

While weight loss seems to be the highlight of my experience, I finally crossed off a couple of things from my bucket list courtesy the MBA program.

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The very first thing on my bucket list was to live independently. Living all by yourself can be a challenging yet a joyful experience. Specially for someone like me who has never stayed away from home. I have finally lived up to the challenge of not only staying in a different country but taking care of myself – right from food to finances.The kick of being an independent individual is incredible yet humbling. Not only you become more responsible, you start appreciating the most basic things in life which you otherwise take for granted.

While living independently has been an achievement, I am living my dream of attending a university. I have cribbed since the end of my school days about how much I miss the experience of university life. Voilà! I have another to do’s struck off my list. Its a wonderful experience to stay in a hostel, slip into tees, shorts and slippers to attend classes, sleep during lectures, hang around the campus, run after campus riders to attend morning classes, churn out assignments close to deadlines, eat Maggie in wee hours, go for night strolls, have booze parties on weekends and laugh out aloud watching late 90’s shows on YouTube. I have finally lived a graduate life that I will cherish all throughout.

Lastly, this one year has not only given me a break from the mundane corporate life, it has given me the opportunity to stop for sometime and reflect. I felt I was incessantly running all  these years with literally no idea of where I was heading to, what I wanted to become and what did I want from my life. In short, I was lost. But I can now say that I have nearly crossed off another must do from my list – to get lost in life but find my way. This journey has not only helped in self discovery, it has pushed me out of my comfort zone to experiment and experience the world.

Finally, someone told me sometime back that to become a writer, it is important to have myriad experiences in life before you start transforming them into words. With still 6 months more to go, I hope this experience becomes the most valuable part of my journey to become a writer. Amen.

Beginners guide to Parenthood

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It is said that the hardest part of growing up is realizing that your parents are growing old. I can feel every single word of this saying as I step a new ladder every year with my parents. Sometimes, I wish I could freeze the time and stop the aging process and shun the ever increasing fear of losing loved ones as they grow old. Unfortunately, this is not possible and we have to live under this constant fear all throughout our life.

So what should adults like me, you and so many of us do for our aging parents to ensure that they spend their old age as the golden days of their life. I have realized that as parents grow old, they become peculiarly similar to children.love-your-parents-and-treat-them-with-loving-care-for-you-will-only-know-their-value-when-you-see-their-empty-chair-parents-quote

So the first step is to identify that little kid hiding behind the veil of wrinkles and receding hairline. You will get subtle hints at different stages of life. For instance, when your dad knowingly skips medical check-ups or your mom start seeking your advice on the most trivial issue she might be facing at work. Such habits slowly knit in your routine life as years pass by before you realize your parents have become your own kids.

Once you have realized that your parents have turned into kids, the second step will be to stealthily step into the shoes of being a parent. You need to do this very discreetly. Mind you, very discreetly. For instance, start keeping a calendar entry of monthly check-up for your dad and the moment the next appointment becomes due, remind him immediately. Now, the most difficult part will be when he refuses to go for the checkup and comes up with a lame excuse. It’s the right time to turn on your parent mode and tell him sternly to get a checkup done. And if refuses to go, simply tell him that he is not getting dinner in the evening. Remember, your mom’s trick to hide the jar of chocolates when you played cricket beyond your ‘permitted playtime’. Apply the same trick and your parents kids will be right on track.

As you become comfortable in your role of a parent, you will realize that not only you need to ensure the healthy being of your parents kids but you need to nurture their old age childhood. Old age Childhood demands time, love, devotion and a constant reassurance of a strong backing. Remember your own childhood – when your father used to work double shifts to assure you had all the comforts of life or when your mom took an off from work to stay with you during your exams or when your parents gifted you the video game you longed for but never told them knowing it was too expensive. Just the way you enjoyed your childhood, you will have to recreate the same magic for your parents kids. More than anything else, your presence, your time and your affection will ensure a joyful old age childhood for your parents kids. Spend time with your parents kids – plan a surprise trip to their favorite destination, join yoga classes with them, take them out for movies, eat dinner with them at their favorite restaurant, take them out for shopping or simply just spend time sipping coffee with them and affectionately listen to their stories. Soon, you will start experiencing the same happiness, satisfaction and joy your parents experienced when you were a kid. And as Tia Walker rightly said, soon you will realize that ‘to care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors’.

