New Beginnings

All of us lead certain distinctive kinds of lifestyles. It begins when we are very young. We fall into categories, and usually just keep going deeper into them. Habits and patterns form. These turn into mechanical behaviour, more or less. Many don’t realise it. Those that do, find it difficult to reverse. Impossible, we say. “Nothing’s impossible!” our mind screams out in despair. That’s usually where 90% of the optimism gets drained.

A very few of us are fortunate enough to have a light thrown at us, and have somebody tell us that indeed, nothing’s impossible. Nothing. There are other ways to live. Better ways. Good people.

I am extremely honoured to say that I am one of those fortunate ones. I recently had a 7-day long experience that has definitively changed my life.

Starting at 8 AM on the 23rd of April to 2 PM on the 29th of April, I experienced what were probably the most relaxing, liberating and enlightening (roughly) 150 hours of my life so far. I’m being totally serious. Some of you who have read some of my previous posts, and especially the last one or two Coffee Updates, may have read about how I have enrolled in a two year long teacher training course on Yoga, at The Yoga Institute in Santacruz, Mumbai. Since it is an advanced course, it’s prerequisite is that all students must first complete the introductory 7-day camp. The 7-day camp is residential as well as non-residential, which means students can stay there at the hostel for the duration of the seven days, depending on the availability of beds, of course. It is meant to be done living there, to get the authentic experience. And that’s how I did it; I stayed there for 7 days.

It involves waking up early in the morning, doing exercises, or asanas, as Yoga calls it, and various other activities throughout the day, both physically and mentally stimulating, interspersed with wholesome, fresh, nutritious food at regular intervals. All of this not only rejuvenates your body, but it freshens your mind as well.

At this point, I have to admit that I was, at first, very apprehensive about doing this. Not in the ‘I-don’t-want-to-do-it’ way, because I knew I had to do it and I knew how good it would be for me if I let it. And that right there, is probably the thing. A part of me wasn’t letting the course be what it was meant to be. On the very first day itself, I was repeatedly reminded to open up my mind, let go, relax and enjoy. After what I learnt there, I realise that Yoga, as it is marketed in so many places around the world: loosening up your body, essentially becoming some sort of contortionist, is so badly interpreted. Yes, the physical side is an very important aspect, but to me at least, Yoga is more about the mind and being the master of it.

There were a few huge notions that I engineered into my mind while I was there, and these are the kind of notions that stick around.

The first one is of not judging people. There were about 57-58 of us taking part in the 7 Day Camp, out of which a good 30%-40% were from countries other than India. We’ve lived all our lives, being told to be wary of others, how the world’s a cruel place and whatnot. Some of the more skeptical people also tell us that the world’s become so shitty you can’t trust anybody. As we grow up, we also learn from experience and whenever we experience something of this kind, it sticks, because we’ve also been hearing so much of this kind from those close to us. Impressionable young minds. Classmates spreading rumours about you, having a fight with a friend about something you later realise was petty, having an experience of typically snobbish Government employees. This kind of stuff happens a lot in early life, and especially the first two. It all reaffirms our faith in what everybody tells us and how the world is basically a giant pisspot. What we don’t realise, though, is that it’s stuff like this that shapes our psyche, and ultimately our life.

Maybe the world is a giant pisspot. Depends on where you decide to stand. And that’s the second thing I learnt. I, and only I, have control over how I see things. If I see them from a negative light, then it’s only going to make me feel shittier about things. Not a single soul in the world would know. I control my state of mind, and Yoga is all about having a balanced state of mind.

I have always been a bit of a dumb perfectionist of sorts. I have wanted things to be a certain way, for them to turn out in a certain way. I have even wanted myself to be a certain kind of person. But that was a classical kind of punishing belief system that I had created. I even studied about it in Psychology class, but it never struck me. I guess epiphanies are like lightning in that way, they don’t strike unless there’s a thunderstorm. That brings me to the next thing I learnt. I have no box I need to fit into. There’s no hard-frame category I must be in, or a condition I must always be fulfilling. All I need to be doing is my duty, whatever it may be at that particular point in time. At 4 in the afternoon, for example, my duty is to go to the gym, because fitness is a duty to myself. Or at 6 AM three or four days a week, my duty is to go cycling with my sister. Once college begins, my duty would be to attend college from 7 AM to 12 PM 5 days a week. Every Wednesday though, I am allowed to watch The Flash for 45 minutes, since that constitutes recreation and that also is important.


That’s enough of me preaching, I guess. I’ll sign off while you guys are still tolerating me.

Just kidding, I’ve got some more epiphanies to rant on.

LOL, kidding. Again.

I’ll show myself out.

starts meditating

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On Bad Decisions, Tailspins and Oxygen

Honest Disclaimer is Honest: This post does not contain deep philosophy that miraculously uplifts those who heed it, although it may contain some philosophy that is sometimes evident to everybody, apart from the people who really need it.

