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Day 15 – Not everybody is running a marathon

Two years back, I finished a 5km “sample” marathon run and to my surprise, I was able to complete it, without much practice. This year, I got over ambitious and signed up for a 10K run. And as I manage to get my ass in the park every other evening (with some unavoidable breaks) and struggle hard to finish the milestone for the day, I realize that this is one thing I had estimated a bit too much on the positive side.

During the breaks, I look around to see people strolling in the park, kids running around and ladies walking leisurely, sharing their daily dose of gossips or newly tried recipes. As I absorb the surroundings, I am able to mentally visualize that the scene in the park would have been the same for the past 45 minutes I spent there, the only difference being, I noticed it only when I sat down to relax.

When I reach the park, all I think about is my goal for the day and how I can improve at least a bit today. Everything else seems irrelevant at that point. While I am on the track, I  notice other runners closely, their stamina and their style of running. And sometimes, luckily, I come across coaches who come there with their students, slipping me a tip or two, encouraging me and making my day.

There are things which you know only when you start “doing” them rather than simply planning them out. I now know that I cannot be like my athlete friend who can finish 10K easily. Since running is something that I had picked up only last year, that too only in small proportions, I have practically understood that I am an ordinary person whose stamina is even more ordinary! And to improve, I have to really push my limits.

I have started loving these little sessions as I try to chip them out from my schedule everyday. They are important not only because they make me feel energetic and good about myself, but from time to time, they unknowingly drop by small life lessons which I often need to be reminded of.

“You choose your own battles. And once you do, you find your own companions, you identify your own angels and demons. Not everybody will be able to help you. Not everybody will be able to understand you. You will be on a different path which you carved for yourself and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you will be. Because, not everybody is running a marathon.”

 

 

Day 14 – The “Dream”

Does life really get in the way of your “dream”?

So your childhood wishes eventually have to vanish into thin air because there are other things that come in the way?

Think about it. The dream. Your dream. Or have you stopped dreaming altogether?

I know I stopped some time back, when in my foggy head I was “busy”,  but in reality I was absolutely clueless to where I was heading. In fact, it was more or less the feeling of being half-dead, a zombie race where I did not know what I was doing!

I didn’t do anything for all that I had wished for and began to lose track – slowly and eventually, like a domino effect. I wanted to start college again, work on a select number of things that interest me, earn money through them and live happily ever after. (Yeah, that was pretty much it!)

But in the hustle of trying to do what is meant to be and what I wanted to be, my end line became a little too blurred. I just kept moving, without any definite meaning. In fact I even forgot that I used to have a dream because the constant not happening of so many things prevented me from going forward. It was like a vicious circle from which there was no easy escape. And amidst all the hustle, the dream became a lost hope, where in it was shadowed by the unlimited ifs and buts – “Perhaps, it is a bit too late. Maybe the moment is gone and so is the dream?”

And then I met a child. A 6 year old girl with a dream -to become an actress. A confident and determined dream that never seemed to look beyond the heart’s desire. Another 10 year old. He wanted to be an astronaut.

Without even realizing, instantly, these little angels brought me back from the half-dead world. Life sprang up into that child in me, who was hiding behind the heavy desk of the over analysing adult. The child who always dreamt and desired without any boundaries started dancing happily inside the practical adult, who now deeply wished to balance out both – a combination of practicality and wildness, imagination and perspective.

I now have that zeal to experiment and do things that interest me, keeping in mind the other tasks that need to be done within the limited time I have. Everyday, there is one thing crazy and one thing which keeps me sane. And I am happy. Happier than before. 🙂

Turns out, it is never too late, at least not to dream. There is always a third door. A way out. Dreams are meant to be seen and fulfilled. Weird, ambitious, funny, amazing, fascinating, fantastic – whatever they are, they should be met with the guts to pursue them. Every time, all the way!:)

 

Day 12- Don’t break the flow.

Wise and successful men have always prophesied the importance of continuous efforts. To finish what you start not in a day, but in bits and bytes everyday, in small steps that will lead you to the destination you had envisioned. It has always been the most trusted method, the one which has been tried and tested since ages – Small droplets of hard work everyday leading to the ocean of success in the end.

