Book Review : The subtle art of not giving a fuck by Mark Manson

My favourite lines from the book :

My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius…..Instead measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.

Unlike any self help book, this guide puts forward a ‘counterintuitive approach to living a good life’. Now what would you expect from a self help book : assurances like ‘you are special and born to extraordinary things’, ‘ whatever you think is or isn’t, you are right’, ‘keep trying’, ‘don’t doubt yourself’ and the like. But not this book. This book tells you that you are not special. ( And after reading the book, I agree with Mark! )

Mark Manson has very adeptly laid down his counter-intuitive thoughts well- illustrated using anecdotes from his life and those of his acquaintances. Throughout the book, you will get to read lines like : ‘Don’t try’ ( the first chapter) , ‘You are not special’, ‘Doubt your own thoughts’ and the best part : his reasoning and rationale is not flawed. In fact this is what make this book worth reading – because of Mark’s candid and uninhibited way of laying down secrets of living a happy life, secrets which are not in accordance with the generally- accepted philosophy, yet holds water. He has also laced his writing with profane humour & unbridled expressions. ( The title of the book is proof itself ! )

All in all, this groundbreaking book will definitely help you in re-evaluating your mantras of life. And according to Mark,once you do that you will realise that living a contented and happy life isn’t that difficult after all.

Highly recommended.

The journey of love…

The journey might be a cakewalk for some, but for others it is a long drawn process of getting to understand each other, respect each other and learn to love each other even in the worst of times, sustaining that love and growing together…..

And it only attains its true purpose in life when it also leads to a path of self discovery and self love…

Why I write….

I am afraid of speaking my heart out in front of people,

Writing gives me a better and non-judgmental platform….

My biggest learning of life till date

Am I unlucky for you ?

I can’t fall in love at first sight

How to deal with misunderstandings in relationships?

 

Misunderstandings happen in every relationship and I am not only referring to the romantic ones. The platonic are blood relations are also plagued by this.

Cause of misunderstanding: not people but their assumptions and beliefs!

Usually people have a set of assumptions & beliefs based on which they react to a certain situation.

For e.g. A son asked his mother for an expensive phone. She refused.

What Mom meant: Getting him a new phone would distract him from his studies especially when his final exams are around the corner. I will buy him a phone after his exams are over.

Mom’s belief: Educations is more important for his future than fulfilling his wish now. My son should concentrate on his upcoming exams.

Mom’s assumption: I should think about my son’s long term benefit and not on providing instant gratification.

BUT

What son thought: My mother does not love me. She loves money.

He is questioning his mother – not her belief, not her assumption. This creates acrimony in relationship until and unless explicit effort is made to remove such misunderstanding.

The reason I am saying that assumptions and beliefs are causes because it is far more constructive to critically analyse an assumption/belief than questioning an individual.

Let me make it easier for you. Which of the following is more hurtful?

Son:  Mom, I don’t like your belief / assumption.

OR

Son: Mom, I don’t like you.

I rest my case.

How can we deal with misunderstanding? – 10 key points

  1. Never jump to conclusions.
  2. Do not react immediately. Take time to understand the underlying belief/assumption to know where the thinking is coming from.
  3. If in doubt, ask frankly. The person will understand.
  4. Take effort.
  5. Do not always expect the other person to take effort. It is your relationship as well.
  6. Talk to the person when he/she has calmed down.
  7. You both are a team – not adversaries. There is no winner in a relationship. It is not a fight.
  8. Understand your assumptions and beliefs as well. Self-awareness is key.
  9. Give space and time to the other person to understand you.
  10. Don’t think you know someone really well. Every person is evolving. There are layers waiting to be unfolded. There is more to that person than meets the eyes.

Have a healthy relationship.

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How Mom, how do you do it?

How does she do it?

What magical powers does she have that she can sense the quiver in my voice, the pain in my eyes , the sadness in my movement…

And why simply talking to her assures me that everything will be alright…

Hopefully someday I will figure it out…

 

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How to deal with mistakes of the past ?

We all have made mistakes in the past, and we are making one in the present and will hopefully make in future…..

But should that stop us from living our life ?

It is important to make mistakes – it is the only proof that shows we are doing something

Mistakes are bound to happen if we are living our life to the fullest, grasping opportunities, falling in love, giving that dreaded exam, venturing into a new business, raising a kid etc.

But that’s what makes us mature and experienced…At every stage of our life, we make mistakes. The goal is to learn from them, prevent them in future and move on …. Not making mistakes is not only impractical but also impossible if you want to move ahead… Ofcourse you can choose to not make mistakes, but then your learning process stops and you inch towards stagnation…

We need to stop ourselves from beating us over them

Mistakes have to be taken with the right attitude… You cannot dwell on them for the rest of your life..You can’t feel the guilt and agony from committing them..

You have to learn from them..

You have to stop repeating them…

But You don’t have to feel guilty of committing them…

Because if you do, when will you live?