There are times when you’re happy. Or not, but you’re getting by. And you’re confident, even if in the slightest degree, that you’ll be out of the woods in a short while. Maybe you see the light at the end of the tunnel, maybe you’re visualising it, or you see lots of lights ’cause you’re high but you see light, in one way or another. And then you go on to switch on the telly to watch the match of your team 4 lyf and then it all goes to shit. Not because you lost a puny bet but because you actually have a heart and you can’t watch your team lose. If you’re one of those followers that really follows the team and somehow has an emotional connect to them (it could be because of their tradition, history, style of play, aura, anything), then you just cannot watch them lose. It ruins your day. Probably the rest of your week. Or the next as well, if its a Saturday or a Sunday.

Today, I want to create a bridge between two of my favourite sports and two teams that I feel need some oxygen. A few hours where you chuck everything aside, sit down together, ram into your brains what you’re doing wrong and how you’re going to lift your ass off the ground and launch yourselves onwards and more importantly, upwards.

The society of the country I come from is deeply religious. You probably won’t find as much religious diversity anywhere. If a child wasn’t told what community he was born in, maths would no longer be the most confusing thing for him. But here in India, there’s religions, and then there’s cricket, on a whole different level. Its almost like an addiction. It gives a different level of euphoria. A unique high. Don’t believe me? Watch this video tribute to a certain Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (aka Bhagwan, Hindi for God), created after India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup, full of perfectly synced dramatic music, et al.

I’m not going to burden you with details, especially since not many really get cricket.

The Indian cricket, about a year back, many thought that the bunch of 11 guys they saw playing on the field could actually push to retain the World Cup. They spoke too early. What ensued was a horrible tailspin by the Indian cricket team, and I can’t remember a single win abroad for India, apart from that great great one at Lords in July last year. Make no mistake, I believe they were right. I always did. Because people, as individuals, are incapable of nothing. Cliche, overly optimistic, you call it what you want, but I believe. Its time others did too. Because nobody wants to hear the reasons why we can’t do something. Because nobody wants to be searching in the crowd for somebody wearing their jersey. Because a big part of doing something daunting is believing. And though the first opposition this surprisingly out of depth Indian team faces tomorrow morning is bitter rivals Pakistan, I believe. Its time the team does too. Sports aren’t just games. We say that very few things truly unite the warring races that make up the human species, and sports is one of those. Yes, that statement was probably said from a negative point of view, but why can’t it be something more?

Ah, good times.
Ah, good times.

Much north of London lies a theatre. The theatre. The theatre where dreams come to fruition. A theatre that has seen some of football’s greatest sporting spirits battle together and against one another. It goes by the name Old Trafford. It wasn’t called a fortress for nothing. Noticed how I said ‘wasn’t’? Well, I meant it. And this coming from a diehard Man Utd fan is saying something.

A few months back I wrote this post about how the draw with Chelsea could be a turning point, not just of the current season, but of the club’s fortune. That could mean pinning a lot on a single fixture. But it wasn’t without a reason. If you saw that match, you’d know what I’m talking about. It was a great match to watch. And though the equaliser was in the dying stages and it wasn’t perfect, it meant more than the world to the fans not just for the one point, but for the way the team played, it looked inspired. It meant more to the players. What followed a while after that that was what I feel, a series of bad decisions essentially and resulted in a tailspin that, gratefully enough, isn’t conveyed by the healthy position of the team in the table.

My rants don't mean I've given up on United. Never.
My rants don’t mean I’ve given up on United. Never.

Both these band of men are capable of much, much, much more than what they have been achieving lately. They need to be given the right kind of push to play the way they’re most natural at. They need to shed the baggage and although each day is a new day, they really need to make tomorrow the freshest day they’ve known in a while. And more than anything, its the support staff, the guys behind the scenes, that also need to get their heads out of a knot. Stick your head out above the thick, dense growth take in some of that fresh air and thank whoever you believe in for that dash of oxygen.

Awesome Quotes: Criticism – Making and Taking It

Criticism – both positive and negative – is a part of life, whether you like it or not. There are always those who do not hesitate before hurling careless pieces of ‘advice’ at you. It takes some grit, heart, and determination to get through times like those. You have to believe.

Okay, enough of the humdrum serious introductions, let’s lighten up a bit here. The last edition of Awesome Quotes was serious enough. This time round, though the theme sounds pretty deadpan, I have tried to make it as humorous and lively as I can. These kind of features can get boring real quick.

So, with a fresh collection of quotes at your disposal, enjoy and get inspired!


“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde

I guess we can all agree with that.

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle

“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.” – Dave Willis

“A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car.” – Kenneth Tynan

Amazingly explained, don’t you think?

“Throughout the centuries, there were men who took first steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” – Ayn Rand

This one sounds so much like something Tolkien would say. Add a little upbeat soundtrack and have Cumberbatch read this and you have inspiration on-the-go!

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.” – Drew Carey

So, stop whining and go have yourself a little session of therapy.

“Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticise them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” – Jack Handey

This one is definitely the best of the lot.


Aaand, that’s it for this week’s Awesome Quotes! As always, please comment down below and tell me if you have a cool idea for a future edition of Awesome Quotes and do not forget to drop in again next Friday for the next collection!

Have a great first weekend of 2015! 😀