People are Good

A week ago, I was on my way home from college and I had to make a minor detour to grab a few medicines for my grandfather. It was a Saturday, and the shop hadn’t opened yet. The tailor in the adjacent shop told me I should wait for another fifteen to twenty minutes; the medicine store owner should be here any time now, he said. So I stood on the pavement outside the store and I waited.

I was just looking around, observing things (my phone was precariously low on battery). I noticed a few students from my college walk by, people who I’d seen at college but didn’t consciously remember doing so. They looked quite different from the last time I met them. One had a distinctly different hairstyle now. It was only 10:30 and people were already lining up at the liquor store that had not opened.

A bird almost pooped on me. I was lucky. For now.

Among all this, two connected incidents stuck out to me. Not that they were dramatic paradigm-shifters or eye opening or anything, but they stimulated a thought process to which I have kept returning over the last few months.

Continue reading “People are Good”

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Enjoying The Ride

Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes along. Wise words. Not mine, Samuel Butler’s.

When I was young, no, younger, I was diagnosed with a kind of leukaemia. I was too young to understand what that meant for me, so the obvious next step in my mind was to get rid of the illness. And that’s what we did for the next couple of years. But there were times when I remember thinking, why me, why not any of the other 20 kids in my class? Why now? I didn’t understand the potency of what I was asking myself.

This is true to an extent for all of us. We all at times, question circumstances, and not to be outdone by others, some of us question life itself! And that’s pretty natural since we don’t understand what’s happening, why it’s happening, why it’s happening now and why it’s happening to “just us”.

Not everything makes sense in life. But maybe, not everything has to. Life doesn’t have to answer to us. All life does is get us from point A to point B. We are merely passengers.

And since we are passengers, we might as well enjoy the ride.


I’ve mentioned quite a few times that I’m doing this 2-year long yoga course at The Yoga Institute in Mumbai. One subject we study there is Public Speaking. The course trains us to ultimately be qualified enough to teach Yoga, so speaking in public is obviously important to be a teacher.

The subject includes assignments where we give speeches every couple of months for incrementally increasing time limits. What I’ve written in my post was my first speech I gave. It was 2 minutes long.

Let me now address the elephant in the room. Yes, its been very long since I last wrote here. I know. I could excuse myself by saying I was very busy, or that I didn’t know what to write, or I could attribute my absence to writer’s block or innumerable other things, but then I would be lying. So I won’t say any of that. All I’ll say is that I’m going to try my best to work through my shortcomings when it comes to writing because writing is one of the few things I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.

Thanks a lot for reading through this, because it means a lot to me. I’ll see you guys next time.

Awesome Quotes – Today/Now

AWESOME QUOTESWelcome to a brand new set of Awesome Quotes. For a change, it’s not a Friday thing.

This week’s theme is today, or the here and now.

I recently participated in a 7-day camp at The Yoga Institute at Santacruz, Mumbai and am enrolled at a teacher’s training course at the same place (I’ve spoken about this earlier, here and here). A big lesson I have learnt there thus far, is to stay in the present. To consciously be where I am, whatever I am doing, with whoever I am. I have realised I have rarely done that in quite some time now.

Tap into your thoughts at any given point of time. Our mind is very fast. Most normal events are too slow or not sufficiently stimulative for it to be completely engaged with those tasks, and it wanders. We are either fretting over the past, the could-have and should-have-beens, or worrying over the future, what is yet to be. Neither is wrong or bad, just know that either way, it shall bear you no fruits, material or otherwise. You cannot change what happened in the past by worrying about it, and you cannot ever know what is going to happen the next second by breaking a sweat over that. Yes, you can learn from what has already transpired, you can maybe even make amends for your errors but worrying or fretting will only waste your time and worse, make you negative.

Therefore, the only thing that will keep our mind steady is to be in the moment and take things as they come, while understanding the consequences of the decisions we make while in the moment. We are being mindful.

With that in mind, I’ve got a few quotes about the ideas and concepts that ‘living in the present’ encompasses. Please, enjoy the now!


“Just for today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once.

Just for today I will be happy.”

— Kenneth L. Holmes

Let’s all try to live in the now just for today, and see how it goes.

“The future is not yet ours; perhaps it never will be. It is exposing ourselves to temptation to wish to anticipate God, and to prepare ourselves for things which he may not destine for us. Let us give heed to the present, whose duties are pressing; it is fidelity to the present which prepares us for fidelity in the future.”

— Francois Fenelon

I find this to be put very articulately and aptly.

“Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision:
But Today well-lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.”

— Translated from Sanskrit

Live today well. Look forward to living tomorrow well.

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Tomorrow is a new day. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with it’s hopes and invitations,to waste a moment on yesterdays.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learn and move on.

“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”

— Dale Carnegie

Live a little. Don’t procrastinate on that shit.

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake.”

— Thoreau

This one’s deep.

“Happiness is here and now.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh, 1926

If you want to be happy, be happy now. Happiness isn’t a place to get to, its a way of travelling.

“Ordinary people merely think how they shall spend their time; a man of talent tries to use it.”

— Arthur Schopenhauer

Use thy time.

“Time is not a line, but a series of now points.”

— Taisen Deshimaru

Make all the use of the now, so you won’t have to complain on its scarcity later.


Aaaaand that’s all I have for this week’s Awesome Quotes! I hope you guys enjoyed.

I’ll see you next time, when I’ll be back with some more Awesome Quotes.

Carpe diem.

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

Awesome Quotes – Down Time

AWESOME QUOTES

Down time. Relaxation. Chilling out. Taking a vacation. Leave.

