Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This too shall pass

The day turned out to be hard again. My elder sister called to say that Papa has run out of options. And the only option he has needs lot of care with no certainty. So, both me and my younger sister are flying tomorrow.

I have a very bad feeling this time around. As if the final hour is here. I have locked myself in the room to stop myself from reacting. That is all I want to do. Keep myself locked. And I want to keep thinking without any purpose of conclusion. or keep thinking as if it will bring any calmness. Today, calmness is not coming for sure. Today is the day of pain, an excruciating amount of pain.

What is going through my mind? Can I just stop reacting and hold my family together atleast for once. I have always felt both my sisters are strong in lot of ways then me. Not to brag, but I have also felt my threshold of pain is higher than theirs. To put in better words, they are strong enough to put off the pain but I allow myself to feel it. It has built more appetite in me to take it. I feel I can be of some help in next few days because of this.

I need lot of internal adjustments in next few days. I will have to learn to adapt to new external environment without affecting the external environment. Not sure any amount of thinking can prepare someone for worse. Let me forge ahead without feeling anything. Life is momentary and that is all I wish to fathom. This too shall pass.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Silence is strength

Silence has lot of strength. After 10 days of silence during my Vipassana course, I have started practicing silence more often now. Silence carries the truth like no other. Lately, I have seen my own truths and truths of those of others more clearly because of staying silent. As we were told during Vipassana, silence helps you to stop generating samkharas or karmas. And that time, you add less fuel to the fire of your good and bad deeds. It also helps me in speaking exactly what I want to speak. Another thing is of course it helps me to introspect deeply. What I have started seeing that my responses to lot of things in life are not free from emotions, even things which are plain and simple. Awareness is the first key step in resolving self and then if you are able to see things objectively then working on them is easier. Silence makes you aware. And that awareness makes you strong.

I have picked Haruki Murakami's book on "What I talk about when I talk about running". I have read this book a year before. What brought me back to this book on his idea of pushing himself beyond his limits while running. But I also this time around assimilated one more thing on how he prefers solitude and silence over talking and communicating. Up until 30, he was running a bar and had met lots of people and had plenty of experiences interacting with them. After 30 as he became a full-time writer, he became very clear who he wants to meet and who he doesn't. He brought more discipline in his routine. He learnt to handle sorrow and criticism by running harder silently in the mornings or hiding behind the closed doors. I couldn't help thinking that there is lot of power in silence. What a work of genius his novels are! He communicates lot of complex ideas quite simply. Silence made him better at communication! He also speaks about how the most important relationship he has is this conceptual relationship he has with his readers. A relationship of silence and in silence. Most important relationships are indeed of silence and in silence.

Silence is genius. And of course being genius is hard.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rest in Peace Pradeep Mittal

Hi Pradeep,

I have known you very briefly. But you have been one of the most genuine and down to earth person I've ever met. I am so sorry to hear about the struggle you were going through during your last days.
I don't understand why God gave you so much struggle of body while your soul and mind were so perfect. What a great service you would have done to the nation. Our country has lost you.

I just hope that you found happiness on this earth. I just hope that you found your salvation within. I just hope you remembered words of Vivekanda and he helped you to go through this. I just hope you smiled when you said goodbye.

Take a deep peaceful rest. We will need you soon.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I am not bad, I am brutal. If you have a doubt, go google

Yesterday was fun! After work, my cousin came over and we all had dinner together. I pulled legs, cut short everything everybody else was saying, acted really rude and yet laughed out loud with them. The laughing continued as we went to watch Revolver Rani for a late night show.My goodness! What a character! 

What a strength and might of the woman! I just loved it! We were laughing out at almost every scene. Everyone in the theatre was. There was a group of 15 people and one or two of them were making cheap commentary as well. We were in a fun mode so we were laughing at them as well. At one point, an uncle from behind shouted at them for being so loud and cheap. Then there was a quiet. After the movie ended, some of the guys started dancing in the theater itself. It was so much fun watching them. And it wasn't a cheap barati dance. It was a dance of celebration, of absolute entertainment!

Hats off to Kangana! She was amazing! Revolver Rani kicked some ass really well!

Friday, April 25, 2014


I love the word "Prudence" because I have been wanting to acquire it. As part of the management team of the school, we often have to take decisions that requires prudence. The good part is that my team members do have this quality and they are very thoughtful about their decisions as well as their communication with the staff, parents and the team.

One of the struggle is that in the role of management, your emotions need to be in check always. Your team should be having faith and trust in you. Every leader wants that. And if your team doesn't, the leader starts failing and starts reacting emotionally, tumbling down the rabbit hole. I have seen strong leaders having things out of their hold despite all the prudence they exercise, just because of emotional overreact.

One thing that Vipassana helps is, in looking at things very objectively. And when you start doing that both in your personal or professional life, you get better in syncing your emotions with your reactions. That kind of self-control helps one in becoming stable in relationships, which is a key to success in any profession. The optimism that power of meditation and concentration brings is huge. A night before yesterday, I didn't sleep well. Tried real hard but couldn't. In the morning, I meditated for over an hour. I felt my body becoming so relaxed, my palms were softer and smoother like one gets after  a deep sleep.Yesterday, that relaxation helped me to clear misunderstanding between two of my teammates, without creating sourness among any one of us. So far, whenever I have tried meddling between two people, I have ended up feeling impacted. But yesterday, I was able to say only those things that were sufficient enough for both the parties without widening any difference, in fact, in a very constructive way. I felt all of us learnt something valuable about working in team. All of us felt peaceful and respectful towards each other after that. May be that is some prudence in communication I demonstrated!