I am writing this because I have mostly failed at an attempt to follow this advice. I begin things and lose the momentum as I try and juggle between various tasks. I am certainly to blame for breaking the flow of my challenge of writing a post everyday. There were short trips, people I had not met for a long time, birthdays, too much work, family time and what not if I want to jot down the reason. But then, there will always be. And the truth is, I do not want to give a reason anymore.

I know it is hard to come back once you break the flow. It  has always been for me. God knows how many things I have left lingering behind as I was too lazy to continue. The inertia never let me begin. Life happened. There were things which were always in line to occupy my priority list. There were numerous excuses. Several so called important factors to weigh trying to talk me out of doing it.

Amidst all those conflicting thoughts, there has always been only one deciding factor for me. My heart. That small and little inner voice which feebly tries to tell me what to do, and gently asks me to bring down the chaos in my head and listen to it, at least once. Calmly. Clearly. Intently. Because whether I believe it or not, the little voice knows that once I know what I have to do, once I know what has to be done, there is no one on this earth who has the power to stop me, except me, myself. And some times,  I got to trust the little voice which has never betrayed me.  After all, nothing worth having is easy! 😉

Picking up the pieces from where I left. #100WritingDays.

Day 11 – One year is a lot of time

One Year. 12 Months. 52 weeks. 365 days. (And even a bonus day every 4 years!)

One year sounds like just normal amount of time, 12 months seem like something, 52 weeks feel like a good lot and 365 days make you think of the ample available chunk ahead. One year is seriously a lot of time but also, an illusion. No matter which way you count, it will slip away, like grains of sand from your tightly held fist, and there you will be, looking back over years not just a year.

I met a couple in my office last year. They were about to leave for a different country for work when I first met them. After one year, they are back, along with a 3 month old baby daughter. Their entire life has taken a huge and a beautiful turn, in one year.

I was away from home for a year, and I had practically lived a whole new life, in that one year. Made friends like family, travelled like crazy, learnt to survive on my own, became independent and perhaps a tad wiser too.

A friend of mine completed her post-graduation in the language she loved, travelled five countries, got a job and will be staying in yet another country for the same, all in one year!

No matter what, the earth will rotate and create a day. Each day will add up to make a week, month and eventually a year. So, plan accordingly. Have patience. Instead of a day, think a year and think big. Spread out your lists and tasks, and see the little work add up enough to turn into something magical. 🙂

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Day 7 – Keep blowing your mind away

There are some days which do not start with a bang, rather they begin slowly as they carry on their shoulders the heavy weight and backlog of sleep accumulating through the entire week. Yes, I am talking about a Friday. They usually begin slow but end with an excitement as the weekend slowly creeps in.

With such a beginning, I needed a small push to wake myself up a bit – a cup of coffee and a slight nudge of motivation to end the last day before the long weekend on a high note by finishing all the work I had been assigned to.

Luckily I landed upon something which just blew my mind away. A three minute video. It was the trailer of MS Dhoni – the Untold Story.

Frankly, I would not call myself a cricket fan. But I am an Indian at heart, and well, one of the typical things about being an Indian is the family time spent watching the important cricket matches. I have admired Dhoni ever since I can remember. From his overall personality, his game, the famous sixes, the helicopter shot, to the never ever imagined but always secretly wished for World cup victory and many more wins he led Team Blue to – I have always liked our captain. I have seen him as lead during the times I could really make sense of the game, and almost all the times, he led us to the winning side. That too in the mostly dramatic way possible. Naturally, for me, he is one of the best captain Team India has ever had.

I have seen his glorious days come alive but I have not really got a chance to know the real story behind his struggle. And this curiosity is exactly what the trailer fed upon. A simple dream, with a determined effort. The same old parental pressure for a secure job, but the desire and thirst to do something bigger.

The simple reminder that success does not come in a single day. Neither it stays too long after a single big shot achievement. It has to be continuous, every day.