Pain is an evolutionary process …

Sheldon Cooper says in The Big Bang Theory that pain is an evolutionary process. It forces you to develop strength, maturity, insight and courage. It makes you see things in a different light, in a way unperceived in our happy state because we are too engrossed in celebrating….

Pain is necessary.

Pain is pertinent.

And whether the world is mature enough to understand it or foolish enough to berate it, it is your reality…

So deal with it because no one else can and no one else will !

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Back with a Bang ! No – a degree actually ;)

Hola Amigos,

My archives show my last post in 2016 ….. Way back !

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After almost a two-year break, I am back as a blogger and this time hopefully for a long time. First of all, my reason for taking a break was my education. I was pursuing a post graduate degree in Human Resource Management which took my 2 years for good. But now that I have graduated and settled, I thought it to be an appropriate time to awaken the blogger in me.

I tried to maintain a balance between my education and blogging, but with time it became too difficult to declutter my mind and write something. Lot of things were happening, and were happening too fast.  Although at times, amidst writing assignments, preparing presentations and solving business cases, I missed the blogger in me.

But the past is gone !! It’s time to focus on here and now…..
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This time I have bigger plans for this blog including quality content from my heart to yours, more musings, learning that I have acquired in last two years and many more.

For starters, this is my new instagram account : Amateur’s Instagram Account

Do follow me !

Cheers to a new beginning !

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Success is Useless

Yeah, you read it right ! 

At least that’s what I believe.

But before putting forward my arguments and letting you decide whether it holds water or not, I would put a disclaimer – making this statement is not sour grapes for me – I have had my share of successes  and failures in life and this statement is not a manifestation of my personal emotions or grudge. It is a conclusion based on careful and deep introspection, and not simply a desultory comment.

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Having said that, now there must be a tinkling in your mind – how can success be useless? After all, our entire life is spent in making efforts to lead a successful life – and hence a happy one. Every soul on this planet craves for success not only in professional life, but also in personal relationships, new ventures, family life etc.  It is on what our life is based – and here comes some random blogger who is questioning the foundation of your life ! Well, success is equally important for that random blogger. She also wants to be a successful blogger, a successful family person and a successful professional.

So how is it useless if it is important?

I never doubted the importance of success – but the utility of it – and there is a difference – a big difference. Because from where I see, I see success only as the food for life and not the food for soul. Success repays your hard work, gives you moments of happiness and revelry, satisfies your ego and enhances you self-respect. 

What lesson does it give you? How does it influence your mind, your nature, your personality – in most cases it either makes you complacent or haughty, or just languid ! In other cases, we become increasingly insecure of losing it. After achieving success in one arena, you move on to the other. I don’t  remember sitting down to retrospect on what I had learnt or what more I could learn in a field, how can I improve and so on whenever I succeeded in anything. I simply moved on to the next level – which is necessary because you got to keep moving ahead,always. But apart from that, what did one truly learn about life?  

Very little, or nada.

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On the other hand, when you fail, you learn what does not work – it gives you knowledge and wisdom. It gives you an opportunity to prove to others and to yourself how strong you are and how quickly you can get back in action after every fall. Whenever someone falls, he has to pick his pieces up and get back up on his own.  Every failure you face in life adds to your courage and inner strength – leaving you more bold than you previously were. It teaches you to be optimistic because believe me – no matter how much pessimism a person has, everybody wants to and does see the light at the end of every dark tunnel. It is just a matter of time – how early one gets over one’s doubts and incertitude. With every failure, that time period decreases – and you tend to get back faster into the game with revived energy and enthusiasm ! Failure teaches you a good sense of humor too–how to laugh the predicament  off and start afresh.

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The problem with failure is that it is always projected in bad light. Right from  childhood, we are taught to embrace success and cast aside failure. And that’s why when I projected success in a bad light – it must have been shocking for many.

Failure is not bad. It is not synonymous with darkness or evil.

In fact, it teaches about life more than success does. Failure is not something to be afraid of ; it does not eat you ; it does not leave you crumpled– but every time it comes, it gives a piece of itself to you – in the form of courage or optimism or sense of humor.

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As Sundar Pichai , CEO, Google rightly said “In Silicon Valley, part of the reason why so many people start companies is because even if you fail, it is a badge of honour.

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Failure does not and should not leave us with depressing thoughts and doubts on our capability. As proudly as we proclaim our success, we should equally embrace our failure. Because when the candle  of  our life will be on the verge of dying down, we will realize while going down the memory lane  that failure was always on our side. We were never fighting it, we were fighting WITH it – to achieve success.

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Book review – I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

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‘I come from a country, which was born at midnight, when I almost died, it was just after midday.’