Its a new place, its a new world!

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A month ago, my head was brimming with a mixed set of thoughts as I packed my bags to leave my nest, beloved city, and beautiful country to start afresh my life in an altogether new place. I admit that I was scared, anxious and skeptical about my survival in a new country.

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Image Courtesy – Google

But to my surprise, I am doing well and have adapted well this time. Though I miss my family, friends and the comforts of life in Delhi, but I can confess that each passing day is teaching me a new lesson about the world and more importantly about myself. And for the time being,  I want to live in the moment and enjoy each day, this new place and this new world.

 

 

 

25 things I learned on turning 25

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By end of it, its not the years in your life that counts, its the life in your years that matters. I swear by this lovely thought now. Specially when I turned 25 a couple of weeks back. And how does it feel? Pretty normal except that a few strands of white hair on my head still trick me into thinking that I am turning old. Is it the only sign? Well, I guess I have figured out some more signs of ageing. I have seen a change in my preference for TV programs. Every night, I go back and forth watching late 90’s television shows. I have suddenly started enjoying sitcoms like Friends and Sex & the City. And if this was not enough, I see a drastic change in coffee conversations with friends. So instead of discussing good old school days, now our discussions revolve around career, bosses, jobs, relationships, marriage and blah blah. In short all adult talks. Alas! What happened to the good old days?

But all said and done, is turning 25 such a big deal? Is all the hoopla worth it? Well, just a couple of weeks into this phase of ‘having lived a quarter of my life’, I would say no! Of course, I do miss being a kid, but life is all about moving on and discovering new things. Its time to embrace the beauty of this phase, the beauty of being an independent and confident adult.

So while I am still trying to accustom to the ageing signs, its important to pass on to the coming generation, the ‘wisdom’ I have gained over the years before I officially embark on the new journey. Now, I am officially licensed to use  words like ‘our coming generation’ and ‘wisdom’ (**secretly rolling my eyes**). And they said adulthood didn’t have its perks!

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Image Courtesy: Google Images

So here goes my crisp list of 25 things I learned on turning 25.