And this is all about random stories which come by, often blow my mind, effectively enough to keep me moving. 🙂

 

Why everyone in their 20s should read The Fountainhead,by Ayn Rand

Freshly out of college. Excited to begin with the new job. Switching jobs. New City. Random people.

20s is a time when one is absolutely a free soul. A time when most of the people start taking decisions for themselves. Decisions affecting their work, love, family – or to be precise, LIFE. An age which marks passion as a hazy picture and life remains a big puzzle waiting to be figured out piece by piece. Amidst all the uncertainties, 20s, without doubt is also the golden period when one can take all the risks, and give in completely for their interests.

Finding one’s interests, although can be really frustrating. Often, it takes immense courage and determination to go after what you really want to do and give your all to it. To give your 200% without worrying about the benefits and when I say benefits, I mean the ones which the world wants you to see – money, fame and above all- approval of the society.

What would happen if I quit my high earning job and start working on something which really interests me?”

This question has crossed so many minds out there but not many would have gathered the guts to go ahead. I myself am still struggling with this question for quite some time and perhaps that is the reason why this book hit at the right spot and why I am writing this post.

The answer to the above question is not a difficult one. It really wont take long for you to figure out what you would like to do but to go about and actually implement it would definitely take a while. Why? Because there is one thing which would always raise a false alarm, before you even start: “What would happen if I fail? What would people say?”

This follow up thought, about what people would think, should be none of our business but it is so deeply imbibed in our present society that we scarcely notice the presence. We seek for approval, (unnecessarily and all the time), try to mould our actions as how others would approve of it, and in turn surrender our self interests which primarily and ethically should be our first priority.

Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead took upon the task to explain that we as human beings have a right to be happy, and to be happy one needs to place self before others. But for centuries, in the name of altruism, community and self-sacrifice we have been denying ourselves of this basic right. We know what we need to be happy, but we sacrifice the one thing which gives us happiness for the sake of other – our work, our thoughts and our soul. We get manipulated and give away our ability to think and question.

The book made me imagine a world where everyone focuses on their own work, and they choose not just anything. They assign themselves to a meaning which gives them satisfaction, to work which they love to do, so much so that they lose themselves in it. They give it their best, and ultimately derive happiness from their work. They question when their integrity is challenged rather than giving into demands which give hollow satisfactions and in turn be able to preserve their souls. There will be so much to love. To revere. So much more to life. A utopian scenario indeed.

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And amidst the fictional thoughts I would like to introduce the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s story, Howard Roark. An architect who will make you hate him, out of envy, because he is so damn good at his work. His work is the only thing he lives for and more than his excellence, it is his commitment, his unshakeable integrity and his only one business clause- to be able to work in his own way, which will make him enviable even more.

You will hate him for being so perfect, so happy and so contended with himself. You will hate him for being able to handle every impossible  situation so damn smoothly. You will hate him for making stone cold decisions like it is a passing thing. You will hate him because he will force you to question your inner self. You will hate him till the point you realize you haven’t really admired anyone to that extent. And suddenly you will realize that perhaps you haven’t admired anyone this much because you never even thought such a person could exist.

And when you reach that point, you will calm down and begin to understand yourself. You will go deep inside shattering all the dubiousness you have been letting in till now and do what would then seem the obvious thing- ask questions to yourself. Questions that have lingered and sometimes haunted you. Questions that seemed unanswerable. Questions that had to be asked way back but they never seemed relevant enough. Questions which make you answer things that matter. Questions about what you really want to do in life. Questions which will give answers that will lead you to happiness. Not the momentary shallow happiness, but the real one. And suddenly life will seem a tad bit easier than you thought.

And that is why you should read this masterpiece in your 20s. The time when you have just started working. The time when you have gained the confidence to put yourself out in the world. The time when you must know what you are doing and why you are doing it. The time when you set your heart and mind right for one thing that would solely define you as a person- your WORK. It is most important now because the way you shape yourself, especially when it comes to work, would make you ready for what comes up next. These 615 pages will definitely teach you more about life than any of the short 10 pointers post where people tell you about things they should have done in their 20s. Trust me, it is worth all your time.