–   Malala Yousafzai

Also known as ‘The girl shot by the Taliban’, and now the youngest recipient of Nobel Peace Prize ( a Nobel Laureate at an  age of 17) for her inspirational battle against the dreaded terror group and for her contributions in the field of promoting female education, Malala has become  a household name. She has rightly become the face of international activism for education for girls which is a right that many of us take for granted. But it takes stories like that of Malala to make us realize that even a right as basic as education is a privilege, as there are people in some parts of the world who are fighting the good fight simply to be able to go to school.

This autobiography penned by Malala in association with Christina Lamb is an account of an ordinary girl and her ordinary life in her beloved ‘Swat valley’ with her family comprising of her parents, two younger brothers and two pet chicken. She talks about her parents, how her father named  her ‘Malala’ after the Afghan warrior princess ‘Malalai’, the beauty of her ‘Swat Valley’, her Pashtun ancestry, her school friends, her everyday struggle from going to school to studying to competing with her best friend in school, her desires and wishes for a bright future,  her father’s educational activism, the gory capture of her town  by Taliban, atrocities inflicted on people under the seize, moving out of her town with her family for safety, living in a constant fear yet advocating girl’s educational rights, her father receiving death threats from Taliban over radio, getting shot and her miraculous recovery, her new life in Birmingham – it is an extraordinary account of a girl who has seen far enough for a teenage girl. It is evident from the book that Malala’s father has greatly influenced her daughter’s mindset making her fearless and instilling in her extreme sense of regard and pride for her motherland. She has grown up watching her father struggling to build a school and convincing girls to attend it – something that is condemned in their valley, hence it is not surprising that Malala values her  education and is ready to fight for it. She dreams of becoming a politician and alleviating the political situation in Pakistan.

The poignant recount of the ill-fated day when she was shot keeps the reader on the edge of the seat right up to the day when she wakes up in a London hospital –showing the world how a miraculous escape from the bullet can turn the table on terrorism. The bullet that was meant to silence the voice made it even louder and now she has evolved as the face of an international campaign for female education.

The book does not give a detailed account of the initiatives taken by her to promote female education worldwide, neither does it explore further on the subject of female education and its current status in the world. But what it provides is the story of a brave, teenage girl written with great simplicity and innocence who has become a role model  for every girl in the world. The book is replete with pictures from her past, her post recovery days and her new life in Birmingham.

All in all, a great book that will leave you with a sense of deep regard for the education you have received, and a compelling desire to do your bit for educating the less – privileged ones  around you .

To buy this book, plz visit : http://fkrt.it/IvVOn!NNNN

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Book Review : Impatient Optimist – Bill Gates in his own words by Lisa Rogak

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‘This is how I see the world, and it should make one thing clear: I am an optimist. But I am an impatient optimist.’

                                                                                                          –   Bill Gates

A biography but not in the usual sense of the word, this book attempts to give us a glimpse into the life and personality of one of the world’s richest businessmen who spearheaded the digital technology revolution as the CEO of his brainchild and  tech-giant Microsoft. After dropping out of Harvard University in the junior year  and later co-founding  the company  with his friend Paul Allen in 1976, there was no turning back for this ingenious scientist who at a young age of 31, became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.  This book tries to explore various aspects of his life – from his decision to step down as CEO and engage in philanthropic work, his relationship with Paul Allen, his successor Steve Ballmer and Apple’s Steve Jobs, the nature of his philanthropic work and his foundation, his take on business, future trends in technology, his family, his legacy and his attitude towards various things in general.

His take on success –

‘Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.’

Now the surprising element of the biography is that it is not in text format. Lisa Rogak has experimented with the conventional  style , and has presented the biography as a collection of quotations by Bill Gates  collected from various sources –print media , public interactions, conferences and business events, online journals etc. At first, it is hard to realize how a book replete with his sayings can be helpful  in providing an insight into the mind of this venerated personality – but as one reads through the pages –the words  indeed prove to be the words of wisdom and open the doors of  enlightenment. As the pages are turned, the reader himself can make a sketch of his character. The process is very much similar to real life – we hear/know what people say on the basis of which we form a portrait of the person in our mind. This approach also eliminates any prejudice or bias – a figment of author’s mind – which can set in the minds of the reader if he reads through the author’s lens. All in all, a commendable effort by Lisa Rogak, I must say. A possible drawback could be that this format does  not give a detailed description of his life or incorporate third person’s views about him. The quotes are also not arranged chronologically but categorically. It does provide a list of his significant life events in brief at the end – but it is very similar to the way we list events in history matched with its year.

If you are looking for an inspirational, light reading or are simply interested in his life– this book is a good bet. But if you want a detailed description of his life, this book might disappoint you. My suggestion to the readers – go for this book for the innovative style of writing.  It will be a refreshing change. The inspiration and wisdom which you would get out of it could be the icing on the cake.

You can buy the book here :  http://fkrt.it/Iv2HT!NNNN

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Hard Work Vs Luck

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Giving up all the pleasures

Burning the midnight oil

Way beyond all measures

That’s how hard he toiled !