But I think I still have a long way to go. I think some people learn so much from their mistakes that they develop it by chance. Some have their through upbringing. I didn't learn much of prudence.

I am a person of "free will" and "feel". Once I make up my mind to do something, I do it. I don't calculate or estimate. I just do it. Internally, if I feel it is the right thing to do. But mostly I have found out, that calculations and estimations does help because then you know what you are getting into and you have quicker acceptability towards the outcomes. However, not everything in life should be based out of calculations. Life becomes too suppressed. Throwing oneself into new experiences brings you closer to yourself, helps you know more about yourself and most importantly, redefine your boundaries. Perhaps, such experiences build prudence like no other.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sonder and self-exertion

While driving to work today, I noticed a woman carrying her 3 years old girl while crossing the road. On the next red light, I noticed several pedestrians crossing the road again, some running, some walking while trying to cover their heads, some being stopped by traffic. What make people still struggle and live as vivid a life? Weren't they intelligent as kid? Didn't they have same potential? Will I ever be able to work towards ensuring that kids today do not end up struggling on the roads when they grow up?

A school girl sitting behind the motorcycle made me think what is the future for her? Next, I noticed a 20 something girl whose head was covered with dupatta, with only her eyes visible. Silent eyes gazing in Sifar of the mad rush of the city. In the spur of the moment, I saw so many lives on the road together, that it created an emptiness of the inconsequential impact of my life.

And then still I wonder how all this self-exertion helps me to reach and see the world. To be learning to be non-violent and to be finding that human connection. After all this work in my career, I still look at the world at constant amazement and how it makes me stronger and how it keeps challenging me,

Monday, April 21, 2014


The days are beginning to be plain again. For sometime now, I have not interacted much at my work. It is mainly because of the nature of the work right now. It requires me to stay focused until the project is delivered. I am the only one completely in-charge of the project right now.

I had a great weekend with my younger sister. We did some shopping for her and my 2-year old niece. Watched "2 States" as well. She was very happy. I get happy when she is happy. :-)

I have started practicing Vipassana again. It is helping me a lot to calm down and organize my thoughts. Hope to continue the practice like this.

I also had started reading Vivekanada more aggressively recently. My favorite lines from my reading this morning were "It is the only big tree that is hit by a great wind. Fire needs poking to burn brighter. Snake raises its hood after getting hit on the head. Only after a turmoil, you will be able to connect with your inner strength. Weep. Weep clears the mind and improves the intuition."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

 In last two years, my younger sister has been working for home at parents house for almost 1.2 years to be around them. Remaining time, my parents have either traveled to US to live with my elder sister or lived alone. I, on my part, has been mostly an external help - when they need someone to run around. While I was in Teach for India, Delhi, I used to drive 50 kms everyday on my Activa to meet my father at the hospital . That was the only real time that I was taking care of things at home with complete responsibility.

Lately, I have started feeling that I am running away from taking that responsibility in order to build my life.

There is this poem that I read recently which I am thinking about a lot:

The Guy in the Glass (reference : )
 by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
 And the world makes you King for a day,
 Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
 And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
 Who judgement upon you must pass.
 The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
 Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
 For he's with you clear up to the end,
 And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the guy in the glass is your friend.
 You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
 And think you're a wonderful guy,
 But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
 If you can't look him straight in the eye.

  You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
 And get pats on the back as you pass,
 But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
 If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Investing in living

I have had a trouble accepting that both my parents have fallen sick at such an early age. In my home, where my mother used to cook food, pray, sing, invite guests and get ready, In that home, she is not able to do simple of tasks of eating, sitting, standing, going to toilet, talking in one single sentence. She has Dementia – a disease which is led by reduction of brain size, lack of oxygen supply and continuous loss of cognitive ability. She would cry sometimes like today she did, telling me that why I can’t even say one complete sentence. She was trying to recall who came in our house three days ago and for fifteen minutes kept on saying things related to her but couldn’t recall who it was. When she finally did, she broke down saying that there was a day when she got this jolt, this shock which made her like this.

My father faced medical crisis as well. He got a paralytic attack and doctor in the small town we lived, ignored it for over a night. Next morning when my mom just took him out of that hospital and reached Apollo Hospitals, Delhi, the paralysis couldn’t be reversed. He faced his second heart attack last year and that impacted his kidney function. His life is at-risk with doctors keep telling us to stay ready.

We have become numb.

While we three daughters have pitched in whenever we can, but on the daily basis, the struggle of an abnormal situation at home doesn’t keep us happy in whatever we do. It impacts our daily functioning in subconscious way. The protection of parents has gone and the responsibility came before we were ready. Life is dry and we keep coping up. Accepting is hard, the emotions have mostly been numbed. They say, “invest in your living”. We face a question of stopping living the way people of our age do, and living the way to be there for our parents. I have been escaping, avoiding the acceptance wholeheartedly. Defying my own self in the mirror. Like we don’t accept happiness wholeheartedly, we don’t grieve whole-heartedly. We keep holding onto dangerous hopes that things will be normal.

Well, there is always a reason to feel not good enough.