  1. The world is cruel. Step out of the glass castle you built in your childhood. The world is far more stretched, complex and challenging.So the more closer you are to reality, the easier it becomes to face this world.
  2. Embrace change, be flexible but don’t lose yourself. So the world is cruel. And to survive in the cruel world, you will have to adapt. Remember the theory, survival of the fittest? Well, apply this theory but not to the extent that you lose yourself. Retain you individuality. While 99% of the people might reject you, you will still find some who will accept you.
  3. Long term planning is the thing of the past. Do you know when are you going to die? No! Stop planning where you will be, how you will be, with whom you will be in the next 10, 5, 3, 2 or 1 year. Start living in the moment. Planning to do everything sometimes results in doing nothing.
  4. Set realistic goals. You don’t want to wonder around in this world like headless chicken. Plan, but plan realistically. Create achievable goals and work everyday towards them. The joy of working towards a goal far exceeds the joy of achieving it at the end.
  5. Become independent. So you thought you will survive on your parent’s pocket money forever? They have sustained you enough! Now go out and make a living for yourself. Taste the joy of independence. Its really addictive.
  6. Its okay to be single. Just because everyone is in a relationship, doesn’t mean you also need to commit yourself. Get rid of the herd mentality. You are not a sheep but a living human being.
  7. If you are in a relationship, stop judging the singles. Well just because you found your love interest, doesn’t mean everybody is willing to take the plunge. Everyone has different priorities in life, so don’t turn judgmental to the extent that you start doubting a person’s sexuality just because he/she is single.
  8. Its important to have your own opinion! Stop pleasing people. Pleasing everyone at the cost of your own happiness is the biggest self-inflicted torture. Its okay if you are the only one who disagrees out of the whole crowd. Remember, herd mentality.
  9. Learn to say, ‘No’! So you went out for a party with friends. Your ‘bff’ insisted you to have a drink. You cant turn down because he/she is your bff! Well, if the person really claims to be your bff, one; your bff wouldn’t force his/ her choices on you. Two; a person who cannot stand up for himself/ herself can never stand the world. If you cant say a ‘No’ right now, prepare to get exploited by the world.
  10.  Bully the bully. Whoever says that he/ she hasn’t been bullied ever, is lying! Remember those last bench classmates of yours or the brutal looking guy of your class. Well, bullies exist beyond classrooms – in college, in offices and in your personal life too. And way to handle them – an eye for an eye!
  11. Stop worrying about your looks. Doesn’t mean stop looking your best. But stop cribbing about the way you look, your hair, your nose, your smile, your teeth………..arghhh! If that is the way nature wants you, accept it and move over. Of course, unless you are some super rich celebrity who can get everything fixed, from face to buttocks. But remember its still all plastic!
  12. Never ever compare yourself. This is the ultimate sin. This is shooting yourself in the foot with an AK- 47. Remember, if all us were meant to be same, then we would have been probably assembled in a factory like machines instead of being conceived as a human being.
  13. Learn good habits, but remember bad ones too. Everybody has both good and bad habits. When you interact with people and figure out some good habits, don’t turn jealous. Turn that jealousy into learning. Imbibe that good habit in your nature. And what do you do when you figure out some bad habit? Don’t turn judgmental and discard that person. Learn about that habit and ensure you never fall into the trap. Remember, everybody teaches us something or the other.
  14. Get lost but do find your way. There will be times when you will feel lost- professionally or personally. What do you do? Don’t withdraw yourself and succumb to the situation. Remember, every cloud has a silver lining. You are not the only one who may feel this way. All of us at some point in our life have gone through such phase. But don’t give up. Hang on there, you will make through it.
  15. Learn to turn a bad day into good day. Your happiness is in your hand. People will make you feel miserable only when you have allowed them to. Nothing in this world is more important than your own smile. Smile and turn down those worries. It will pass.
  16. Fail at something, learn from it and move on. You are not a super human who has never failed in life. All of us have failed at some point in life. Some have failed in their relationships, some in their career and the list is endless. But does it mean if you fall down, you should never get up again? Life is not that hunky dory. If you have failed, congratulate yourself. Life is teaching you an important lesson which if you want, it may turn into stepping stone to success. Learn it, hold it close to your heart and move on.
  17. Keep your passion alive.  Remember the time you made wonderful sketches in your paint book, when you performed a solo song in your school or did a short gig with your school friends at home thinking you will become a rock star one day. And bam! Look where you are! Stuck in your mundane life. Sulking about the good old days in office. Not only does your passion helps you fuel your professional life, but helps break monotony. So better keep one!
  18. Stop being society.  You are not society which is meant to be judgmental. You are an individual. Just the way you wound’t like someone judging you, your life, your decisions, same way, stop judging others. Live and let live.
  19. Stop calling yourself special. Unless you really do something that makes you really special. I remember during one of my conversation with a friend, she told me that parents tend to tell their child how special he/ she is. Unfortunately, kids grow up with this baggage and are left heart broken when the world tells them in their face “You are ordinary”. 
  20. Keep your friends close. Just like your parents and family are your support system, you will discover that friends form the spine of that support system. No doubt its very hard to find good friends in life, but if you are lucky enough to find one, don’t let them go anywhere.
  21. Learn to let go. Its a known but hard earned secret. If it belongs to you, it will come back to you. But if its not, let it go. Let go off soured relations, bad memories and sometimes people.
  22. Live alone. You realize the importance of family. And you realize the importance of independence. You develop a fresh perspective about life because you are your own boss.
  23. Eat, work, travel and repeat. You thought that materialistic things could give you satisfaction. Hang on there! Remember, you will be buried without these things. So better concentrate your energy on repeating this cycle and making memories.
  24. Money doesn’t matter, relations do. Remember it was not money which made humans. It was humans who made money.
  25. Fall in love with yourself. Its all in your brain. You become what you think. If you think of yourself as a good person, you will become one. And if you think you are a devil, you will only cause destruction. Control your brain, become your own master and use it in a positive direction. Remember, you are your best friend and your worst enemy.