       ~           

Day after day, night after night

Perseverance was his game

He never ever let out of sight,

His goal, his purpose, his aim !

          ~           

But on one arduous occasion,

Luck gave him no favor,

Left his morale with abrasions

His will power wavered.

           ~         

Disappointed and despondent,

He started doubting his merit,

Hard work was replaced by lament

Luck was something he did not inherit

          ~            

But then one fine day, he resolved

Not to give up in the fight

Failure made him evolve

Into a person of great will and might

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Numerous times in his struggle he fell

But he was never to be backed down

And steadily increased, his drive to excel

Toughest obstacle could not knock him down.

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Again he fell, and got up

And the cycle continued

Till the time when even Luck asked him

“What have you got in you ?”

~  

“Oh mighty warrior, the shining knight”

“I have tried my best to defeat you”

“But you bounce back every time

“How on earth, I have no clue”

~  

Persistent effort is the secret, he said

Hard work is the key

 Luck – “I can hold no longer, take your success

Today, you have defeated me ! “

~  

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Parents, you are wrong when ………

Parents are the angels we have on Earth who take care of us, when God is too busy maintaining balance and peace in the world. This position of theirs earns respect and gratitude of the child. Believe me when I say that every child feels (and should feel) indebted to his parents, for giving him life and more importantly for making it worth living, at some or all times throughout his existence on Earth. Parents are like the anchor of our boat, keeping us afloat in this gigantic ocean of worldly drifts and waves.be-affectionate

But does that mean they cannot do anything wrong? No, it does not.

Parents are wrong when they lay too much pressure on their child to excel in the ongoing rat race to prove one’s worth in this materialistic world. I am not generalizing here. I know there are many parents who support their child through thick and thin. And if you are one of them, I salute you!

But then, I also know about parents for whom boasting about their child’s success and achievement is so important to maintain their ‘status’ in the society, that in the process of creating a success story, they often lead to tales of broken dreams. They want to produce geniuses. And in this era of cut throat competition, they want their child to go to a reputed college, earn a hefty salary and marry a partner of their choice. Looks extremely well planned, isn’t it ? But I tend to disagree. Between all the meticulous contemplation and planning about a child’s future, where have they taken into account their child’s dreams and aspirations? Parents might put forth an argument that they have seen the world and they are experienced enough to judge what is good for their child and what is bad. I totally agree. 2015-02-12-13-02-59.shattered dreamBut how is crushing of a child’s dreams would do any good to him. I know ‘crushing’ is a harsh word to use in this context but I don’t intend to use euphemism when I want to express my views clearly and without any softening or exaggeration. In certain situations, parents might not even know that they are ‘crushing’ their child’s dream. Ignoring it and asking him to blindly follow the rat in the race cannot absolve them of the fact that they are killing the seed inside him which can give birth to a tree in future. Or even if it is not a tree, even if it is just a sapling – yet a sapling is better than a dead and a wasted seed.428c516b7a78d17d0abc6a7fbd726081

A child is already indebted to his parents. He always wants to give them all the happiness of the world and make them feel proud. But does that mean he has to do everything that his parents’ desire irrespective of what he truly yearns for- ignoring his own dreams? After all, parents want them to be happy, right! What if he is happy doing his own little thing rather than walking the trodden path? Parents want best for their child but what if their perception of best for him isn’t aligned with his happiness? What if he is happy following his risky and uncertain field of interest and not the conventional and certain area of employment?

What if his heart is full when his pockets are not? What if his eyes shine and not his resume?

What if a distant relative or an insensitive neighbor doesn’t approve of your child’s ‘unusual success story’. It will still be a success story for him.

What if your child scores less than what you expected – what if he is not the topper but your neighbor’s kid is ? Should that mean he does not deserve to be your kid or you should pay less attention on him and concentrate more on your younger kid who excels in his education? Should that mean he isn’t a man of good character – worthy of every happiness and love?

You might feel by now that I am too rude or too insensitive and cynical about parent’s emotions and intentions. Or I am a rebellious child myself trying to let off the steam by pouring my frustration out into words. Believe me, I am not. What I am doing here is sharing my experience, not as a victim, but as a witness of the sufferings of an oppressed child who is so low on confidence today because of his/her failure to prove his worth to his/her parents. Let’s call him/her X. X considers himself a loser because he is not able to satisfy his parents’ ever-growing expectations. He has achieved a lot in his life, but not enough to achieve his parent’s satisfaction.

00221917e13e0f4d267d1aDo you approve of this? Should parents burden their child with so many expectations that a child spends his entire life trying to prove his worth?

Why are studies and grades a metric to judge whether a child is a good child or not? Why is a resume a standard to declare a child successful and not his character or nature? Why a child is always marked on his intellectual abilities rather than humane feelings and demeanor?

This culture is so deeply rooted in our society that I fear children losing the courage to confront their parents with their dreams. And therefore, parents need to understand and the younger generation needs to learn.

