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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Coffee Update #6

COFFEE UPDATE5

Hey-ho, welcome to another coffee update! For those of you new to this, it’s the place on my blog where I periodically update you guys with what’s up in my life. I’ve got a lot to tell you this time, so let’s get right into it.

Grab a cuppa and settle in.


If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I got back from my holiday away from the city a few days back. We’d gone to Lonavala, which is about two and a half hours away from Mumbai. We stayed in a really wooded area, with bungalows sprinkled over the place. It was peaceful as hell. The food was really good as well. It was just generally a really, really refreshing experience. I needed that. Pune is another really old and historic Maratha city that’s about another two hours from Lonavala so while we were at Lonavala, we decided to check out Pune as well. So we went and did that for a day. I’ve been to Pune a couple of times but haven’t really seen it, extensively. We checked out temples and museums and a zoo. The zoo was particularly noteworthy because there were times in there, when I was really genuinely scared. I mean, they had truck-sized tigers and even bigger white tigers in these enclosures that had no sort of wires on them. Just good ol’ cement walls surrounding it all. I later noticed they’d dug deep trenches in the inside of the enclosures, between the wall and the animals’ ‘territories’ which were apparently supposed to be enough to deter them from trying to jump over, but I’m still not convinced. Either way it was the first time I saw tigers so close up. Just one word: majestic. Oh, and I got stung by a huge-ass honeybee, so that’s one thing struck off the bucket list I never wanted to have.

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If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I have recently enrolled in a two year-long teachers’ training course at The Yoga Institute at Santacruz, here in Mumbai. It is a comprehensive course that teaches the student all about Yoga and its way of life, including the asanas and Pranayamas which are the physical aspect of Yoga, but also the teachings of Yoga, its philosophy and its views on Psychology, et cetera. Since I want to pursue Psychology as a profession, I feel doing this course would grant me a great deal of knowledge about the Indian view on the human mind, and would be a helpful to my career in general. At the end of the two years, I will be bestowed with a certificate saying I am a certified Yoga teacher, and will be regarded valid all over the world. I will have completed this course a year before I complete my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. On the physical exercise front, I have also renewed my membership at the gym (it expired in January), and I just started going yesterday. Three months out of the gym and I feel the soreness again. Isn’t as bad as when I started going to the gym for the first time in my life, about a year ago but it’s there nonetheless.

theshawshankredemption

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that I have a confession to make. The confession is, that I haven’t seen The Shawshank Redemption. Yet. It needed to be said. It’s the highest rated movie on IMDB for a reason, I guess. I’ll find out what that is, exactly, soon.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d want to ask you a couple of things.

  1. Firstly, I feel the blog is in need of a change of theme. Would you agree? Its not that I’m getting tired of having the same theme for quite some time now (because that happens), but that I feel there’s certain drawbacks of this theme. For example, there’s the matter of the sidebar. This theme doesn’t have an open sidebar, you have to click in the top-left corner for it to reveal itself. Whenever I try to picture myself as a reader of the blog, I always feel I wouldn’t always want to pull out the sidebar and scroll all the way down to it, because it is quite long. I may be wrong, which is why I need you, the readers, to let me know if the sidebar can sometimes get tedious. Themes with open sidebars are good that way, while you’re scrolling down the blog, the sidebar scrolls down along with you, so its in your vision, and you can always check out something that gets your attention. At the same time, though, one may feel the sidebar gets in the way of the subject matter, the post, that really matters. It takes away the minimal look a blog may have. I like minimal. Its why I went for this theme in the first place. I don’t know, I’m in two minds about this. You guys let me know what you think, though. It will surely clarify things for me.
  2. And, second, I recently tried my hand at a really different kind of post. Its been said many times that I am REALLY into movies and TV shows and stuff. I watch a lot of those. So this new kind of post, which I’m calling Rewind Reel, is based on movies. The premise is that I pick a random movie and I flip it on its head. That is, I reimagine it as it would have been if one is to watch it backwards, from the end to the beginning. Of course, 99.99% movies aren’t supposed to be watched like that so I use some creativity and humour I have been endowed with, to make sense out of reverse movies, and basically, entertain. Now, I haven’t really got a great response on that post. It could be because the movie I chose to inaugurate this new feature was a movie that I don’t think many have seen. I myself didn’t hear of it much after it had been released. Either way, please check it out whenever you guys can and lemme know what you think of it. I’d like to do more of that, and I probably will even if not many like it, but it’d sure feel better if people do like it.

Finally, if we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you that that’s all I’ve got for this coffee update and that I hoped you had fun chilling out with a virtual cup of coffee. Before, going, I’d ask you how you are doing. I’d ask you what’s going on in your life and how it’s working out. I’d also invite you for another coffee update, sometime soon.

See you guys on the other side.