We all need it now and then. It can feel really liberating and refreshing if done right, and it is definitely something that’s very necessary for most people these days. Everyone needs a break to stay sane. I took one too, and spoke about it recently in my last Coffee Update post.

Here is my list of awesome quotes about taking breaks. So take a few deep breaths, drink some water, take off your coat if you’re wearing one and settle down for this one.


“Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting and just have faith that things will work out.” – @TheGoodQuote on Instagram

 

“Peace is a costly privilege – to be fought for, attained and won. It comes only from a conquered mind.” – Paul Brunton

 

“Happiness often sneaks through a door you didn’t know you left open.” – John Barrymore

 

“Life is a jest; and all things show it. I thought so once; but now I know it.” – John Gay

 

“Oh, the sensuous delight, the pleasurable laziness of sleeping late, with nothing on one’s mind, and the enjoyment of perfect sleep!” – Lin; Looking Beyond, 1955

 

“You are already free. Only you have to know and realise this truth.” – Sivananda

 

“The most rewarding freedom is freedom of the mind.” – Amy Jacques Garvey

 

“He does not seem to me to be a free man who does not sometimes do nothing.” –  Cicero

 

“To be for one day entirely at leisure is to be for one day an immortal.” – Chinese saying

 

“Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard

 

“Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We’re unrehearsed.” – Mel Brooks, 1926

 

“When there’s no pause in the input, our heads get filled with the voices and opinions of others – be it parents, friends or Peter Jennings. In silence we have the chance to listen to our own voices.” – Deepak Chopra; Prevention, October 1996


Aaaand that’s all for this week’s Awesome Quotes! I hope you guys liked it.

I’ll see you guys next time!

Over and out.

A Rare Breed

During the latter stages of school and for most of college, complaining how bad your teachers are, is pretty commonplace among student circles. At least that’s the way it is here. And its no different with my friends, and friends of friends, and the friends-so-distant-you-don’t-even-know-they’re-the-least-bit-related, and the people I overhear complaining about the teachers. But occasionally, that too if you’re lucky, there comes a teacher who you just cannot nitpick about. And its not just the teaching part that she’s so good at, but also the being-a-likeable-human-being part. Remember how I said ‘if you’re lucky’?

Well, here’s what happened. I switched subjects this year (I’m in the 12th Grade, or the second year of Junior College), from Mathematics to Philosophy. I had taken Math in the 11th owing to some general advice of a school teacher and also an administrative misdirection by a college official, and Math didn’t work out for me. In the meantime I had also decided that I wanted to pursue Psychology as a career (still working out the details, doing some research). Since I didn’t want to continue with Math, the obvious choice was Philosophy as opposed to the third option of History, since not only is Philosophy an immensely interesting subject to me, personally, but it is also a good subject to have a background in if you want to pursue Psychology.

Now, the procedure for switching subjects like this was no doubt a lengthy one. I started inquiring about it towards the end of my 11th and the process dragged on all through my pre-12th vacations and well into the second month of 12th until any official announcement came from the college. So right until it got wrapped up, from my point of view I had a very realistic chance of 50-50 of having Philosophy as a subject to study. When it did get wrapped up, it was a relief like no other I’ve felt in recent times. But that’s not the point of this post.

The teacher I’ve got for Philosophy is, in short, pretty much awesome. There’s different kinds of awesome when it comes to teachers, and it depends on what kind of student you are. If you’re the kind that likes the subject to be stimulating, something that makes you think, genuinely be drawn to the subject in a natural, progressive way, then awesome would mean a teacher that explains the subject very well, makes lectures not seem like lectures, makes them interactive, doesn’t stick to the text, and does not give you everything on a silver platter. That’s the kind of teacher I’ve got. Not only that, but she also takes interest in every student, she knows a lot of our names, and comes off to me as a very pragmatic but passionate person.

About a week or so back I had to go pay a small amount of money to the college as administrative fees for carrying out the whole subject change process. But the time they’d allotted for us to pay the money fell smack in between our Philosophy lecture of the day so I missed about half an hour of it. I thought I’d still go and try to explain why I was late. When I got there, to my surprise, the classroom was completely empty and our teacher was sitting by the table on the podium, reading something. She was still expecting people to turn up, because as soon as I walked in she asked me if I knew where the others were. These kind of things happen sometimes, everybody decides to bunk the lecture on the same day, knowingly or otherwise is something I won’t comment on ;).

Anyhoo, since I was there, she asked me whether my subject change process had come to a close so I could finally concentrate on Philosophy, and I told her that it was done now that I had paid the money. She looked genuinely relieved, and for a second, almost as much as I was. I’m usually a talkative person if I feel comfortable in the company I am and such teachers usually are that way, so we talked about this and that for a few minutes. Naturally, as a teacher she asked me what my plans were, academically, after I passed the 12th Grade. I told her I was pretty dead set on Psychology but was still considering the exact options I had in that field and had it narrowed down to Counselling, Sports and Criminal Psychology. She expressed surprise at the fact that I was so sure ‘so early’. The fact that I have a blog also came up. She was even more surprised, in a good way. During her lecture a couple of days back she had told us she was quite into fiction, especially the Agatha Christie kind, so there was more surprise for store in her when I told her I had started the blog primarily for the purpose of fiction, the Agatha Christie kind. She told me she was very impressed, and that made me feel really good. Like I was on the right track, more or less. The fact that I was from a reputed school and a reputed education Board, and had done well there, made her even more impressed. Then I realised I may have set the bar too high for my own sake because she told me she expected me to score at least a 95% in my 12th Board exam. sigh

Guess I’ll just have to get down to the books now.

See on the other side, folks!