I am never going to let my child feel what X felt.

I will water the seed inside my little kid’s heart and will watch it grow. Whether it grows into a big, lush tree or a tiny sapling – future will tell – neither do I care because I will be busy looking at the smile on my kid’s face !

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P.S – My idea is not to offend parents in general or doubt their sincere intentions for their kids, neither I am painting parents as dream-killers. I just want to give every parent a chance to reconsider their parenting – to make sure they do not fall into the category of dream-killers.

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‘Supernatural’ is more than just a television show!

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For those who don’t know what I am going to talk about – Supernatural is an American horror television series and as the name suggests, it is a story of two brothers hunting supernatural elements and protecting the world which takes them to different places and on arduous trips, exploring their brotherhood on the way.

Don’t Worry ! No Spoilers ahead !

It was Love at first sight
After watching 10 successful seasons and 200+ episodes, I still recollect the fond memories of the day I was introduced to the Winchester boys by my roommate. It was the night before our last mid-semester exam in 2nd year of our college. Well, I guess she wanted to have a nice, little break from the monotony of her study routine; a break I could not afford because of the not-so-monotonous study routine of mine. Oh! Those exam days – I am glad they are over!
Well, she was watching one of the episodes of the 1st season when I happened to peep at her laptop screen (owing to the lack of interest I have in studies – this was inevitable). I saw a man with scary, yellow eyes scaring off a tall, cute boy – I thought, ‘This looks intriguing’. My curiosity heightened and owing to my inability to control it any further, I asked her – ‘What is this you are watching?’ – Quite ignorant of the fact that it would become one of my favorite shows in the coming days. She explained to me the scene and the background story in a nutshell which intrigued me even more, after which she made me have a look at the Winchester boys!
I got lost in Sam’s cute looks and Dean’s mesmerizing eyes.

Love has to be patient
But even today, I give a pat on my back for inhibiting my strong desire to watch the two men fight ghosts in their luxurious Impala. I went back to study consoling myself saying that I would get freedom from the books the next day and then there would be no barrier between us.

The first date
It was magical. Not only the boys, but also the story. It was different. It was appealing. No wonder, I was hooked on to the series for the next three days, completing the entire season.

Our growing relationship
Since the first day I laid my eyes on these two boys, till now – after 10 seasons – I have felt an extreme sense of possessiveness and admiration for them. It is more than just a horror drama to me: I will tell you why :
1. I have stopped getting scared of ghosts, witches, vengeful spirits, vampires- name any supernatural entity- and I have seen Dean and Sam fighting them and coming out victorious with flying colors. So if they can, I can too! ( I have also learnt some tricks) 😛 😀

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2. My vocabulary and knowledge of supernatural elements have increased fourfold. For e.g. – I know about shape shifters , or crossroad demons, hell hounds, spells, devil’s trap, vengeful spirit and many more. ( hehehe !! 😀 )

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3. I have fallen in awe with the portrayal of brotherhood between the two boys – After all, it is all about family, isn’t it? The blood relationship – the only thing which overcomes their difference of thoughts and mindset – They taught me that ‘Nothing in this world is above family’. 🙂

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4. But at the same time, their family is not limited to blood ties. In the family business where you have to trust your partner with your life, Dean and Sam have made loyal friends whose friendship will last a lifetime. ‘Will-die-for-friend Friendship’. :’)

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5. They have shown me that no matter what, the evil needs to be punished – no matter who the evil doer is! Evil can never win- at least when Sam and Dean are around.

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6. They have always been for each other- always got each other’s back in troubled times. It is a treat to watch their brotherly moments. 🙂

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Clearly, my admiration for the show and its characters is not hard to make out. After watching each episode umpteen number of times of the last 10 seasons, I am eagerly waiting to see what the 11th season has in store for the two brothers and their coterie.

In deep love with Sam & Dean Winchester ❤

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Thanks to tumblr for the amazing gifs !

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Thank you Doctor !!

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Thank you doctor for bringing me into this beautiful world and giving my parents their first bundle of joy!

Thank you Doctor for cheering me up and making me smile while giving me vaccination injections.

Thank you Doctor for offering me chocolates every time I came to your clinic for treatment of minor ailments or for vaccination.

Thank you doctor for treating me when one of my friends accidentally hit me in the eye, although you had to get up from sleep at night.

Thank you for consoling my mother and telling her I was absolutely fine, who was so scared and alone while my dad was away on business tour.

Thank you doctor for bringing my younger brother who has become the apple of my eyes, into this world.

Thank you doctor for treating my mother’s stones.

Thank you doctor for turning up at my house late at night while I was burning hot with fever.

Thank you doctor for inviting me to your yoga sessions and introducing me to meditation, which has left an indelible and soothing effect on my body and mind.