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The pause

Never underestimate the power of a song, because even a moment of it can do so much more than you can ever imagine: Wonder. Miracle. Magic.

It was like one of those days in office, when I have so much on my plate, time seems to run out of my hand as clock ticks away and all I desperately look for is something to calm myself down so that I can get my head sorted.

So, sort of irritated but determined to make things happen, I continued to fiddle with my work when I took to my all time mood saviour, music! A quick song or two and I knew I will be in the work mode.

“Aankhon ke Saagar, hothon ke sagar..

Le doobe hame..”

I chose this song randomly and as it began slowly, I  could notice the calming effect. I started afresh with my work, focusing a bit more on it, while the song , catching up the pace, soothingly played in the background.

“Palko ko aise, palko se chu le..

ke jab dil mile, to manzil mile..”

The music caught up in my head and I slowly started to find the tune within myself. Mouthing the lyrics, tapping my foot along with the rhythm and feeling a bit lighter. And amidst all this, came the pause. The one second pause which was so beautiful, it made this song special. That earnest pause, which filled me with anticipation and excitement. That pause which literally made me stop for that one moment,which made me feel alive and I could not resist a smile!!

“Tadapna mera, hasna teraaa..

nindein meri..sapna teraa…”

This pause made me realize that often it is important to stop and then move again. To take a pause from the rushing life, to stop and breathe, to feel alive. How the little breaks make us feel more lively than the long work-loaded days!

I played the song again, and this time it felt like the kind of pause one takes before going for a leap! And so, I carried on with my work with much more enthusiasm and mind it, I finished it on time. 😀

This is for you. Relish the pause.Enjoy the song. Probably add it to your playlist! 😉

What it takes to be AWESOME ?!?

 

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I have never been much of a HIMYM<How I met Your Mother> fan but I have always admired this one character, the way too AWESOME Barney Stinson. And I have also met a lot of people who simply love him for all the craziness he possesses. Recently, I was going through some of his quotes in a post and I found this:

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Hell yeah! Bummer. Even the LEGEND<..wait for it..>DARY Barney Stinson says he wasn’t as awesome as he is now. This reminded me of some of the episodes where Barney used to go in a flashback, told some random bullshit stories about what he did some years ago, and eventually turned out to be cooler than he began the story with!

But I could not help but wonder, what makes someone awesome? or Cool? What is the definition of awesomeness anyway?

So I go back to Barney Stinson, once again. Whatever I know of Barney, I gather one absolute thing, his life has been full of incomparable and countless EXPERIENCES- something which he cherishes and uses to his advantage. <A lot!> He has been through so much crazy shit, that there is nothing left to hold back from. He always got something out of everything. <Be it waking up in the dumpsters after a hangover! :P>

Which brings me to another chain of my thought process,

Our life is what we make of it. It solely depends on us as to how we want we shape it. It is our most priced possession and our experiences are one of the best things about it. We earn them and we own them. Our experiences are the moments which make us realize that we have breathed through them and felt alive. Relished the good ones, outlived the bad ones and together, used all of them to move ahead!

The point which I am trying to make here very subtly is :

No Secret ingredient             <Ahh! and the Dragon Scroll says it. Enough reason to believe!! :)>

Yes! There is no secret ingredient. Awesomeness lies within us and each one of us is awesome in our own way. We all uniquely define ourselves and make our own choices.

Often when I look back, I realize that I have made mostly two kind of choices:

Choose the path

The SAME OLD SHIT which made 15 years of my life practically one year repeated 15 times over or

The CRAZY NEW SHIT which made each one of those 15 years accountable.

And to be really frank, I feel a sense of pride in all those crazy decisions of mine, which then seemed out of the box or impossible. I remember them most dearly and vividly. I realize that whatever I was then, and whatever I will be in a few years, solely depends on the choices I make. It is a beautiful feeling to know that the choice mostly has been mine, and it will continue to be so if I choose it to be.<Inception! :P>

But more importantly, in life, it does not matter what you do, what matters is you DO and get something out of it. You will end up being AWESOME! No worries. 😀

So what say? Challenge Accepted? 😉