And to sum it up – always stay humbleNo matter who you are, whatever you have achieved, never forget to remain humble, polite and grounded. Be thankful to God for this life, for whatever he has bestowed on you and be kind to less fortunate.

So those were my 25 key takeaways from the last 25 years of my life. And yes, I have discovered that the world is still not that cruel. Anne Frank has rightly said,’In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart’.

Homecoming.

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Today, I have completed 5 years struggling through the corporate. No matter how hard I have tried to hide him behind the veil , he has never given up to break open the cage. So today, I have decided to set him free. Yes, the writer inside me is no longer a prisoner. He is breathing. He is thinking. He has a story to tell. He is writing. He is feeling the characters inside him. He is experiencing their emotions. He is pouring it down on paper. Yes, he is already working on the first draft of the novel.

But he needs a lot of discipline. He needs a lot of focus. He has promised me to complete this novel by the year end.

His story will be read. His story will be loved. Because the story comes right from the heart. Such are writers! Always thinking through their heart.

Happiness is …………. becoming a Monk :)

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I never imagined I will pen down this thought. Sometimes, I just laugh thinking about it. I often tell myself, ‘Stop it Arpit! Just take it easy’. Unfortunately, it never came easy.

Just when I am about to hit 25, I am still searching for the reasons of my existence. I am still searching for happiness – in its purest and simplest form.

It rarely happens, when one fine day you wake up in the morning with a feeling that you want to leave behind all the ‘things’ in your life. Just stay away from people. Shut yourself from the world. Start living the life in the most basic form. Connect to your roots. Just like monks do. Yes, this might sound crazy. But I am thinking of becoming a monk.

You have started laughing! Isn’t it? You might just tell me now, ‘This happens in reel life, get out of it’. But its hard to get out of it. Its been a long time since I have been observing people and this world. 99% are living a life which they never want to. Take birth, grow up, go to school, then college, get a job, wait for promotion, get married, buy a house, buy a car, plan kids, wait for kids to grow up, pay loans, settle the kids, get some deadly disease and then wait for death to take you away.

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This is what we are expected to do. Isn’t it? This is what our forefathers have done and hence we are also destined to do the same. Probably, the society dictates certain norms for ‘human beings’ . So, what we are following is just a societal norm. Well, if this is what it means to be human being, why didn’t God turn us into animals?

Today, happiness is associated with – top university degree, a big house, a lavish car, fat paycheck, promotions, luxurious travels and what not. Things, things and only things.

Do you recall the moment when you just gazed at the open sky and saw the twinkling stars and felt euphoric? Do you recall the last time it rained and your soul was filled with happiness from the earthy fragrance of the soil?

Well, I miss being a human. I miss being connected to my roots. I have outgrown as a human machine.

Probably, some years down the lane, I will be writing my thoughts on a plank of wood in the lap of nature where I will see life in its purest form.

And for the society – ‘ Society you are a crazy breed, I hope you are not lonely without me – Alexander Supertramp’

P.S. – I saw ‘Into the wild’ a week back. And for all those who think this crazy thought belongs to reel life, well, the movie was based on a real life story🙂.