Although I failed to say this to you each time you gratified me with your care, I am saying it to you today.
Innumerable thank yous for the past and equal number of thank yous for the future, because , you, Doctor, are an indispensable part of every human ‘s life. You are the blessed creation of God and an angel in disguise. Although many a times we fail to realize this, but if God created us, you brought us into this world. Yours is the noblest profession of all.

To every Doctor on this planet, on this Doctor’s day (in India), I offer my deepest respect and gratitude.

  Happy Doctor ‘s Day !!

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For all the doctors and patients alike,  here is a must watch video : Patient Doctor Relationship

Leave your Expectations behind and let Life Surprise you !

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When has anything happened in your life according to YOUR plan or expectation? Well, in my case, everything in my life has happened in contrast to what I planned for. There is clearly a higher entity at work playing with all our minds.

Now – we, the pawns, are left with two choices – either to cry over every spilt ‘plans’ that has not turned out the way we expected, or to embrace the surprise turn of events with open arms. The latter would be an obvious choice. But it is not always easy for everyone to adjust to circumstances and throw disappointment to the wind. Each one of us has certain expectations from oneself, family, friends, beloved, relationships, career and life at large. We come across many instances where disappointment has been caused by failure of meeting expectations-be it the setting of a career or a failed relationship. Each one of us beams with joy when things turn out the way we want them too. It is an accomplishment. We get disappointed equally soon in contrast situations.

But when you look back, you realize that whatever happened – happened for a greater good.

You see, the higher entity, about whom I mentioned earlier, is not one of the nefarious criminal of a dark movie, who seeks hedonist pleasure in watching his victims suffer. He is our creator and we are not his pawns. For His Sake, We are his children! Have you ever come across a sadist mother playing dirty, manipulative tricks with her child? He has a larger picture in mind – a greater good for you. In his Universe, everything is in place and under control. You just have to sit back and gape in amazement at his wonders.

b39594521e3ab34e7941f572ef7738dfExpectations often mar the vitality & the beauty of any relationship. Two DNAs are different to the core. How can you expect the entire human being to be on the same page with you at every occasion? Difference in thoughts is pretty normal. The fact that he did not react the way you expected him to should not dishearten you. There should be an understanding of differences with all expectations dumped into trash.

To free ourselves from the chains of expectations and surrender to the higher power is not a day’s job. By surrendering, I do not imply that we stop doing anything about anything. By surrendering I mean, you do your best but have no expectations. You give your best to your family. Be the best friend to your coterie. Give your 100% to your work, relationships, life but there is a condition – You should have no expectations. Many people have denounced their social life in a quest for the secret of happiness in this world. I say, the secret is to have no expectations – not from anybody, not from life. Be prepared for the worst turn of events. In that case, you will not be saddened and discouraged when things do not happen as you planned, and when things do happen like you wished – you have a significant reason to rejoice!

Give your best to the world but don’t worry yourself over what will come back to you.

Sooner or later, whatever is destined to be yours will be yours!

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Is the demon of suicide gender biased ?

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                                           “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Suicide is the aftermath of a long struggle with failure, depression, heart-break or ignominy. It is anti- God – a demon, hell bent to destroy God’s beautiful creation, creeps into a disheartened mind – lures it to kick the bucket, in order to destroy the pain. But does Suicide’s Grim Reaper prefer males to females? Is it gender biased ? Otherwise, what else could explain the greater number of men dying by suicide than women!

In today‘s world of advancements in possibly every facet of life, the responsibility on an individual to prove one’s worth increases tremendously. With the sudden surge of social media over the last decade, the social connections have increased which puts the individual in a constant limelight, as a result of which he/she has a fear of constantly being judged. The individual is not burdened by the thought of failing his own expectations, he dread failing others. Suicide, I believe, is more of a social affair than personal because it involves the society and what it thinks of the individual. But both men and women have their share of responsibilities and failures. On one hand, where man is burdened with the responsibility of earning the bread and butter to feed his family and play the role of a son, a husband and a father to perfection, the woman is under the baggage of being a good home maker- which includes the role of a wife, a mother, and many a times – she is the bread earner of the family. But failures at playing these roles hit both of them alike. Heart break shatters both hearts. But facts and figures quote that number of men committing suicide is greater than that by women. From where comes the difference then?

There have been many reasons cited for the difference in numbers. Some research says women tend to use less fatal weapons like drug overdose, while men shows strong intent by opting for weapons like guns or hanging by rope. Some sources quote a paradox, saying that women attempts more suicide, but more men die because of less number of failed attempts in men.

Whatever the reason may be, I could not help but think of the psychological differences in the two sexes. While women are more social and tend to share their predicaments with trusted ones, men are unable to do so because of their reserved nature. They never encourage the idea of taking professional help, thinking they will be able to handle it. I am not saying, dear men, you cannot handle it. But you need to draw a line between depressing thoughts and suicidal thoughts. If ever you feel you are more into the latter, seek professional help because, no matter you never feel the need of it, your family does. Same goes for you, dear ladies, because the aim here is not to decrease the gender bias – it is to completely destroy the demon.

Coming to the end, there is a dire need to decrease the rates of suicides everywhere irrespective of geographical location or gender. Nothing in this world is worth taking your own life for. Seek medical help if you think you need it. Talk through matters with your near and dear ones.

Success and failures, heartbreaks and ignominy are parts of your life – remember; only a PART – they are not your whole life.

Nothing in this world is worth taking your own life for- it might be worth fighting for.

So let’s fight and not die.

– Amateur

A Content Heart

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                     ‘ You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough’

– William Blake

No matter who we are, where we are born or what we do, each one of us has a single goal to achieve in life – to attain contentment. If you are satisfied with what you have and feel fortunate about it, you will automatically be happy. Whatever we do in life, everything is directed to that broader goal – to achieve satisfaction and happiness. And the one reason we are way too far from this goal is because our metrics are faulty. We tend to compare ourselves with someone who has achieved greater heights than us, or has greater number of opportunities than us, or greater wealth, health or accolades– in a nutshell, the person is on a higher pedestal than us. Without putting ourselves in their shoes, we tend to judge their life and worse – we compare ourselves with them. We have the natural instinct to feel low and beat ourselves up pondering over things we don’t have while we see others enjoying . This feeling of incompleteness brings remorse and not contentment.

If we continue on the same road, the desire of achieving contentment will be a distant goal. Being ambitious is great. But being ignorant of what you have is a disease which will never let you bask in your own glory.

The first step towards the goal would be to recognize your privileges. If you are reading this right now, you belong to a privilege class – Yes – you have access to internet – you have a computer/laptop/mobile – you have education to comprehend my words – you have mental stability to understand the thought – you have the eyesight to see the picture. Think of people living in this world without these things, and let me assure you – there ARE people living in this world without these things I mentioned – even worse – there are people living in this world without the basic needs and comfort we enjoy in our everyday lives.

So should we not be ambitious and just be content with what we have? No, that is not my idea of a content and happy life. Work hard to achieve what you want in life, fulfill every dream you have. But don’t let you heart sink by comparing your life with somebody else‘s , thinking that you have got less. Even if you want to compare, compare with someone who has much less than you have, and think how bravely he is fighting life’s battle. Probably then, we all would respect what we have in life and be happy and content– at the same time persevering to achieve a little more . This empathy towards the less privileged will keep us grounded and bring the element of satisfaction in our life. That‘s the secret, my friend, for a happy – and more importantly a content life as former is a direct consequence of the latter.

 A content heart is a happy heart.

–  Amateur

A world of Opposites

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. .

– Excerpt from  ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens.

Right from childhood, these lines by notable writer Charles Dickens always intrigued me. I was never able to comprehend what he actually meant.Initially,owing to my immaturity and innocence, I thought he might be confused about his feelings and was not able to judge the situation – after all how can the time be both best and worst simultaneously. There has to be a single perspective.His words are contradictory.The anaphora is puzzling.It is a paradox. What does he really mean?

I must admit that I have not read the novel. I tried but I could not. I don’t deny the fact that it is not one of the great pieces by a notable writer, but my taste in reading was different. I do accept that had I read the novel , I could have got the real idea beneath the words. But as I said, I was quite stubborn with my taste.

Now, when I look at these words, I get a sense of familiarity.As we grow, we learn that good and bad,darkness and lightness, hope and despair, heaven and hell – both co-exist.You will not find one without the other. It creates a kind of balance in this universe. If you have faced good times, you are bound to encounter worst predicaments. If you are filled with hope today, you will feel low tomorrow.If you are happy today, tomorrow you never know what might sadden you. If you are wise today, with time that knowledge will not be enough.These opposites definitely attract each other.

But there is a sanguine side to this whole theory. If you have been a tough time in your life, are you going to suffer your whole life?No. If you are sad today, will there not be a good news waiting for you tomorrow? No. If you are ignorant today, can the world make you stay ignorant if you work and learn hard. An emphatic No. The pearl to be picked up here is both good and bad exist in this world. It is a world of opposites. A roller coaster ride where at one time you are at the zenith, while at the other, you are deep down. But does it stop? No. It keeps going changing highs to lows, lows to highs.

Remember, Change is the only constant. Good and bad both co-exist. Fight the bad, embrace the good.

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Blame Game

As I was going on a nostalgic trip reading stuffs in my old diary – feeling amused at the weird handwriting I had back then, grinning at the was-hilarious-then-but-not-so-much-now jokes,slightly embarrassed by the ‘Hi Diary’ salutation,I came across the following creative piece  which I wrote for my college’s editorial.

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Since childhood, we learn to play many games—both outdoor and indoor. But a game that is played since times immemorial and has become a legacy of the human race is the BLAME GAME. And the most interesting part of this game is that although we do not learn it consciously, we use it- rather play it- very often in our day to day lives.The history of this game dates back to the time when Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, sinned in the Garden of Eden. They tried to excuse themselves by placing the blame somewhere else. Since then, it has been in our blood to blame others and shift the responsibility on someone else. A political leader blaming another for the weary state the country is in today, a boss blaming his employees for failure of a project, an actor blaming the script for the failure of a movie-these are common scenarios now-a-days. People are busy finding external reasons for their unhappiness or frustration. We fail to realize that we ourselves are so much a part of this………….Coming to the rules of the game…..

  • This game can be played when there is a situation of – failure, dissatisfaction, and frustration – especially applicable in case of team work. It can be played at all levels- individual, national, and even international…
  • The sole motive of this game is to shift the responsibility to others and to keep oneself free of guilt – whoever does that brilliantly is declared the winner.
  • The player should keep in mind that he is the sole sufferer and is always right….
  • “Destiny” can be used in case the player is not able to put the blame on anyone else.
  • Everything is fair in this game of blaming……

BUT Does it satisfy one’s conscience???

Does it alleviate the situation or help in solving the problem???

IS IT REALLY WORTH ????

My answer and experience says an emphatic no… Its sole contribution is to worsen the already-worsened situation. I do not intend to conclude that highlighting people’s mistakes is wrong. In fact, sometimes it is required and is the right thing to do. But when people do it with the motive of publicly humiliating the “wrong guy” rather than encouraging others to learn from the mistakes, it serves no purpose. Many a times, destiny has to take the blame. It sounds clichéd but true -“We write our own destiny”. I read the story of a saint who used to carry a mirror with himself wherever he went. When asked about its use for a saint, he replied “whenever I face any problem in my life, I look at it. It shows me the cause as well as the solution of the problem….”.That for me was a huge realization. It is rightly said – “Making bad decisions is part of life. Blaming others for your bad decisions is immature.”

We start living our life in its true essence the day we realize that we are solely responsible for its quality. No matter what happens in life, we just cannot sit back and blame someone else for our miseries. If we are not happy, it is because we have not tried to be happy. There is solution for every problem in this world- if not in our hand, then probably in the hands of TIME. But one has to take charge of one’s life. And the day each one of us take up the responsibility of making oneself  happy & content, and one’s life worth living, the world will become a better place.

– Amateur

To Win OR To Win Fairly

Jamaica's Yohan Blake, second left, starts in a men's 100-meter heat during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

 

Prayer of a Sportsman

Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on through life
I ask but a field that is fair,
A chance that is equal with all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare;

And if should win, let it be by the code
With my faith and my honor held high;
And if I should lose, let me stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.

-Berton Braley

Although the above excerpt from Berton’s creation bears the heading ‘ Prayers of a Sportsman’ , but you don’t have to be a sportsman to keep this thought in your heart, for every human being on this planet is a participant of a race – a race to succeed in life, to achieve what one dreams ,a continuous effort to prove oneself superior than others, a race which goes on till our last breath – In that way , we all are sportsmen , aren’t we?

Nowadays, people are so busy with their respective races, that they often forget the rules and the sportsman spirit which is necessary to keep the competition fair and humane. The focus is only on winning, rather than winning fairly. Only the ultimate results matter. But there is one question that needs to be answered. Will the person gazing back at us from the mirror be happy and content with us winning the race at any cost ignoring the fairness of the game? Will he be happy seeing the trophy even if we know that somebody else deserves it more?

In modern day scenario, one can’t help but ponder on Berton’s lines to realize how precisely he has sketched an honorable sportsman’s character– he wants to win but only when he deserves it, else he asks for enough strength so that he is able to forget his own defeat and revel in winner’s celebration. That’s a sportsman’s glory, his triumph and his legacy that will inspire millions after him.

Hence, the choice is simple- to win OR to win fairly. The answer lies nowhere but within us.

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Attitude towards life

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If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail,

If you can’t be the sun, then just be the star,

It isn’t by the size that you win or fail,

But be the best of whatever you are.

– Douglas Malloch

The above excerpt from Douglas Malloch’s inspirational piece exactly defines the attitude one should have in life. The lines reiterate perfection in its own sense. Whether you are a giant business tycoon or a run-of-the-mill salesman, whether you are a celebrity or a street play actor, a computer genius working in a multinational company or a mechanic, a celebrated artist or a construction worker- the size does’nt matter. What matters is how you play your role to perfection. It is rightly said ,”Do your work so perfectly, that others do not have any work on your work.”

For all the pessimists out there, this does’nt mean that you should settle for something less in life. You should constantly strive to achieve more and more and fulfill every dream you have. But then, be the best dreamer you can be. Dream with conviction. Be the best struggler you can be. Struggle to zenith and don’t stop until you get exactly what you dreamt of. Be the best achiever you can be. Play every role you have in life to the best of your ability.

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